Wonkette Literary Supplement

Wingnut Poetry Critic Just Asking: Does Poem By 19-Year-Old Barack Obama Reveal Subtle Jew-Hating?

Couldn't find anything with apes and figs, will this do?So, Barack Obama wrote a kind of dumb poem in 1981 (Survivors of sophomore creative writing workshops may experience flashbacks):

UNDERGROUND
Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs.
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch.
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance,
Tumble in the
Rushing water,
Musty, wet pelts
Glistening in the blue.

It’s no “The Red Wheelbarrow.” But wingnut semiotician Jack Cashill thinks there may be scandalous political meanings hidden in the mediocre poem that Obama wrote when he was 19. In his dumb book about how William Ayers wrote Obama’s Dreams for My Father, Cashill briefly mentioned the poem but disregarded it at the time. But now he says further evidence — maybe Obama’s narrow lead in Ohio polling — leads him to look at it more closely. You will be astonished to learn that he now thinks the poem is just chock-full of meaning, and scary Muslimy meaning at that.

Cashill’s friend Jim O’Hagan, “who has made a study of the poem” — talk about an accomplishment! — discovered some astonishing coincidences:

He points out that both of the poem’s most conspicuous symbols, apes and figs, are mentioned in the Qur’an. Middle Eastern scholar Bernard Lewis has argued that although Muslims were relatively tolerant of Jews, there are at least three passages in the Qur’an in which Jews are denounced as “apes.”

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But there is more — far more — to the case! Cashill also points out that

The reference to “figs” strengthens O’Hagan’s case that the “apes” refer to Jews, or at least to Israeli Jews. He cites the 95th sura of the Quran, “At-Tin,” which translates as “fig” or “fig tree.” It reads in part: “[I Swear] By the fig and [by] the olive/ And [I Swear by] Mount Sinai/ And [I Swear by] this secure land [of the city of Makkah].”

Wow. Is that a “macaca” reference, too? Cashill carefully points out that fig and olive trees predominate in “the countries bordering on the eastern part of the Mediterranean, especially Palestine and Syria.” This is pretty damning stuff! Please, go on!

it seems altogether possible that the poet believes that these warlike apes, the Jews of Israel, are exploiting, even despoiling the land in which they have settled. Note that the apes both “eat” the figs and are “stepping on” them.

O’Hagan make a case that the “grottos” in question refer to the famous Rosh HaNikra grottos in Israel, located on the Mediterranean just south of the Lebanese border. The grottos are known for their startlingly blue waters, but blue is also the traditional color of Israel as manifested in the Israeli flag…

The apes don’t jump in the water, the “blue.” They “tumble” in, but only after howling and baring their fangs, a gesture of war. Consider Isaiah 9:12, New Living Translation: “The Syrians from the east and the Philistines from the west will bare their fangs and devour Israel.”

“Was it a wish, a dream,” O’Hagan writes of the poem, “a prediction that the Palestinian Arabs would rise up in Israel and drive the Jews into the Sea?” It might well be.

We would argue that O’Hagan has just barely scratched the surface here. “Blue,” it must also be noted, is the Yoko Kanno song in the finale of the epic anime series Cowboy BeBop, a masterful tale of interplanetary bounty hunters. Further, Darth Vader also hired bounty hunters to track down and capture Luke Skywalker and his friends. This week, just seven days before the election, the Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4 billion, a purchase which includes Skywalker Sound and the Skywalker Ranch production facility. And what replica of a historic tall ship sank earlier this week? The HMS Bounty! Chilling, isn’t it? But that’s not all: What would we expect to find on the floor of a beachside grotto? SAND, of course. And what storm sank the Bounty? Hurricane SANDY, a storm with a name of indeterminate gender.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we see in this poem the roots not merely of Barack Obama’s betrayal of the State of Israel, but also of his bisexual affairs and his unquestioning support of the Sandpeople, who are easily startled but will soon be back — and in greater numbers.

[American Thinker]

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About the author

Doktor Zoom Is the pseudonym of Marty Kelley, who lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his nym from a fan of Silver-Age comics after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom

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141 comments

  1. commiegirl99

    Wingnut Poetry Critic dismissed out of hand the obvious answer: That Young Barack was high as fuck.

    1. PsycWench

      He could also have been trying to impress a girl with his sensitivity, the early '80s really being the extremely late 70's and all.

      1. BerkeleyBear

        Well, that was definitely the same time period when he changed his name to Barack (for a girl), got involved in campus political movements (for the girls) and wrote incredibly ostentatious letters (to girls). So yeah, you might be on to something there – - – plus he was high.

        1. BaldarTFlagass

          I haven't read any of those books since I left puberty (early 1970s), and I can't believe I still remember as much about them as I do. Pellucidar was always my favorite series, and Tarzan at the Earth's Core was probably my favorite of all time. I still have my 1924 omnibus edition of Land That Time Forgot, People That Time Forgot, and Out of Time's Abyss, complete with shiny-paper plates of paintings of various scenes from the book. I think my dad got it from one of his uncles…

    1. Kid_Charlemagne

      The more important question is, does this make Charlton Heston retroactively anti-semitic?

