Let the summer of stupid media tricks begin!

Michelle and Barack Obama Fist-Bump

It’s just gotten very hot in New York. Around here, when the summer heat hits, things start to get crazy. But maybe not quite as crazy as FOX News wondering if a perfectly moment of respect-knuckling between Barack and Michelle Obama might be a “terrorist fist jab,” complete with ominous chords. It’s not clear exactly what source FOX’s E.D. Hill is relying on — or if she even has one at all — when she talks about how “everyone interprets this gesture differently” and includes “terrorist fist-jab” among the possibilities. I kind of suspect she just made it up to scare the people in this country who have somehow never seen two people touch fists as a sign of respect, celebration, greeting, or just as an alternative to a high-five. I mean, as Melissa points out, even Pat Buchanan has been on TV doing a fist-bump.

My other guess? FOX News has a quota system for its anchors where they have to concoct at least a certain number of rabid attack-journalist comments about the target of the week, and sometimes the well runs a little dry. Sometimes they have to make phrases up, and the “terrorist fist jab” is born.

On the other hand, maybe some random Freeper gave birth to this interpretation in a fit of lunacy; do let me know if any of you trace it back, because I’d like to know what they thought of Obama’s earlier shoulder-brushing. Does it mean “I’m going to eradicate the white people in this country just like these little flakes of dandruff?” Or maybe it’s a dogwhistle for the homosexual agenda. I’m sure there are all sorts of interpretations, and what is the media’s job if not to give voice to the total insanity of the far right and make it sound quasi-reasonable, fair and balanced?

It’s going to be a long election year summer.

In other horribly stupid news, some bouncers in Beverly Hills decided to throw a woman out of a bathroom and call her “it” because they thought she looked too masculine. It’s the trials of Khadijah Farmer all over again, and a month earlier this year. This time around, perhaps related to the fact that Tanya White is a fairly well-connected songwriter in Hollywood, she’s being represented by celebrity-lawyer Gloria Allred. Interestingly, Allred and White are only asking the hotel for an apology and a policy revision… but I wonder how many times that will have to happen, in how many hotels and restaurants across the country, before gender non-conforming folks can pee without being harassed?

It’s also worth noting that White and Farmer are both female-identified and female-assigned, and therefore have a very good case against the establishment’s notions of gender. Not everyone can rely on assigned sex, legal sex, or photo ID to back them up in situations like these. But that doesn’t change the fact that everyone has the right, and the bodily need, to access a bathroom in safety and peace when they have to go.

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27 Responses

  1. falloch
    falloch June 9, 2008 at 6:21 pm |

    I look at M and B’s gesture as a private, little victory salute of all the shit they’ve gotten through lately. They have actually made it through this far without him being assassinated – which was a big scare for both him and her. And me as a non-god-fearing person, I will still think deep thoughts every night for OB not to be killed, for him and his family to make it through to the election and beyond. I’m not totally enamoured with his policies, not was I enamoured with Hillary’s, but any candidate that can re-orient the Supreme Court to maintain Roe, and claw back Constitutional rights shredded by Bush/Cheney is okay in my book just now. I hate having so many of my hopes suspended, but at this point Obama’s sweeter than McCain by a great long shot.

  2. Yuri K.
    Yuri K. June 9, 2008 at 6:25 pm |

    The “terrorist” crack was just to justify playing the piece – the meaning of this thing is pretty straightforward:

    HEY WHITEY! THE DEMOCRAT IS A N****R! And your kids probably think he’s cool! Be afraid of the black menace!

  3. Dana
    Dana June 9, 2008 at 7:09 pm |

    What the FUCK? That seems particularly amusing/ridiculous/vindicating after discussions of whether the fist bump was a “black” gesture or not… Obviously it’s too black for some people! *hits head against wall*

  4. Manju
    Manju June 9, 2008 at 8:00 pm |

    Well, ya gotta admit, they where the only ones who told hillary’s side of the story.

