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Macaca, Charlie, Don Rickles and George Allen

Many years ago, when Don Rickles was all the rage and a comedian who played a character named Jose Jimenez could reduce the Ed Sullivan Show audience to tears of laughter, my grandfather would occasionally call waiters "Charlie." This was meant in fun, without malice. The moniker was applied without regard to the waiter's ethnicity or physical stature. At worst, waiters seemed perplexed. At best, they thought it was funny.

At a certain point, calling waiters "Charlie" no longer seemed funny, and my grandfather no longer used the name. Things change.

Today, of course, any such jocular use of language would be immediately suspect as a slur.

Until a few years ago--to be exact, until Sept. 12, 2001--a co-worker of mine used to call me "Abdul." I have long since forgotten the exact derivation of the nickname--something to do with how well he thought I had covered a story involving black Muslims in the District, I think--but following the attack on the World Trade Center, my nickname vanished instantly. The subject was never again mentioned between my colleague and me.

The name just no longer sounded right.

"Abdul" and "Charlie" slipped out of daily vocabularies because times and sensitivities changed. We all have our sensibilities, and some of us have them tuned at a very high pitch. Nonetheless, most people of reasonable intelligence have antennae that pick up those common sensitivities and make the necessary adjustments over the course of a lifetime.

When someone--someone like Virginia Sen. George Allen, for instance--doesn't adapt in a socially appropriate way, there are three possibilities: They have chosen not to change--on general principle, for example, I refuse to adopt the altered names of corporations and brands that have been changed for no damn reason but corporate vanity and arrogance. Or they are incapable of changing because they are too set in their ways--witness the many old folks who cling to outmoded names for their own ethnic and racial groups and for others: "colored," "Negro," "Spanish," "Mosaic," "Hebrew." Or they just don't give a damn.

We can all agree that Sen. Allen is neither old nor brittle enough to cling to old names (or slurs) because he cannot manage the changing times. So that leaves us with two options: He called the young Indian-American man from the Jim Webb campaign "macaca" because he thinks it's wrong to cave to political correctness or because he just doesn't care what anyone else thinks.

I wish Allen had come out after his statement and said that "Macaca" was a term his family used to refer to south Asians and that while he understood that some people now found the word offensive, he preferred to continue to use the term because he thought it was a funny word with a rich tradition and that everyone should lighten up, and why can't politicians have a good time and poke fun just like anyone else? But of course Allen said no such thing and could not possibly do so and have any hope of winning reelection, becoming president or surviving as a serious person in 2006 America. (Video of the incident here.)

But Allen's response to the "macaca" incident--a pathetic blend of denials, excuses and dismissive "I've moved on" apologies--shows that what really happened is we got a little window onto the senator's real way of thinking. This was another glimpse into the authentic life of a man who used to keep a Confederate flag in his office and who opposed the creation of the Martin Luther King holiday.

Will this all hurt Allen? Probably, yes. We are a two-faced nation when it comes to the question of ethnic sensitivities. You cannot listen to the comedy channel on satellite radio or watch Comedy Central on TV without acknowledging that perhaps the single largest component of our collective humor is that which plays on ethnic identity and stereotyping. But what has changed since the days of Don Rickles, Jose Jimenez (Bill Dana), and my grandfather's use of "Charlie" is that we have driven underground most public expression of ethnic humor by anyone other than a few designated comedians--the Chris Rocks, Sarah Silvermans and Howard Sterns of the pop culture world. The result is a more constricted, cautious and hypocritical public discourse.

The result is that a George Allen makes a fool of himself and cannot figure out a way to talk about it in public. You may conclude from the "macaca" incident that Allen is a bigot and an idiot. Or you may conclude that he's probably like a lot of people in your own circle of family and friends, who have one set of rules for public discourse and another one entirely for talk within the circle. In either event, depending on your politics, you either cut Allen a break or resolve to vote against him no matter what.

But political leanings aside, the fact that Allen is immediately and viciously pilloried for saying that word, and the fact that there is no way out for him or any other public figure in that spot--no acceptable path other than a Maoist abject and obviously phony self-criticism-- just adds to the ever tighter restrictions on speech in this society, and we are all the poorer for that.

(By the way, many thanks to Valerie Strauss, my Post colleague who took over the big blog for the past couple of weeks while I was away. She raised some great issues and it looks like some very good debates were had here on the big boards. Thank to her and to all of you who kept the conversation moving while I was vegetating at the beach and doing my part to keep the gas and oil business going.)

By Marc Fisher |  August 21, 2006; 7:21 AM ET
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Comments

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I thought we did the macaca thing last week? How long does the Post think they can keep this non-story going?

George Allen has a long public record. What other evidence is there that he's a racist, bigot, idiot and all the other things he's been called in these blogs?

Posted by: Virginian | August 21, 2006 8:14 AM

Better check your links. Marc. They don't seem to be working . . . or maybe it's just me.

Welcome back! We missed you.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2006 8:16 AM

Yesterday's article describing Allen as "George W. Bush Lite" may be right on target. Heaven help us !

Posted by: jmsbh | August 21, 2006 8:29 AM

What a clueless column. George Allen is not a clever satirist. He's a politician.

Posted by: Jeff | August 21, 2006 8:33 AM

Thanks for the heads up on the links. Dunno what happened there, but they should all work
now.

Posted by: Fisher | August 21, 2006 8:34 AM

Leave the racial overtones aside for a second and review this incident. A United States senator used his poistion to single out and ridicule a college kid who had a different viewpoint from the rest of the crowd. Sure thakes a big man to do that, doesn't it. Even if the charges of bigot are arguable, it seems pretty clear the guy's a Grade A jerk.

Posted by: Andrew | August 21, 2006 8:41 AM

Would George Allen's comment have met the standards for this site, i.e., "comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site?"

Posted by: Paul | August 21, 2006 8:53 AM

Let's keep trach of what the Post's insightful readers can deduce about George Allen based on one remark. He is:

fool, racist, bigot, Grade A jerk.

And that ignores the various inferences that people drew in this blog last week.

Posted by: Virginian | August 21, 2006 9:08 AM

You're absolutely right, Virginia - Allen has a long record of racism, cronyism, bullying, buffoonery, and inherited/insider privilege. He has done nothing to advance the interests of the average Virginia citizen.

This will continue to be a story for as long as Allen is a politician.

Posted by: smafdy | August 21, 2006 9:12 AM

"I wish Allen had come out after his statement and said that "Macaca" was a term his family used to refer to south Asians and that while he understood that some people now found the word offensive, he preferred to continue to use the term because he thought it was a funny word with a rich tradition and that everyone should lighten up, and why can't politicians have a good time and poke fun just like anyone else?"

Great sentence, Marc. The things is, Allen might as well have said this, because, it seems to me, his chances of "surviving as a serious person" seem pretty low, even w/ all his ineffectual apologizing.

Of course, my opinion on this issue may have something to do w/ my opinion of Allen ex ante. He's not at the top of my "serious person" list.

Posted by: Allen is not serious | August 21, 2006 9:16 AM

I think that what has bothered me the most about the "macaca" incident is that the media have focused so sharply on the word itself and what Allen could have meant by it, while overlooking his implication that immediately followed with the "welcome to America" comment: that the man he was referring to couldn't possibly be Virginian, or even American, because he wasn't WHITE. Ironically, the man he referred to as "macaca" was born and raised in Virginia. The implication is that when George Allen sees somebody who isn't white, he sees somebody who isn't American and couldn't be from Virginia--and that should disturb a whole lot of Virginians, and a whole lot of Americans.

Posted by: John B. -- Washington, DC | August 21, 2006 9:26 AM

How does Allen keep winning elections in Virginia if he has a long record of racism, cronyism, bullying, buffoonery, and inherited/insider privilege and if he has done nothing to advance the interests of the average Virginia citizen?

Posted by: Confused | August 21, 2006 9:29 AM

This is like addressing a Hispanic person that you don't know as "hey, Pedro". The insult is in the notion that all of people of given race can be lumped into a common name, as if they're unworthy of individuality. In Allen's case, the given race is apparently "not white", and his name for them is "Macaca".

Posted by: Burke | August 21, 2006 9:40 AM

And where does Allen get his "inherited/insider privilege" from? His father was a football coach of the Rams in the 60s and the Redskins in the 70s who died in the early 90s when he was coaching Long Beach State University.

