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Of Presidents and Pulled Pork

Woke up way too early this morning, thanks to what I can only interpret as the utter implosion of my sinuses. Turned on the TV, watched a worse-than-expected Lifetime movie with Tracy Gold--note, I say that as if there had ever been a Lifetime movie that didn't star Tracy Gold--and then, after the credits had rolled and I had finished up my second box of kleenex, I switched on the news...

Big mistake.

Ya know (and if you didn't, let me just catch you up here), there's a war on. The economy is tanking. And we're in the middle of an election season. But was the lead story on my local newscast (granted, the 4:30 am newscast) about the war? No. About the economy? No. About the election? Well, yes, but only in the most disturbing of ways.

It appears, you see, that a new poll is out. Not sure if it was done just for us backwoods types down South, or what, but anyway...

Turns out Barack Obama is preferred over John McCain as a guest at a backyard BBQ (for you yankees and west coast alfalfa eaters, those initials stand for "barbecue," as in pulled pork, chicken, and beef brisket). Apparently, 52 perecent, or something like that, would rather suck the meat off baby back ribs with Barack, while 45 percent would prefer McCain. I'm guessing the other 3 percent just couldn't make up their minds when faced with such a critical choice as this, or then again, perhaps their heads exploded from having been confronted with such a stupid f'ng question in the first place.

It sure is nice to know that these are the kinds of things pollsters and some of the public think are important: who'd ya like to eat meat with? Have a beer with? Do a couple of shots with? I guess it's just a matter of time before they ask us which candidate we'd prefer to change our kids' diapers? Play Pictionary with? Join us in the jacuzzi for a glass of wine? Hook up our cable? Or perhaps give us a soothing shiatsu massage?

Putting aside the inanity of the question, I'm most concerned about the reasons as to why voters chose Obama for the BBQ gig. I mean, I've been accused of seeing everything through the lens of race, but damn, I find it hard to ignore the probability that at least some of the white folks (and even some of the black folk) in this poll, thought about it, and concluded that the black guy must be more fun at a BBQ...They probably expect him to have some crazy good sauce recipe or some such shit..."ya know how they loves 'em some BBQ" (I can hear it now, seriously).

Coming soon: a Gallup Poll on which candidate you'd rather invite to a dance, eat watermelon with, or batter your next batch of fried chicken...

What, you think I'm kidding?

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I asked myself the same question

Tim,

When I saw this poll in the media my jaw dropped. It wasn't the results, quite frankly I'd be more likely to invite Obama over McCain to any event. It was the why. Why ask this question? This was an example of Freudian word association played out within the American psyche; Black man = BBQ.

Thomas Dotson, Redroom.com

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Who doesn't eat BBQ?

While normally I agree with most of what you have to say, I'm going to offer a slightly different perspective on this one.

There are many foods such as fried chicken or watermelon that one can read racist implications into, I don't think BBQ is one of them. It is an American institution for summer events. The food may differ by region: hamburgers in NY, pulled pork in GA, brisket in TX and grilled tofu in CA, but we all BBQ for summer holidays.

Secondly pollsters love to ask questions that get at how people feel about the candidates rather than what they think about them. Unfortunately many people also vote on their feelings rather than their thoughts. It's human nature at one level. Remember how many people stated that Bush was the candidate that they would rather have a beer with (and he doesn't even drink anymore.)

Secondly, instead of focusing what you think people might be thinking why not read some of the comments drawn from the poll itself, from yahoo news... "Having Obama to a barbecue would be like a relaxed family gathering, while inviting McCain 'would be more like a retirement party than something fun,' said Wesley Welbourne, 38"

Sounds more like a slam on McCain than some twisted racist stereotypes to me. Particularly given how much press from Think Progress to CNN has been given to what a great BBQ McCain throws.

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It's never too late...

...for barbecue (you can ALSO wear white after Labor Day)

...for an innane poll (which says a lot about those who participated in the groupthink to collectively believe that this was relevant)

...a good laugh -but Tim is right: from every stereotype that has been thrown out there about the level of "blackness" of Barack Obama, you know the next McCain commercial will feature the ultimate scare tactic: a traditional Christmas tree or a Kwanzaa kinara?

I said this when it was clear that Obama was going to get the delegate count during the Democratic primaries, and everything I've seen and heard from John McCain since then has proven me right: McCain is pushing the "age" issue to the extent that he's waiting for Obama to be "disrepectful" to him; in other words, he is begging for the opportunity to call Obama "boy". and if he were a true southern man, the term "son" wouldn't be far from his lips. The only reason he (McCain) is pushing for all the town hall meetings is to merely take every opportunity to "mark" -marking is one of the three most common ways to stereotype black people in film: making a strong and obvious display of black and white, with the desired effect of making the viewer see white as good and black as evil-himself against Obama's (alleged) blackness

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I'd Punch McCain

You know, to be totally fair, now I think about it, the BBQ and fried chicken myths are really the least onerous of stereotypes blacks suffer under. Frankly, if the group stereotype about blacks were only that they had kicking sauce recipes, that'd probably be a vast improvement. Also, while this may or may not apply to Obama given that he comes from Illinois, being in the South DOES make one more likely to know good sauce recipes. Frankly, I'd rather invite Obama to a barbecue since I'd try to punch McCain if he showed, but hey, that's just me. Choosing between a white Arizonian and a black Illinoisian for the likelihood of good barbecue? Obama any day. Also, Obama is attractive enough that it may improve the guy / chick ratio. So, y'know, there's that.