Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

George W. Bush: Monkey, and Proud of It?

One of the Man Without Qualities' astute readers notes that a consequence of an earlier post is that George W. Bush isn't the Smirking Chimp, but the Signifying Monkey.

That may well be correct, and I suppose the President would be proud to be such a monkey. I would.

As one site describes it:

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote The Signifying Monkey, a highly influential modern study of how African-Americans characters speak in the works of some writers, notably Zora Neale Hurston. Gates links the style of speech of these characters to African traditions of storytelling, and suggests that their way of expressing themselves is at the same time guarded (because of the need for caution in a white-run society) and ironic (because they feel powerful nonetheless, in their inner estimation of themselves and their interactions with the African-American community).

Similarly, one can understand Mr. Bush's need for caution in the company of self important but narrow-minded liberals such as most American media representatives, or European derigistes such as Blair and Chirac. And yet he clearly senses his own power, not just by virtue of his office but because he feels powerful, in his inner estimation of himself and his interactions with many American communities, including people of faith. Indeed, Mr. Bush defeated Al Gore, a man of many intellectual pretensions whose supercilious bearing and approach, and that of his campaign and especially some of his supporters, at times suggested that he and they believed him to be running for President of France.

It bothered the Europeans and those of similar mind then, and it appears to bother them now

UPDATE: And with even more supercilious bearing and approach, but expressed without more than namecalling, now.

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