  5. Luna
    Luna June 9, 2008 at 8:15 pm |

    Oh fercryin’ out loud, that’s utterly ridiculous. I have a picture of the pope and Bush doing the “dap”. What a bunch of loons.

    http://headingwest.ca/fistbump-pope-bush.jpg

  6. Kristin
    Kristin June 9, 2008 at 8:45 pm |

    Yeah, the subtext of that clip is pretty clear. Yuri K. is right.

  7. Suzanne M
    Suzanne M June 9, 2008 at 9:11 pm |

    If this is the kind of shit we have to look forward to from the media all summer, I may just find a nice dark cave somewhere and hide until November. I’m pretty sure that “terrorist fist-jab” is the dumbest bit of ‘analysis’ I’ve heard in the election coverage yet. Not to mention it being a pretty clear bit of race-baiting ugliness, as Yuri pointed out. Ugh.

    (Also, how adorable was the fist bump? SO adorable. It seemed like such an uncalculated moment. I loved it.)

  8. Lala
    Lala June 9, 2008 at 9:17 pm |

    The reality is if we as americans are stupid to be taken in by this idiocy we deserve the government we get

  9. Jill
    Jill June 9, 2008 at 9:43 pm | *

    I teared up when I saw the fist jab. The look on both of their faces… ah. I lost it.

    Ta-Nehisi makes a good point about how the fist jab was an important moment because it was gender-equal — there was no doting wife hugging her husband, no star and back-up singer, no “good job, baby, YOU did it.” It seemed to be two people, as equals, saying, “We did it.” That’s what I saw in it, too — partnership, playfulness, and love

    You know, that does make a lot of sense. Because if there’s one thing the Youth like, it’s Black stuff. And everyone knows, if you get TOO BLACK, then you get the Black Panthers, who are basically Youth-Hypnotizing Terrorists.

    That’s exactly what it is. A quick jaunt to Freeperville will illustrate the point entirely (trigger warning for those who just don’t feel like reading a whole ton of racist bullshit about how black people are turning the USA into a third-world country. For real). Just one example:

    You got to be kidding, The fist “bump”, .America “WAKE UP”, You are getting your first taste of what it is going to be like electing Barack HUSSEIN Obama for president. Next you are going to see southern fried chicken, black-eyed peas, corn bread, and watermelon as your daily meal. Let’s not forget what Obama’s middle name is, funny thing, he never wants to use his middle name on his campaign.

    Yeah, special. But that is what freaked people out about the dap — it’s just so black.

  10. Mina
    Mina June 9, 2008 at 10:49 pm |

    That’s a really sweet picture. Looks like a moment of tenderness to me.

  11. Peter
    Peter June 9, 2008 at 11:36 pm |

    Terrorist jab? What a bunch of Faux News B.S.

    I was touched by that moment. It may have been staged, but it seemed genuine. And a nice demonstration of two partners congratulating each other for their accomplishment. Together.

  12. Vanessa
    Vanessa June 10, 2008 at 2:09 am |

    I too think Yuri K is right, because how out-of-touch to you have to be to think that terrorists do the fist bump? It’s something you’d expect to hear from someone who’s afraid that little Timmy might be taking “the pot” or something.

  13. Natalia
    Natalia June 10, 2008 at 7:06 am |

    It’s a beautiful picture.

    Leave it to FOX News to take a dump on something beautiful.

  14. fauzia
    fauzia June 10, 2008 at 7:29 am |

    i’m going to agree with jill. i thought this photo was an amazing show of love and affection. and it’s just damn cute. FOX is really scrubbing the bottom of the barrel if this is what they can come up with. sad.

  15. MC
    MC June 10, 2008 at 11:05 am |

    OMG, whut? Man, right-wing nut jubs are, well, NUT JOBS.

    I thought the “thump” they did was adorable and actually showed how close they are. I’m not sure why, but it did.

