Glenn Beck’s Voiding the Promissory Note Rally

Look, I understand the suspicion. Glenn Beck's support for "states' rights" raises some red flags. That phrase has, for centuries here in America, been the shorthand euphemism of choice for racists seeking to restrict the rights of minorities in this country — from Calhoun to the Klan to George Wallace to David Duke.

But maybe Beck and his followers are trying to change that heinous history. Maybe they're trying to redefine and redeem this phrase that has, for 200 years, been synonymous with repression.

I mean, come on, it's not like they're trying to repeal the 14th Amendment, right?

What?

Oh.

Oh holy God, these are horrible, horrible people.

  • K.Chen

    Also, perhaps K. Chen will respond to my earnest request for more information on this ‘irregardless’ he’s so fond of?

    My best guess is that its a portmanteau of regardless and irrespective, used any time when you would mean both of those, which are synonyms anyway.

  • http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/rusty Rusty

    ??, can we just call you “English”?
    @Spearmint: My apologies- I forgot to change my name back to English after the “One Letter Name Wars” a few pages back. (It’s the pictogram for ‘rust’.)
    @K. Chen: I see, thank you.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    sharky, there are a lot of people who don’t (or didn’t) use the expression ‘mighty white of you’. So for us, the only connotation it used to have was ‘obscure idiom: probably regional or period usage’.

    I have heard it used exactly once in my life, and the context creeped me out so much that it was hard for me to really appreciate the expression itself, but it did get all wrapped up in a big ball of creepy.
    (Short form: the girl I was dating at the time was thanking me for not taking advantage of her when she’d been drunk. It was something, apparently, she didn’t think most guys would have done in my position.)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mmy mmy

    sharky, there are a lot of people who don’t (or didn’t) use the expression ‘mighty white of you’. So for us, the only connotation it used to have was ‘obscure idiom: probably regional or period usage’.
    I really have problems characterizing as “regional or period” a usage that was common (so common that it is trivially easy to find examples of it) for more than half a decade in popular books and stories published in the United States and commonwealth countries — often in very popular detective or adventure stories written as late as the 1940s.

  • K.Chen

    ??, can we just call you “English”?
    @Spearmint: My apologies- I forgot to change my name back to English after the “One Letter Name Wars” a few pages back. (It’s the pictogram for ‘rust’.)

    I’m pretty sure its not.

  • http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/rusty Rusty, who has a tattoo on his arm of the Chinese pictogram for ‘douche’

    I’m pretty sure its not.
    Ha, you’re right, of course. I’m lazy and copied the wrong bit. So I called myself “English”, which makes my error even funnier (on a whole bunch of levels- very meta). Thanks, ??.

  • spinetingler

    Wasn’t it nice that spinetingler made it clear that anyone with a trigger, be they a sexual assault survivor watching a movie with a graphic rape scene, or a domestic abuse survivor hearing violent language, or even a black person hearing the racist slurs they grew up hearing spat at them from white people roaring by in their cars in the 1960s, the proper response is to tell ‘em “Suck it up, loser! If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the solar system!”
    Absolutely not what I said. Your reading comprehension is lacking.
    Specifically, niggardly (the one word that I’ve been discussing), is emphatically not
    “a black person hearing the racist slurs they grew up hearing spat at them from white people roaring by in their cars in the 1960s.”
    It’s a completely different word that sounds similar, in much the same way that country sounds like cunt. Are you arguing that the word country is offensive to women and should be stricken from use simply because it sounds like an offensive term for female genitalia? If not, why not?

  • Amaryllis

    What, this is still going on?
    @Rusty and K.Chen: Irregardless
    @mmy: I’d say that “period” is an apt description for an expression that went out of use sixty years ago. I’m old, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard it said. Nor have I read it where it was meant seriously rather than sarcastically in anything written since the ’40s.
    Is this the thread where we were talking about music genres? Well, consider “honkytonk.” Now, there’s a slur that seems to have been sanitized in that particular context; but, understandably, a disparaging word for a majority doesn’t pack the same punch.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mmy mmy_who for some reason is feeling very Canadian

    @Amaryllis: I’d say that “period” is an apt description for an expression that went out of use sixty years ago.
    I didn’t say that it went out of use — I mentioned very popular books up to the 1940s* cause that is what I am reading right now.
    so I did I fast check and seriously — a lot of the books that use such phrases are still quite popular today. As in, you can find them in your local megabox book store. I just did a quick online check and I found dozens published since 2000 without any problem. Really.
    *Many still in print.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mmy mmy_who for some reason is feeling very Canadian

    @Amaryllis: I’d say that “period” is an apt description for an expression that went out of use sixty years ago.
    I didn’t say that it went out of use — I mentioned very popular books up to the 1940s* cause that is what I am reading right now.
    so I did I fast check and seriously — a lot of the books that use such phrases are still quite popular today. As in, you can find them in your local megabox book store. I just did a quick online check and I found dozens published since 2000 without any problem. Really.
    *Many still in print.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mmy mmy_who for some reason is feeling very Canadian

    again, sorry typepad just seems to want to doublepost on my behalf tonight.