By the time Allen was elected to office in Virginia his father had long since left the Redskins. And no matter how Redskins obsessed the DC area is I doubt anyone in Virginia voted for Allen because his father coached the team many years ago.

Posted by: Say what? | August 21, 2006 9:44 AM

I agree with Andrew (8:41). I doubt that Allen had a clue about the term "macaca" before this incident. What is vastly more troubling is the attitude that thinks singling out the only dark face in the crowd for ridicule, a college kid just trying to do his job, is appropriate in any way. If he wanted to pick on someone, why not someone on his payroll?

Posted by: GabbroGuy | August 21, 2006 9:46 AM

"How does Allen keep winning elections in Virginia if he has a long record of racism, cronyism, bullying, buffoonery, and inherited/insider privilege and if he has done nothing to advance the interests of the average Virginia citizen?"

Because south of Fredericksburg, many or even most white Virginians support all of Allen's views you have ascribed to. Have you ever been to areas around Danville, Stanton or Chesapeake? True most whites are not inherited or privileged. But, they believe that because they look like Allen (white) and are of Anglo Saxon stock descended from the original settlers, they can become another George Allen.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2006 9:48 AM

I saw that video clip, once. I'm no fan of George Allen, but he was clearly annoyed by the presence of his opponents' staffer, and the fact that he had been sent there to record the event. "Welcome to America, Welcome to Virginia" obviously refers to Allen's republican rally (the one the staffer was taping), and Allen's view that his loyal constituency represents the real America, as opposed to liberal Northern Virginia. Of course, the word he used was offensive and stupid. But it was basically a hate speech against Democrats.

Why is everyone ignoring this obvious context to the remarks? Of course, the best opinion journalism is based on the writer's ignorance, and now that is creeping into analytical journalism as well. We can only assume that simple reporting will be next to succumb to the tyranny of the non-factual.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2006 9:50 AM

To the 9:50 AM commenter: You seem to be saying that there is one right way to understand what Allen said and why he said it, but that is simply not the case.

The empirical fact is that many people, some of whom had had positive interactions with Allen in the past or held favorable opinions of him, have interpreted his statements in a way that is quite different from your own. Who's to say who's right? You?

Allen needs to learn that people will look at his actions and draw their own conclusions. You should learn that too. You can present evidence to argue on behalf of your interpretation, but it's still an interpretation. You don't simply get to declare how people should view this incident.

Posted by: THS | August 21, 2006 10:06 AM

I really can't believe that anyone is willing to give Sen. Allen a pass on this. The fact that the slur he used is foreign seems to blind everyone to the reality of the offense committed. If he had used an ethnic slur common here in the US, I don't think any person would bother to defend him publicly. What if he had identified one different person in a crowd as a w-p, g--k, ki-e, or ni---r? Would his comments still rely on context?

Posted by: UMD Grad | August 21, 2006 10:09 AM

No, Allen wasn't addressing "Welcome to America" to his opponent. Why would he? His opponent is clearly an American (and white). Why would he say Welcome to America to Webb?

He was addressing these comments to the dark-skinned person in the crowd - the one he wanted belittle.

In fact, his Welcome to America comments were quite literally directed at this guy - they came right after he addressed the guy as Macaca.

To suggest the Welcome to America comments were meant for anyone other than Sidarth is just not believable.

Posted by: Hillman | August 21, 2006 10:09 AM

There is no such thing as "Political Correctness" there is only politeness and professionalism. Where did I first hear that? A General at the Pentagon with a Southern accent slightly criticizing his staff in the elevator. If the Southern General can handle that...

Posted by: Don | August 21, 2006 10:10 AM

I fail to understand why someone using a crude racial term (macaca, from the word macaque, a monkey) is not offensive. You describe it as 'jocular use of language', but I doubt any person ever called a macaca thought it was very funny. Funny to whom? If Allen had called the young man a [I have had to remove all my suggested racial or sexual terms, as they would cause this post to be removed from post.com] or any other offensive term, would you describe it as jocular use of language?

It wasn't funny. It was out-and-out racist. And how ironic that racist Allen, telling the young man 'Welcome to Virginia', is himself from California, while the young man is the native Virginian.

Welcome to the 21st century, George Felix Allen. Engage in crude racism at your peril.

Posted by: truth | August 21, 2006 10:12 AM

the last few days, i've read quite a few blogs and reports on the incident. as an indian, i took grave offence at george allen's remarks. no doubt he's a racist, but my estimation is he's not a full blown racist, but rather a klansman wannabe. apologies worded with "if he is offended" are no apologies.

what troubles me more are some of the comments coming out of people in his support regarding his utterances. i've seen a lot of arguments like joe biden did it, whats the big deal if allen does. one commenter above failed to see why allen's comment is any worse. personally calling someone a nefarious name and belittling him in front of a gleeful audience, thats not worse? would any decent person, anyone calling himself a gentleman, do that?

as for the columnist marc fisher, i've read the column through twice, and was simply astounded that he equated uttering racial slurs to not caving in to political correctness. does he really have any moral footing to criticise allen? perhaps its mr. fisher who hasn't changed from his grandfather's times after all.

Posted by: kumar | August 21, 2006 10:14 AM

Let's keep trach of what the Post's insightful readers can deduce about George Allen based on one remark. He is:

fool, racist, bigot, Grade A jerk, klansman wannabe.

And that ignores the various inferences that people drew in this blog last week.

Posted by: Virginian | August 21, 2006 10:17 AM

Thank you, Hillman, for the insightful post. I think the anonymous poster at 9:50 is off--the comments from Allen at that rally were not nearly as thoughtful as to direct them to the opposition. The entire bit that followed the "Macaca" term is what bothers me so much. Whatever Allen meant by Macaca aside, to welcome a non-white to America and the "real world" of Virginia is what I find so derogatory. The poster at 9:50 also seems unaware that Sidharth's role in Webb's campaign is a role taken by every single campaign out there--including Allen's.

Posted by: dc voter | August 21, 2006 10:19 AM

And Virginian, one remark can reveal quite a bit about a person, especially about a candidate with a microphone in his hand. Not every person in that position would make such a flip, insensitive remark, and since George Allen is one who WOULD say such a thing, well, that, to me, says something about George Allen.

Posted by: dc voter | August 21, 2006 10:21 AM

wow, what a terrible analysis. you completely miss the point.
it's not the word in and of itself. it is how he used it, the way he said it, what followed what he said. it is a poor comparison to make between comedy and what happened up there. it is a poor comparison to recite, very-not-touchingly, your father or your coworkers jokes. allen used his position and a big group of loud cheerers to point out and humiliate another human being whose racial identity distinguishes him from everyone else present That, Marc, is the point. Your diatribe about political correctness is so poorly thought out...

Posted by: danny | August 21, 2006 10:29 AM

Marc is his usual, clueless, pasty white self. This column has so missed the point. Allen didn't make any ethnic joke, so the forced comparison to comedians in order to rant about political correctness is ridiculous, although it does exemplify Marc's consistent inability to understand the seriousness of these things. Allen not only called the man "macaca," he went on to welcome him to America, as though a person who isn't white (or black) must be a foreigner. And, of course, Allen uttered that stupidity to what has been described as an otherwise all-white crowd. To turn this into some complaint about political correctness, as uber-privileged straight, white, male Marc has done, simply illustrates once again how he is incapable ever of "getting it." Will the Post please give us an actually insightful columnist and give Marc a pedestrian beat more appropriate to his journalistic skills?

Posted by: Stephen Clark | August 21, 2006 10:30 AM

Thanks, Marc, for keeping this story front and center.

Especially for reminding people that "macaca" was a term Allen grew up with and therefore he knew exactly what he was saying.

As you and posters here correctly point out, he's using a racist term long after it's become socially unacceptable to do so, and he used it twice to feed his backwoods racist audience's fantasy that they, too, might magically become part of the elite because of their color.

And if anyone wants to come waving their Confederate Flag and bristling about being called "backwoods" ---case in point. You don't like it, do you?

The fact that Allen singled out a college kid for ridicule makes it all the more despicable. Maybe he should've crowned his idiotic performance with "Welcome to Dixie, boy" because as far as I'm concerned the Confederate hicks and George Allen hacks don't represent America at all.


Posted by: borninva | August 21, 2006 10:30 AM

Wow. This coming from the guy who wrote something like 'I went to 22 Jewish friends who confirmed that the flyer is not anti-Semitic.' That gave you an easy excuse to give a pass at a Webb campaign approved flyer that Webb himself personally approved AND let it be distributed outside of NoVA.

