That Dan Quayle. What a Maroon!

Alienating the Poles with an absolutely bone-headed remark about “Polish Death Camps”. He’s as stupid as Sarah Palin and all those other Republican dunces the MSM chuckles about!

Oh. Wait.

  • Carbon Monoxide

    I believe he was reading from a teleprompter at the time. So it was probably not just a slip of the tongue.

  • http://mcbabyadventures.wordpress.com Silica

    I can understand why Poles would be upset about this, but honestly, it took someone else explaining the offense for me to read “Polish death camps” as something besides “Nazi death camps in Poland.” I can’t imagine at all that the President meant anything else. Still, an apology is a good idea.

    • Michelle

      It’s one thing for an ordinary American to be clueless as to the implied offensiveness and quite another for the American president to be as clueless. The President’s protocol office is supposed to have him up-to-date on stuff like this. Instead, they have him enraging Poles by insinuating that all Poles were Nazis and enraging Americans by having him bow from the waist to the Saudi king.

    • str

      But beware, lest anyone should say “niggardly”

    • http://ecben.wordpress.com Will

      I believe Mark’s point is that if a Republican said it, we would never be allowed to forget it.

  • Catherine

    Did you mean “moron” instead of “maroon”?
    One is a description of a person and the other is a color……….

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moron

    • Michelle

      Catherine, in this context “maroon” is urban slang: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=maroon

      • str

        I thought “maroon” was used to point out that the one complaining is the actual moron! (In a way, a notch up from those railing against “fundamental Christians”!)

    • Dean

      “What a maroon. What an ignoranamous. ” is uttered by Bugs Bunny.

  • John C

    George Bush. “Nucular”. Much, much worse. Because, ya know, George Bush was an idiot. And Obama is, like, super-intelligent.

  • Carbon Monoxide

    Carter said “Nucular” and he was a nuclear engineer. So did Clinton and he was an adulterer.

    • Harpy

      Baaa hahaha!!! :)

  • victor

    This WSJ editorial explains just why Poles find this sort of “slip-up”, and the implicit accusation of complicity with the occupying Nazi regime that it carries, so offensive: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303674004577435262640946168.html

    Imagine anyone saying “Polish deathcamps” to Karol Wojtyla’s face. He’d have laid them out cold with one punch.

  • Sandra Miesel

    I was watching the NBC Evening News last night with clips of each Presidential comment on the honorees–except the fatal mistake on Karski’s. Did anyone else watch? Was Karski even mentioned? I did scowl at Obama praising Dylan as America’s greatest musical talent in history., too.

    • Mark Shea

      Generation Narcissus: All human history begins with us. We are music and we write the songs.

    • John C

      Agree with Sandra. Dylan did not appear to know where he was. He did not thank the President. But he did make it back to his chair without assistance. Good job, Bob!

  • Andy, Bad Person

    “I did scowl at Obama praising Dylan as America’s greatest musical talent in history., too.”

    Which is unbelievably arrogant and ignorant of him, too. But then, this is a culture that begins and ends with pop music. Greatest musical talent? More than Aaron Copland, Scott Joplin, Sousa, and many more popular and obscure composers and musicians too numerous to list?

  • John C

    Anyone who knows any history knows that the Polish state was taken over by the Nazis, and that these were Nazi death camps. Only the ignorant, the shallow, or the press would make a big deal out of this. And obviously some Polish politicians. No further apology necessary. Let the chips fall.

    • str

      Actually, only the ignorant, the shawllow etc. would claim that Nazis took over the Polish state. Nazis took over the German state, similiar or allied movements took over other states but Poland was overrun by the German (and Soviet) militaries and occupied. There was no Polish state at the time! One who otherwise is so insistent on sensibilities should be careful not to utter such insulting words! Apology needed from the president, no apology possible from his apologists!

      Oh, and no, I’m not Polish!

      • John C

        Um . . . . . um . . . . . oh never mind!

  • http://seraphicsinglescummings.blogspot.com Seraphic

    Unfortunately, the repetition of “Polish death camps” enforces the libel that Poles were complicit with the German occupiers during the Holocaust. Everyone has heard that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust; there is not as much emphasis on the fact that six million residents of Poland were killed in the Holocaust: three million Jews and three million Christians. Anyone who knows the history of 20th century of Poland understands perfectly well why Poles get so upset by the phrase “Polish death camp.” Poles have been trying for some time to get media outlets to stop referring to the camps set up by the occupying Germans in their country as “Polish death camps.”

    Anti-Polish prejudice is not exactly new in the West. When I was a child in the 1970s it was still deemed acceptable to tell “Polack” jokes in Canada and the USA. And rumours persist that the Poles were and are somehow more anti-Semitic than other nationals. And then, to add insult to injury, Westerners who think they know history complain about the Poles being ungrateful for their rescue during World War II. As a matter of history, the West did not rescue them. Nobody saved them in September 1939 and then, in 1945, despite the pleading of the Polish government in exile, Churchill and Roosevelt took a chance and gave them up to Stalin. It was not the Allies’ finest hour.