  • http://www.nightkitchenseattle.com MadGastronomer

    I’d say that “period” is an apt description for an expression that went out of use sixty years ago. I’m old, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard it said. Nor have I read it where it was meant seriously rather than sarcastically in anything written since the ’40s.
    I’m 32, and I’ve heard it. In real life.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I have too (like I said), and I’m not much older than you, MadG.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/femgeek1 Melle

    Spearmint: According to the internets the worst Dutch insults involve having diseases, so I’m inclined to write this off as “the Dutch are strange.”
    Yes. Yes, they are. I’d never really noticed that about the plethora of disease-based insults in Dutch Dutch*, so thanks for the link! That was interesting.:)
    (* I’m Belgian. Flemish (“Belgian Dutch”) is quite different** from “Dutch/Netherlandish Dutch”. We don’t wish diseases on people, we tell them to go sit in a tree/walk to the moon/whatever.
    ** If you think the USA and the UK are two countries divided by a common language, you’ve not seen anything. We subtitle each other, heh.)
    Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: This is just the week to feed the killfile, isn’t it?
    Sadly, the killfile seems unwilling to feed while offline, which is problematic for me. :(

  • LE

    I’m 37 and I’ve used it before* – it was common enough growing up that I honestly can’t recall where I heard it first. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone say “It’s mighty white of you” unironically, but it’s a common enough turn of phrase.
    *one of a number of words and phrases that I’ve consciously purged from my vocabulary after learning the racist etymology.

  • Amaryllis

    In haste: yes, I know that the phrase still exists in the language, although, in my own particular region, not so much in actual speech rather than writing.
    What I should have said was that the sincere use of it, by somebody genuinely intending a compliment, can be described as “period.”
    I took a quick look at Google Books. Everything that came up on the first two pages, all I had time for, was either a reprint of something published pre-1950, or set in a historic period and using the idiom of its setting, or the speaker was described as “sardonic” or “sarcastic” or “smirking.”
    The only possible exception seems to be the book by an Irishwoman. Huh?
    Although I couldn’t quite tell from the context how sincere the speaker was.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Pius Thicknesse

    I remember vaguely seeing “mighty white of you” somewhere in my lifetime written by a comtemporary (as opposed to being in a book) so it’s still persistent in a couple spots. :(

  • Amaryllis

    And because I have a mind like a sieve, I clicked Post before remembering that I meant to mention another period usage which seems to be still with us.
    People are always “calling each other out on” something or other lately. A few centuries ago, if you were “called out,” you were expected to show up with sword or pistol to settle the matter; now, you’ll need your citations. It’s interesting how an expression meaning “you have insulted or injured me and I challenge you to a duel over it” seems to have made a comeback.
    Back to work…

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mmy mmy_working through the list one book at a time

    @Amaryllis: Not trying to make this into an argument but I do research on this on a fulltime basis. Not only is that usage not edited from books that are republished, it is still a phrase that authors feel quite comfortable using to signal “the past” when many other phrases from the past would never, ever be put in print.
    Further, as other people on this thread have pointed out — they are younger than you and they have heard it used (or used it themselves.)
    There are a whole number of words that no one would ever say in my family and I would never, except for research purposes, pick up a book that included them, but I do not conclude from those facts that the words/phrases are regional or “period.” Saying that someone is “in alt” is period. “That’s white of you” can be heard at bars and political rallies in the US today.

  • Will Wildman

    I wouldn’t even know of the phrase if not for my grandmother, who I heard use it twice. The first time, my father was present, and informed her that it was hideously racist (which had never occurred to her as a bad thing; she had this major cognitive dissonance going where she was certain Certain People [gay, black, et cetera] were inferior but we all had to pretend not to think so). The second time, only my mother was present, and my grandmother insisted that my father had said it (because she really liked to tell anecdotes and freely made up details to preserve the flow). My mother explained that she was certain he had not, because BLARG RACISM.
    Both times I got exactly the same vibe that I get when trolls show up here to say “I should be allowed to use words if I want to; I’m not oppressing anyone!” Or possibly that thing kids do when they say a word just to get a reaction (there’s nothing quite like giving a high school drama student a script that allows – nay, obligates them to swear).

