At least he's not an elected official!Hey, so, slow news month! Nothing much happening except the normal earthquakes and Iraqi elections and, of course, your usual totally innocent racist email about the Obamas which was thoughtlessly forwarded by some douche who just thought he was having some lighthearted fun, talking about monkeys and black people. This one comes from the CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality Association, who made the mistake of forwarding this hilarious email to a few reporters.

The email went something like this:

Quoting Larry the Cable Guy…I don’t care who you are, this is funny…

I was at the store yesterday, and I ran into Tarzan! I asked him how it was going and if he was into anymore movies.

He told me that he could no longer make any more movies as he had severe arthritis in both shoulders and could no longer swing from vine to tree.

I asked how Jane was doing, he told me she was in bad shape, in a nursing home, has Alzheimer’s and no longer recognizes anyone, how sad. I asked about Boy, and he told me that Boy had gone to the big city, got hooked up with bad women, drugs, alcohol, and the only time he heard from him was if he was in trouble or needed something.

I asked about Cheeta, he beamed and said she was doing good, had married a Lawyer and now lived in the White House!!! [Photo of a chimp making a face, followed by a photo of Michelle Obama making a face]

(Yes a VERY IMPORTANT tip for those who are not part of the Matlock set and did not read Tarzan comix when they were wee: the “Cheeta” character was not a cheetah, but a chimp.)

Anyway, the douche in question, Walt Baker, said the usual blah blah blah about “it was done in the spirit of having some fun with some close friends,” and “if anybody wants to make a political agenda out of it, they’re wasting their time.”

Shamefully, somebody did want to make a political agenda out of it — one of Walt Baker’s clients, the Tennessee Convention and Visitors’ Bureau! They fired Baker’s marketing agency, which just goes to show you how freedom of speech has become so stifled in this country that you cannot even make a fun innocent joke among friends about how a Negro lady is in the White House.

Nothing Funny About This Monkey Mail [The Nashville Scene]

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  1. sigh. they still don’t get it. I would say that I can’t wait for this older generation to die off, but that would be a disservice to all the wonderfully enlightened olds who frequent our wonkett. I don’t know what to do.

  2. Well, in his defense, I’m sure that while he forwarded it to friends, clients, work acquaintances and reporters, he didn’t expect anyone but his fellow old-ass friends to get the Cheetah reference.

  3. Over the years I have had occasion to discuss politics and society with many proud, well-educated, prosperous Southerners, all of whom reacted with shock and outrage any time the suggestion was made that racism even exists, at all, any more. They would all say exactly the same things, in the same words, I assumed there was some mandatory class in grade school in which they learn the party line, first the assurance that “we have no problems between the races,” a reference to a close black friend, and a strange, subtle message to the effect that “you see, we southerners understand the negroes, their character, and how to treat them; its not racism, its what they need and want, the way we treat them; the problem is you northerners who let them run wild up there.”

  4. “I have never considered myself bigoted, or racially insensitive, or a racist,” Baker said

    There! Closure! NEXT! “I have never considered myself a highway rest stop train-pulling cock goblin, and I want to personally apologize to the dudes I couldn’t get to last night, as I was dealing with issues pertaining to internal bleeding.”

  5. One of my favorite movies from the 70s was Tarzan, Jane, Cheetah, and Boy. The best part was when Tarzan and Boy were on their search for the Wanga Wanga tribe (to get new penises, crocodiles had bitten them off while they were swimming across a river) and they met some women who wanted to have sex, but with no penises, what to do? But then Boy had an idea, and shouted to Tarzan “Use the corn, Tarz,” and they used corn on the cob, and the amazing thing was, the sex was so hot, the corn popped!

  6. The actions of the Tennessee Convention and Visitors’ Bureau was pleasantly surprising, however. I had thought that, being the home of country music and all, being filled with nothing but racist old crackers was exactly the image they wanted to project for the state.

  7. [re=526129]Mr Blifil[/re]: I have never considered myself bigoted or insensitive either, and all you wops, chinks, micks, polacks, frogs, wogs, towelheads, and n*****s should just lighten the fuck up and laugh a little. Jeeze, you ethnics are so thin-skinned.

