No. It’s Not Just About the Gay Couple in the Ad

Embarrassed by the outburst of jingoism from some on the right, damage control is kicking in to say that it was just the gay couple in the Coke ad that has everybody up in arms. Um, no:

In fact, the initial reactions were not about the gay couple. I didn’t even catch that image in the rapid flashes that composed the montage.  Starnes had a half dozen tweets on this ad and they were all about ginning up panic about them furriners.  Particularly prominent was the terror of using other languages in the ad. (I always wonder how such people feel about Hebrew, Latin, and Greek in the Mass.)

Chalk it up to One More Reason the Right Keeps Losing Ground, even with a Prez as weak as this one.

Here’s how immigration to America works and always has.  People come from foreign land with their culture and language of which they are rightly proud.  Nativists recoil in fear of the Other.  Somebody gets the bright idea that foreigners are remarkably like human beings and welcomes them and advocates for them.  Grateful immigrant responds with gratitude, starts to settle in.  Kids come.  They speak language of old country at home and American English salted with their own slang, which beefs up American English–a language that has always had a penchant for borrowing from other tongues.  Connections continue to be made between immigrants and kids and the people who were smart enough to welcome them instead of treating them like an invading virus.  Grandkids come.  They speak only American English unless they go to college, have their consciousness raised about The Immigrant Experience, and set out to deliberately study Yiddish, Romanian, Spanish, or Russian.

Through all of human history, what determines the dominant language is not the immigrant, but the political, economic, and social power of a particular language group.  So Greek became the dominant tongue after Alexander.  Latin became the dominant tongue with the ascendancy of Rome–and remained that way for centuries.  The tribal peoples who looked back on the dominance of Rome did not flood Rome with foreign tongues, they instead found themselves flooded with Latinized languages.  One of them, French, was the, ahem, Lingua Franca, when France was top dog.  In the New World, the Spanish conquerors did not find the impoverished Natives drowning their tongue in native dialects.  They made Spanish the dominant language.  And with the rise of the British and then American superpowers, English took first violin.

Right now, the US is still on top of the global power pile, so English is the dominant tongue and will remain so as long as America is powerful.  Immigrants who come here to make a life for themselves will learn English because you can’t make a ton of money here without knowing it–and that’s why people come here.  Meanwhile, all the language instructors are teaching ESL to China, not teaching Americans Chinese.

Should China become the dominant economic power in the next century, Americans will either learn Chinese or wash out of the competition.  They will not suddenly lose their English and start speaking Spanish.  People who promote panic about such stuff do so for a political purpose: because they have stupidly chosen to belong to a political tribe that has made Fear of the Other part of its bread and butter in holding on to power.  It’s a doomed strategy, of course, and is one of the reasons the Right keeps losing the Latino vote–and elections.

Case in point: A couple of years ago, I remember Latino Catholics–conservatives–trying to talk reason to the readers of Crisis after John Zmirak wrote a ridiculously inflammatory piece called “Amnesty Equals Abortion” in which he argued that the very very smart thing for conservatives to do is treat their fellow Catholics from South of the border as invading enemy aliens since (for some unfathomable reason) they felt more welcomed by Democrats and tended to vote for them.  It did not enter the minds of these very very smart combox conservatives that–maybe–if they embraced this population with which they have so many affinities–pro-family, hard work ethic, pro-life, religious conservatives–they might actually get their votes.  But no: the Right, then as now, was bent on weeding out heretics and alien Others, not making converts.  So the meme became Amnesty Equals Abortion and all but the most dedicated Latino conservatives were sent packing to go vote for Dems. Strangely, the Dems won. Very very smart.

As long as the Thing that Used to be Conservatism is the natural home for attitudes like those in that graphic at the top, it can expect to lose more and more elections.  As long as the tiniest peep of common sense such as “It’s stupid to talk about deporting 11 million people who are thoroughly integrated into our economy, so let’s deal with reality and help them fully integrate into the the rest of our society” is shouted down with this…

…the Right can expect to keep losing.

Solution?  Think like Catholics and not like jingos.  One of the genius strokes of America is that it managed to somehow internalize a Catholic ethos about welcoming different cultures while simultaneously reconciling them.  No.  The record has not been spotless as our treatment of Africans and Natives attests. The Klan and the Know Nothings we have with us in our history (and Catholics suffered at the hands of both). But at the same time, consider the astonishing spectacle of a country where people from nations filled with ethnic and political hatreds going back millennia have come here and, within a couple of generations, such hatreds seem like something out of legend. Grandsons of Turks buy gyros from granddaughters of Greeks and shoot the breeze about the Seahawks. There are no Orangemen bombing St. Patrick’s parades.  My Croatian-descended co-worker did not dream of slaughtering her Serb-descended grocer.  And as a rabbi I know once remarked, “The biggest problem American Jews face is not that Christians want to kill them; it’s  that they want to marry them.”  Give immigrants a couple of generations and what you invariably find is that when they travel abroad, nobody looks at them and thinks “Russian” or “Vietnamese” or “Latino”.  They think “American”.