      1. dr_giraud

        Heston played Moses, which would make him a self-hating Jew, which–following the logic of yer average Red State paste-eater for a minute–means that zombie Chuck Heston supports Obama.

  2. ChernobylSoup

    Note that Charles M. Roser, creator of Fig Newtons, was born in Ohio. Elves subsequently took over the manufacturing process. This country is doomed.

  3. FakaktaSouth

    I think this poem is what I think all guy poetry is about. "I am a guy, thinking about words this hard, I really want to get laid, poetry."

    Also, musty. I hate that word.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      I wonder if Barry used to carry around an acoustic guitar with which to serenade the young undergrad hotties with folk songs and get into their pants.

      "I gave my love a cherry, that had no stone.
      I fed her bullshit po'try, then threw her the bone."

        1. thatsitfortheother1

          But it has such great literary lineage…

          "I mean, if I went around sayin' I was an empereror just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd put me away!"

  4. BaldarTFlagass

    I haven't seen such compelling, insightful interpretation of a poem since Freshman Composition.

  5. memzilla

    Anagrams of "Jack Cashill" are "Hijack Calls" and "Jack Ill Cash."

    Using the same Wingtard logic (I know, it's an oxymoron), he needs to be investigated for secretly plotting with Osama to mastermind the 9/11 atrocity.

    We'll need phone records, birf certificates, voting records, travel records, and his Stanford-Binet test results from 6th grade. Failure to provide this documentation means he is guilty of treason and needs to be impeached.

  6. Monsieur_Grumpe

    I interpreted the poem as being about dirty nasty sex or maybe those animated boobies just put me in a mood.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      I hope they don't use Rodin's "The Thinker" sculpture in their logo or masthead. Then again, that particular piece of art always made me think of a guy sitting on the crapper.

  7. BaldarTFlagass

    I interpret the following as proof positive that John Fogerty knew Mitt Romney at some point in his early life. Maybe a college roomie?

    Some folks are born to wave the flag,
    Ooh, they're red, white and blue.
    And when the band plays "Hail to the chief",
    Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,
    It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senator's son, son.
    It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no, Yeah!

    Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
    Lord, don't they help themselves, oh.
    But when the taxman comes to the door,
    Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,
    It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no millionaire's son, no.
    It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no.

    Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
    Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
    And when you ask them, "How much should we give?"
    Ooh, they only answer More! more! more! yoh,

    It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son.

    1. boskolives

      This description also fits the president that followed Clinton and preceded Obama, the one that republicans can't seem to remember even the name of, especially when it comes to invites to any political gathering of republicans.

      1. tessiee

        I noticed that too.
        Unfortunately, this contaminates a fairly awesome song, because now I can't crank it up and do the Car Song Dance without picturing that dumb ape.

      2. HistoriCat

        You are wrong – there was no president between Clinton and Obama. That you have trouble with such a plain fact is evidence of your mental deficiencies. We will send you to a camp where you may contemplate on reality and learn the error of your ways.

        1. BerkeleyBear

          Having just endured several weeks of rehashing a jurisprudence debate from the 60s in which one of the authors (Lon Fuller) asserted that where legality breaks down there is no law at all, you might just be on to something given Chimpy's lack of presidential character.

    2. Beowoof

      He saw whole generation of the wealthy like that. Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh et.al. All had family money and connections to get them out of Vietnam. They are all still here, trying hard to take every dime they can get, and then they still send the same poor kid off to war.
      Now they look at an old poem and interpret it in the most obtuse manner possible. Not a surprise, I am glad no one read any of my poems from that era.

  8. BaldarTFlagass

    They left out the part of the poem where it describes the apes howling and baring their fangs around the mysterious black monolith and figuring out how to use tools and then the one ape throws the bone into the air and it turns into a fucking spaceship!!

    1. Tommy1733

      And the thing is, that scene you described totally ruins evolution. You'd think wingtards would be all over it.

  9. deanbooth

    You know the experiment where the baby birds peck at an abstracted picture of a momma bird's head on a stick? Even though I know Dok's pic is just a cartoon, I feel like pecking at it.

    1. MacRaith

      We'd all like to think that, but the truth is that there is no bottom. It's bullshit all the way down.

  10. freakishlywrong

    The apes don’t jump in the water, the “blue.” They “tumble” in, but only after howling and baring their fangs,
    Change "apes" to "orcs" and we've got a crystalline description of the modern GOP.

  11. BaldarTFlagass

    Man, hot cartoon chicks with big tits, no noses, and hyperthyroid eyes always get me going.

  12. humanmanc

    When the batshitcrazies get their paws on Obama 5th grade attempt at poetry he is sooo screwed:
    I see a blue Jew, what can he do
    Pushing browns into the street
    Throwing figs at the browns feet
    All Zionist ape/pigs must die
    Allahu Akbar
    Signed, LiL Barry Sotero

  13. thatsitfortheother1

    Totally OT, but I dug up a little troll repellent today, re Benghazi:
    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/89604

    U. S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 2 Handbook 2— Post Management Organization CHIEF OF MISSION [COM] AUTHORITY AND OVERSEAS STAFFING

    "The COM at each mission is responsible for determining the appropriate levels of security, security equipment and support commensurate with established threat levels."