You clearly don't know your basic history of how Jews were ridiculed by propaganda flyers and advertisements. I know half a dozen NoVA Jews who will not vote for Webb, and I am one of them.

Now you blurt out this nonsense. Mr. Fisher, you are a joke.

Posted by: Webb is Anti-Semitic | August 21, 2006 10:36 AM

George Allen's comments were intended to elicit laughter and exhibit kinship with the audience at the cost of Mr. Sidharth.
This is a case of hyper-ignorance, arrogance and racist fervour. I hope Geoge Allen's political aspirations, beyond being Virginia's senator, are drowned by this incident.

Posted by: jumbo | August 21, 2006 10:43 AM

John B. said: I think that what has bothered me the most about the "macaca" incident is that the media have focused so sharply on the word itself and what Allen could have meant by it, while overlooking his implication that immediately followed with the "welcome to America" comment: that the man he was referring to couldn't possibly be Virginian, or even American, because he wasn't WHITE."

Eugene Robinson had a very good column on this topic on Friday. Joel Achenbach also commented on it in his blog. To be fair, commenting on implications is more a columnist's task than a reporter's task.

I was disappointed, given the number of Post stories devoted to the USE of this word, that there wasn't better reporting on the word itself. As late as Sunday, we have vague phrases such as "[macaca] is a racial slur in some countries." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/19/AR2006081900626.html?sub=AR

Here are some of my questions:
- Who uses this term?
- In what countries?
- What groups of people is it applied to?
- How did George Allen come to learn a term that befuddled most Americans?

I've learned something of the answers to these questions from blogs and from poking around on my own, but I'd feel better if somebody at the Post had picked up a phone and called, say, a professor of Arabic, a professor of linguistics, an ambassador, or somebody else who could give an informed opinion.

I hope the Post will still do this.

Posted by: THS | August 21, 2006 10:53 AM

Allen cannot hide and his mouth uttered something he has within him. That he was elected from Virginia is a testament that there is a section of Virginian Society that longs for the days before the Civil War and treasures the Confederacy and wish it had won. This despite Robert E. Lee himself did not like slavery and the only reason he became general of the Confederate Army was because of his misplaced loyalty to Virginia. That seems to be the problem even today. Unlike Lee, George Allen would have fought for confederacy not for the loyalty towards Virginia but for what that loyalty ultimately stood for - slavery and white supremacy. How else you could explain that Virginians continue to elect people like Allen in the 21st century. Wake up Virginia and welcome to the 21st century and not to the century in which Virginia fought the civil war and to a Virginia of that century into which Allen invited Siddarth to.

Posted by: S.BALAKRISHNAN | August 21, 2006 10:53 AM

I have to say I do not understand the vitriol against Marc in this blog. He is to spark debate and insightful discussion (which, clearly, he has succeeded in doing, given that every single person here read his column and was motivated to type). He is not here as purely objective, impartial journalist *reporting* on the story; that is for the news columnists. Whether you agree or disagree with his take on it (and I am glad there are both sides here), he deserves respect for putting the issue out there in a way to frame thoughtful debate and maybe bring someone to consider a thing or two that would not otherwise be considered. I do not always agree with him, but I read this column because I usually learn something either way. I hope you know, Marc, that many of us appreciate these columns and look forward to the read. Welcome back.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2006 10:59 AM

The Middle East is boiling over, a significant terrorist plot is thwarted, gas is still over $3.00/gal, and the macro issues involving jobs, health care, and the economy continue.

Yet, this debate rages on. Unbelievable.

In response to the Allen flap, I heard a caller on WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi show last week describe southwest Virginians as "ignorant and racists." Kojo and his guest started laughing...

This has really gotten out of hand.

Allen's response has been dissected more than a frog in an 8th grade science project. Not to defend Allen, but it is time to move on.

Posted by: Arlington resident | August 21, 2006 11:00 AM

I did not mean the post at 10:59 to go unsigned. It's mine.

Posted by: dc voter | August 21, 2006 11:01 AM

One thing everyone is forgetting is that monkeys are very well-liked. Please consider that fact, along with the other reasonable explanations we've provided.
http://georgefelixallen.blogspot.com/2006/08/american-hero.html

Best,

Fightin' Felix

Posted by: George Felix Allen | August 21, 2006 11:16 AM

Yes, let's move on. Let's talk about how Allen has reversed his progressive positions (on hate crimes, funding stem-cell research, etc.) to appeal to his "base." Let's not forget that the crowd in southwest VA ate it up when he singled out the only ethnic minority. This incident is a clear case of what happens when politicians, well, deBASE themselves just to get votes. I'd sure like to see some actual LEADERSHIP again.

Posted by: No Allen Fan | August 21, 2006 11:23 AM

The Macaca incident is a rare view into the naked and fundamentally cruel and racist foundation of the Right Wing and their campaigners. They are the ones who complain that their speech is constrained by political correctness while simultaneously claiming that Americans criticizing the war in Iraq supports terrorism and terrorists. It is obvious their rhetoric is not constrained by politics or correctness. Being mad that the "N" word is no longer acceptable and substituting Macaca, exposes the continuing evolvement of racial superiority, division, and domination, that are the enduring pillars of Right Wing Politics.

Posted by: leonard | August 21, 2006 11:34 AM

I also agree with Andrew (8:41). The evidence of "bigotry" is debatable. What Allen's comments make clear is that he is a bully with a mean streak. I recall that some years ago, when he was governor of Virginia, he promised that at a coming session of the Virginia legislature, the Republicans were going to "shove the Democrats' soft teeth down their whiny throats" (or words very similar to those).

Posted by: Steve | August 21, 2006 11:35 AM

The so-called antisemitic flyer issue is a total cop out. No one had heard a thing about it until after Sen. Allen shot himself in the foot with his mecaca gun. Go back to Allen campaign HQ Webb is Antisemitic.

Posted by: JD | August 21, 2006 11:36 AM

The Senator is riding on his Dad's popularity as coach for the Redskins and how he made it into the Senate is anyone's guess. As a potential presidential canditate he is far too unsophisticated and lacks or ignores international travel to better understand people and cultures the world over.

Posted by: Joan | August 21, 2006 11:42 AM

Marc, I think you were out in the sun to long, it's clouded your judgement.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2006 11:45 AM

Let's keep trach of what the Post's insightful readers can deduce about George Allen based on one remark. He is:

fool, racist, bigot, Grade A jerk, klansman wannabe, bully with a mean streak.

And that ignores the various inferences that people drew in this blog last week

Posted by: Virginian | August 21, 2006 11:46 AM

I urge you all to check out the blog mentioned above. http://georgefelixallen.blogspot.com/2006/08/american-hero.html

The first entry isn't the best, but some of the others are priceless. You'll also see that there are some seriously humor-impaired people on this planet.

Posted by: THS | August 21, 2006 11:48 AM

Let's keep trach of what the Post's insightful readers can deduce about George Allen based on one remark. He is:

fool, racist, bigot, Grade A jerk, klansman wannabe, bully with a mean streak, too unsophisticated, lacking in international travel.

And that ignores the various inferences that people drew in this blog last week

Posted by: Virginian | August 21, 2006 11:49 AM

I disagree with those who would say that the incident has been blown out of proportion, but I also think that too much has been made over the etymology of "macaca." To me the point is that Sen. Allen, assuming he didn't know Mr. Sidharth's name, didn't call him "Tom," or "TJ," but made up a name full of vowels and staccatos to drive home the point that Mr. Sidharth was an alien.

To call this an innocent mistake is a lie, clear and simple.

Posted by: Arlingtonian | August 21, 2006 11:51 AM

This incident actually crystalizes quite well the contempt that George Allen has exhibited towards average Virginians during his time in Washington DC. It would be easier to look beyond George Allens racism to his other virtues. Unfortunately, as a legislator, George Allens record stinks too.

Posted by: JPT | August 21, 2006 11:51 AM

JD,

I'm not from the Allen campaign and I consider that charge an insult. I would never vote for Allen like I would never vote for Webb.

The anti-Semitic flyer was in the news during the primary and the WaPost took a pass on it. This infuriated many Jews in NoVA. Mr. Fisher took it one step further by an irrational blog that Webb supporters used for a month to "justify" that the flyer wasn't really anti-Semitic.

