Comment of the Day: “Mediaite’s Tommie Christopher Locks Up The Dishonest Spin Of The Year Award In Defense of Calling Ben Carson A Coon”


johnburger2013 piled on after my take-down of Tommie Christopher’s epic attempt to spin the unspinnable racist tweet by  University of Pennsylvania religious studies professor Anthea Butler, who wrote regarding Ben Carson. If only there was a ‘coon of the year’ award …”  His post went well beyond mine, was more exacting, analytical and funnier than my effort, and had Comment of the Day written all over it. I wrote that I was going to withhold the republication only because Christopher doesn’t deserve that much ink, but I received multiple protests from readers, so I am reversing myself. It is a terrific comment, but you really have to read Christopher’s screed to understand how terrific. Do that first, here.

Now read jb2013’s Comment of the Day on the post, Mediaite’s Tommie Christopher Locks Up The Dishonest Spin Of The Year Award In Defense of Calling Ben Carson A “Coon”:

I am going believe that everything Tommie Christopher wrote in his Mediaite column was tongue-in-cheek. I simply refuse to believe that someone can be that obtuse, that devoid of critical thought, and that blinded by self-delusion. Maybe it was a slow column day and he figured he would write something so far off the mark just to see how many people would . . . Oh, forget it. I can’t do it! I lost my roll of duct tape. I fear I will lose my security deposit when my landlord sees all of that cranial debris all over the walls and ceiling.

I do think that Tommie should have his computer privileges revoked, though, because he has utterly forfeited his right to write by writing stupid things under the guise of sophistication. He concludes his missive with this little gem:

“It’s a free country, though, so if you want to be offended by what Professor Butler said, go ahead. Just be offended by what she actually said, not what you imagine she said, and just know that no matter how many times she tweets the word ‘coon,’ it’s still racist when white people say it.”

Erm . . . Um . . . Tommie? Isn’t that what Dr. Ben Carson said about NASCAR fans proudly displaying the Stars and Bars? Superficially, Dr. Carson said they should fly it if they want if they’re on private property. Dr. Carson also said it was offensive, just as offensive as the Swastika. Nuance, Tommie. Nuance.

As you know, Tommie, words have meanings, and context does matters. When someone strings a bunch of words together, they are called sentences. Sentences strung together are called paragraphs. Paragraphs strung together form . . . oh, you get the picture, right?

Now, let’s think about “coon”. Setting aside the short cut for raccoon, what did the illustrious Professor mean to convey when she wrote her incomplete thought? She wrote, “If only there was a ‘coon of the year’ award …” Maybe I am naive, but I don’t think she meant ” . . . Ben Carson could tell NASCAR to hold the ceremony, as long as it’s a majority of people in the area who want to give out the award, and it was on private property.” Nah. She said exactly what she meant. It is a simple syllogism (that’s a fancy word for argument, Tommie – look it up). This may be a bit over your head, Tommie, but the statement she made is commonly referred to as “modus ponens”, which posits (meaning, states) “that if one thing is true, then another will be. It then states that the first is true. The conclusion is that the second thing is true”. It is commonly referred to as

“If A, then B. A; therefore, B”… Simple, no?

So, let’s try it out, shall we Tommie?

A: If only there were a “Coon of the Year” Award.
B: Then Dr;. Carson would win it.

See, Tommie? It’s really not that hard to figure what she meant.

But, Tommie, if we are going to extend or imply meanings or unwritten nuances into Prof. Butler’s comment as you suggest, then she could have meant just about anything. For example, she could have meant “. . . then apple pie is tasty”. But, that destroys the simplicity of the syllogism. Moreover, if we are going to imply non-racial connotations (meanings, Tommie), then perhaps we should extend the same courtesy to Dr. Carson. That seems reasonable to me. Consequently, I think Dr. Carson probably meant that free citizens, living in a free and ordered society exercising their own liberties, should not be waylaid by government censorship. He did not endorse that flag’s meaning, any more than the good Professor Butler did (according to your post) when she uttered her little gold nugget. If Prof. Butler did not mean to denigrate Dr. Carson by saying he should win the “Coon of the Year” Award, then Carson did not intend to promote racism by encouraging NASCAR fans to fly that stupid flag. See what I did there, Tommie? I used your argument to imply nuance in Dr. Carson’s comments. Neat, huh?