    "Even in cases when staffing and staff housing have not been sufficiently or properly coordinated, the COM is still responsible for the security of the U.S. Government personnel who arrive at post."

    I was sure the name Barry would be in there somewhere, but I looked and looked and couldn't find it.

  14. Goonemeritus

    In a similar manner Steve Martin’s seminal work “Pointy Birds” can only be read as a condemnation of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing.

  15. Mumbletypeg

    No snark: the most effective use of fig tree imagery, perhaps ever or at least in Gothic prose, is in William Goyen's short story "The Faces of Blood Kindred."

    It is craftily sync'd with a key role played by a "Cornish cock" but meh, Cocktober is over so I'm a day late.

  16. Chet Kincaid_

    So Cashill missed the quite obvious reference to the Anti-Semitism of Jesus himself, when He cursed the fig tree?! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cursing_the_fig_tree

    Traditional Reformed thinking states that this event was a sign given by Jesus of the end of the exclusive covenant between God and the Jews, see also Supersessionism. Under such an interpretation, the tree is a metaphor for the Jewish nation i.e. it had the outward appearance of godly grandeur (the leaves), but it was not producing anything for God's glory (the lack of fruit).

    JESUS WAS A MUSLIN11!1!!!!!1

    1. not that Dewey

      Wow. Jesus simultaneously hated Christians AND Jews. Wait until the folks at Beka Books learn about this.

    2. Tommy1733

      Oh my God – you had best not spread that around or there is going to be a lot of societal problems resulting from heads exploding.

  17. tessiee

    The Bible (Mark 11:12) tells us that God hates figs:

    "The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it."

    BTW, the Westboro church needs to read more carefully. It's figs. FIGS!

  18. tessiee

    If only they put the same amount of effort into studying logic, reason, and ethics, they'd…
    Naaaa, they'd still be racist dumb-asses.

  19. tessiee

    "Stepping on the figs
    That the apes
    Eat, they crunch."

    Wait, the APES crunch?
    Because my neighbor has a fig tree, and I'm positive that figs don't crunch.

  20. swordfis

    As a Jew, I find the poem antisemitic in the sense that it pains me to read it. Note to Barry – you don't have to save everything. Also, the critic is an imbecile.

    The conductor Sir Thomas Beecham was in the middle of a terrible performance of Aida, when one of the elephants shat on stage. Beecham turned to the audience and said,"Terrible stage manners, but gad, what a critic!"

  21. MilwaukeeKent

    Shit, any instructor would have failed this paper just for being a ridiculous stretch, than again , they're all a bunch of flaming commie liberals. The blue of the grotto is the blue of the Israeli flag — what do you base this on, Mr. Cashill?

  22. OneYieldRegular

    I am strangely reassured by the thought of these two geniuses deciding that their time during the precious last few days before the election would best be spent parsing Barack Obama's college stoner poetry.

  23. Chet Kincaid_

    As Bronco Bama said in that secret tape from 2008: "These wingnuts screwed the pooch voting for that dumb ape W twice, so now they're in the grotto, clinging to their figs and fangs."

  24. Studebaker Hawk

    He's waaaay overthinking this. The most straightforward wingnut interpretation would be: Apes + eating figs = "where are the white women at?"

  25. BTWBFDIMHO

    What is it with those Pokemanese illustrations? When was Wonkette sold to the Taiwanese Animation Company?

  26. mavenmaven

    I'm in otaku heaven today. More anime babes, ponies, and bad high school poetry analysis!
    It is worth noting here, that its the guy who immediately thinks Jew when he sees the word ape, that has the "issues".

  27. MrsConclusion

    I used to think that the appropriate response to something like this idiot exegesis was, "WHAT? Are you INSANE?" and so forth. Now I realize the correct way to respond is as if to a three-year-old showing you her finger-painting of "a flamingo." "That's excellent! Now do another one!"

  28. MosesInvests

    1). As a Joo, I'm pretty sensitive about anti-Semitic nuance. There's none here.
    2). My college-era poetry is mostly haiku, and *I* still like it, but I'm not about to publish it.
    3). Manga bikini babes>Ponies.

  29. emmelemm

    A little late, but has to be said: Dok, the last sentence warms every cockle of my heart and makes me love you even more.

  30. HarryButtle

    The poem is OBVIOUSLY anti-Semitic code. But pics of Obama with a bone in his nose sitting in a watermelon patch are not at all racist.

  31. finette_

    Apes and figs are both mentioned in the Bible, too. Imagine that–two holy books originating from the same general region feature the same flora and fauna!

  32. ttommyunger

    Am I the only one to notice that this poem was written with words? Mein Kampf was written with words, too; if you get my drift….

Comments are closed.