Saturday, October 28, 2006

Racist Harold Ford Ad

A recent ad features a sexually suggestive white woman telling viewers she met Ford at a Playboy party. After several mock interviews satirizing Ford's positions, the woman returns to end the ad with a wink, asking "Harold" to call her. It's been criticized as racist and received enough attention to make the front page of the New York Times. Twice.

I submit that it's the Ds, not the Rs, that played the race card.

First, it's perfectly legitimate to criticize Ford's attendance at a Playboy party, for reasons that appeal to both liberals and conservatives. Many people believe that pornography is immoral for its dehumanizing objectification of women, and how that depiction translates into higher rape incidence and laxer sentences for violence against women. Christians believe that pornography is sinful for its sexual excess. The latter criticism is especially relevant since Ford has painted himself as a Christian moralist, announcing his candidacy in a church, and running ads like this one, shot in a church, where Ford explains "this is where I learned the difference between right and wrong." When recent books have argued that the higher ranks of the GOP privately condescend to the evangelical base and ally themselves purely for votes, and when the New York Times runs stories that make it obvious gay marriage is merely an election ploy ("GOP Moves Fat to Reignite Issue of Gay Marriage" 10/27/2006), testing the ideological sincerity of candidates is surely fair game.

Second, given that Ford's attendance is relevant information to voters, it seems perfectly fair to make an ad about it. It also seems perfectly fair (but also probably over the top) to feature an ad that satirizes Ford's supporters. With the majority of Playboy's models being white, it makes sense to use a white woman for the Playboy archetype. Had the woman been black, the ad could even be seen as more racist. She was hyperbolically salacious and ditzy. Making her black would have been sure to offend.

Third, to the extent that people with antimiscegenational feelings would respond negatively to Ford after seeing the ad, this could hardly be blamed on the producers and does not necessarily make the ad immoral. Consider: if a white politician was involved in a corruption scandal with a group of black businessmen, one could expect to see TV-spot with scary music and a photo of said white politician with his black collaborators. If anyone watching the ad was sufficiently racist, the ad would play on those sensibilities. But at the same time, it would convey valuable information to the electorate, and should be aired. Having it the other way logically requires anything questionable that happens between white people and black people is immune from criticism. This is an absurd and undesirable result.

I want Ford to win this race, but I have to call bullshit on the response to this ad.

The problem is not that the ad incites racist emotions, but in the medium of television itself. We respond to images passively and emotionally. We respond to the printed word more critically and logically. Because of this, television will always have some benefits and shortcomings. The best example of both was the Michael J. Fox stem cell ad. Proponents of the ad argued that while the ad played on people's emotions, it did so fairly: the symptoms Fox was displaying are the consequence of a disease that could be eliminated with stem cell research. The TV-spot accomplished something printed word could not. Opponents argued that the ad forced people to view the issue emotionally rather than critically, and this was wrong by itself.

People often criticize political ads for tugging at our emotions - but what TV political ad doesn't? The music, colors, and voice of the speaker in every ad are all carefully calibrated to get you to respond emotionally. And any issue, event, or whatever, that crosses racial lines is vulnerable to inciting racist sensibilities. That should not be reason to exclude valuable information from the public discourse.

Racist RNC Harold Ford TV Spot

A recent ad features a sexually suggestive white woman telling viewers she met Ford at a Playboy party. After several mock interviews satirizing Ford's positions, the woman returns to end the ad with a wink, asking "Harold" to call her. It's been criticized as racist and received enough attention to make the front page of Thursday's New York Times.

I submit that it's the Ds, not the Rs, that played the race card.