JD, I challenge you to go to the Holocaust Memorial in DC and ask an archivist to show you past hate flyers and advertisements. You will clearly see that the Webb-approved flyer disturbingly mimics several of those hateful reminders.

The Webb flyer was a shameful message from the Webb campaign, directed at a population in Virginia with few people who are related or connected to Jews. Absolutely shameful.

The fact that Webb himself saw the flyer, approved it for distribution, and even admitted that he chuckled (thought it was a little funny) proved that he was more insensitive than Allen. This was without morality.


Posted by: Webb is Anti-Semitic | August 21, 2006 11:58 AM

One more Republican voter who will not vote for George Allen, that's who I am.

If Mr Allen still does not understand the significance of his actions and words, regardless of what he said to the Webb staffer was intended to be offensive or not, Mr Allen should not be the representative of the people of the great Commonwealth of Virginia to the US Senate, nor to the American public at large.

It is time for Mr Allen to step down from the Senate, and be put out to pasture.

Posted by: mike anthony | August 21, 2006 11:58 AM

OK, let's call both Webb and Allen on their actions -- Webb shouldn't have sent around a flier in the primary with a hook-nosed caricature of his opponent and Allen shouldn't have made the incredibly ignorant and stupid comment he did about Mr. Sidharth. There's no room for bigotry of any kind. There.

Posted by: Andrew in D.C. | August 21, 2006 12:09 PM

"Virginian"--those views that your ascribing to Post readers are not shared JUST by Post readers.

Here's an email from a friend of mine in NY (he's a lifetime GOP voter) and does not read the Washington Post . . .

"If we have another president from the southeast be it Virginia, Texas, or Tennessee, I will eat my own head. Enough of F-word rednecks for a few years."

George Allen has embarrased not only himself, but the state of Virginia. As a lifelong Virginian I find this especially offensive.

Posted by: JPT | August 21, 2006 12:10 PM

I watched Dave Chapelle's last season and he looked worried during his pixie sketch that he'd crossed the line between caricature into prejudice. We should hold our politicians to a higher standard than our relatives. I want my representative to be more than a pal I can have a beer with.

Posted by: Netflixer | August 21, 2006 12:11 PM

The interesting thing that no one seems to note is that the "M" word is a North African" slur. Allen's mother is a French national with strong ties to Tunisia. Allen, despite seeming like a good 'ole boy buffoon, is actually fluent in French.

How he can profess ignorance of the word is the worst part. He's not a racist. He's a lying racist. Just like Floyd Landis is a lying cheater.

Posted by: Buck | August 21, 2006 12:11 PM

Please remind me: is George Allen running for "comedian from VA" or "senator"? Politician Allen drops his mask of civility in front of his supporters and treats the non-white in the room as if he is representing only the whites. The people of Virginia should remember this in November.
Mr. Fisher is indeed very wrong to play down the insensitivity displayed by George Allen. How would Mr. Marc Fisher like to be addressed as "Welcome to America, Herr Fischer. Heil, Hitler!" by a bigot running for office?

Posted by: Johanna | August 21, 2006 12:15 PM

Buck, are you sure about the "fluent in French" claim? That's been floating around the blogosphere, but one of the Post political writers (perhaps John Harris?) said last week that he had covered Allen extensively and didn't think that he spoke French.

The connection to his mother also needs to be sorted out. You describe her as a French national with strong ties to Tunisia. I've heard her described as Tunisian, but of French extraction--essentially a French colonial.

Again, we need some facts about this word, where and how it's used, and where Allen learned it.

Posted by: THS | August 21, 2006 12:24 PM

Funny: Carlos Mencia's "Stereotype Olympics.
Why: Because he's making fun of stereotypes.

Funny: Dave Chappelle's pixie sketch.
Why: Because he's making fun of stereotypes.

Funny: Betty White, at the Shatner roast, joking that back in the day, Nichelle Nichols would not have been welcome at a roast.
Why: Because she was playing at a "dotty old racist" gag.

Not funny, and not justifiable: A US Senator making snide, most likely racist remarks to a guy doing his job - especially considering he has his own guy following the Webb campaign in the same manner.
Why: Because he's a freaking US Senator, not a comedian making hi-larious social commentary.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2006 12:30 PM

Let's keep track of how "Virginian" cannot spell the word "track."

Posted by: Not Virginian | August 21, 2006 12:31 PM

George Allen speaks French very well. Aside from his mother being raised in France and French-speaking Tunisia, here is a quote from the president of the University of Virginia, Patricia Cormier at UVA's commencement exercises in Spring 2005 introducing Senator George Allen:

"A little known fact about Senator Allen is that his undergraduate education was enhanced substantially by his excellent performance in French class, taught by none other than Dr. Raymond Cormier, visiting professor of French at Longwood, and my husband! I have up here on the podium the gradebook, and he got a very good grade. No wonder the senator can applaud his superior education."

http://longwood.edu/news/releases/commencement2005.html

"Again, we need some facts about this word, where and how it's used, and where Allen learned it."

Stop trying to give this guy a fig leaf. He learned the word from his mother, where the word "macaque" is also an ethnic slur as it is in Europe.

Macaque (Belgium & France) a Negro originally) or a person of North African origin (more recently); derived from macaque monkeys

George thought he'd be cute and use a word he thought no one would know or understand and got busted. Each excuse offered by his campaign is more pathetic than the last. This guy needs to go.
I look forward to casting my vote against George Felix Allen.

Posted by: Corinne | August 21, 2006 12:43 PM

I hope the media keeps on harping about this. That way, every Republican in the state will be sure to show up and vote for Allen, if only to stick it in the Post's eye.

Posted by: P Arbiter | August 21, 2006 12:46 PM

Johanna said: Mr. Fisher is indeed very wrong to play down the insensitivity displayed by George Allen.

I don't think that's what Marc is doing. He said, after all, "But Allen's response to the "macaca" incident--a pathetic blend of denials, excuses and dismissive "I've moved on" apologies--shows that what really happened is we got a little window onto the senator's real way of thinking. This was another glimpse into the authentic life of a man who used to keep a Confederate flag in his office and who opposed the creation of the Martin Luther King holiday."

I think Marc is trying to say . . . well, Marc, why don't you jump in here and tell us what you were trying to say? Want to give it another try?

Posted by: THS | August 21, 2006 12:51 PM

I totally agree with JB in Washington - aside from the scary fact Allen would use this term and make this little speech KNOWING he was being filmed (I mean, how clueless is that?), that he apparently assumed that someone with dark skin was not American, or a Virginian, is more scary. Mr. Allen needs to stop smirking and look around and learn about the state he supposedly represents - he seems not to know Virginia very well at all.

Posted by: Kathy K | August 21, 2006 12:52 PM

Or just how many times that one post has appeared...

Posted by: GJ | August 21, 2006 12:53 PM

"Stop trying to give this guy a fig leaf. He learned the word from his mother, where the word "macaque" is also an ethnic slur as it is in Europe."

I wasn't trying to give him a fig leaf. My point was that there had been numerous articles in the Post about this incident and that none of them contained the info presented in your post. And that knowledge is clearly not so widespread that it needn't be mentioned. Until this incident, I doubt you knew those things either, so they are clearly worth reporting as a means of helping readers understand the incident.

I do, though, question your evidence re Allen's fluency in French. Having gotten a good grade in an undergraduate French class is not much evidence of fluency in one's 50s. Trust me, I'm a 57-year-old former French major, and, I could not begin to have this conversation with you in French.

Allen is, in my view, the worst kind of empty shirt---a mean, self-righteous, bullying empty shirt. This incident, I believe, gives evidence of that, and I believe that conclusion would be even stronger if the Post had explained to its readers how "macaca" is used by Europeans and, as I believe is the case with Allen's mother, by French colonials to refer to dark-skinned people.

Posted by: THS | August 21, 2006 1:03 PM

If the Webb flyer in question was so anti- Semitic, so terrible, so wounding, so beyond the pale, why did Harris Miller pledge his general election support to Webb following his primary defeat? Just askin'...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2006 1:36 PM

Say What wrote: And no matter how Redskins obsessed the DC area is I doubt anyone in Virginia voted for Allen because his father coached the team many years ago.

Say What is delirious if he thinks that's the case. When George Felix Allen first ran for office I'm sure many people thought they WERE voting for his beloved father.