As aside, Tommie, if you are going to link to a website for support that “coon” is not a derogatory word, then perhaps you should actually read the site – it may come as a shock that the site declares what the common meaning of the word is and, oddly, tracks use of the word to marginalize blacks. Oh,and, next time, spare us the self-righteous moral indignation about only whites can be racists and are incapable of being outraged by black racism. It’s insulting.

Tommie, I know you meant well. You really did. But, sometimes, people say and write indefensible things and, no matter how hard you tie yourself into a pretzel, you just can’t save them from the consequences of their actions. Prof. Butler used a racially charged statement to insult Dr. Carson, who is a black pediatric neurosurgeon from John Hopkins University, lest we forget. Perhaps she should have called him an “Uncle Tom” for good measure, but I guess that wouldn’t be racially charged, either. Right? You are a fool, Tommie.

Mediaite’s Tommie Christopher Locks Up The Dishonest Spin Of The Year Award In Defense of Calling Ben Carson A “Coon”


Hillary Clinton, hire this man!

Someone with such an evident talent for using deceit, rhetorical fog, logical fallacies and rationalizations with such assertiveness and certitude is invaluable to any political candidate, but especially one, like you, whose favorite tactic when caught in misconduct is to flood everyone’s consciousness with excuses, denials, irrelevancies and distractions until all but the most concerned and attentive are likely to give up and say “The hell with it. Nothing is worth listening to this.”

Tommie Christopher is described in online profiles as a liberal commentator, which means that he isn’t a journalist at all. He is a partisan, ideologically slanted advocate. That would be enough for me not to trust him already, but his recent post for Mediaite would cause me not to trust him even if he had just been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Thus his argument must stand entirely on its inherent validity, rather than the presumed acumen of its author. On that basis, it shouldn’t have been published at all. I would call it link-bait at best.

I wrote about University of Pennsylvania religious studies professor Anthea Butler, who wrote “If only there was a ‘coon of the year’ award …” when responding to a Daily Beast editor’s  tweet containing a link to a Sports Illustrated article on Ben Carson’s defense of flying the Confederate flag at NASCAR events. Christopher’s post is headlined “Ivy League Professor Didn’t Actually Call Ben Carson ‘Coon of the Year’”  Of course she did. Who else was there in the story that she was plausibly calling a “coon”? No one.

I think the headline may have been intended as a kind of an employment ad for Lannie Davis’s job as Shameless Clinton Defender When They Are Caught Red-Handed, in case he wakes up one morning, as he might some day, looks in his bathroom mirror, screams “OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?”, rips his face off like that guy in “Poltergeist” and jumps out a window. The unspoken challenge from Christopher: “See this ridiculous headline, as crazy as Davis claiming that Hillary did nothing wrong in handling State Department secrets on an insecure private e-mail account? Now watch my spin wizardry, and be amazed!”

Unfortunately, Christopher’s  performance doesn’t equal the hype: Continue reading

From The Ethics Alarms Double Standard Files: So Apparently A Black Professor Can Be As Racist As She Wants Without Consequences, Correct?

Don't racist professors teach students racism? Just curious...

Don’t racist professors teach students racism? Just curious…

Unqualified GOP Presidential hopeful Ben Carson made one of his most reasonable statements when he defended the right of NASCAR fans to fly Confederate flags during races. Well of course he did, since this is the United States and we have a First Amendment. Except to the most ignorant members of the censorious left, this is literally a no-brainer: even brainless Americans should know better than to argue that flying any flag on private property should be prevented by law.

Ah, but special dispensation is due to racist African American progressive bullies. Thus is is that University of Pennsylvania religious studies professor Anthea Butler, wrote “If only there was a ‘coon of the year’ award …” when responding to a Daily Beast editor’s  tweet containing a link to a Sports Illustrated article on the issue.

Nice. This is per se denigrating Carson based on race, an ad hominem attack and beyond ugly and irresponsible. Sure, Butler has the same right to say what she wants as anyone, except when it reflects on her employer and suggests, as this tweet does, that she cannot be trusted to teach. Is any African American student who dares to question her political correctness orthodoxy risking being called a “coon” by this woman? I’d say so. She is validating racist rhetoric and modelling intimidation for her students and more importantly, the University of Pennsylvania’s students. Is it competent and responsible to employ such a woman? No. Is this within the acceptable range of “academic freedom”? Denigration on the basis of color? I want to hear a university spokesperson admit that, and then to stand up for the first white student who calls the professor a “coon.” Continue reading