First, it's perfectly legitimate to criticize Ford's attendence at a Playboy party, for reasons that appeal to both liberals and conservatives. Many people believe that pornography is immoral for its dehumanizing objectificaiton of women, and how that depiction translates into higher rape incidence and laxer sentences for violence against women. Christians believe that pornography is sinful for its sexual excess. The latter criticism is especially relevant since Ford has painted himself as a Christian moralist, announcing his candidacy in a church, and running ads like this one, shot in a church, where Ford explains "this is where I learned the difference between right and wrong." When recent books have argued that the higher ranks of the GOP privately condescened to the evangelical base and ally themselves purely for votes, and when the New York Times runs stories that make it obvious gay marriage is merely an election ploy ("GOP Moves Fat to Reignite Issue of Gay Marriage" 10/27/2006), testing the ideological sincerity of candidates is surely fair game.

Second, given that Ford's attendance is relevant information to voters, it seems perfectly fair to make an ad about it. It also seems perfectly fair (but also probably over the top) to feature an ad that satirizes Ford's supporters. With the majority of Playboy's models being white, it makes sense to use a white woman for the Playboy archetype. Had the woman been black, the ad could even be seen as more racist. She was hyperbolically salacious and ditzy. Making her black would have been sure to offend.

Third, to the extent that people with antimiscegenational feelings would respond negatively to Ford after seeing the ad, this could hardly be blamed on the producers and does not necessarily make the ad immoral. Consider: if a white politician was involved in a corruption scandal with a group of black businessmen, one could expect to see TV-spot with scary music and a photo of said white politician with his black collaborators. If anyone watching the ad was sufficiently racist, the ad would play on those sensibilities. But at the same time, it would convey valuable information to the electorate, and should be aired. Having it the other way logically requires anything questionable that happens between white people and black people is immune from criticism. This is an absurd and undesirable result.

I want Ford to win this race, but I have to call bullshit on the response to this ad.

The problem is not that the ad incites racist emotions, but in the medium of television itself. We respond to images passively and emotionally. We respond to the printed word more critically and logically. Because of this, television will always have some benefits and shortcomings. The best example of both was the Michael J. Fox stem cell ad. Proponents of the ad argued that while the ad played on people's emotions, it did so fairly: the symptoms Fox was displaying are the consequence of a disease that could be eliminated with stem cell research. The TV-spot accomplisehd something printed word could not. Opponents argued that the ad forced people to view the issue emotionally rather than critically, and this was wrong by itself.

People often criticize political ads for tugging at our emotions - but what TV political ad doesn't? The music, colors, and voice of the speaker in every ad are all carefully calibrated to get you to respond emotionally. And any issue, event, or whatever, that crosses racial lines is vulnerable to inciting racist sensibilities. That should not be reason to exclude valuable information from the public discourse.

Racist RNC Harold Ford Advertisement

A recent ad features a sexually suggestive white woman telling viewers she met Ford at a Playboy party. After several mock interviews satirizing Ford's positions, the woman returns to end the ad with a wink, asking "Harold" to call her. It's been criticized as racist and received enough attention to make the front page of Thursday's New York Times.

I submit that it's the Ds, not the Rs, that played the race card.

First, it's perfectly legitimate to criticize Ford's attendence at a Playboy party, for reasons that appeal to both liberals and conservatives. Many people believe that pornography is immoral for its dehumanizing objectificaiton of women, and how that depiction translates into higher rape incidence and laxer sentences for violence against women. Christians believe that pornography is sinful for its sexual excess. The latter criticism is especially relevant since Ford has painted himself as a Christian moralist, announcing his candidacy in a church, and running ads like this one, shot in a church, where Ford explains "this is where I learned the difference between right and wrong." When recent books have argued that the higher ranks of the GOP privately condescened to the evangelical base and ally themselves purely for votes, and when the New York Times runs stories that make it obvious gay marriage is merely an election ploy ("GOP Moves Fat to Reignite Issue of Gay Marriage" 10/27/2006), testing the ideological sincerity of candidates is surely fair game.

