Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate
Breathe a bad word about Michelle Obama and you’ll be cast into the fiery bowels of hell, says Reverend Dick Durbin.
Here’s my hell-baiting Fox segment on Michelle earlier this afternoon.
Quick correction: In the segment, I mention Salon as having published criticism of Mrs. O. I meant Slate. Got my left-wing websites mixed up. My apologies and thanks to Alex Koppelman of Salon for pointing out the error.
I’m sure Salon will make sure everyone knows that they aren’t going to burn with the rest of us.
I did not write the caption and I was not aware of it when it ran (the Baltimore studio doesn’t have a monitor). I don’t know if the caption writer was making a lame attempt to be hip, clueless about the original etymology of the phrase, or both. But I do know that it was Michelle Obama herself who referred to Barack as her “baby’s daddy” and has used the phrase “baby daddy” to describe Barack while on the stump this year.
Here’s how she introduced him during his Senate victory speech on Nov. 2, 2004:
MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF BARACK OBAMA: My baby’s daddy Barack Obama. Yeah!
BARACK OBAMA, SENATOR-ELECT, ILLINOIS: Thank you, Illinois. Thank you. Thank you, Illinois. I don’t know about you but I’m still fired up. I am fired up. Look at this crowd. Thank you, Illinois.
Let me begin by thanking all the people who have been involved in this effort from down state to upstate, city, suburb, from every community throughout the state. Let me say how grateful I am to all of you for the extraordinary privilege of standing here this evening.
Let me thank, because I will forget later on, it’s a thankless task, let me thank right now the best political staff that has been put together in this state. They are wonderful. You know who you are. You guys have been outstanding. I appreciate all of you.
Let me thank my pastor, Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. (ph) of Trinity United Church of Christ, fellow Trinitarians out there. Let me thank all the elected officials who have stood by me through thick and through thin but most of all let me thank my family.
I am so grateful to my nephew Aber (ph), my niece Leslie (ph), my mother-in-law Marian (ph), my brother-in-law Craig Robinson, his wonderful girlfriend Kelly (ph), my sister Maya (ph), my new niece Zuhayla (ph) right there, my brother-in-law Conrad and most of all, most of all, my two precious daughters Malia (ph) Obama and Sasha (ph) Obama and the biggest star in the Obama family until the two girls grow up the love of my life Michelle Obama, give it up for Michelle. Give it up.
See here for a 2004 discussion of Obama’s comments the day after she made them. Sample:
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 – 03:19 pm:
You’re right Cynique, he hasn’t proved himself. I’m just going by his demeanor thus far, as well as my intuitive feeling about him–and that is how I feel about his potential at this point–I could see him as president. His wife has nothing to do with how I feel either, especially after her “my baby’s daddy” comment. She is a doll (physically), but that comment turned me off!
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 – 04:32 pm:
Well, I’m sure his wife’s remark didn’t turn off Obama’s black constituency; it was kind of an inside joke. Yes, Obama is very charismatic but you sounded as if you wanted to prove a point by jocking him rather than John Edwards who has, after all, served 6 years in the senate. See, Moonsigns, that how you get in trouble on this sight. LOL
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 – 04:55 pm:
OH FOR PITY’S SAKE Moonsigns, could you have you lips puckered against cyniques ass any tighter??
Could you be any more OBVIOUS AND DESPERATE to keep her as an ally? What a freakin joke you are.
Oh you are so right cynique, oh please don’t get mad at me cynique! give it a rest aready!!
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 – 06:22 pm:
Some blacks may find that “inside joke” to be “funny”, however, I’m sure not all do. To me, it’s a joke that is used only in the company of very, very close friends, not in a public arena with millions of people watching.
I have no point to prove to anyone Cynique. There are some people who seem like natural born leaders and others that just don’t. Edwards, in my opinion, just seems to lack a certain something that would propel him into being a tremendous leader. Obama on the other hand, he just seems like he has unlimited amounts of potential and the zeal to follow through–just a basic difference I feel about the men….that’s it.
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 – 07:36 pm:
You’re entitled to your assessment about Obama, Moonsigns. But, neither you nor I know how many blacks were offended by the comment Obama’s wife made. And, actually, I don’t see why there would be a problem since he is her “baby Daddy.” And I don’t think it is uncommon for black women, no matter what her station in life, to teasingly refer to their child’s father as their “baby daddy.” This ghetto expression has made it into the mainstream of the black idiom, at least in my part of the country which is where Obama is from. Blacks don’t always have to be on their good behavior for fear of making a bad impression on white people. Sometimes they can just “get down” and show that they haven’t lost the common touch. Jesse Jackson does this all the time, as did Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington who once referred to a failing plan as being in “deep doo-doo.” Anybody offended by what Obama’s wife said, should just get over it.