  8. The Hospitality Association apologized by sending the White House a gift basket of a big bunch of bananas. All is now forgiven after the thoughful gesture.

  9. [re=526127]Prommie[/re]: Many of these Southerners (and some folks elsewhere; I’ve shuddered at times when I’ve had to go into Central PA) seem to have a different definition of “racist” from normal humans; it’s like, as long as they’ve never personally taken part in a lynching, that means they’re not racist.

  10. I am most disappointed at the failure to make a properly racist joke about the character named “Boy.” Seems like pretty low-hanging fruit if you ask me.

  11. NEGROS = MONKEYS = FUNNY!!!!!1!9!11!!!

    (Oh, I get along just fine with all those white Southern racists. You just have to unnerstan’ how they are. They are just so simple and childlike, really, you talk to them like children and y’all get along just fine, bless their hearts.)

  12. Did Larry the Cable Guy really make this joke? There’s nothing on Snopes yet, but it’s early. A quick search reveals that Larry the Cable Guy (no relation to me) is a conservative, which is arguably still legal, but I couldn’t find anywhere that says he actually made this joke. Since Larry the Cable Guy is the only conservative in the world with anything that resembles a sense of humor, maybe some people like to attribute all conservative attempts at humor to him, kind of like how some people like to attribute every single song parody ever written to Weird Al Yankovic, as if no one else were capable of it.

    I don’t mean to say that Larry the Cable Guy doesn’t suck, but I want some evidence before I start hating the fucker because of this.

  13. Racism aside, it’s just not funny. It’s dumb. Admittedly anyone who cites Larry the Cable Guy is someone who doesn’t have much brain power anyway.

  14. Seeing the watermelon patch made me think of a true story from my HS days. One monday morning I asked a classmate Steve what he did that weekend. Steve said “me and a friend went camping. We bought and case of beer and 3 watermelons”. I said that sure was a lot of watermelons. Steve replied “yea, we fucked two and ate one”.

  15. [re=526127]Prommie[/re]: Oh jesus, it really is exactly like this. ‘Round Memphis parts, it’s literally impossible to have a decent discussion about race, because even the most effete defeatist liberal white kids around here have some deep-seated need to deny that their parents/grandparents were so scared of black people, every single white person got up and moved out of the city.

  16. [re=526149]Larry McAwful[/re]: Apparently the sender of the e-mail is just quoting Mr. Cable Guy to say, “I don’t care who you are, this is funny.” The rest of it is from somewhere else.

  17. [re=526149]Larry McAwful[/re]: He’s only the source of the “I don’t care who you are, this is funny” quotation, not of the quote-joke-unquote itself.

    I wish I didn’t know this, but even that bit is misquoted. According to my father, the correct phrase is “I don’t care who you are, that there’s funny.”

  18. Shamefully, somebody did want to make a political agenda out of it — one of Walt Baker’s clients, the Tennessee Convention and Visitors’ Bureau! They fired Baker’s marketing agency, …

    Ain’t capitalism a bitch. Ha Ha, stoopid racist – way to lose a well-paying client.

  19. The comments on that article are interesting. I wonder if this will cost Baker’s firm other business beyond the Tenn. Convention and Visitor’s Bureau or will it bring him business.

  20. A guy who would tell this kind of a “joke” is constitutionally incapable of describing or even understanding what is and is not racist. What’s really disgusting is the general acceptance by the media of the very notion that a large portion of the American public aren’t just like this moron, and that that doesn’t explain what Obama is up against every day.

  21. [re=526158]Maxine of Arc[/re]: [re=526155]Surfiet O'[/re]: Thanks for catching that; that went right past me. My excuse is that I’m in grad school now, so if something’s not properly attributed, I miss it.

    Mr. the Cable Guy is going to have some difficulties with this, I imagine, because when I went searching for where he originally told that joke, all I found were numerous articles about this executive, and those articles also said that the entire joke was attributed to Larry the Cable Guy. I’m sure lots of people on that distribution list missed that nuance, too.