To use a saying that has been often used about people with famous names who run for office, "If his name were Allen George, his candidacy would be a joke."

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 21, 2006 1:37 PM

"How does Allen keep winning elections in Virginia if he has a long record of racism, cronyism, bullying, buffoonery, and inherited/insider privilege and if he has done nothing to advance the interests of the average Virginia citizen?"

Actually it's as simple as the Confederate flags Allen owns. Most of Virginia south of Fredericksburg still believes the Civil War isn't over, they're just taking a long break, and that they WILL win someday. Guess where most of Allens voter support comes from...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2006 1:51 PM

I plan to refer to George Allen as "Senator Macaca" from now on. He deserves it.

Posted by: HNK | August 21, 2006 1:53 PM

I've seen the fliers in question and it seems that they point more to Miller's support for big business than Miller loving money because he is Jewish. Can you say "overly-sensitive"?

Posted by: JD | August 21, 2006 1:59 PM

Beginning to think the editors at the Post are in the Macaca gennus rather than the Homo genus. I suspect right now a Style reporter is communing with actual Macacas at a local zoo to get their side of the "story." Bottom line is what Allen thinks does not matter, he will say whatever it takes to win. This is the Rove way, all that matters is winning. Even Machiavelli would be ashamed of Rove and his ilk's tactics. I think it is fair to say that the Macaca comment would not have been thrown out by Allen at a Tysons fundraiser, where plenty of non-white faces would be evident (These people who collect the no-bid government contracts being handed out by Congress and tax cuts understand it is what you do, not say, that matters). Allen and his people understand that to win, you play dirty, and running against the liberal media, especially the Post, and NOVA elites is a godsend for his campaign in rural VA. Why not do an in-depth story on Allen's voting record and his undistinguished legislative record. And by the way, why not ask Webb where he stands on issues other than Iraq, that would be nice for the electorate to know.

Posted by: merganser | August 21, 2006 2:01 PM

Allen's history of racism goes back over 35 years to the racist graffiti he scrawled on the walls of his high school. I was in his class and saw it firsthand. The story was corroborated by 5 more classmates and a school administrator in a New Republic piece back in April called "Pin Prick." Allen is a piece of racist work and has been for decades.

Posted by: LDA | August 21, 2006 2:16 PM

for those who are interested in the etymology of the word 'macaca', perhaps this piece by jeffrey feldman would be of some use. http://jeffrey-feldman.typepad.com/frameshop/2006/08/frameshop_macac.html

its a common enough word within white supremacist groups. one would be inclined to surmise mr. allen was reaching out when and where he thought he could get away with it. mr. fisher, you still think if only allen had said its a funny word with a rich tradition, we should have just lightened up?

Posted by: kumar | August 21, 2006 2:22 PM

It's not a matter of needing to lighten up. It's not a question of excusing an obviously dumb and nasty barb. My point here is to raise questions about the rules of conversation and public discourse in a very confused and contradictory political and social environment. No, politicians shouldn't talk like nightclub comedians or like your friends hanging out at a bar. But there should be a way for politicians to acknowledge the differences among us in everyday language, without having to resort to bland, meaningless pap about how we're all the same. Allen's remarks are a welcome window onto his true beliefs; they are therefore useful for his supporters and opponents alike. Rather than pretending to be aghast and offended, we should be grateful that he let his hair down--and then act and vote accordingly.
Plain-speaking pols--think of Alan Simpson, Pat Buchanan, Bob Dole, Bob Ehrlich, Cynthia McKinney, William Donald Schaefer, Marion Barry, Doug Wilder--can be wingnuts or populists or just mainstream pols with a gift for using everyday language. But their decision to speak without the obfuscating rhetoric that dominates Washington should be encouraged, because it is vastly more honest than the alternative.

Posted by: Fisher | August 21, 2006 2:39 PM

It seems clear that George Allen did know, or should have known, that "macaca" is a racial slur--and, as pointed out, he followed the slur with "Welcome to America," which made his meaning clear. The fact is that there are some words that just cannot come out of one's mouth unless the underlying sentiment exists in one's heart/brain. Allen was in his "good ol' boy" mode, and among people he assumed to share his sentiments, and he forgot himself. The good news--he'll never get elected president now.

Posted by: Lynn | August 21, 2006 2:41 PM

The troubling thing about Allen's comment is that it demonstrates either ignorance regarding what constitutes a potentially controversial (and unnecessary) statement with negative connotations, or pride in referring to persons who do not appear to be white Americans with special 'nicknames.' Either way, this shows his unsuitability for public office, regardless of whether criticism of this type of discourse by average citizens is warranted or not. Politicians are properly held to a different standard of conduct than people engaged in casual conversation among each other.

Posted by: skeller | August 21, 2006 2:58 PM

in response to marc fisher,
george allen uses the term macaca, and calling him on that is 'viciously pillorying' on him? its not just a dumb and nasty barb, and however you spin it now (i noticed a whole lot of contradictions between your original post and the rejoinder about your 'point'), but in the name of preferring plain speak, where in any mode of public discourse is it ok to allow or bear explicit racial slurs? yes, it does open a window to allen's mind for a brief moment. However, much as i would like to think otherwise, i am beginning to be afraid its opened one to yours also.

Posted by: kumar | August 21, 2006 3:07 PM

The kid was outnumbered. There were about a
hundred crazy wiggers Senator Felix was inciting
with his speech

Posted by: anon | August 21, 2006 3:21 PM

The unhinged Senator is known to keep a "noose"
in his office. Lucky for the kid the legislator didn't
bring that noose with him to the rally. What with
the howling mob of 100-strong peckerwoods, in all
probability, we would have seen a lynching.

Posted by: TalkingHead | August 21, 2006 3:25 PM

in all fairness, the laughter that followed the dumbass' incitement wasn't that much really. I'm sure there were quite a few within that crowd who would have winced at the insults.

Posted by: kumar | August 21, 2006 3:30 PM

Kumar said: in the name of preferring plain speak, where in any mode of public discourse is it ok to allow or bear explicit racial slurs? yes, it does open a window to allen's mind for a brief moment. However, much as i would like to think otherwise, i am beginning to be afraid its opened one to yours also.

I think you are off-base here. What Marc has said is that Allen has given us a piece of information about where he stands and that we are all better off for that. Some people share Allen's views; if they needed further evidence that he agrees with him, they have it and can act accordingly. Others found his words reprehensible; they, too, now have information that can inform their actions. If Allen had censored himself, we'd all have less informtion about what kind of man he is.

Posted by: THS | August 21, 2006 3:36 PM

Some of this is speculation on my part.

I saw the CNN interview. The kid is savvy.
He has aplomb.

Judging from all the comments I have read,
the Senator's staff is a bunch of crude
a-holes.

The kid is cool. His selfassuredness I'm
guessing may have triggered the staff's
dislike and the attack on him by the Senator.

The Senator and his staff are not cool,
they are not savvy, they have no aplomb.
They are a bunch of coarse wiggers.

Posted by: TalkingHead | August 21, 2006 3:42 PM

George Allen's Unsung War on Behalf of Small Appliances

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/8/21/152952/895

Honestly, what good has this guy ever done for Virginia? Not a thing. Same when he was governor.

Posted by: Corinne | August 21, 2006 3:43 PM

THS, i made the comment about marc after very carefully reading both his posts. i stand by what i said.

Posted by: kumar | August 21, 2006 3:46 PM

The Senator has not served in the military. He's a
weekend warrior who fancies he's some kind of
wigger power revolutionary.

Posted by: anon | August 21, 2006 3:51 PM

Here's something the Senator, out on the stump recently,
could have told the kid who was videotaping him: Drop
Webb. Come, join my campaign.

That takes class and a whole lot of good upbringing. This
Senator is a common wigger who'll never rise to that
level of intellectual development.

Posted by: TalkingHead | August 21, 2006 3:53 PM

The point is that George Allen IS a bigot and an idiot.

So you left out option #4.

And there SHOULD be no way back for him now that he's shown his racist ass for the whole world to see. He should never have gotten this far as it is, but there are many racist fools who vote in VA.

Posted by: Lily | August 21, 2006 3:56 PM

he's just a racist cracker.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2006 4:04 PM

THS - there is plenty of other information to show Allen for what he is. If you didn't know until Macacagate, you just weren't paying attention.