So relax, conservative Coke drinkers: the brown horde is not coming to steal your country.  Try doing the Catholic thing and welcoming the alien, the orphan and the widow.

  • John

    Do you ever worry about the danger of choking to death on your own moral indignation?

    • chezami

      I’m not feeling indignant. That’s for guys like Starnes, freaking out over a dumb ad and flooding Twitter with marching orders on how angry people are supposed to feel. I’m feeling bemused, watching the Thing that Used to be Conservatism continue to review the options and select the dumbest possible one to go with. Coke ad: A)Enjoy for a second, B) Ignore, C) Launch frenzied culture war against Spanish-speaking potential voters? C! Oh, yes! C!!!!!


      • Sus_1

        It’s almost like an enemy has infiltrated the GOP. But no, they are doing it to themselves.

  • James Scott

    Amnesty is a bad idea for conservatives so I oppose it. If the majority of people who came from Mexico voted Republican instead of Democrat then the Dems would be boarder hawks and concerned with boarder security & the Republicans would be calling for a path to citizenship.

    The majority of Cubans it seems come here and vote Republican so we hear little about their plight from the usual suspects.

    • ahightower

      Thanks for that frank admission that the right also cares more about its power than it does actual people.

      • James Scott

        Why do leftist enablers like yourself assume it’s power for it’s own sake? If the Dems didn’t already push big government tyranny (worst then the stupid party), abolition of the 1st amendment redressed as a “war on women”, hyper-spending and a welfare state, and abortion as a civil right that trumps other rights (like the first amendment) then I would have no problem with taking a moderate position like Jonah Goldberg once advocated.

        This is the lesser of two unavoidable evils according to my prudent judgement. There is no viable third choice IMHO.

        But name call & imitate Mark’s Media Mattters with Rosary beads meme all you like. I can give as good as I get Commie. ;-)

        • chezami

          “Why do leftist enablers like yourself assume it’s power for it’s own sake?”

          Because you said amnesty is a bad idea for conservatives, thereby making clear that you don’t give a shit about justice or common sense, but merely care about conservative power. And your message comes through loud and clear to the people you are talking about–which is why you will keep losing elections and blaming somebody else.

          • James Scott

            I love how you are under the delusion you know more about what my motives are then I am.

            Mark when it comes to politics you are about as civilized to those who disagree with you as a Radtrad is about the liturgy or Vatican II.

            • chezami

              I can’t read your motives, just your words. I would suggest you try the same with me and stop saying stupid crap like comparing me to Media Matters because I’m not in lockstep with the right when it behave idiotically. You’ll read Media Matters a long time before your find a criticism of Andrew Cuomo or Planned Parenthood.

              • James Scott

                So you think I compare you to Media Matters because I somehow think you are a secret Cuomo or Planned Parenthood supporter?

                You are hopeless.

                • chezami

                  No. I you compare me to Media Matters because you don’t know what you are talking about.

                  • James Scott

                    I don’t think you know what you are talking about so we are even.

            • Marthe Lépine

              Do you see a plank? By the way, I am not in your country and I do hear loud and clear what is being expressed by what you are saying and especially by your tone.

        • ahightower

          I made no comment on which party I prefer, nor did I call names. You are not winning any converts carrying on like that, amigo.

          • James Scott

            You said ” the right also cares more about its power than it does actual people.”.

            Well I am on the right and I do care about people & I see no reason to give more power to a party that will lead to more tyranny for it’s citizens even for those we give amnesty too.

            They might as well stay in Mexico.

          • chezami

            Contrary to what you might think, I do not pay James to be a living illustration of my point that the Right is far more interested in burning heretics than in winning converts. He just does it for free.

            • James Scott

              So political disagreement with Mark is the equivalent of burning heretics?

              The Media Matters with Rosary Meme is alive and well with Mark.

              • Marthe Lépine

                Not really, James. It’s the name-calling that does it

            • ahightower

              Truly, I was just about to call you out on this. I still smell a conspiracy…

    • Almario Javier

      So if the majority of Spanish-speakers voted Republican, you’d support more immigration of them?