  22. [re=526156]FMA[/re]: Hey, I’m from the actual “Ken-tucky” and I can tell you we’re tired of you folks in Pennsylvania (what a gay name for a state) biting our style.

  23. “I have never considered myself bigoted, or racially insensitive, or a racist,” Baker said,

    Or sexist. You should have mentioned sexist because I’m pretty sure you’ve never given that much thought either.

  24. And this is why Nobama is wasting his time and political capitol, not to mention our hope, by continually doing lame things like saying “yeah, don’t know anything about it, but they should fire all the teachers” to the entire health care debacle.

    He will never, ever be able to bring in the Republicans. They’re racist and no matter how much he compromises, will never be able to turn him and his family white.

    He’s Nav’i–blue–and needs to stay that way.

  25. [re=526156]FMA[/re]: What really gets me is the number of confederate flags in the area. I feel like telling people that the people of this state actually fought against the America-hating traitors; you know, the side that actually won the Civil War.

    [re=526169]germansteel[/re]: For decades now, the media has decided that racism in America ended the day the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed; the only racists that remained were James Earl Ray and George Wallace.

  26. This is weird, because after watching the original Streetcar Named Desire movie for the umpteenth time, I was thinking how Southeners are so full of shit about how they’re so welcoming, kind and…hospitable. “Southern cheer,” ha.

  27. “I have never considered myself bigoted, or racially insensitive, or a racist,” Baker said…

    Of course not, Walt. You went to college after all.

  28. [re=526127]Prommie[/re]: Yes. I’ve had the same experience. It could be summed up as “We understand how to treat our niggras.” Southern racism is so ingrained as to be invisible to its practitioners. It takes the form of a sort of kindly patronizing of blacks who are so evidently inferior as to not need examination. I don’t know how much, if at all, this may have changed since I’ve been exiled to the far north.

  29. Furthermore, on behalf of the entire state of Tennessee, I once again offer my deepest heartfelt apologies. Well, not the entire state, but hugely large portions of it.

    You should see the comments that were made about this story at my local news site ( Stuff along the lines of “Wayell hayell it was awl raht fer the libs to call George Bush a chimpanzee, so thar all a buncha racists.” And many that were even stupider! Yes, they’re all still there, last time I checked. Maybe the ones with the n-word have disappeared. Probably not.


    [re=526146]JMP[/re]: Pennsyltucky, i.e., the South, extends everywhere in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania except Philly, Pittsburgh, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Scranton/Wilkes-Barre corridor, and Erie.

    In the words of the great James “Deliverance Banjo Guy” Carville, Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philly separated by Alabama…

  31. [re=526127]Prommie[/re]: I grew up in the south, and was told that saying “I have a black friend!” or referring to “my one black friend,” etc, was similar to getting pulled over by the police and saying you had two beers (especially since it’s usually A or ONE black friend). Then again, I had librul parents.

  32. [re=526148]Lascauxcaveman[/re]: “you talk to them like children and y’all get along just fine, bless their hearts.”
    Ahh see, my understanding is that “bless your heart” is good southern lady speak for “fuck you up your asshole with a pinecone.” Since good southern ladies don’t curse, you know.

  33. Even the Nashville Scene’s comments contain some howlers:

    Racism involves prejudice or discrimination or implies superiority of one race over another. This cartoon is considered “racist” only because we have been conditioned to believe that any comparison of African-Americans to monkees or apes,no matter how innocent the intent, is automatically an issue of comparative intelligence. If this photo comparison were part of a group of photos of other folks, black and white, with facial expressions that mimic animals, it would be funny and much less likely to be considered racist (although that would never happen because of our heightened racial sensitivity.)

    Monkees? No one compared Michelle to Mickey Dolenz.

    But yeah, of course this email was TOTALLY INNOCENT, in good fun, and there’s NO racist intent.

    Fuck that. The Scene’s cover shot of Ke$ha is far more entertaining than this shite, even if using something other than a letter of the alphabet in your stage name is so 1999.

