Contrary to Dickerson, bhardin offers an alternative theory about the quintessential symbolism shared between Meursault (the protagonist in The Stranger) and G.W.:
The most interesting aspect of the novel is why Mersault is put to death. It isn't because he killed Arabs, which was rarely met with the death penalty. Rather it was his lack of compassion and explanation of his motives to the demanding public. Ultimately he was killed because he showed no sadness for the death of his mother. The public viewed him as inhuman. Bush is persecuted like Mersault not because he is a "remorseless killer of Arabs", but because he doesn't engage the public to explain himself. Bill Clinton also killed Arabs (e.g. bombing a "chemical weapons" plant/hospital in the Sudan) during his last year in office. However, he was an excellent communicator of emotions- he felt my pain. Of course, Bill would find more literary parallels with Willy Loman than Mersault.
Mersault is perhaps one of the most complex characters in modern literature, but to the mob that shouted for his death he would have been viewed as a Bush-like moron. Maybe, behind Bush's façade is a deeper, stoic intellectual who connects with a character publicly persecuted for his taciturn nature.
Soltasto, for one, applauds W.'s expansion of his intellectual horizons:
Regardless of his intentions, it will bring sorely needed new ideas to the man's head. I'm no Bush fan, but it is always important to defend any person's right to seek new information and evolve. Everything that penetrates his consciousness is going to affect his decisions in the future. For the next two years those decisions will affect everyone on Earth. Any actions this man takes toward expanding his tiny box of ideas should be applauded.
Thanks to astrotdog for tracking down the possible etymology of macaca:
Macaca ?= Makak = macaque = a french/belgium/dutch epithet for a Arab or black North African; derived from macaque, the old world monkey, once common in North Africa.
Further evidence of this derivation: Allen speaks French and his mother is of Tunisian origin, according to Clown_Nose.
As for Allen, RedStateImpressions criticizes Dickerson's "superficiality" as a journalist and for getting
the relation between Allen's racial attitudes and his "boobery" wrong. First, Allen isn't "racially insensitive"; he's a racist. Allen's as much a racist as Mel Gibson is an anti-semite. The "macaca" comment comes on top of the Confederate flag fascination, the picture of a noose hanging from a tree, and the pro-Confederate proclamations Allen made while governor. We should all be honest enough to take the broad hints that Allen's been giving us.
Dickerson also writes as though being a racist and being a boob are different things. This is not the case with Allen. The "macaca" comment was a pretty standard boob approach to racism. Instead of calling the opposition photographer Sidarth by one of the standard racial epithets for dark-skinned people, Sen. Allen thought that he would use a fancy French term for blacks that no one would recognize. This is almost precisely what it means to be a boob, to think that you're the smartest person in the room even while you're making an idiot of yourself. Sen. Allen thought he was demonstrating his racial superiority to the irritating guy, thought he was entertaining his all-white audience, and thought he was scoring points while he was NOT noticing that Sidarth was holding a camera in his hand and recording the whole blundering soliloguy. What a racist boob!
As little respect as I have for George Bush, it wasn't fair for Dickerson to equate Allen with the President. Whatever his failures as president and "goofy, amiable, towel-snapping qualities," Pres. Bush has too much "message discipline" to be caught making that kind of racist comment on camera even if he feels that way in private (and I don't think he does). Perhaps the worst thing you can say about George Allen is that he is considerably more of a boob than George Bush.
Not that such a thing would stop the Republicans from nominating him.
A profusion of additional commentary can be found in Politics. AC … 5:53pm PDT
Monday, August 14, 2006
TODAY IN SLATE
Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case
Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor
Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion
The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented
Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy
It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?
Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada
An All-Female Mission to Mars
As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.