As for Fisher's two posts: What on earth should we be grateful for? That this guy has had a hand in shaping fiscal and foreign policy? And who's "pretending" to be aghast and offended? Maybe Marc was, in that first part of his post, so that he could get away with that thinly-veiled Allen apologist crap at the end?

I enjoy a race joke as much as anyone. But this was neither a joke nor a substantive addition to any kind of discussion on race or race relations. It was a guy in power picking on another guy who was just doing his job. He's not some sort of saint, and it is in no way hypocritical to have different standards for politicians and comedians.

There is a difference between being plainspoken and accidentally revealing oneself to be a massive douche. There should be a way out for pols who are just folksy; for Allen, let him just rot.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2006 4:14 PM

Senator Monkeyman endearingly
calls his Tunisian mother
Macaca. Macaca, Macaca, Macaca -
his Senate staffers often
hear him singing to himself.
He loves the elder Mrs. Monkeyman
very dearly.

Posted by: anon | August 21, 2006 4:29 PM

"I hope the media keeps on harping about this. That way, every Republican in the state will be sure to show up and vote for Allen, if only to stick it in the Post's eye." - P Arbiter

Must mean that the Virginia Republicans can't think for themselves!

Posted by: Say What?? | August 21, 2006 4:34 PM

In light of all the rightousness displayed about the term macaca, I find it rather two-faced for some posters to use the R word in describing the football team that Allen's father coached.

Posted by: ralph | August 21, 2006 4:50 PM

I agree with the poster who said that the Macacca reference was not as offensive as his "welcome to America" statement.

I vote Republican 99% of the time and I've had it with Allen. I was born here, served in Iraq, awarded the bronze star, and still people in my hick town look at me differently because I'm Asian and Hispanic. When I meet people they ask me where I'm from and they don't mean which state or county.

Posted by: Republican | August 21, 2006 5:49 PM

Where I am from, we call people like Sen. Allen "caca." That may not translate, but it's a funny word and I think we should all lighten up. Basically, Allen is full of "caca."
For those who are wondering, I am an American of indian ancestry born in New York.

Posted by: A. | August 21, 2006 6:04 PM

I think the old nut who puts
out this column goes beyond
his mother and sister as far as
aberration goes.

He also does it with a live fish.
He goes out on his boat, catches
one with his bare hands,
then has the critter "know"
him in the biblical sense,
and throws it back in the
water.

Then he goes to work at
this toilet paper and writes
whatever the hell he writes
for the wigger masses.

Posted by: anon | August 21, 2006 6:13 PM

Fisher says he wasn't bothered when his co-worker called him Abdul. That's because he's not Middle Eastern. Let's see, by Fisher's photo above, it appears he's a little wimpy, a little bookish. How about if I called him "Sissy"? How about if I called an overweight person "Fatty"? A special ed student "Retard"? I mean, only a few years ago, "retarded" was not offensive. Fact is, languages change, especially with the influx of foreigners. If Allen thinks Virginia is all white and winks at his racism, he's not worthy of being Senator, much less President. Politicians lead. They should be the first to consider the diversity of their constituencies. Racist comments have been squeezed out of our public and, for most of us, our private language, for at least a decade and a half. The reason why this story won't die, die-hard Allen fans, is because Allen is the same guy today as he was two weeks ago. And if he were President, he'd be a liability to world peace. Sort of like the fellow that's in there now.

Posted by: Shen-Valley Girl | August 21, 2006 6:30 PM

I find it extremely intereting that this story has has this much staying power. For a week I've been reading this in the Post. I find it even more interesting that after Sen. Biden (D) was caught on camera saying that in order to go into a 7-11 you need to be able to speek Indian (back in June), or after Rep. Cynthia McKinney's (D) entorage threated to beat up Jews in the audience (just a couple weeks ago) the Post found it necessary to not report on it. Or, at the very least, bury the story in the back of the paper. It appears to me that YouTube.com is a better source of news as ridiculous as that sounds.

Posted by: Chris | August 21, 2006 6:48 PM

Most recent SurveyUSA/WUSA poll--

Allen 48%
Webb 45%

Allen's lead has collapsed by 16 percent points since late June.

http://www.wdbj7.com/Global/story.asp?S=5306986&nav=S6aK

Also, Marshall/Newman anti-gay ammendment 60 percent for, 40 percent against. Once again, the pollsters do not read the full ammendment, which is significant (the ammendment defines marriage as between a "man and a women" it also bans civil unions between "unmarried individuals").

In my humble opinion the second paragraph is written by an idiot. Judge for yourself . . .

Full text:

BALLOT QUESTION NUMBER 1
Shall Article I, the Bill of Rights, of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state:

"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

"This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."?

Posted by: JPT | August 21, 2006 6:54 PM

Let's keep track of what the Post's insightful readers can deduce about George Allen based on one remark. He is:

fool, racist, bigot, Grade A jerk, klansman wannabe, bully with a mean streak, too unsophisticated, lacking in international travel, lying racist, piece of racist work, caca, massive douche, unhinged, racist ass.

And that ignores the various inferences that people drew in this blog last week

Posted by: Virginian | August 21, 2006 6:57 PM

Chris--

If Joe Biden had George Allen's history he probably would have received the same level of scrunity (the noose, the confederate flag, opposition to the MLK Jr holiday, support of Confederate pride month without a mention of slavery, attacking a 20 year old supporter in a hostile partisan largely white audience).

Where's the apples to apples comparison?

Btw, Biden's comments were racially insensitive--and his long-shot presidential candidacy will suffer because of it. If he had George Allen's history his seat too might be in jeopardy.

Posted by: JPT | August 21, 2006 6:59 PM

Virginian, yeah you pretty much nail it.

To the list I would also add phoney California Cowboy, wannabe Reb, non-native Virginian, ex-Virginia Senator.

Posted by: JPT | August 21, 2006 7:04 PM

"Virginian," I missed a few. Also add . . .

Pseudo-conservative, Bush's Rubber Stamp, Friend of Big Oil, Tax-Cut and Spend Republican, soon-to-be-ex-Virginia Senator, A Follower not a Leader, Panderer to small-minded Bigots, Mediocre Governor, Not a True Friend of American Servicemen and Women, Embarrasement of Virgiinia, Senator Retrograde, Ante Bellum Georgie, Georgie Felix, The Senator Who Demeans his Constituents, The KKK's Candidate, An unqualfied walking political disaster . . .

Posted by: JPT | August 21, 2006 7:11 PM

JPT,

I'm no George Allen supporter either, however, this story has been worn to death. Apples to apples? Ok, granted Allen would get a lot more press and criticism for his idiocy, but not one mention of Biden's?!? Come on! Plus, McKinney has a long history as well. Why no mention about that? What about the fact that she fired a staffer after she found out he was Jewish.

On another note, there's more to this story. The "innocent" 20 year old supporter had been sent out to follow Allen around, video tape everything and, in my opinion, instigate "good video covereage" so that the film could be used for political adds. (Not that that excuses Allen from his stupidity) However, this isn't issolated to Allen's campaign. This seems to be a new low in negative political campaigning. More akin to paparazzi type activity.

Posted by: Chris | August 21, 2006 7:17 PM

If Allen was a Democrat this would go on forever in the media. Keep it going guys, let the real George Allen come out of the closet. The young man who videotaped this incident acted better then I would have. If Allen called me a macaca, I'd hit him across the mouth. In my language it translates to "monkey". Does anyone ever really listen to these guys especially Allen, he is such a buffoon. whoops. Also, the links work perfectly.

Posted by: Sweeney | August 21, 2006 7:34 PM

As we said earlier, we expected
that most of our posts would be
deleted. And the hacks here
at WaPo have done exactly that.

Posted by: anon | August 21, 2006 7:39 PM

When he gets angry, Senator
Monkeyman calls his mother
a "macaca" and threatens to send
her back to Tunisia. Doofus
columnists at this paper do
not inform their readers about
such behavioral and revealing
details about deranged politicians.
Senator Monkeyman is a
seriously deranged politician.

Posted by: anon | August 21, 2006 7:53 PM

Well, someone's deranged, that's for sure.

Posted by: I'm Anon | August 21, 2006 7:57 PM

Sweeney,

This HAS gone on forever in the media. Where have you been?