      And how about the fact that a lot of English-onlyers would take issue of the fact I speak a foreign language, even though most of my demographic votes Republican for President?

      • James Scott

        What part of “I am indifferent to the English Only Meme” do you still not understand?

        >So if the majority of Spanish-speakers voted Republican, you’d support more immigration of them?

        That is very tempting yes. Just as I might accept a Pro-life ruling from a social conservative judicial activist lose constructionist.

    • Mariana Baca

      There are other options than “kick them out” or “give them citizenship”, you know… like far increased system of work permits or residence permits, which don’t automatically entitle one to vote, but would entitle people to work and pay taxes and regularize their situation slowly without being a threat to a political party or to national security.

      • chezami

        There are indeed all sorts of reasonable approaches to the problem. The difficulty is that minds like Mr. Scott’s almost instant turn to photoshopping sombreros or calling people “commies”–and they tend to prevail in the Thing that Used to be Conservatism. So no rational conversation happens.

  • James Scott

    Zmirak is of course correct the majority of Latinos are pro-life but they still vote blue for the party of Abortion.

    Except for Cubans.

    • Almario Javier

      When you see how the party of life treats Latinos, at least one faction of them (I’m thinking the Arpaio wing here) are we surprised that they refuse to vote for the Republicans? I don’t condone it, but you have to understand where they come from.

      • James Scott

        I support reaching out to Latinos. But till we do that and get enough of you on board then I remain unchanged in my aproch.

        • Jared Clark

          If anyone wonders why enough of “them” aren’t on board, just read James’s comment. -_-

          • James Scott

            So it’s my fault then? Good to know commie.

            • Jared Clark

              I am not a communist..and yes, that attitude you embrace drives people to vote for abortion-supporting politicians.

              • James Scott

                I am not responsible for Latinos voting overwhelmingly for dems & if use of the term “them” bugs you I suggest you are too PC.

                • Jared Clark

                  Dude, I’m Catholic. That’s about as non-PC as you can get. But keep throwing those labels…one will stick eventually, I’m sure.

                • chezami

                  Very very smart.

            • chezami

              And you’re done here.

              • Jared Clark

                I was wondering what baseless accusation he’d throw next. Oh well….

                • James Scott BenYachov

                  Excuse me buddy! I know Mark has lowed the boom and I am not welcome here but I will defend my character ban or nor ban but as I told that hightower guy if you are going to name call and cast aspersions I can give as good as I get. Hence calling him a Commie.

                  I don’t know who you are but you don’t know anything about me and out of the blue started accusing me of being the reason Latinos don’t vote GOP is fighting words.

                  You didn’t even try to argue the prudence of that approach like Kevin or ask me questions like Beadgirl.

                  I am gad I got banned. It only shows Mark hasn’t changed in the way he treats people who disagree with him politically. I see no reason why he then shouldn’t be treated the same way as he treats others in that regard.

                  Good day to you sir.

                  I said Good Day!

                  • chezami

                    James: Basic ettiquette: You don’t call total strangers “Commie”. Apologize and you can come back. Blame somebody else and you just get banned again.

              • Rosemarie


                Well, I’m in a pickle here. It’s possible Jim may read this post and if he does I hope he understands that I’m not disrespecting him, and I hope the rest of you understand that as well. It’s something I try to avoid.

                Anyway, Jim is my husband, I love him dearly, but like many couples we don’t agree on every issue. He knows that, we’ve debated these matters before. I’d like to say more but I can’t think of how I could phrase it that won’t come off wrong. So I hope this will serve as enough of a disclaimer for me.

                • BenYachov Jim Scott

                  My love you can disagree with me since I know you won’t cast aspersions on my character for holding a different political opinion.

                  In addition to the voting I don’t see how you can have near open immigration and a growing welfare state. People trapped in the Welfare state tend to vote for it & that also means more Abortion anti-Catholics dems in power.

        • Beadgirl

          And what is your approach? Do I understand you correctly that we should limit immigration from Latin America until enough Latinos vote the right way? That strikes me as the complete opposite of what the United States is supposed to be about.

    • Beadgirl

      Maybe it’s because some of us can tell the difference between being anti-abortion and being pro-life. Or maybe it’s because we recognize that the GOP is using abortion as a cudgel to drum up more votes, but never seems to actually ever do anything about it.

      • James Scott

        I agree the Republicans never do anything about abortion. I only vote for them because more often then not they don’t make it worst.

        I vote for the lesser of two evils. I have no other way to deal with it other then drop out of the political process and cede it all too the Commie dems.

