Some conservative folks gave this video a ride recently, which upset some liberal folks. Yawn. To me, it was reminiscent of Bill Maher's "Mississippi" takedown:
You know how they do: Let's interview some people who will say things on camera to embarrass the other side.
That said: Few may notice that Obamaphone Lady's style of speak and swagger are straight hip-hop. Substitute the name of any rapper or neighborhood for "Obama" and it still fits perfectly. She got remixes online already. Tell me she wouldn't fit into this video right here:
Come to think of it, haven't rap videos been used as political ammunition before, too? Is the Obamaphone Lady all that different?
I first read about the Obamaphone Lady in James Taranto's column. He notes that she is voicing a half-true urban legend Taranto "had previously heard from conservative friends": Obama started the free-phone program. The federal program to subsidize phones for low-income people dates to the 1980s; Obama expanded it to cell phones in 2008.
I've had lots of conversations with conservative people about poor people who have cell phones (also tattoos, nice sneakers, cigarettes, Haagen Daz, etc). It feels wrong to many of them when people receiving government benefits have such things. This is one reason the Obamaphone Lady got so much play from folks like Drudge and Limbaugh.
Last thought: The way the Lady used the phrase "low minority" made me pause.
Yesterday a few Ebonicisms caught my eye, when a Mike Vick quote was de-ghettofied and President Obama was quoted as "telling black people to stop complainin'." That missing G means a lot. So much, in fact, that the writer Karen Hunter told MSNBC that AP is racist for accurately transcribing the president:
I don't get the 15-yard flags like everybody else do." (It was changed to, "like everybody else DOES.") I think that if you don't want to quote someone's bad English, just paraphrase them. But to change what's in between the quote marks is to change reality.
Here's the segment with Hunter n'em. Long Live Ebonics.
As a Noo Yawk native and Giants fan living in Philly, I eagerly went online this morning to hear Mike Vick complain about the hit that broke his hand yesterday. I watched the ESPN video of his comments (which appears below), then read the story to see if anybody was telling him to man up and play. And I noticed that the pull quote corrected his grammar.
In the video, Vick clearly says, "I don't get the 15-yard flags like everybody else do." (It's below, at the 1:58 mark.) But the written story quotes him as saying, "Like everybody else DOES."
(Vick also says in the video, "Everybody seen the game," but this does not appear in the text story. And in another story, he's quoted as saying, "There's no reason for me to go into a big dissertation about why I'm not getting the calls"--so he's clearly got some vocabulary to work with.)
How someone speaks says a lot about that person. I enjoy Ebonics, of all kinds. I like that Vick's inflections on this classic Ebonicism strongly underscored his frustration. I like that when he says "in general," the phrase ends with a "W" sound. This style of speech reminds me of a lot of enjoyable experiences, people and places. I think Vick should have been quoted exactly as he said it. There are only a few reasons why the quote would have been changed, and ... ain't none of them good.
Jesse Washington is a Senior Writer for ESPN's TheUndefeated.com