Posted by: Chris | August 21, 2006 8:00 PM

RE: Sen Allen's arrogance. It's about power; it's about belittling a person who is of a 'lesser stature' than a U.S. Senator; it's about standing on a platform and looking down your nose at someone you believe is less of a person than you are. The sheer arrogance and snottiness of our affluent, powerful senator towards a UVA student is shocking. It brings to mind the Barbara Bush remarks at the Astrodome about 'those unfortunate people who were better off'after Katrina. There is a GOP attitude that brings chills to many of us who are not rich, not white, not in power. Reminds me of the white supremacy and Aryan super-race concepts...

Posted by: Sandy | August 21, 2006 8:16 PM

Chris,

I suspect if the story angle was about the spat of racial insensitivity from Sentors--then yes, the Biden story would have been worth mentioning. If the story was about whether GOP or Democratic Senators are more racist--then yes, that too would have merited a mention of the Biden incident.

However, the angle of this story is about a Senator who has a history of racial insensitivity uttering a racial slur at one of his constituents while on the campaign trail. The comment about "Welcome to America" is another side of this; as is the lone minority in a mostly white crowd; and the fact that it was all caught on tape. If Biden had been at the event and seconded George Allen's comments, I'm sure he would have been mentioned in the article.

As far as the tracker goes, this is common in statewide political campaigns. At last count Allen has had FIVE trackers following Webb around the state since the primary. One of those trackers faces criminal tresspassing charges

http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD/MGArticle/RTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149190059397

In the Virginia Governor's race last year a GOP tracker kept repeatedly bumping in to then candidate Tim Kaine in an attempt to elicit a response. The Webb campaign tracker did nothing of this sort.

I believe Webb just started using trackers over the past couple week, so perhaps George Allen believes that because he's a sitting Senator he deserves special treatment. That certainly seems to be one line of defense that Allen apologists have been using. (I'm not saying that you're advocating this line of argument).

Posted by: JPT | August 21, 2006 8:40 PM

I'm the last person in the world to defend Allen, but I think it's worth asking: is the term even that offensive, given that the media had to explain to us what the word meant and tell us that it was insulting? The kid himself said he didn't even know what it means.

Posted by: ryan | August 21, 2006 11:12 PM

JPT,
let's not forget to add 'Unsung War hero on Behalf of Small Appliances' to the list :)
thanks to corinne for that one. cracked me up.

Posted by: kumar | August 21, 2006 11:15 PM

Ryan--maybe the point is not whether Allen is a racist (which would depend on the meaning of the term) but that he's stupid and thin-skinned enough to shoot off his mouth without having adequate information. That's pretty dangerous in a senator.

Posted by: amstphd | August 21, 2006 11:31 PM

Candidates know they may be videotaped on the
campaign trail by trackers from their opponents'
camps. They just ignore them. In this case, the
Senator could have simply ignored the kid. Or, if
he so chose, he could have acknowledged the kid's
presence at the small rally with humor directed at
his opponent. Not the kid. The kid is not running
for office.

Senator Monkeyman could finesse neither. He became
rattled, mean and abusive. His foul mouth took over.
His behavior shows he's a half-man low-rent dumbass.

Posted by: anon | August 21, 2006 11:35 PM

Marc:

You miss the point. Forget about macaca, for the moment.

We did get a glimpse of the real George Allen, and here's what we saw: A U.S. Senator bullying and mocking a college student. It's disgraceful. Of course we know that many Senators are mean. But here, just once at least, we saw proof.

Posted by: Charlie | August 22, 2006 12:15 AM

Oh, one other thing, for all you conservatives complaining that the Post is spending too much time on this issue:

Virginia is Washington's backyard, making this a LOCAL story of importance. If Joe Biden represented Virginia, his comment of Dunkin Donuts would have received a lot of coverage here too -- and practically none in Delaware.

Posted by: Charlie | August 22, 2006 12:23 AM

Ryan, it's not the term itself (though the mass media as a whole is doing a crap job of stating that). It's that he followed the term with the jeering sentence, "Welcome to America," aimed at a minority individual in a mostly white crowd. The fact that he used the term seems to be a good thing for him - it's distracting so many people from the real offense in his statements.

FWIW, I'm an American of Indian descent, and I'm definitely leaving the GOP. Enough is enough. I have had it with these motherf***ing racists in this motherf***ing party.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2006 2:45 AM

macaca is a white power word. its not just a french colonial term for 'darkies', its used frequently right here in america by neo-nazis and white supremacists. just go to www.vnnforum.com and check for yourself. then wonder why its the first term that came to allen's mind as he started insulting sidarth, and used it twice.

his behavior is all the more reprehensible since sidarth earlier in the week had introduced himself to the senator (allen is famous for remembering faces and names, thats how he built his career). even hardcore racists would stop and think twice before attacking an acquaintance. it goes to show just how poor allen's character is, and speaks volumes for his breeding.

most indian americans, as they become affluent tend to go GOP. that sure as hell has changed after this en masse.

Posted by: kumar | August 22, 2006 5:00 AM

Did you get a load of that dude's haircut? I am sorry, but some kind of public humiliation was warranted in this case.

I can't stand George Allen, but I can't really criticize him too much. He is pretty typical. You all need to get out more.

What I really can't stand is this elitism by the urban intellegentsia. You claim, undeservedly, ownership of all the sensitivity rules in this country. But the gaps in your understanding of ethics, courtesy, and decorum wake me weep.

Posted by: Kensington, MD | August 22, 2006 9:22 AM

This meaningless article and the others before it only prove one thing.

The Post will do anything to help the Dems. This is a non-issue.

George Allen is certainly going to win his election this fall. What Virginia will have to decide is whether Allen will beat Warner in 2008.

Posted by: VAFLYERS | August 22, 2006 10:18 AM

George Allen may single-handedly have tanked both his AND Mark Warner's presidential ambitions. The first reaction that a lot of people are going to have when they hear that Mark Warner is from Virginia. "Oh you mean that hick state where George Allen comes from?"

Allen has done quite a bit of damage to Virginia's name and reputation. I realize that this may be news to those who live in caves or the Allen HQ, but there has been some pretty serious fallout nationally on this one.

Posted by: Virginia is Not for Allen | August 22, 2006 12:57 PM

One thing Allen can do to redeem his reputation, in the present circumstances, is support humane Immigration Reform (CIR and S 2691). After all, Actions speak louder than words.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2006 4:22 PM

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/08/16/gop-senator-george-allen_n_27382.html

GOP Senator George Allen's Sister Documents Her Brother's Bully Tactics: "He Saw Dentistry As A Perfect Profession - Getting Paid To Make People Suffer"...
Huffington Post | Posted August 16, 2006 11:01 AM

READ MORE: 2006

Senator George Allen's racial remark to a 20 year old Indian man last week, has re-highlighted accusations that the Senator is a bully and a bigot. Senator Allen's sister, Jennifer Allen, documents many cases of her brother's bullying in her book Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter. Read the excerpts below.


Explaining why she is scared of heights, Ms. Allen writes that "Ever since my brother George held me over the railing at Niagara Falls, I've had a fear of heights." [Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter, page 43]


Referring to George's relationship with one of her boyfriends: "My brother George welcomed him by slamming a pool cue against his head." [Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter, page 178]


Referring to George's early leadership skills, Jennifer wrote: "We all obeyed George. If we didn't, we knew he would kill us. Once, when Bruce refused to go to bed, George hurled him through a sliding glass door. Another time, when Gregory refused to go to bed, George tackled him and broke his collarbone. Another time, when I refused to go to bed, George dragged me up the stairs by my hair." [Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter, page 22]


Referring to George's early career aspirations, Jennifer wrote "George hoped someday to become a dentist. George said he saw dentistry as a perfect profession - getting paid to make people suffer." [Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter, page 22]


Referring to George's habit of terrorizing a Green Bay Packer fan in their neighborhood, Jennifer wrote that the fan's mailbox often "lay smashed in the street, a casualty of my brothers' drive-by to school in the morning. George would swerve his Mach II Mustang while Gregory held a baseball bat out the window to clear the mailbox off its post. . . . Lately, the Packers fan had resorted to stapling a Kleenex box to the mailbox post to receive his mail. George's red Mustang screeched up beside us, the Packers fan's Kleenex mailbox speared on the antenna." [Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter, page 16]

Posted by: Informed Voter | August 23, 2006 1:14 AM

"To the 9:50 AM commenter: You seem to be saying that there is one right way to understand what Allen said and why he said it, but that is simply not the case.

The empirical fact is that many people, some of whom had had positive interactions with Allen in the past or held favorable opinions of him, have interpreted his statements in a way that is quite different from your own. Who's to say who's right? You?