Second, given that Ford's attendance is relevant information to voters, it seems perfectly fair to make an ad about it. It also seems perfectly fair (but also probably over the top) to feature an ad that satirizes Ford's supporters. With the majority of Playboy's models being white, it makes sense to use a white woman for the Playboy archetype. Had the woman been black, the ad could even be seen as more racist. She was hyperbolically salacious and ditzy. Making her black would have been sure to offend.

Third, to the extent that people with antimiscegenational feelings would respond negatively to Ford after seeing the ad, this could hardly be blamed on the producers and does not necessarily make the ad immoral. Consider: if a white politician was involved in a corruption scandal with a group of black businessmen, one could expect to see TV-spot with scary music and a photo of said white politician with his black collaborators. If anyone watching the ad was sufficiently racist, the ad would play on those sensibilities. But at the same time, it would convey valuable information to the electorate, and should be aired. Having it the other way logically requires anything questionable that happens between white people and black people is immune from criticism. This is an absurd and undesirable result.

I want Ford to win this race, but I have to call bullshit on the response to this ad.

The problem is not that the ad incites racist emotions, but in the medium of television itself. We respond to images passively and emotionally. We respond to the printed word more critically and logically. Because of this, television will always have some benefits and shortcomings. The best example of both was the Michael J. Fox stem cell ad. Proponents of the ad argued that while the ad played on people's emotions, it did so fairly: the symptoms Fox was displaying are the consequence of a disease that could be eliminated with stem cell research. The TV-spot accomplisehd something printed word could not. Opponents argued that the ad forced people to view the issue emotionally rather than critically, and this was wrong by itself.

People often criticize political ads for tugging at our emotions - but what TV political ad doesn't? The music, colors, and voice of the speaker in every ad are all carefully calibrated to get you to respond emotionally. And any issue, event, or whatever, that crosses racial lines is vulnerable to inciting racist sensibilities. That should not be reason to exclude valuable information from the public discourse.

Racist RNC Harold Ford Advertisement

A recent ad features a sexually suggestive white woman telling viewers she met Ford at a Playboy party. After several mock interviews satirizing Ford's positions, the woman returns to end the ad with a wink, asking "Harold" to call her. It's been criticized as racist and received enough attention to make the front page of Thursday's New York Times.

I submit that it's the Ds, not the Rs, that played the race card.

First, it's perfectly legitimate to criticize Ford's attendence at a Playboy party, for reasons that appeal to both liberals and conservatives. Many people believe that pornography is immoral for its dehumanizing objectificaiton of women, and how that depiction translates into higher rape incidence and laxer sentences for violence against women. Christians believe that pornography is sinful for its sexual excess. The latter criticism is especially relevant since Ford has painted himself as a Christian moralist, announcing his candidacy in a church, and running ads like this one, shot in a church, where Ford explains "this is where I learned the difference between right and wrong." When recent books have argued that the higher ranks of the GOP privately condescened to the evangelical base and ally themselves purely for votes, and when the New York Times runs stories that make it obvious gay marriage is merely an election ploy ("GOP Moves Fat to Reignite Issue of Gay Marriage" 10/27/2006), testing the ideological sincerity of candidates is surely fair game.

Second, given that Ford's attendance is relevant information to voters, it seems perfectly fair to make an ad about it. It also seems perfectly fair (but also probably over the top) to feature an ad that satirizes Ford's supporters. With the majority of Playboy's models being white, it makes sense to use a white woman for the Playboy archetype. Had the woman been black, the ad could even be seen as more racist. She was hyperbolically salacious and ditzy. Making her black would have been sure to offend.

Third, to the extent that people with antimiscegenational feelings would respond negatively to Ford after seeing the ad, this could hardly be blamed on the producers and does not necessarily make the ad immoral. Consider: if a white politician was involved in a corruption scandal with a group of black businessmen, one could expect to see TV-spot with scary music and a photo of said white politician with his black collaborators. If anyone watching the ad was sufficiently racist, the ad would play on those sensibilities. But at the same time, it would convey valuable information to the electorate, and should be aired. Having it the other way logically requires anything questionable that happens between white people and black people is immune from criticism. This is an absurd and undesirable result.