      • Dave

        That would be a good reason not to vote GOP, perhaps, but not a reason to vote for the Dems. Not sure if that is what you are saying.

        • Beadgirl

          I would certainly never vote for a Democrat *because* he or she supports abortion. I have voted for Democrats *despite* being pro-abortion, because 1) the candidate would not actually have any say on the legality of abortion (i.e. a city official), and/or 2) I live in an exceedingly blue state, such that even if the Republican candidate genuinely wanted to outlaw abortion, it could not happen, and/or 3) the Democratic candidate was more likely to remedy another evil than the Republican candidate was likely to remedy the evil of abortion.

          • Dave

            I wouldn’t vote for anyone supporting legal abortion. Boiling it down, if someone is wrong on an issue that fundamental, I can’t trust or respect them at all. I understand your thinking process, however.

            • Beadgirl

              I used to be pro-choice, so I get how people can be wrong on that issue. But I also get that it is a deal-breaker for some.

              • Dave

                Heh, I used to be pro-choice too, and I remember how confused and ignorant my thinking was, and not just on that issue. So, ironically it leads to differing viewpoints.

    • Kevin Tierney

      And people like Zmirak, while not the sole cause for why they don’t vote Republican, are a big reason. Its the same reason why Asians don’t, and Asians should be an even more natural fit than Latinos for the GOP, especially one that targets the upscale. When some of your most outspoken voices go on TV and speculate that most Latino immigrants are coke mules….. here we are.

      • Thomas R

        According to Pew Research Asian-American Christians actually lean a bit Republican or are somewhat evenly divided.

        But the majority of Asian-Americans are either non-religious or Eastern religious. And on “social issues” the value of non-Christian Asian-Americans I think tend to be fairly liberal.

  • introvert_prof

    They speak language of old country at home and American English salted with their own slang, which beefs up American English–a language that has always had a penchant for borrowing from other tongues.

    English doesn’t just “borrow.” As someone once observed, American English has been known to chase other languages down dark alleyways, beat them unconscious, and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

    • chezami

      No kidding. We love grabbing stuff from other languages. And when we can’t we make up stuff just to occupy the time.

    • Beadgirl

      I love that quote! It’s one of my favorite descriptions of English.

  • wlinden

    I am so glad that we have people like you to tell us when we are offended, just like pro-aborts and Christian-baiters keep telling me what I believe.

    • chezami

      I’m not telling you what you believe. I’m noting that some rather important formators of opinion and manufacturers of culture on the right decided to instruct the faithful on the virtues of braindead jingoism and that this is not simply something somebody made up in the fever swamps of MSNBC. As long as the right chooses to welcome, rather than repudiate such thinking, it will continue to lose.

    • Jared Clark

      Are the quotations in the image false? I’d be thrilled to learn that the whole thing is a big lie cooked up by 4chan or something.

    • Jonna

      Are you the Christian who is being baited? I don’t believe pointing out poor reactions of some folks is baiting.

  • Jared Clark

    Didn’t notice the gay couple either.

    It still strikes me as odd that people think it unpatriotic to sing about the awesomeness of our nation in as many languages as one commercial will allow…

    • chezami

      That’s because it is odd.

    • Beadgirl

      The sad thing is, my second thought upon seeing the commercial was “Oh man, some conservatives are going to have a fit.” I really wish I had been wrong.

      (My first thought was “cool!”)

  • SteveP

    What gay couple? I don’t recall seeing anyone happily dancing but admit I did not pay attention; I’m not currently in the market for beer, shampoo, or soda-pop.

    • ahightower

      At least, not the crappy beer that advertises during the super bowl… ;-)

      • Beadgirl

        Mr. Beadgirl and I have often wondered why, if the Superbowl is supposed to be this big beer-drinking occasion, the commercials are always for the worst beers.

        • chezami

          My guess is, the best beers don’t need to boast.

        • Mike

          The really good beers don’t need to advertise!

        • Marthe Lépine

          The bad beers want to look good in case someone still does not know they are bad.

        • capaxdei

          After one Bud Light commercial ended with the usual tagline, “Drink Responsibly,” my son said, “If you’re drinking responsibly, then you’re not drinking Bud Light.”

  • ivan_the_mad

    Whatever happened to Lady Liberty’s proud sentiment, immortalized in Lazarus’ “The New Colossus”?

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    • Gabriel Blanchard

      I guess it went bad. What’s the sell-by on poetry, anyway?

  • chad

    head splitting open… eyes falling out… watching the self-mutilation of john and james scott. For the love of pete and repete, stop before you self-implode into a time-space vortex putting you back on the boat of your ancestors where you push them overboard for lack of political purity. Reason #54 why I kick violently when someone assumes that just because I am conservative that I am a Republican.