  • prior_approval

    ‘*one of a number of words and phrases that I’ve consciously purged from my vocabulary after learning the racist etymology.’
    Actually, that is interesting – I have never thought of it as anything but a clearly racial expression. Might have something to do with growing up in Virginia in the 1960s and 1970s.
    Which makes me wonder – no one in the U.S. of 1980 or so would have been unaware of what it meant in terms of its reference – much like a certain term with ‘-rigged’ at the end. If this another sign of the expression being a bit dated? But truly, I simply can’t imagine the term not being instantly recognized for what it is – though as time goes on, the sheer ugliness of America’s not so distant past is fading. Not a bad thing, in general. Especially since in this case (and no, an Internet search doesn’t interest me at all), it not only covers the contrast between white and black, but manages to throw yellow and red into a broader framework, much of it provided by the Hollywood of the 40s and 50s in the guise of Westerns and WWII movies, in part based on older sources.

  • Robyrt

    @prior_approval: If you don’t know the etymology, it makes sense to think “white” is being used here as “pure”, which is common in a lot of societies with regular snowfall, East as well as West. It’s very encouraging that people don’t immediately leap to a racist connection :)

  • http://www.nightkitchenseattle.com MadGastronomer

    I’m 37 and I’ve used it before* – it was common enough growing up that I honestly can’t recall where I heard it first. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone say “It’s mighty white of you” unironically, but it’s a common enough turn of phrase.
    Oh, I most certainly have heard it used unironically. And I knew exactly what it meant the first time I heard it, without having to have the etymology explained.

  • prior_approval

    ‘It’s very encouraging that people don’t immediately leap to a racist connection’
    Which is very true – but it has always been a very racist statement in my ears (and for those saying it, as far as it goes, though it was generally just used thoughtlessly in very casual settings), at least in the terms of where and when I grew up, even if not exactly vicious in the way that many other terms were. It tended to play into the idea of the good guys (us, being white) and the not good guys (everyone else) more than anything else.

  • LE

    Actually, that is interesting – I have never thought of it as anything but a clearly racial expression. Might have something to do with growing up in Virginia in the 1960s and 1970s.

    It’s not so much that the inherent racism was not obvious (it really was), so much as me being young and not paying attention. There are a lot of words that I used to use (gyp, frex) that if I gave two minutes thought to I would have realized weren’t appropriate. The problem is I didn’t give two minutes thought to it until much later. A matter of my own privilege, mostly.

  • renniejoy

    MG – gak, I’m older than you too!?!

  • http://www.nightkitchenseattle.com MadGastronomer

    Sorry, renniejoy!
    Meanwhile, I get to gloat, because every time I go to work, I feel ancient — I’m the oldest one at NK by 5 years or so, I think.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Pius Thicknesse

    ‘Jury-rigged’ is a perfectly acceptable alternative and if anyone tries to claim the other -rigged is a better descriptor, they’re just being purposely provocative.

  • renniejoy

    I’m the oldest of my family, and almost the youngest of my friends. Just weird feelings sometimes. :)

  • Will Wildman

    I’ve never heard anything other than ‘jury-rigged’, which is (now that I think about it) not a very self-explanatory phrase. Somehow I’m guessing I don’t even want to know what the other version is.
    Damn, but this stuff is pervasive.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Pius Thicknesse
  • Andrew Glasgow

    @Pius: If you want to see privilege in action, check out the talk page for that article. “I’ve heard the term used by several people and I’ve used it as well. The term is meant as a joke, so no need to get uppity and politically correct.” O_O

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Pius Thicknesse

    Or that person who’s heard the more offensive term their entire life in Texas. WTF O_O

  • Drake Pope

    ‘Jury-rigged’ is a perfectly acceptable alternative and if anyone tries to claim the other -rigged is a better descriptor, they’re just being purposely provocative.

    They’re both pretty shitty descriptors though. I mean, the “jerry-rigged” permutation is obviously bigoted and xenophobic (yes, because Germans are notoriously stereotyped as being unskilled architects, right? This is Mars, right?!) but “jury-rigged” sounds like something that would happen in an 1880s lynching trial.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Pius Thicknesse

    @Drake Pope: If you look at the Wikipedia* entry the ultimate origin is posited as being naval.

    * Yeah, yeah, anyone can edit but c’mon. Blatantly false information usually gets weeded out soon enough.


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