I want Ford to win this race, but I have to call bullshit on the response to this ad.

The problem is not that the ad incites racist emotions, but in the medium of television itself. We respond to images passively and emotionally. We respond to the printed word more critically and logically. Because of this, television will always have some benefits and shortcomings. The best example of both was the Michael J. Fox stem cell ad. Proponents of the ad argued that while the ad played on people's emotions, it did so fairly: the symptoms Fox was displaying are the consequence of a disease that could be eliminated with stem cell research. The TV-spot accomplisehd something printed word could not. Opponents argued that the ad forced people to view the issue emotionally rather than critically, and this was wrong by itself.

People often criticize political ads for tugging at our emotions - but what TV political ad doesn't? The music, colors, and voice of the speaker in every ad are all carefully calibrated to get you to respond emotionally. And any issue, event, or whatever, that crosses racial lines is vulnerable to inciting racist sensibilities. That should not be reason to exclude valuable information from the public discourse.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hell, I'd hit that...

http://www.abovethelaw.com/2006/10/law_school_dean_hotties_your_f_1.php

Thursday, October 12, 2006

24. 2006 Monroe-Paine Distinguished Lecture Series (Announcement sponsored by Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs)
You are cordially invited to attend the 2006 Monroe-Paine Distinguished Lecture in Public Affairs. Professor Frank J. Chaloupka, Distinguished Professor and Director, Health Policy Center, University of Illinois at Chicago will present "The Economics of Tobacco Taxation" on Tuesday, October 24, 2006 beginning at 1:15 p.m. in the Columns D & E Room, Reynolds Alumni Center. For more information on Professor Chaloupka, please go to: http://truman.missouri.edu/newsandevents/calendar.asp.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Response

In response to the previous post, let me say first that I have a few more comments to come later but the first and most fundamental disagreement I have is with the little blurb at the bottom of the post which says "Jack".

Monday, October 09, 2006

Things I Believe In

So, I was curious today, what policies do I believe in, favor, promote, etc. Here is a brief list I typed up earlier tonight. Of course, in order for me to favor certain policies, they have to be implemented at the appropriate level of jurisdiction (national, state, school district, University, etc.). Capitalization is haphazard as I toyed in using the enumerated items title headings for brief descriptions.


1. Tax Gasoline
2. Gay Marriage
3. Repeal Bush Tax Cuts
4. Bipartisan Commission on Handling of War in Iraq
5. Expanded Funding and Testing of Voucher Schools
6. Change from primarily District to primarily State Funding of Education
7. Tax Reform
- don't tax capital
- tax income less
- tax consumption more
- redistribute income to maintain progressiveness
10. Ban on Soda Sales to Children (with possible exemption for high schools)
11. Replace all Min. Wage Initiatives with Strenghten EITC initiatives
12. Allow for Alternative Teacher Certification in Every District
13. Subsidize Car Pool Management Programs for any suburban Building Employing more than 500 people
14. Cut Funding to PBS and NPR
15. Allow first and second but not third term abortions
16. Stem Cells
17. Create a Standing BiPartisan Committee that Evaluates and Criticizes Foreign Policy
18. Incentive Based Pay for Teachers
19. Free Trade
20. Establish a BiPartisan Commission to do a CBA of Various Possible Immigration Flows, and then make national immigration policy off that evidence
21. A District Education Policy: Actively encourage less TV watching
22. Minority Scholarships and Income Inequality should be a higher priority than Minority Studies Programs and Diversity
23. Set Up a Bipartisan Commission to Investigate how to best transition as our Manufacturing Sectors Evaporate
24. Initiate Covert Operations in Sudan
25. No Overt Military Operations in sudan
26. Legalize Marijuana and Regulate it Like Alcohol, if only as an experiment
27. Require Every Piece of Legislation to Be Published Two Weeks Before It is Sent to the President so the Blogosphere Can Rip Into Pork Barrel Spending

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Imagine Drudge-esque Siren

Missouri's hottest race by far, besides THAT one, is Missouri's 2nd State Senate race. This re-match is a race between Scott Rupp and Wayne Henke. So, what are Scott Rupp's views on the religious people of his district. If his closet advisors are any indication they are narrow and highly prejudicial.