    • John C

      In my little town, it’s still OK to tell Polish jokes.

      • http://seraphicsinglescummings.blogspot.com Seraphic

        Why? Does it have a big Polish-American population? Or does it have (or did it have) a big German-American population? According to Wikipedia, Polish jokes were first brought to the USA by German immigrants in the 19th century. I guess I’m wondering why in some places it is socially acceptable to tell jokes about some ethnic groups but not others. And I mean that in an honest way, not in a “how dare you” kind of way.

        • Mark Shea

          The only ethnic group it is now acceptable to joke about is the French.

  • http://seraphicsinglescummings.blogspot.com Seraphic

    Unfortunately, the repetition of “Polish death camps” enforces the libel that Poles were complicit with the German occupiers during the Holocaust. Everyone has heard that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust; there is not as much emphasis on the fact that six million residents of Poland were killed in the Holocaust: three million Jews and three million Christians. Anyone who knows the history of 20th century of Poland understands perfectly well why Poles get so upset by the phrase “Polish death camp.” Poles have been trying for some time to get media outlets to stop referring to the camps set up by the occupying Germans in their country as “Polish death camps.” This is something that the White House should have known.

    Anti-Polish prejudice is not exactly new in the West. When I was a child in the 1970s it was still deemed acceptable to tell “Polack” jokes in Canada and the USA. And rumours persist that the Poles were and are somehow more anti-Semitic than other nationals. And then, to add insult to injury, Westerners who think they know history complain about the Poles being ungrateful for their rescue during World War II. As a matter of history, the West did not rescue them. Nobody saved them in September 1939 and then, in 1945, despite the pleading of the Polish government in exile, Churchill and Roosevelt took a chance and gave them up to Stalin. It was not the Allies’ finest hour.

  • Michaelus

    Obama probably was thinking of The Painted Bird – a book that portrayed the Poles as collaborators. It was all the rage back in the late 1970′s and early 80s before the author was exposed as a liar.

  • j. blum

    A maroon was a former slave (Spanish cimarron) who lived outside of the colonized slaveholding areas of the Caribbean. Naturally, slaveholding society spoke in anxious tones of the maroons’ bestial savagery. By the time the term got to Bugs, it was, arguably, close to “Polack” as a term for unsophisticated oafishness. In the long lost heyday of University of Chicago football (ending with Jay Berwanger in the 30s), the Maroons were a Big Ten power.

    • Mark Shea

      I am *extremely* dubious about your etymology. I think the term is, on the lips of Bugs Bunny, quite obviously a corruption of “moron”.

      • http://offhandshooting.blogspot.com Dauvit Balfour

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maroon_(people).

        As one of these commenters points out, American marines were pretty involved in Haiti in the ’20s, so it’s possible that the word was widely understood. Yes, it’s probably just a mispronunciation, but a lot of old Looney Toons are packed with references to things we don’t get anymore, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the etymology were correct.

        Also, I think you meant to say “*extremely* doubtful“. Or that you thought the etymology extremely dubious. I doubt you are dubious.

  • trespinos

    Yes, the President’s writer screwed up royally, and if the President were smarter than he is, he would have caught it. Apology required. But the Polish Foreign Minister’s characterization of our President is decidedly undiplomatic and offensive in its own way (even if true). Our embassy ought to be receiving an apology from him. Any diplomat worth his salt should have said it…um…in a more veiled way.

    • victor

      Your dead ancestors, who were in fact slaughtered by the Nazis, were just called Nazis by the leader of the Free World. How would you react?

      • Mark Shea

        Not “ancestors”. Fathers. Mothers. Husbands. Wives. Brothers. Sisters. Best friends. Lovers. Children. Favorite priest. Beloved sports hero. Fellow parishioners. Neighbors.

        Obama was Epic Incompetent here.

      • trespinos

        A tiny bit more charitably, hopefully. Tough, to be sure. But especially since Poland is still reputed to be a majority Catholic nation. Higher standards, and all that.

  • http://seraphicsinglescummings.blogspot.com Seraphic

    Say that after your county has simply wiped off the map twice, once for over a century, and then for six years while six million inhabitants (half Christian, half Jewish) were murdered, and only re-emerging afterwards under the control of a foreign. virulently anti-Christian dictator. If you read the history of 20th century Poland, you will see why Poles are rather insistent that their friends actually prove that they are friends these days.

    The Welsh haven’t been through all that, and you can bet your bottom dollar they’d be mad if the President of the United States marked a solemn occasion by talking about “welshing on a promise.”


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