  • Sam Ferraro

    The ad was typical left wing propaganda. What else is new?

  • peggy

    I did not see the homosexuals in the ad. I didn’t see the whole ad as I was preparing dinner, but heard it as I cooked nearby. I did not despise it. I found it odd. They got the “e pluribus” right. The “unum” was missing. Had they all ended singing the last line or two in English together, that would have really made it a great commercial

    • virago


    • Thomas R

      “Had they all ended singing the last line or two in English together, that would have really made it a great commercial”

      I do kind of agree with that and I’m not as into that phrase.

    • Adavis2087

      The unum part that you found missing was there. It was the expression of American ideals. That expression will always take different forms including various languages. The whole idea of the add is that we can be united and simultaneously diverse.

  • Gabriel Blanchard

    Treating illegal immigrants as hostile invaders. Wow. I thought my friends and I had it bad when a commenter compared coming out as gay to getting an abortion. But at least Scripture and tradition are comparatively silent on coming out, whereas the whole “cherish the stranger and alien within your gates” thing goes back to, like, pre-Vatican II days.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      Possibly even pre-Vatican I.

      • Kevin Tierney

        There are rumors people believed it before Trent, but my research doesn’t go back so far to ancient days.

  • tteague

    We saw the add, and when it was done turned to each other and said it was beautiful and cool. There may be reasons (apart from selling Coke) why the ad was made with which I might or might not agree. I’m not judging intentions, for I really don’t know and won’t presume to know. But if America is a country founded on a idea, and we believe that idea is a good one, then any evidence that that idea is loved around the world is rather amazing considering human history. Those who hate the add just look silly. Perhaps it’s somewhat akin to getting upset someone translated a sacred hymn from German to French, or the New Testament into English because the original is in Greek. Anyway, I love this country, but I don’t worship it, and I don’t believe the song ‘America the Beautiful’ is an untouchable, sacred cow.

    oh, and this: “My family has had problems with immigrants ever since we came to this country.” ~ Charles Emerson Winchester III

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    But the other day, you linked to a blog by Matt Walsh, the gist of which was that, except for a couple of fringies, especially from those who depend on sensationalism to get hits, there really was no such outpouring of right-wing dudgeon. He illustrated this by using phrases like ‘kill puppies’ to show how easy it was to harvest moronic sentiments off Twitter and similar bastions of reasoned discourse. Mr. Walsh suspected the hoo-hah was simply because the Usual Suspect just knew how them troglodyte righties would react and began reacting to the imagined reaction, eventually harvesting some comments from their opposite numbers.

    Me, I was offended because none of the voices in the commercial appeared to be singing in German. Was ist lohs mit das!?

    In an 1859 report entitled “Progress of the English Language,” the Northampton County (PA) Superintendent of Schools noted that of the 9004 pupils for the school year ending 1 June 1858:
    1,318 spoke English Only
    3,149 spoke English & German
    4,537 spoke German Only

    That is, half of all public school kids in the country spoke only German. And 85% spoke German and possibly some English in addition. (In our parish school this was likely 100% German-speaking.) The Superintendent noted:

    “But the difficulty lies not therein, as some superficial observers seem to think, because our children speak German, but because they do not speak English. It is not the presence of the German language which causes the difficulty, but the absence of English.”

    A few years earlier, my birth parish’s foundation was announced in Der Unabhängige Demokrat (Sept. 30, 1852), as follows:

    Neue Kirche
    Nächsten Sonntag, den 3 Oktober, wird der Hochwürdigste Herr Bischoff aus Philadelphia, John Nep. Neumann den Grundstein zur deutschen Römisch
    Kirche, in Süd Easton, Lecha Anhöhe, um 3 Uhr nachmittags feierlich legen.
    Rudolph Etthofer
    Kath. Pastor

    That’s why everyone in America today speaks German. English was overwhelmed with a flood of German-speaking immigrants after the ’48. Every year in Easton was held the “Schwabenfest,” a big parade through town and a parish picnic-carnival, of which even the English newspaper took note.

