January 28, 2007

Ethnic Personae and The Thin Beige Duke

Camille Paglia's career largely consists of a single bombshell book, 1990's Sexual Personae, in which she romped through 3000 years of Western decadence, outlining how artists from Michelangelo to Oscar Wilde have embodied a host of diverse sexual identities. In the late 20th Century, pop stars like Paglia's favorite, Madonna, or David Bowie -- with his Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, and more -- have made careers out of changing sexual personae every few years.

Barack Obama's straightforward masculinity wouldn't be very interesting to Paglia's taste for convolution, but Obama is a Paglian artist, nonetheless: not of sexual personae, but of ethnic personae. He has carefully crafted his image to tantalize white America's complex, inchoate ethnic fantasies, a Tiger Woods for the White House.

The obvious question, however, is whether America will get bored with Obama's Thin Beige Duke act before the 2008 election? Does he have a second ethnic personae up his sleeve?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

His carefully crafted image was not targeted at white people, originally. He was raised by a white family and went to ivy league schools. It doesn't get more authentically white than that.

His real energy seems to be with selling himself to the black community. After Columbia, he moved to Chicago and became a civil/voting rights activist. After Harvard he returned to Chicago where he unsuccessfully competed for a congressional seat in a black district.

During his Senate race, he was no shoe-in against the handsome, south side volunteer, and ivy-leaguer, Jack Ryan. When Ryan dropped out, the Republicans found the one black guy whiter than Obama, Keyes, to lay down while Obama got a justified landslide.

I like Obama. I've seen him speak in person and he's articulate and thoughtful for any race of person. When I saw him speak, some black South African asked a question with a lot of post-colonial deconstruction language and Obama dismissed him using the exact same dialectic format. Plus, if you look at the bills he's sponsored he's a big gasoline alternative fan (coal to oil, E85) because he knows that global instability is directly tied to the price of oil. So, if you're anti-Iraq war, Obama is about as good as it gets.

Is Obama electable in a country where articles referring to him as "The Thin Beige Duke" won't discuss more than his skin color? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

I have often thought that Senator Obama is nothing more than Dick Durbin in black face. He is a connect chicago politician who has mastered the meida like no politician since Bill Clinton.

He also benefits from the white controlled MSM reflexes of ignoring anything bad about black politicians.

I am amazed that the best thing that can be said about Senator Obama is that he is articulate. I wonder if such expresses hide a layer of latent racism because it seems to imply that "black" politicians are not supppose to sound articulate to white audiences.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder if such expresses hide a layer of latent racism because it seems to imply that "black" politicians are not supppose to sound articulate to white audiences."

He seems articulate in an Ivy League sort of way (no surprise since he went to Harvard).

He is upper-class black. On the other hand, most black politicians were raised in lower or middle class homes.

Hence, the way he speaks and acts seems seems odd since most whites never encounter black politicians with an upper class flaire. Most upper class blacks go on to work as lawyers, doctors, business executives, etc. Politics is generally left to the lower class blacks.

Anonymous said...

will sailer ever write a post about a black person which doesn't reference their race? no.

Unknown said...

If others didn't avoid race-related topics Steve would not have to. But they do, so he has the field to himself; why not take advantage?

Anonymous said...

"Tiger Woods for the White House"

I hate to be a literalist, but Obama has yet to be a Tiger. Isn't he more like the Camilo Villegas of the White House? Or perhaps the Michelle Wie?

Anonymous said...

The story of how Ryan dropped out and Obama crushed Keyes is familiar, but what are the details on how Obama became the Democratic nominee to begin with? I seem to vaguely remember that a rich guy named Blair Hull was the favorite at one point; then all of a sudden Obama had left Hull in the dust and become a media superstar.

Anonymous said...

Is Steve Sailer a little resentful because Barack seems to be nothing more than an affirmative action baby with no meaningful track record who benefits from the silver spoon of the mainstream political environment? Maybe he is but maybe we'll get to see his report cards someday.

