yappin at the antique store

I was in one of those rent-a-space collective antique stores the other day, this one in downtown Lockport, and a group of folks were yappin’ about McCain and Obama, about bailing out Wall street, and so forth. The group’s republican voice sounded totally disillusioned with his parties’ manic candidate, as well he should be, but what was most interesting to me was his characterization of Obama as “just a kid from the South Side of Chicago.” The Obama’s-too-young theme is pretty standard, and I hadn’t thought much about it till that moment, but it really is a striking blend of anti-intellectualism and racism. Obama sounds like what he is: a very smart man, one who doesn’t need to show off his intellect (folks who need to show off that way generally aren’t very smart, in my experience), and that manner of address is threatening to a fairly large portion of the population. Add his blackness to his intellectualism and the result is a theme that tries to infantilize him by calling him too young, lacking in wisdom, and so forth. I’m sure if he was white the theme would be similar (see JFK, for example), but it is double-edged when applied to a minority group that historically has been cast as “child-like.” The more McCain acts like a petulant teen, the more Obama looks like a grown-up. The question, then, is how many citizens have been too infantilized themselves by crappy consumerism and poor education to ever vote for a grown-up? Hell, he might tell us to go clean our rooms.

I also realized, while in the store, that I should visit every one of Lockport’s many bars and blog about each one. Not all at the same time, of course, I would end up dead. So, that will be my next project. In the meantime, I have some poems up at decomP.