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 – 08:36 pm:
Though you have pointed out that this “ghetto expression” has “made it into the mainstream of the black idiom” (which I agree), I don’t think it’s safe to say that all blacks accept it. You know as well as I do that not all blacks think alike and that is why I know that, while you nor I can give exact numbers as to just how many blacks were offended, I’m sure there are some out there who were. Again, there are no absolutes.
“Blacks don’t always have to be on their good behavior for fear of making a bad impression on white people.”-Cynique
I agree. Do you feel this applies to all races though?
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 – 09:05 pm:
I’ll be praying for Elizabeth Edwards.
As for Michelle Obama’s “baby’s daddy” comment–I was in room with black people from all over the world when she made it.
A black American couple owned the home I was in. There was a Somali model and her biracial daughter—two Ethiopian couples—two Kenyan men—a black couple from Mississippi, another black couple from Arizona, my black mother from Wash.D.C. and two black couples from Jamaica and one from Aruba, West Indies.
WE ALL LAUGHED “infectiously” when Michelle made the comment…and in that moment….they became REAL PEOPLE to us. The whole room fell in love with them even more than before.
MOON—the only kind of blacks who take offense at a MARRIED black woman calling her hubby “my baby’s daddy”….are the INSECURE ones who have something to prove to “white people”–and usually, those type of blacks wish to BE white themselves.
I find it hard to believe that anyone with any real intelligence would be offended by a Harvard Graduate–MARRIED to her “baby’s daddy”….being benevolent enough and politically astute enough to affirm the realities of so many black women who have no education, no men in their lives or their childrens’ lives and who NEEDED that bit of affirmation/recognition from a sista on high.
Very rarely are single black mothers–most of whom MAKE A WAY OUT OF NO WAY every damned day of the week….given their props.
I know MANY “ghetto women” who hold down a job, go to school, singlehandedly feed and clothe their babies….and BLACK WOMEN in America have been doing this for DECADES.
Without much praise.
I loved Michelle Obama for having the presence of mind and “cultural caring” to use HER POSITION to affirm a ghetto saying.
And I greatly admire so called “ghetto blacks” FAR MORE than I do the black middle class. I love it that OBAMA is so very “Kenyan” and regal and presents himself as a man of his people.
FOR THAT..and because I so love his wife’s grace and class, I will spend thousands to support him.
Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 – 11:25 pm:
Well, Moonsigns, as far as I’m concerned this is much ado about nothing since, as we agree, nobody knows how widespread the disapproval was of Michelle’s remark. And who really cares about something this trivial? I think your reference to it says more about you than her. The “baby daddy” reference was no more of a faux pas than some of the things that Kerry’s wife said, or what Laura Bush might say if she could ever stop smiling like an idiot and say anything.
Posted on Saturday, November 06, 2004 – 06:55 am:
Beyond this discussion, Michelle’s “baby daddy” comment is not a part of my daily thought pattern. Someone had mentioned it earlier in a thread and that is why I shared my feelings about it.
Laura Bush does say too little, which can be both good and bad. Kerry’s wife said too much. I wouldn’t have minded her hubby for president, but her as the first lady….that would have been something! LOL
Posted on Saturday, November 06, 2004 – 07:53 am:
I agree with your contrast of Edwards and Obama. Though both men are unproven as leaders, Obama appears to have more innate Presidential timber.
And, actually, the smarter/better leader in the Edwards’ household is his wife Elizabeth. That chick is smarter than a MOFO!
But really, the “baby daddy” thing is just a joke…between friends.
And when I see you (and other you White people) overreact to something as trivial as that, I can’t help wondering whether you are building Obama up just so he’ll have a higher pedestal from which you can knock him down from.
PS: My wife calls me her “baby daddy” all the time as a term of endearment. And after I received positive confirmation from the DNA tests, I learned to appreciate that.
And more here.
