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Pee Wee Herman

By       Message Anthony Barnes     Permalink
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In light of all this, it's not that difficult to understand why fear of a Cain nomination runs strongly among most traditional party conservatives, as well as some doctrinaire neo-cons like Rove, and why there is desperate hope in those quarters that the Tea Party base will sustain its fickle "frontrunner flavor of the month" trend long enough to move past Herman Cain before it is too late.   For his part, however, Cain continues with efforts -- at least publicly -- to vanquish the notion that he is, in fact, the latest GOP flavor of the month.

But there is a bit of both humor and irony stemming from the knowledge that part of Cain's effort to dispel the flavor of the month tag has involved casting himself as "Black Walnut" ice cream made by Haagen Dazs which Cain insists, "tastes good all the time" therefore cannot be considered a flavor of the month.   But for Cain, Haagen Dazs Black Walnut is either an inapt or predictive reference considering that Haagen Dazs hasn't sold that blend for some time now.  

Pee Wee; Putney; or Bigsby?

Ice cream aside, what's probably more likely in the view of most of mainstream America is that there's perhaps at least as much Pee Wee Herman to Herman Cain as there is "Black Walnut."   But, if in Herman Cain, some part of mainstream America does, in fact, see an entertainer named Pee Wee, others might be reminded of a fictional character named Clayton Bigsby.

It has to do with racial matters, including Cain's remarks about African-Americans being part of a Democrat Party plantation; his attempts to minimize Dr. Martin Luther King's role in the civil rights movement, and other racially asinine remarks he's made over the course of his campaign.   These sentiments are likely the kinds of expressions of insensitivity to the interests of his fellow African-Americans that Cain feels are a necessary part of currying favor with the predominately-white Tea Party.     But they may also signal evidence of extreme self-hatred of the type depicted by the Clayton Bigsby character featured in one of comedian Dave Chappelle's satires.   Either way they are the kind of remarks that one need not be black to consider insulting.

In the Chappelle satire, the Bigsby character is a member of the Ku Klux Klan who, due to the fact that he was born blind, was unaware that he was himself an African-American.    Yet, Bigsby was so infused with self-hatred that once he realized his heritage, the first thing he did was kill his white wife for marrying a black man.  

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But it's also possible that among some slightly older Americans, the whole Herman Cain phenomenon may resurrect thoughts about a satire involving a character named Putney Swope .   These thoughts are connected to what some, including this writer; believe to be the barely concealed mendacity that characterizes Cain's "effort" to attain the Republican nomination, and the tacitly symbiotic relationship that "effort" may have with an immeasurable level of deceit underlying the support that so many of those said to be "on the Right (wing) side of the cracker" have for one Herman Cain.

In Putney Swope, a 1969 filmed satire, directed by Robert Downey, Sr., Putney, played by Arnold Johnson, is the token black man with a seat on the executive board of a marketing firm.   When its chairman suddenly drops dead during a board meeting, each of the white board members, prohibited from voting for themselves, used his secret ballot to vote for the guy they figured nobody else would choose: Putney Swope, who, to the board's utter shock and dismay, ended up being elected the board's new chairman.   At a key point, shortly after the panicked board members realized what they had done, Putney provided them a brief moment of relief.

"Don't worry; I'm not going to rock the boat," Putney assured the board, just before adding:   "I'm going to sink the ship!"

That was 1969.   Today, that sunken ship symbolizes the immediate future of the Republican Party should it attempt to sail into the 2012 Presidential election with Herman Cain at the helm.

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)

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