Enter Stage Gabbing
By Steven Martinovich
(July 17, 2000) Yo, what up my black brothers and sisters? I'm clockin' ya...word! Alright y'all, back to the beat.
Sorry, that was meant specifically for black readers of Enter Stage Right, to show them that ESR is their magazine by speaking to them as many of their community do. Was that offensive? The Vice President of the United States seems to think that's okay to "black" yourself up when speaking to African-Americans.
I pity the poor politicians, especially those who campaign in ethnically diverse areas. Each community has their own quirks and eccentricities, patterns of language usage, important issues, food...by the time an election is over, a politician running for federal office in any modern western democracy has likely supported every cause imaginable in their quest for votes.
There is a difference, however, between whoring for votes and being insulting. I personally believe that Al Gore moved past that line when he spoke the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People conference last week.
Gore, whose public speaking brings to mind a quiet petrified forest, has quietly introduced a new variable into this election. Unlike other politicians who may change their message depending on who they are speaking to, Gore modifies his very speech patterns depending on the ethnicity or race of the group he speaks to. An example of that occurred at the NAACP conference.
That petrified forest became the rousing southern black preacher, leading his congregation to God (AKA more government and class warfare) with a journey of incendiary rhetoric and prayer. "Yea, a man may say thou hast faith and I have works. Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works," said Gore, drawing on the Book of James to attack Bush.
While members of the audience shouted "Preach!" Gore took biblical aim at NRA president Charlton Heston, telling "his people" that "because the last time Moses took advice from a bush his people wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, and he may not be packing his bags right now." For a former divinity student who trumpets his own deep Christian beliefs, Gore should know that the Bible states the burning bush was the voice of God itself.
And it's not just blacks getting the Gore treatment, Latinos have born witness to this as well with the Vice President's use of Spanish "palabras" (Spanish for "words"). Oi vey!
Some commentators are debating whether Gore is being insulting or merely attempting to bring in minorities traditionally underrepresented when it comes time to vote, much less serve in office. While his motives may be pure, he reminds me of white people who become black the moment an African-American joins a conversation. You know the types, the ones who sound like David Niven until an African-American arrives, then suddenly they become John Shaft. Although they only want that person to feel comfortable (and show how hip that cracker can be), it's insulting for assuming that homogeneity rules in the black community.
Gore may think he's sensitive to the black experience -- wealthy aristocratic whites raised in the hallways of Congress often are -- but his habit of modifying his speech is insulting and betrays what he really thinks of blacks and other minorities. He may not be a racist, but he does seem to think that the average minority is a media caricature and by using a standard manner of talking to them, he's assured of gaining their hearts and minds. It may work, the audience at the NAACP did give him a rousing send-off and will likely vote en masse for him, but in the long run I'd like to think insulting someone by playing to racial stereotypes will die out.
There is one other thing. Just imagine if George W. Bush had become a homey in his speech to the NAACP...I wonder if the media would have commented on that?
By Steven Martinovich
(July 3, 2000) Weve entered Phase 3 and Enter Stage Right changed last week. You didn't notice?
As of this writing, ESR is now hosted with the fine people at HostPro. The move to this new provider means that I finally have enough space to bring online several features that I have been planning and working on since last year.
Within the next two weeks, ESR's archive from June 1996 to mid-1998 will go online with the rest to follow as it is completed. Also going online in the coming weeks will be ESR's new forum and polling software, meaning that the magazine will finally be self-contained.
Thanks to HostPro, we'll also have a new search engine courtesy of Excite so searching the magazine will be much easier than the basic system I have in place at the moment. Look for that in the next two weeks as well.
You'll also notice a change to the navigation. In a bid to keep URLs consistent in the future so that people can link to past published efforts without that link eventually breaking, ESR's site structure will change slightly. Articles won't link to each other in the future but simply to the front page. I don't like breaking the paradigm I've used since 1996 but it is necessary to maintain a consistent system and you'll find most magazines do it.
None of this comes cheap. Last week cost me a considerable amount of time and money in moving ESR and paying all the associated fees. ESR is hobby but one that carries an expense. It's only free for you.
Why do this? Part tilting at windmills, part reaction to the prevailing culture. That's why everyone at ESR works for free, whether they edit, write or contribute other material. As Joe Schembrie pointed out in his piece Internet content IPOs: Conservatives need not apply last week, "here at Enter Stage Right, the editorial staff works for free (so do I, by the way), as a labor of love."
I do it regularly, both in communication with them and in yearly editorials, but I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helps ESR out. I may have started this little effort in June 1996, but it is they who sustain it. I block some tackles in editing and composing this every week, but they are the ones with the ball.
It is, in part, their continuing efforts and dedication which is making this expansion possible. The archive you may go through, the forum you debate in, and the polls you respond to are authored by them or inspired by them. I can't thank them enough for gracing the pages of this little effort. I hope they are rewarded by ESR as much as they reward me.
And I'd like to thank you. By visiting ESR and hopefully rousing yourself to action, you inspire us to continue giving up some of our free time and money to continue bringing you what we think is the best conservative magazine on the web. Salon and Slate may be cash rich and command many readers but it is magazines like ESR that prod people into action to try and improve the world. We couldn't do that without you. If you didn't care, why would we?
Phase 1 was simply launching ESR while Phase 2 was our move to a weekly schedule. You now know what Phase 3 entailed. Whats Phase 4?
That announcement may be sooner than you think.
Thanks for reading,
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
web posted July 10, 2000
ESR makes Dr. Laura Schlessinger
Last week Enter Stage Right made Dr. Laura Schlessinger! The good doctor kindly read Charles Morse's recent piece Fallout from Sex Education: 1965-2000 during her show last week.Congratulations to Charles!
Another kind of congratulations
ESR offers its sincerest congratulations to Todd and Kerri Frawley who got married July 8, 2000. Your editor in chief had the honor of standing for Todd during the ceremony. It was a beautiful wedding and the parents of the bride and groom had a lot to be proud of. Congratulations!
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