  34. [re=526170]Larry McAwful[/re]: You can still go ahead and hate Larry because he’s an unfunny hack. Doesn’t have to hinge on *this* hilarity at all.

  35. Pennsyltucky? Shit, you still get the occasional cross-burning up here in Michigan. There are even a few sundown towns still in working order (NEVER go to Howell, MI unless you lack even the vaguest hint of Mediterranean.) From the brown perspective, Detroit is the safest city in the whole state =/

  36. [re=526206]President Beeblebrox[/re]: You have not lived until you have been to Dollywood, and Pigeon Forge in general; its like “People of Walmart” city.

  37. [re=526185]DickTaterPeeNoShay[/re]: I should have clarified that, according to the media, there’s no more white racism. Of course, there’s lots of black racists, with Farrakhan, Sharpton and sometimes Jackson always being called out; and anytime a black person complains about racism from white folks, that’s the real racism.

  38. [re=526202]President Beeblebrox[/re]: No one compared Michelle to Mickey Dolenz.

    The Obamas are too busy running the country
    To put anybody down…

  39. [re=526192]MzNicky[/re]: Yeah, over here on the Western end of the state, we’re hoping to be adopted by Arkansas to preserve some dignity.

  40. [re=526149]Larry McAwful[/re]: It doesn’t sound like Larry the Cable Guy to me. He’s schtick is dumb and redneck, but only KINDA racist in a “hey, it’s not PC to say it, but….” thing. The above “joke” is too overtly racist for his tastes.

    He does do a bit in his act (I’ve READ about it, haven’t seen it) where he suddenly stops whatever he’s doing and looks over his shoulder, and then says “oh, that’s just my shadow. I thought it was a black guy sneaking up on me to steal my wallet.”

    Oh, wait. So that actually is overtly racist. Maybe my original point does not stand.

  41. Heh, a few years back when I lived in The People’s Republic of Madison, WI, there was a city-wide resolution opposing the war. Standard stuff, “Bring the troops home NOW”, etc. (It’s just what we do there, ya know?)

    Anyway, the opposition yard-sign campaign adopted the slogan “Don’t cut and run GIT R DONE”.

    These folks actually think like this. In their heads. All day long.

  42. [re=526211]SayWhatNow[/re]: Howell is scary. A friend of mine, a retired economics prof from Penn State and his wife, and M.D. were going to buy a house somewhere around Brighton/Howell–huge house, huge lot (enough that it could be called “grounds”) not very expensive. They gave up on it when they realized just how insane the local might get when two close to retirement, highly educated black people moved in. Scary stuff.

  43. Ha, Larry the Cable Guy is an act, he doesn’t really talk like that, and he will go down in posterity as the voice of a tow truck. I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there.

  44. [re=526202]President Beeblebrox[/re]:
    The Mississippi Delta was shining
    Like a National guitar,
    I am following the river
    Down the highway
    Through the cradle of the civil war,

    I’m going to Raceland
    In Nashville Tennessee
    I’m going to Raceland…

  45. Reminds me of a Teabagger that I work with that constantly proclaims to anyone and everyone that will listen that “I’m not a racist, you just don’t want to hear the truth” and then begins his next diatribe with “That fukkin n****er Socialist Obama”.

  46. [re=526136]Prommie[/re]: [re=526191]Ducksworthy[/re]: The only Southerners y’all seem to know are country-club members. That’s a small minority; we mostly poor and middle class down here, which means either a) not racist or b) not subtle about it.

    Friend of mine told a story the other day about meeting some douche at a party in north Georgia. He had a KKK tattoo on his neck, and introduced himself by saying, “I’m with the Aryan Nation,” like he was a Realtor™ or something. She said, “Oh yeah? I personally try to fuck every black man and Jew I can get my hands on. So be sure to look me up on the day of rope.”

  47. Baker is an asshole. Just proving, again, that much of the hate directed towards Obama is racist and much of the hate directed at the great Rahm Emanuel is anti-Semitic. I, and others, have actually heard these racist and anti-Semitic comments, several times, since 2008, so it’s not just conjecture–it’s true. People don’t like Obama because he’s black (really, half-black, to be accurate)and Emanuel because he’s Jewish.