    Not. But even so late as when I was a Kinder, the Allentown Call-Chronicle had a weekly column in its Sunday edition: “Die Pennsylfawnische Deitche Ecke,” written in Pennsylvanian. My mother learned her prayers in German in the parish school, and the last native-born German pastor retired after I had left for college.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      My German great-grandparents forbade my grandparents from speaking German. They had to speak English at home so my great-grandparents could learn it from them.
      From my perspective, there wasn’t nearly so much fear and trembling about immigration until the economy started to go downhill. Then it became a big cause for concern. I think the US has an interest in helping Mexico against the drug cartels and helping Mexico become a more stable place. Some folks I know sort of hyperventilate when I say that, though.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        Oh, there was indignation back then, too. The Know Nothings were very much anti-immigrant: mostly anti-Irish and anti-German because they were Catholic. I saw a political cartoon once that portrayed a German with a beer barrel for a body and an Irishman with a whiskey bottle for a body running off with a ballot box held between them.

        In May 1844, there was a 3-day anti-Catholic riot in Philadelphia that left 13 dead, two churches and a monastery burned, a 5000-book library burned, and scores of private homes suspected of being Catholic. It started in an American Party (Know Nothing) rally when an Irishman leading a horsecart full of night soil “accidentally” dumped it on the speaker’s platform.

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          The prohibitionists were all wound up in the anti-immigrant sentiment of the time, too, as I recall. The big beer breweries were owned by Germans, after all. I was specifically thinking about the past few decades. It seems like, when the economy was up during the end of Clinton’s admin. and until it began to go down during Bush’s second term, there was very little national focus on immigrants, and less of the animosity against illegal immigrants. That could just be my perception, though. It feels like the faceless illegal immigrant has become a scapegoat for the poor economy and bad republican showings in the past few elections. For some people, anyway.

    • chezami

      Yes. That was his contention. However, Todd Starnes, Allen West, and Breitbart insist that “conservatives” were right to be “outraged” and did their level best to fuel as much dudgeon as they they could. So it would appear that Mr. Walsh’s picture doesn’t gibe with three of the Manufacturers of Opinion for the Right. I suspect the bulk of people whether conservative of liberal, used the ad as a chance to hit the loo. But these particular manufacturers of opinion for the right rushed to their Twitter accounts to alert the nation to the dire threat of the Alien Other singing Our Song in their barbarous tongues. Which was, of course, very very smart.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        Never heard of the three loons you name.

        • chezami

          Allen West is a darling of conservative punditocracy, as is Starnes, who is a doyenne at FOX. He emitted a bunch of tweets in addition to the one in the poster. Breitbart is a major organ of conservative news and opinion, not a person (Andrew Breitbart, its founder, was a person, but he’s dead now.) My point is, this was not like the MSNBC myth of panic over a Cheerios commercial for which I saw zero evidence. This was conservative mover/shakers themselves choosing to have conniptions in public. That Mr. Walsh did not have conniptions does not negate the fact that others did and that one of their largest organs of opinion instructed them they were right to be “outraged”.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Well, at least three did. I don’t think of bloggers or talking heads as movers and shakers, but YMMV. Let me know when George Will or Thomas Sowell or even Newt Gingrich have hissy fits over this. (I mean other than that the commercial was facile and manipulative.) Some pundits of the right, like Rodrigues, Derbyshire, et al. are themselves immigrants. Bobby Jindal is the son of immigrants, and Nikki Haley the daughter.

            This is a matter of organized complexity, not disorganized complexity.

            • chezami

              Nobody’s saying everybody on the Right sends this message. I am saying, however, that the Right is the only sector that regularly emits this message–and that Latinos have gotten the message loud and clear. Just ask any of my (conservative) Latino readers.

            • chezami

              Does Phyllis Schlafly still count as a mover/shaker on the Right? The message seems pretty clear.

      • Kevin Tierney

        Sidebar, can someone tell me what’s the big freaking deal with Matt Walsh? Why do so many Catholics I know love the heck out of him, and I just look at him and go “what’s the big deal?”

        • chezami

          I’m behind the curve. The only Matt Walsh piece I’ve ever seen was the one I linked.

        • rakowskidp

          I’d really like to know the answer to this question. My fellow parishioners post links to his blog all the time, and I’ve yet to figure out why they think he’s so amazing.

  • AndyNowicki
    • chezami

      Thank you for doing your part, along with Mr. Scott, to demonstrate that the brainless jingoism I’m talking about is quite real.

  • Stu

    I just want to point out the peace that not watching TV brings.

    • guest


  • OpenlyCatholic

    Happy to welcome anyone. But they need to — no, MUST — learn English, for our sake and theirs. Very few Americans object to immigration, but we do object to the disrespect and disregard shown by people who choose to come live here and then refuse to learn the predominate language (which, BTW, is the lingua franca of the Western World) and assimilate even that far in our culture. Every previous generation of immigrants came here seeking to be American. Too many immigrants today just come here to suck off the system, while telling Americans and their culture to frak off. That being said, the ad didn’t bother me (especially since it wasn’t just English and Spanish, which would have been absurd and insulting to all the other immigrant groups here), but the gay couple did bother me. Enough frakking already with the gay gay gay gay …

  • Stu

    I remember always hearing about the “ugly American” abroad who refused to speak the native tongue of the countries he was visiting.

