Still, despite its track record, I somehow wasn't quite prepared for overt and deep-seated racism on display in a Times editorial contributed yesterday by editor-in-chief emeritus Wesley Pruden (brought to my attention through Media Matters). Old Man Pruden begins by ranting hysterically -- you might say that he waxes impenetrable -- about Obama's current diplomatic visit to Asia. But just wait until you get to the final paragraph (if you can make it that far without becoming nauseous):
So far it's a memorable trip. He established a new precedent for how American presidents should pay obeisance to kings, emperors, monarchs, sovereigns and assorted other authentic man-made masters of the universe. He stopped just this side of the full grovel to the emperor of Japan, risking a painful genuflection if his forehead had hit the floor with a nasty bump, which it almost did. No president before him so abused custom, traditions, protocol (and the country he represents). Several Internet sites published a rogue's gallery showing how other national leaders - the prime ministers of Israel, India, Slovenia, South Korea, Russia and Dick Cheney among them - have greeted Emperor Akihito with a friendly handshake and an ever-so-slight but respectful nod (and sometimes not even that).What's truly disgusting about this Old Coot is that not only is he a racist, but there's something distinctly old-timey about his racism. Pruden is a species of racist from whom we haven't heard all of that much in this country since the days when a succession of United States Presidents had weird facial hair and wives were considered property and black people had only recently attained legal status of human beings and were frequently tarred and feathered. And shit: what fate do you suppose befell white women who were "attracted to men [of color]" in the Jim Crow South?
Now we know why Mr. Obama stunned everyone with an earlier similar bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, only the bow to the Japanese emperor was far more flamboyant, a sign of a really deep sense of inferiority. He was only practicing his bow in Riyadh. Sometimes rituals are learned with difficulty. It took Bill Clinton months to learn how to return a military salute worthy of a commander in chief; like any draft dodger, he kept poking a thumb in his eye until he finally got it. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, seems right at home now giving a wow of a bow. This is not the way an American president impresses evildoers that he's strong, tough and decisive, that America is not to be trifled with.
But Mr. Obama, unlike his predecessors, likely knows no better, and many of those around him, true children of the grungy '60s, are contemptuous of custom. Cutting America down to size is what attracts them to "hope" for "change." It's no fault of the president that he has no natural instinct or blood impulse for what the America of "the 57 states" is about. He was sired by a Kenyan father, born to a mother attracted to men of the Third World and reared by grandparents in Hawaii, a paradise far from the American mainstream. [Emphasis added.]
It would appear that I have just described the world to which the Cretinous Bigot Pruden pines for his everlasting return.* More accurately, it's the wold in which Pruden lives.**
A couple of things. First, sample other people's outrage over Pruden's editorial (it's never good to be outraged alone!) at the blog The Atlantic Wire, on the Web site of the Atlantic Monthly.
Second, having conducted some light spade-work, it appears that the editor-in-chief emeritus of The Washington Times and Arkansas native has been a longtime activist for neo-Confederate causes. Frankly, I'm somewhat stumped as to what those causes could be. But in the meantime, behold the following picture of Pruden saluting the Confederate Flag:
* That's right. I said Cretinous Bigot.
** Oh, and Hawaii is a state, dick. Once upon a time, people like you spewed the same hot air about...uh...California.