    The far right haters will deny this, but the cold, hard reailty of the situation is that it’s true.

  48. [re=526224]donner_froh[/re]: When I lived in Greenville, SC, a black woman wanted to move into our neighborhood, and she knocked on people’s doors and asked people if it would be a problem. Enough people said yes that she didn’t buy a house.

    That said, Atlanta was the most integrated city I have ever worked in, at least as far as CNN went, behind the camera anyway, and during the day. Outside of Atlanta was a different story; I hated Georgia. I liked SC. But CT is very segregated too, more by money than overt racism. But that’s a whole ‘nother can of racist worms.

    In my experience, racism is more overt in the South than many parts of the North, and the War of Northern Aggression has not been forgotten below the Mason-Dixon line, but there are tangible reasons for that beyond simple racism, and the whole north-south split is more complicated than people want to admit, or maybe even know if they’ve only lived in one region.

  49. The irony, of course, is that the Tennessee Convention and Visitors’ Bureau probably didn’t raise a ruckus last month when the Teabaggers held their convention in Nashville. If anything they were probably excited to bring in the business.

  50. [re=526274]Katydid[/re]: Calling it the War of Northern Aggression is just one more way in which so many white conservatives get to cast themselves in the victim role in this country. Poor white people, we’ve been so oppressed.

    I grew up in southeast Virginia, which was not too terribly racist thanks to the military presence but still had its share of nutballs. Occasionally someone would refer to the Civil War as the Late Unpleasantness, which always makes me snicker. Southerners are so polite even when they are cutting your heart out and showing it to you.

  51. Hmmmmm….anthropological issues… “Jablonski, now chairman of the anthropology department at the California Academy of Sciences, begins by assuming that our earliest ancestors had fair skin just like chimpanzees…”

  52. The absolutely unbelievable thing about all these moron, racist e-mailers is that they seem to be totally oblivious to all of the previous moron, racist e-mailers.
    I don’t mean unbelievable in the sense of surprising.
    I mean I don’t believe it.

  53. My aunt played Jane in a Tarzan movie, which has since been presented as a sign of her fading star power. I thought she was pretty good in Out of the Past.

  54. [re=526384]gurukalehuru[/re]: To be fair, if all you watch is FOX News and all you read is Christian e-mail forwards and cereal boxes, it’s conceivable that one might not be aware of the other fifty or so of these incidents.

  55. I don’t understand how this type of “I am not a racist” self-delusion can exist. No one believes me when I say I’m not fat.

    But, seriously, I once suggested that a relative of mine (in Western Pennsylvania, [re=526146]JMP[/re]: ) was racist and he said, very indignantly, “How can you say that? One of my kids had a party just the other day and he invited the black kid from his class and I let him come.” And I’m not making up the “the” and the “let” parts either.

  56. Was Scott Baio one of the recipients? Cause he’s not a racist either cause he has a black friend too!! As a transplanted NYer now living in the Alabama part of Pennsylvania, I soon realized that the mason-dixon line should of been at the NY-PA border. True story, when I first moved down, I was asking where a park was and co-worker said matter of factly, “its up on n—-r hill.”

  57. [re=526211]SayWhatNow[/re]: Remember the BATF/FBI raids up in the Thumb region after the OKC bombing? I think that’s where Terry Nichols was hanging out, if I recall. Y’know, Michigan Militia and all that.

    [re=526344]McDuff[/re]: Hm. So the D, the Hub, and Frisco are basically the co-capitals of the Blue States, whereas the red states … well, “Dixie” gets Atlanta, the “Breadbaskets” gets K.C. (wut about Chicago?), and Denver is the capital of the Empty Quarter. Sounds about right to me. And there is a certain poetic justice about Texas being part of MexAmerica.

  58. So, anyway, I’m at the supermarket and I run into Jabba the Hut and I ask him how he is doing and he says “Fine, I have my own radio show on the Clear Channel Communications network and I get to hang out with Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia.” Bad-a-boom, bad-a-bing…

  59. [re=526494]EdFlinstone[/re]: No, Baio didn’t even have the “black friend” to hide behind; instead, his excuse was “some of my wife’s best friends are black”. Apparently, racial sensitivity can be sexually transmitted.

