Monday, June 29, 2009

Say My Name

I'm getting a little heated.

I live in the South, and quite a few folks down here didn't vote for our current president. Cool, I respect every man or woman's right to vote for an adulterous, rich, war vet and his stupid sidekick because that's how America works. You vote how you feel, damn the consequences.

But, I've noticed something in my little southern backwater. At first I thought I was tripping, that maybe I was being oversensitive. Then a couple other folks said something, and I just shrugged it off as people looking for a reason to complain. However, things have been building daily and now I feel like I have to speak out.

When did so many people get so familiar with President Barack Obama?

Seriously. These cats down here, some black and many white, are pretty much on a first name basis with the big guy, and they love to let the world know about it. Barack this, Obama that...Hell, even when certain folks add an honorific it's just "Mr. Obama" instead of "President Obama."

Mr. Obama is the president's daddy, not him.

Say his name.

I can't pretend that I always gave President George Bush his respect when I said his name. Sometimes he was "President Bush", other times he got called "George Bush" and often he was The Big Dummy. But, he was never "George." I mean, we ain't cool, that's not my homie. Plus, given his horrible track record, I think some of my disrespect was justified.

I'm getting peeved because not only are people refusing to give President Obama an honest shot, but I think people are being slick when they call him, "Mr. Obama" right before they criticize him. My wife would call that "nasty nice." Kind of like smiling in somebody's face before thrusting a knife into their gut.

Maybe it's my own paranoia, but I think refusing to acknowledge President Obama as president falls right in line with what we've seen from conservatives since last year's election. Cats are talking about leaving America, about assassinations, it's just some wild stuff. I think refusing to refer to President Obama as "president" is just another way to drive home the point that he has no legitimacy despite the fact that he was elected with far less controversy than President Bush.

Plus, Obama's black, so there's that.

Any of y'all noticed this new trend?



SweetT said...

i could be wrong, but i THINK in my j-school they taught us that "mr. bush" was an acceptable way to refer to the president in articles. at least upon 2nd reference. i'm just saying. . .

Darth Whitey said...

Nope, it's just you :-) Or at least maybe just where you live.

Here in northern CA we all say Obama, just as we all said Bush. Rarely if ever does anyone say President Obama and if they do it's to put whatever they're saying into a formal context. I ain't never hear nobody call him Barack but then again I thought it was disrespectful that people called Senator Clinton "Hillary," even Obama did so in the debates!

You're good Big Man, but this post is of the sort I dislike, one of your "I'm looking for an opportunity to be offended, and I think I found something! yay!"

Deacon Blue said...

I honestly haven't paid much attention. As a journalist, I've tended to refer to presidents as "the president" or by their last name, just like I would in second reference in an article. But I think there is a greater tendency to call our current president by his first name than there was with the previous one...probably about equal, though, with the number of people who called Clinton by his first name.

It might be more of an affability/accessibility thing than race in this case...but I could be wrong.

lincolnperry said...

Its a slight, they are being disrepectful!

Deacon Blue said...

Lincolnperry, I think it depends upon context, too.

If people in the media or in the spotlight are doing it, perhaps...but people among the masses, not so sure.

You know how many times I called Reagan "Ronnie" and Clinton "Bill" over the years? I don't call Obama "Barack" very often, but it does happen. And I've got nothing but respect for the man and the way he's conducting himself in office.

Maybe Big Man is right and the phenomenon is MORE exaggerrated with Obama, I don't know...but I think it's an area we need to be careful about reading TOO much into it, given there are so many more overt ways in which the president is being belittled and insulted.

Big Man said...

Nah, I wasn't talking about journalists. They are taught in many cases to just used the President's last name on second reference. I was thinking more about regular folks on the street.


I think I said several times in the post that I could be overthinking things. However, I don't look for reasons to be offended. I just pay attention to people.

older_not_wiser said...

Those who don't like our president likely intend the forms of reference they use to be insulting or disrespectful to him, so the disrespect you sense is no doubt real. But to my ears the animosity reflected in the names used doesn't seem out of the "normal" range. Remember Tricky Dick? Jimmuh? Bubba? Not much love there, either.

Tit for Tat said...

However, I don't look for reasons to be offended. I just pay attention to people.(Big Man)

Maybe, just maybe you spend too much time paying attention to the shitty people......just saying. ;)

Gye Greene said...

I think you're on to something -- but it probably does vary by region (and, who's talking).

Although: Pres. Shrub was often referred to as G-Dubyuh or G-Dub, in everyday speech.

Also, ya gotta admit: Groovy first name. Has zest; fun to say.

If his first name was just "John" or "Fred", I don't think he'd be referred to by his first name nearly as much.

But again: Depends on who's doing the saying.


Big Man said...

Tit for Tat

Or, people could spend less time being shitty.

Either way works.

Lisa J said...

You could be on to something. It is hard sometimes, I often have my Martin Lawrence ala "Boomerang" moments and supsect everything of being racist. I called Bush II a lot of names but he earned those. What blew my mind though was some fools standing in the middle of a busy Chinatown in downtown DC with a picture of the President with a Hitler mustache. They are lucky I was in my car, and that the closest light was green and I have manual windows so all I could to was honk and flip them the bird Philly style. I could of cut those fools. Fortunatley, with this being DC I'm sure some folks, black and white, got up in their faces. Now that is disrespectful.

Tit for Tat said...

Or, people could spend less time being shitty(Big Man)

Half full, half empty.....which way works better for you?

Raving Black Lunatic