  16. MC
    MC June 10, 2008 at 11:06 am |

    Also, totally off-topic, but Michelle has stellar arms. I really want to know what her exercise program is.

  17. Renee
    Renee June 10, 2008 at 11:29 am |

    Forcing people to conform to gender sterotypes is an infringement on their basic human rights. In some cases this indignity can lead to physical harm. FOr instance in Iran gay people are encouraged to have sex- reassignment surgery. I posted about this and the link between gender identity and sexuality. In some cases it can be economic discipline. Like the recent case of a woman who lost her job because she shaved her head for charity, in Ontario.. THe desire to maintain gender roles helps to maintain the gender hierarchy that exists globally. It is in no way neutral. People who refuse to perform their gender are attacked simply because they are viewed as a threat to patriarchy.

  18. Lala
    Lala June 10, 2008 at 1:41 pm |

    It was a cute moment like when I see my parents do something that lets me know they’re still cool

  19. David Schraub
    David Schraub June 10, 2008 at 2:52 pm |

    As far as I know, the “terrorist fist-jab” comment has been traced to a commenter on Cal Thomas’ blog. See this Politico story

  20. Ali
    Ali June 10, 2008 at 3:55 pm |

    Re: gender non-conforming
    Last summer I was biking across the US with a group of people and in one of the small towns we stopped in (can’t remember the name of it right now) we went to a public pool to take showers. Naturally there were a lot of younger children running around and one of them when she saw me started shouting “There’s a boy in here! There’s a boy in here!” It pissed me off not that she misidentified my gender but that evidently her parents/teachers/whoever had so instilled “gender norms” in her that my having short hair was enough for me not to be a women, despite the fact I have D’s and was wearing a bra, and was talking and laughing with my friends in an obviously feminime voice.

  21. lyn g.
    lyn g. June 10, 2008 at 7:01 pm |

    signs of desperation and scare tactics.after the WMD lies in Iraq,
    the FUCKS NEWS oftenly mislead the people,by telling some
    propaganda that they carbon copy during Nazi era.

    what a sad person E.D. Hill,she’s too scared,because the Repubs,
    will lose a lot of monkey business in the White House.

    i.e. Tax breaks for Rupert Murdoch and his crooked staff.

  22. Paige
    Paige June 12, 2008 at 4:35 pm |

    That news broadcast was so funny that I almost wet my pants laughing! A terrorist jesture? How low can the news stations sink to scare the American public into submission…yellow journalism- that’s all I have to say. Maybe they should have exposed their stomachs and done the belly-bump like they were tailgating and then people would have understood the message Michelle was conveying.

  23. Discgrace
    Discgrace June 13, 2008 at 10:09 am |

    Ali, I know exactly how you feel. I have short hair (and A’s, not D’s), so I sometimes get dirty looks from adult women if I’m wearing a jacket or something on my way out of a women’s restroom. Sorry, you old biddies, but you DON’T get to decide exactly what a woman is supposed to look like. >:(

  24. Feministe » Michelle Obama Watch
    Feministe » Michelle Obama Watch June 14, 2008 at 1:21 pm |

    [...] the needed number of delegates to become the presumptive nominee, a lot of shit has gone down. The “fist bump” between Michelle and Barack before he began his victory speech was referred to as a “terrorist fist jab.” (For the [...]

  25. Michelle Obama Watch : The Curvature

    [...] the needed number of delegates to become the presumptive nominee, a lot of shit has gone down. The “fist bump” between Michelle and Barack before he began his victory speech was referred to as a “terrorist fist jab.” (For the [...]

  26. Feministe » Speechless Indeed
    Feministe » Speechless Indeed July 13, 2008 at 11:06 pm |

    [...] of Barack Obama dressed in what many Americans would simply read as “Muslim clothes,” terrorist fist-jabbing Michelle Obama — who is afro’ed, wearing camo and toting a machine gun. A flag is [...]

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