    I think there should be an expectation that immigrants learn English when they come to become a part of this great country. All part of becoming the team.

    And not everyone who objects to this add is doing so because of “brainless jingoism”. Some have a concern, rightly or wrongly, that we are seeing a Balkanization of the Nation. Again, rightly or wrongly, that is their belief and it is well-intentioned. At least that was what I was hearing at work today from a bunch of Sailors who routinely travel the World and bring home wives from all over. Hardly a close-minded bunch in terms of immigration.

    • Adolfo

      I think I’d be ok with a Balkanization of the Nation. Splitting into 3 or 4 smaller, more manageable, countries makes sense to me.

    • Heather

      Maybe I’m just a dumb Canadian but I’m not sure how “singing a song in one’s language of origin” equates to “celebrating the refusal to learn English.” Being fluent or at least semi-fluent in more than one language is actually pretty normal in much if not most of the world.

      • Stu

        Because in the States, there is a long-standing discussion about the need for immigrants to acclimate to the common culture both for the good of society and the good of the immigrant. And learning English has been a touch point in that debate kind of like head scarves in France.. And this commercial, as well-meaning as it was, inadvertently hit that touch point.

  • Dan C

    Kevin Drum recently noted two things of interest to Republicans. One, he agrees that politically all these folks will vote Democrat. No matter who does amnesty of whatever reform happens. Karl Rove could give every illegal immigrant amnesty and a $500 check and still most will vote Democrats. The second point, this amnesty or reform or whatever is inevitable. His contention is that now is the time and likely to cause less pain for Republicans than delaying this inevitability. The alternative approach is to manage this like a corporation manages taxes and delay as long as possible “paying” for the this.

    I place a third matter forward: there is a desperate need for a pedagogy for conservatives to “welcome the stranger.” These types of pedagogies, as well as a return to embracing the “seamless garment” of life issues will immunize against a dangerous trend that is contaminating conservative discourse which is likewise poisoning the religious discourse.

    These are pragmatic reasons to embrace immigration reform or amnesty, etc. These are easy to come to, and do not even begin to touch upon the matters of justice.

    Just my opinion. The GOP seems to have decided they want to defer the price of legalizing the illegal immigrants now and have sent out the talking points. Douthat does out the reason as related to who these immigrants will likely vote for (Democrats). Republicans claim other matters, but it seems they have done the calculation. Ultimately, immigration reform will occur.

    • Kevin Tierney

      Actually Douthat is more concerned that accepting a giant influx of middle class immigrants will depress wages for already existing American workers. I support immigration reform…… and Douthat’s still right. It’s a problem that we haven’t seen a real response to, and the current repsonses (guest worker programs denied citizenship creating a permanent underclass of non-citizens) really aren’t that great an idea.

      • Kristen inDallas

        how does this explain the many people who are given temporary work visas, but are denied citezenship? The idea that it’s about job loss is hard to back up when youconsider the number of people told that it’s ok to go to school or work here, just not to stay.

  • Kristin

    Do immigrants really refuse to learn English? That’s like refusing to learn how to read.

    I’m a native English speaker, but from what I’ve heard, English is one of the toughest languages to learn. Cut people some slack.

    • Beadgirl

      As I understand it, the vast majority of immigrants do learn English. Whether it takes them a long time or a short time, and how well they master the language, probably has more to do with their resources and language skills rather than indifference.

      • Michael

        Keine Ahnung ob Washington und die Abhängigen mich einen Tag irgendwann wollen. Aber wenn schon, werde ich mich mühe geben, das meine Kinder ihr gutes Englisch behalten und kein Amerikanisch müssen :=

  • Kevin Tierney

    The problem with the GOP base is a lot of their views simply don’t correspond to reality. Even with an “amnesty” and “path to citizenship”, the overwhelming majority of immigrants will chose neither. As Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics pointed out, The Gang of 8 bill, had it been passed for the 2012 election, would not have changed the electoral college votes one bit.

    It would take several election cycles for a difference to begin showing up, and if a party hasn’t figured out how to adapt its message to changing circumstances over decades then it doesn’t deserve to exist.

    There are good reasons to debate immigration reform. Whining that the freeloading foreigners will vote to destroy our country and permanently change our politics isn’t one of them.