Well our country hasn't been doing so great with the legacy baby we have in office today, nor did we have much of a choice in 2004, being given choices between two C-average legacy babies. At least one of them actually fought a war.

Personally, my dislike for Osama is he seems like a really skinny wimp to me.

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough,BOTH Ryan and Blair Hull (white millionaires and super smarties)quit because of girl-trouble.Ryans ex-wifes complaints about his desire for "swinging",and Hulls ex-wifes complaints about being-ahem-"abused",were enough to send both packing. Neither of the "complaints" was anything to get excited about,both quite trivial,yet the press slammed the 'boys'.This ,then,was the Birth of Barack! Ive always been a little suspicious of how it came together for him! :0

Jewish Atheist said...

I don't think Americans are as blinded by race as you think they are. You look at him and you see a half-black poseur, but lots of folks will just see him as a young, charismatic leader who projects hope. Obviously, everyone will be aware that he'd be our first black president, but you act like it's the dominant issue of his campaign.

Obama is a breath of fresh air after Bush and his hubristic idiocy. The biggest knocks on him are that he's inexperienced and perhaps a little loose with the turht. Well, experience doesn't seem like a huge deal lately -- Clinton and Bush II were governors, to be sure, but both were quite young to be president by historical standards. And loose with the truth? Come on, he's a politician.

Anonymous said...

Bush WAS inexperienced,especially in foreign policy! He was supposed to occupy the white house and bring back dignity,or some such crap. Nature abhors a vacuum,and he was easily dominated by the Neo-Con Jews who steered America into a nitemare war. How about an AMERICAN who cares about the country,and knows what he's doing and how to get it done! And surrounds himself with decent people,not slime like Wolfowitz,Pearle and company.

Jewish Atheist said...

How about an AMERICAN who cares about the country

Are you implying that Obama is not American?

Anonymous said...

For the people wondering about Obama's Senate race:
The Democratic race for the Senate nomination in '04 was three way. Blair Hull (a multimillionaire businessman), Obama, and Dan Hynes, the state comptroller. Through the primary season, Hull seemed to enjoy a comfortable lead in the Dem race. Then about a month before the primary journalists dug up a story that Hull's ex-wife had sought a restraining order and accused him of abuse in the past. His campaign imploded and Obama (who was a state Senator from Chicago and I think unknown to anyone from outside Chicago, won the primary with a comfortable but not overwhelming 52% of the vote, mostly due to the huge Cook County vote totals. He won the primary through a stroke of luck, and the GOP basically handed him the Senate seat on a silver platter by picking Alan Keyes. In all fairness though, Jack Ryan's campaign was amateurish, Illinois has been trending blue since the early '90s, and I think Obama was a good pick to win no matter who the GOP picked, simply because Obama was the Dem in the race.
I think it's sad the best thing people can say about Obama is that he's articulate.
He pushes E85 and biofuels alot. I think it's because agriculture is big downstate and he wants to keep the masses outside Chicago happy.
All in all, I view the man as someone who talks like Jesus and votes like Charles Rangel.
Don't forget the hunk factor either. I'm sure he has male supporters,but the people I see going most gaga over Obama are 20 and 30 something white women.

Anonymous said...

will sailer ever write a post about a black person which doesn't reference their race? no.

If it makes you feel any better, Sailer writes plenty of posts about race that don't reference black people. Feel better now?

Race is a major topic for Sailer. If you want less racial discussions about blacks and others, then there are countless blogs and an entire mainstream media waiting to satisfy that need. I suggest the DailyKos and CNN for starters.

Personally, I find Sailer's site a refreshing change of pace from most of that politically correct drivel out there.

I don't comment frequently, but thanks Steve. I appreciate your effort. I'm sure I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

one negative on a democrat with no experience is that there is no infrastructure of responsible think tanks, experienced military people, etc. to guide him/her, whereas Bush and potentially other inexperienced Republican presidents have these advantages. Also, the Republicans have a set of organizing principals to refer to (every so often), where democrats only seem to have hazy feelings.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem in this country is that Obama is seen as an "African-American." This implies some sort of racial original sin. He is not the descendent of a slave. His ancestors did not have the Jim Crow, civil rights experience, etc. which compose home-grown American Black experience. If Obama can consistently admit what he is (which he does do sometimes), which is a product of melting pot genetic diversity, then he may be more honest, if not more successful appealing to the voting population.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said..."Don't forget the hunk factor either. I'm sure he has male supporters,but the people I see going most gaga over Obama are 20 and 30 something white women."

