In a bodega last week morning, picking up bananas, I saw the man in front of me on line holding a New York Post. Too bad he wouldn't be reading any actual news (outside the sports section), I thought. Then I saw the front page. You're seeing it above.
The wicked stereotypes evoked in this image are so obvious, so plain on the nose of one's face, that everyone involved in its creation knew 100 percent exactly what they were doing. There can be no doubt. For me, the image brought to mind a scene from the still-hilarious, virulently anti-racist classic "Blazing Saddles," in which our hero, the African-American Sheriff Bart, and his white sidekick Jim need to attract the attention of some KKK members. From the script:
[to two members of the KKK, while pretending to capture Bart]
Jim: Oh, boys! Look what I got heyuh.
Bart: Hey, where the white women at?
Just as in "Blazing Saddles," the Post's front page calls forth one of the most disgusting racist tropes in our country's history: the sexually aggressive black man pursuing a white woman. And it's all the better that in this case she's blond. Over decades, this trope resulted in the lynchings of thousands of black men accused, in some cases, of doing little more than looking a bit too long at a white woman. The brutal murder of Emmett Till falls into this category.
The front page of today's New York Post sought to tap into exactly those sentiments, and to direct them at the President of the United States of America. Let that sink in for a minute.
Oh, and let's not forget the sexism of that front page, which essentially called Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Prime Minister of Denmark, a sex kitten, not to mention "red hot." Sexualizing (or, as Rush Limbaugh did to Sandra Fluke, 'slut-shaming') any strong and/or threatening woman is typical for the kind of right-wing thinking represented by the Post. And of course notice that the Post says that she is "O[bama]'s," itself another way of reducing her to being just someone else's sex object.
Whatever Peyser thinks of President Obama's interaction with Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt, to say that her words were beyond the pale is a gross understatement. She said he acted like "a hormone-ravaged frat boy on a road trip to a strip bar." It only gets worse:
[T]he president flirted, giggled, whispered like a recalcitrant child and made a damn fool of himself.
[T]he president leaned into the air space of the cross-legged Danish cupcake.
The president's cackling head moved inches from the Danish tart's and yards away from his wife's. Obama then proceeded to absorb body heat from the Dane, which he won't be feeling at home for a long time.
Only after the damaging photo eruption did Obama get hold of himself and regain a dim memory of his marriage vows. He finally straightened his face and moved away from the gentle gams of the Danish object of his desire.
President Obama has some 'splaining to do.
I believe these words speak for themselves. What also speak for themselves are the comments that appeared below Peyser's column. The racism didn't take long to come out, as these examples show:
The Kenyan's mother owes the United States an apology for laying down & spreading her legs for the gorilla known as Barry's daddy.
Let't (sp!) choose, hot Prime Minister or Planet of the Ape leading Actress. Hmmm Tough Choice!
This is what we are dealing with, folks. A right-wing media that will stop at nothing to whip up hate and fear among its constituency. They will traffic in the worst sort of racist evil, an evil steeped in the blood of crimes that grew out of what President Obama rightfully called our country's "original sin."
You angry? Good. So am I. Now let's take that anger and channel it into something positive. Let's work together and defeat these right-wing race-baiters, and send them to the dustbin of history where they belong.