    But hey, Baio did have an older Japanese-American friend, who ran the diner he liked to hang out at! Oh wait, know, he had left town and been replaced by Big Al by that point.

    [re=526539]Maxine of Arc[/re]: And Mickey is now a wignut; one of the few “celebrities” that comes to teabagging events. Michelle is pretty hot, so I’d compare her to Davy, who looked good in that episode where he had to pretend to be a woman.

  60. [re=526494]EdFlinstone[/re]: I think the Mason-Dixon line ends at the US-Canada border. Upstate NY can be very, very scary in places. And don’t get me started about Maine.

  61. [re=526581]JMP[/re]: Is he really? I knew he’d played at a couple of them, but I’d been hoping it was just the kind of thing where he realized their money spends as good as anyone else’s. My thirteen-year-old self has a deep emotional investment in all of the Monkees being sane, decent people. Plus he was Arthur on season 1 of The Tick. ARTHUR!

  62. [re=526127]Prommie[/re]: Same experience I had growing up in Texas. Racism was so much a part of the (white) culture, it was normal. Normal among otherwise decent people. But that excuse is worn out. This late in the game there really has to be a willingness to continue with racist normalcy or it would have died out. You have to work at this shit in order to pretend that it’s cute.

  63. [re=526581]JMP[/re]: Wow Mickey Dolenz AND Ted Nugent. I didnt realize the teabaggers had that kind of star power. Well done on the sexually transmitted racial sensitivity, still laughing at that one.

  64. [re=526593]President Beeblebrox[/re]: Hey nobody puts Pennsyltucky in box. We have the only congressional seat in the entire country(Murtha’s) that voted for Kerry in 2004 and McCain in 2008.

  65. [re=526596]Maxine of Arc[/re]: Could be, but he’s appeared at enough wignut events that it looks to me like he’s a true believer. But none of the other Monkees have joined with him.

    And I felt the same way on discovering that Mike Nelson is a Randian (well, college-age self, not teenaged).

  66. [re=526146]JMP[/re]: and [re=526156]FMA[/re]: You might want to add Philadelphia to that list as “The City of Brotherly Love” is one of the most racist places I have EVER lived and I grew up in TX.

    Experience would say that the Mason-Dixon Line doesn’t make that much difference.

    The wife would argue that isn’t true that northerners CAN”T be racist but then she has always traveled with a different crowd than I have.

    Go Penciltucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!1!!!11111111!!!!!

  67. [re=526421]G. Friday[/re]: Maureen O’Sullivan in the original Tarzan movies was quite saucy. It was partly because of her that the bluenoses demanded the imposition of the “Production Code,” ie censorship.

  68. [re=526628]JMP[/re]: Well, sure. Peter’s not politically active (as far as I know), and Michael is a hermit, but either of them would probably burst into flames if they set foot on teabagger ground. Davy would probably be enough of an asshole to do it if he weren’t too busy being foreign and hating the other three, though.

  69. [re=526206]President Beeblebrox[/re]: Sherman had nothing to do with Nashville though he did invent ‘total war’, a concept that’s gone on to serve mankind so well. Just another Yankee contribution to the world. Fuck ya’ll with a stick!

  70. Well, does anybody ever have time to think about the Dutch? Imagine having to grow up young, gifted and Dutch and having people around you constantly refer to “Dutch courage,” “Dutch uncle,” “Dutch treat” and “Dutch elm blight?” How would you like that scenario, Ms. Bleeding-Heart-Liberal-Wonkette? Ja? Thought so!

  71. I am baffled that the organisations needs to ponder on whether this was an offense worthy of discipline.

    [re=526206]President Beeblebrox[/re]: Also, seconded on the “Sherman should not have been stopped in the good work”. Since the South still bitches about the war, I often think maybe we should just reoccupy their godforsaken shithole “country” and do some nation-building.

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