    • virago

      I would like to think my views comport to something more enduring than reality.

  • virago

    I thought people migrated here looming for the American Dream; masses yearning to be free? I want folks to be proud of there heritage and please do bring their good food with them but start learning the language so they can better engage their new surroundings.

    But as a conservative libertarian in the Pacific Northwest, your thoughts bemused and puzzled me. If I were liberal I would say I am offended by them. But I am not a liberal so I’m not offended. But, consider this 100, 75 50 30, years ago we did not have press 1 for English of 2 for Spanish and we DoD not have tv stations like telekinesis or any other on English speaking channels. That is going to make a huge difference in the future.

    Remember Reagan had an amnesty initiative but not much happened.

    And, folks here are right, I think most people will vote democrat anyway, the beauty of our constitution is not the easiest thing to wrap heads around. And DWTS or some other reality show is certainly more interesting., right?

    • Beadgirl

      “But, consider this 100, 75 50 30, years ago we did not have press 1 for
      English of 2 for Spanish and we DoD not have tv stations like
      telekinesis or any other on English speaking channels. That is going to
      make a huge difference in the future.”

      I don’t think that necessarily means anything negative. People may be perfectly capable of communicating in English, but feel more comfortable in their native tongue (just as when I was living in Spain or P.R. it was a nice break to occasionally speak English). People may need services in other languages *while* they are learning English — no one can acquire a language instantaneously. Some people may have actual learning disabilities or quirks, or simply a lack of resources, that prevent them from learning English as well or as quickly as they’d like to. As for channels like Telemundo (I assume that’s what you meant) or radio stations in other languages, I don’t see the danger in that. I watch Univision and Mun2 not because I’m anti-English but because I get a kick out of telenovelas, I like latin music, and I don’t want to completely lose my Spanish.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        Telenovelas are hilarious.
        I always wonder how people expect some of these immigrants to learn English while they are working two jobs to make ends meet, or when they are not well educated or literate in their first language. I now this is not all the immigrants, but I remember meeting many parents when I taught who had their hands and schedules full of work and kids. There was no time for classes or leisure.

  • Meggan Conway

    I watched the video again twice. I saw no couple that you could identify as gay. There was a shot of two guys standing next to each other while looking out the window. There was a shot of two guys outside looking at something. There was a shot of two guys roller skating or ice skating and one was reaching out starting to grab the other guy’s hand. Was that it? There was a shot of two boys swimming together. None of those things are things that say “gay” as opposed to “straight.”

    • virago

      What I saw was a little girl skating with her brothers. It was afterwards when I heard that there was at couple that it occurred to me that was what I saw. Maybe I will view it again and see what else I missed.

    • Thomas R

      “Was that it?”

      I believe so yes. One of them looked lovingly at the other in the eyes, their hands were holding while they started to skate, and one had an earring.

      “Heterosexual men”

      One: Do not look at each others eyes unless it’s something like a challenge, job interview, or a business negotiation.

      Two: They do not hold hands, ever, not even to balance each other. It’s better to fall on your face while skating than touch a man in a way that could be deemed not appropriately hetero. (An exception being if the man is clearly elderly so falling could hurt him. Even then you might balance the man more by holding onto his elbow or shoulder)

      Three: They do not wear earrings if they’re over 30. (Well except for the many many men who do)

      This is not totally sincere, I’m kind of being snarky, but I don’t think it’s totally wrong in how TV terms work. I think in “advertizing speak” having two men, in a scene, looking gently at each others eyes is coding for gay.

      • Meggan Conway

        We see what we want to see.

  • ck

    ” Some have a concern, rightly or wrongly, that we are seeing a Balkanization of the Nation.”

    Put another way, there are legitimate concerns about becoming Babylon.

  • FdS

    I’ve watched the ad a half-dozen times now, and for the life of me, I cannot find the supposed “gay couple.” I, for one, do not interpret every instance of two people of the same gender embracing as proof of homosexuality. If this is what we, as a society, now do, Lord help us …

    • Michael

      Ja, ist ziemlich lächerlich…

  • Eve Fisher

    Just a quick shout to everyone who feels that everyone must, must, must learn English to live in America – (1) almost all immigrants already do (I know, I taught ESL for years; and Mark’s right about how it works); (2) has anyone on this list bothered to learn Navajo, Lakota, or other Native American languages? They were here first, and it was their country.

  • PalaceGuard

    I would imagine that, for millions of viewers, the ad merely served as a convenient hiatus in the game, enabling a quick run to the bathroom or fridge.