Definitely! This is an important issue. But old White women like Ann Althouse as well. The surprisingly feminine Bob Wright referred to Obama's "sex appeal".

Basically, Obama is the kind of black male who sexually fascinates White women in a way that Jesse Jackson and obviously Al Sharpton cannot.

Rast said...

"one negative on a democrat with no experience is that there is no infrastructure of responsible think tanks, experienced military people, etc. to guide him/her"

Because that infrastructure worked so well with Bush.

Anonymous said...

Obama is the Numinous Negro who will give meaning to our dreary whitebread lives.

Anonymous said...

You don't get to be editor of the Harvard Law Review by affirmative action. This blog documents amply how affirmative action can get people in the door, but it can't keep some from getting the boot when they can't perform. Barack is clearly not in the latter category.

Plenty of young African-Americans are born articulate, but learn to use the "angry moron" routine later in life to con white people playing the "guilty condescenting liberal" routine. Barack had the good sense to avoid that strategy (what Thomas Sowell called the "black redneck" act).

My fellow Obama is clearly a guy with lots of talent, charisma and intelligence. Any political party or race would be lucky to have him as their advocate.

Anonymous said...

White women do NOT find this character sexy! Thats insane. Yech!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what the big deal is here. Obama certainly isn't the first canny politician to craft his life story into a narrative that appeals to his core constituency, even if it means sanding down a few edges. Think of nuclear engineer and Hyman Rickover protege Jimmy Carter presenting himself to the people as a humble peanut farmer, Andover and Harvard educated WASP Bush pretending to be a Texas good ol' boy, or Clinton emphasizing his poor Hope birthplace over being raised fairly middle class in Hot Springs.

Anonymous said...

At least one of them actually fought a war.

Prince Albert didn't participate in any combat. He spent no more than nine months in V.N., with a sugar plum assignment to be a reporter for Stars and Stripes.

The handsome prince's Dad, Sen. Al Gore Sr. undoubtedly used his pull to get Jr. the military journalist specialty.


... The surprisingly feminine Bob Wright



Anonymous said...

Obama graduated magna from HLS.

Grading is blind (law review does have affirmative action, and being President is academically meaningless [though obviously a sign of his political ambition and ability], but I doubt Obama needed the help).

So that's the end of the "is Obama that intelligent?" discussion. URM have an easier time getting into HLS, but there are no mediocre intellects who graduate magna.

Anonymous said...

Barak is bright and full of potential, something I keep reminding myself to counter my natural distaste for anyone knighted by the MSM. His timing is fortunate: the country is sharply divided, the Republican Party even more so. Iraq will not be the litmus issue -- there will be no neat way to clean this crap out of our boots. I see Iran as the issue: will BO play nice with AIPAC (and their minions in office) and go postal on Tehran, or will he risk the wrath of Zion (who already own Hillary) and speak out for what's best for America? His qualifications may be thin, but he may be the only candidate capable of weathering the assault of the Israel-firsters (who previously flexed their power in Barak's state by destroying the political career of Senator Charles Percy).

Anonymous said...

Barak is bright and full of potential ...

and he's clean, too!

TabooTruth said...

Barack Obama does not make the white community feel guilty for their past.
However, he does show blacks that they should get their act together, like he did. He will severely undermine Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
I do support him because he could serve as a wake up call to the black community. However, he did spend time in an Islamic madrassa.

Also, his IQ is out of the park for an African American. This is because his father was not a descendant of the slaves, but a Kenyan elite, while his mother was an intelligent white. With that genetic endowment of intelligence, there is no way he would relate to typical African Americans. Possibly they even see this already.