From “A Brief History of baby-daddies” published in Slate Magazine two years ago:
Celebrity gossips are not known for their contributions to English letters. In tabloids, the copy is breathless, the headlines are stunningly literal, and the “hand-written” photo captions seem to toggle between “Awww!” and “Ew!” But as they zero in on celebrity mating and breeding rituals, the magpies keep breaking new linguistic ground. First they imported the British term bump, a noun used to refer to the protruding abdomen of a pregnant starlet. Then they awarded celebrity couples mash-up nicknames like “Bennifer,” “Brangelina,” and “TomKat.” Now they’ve seized upon baby-daddy and baby-mama, two useful terms that have long appeared in hip-hop and R&B lyrics, and are slowly stripping them of their emotional fangs.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines baby-daddy as “the father of a woman’s child, who is not her husband or (in most cases) her current or exclusive partner.” The baby-mama entry follows the same template with the genders reversed. But some gossip writers have been adopting the first part of the definition and ignoring the second. Salon recently called Tom Cruise “Katie Holmes’ baby-daddy,” even though the couple is engaged. And Gawker refers to Keven Federline as “Britney Spears’ baby-daddy,” even though the couple has been married for more than a year.
…These days, the terms no longer seem “chiefly African-American”—they’re everywhere, the latest bits of hip-hop lingo to gain widespread use. Baby-daddy is the new bling. Online, you can buy “Jesus is my baby-daddy” magnets, tote bags, and beer steins. There is a drink called the “babymama.” Scott Hoffman, the bassist for the glam rock band the Scissors Sisters, goes by the stage name “Babydaddy.” Some of this cultural paraphernalia retains the old, loaded sense of the term: You can, for example, download a “Salty Baby Mama” ringtone so that when people call, your phone will jangle and thrum while a woman’s voice says, “Baby, I know you hear this damn phone ringing. I’m going to beat your ass, as soon as I see you.” But just as often, the connotations are strictly biological. Baby-mama has even made inroads in Japan, where it’s being used on a Web site that appears to sell strollers.
Who knows why these terms became catchphrases? Perhaps it’s just that they’re metrically pleasing: Baby-mama and baby-daddy are undeniably fun to say. But it’s the novelty factor that explains how the words lost their negative connotations. Sure, there are many gossip writers who still use the terms in their original senses (calling dancer Carlos Leon “Madonna’s baby-daddy,” for example) because they’re useful, reducing a complex chain of possessives—Madonna’s daughter’s father—to a nice, comprehensible noun. But it seems there are also plenty of writers who just like the way the words sound and don’t care much about the stigma once attached to babydaddyhood. When news came last week that Anna Nicole Smith may be pregnant, it was no surprise that bloggers immediately began speculating about the identity of the “baby daddy.” It may be a long time before you hear a quaint, old-fashioned “Who’s the dad?”
Here comes the knee-jerk avalanche of hate mail:
from [email protected]
date Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 1:35 AM
subject Michelle Obama
You disgusting racist slant eyed pig! How do you like the name calling? Referring to Senator Obama’s wife in your typical way is what the country expects from an ignorant racist pig like yourself. No one wants to listen to your racist rants anymore. May the nightmare that is you be gone soon.
from [email protected]
date Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 12:53 AM
subject Michelle Obama comments
You are reprehensible
The impression you give is having a plastic face, a plastic mind and a plastic heart.
Your stupidity is clearly and abundantly superceded by your nasty nasty mind and heart always.
There is no one home in your body.
from [redacted at the request of the hate-mailer]
date Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 12:03 AM
I find your attacks on Mrs Obama disgusting. As someone of mixed race I wonder if your desire to take part in this behavior is due to self-loathing. Do you have issues about your own background and feel that you are somehow made “whiter” by saying these things? Believe me, to the crowd you associate with you are nothing more than the token brown girl with a cheerleader’s vocal affectation. You should be ashamed of yourself, and if you don’t have the grace to feel that way, I am ashamed for you. My tip for you is… start acting like a human being.
from [email protected]
date Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 11:54 PM
subject Your Fox appearance
I have never taken the time to e-mail anyone regarding comments made in a public forum. However, your Obama Baby Mama comments have triggered something in me that NO ONE has managed to do thus far. It is degrading for a married woman, especially of her stature to be referred to this way, but of course that’s why you found pleasure in doing it. It also has a racist tone to it, which is also way you’ve found pleasure in doing it. For someone who looks like she is in need of racial tolerance, you certainly have a lot of nerve. There are many racist references that I can name when I look at you, many which your so called colleagues at Fox have already uttered behind you’re back, I’m sure. Your politics are your own, but you should be ashamed. How someone as ethnic as you obviously are can find pleasure in contributing to such low class racial speak is beyond me.
from David Medina [email protected]
date Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 2:00 AM
you like like a asian clown
Let’s not let the facts get in the way!