Allen needs to learn that people will look at his actions and draw their own conclusions. You should learn that too. You can present evidence to argue on behalf of your interpretation, but it's still an interpretation. You don't simply get to declare how people should view this incident.
Posted by: THS | August 21, 2006 10:06 AM"
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, you dismiss the interpretation of the 9:50 commentator, but elevate the interpretation of everyone hostile towards that interpretation. Who's to say that those hostile interpreters are right? You? It would have been more honest for you to simply tell the commenter that you think he's wrong, rather than hiding behind the people who have condemned Allen.

You should learn that. You can present evidence to argue on behalf of your (and their) interpretation, but it's still an interpretation. You don't simply get to declare how people should or should not view this incident.

Posted by: Nicholas Stix | August 23, 2006 6:57 AM

"Marc is his usual, clueless, pasty white self. This column has so missed the point. Allen didn't make any ethnic joke, so the forced comparison to comedians in order to rant about political correctness is ridiculous, although it does exemplify Marc's consistent inability to understand the seriousness of these things. Allen not only called the man "macaca," he went on to welcome him to America, as though a person who isn't white (or black) must be a foreigner. And, of course, Allen uttered that stupidity to what has been described as an otherwise all-white crowd. To turn this into some complaint about political correctness, as uber-privileged straight, white, male Marc has done, simply illustrates once again how he is incapable ever of "getting it." Will the Post please give us an actually insightful columnist and give Marc a pedestrian beat more appropriate to his journalistic skills?
Posted by: Stephen Clark | August 21, 2006 10:30 AM"
_____________________________________________________________

Why do I get the notion that if a white posted using the same sort of racist language that Stephen Clark did, but directed at a non-white, that his post would be deleted? Because it is WP policy, which somehow was not enforced in the case of Clark's racist utterance. Clark is projecting his own racism. In fact, it is typically those who engage in anti-white racism, who are privileged in this society. Clark is so drunk on racist privilege, that, as is typical of the thought police, he denies that his position has anything to do with pc, at the same time that he seeks to have Fisher removed from his job, for deviating in the slightest from pc dogma. Clark just doesn't get it. He needs to take his irony supplement.

Posted by: Nicholas Stix | August 23, 2006 7:46 AM

Re: Post by Informed Voter above

He holds his sister over the
railing at Niagara Falls.

Throws a brother through a sliding glass door.

Breaks another brother's
collarbone.

Slams pool cue against the head
of sister's boyfriend.

Smashes a neighbor's mailbox
repeatedly because he's a
Packers fan.

Senator Monkeyman was dysfunctional then
and seems to have gotten progressively worse.

Posted by: TalkingHead | August 23, 2006 12:03 PM

Webb rapidly gaining in polls!
Senator Monkeyman is falling
off the tree.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2006 12:18 PM

The standard slur for wiggers
is "dog" as in: Hey Dog, how's
your sister?

"Monkey" is used only if you are
friends with a wigger as in:
Hey Monkey, how's your sis?

Posted by: Geneticist | August 23, 2006 12:29 PM

I think a monkey is closer to
Homo sapiens than a dog.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2006 12:39 PM

This is wigger country. They
outnumber others. Who gives a
s h i t for them anywhere else?

Posted by: TalkingHead | August 23, 2006 12:48 PM

If you ran into Senator Monkeyman, would
you say to him: Hey monkey, how's your
sis?

Posted by: Geneticist | August 23, 2006 4:45 PM

I don't think so. She's probably too old.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2006 4:55 PM

Why can't these dogs run their own country?
Why do they need immigration?

Posted by: Geneticist | August 23, 2006 6:41 PM

Because most of them are on drugs, booze
or both. They can't run it.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2006 6:56 PM

Allen's remarks demonstrate that he has not advanced beyond the Confederate bigotry of the Civil War. I cannot think of a single seminal accomplishment he has done for advancing tolerance for the people of Virginia since he was elected to the Senate.

Posted by: outraged | August 23, 2006 9:20 PM

Not many sane men in wigger
country - in the streets or in
the workplace.

Posted by: TalkingHead | August 23, 2006 10:21 PM

It's a combination of street drugs,
pharmaceuticals and xian holy spirits.
You can't be sane if you are not sober.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2006 10:27 PM

Can Jeezus Monkey Khrist save these dogs?

Posted by: TalkingHead | August 23, 2006 10:41 PM

I don't think so. He's just as bad as
drugs and booze.

Posted by: anon | August 23, 2006 10:52 PM

Is it just me or are the mainstream media avoiding the fact that his mother's French Tunisian connection would assure that George Allen knew the word "Macaca"s meaning. I read it in blogs and heard it on Air America and there was one letter to the editor in the Washington Post from the wife of Allen's former French teacher, but every article I've read does not mention this. What gives?

Posted by: JsOpinion | August 25, 2006 11:04 AM

The Senator makes a dozen apologies says
an article in the Washington Post of Aug 25.

That's only because polls show him tumbling
and Webb climbing.

Posted by: Informed Voter | August 25, 2006 11:42 PM

Forget about what he called
somebody else.

Just call Senator Monkeyman
a low-rent wigger.

Posted by: Proper Response | August 25, 2006 11:45 PM

This outfit - republic, federation or whatever they
call it - has been around more than 200 years. It
is still talking about immigration. Japan, which has
a world-class economy and ranks at or near the
top in every performance measure, has done it
with no immigration. Something is wrong with the
wigger population here which is more than some
250 million.

Posted by: anon | August 30, 2006 12:42 PM

Repugnicans are trying to build Senator Monkeyman
into a killer wigger power Rambo, statesman and icon.
But he's jus' a plain ole wigger chithead.

Posted by: TalkingHead | August 31, 2006 1:48 PM

If he's a kwp Rambo, he should be commanding
troops. What's he doing giving dumbass speeches
to unemployed rednecks?

Posted by: anon | September 3, 2006 2:14 AM

It's about time we had some serious discussions about George Allen's racist views. It serves well to show just how far Virginia has to go in order to let go of it's racist past because it continues to elect men like George Allen into public office. With the recent developments in our general political landscape it is more then fair to say that with the entire country watching, Virginia has an obvious opportunity to right a wrong in which it has prescribed to for far too long. George Allen's political career is all but over at this point because Virginians are as I must believe, becoming ever more increasingly a humane and decent people. Liars and racal bigots are losing their powerful hold over the people in this great state, finally...

Posted by: Laurence | September 4, 2006 12:37 PM

I discovered the following on the web: "George Allen is credited with beginning a Virginia Republican renaissance when he started as a prohibitive underdog and defeated Mary Sue Terry, an established, well-financed Democrat, to take back the governor's office in 1993 for the GOP after 12 years of Democratic control."

...nice story, but it obscures a deeper, more disturbing truth. We all remember Mary Sue Terry's lead in the polls ... and soon before the election, your more irresponsible news outlets were publicizing a story spread by an obscure psychiatrist named William Gray. Gray was claiming that once upon a time he had treated a "lesbian lover" of the Attorney General's, someone he said later committed suicide. Pressed for details to back up his story, Gray took the opportunity to claim "doctor/patient confidentiality"(!). What was less publicized was the fact that Gray had lost his medical license in California owing to allegations of child molestation, charges that would be repeated after he set up shop in Virginia. When Mary Sue Terry learned of the case, she was publicly outraged at the lack of communication between state medical boards. In short, Dr. Gray had an ax to grind.

I've personally seen no evidence whatsoever of any communication between the Allen campaign and Gray (on the other hand, I've never really looked). What is beyond doubt, however, is that George Allen benefited to no small degree by this explosive rumor circulated by an enemy of his opponent. And what happened to Gray? He relocated to the Philippines following Allen's victory. His act of petty vengeange, in my view, was more instrumental in George Allen's rise than the efforts of such state media figures as Ross Mackenzie and Forrest Landon combined.

Posted by: Pablo Schwartz | September 11, 2006 5:21 PM

S. 2691 ??? Allen sponsored the Bill! What kind of corporate sponsored asto-turfing is going on here? "should support it". what the heck ???

Nice try Allen supporters, the SKIL bill is target is American middle class workers. Allen's bill is designed to lower wages for American working Moms and Dads.

Nice, try, ITAA !!!

Posted by: Dump Skil Bill | September 11, 2006 8:55 PM

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