Here is the breakdown:

Meet Matthew Seeds
He registered with Rep. Dempsy to get e-mail updates (click on images to enlarge)


note Matt's email Matthewlu2004@yahoo.com

Matt uses this email to register a xanga


Matt then tells us all his thoughts on God




note key passages :

My brother turned Catholic.......(not cool, by the way.....not cool) and my mother goes to a Baptist church now.....(not cool, again....not cool)

and...

So, the Seeds Trio has split, with my brother going to a Catholic church...sure we sang recently before he went to the dark side...

So who is Matthew Seeds?

Well Scott Rupp's campaign worker



and he holds the most trusted position of all--Tresaurer

Friday, October 06, 2006

On Legal Regimes

Jack and I had a conversation last night that sparked my thoughts on my intermittent but ongoing research in the law and finance field.

As I noted last night, common law regimes tend to hold the State within the purview of the law. As both law giver and subject, the state, in the eyes of an independent judiciary, tends to have less sway over matters in which it itself has a vested interest; other entities are entitled to relatively more fairness in judicial decisions in a common law regime than in a civil law regime. This, as it turns out, has important implications for things such as financial development, as LLSV 1997 (if you can't track this citation down, stop reading here) claims. More fundamentally, the independence of a judiciary and the fact that in common law regimes (and here, we can use the US as perhaps the prototypical example) judges face little regulation and few job related incentives, beyond those for misbehavior (you can't use a cock pump while hearing a case. As an aside, note that if judges were drawn randomly from a population one would quickly notice the quick decline in the quality of judicial services; the current system, where one must generally have at least a JD and a work ethic rivaling that of most macacas to be considered for a post, neatly avoids that problem by selecting generally self-motivated, ethical people, is vastly superior). The combination of a positive selction bias and the lack of incentives that can be strictly tied to political desires is a critical factor in a judiciary that strives for normative ideals like justice.

By contrast, judicial independence in civil law regimes is at best coincidentally similar and at worst nil. Judges face non trivial threats relating to tenure, job placement, etc; and the selection process generally isn't very selective; you can apply for a bench job, in some cases, right after passing the bar. These regimes are also typically ones where the State is the ultimate lawgiver and arbiter and in some sense is outside of the law's purview (an idea that I think must have its hoary origin in divine right theory). Here the state, through legislative or executive means, creates law, with all the problems that lawmaking for strictly political purposes entails, and passes on to the judiciary the task of making brightline decisions, rather than the interpretation and scholarship that goes into the creation of case law in common law regimes.

Another comment Jack made, and I think might be more relevant to the thrust of his paper (or his pelvis) was taht the Supreme Court of the US is perenially the governmental institution with the highest public legitimacy ranking. While he's off arguing for a more nebulous Baudrillard-style argument as to why it's the print medium that is so key to establishing the distance that implies respect and legitimacy (ok, I don't think it's really nebulous, but perhaps isn't necessarily that important), I think that a simpler argument might suffice: Governments seek to make their commitments credible, and the act of making binding commitments (with the knowledge that there is an independent entity for adjucation of disputes is probably a pretty strong reason as to why SCOTUS retains a great deal of credibility. It's able to make relatively fair and completely binding decisions in disputes where functionally everyone has a stake. Additionally, independent judiciaries through the existence of clear-cut feedback mechanisms are key to the production of vital information about governmental mechanisms that resist overt review and thus serve to inform both the electorate and political actors of the success that political, bureaucratic processes.

I'm at this point just rambling, but it's time for class. Comments welcome. Especially in the form of Polish jokes.