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24 Responses

  1. igglanova
    igglanova February 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

    Ohhhh GOD. How friggin’ tone-deaf and out of touch do you have to be to think an ad like this is okay???

  2. Iam138
    Iam138 February 8, 2012 at 6:37 pm |

    What’s better than the ad is the defense that this Asian woman speaking broken English shows that the Chinese educational system is so good. If she spoke English in the ad the way she probably does all the time she is not shooting this ad, then that would support a claim that China’s schools are far outstripping ours. But then, that wouldn’t be so obviously racist, would it?

  3. Tony_
    Tony_ February 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm |

    That could also be interpreted the opposite way: The fact that the Chinese feel the need to learn English as opposed to Russian, French, Japanese, Spanish, Hindi, Arab, etc etc and we don’t feel the need to make all of our students functional in any other language reflects our “soft-power” and cultural domination.

  4. Tony_
    Tony_ February 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm |

    “Arabic” ^^

  5. Ornytus
    Ornytus February 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm |

    I’m sorry but I think it’s kind of funny

  6. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT February 9, 2012 at 9:05 am |

    “Satire” has become an all-purpose defense for Conservatives when they do something like this. El Rushbo is exhibit A.

  7. Brandy
    Brandy February 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

    Caperton, the debbiespenditnow.com link at the end doesn’t work because you forgot to include the HTTP part.

    [Thanks for the catch; fixed it. The site is… not to be missed. -C]

  8. savagebeard
    savagebeard February 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm |

    Strange that there aren’t more responses to this post.

    The defenses I’ve read of this ad seem to go for “Whaaat? It’s not racist, because the essential facts are true!”

    Facts may not be inherently offensive, but this presentation of them is. There are ways to not be offensive when stating facts, such as “Pete Hoekstra announced in 2006, falsely, that WMD had been located in Iraq. His Senate committee also produced incorrect information about Iraq’s uranium production, saying that the uranium was weapons-grade when it was not.”

    One might also say this: “In 2006, Pete Hoekstra proved himself to be a liar when he pulled information about WMD location in Iraq out of his ass and gleefully splattered it all over the public. It came out later that he and his Senate committee had spent their time brewing up a pile of more of the same, ripe stuff in regards to Iraq’s uranium production – saying that it was weapons-grade when it was not.”

    See – it’s all about presentation. Subtle.

  9. Ella
    Ella February 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm |

    So I feel like a complete ass, but… The linked website just looks to me like a regular campaign website. I mean, “Pete Spend it Not” is a stupid and juvenile slogan, but I’m not seeing the over-the-top imagery? Am I missing something?

    The ad itself, of course, is beyond awful and I hope LOTS of people in the campaign lost their jobs over it.

  10. Angel H.
    Angel H. February 9, 2012 at 6:44 pm |

    So I feel like a complete ass, but… The linked website just looks to me like a regular campaign website. I mean, “Pete Spend it Not” is a stupid and juvenile slogan, but I’m not seeing the over-the-top imagery? Am I missing something?

    They changed it. Google “debbiespenditnow” for the cached version.

  11. Iany
    Iany February 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm |

    This is the biggest load of crock.

    In response to Tony though, chinese students don’t *just* learn english if they’re learning a foreign language. There are several chinese dialects that are popular and japanese is very commonly taught as well. English does have “soft power” but I think it’s pretty short sighted to assume school curricula are entirely swayed by that. To be fair, I think the Republic of China is probably way more well round than the People’s Republic of China is, in that regard.

    Pete, you suck. Be more offensive, I dare you.

  12. Iany
    Iany February 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm |

    This is the biggest load of crock.

    In response to Tony though, chinese students don’t *just* learn english if they’re learning a foreign language. There are several chinese dialects that are popular and japanese is very commonly taught as well. English does have “soft power” but I think it’s pretty short sighted to assume school curricula are entirely swayed by that. To be fair, I think the Republic of China is probably way more well round than the People’s Republic of China is, in that regard.

    Pete, you suck. Be more offensive, I dare you.

  13. Kathy Ashley
    Kathy Ashley February 10, 2012 at 6:34 am |

    Everyone is talking about somebody’s being racist. But fighting for the equal rights for every immigrant by people who have lived in America for a long time with their ancestors here don’t realize that those for whose freedom they fight will overwhelm them and occupy their places.

    [spam link deleted, welcome to banhammerland ~ moderator]

  14. EG
    EG February 10, 2012 at 7:37 am |

    those for whose freedom they fight will overwhelm them and occupy their places.

    Yeah, yeah. That’s what they said about Jews and Italians a hundred years ago, too. I’ve known many people of Chinese and Latin@ descent. None of them have overwhelmed me yet–though my close friend’s intellect and sense of humor is overwhelming, and her parents are immigrants from China, I do manage to hold my own.

    If I can’t hold onto my place when forced to compete for it without the benefit of racist privilege, then I obviously don’t deserve it.

  15. Brian Schlosser
    Brian Schlosser February 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm |

    I guess they figured having Fu Manchu cackle over his dastardly plans for enslaving America would have been too obvious.

    Racist, Stupid and Not Even Wrong: Pete Hoekstra, 2012

  16. Tony_
    Tony_ February 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

    In response to Tony though, chinese students don’t *just* learn english if they’re learning a foreign language. There are several chinese dialects that are popular and japanese is very commonly taught as well. English does have “soft power” but I think it’s pretty short sighted to assume school curricula are entirely swayed by that. To be fair, I think the Republic of China is probably way more well round than the People’s Republic of China is, in that regard.

    Well yeah but it makes sense for them to learn other dialects in their own country, and Japan is at least a close neighbor, economic power in the region and a country whose culture developed under Chinese influence. But why English? And why were European treaties in the 19th century, for example, signed in French? Or in other words, were there more mainland Chinese children studying English or Russian in the 1950s? I’m not sure what my point is, except maybe that we have a tendency to overexaggerate the threatening aspects of other cultures sometimes. Even Hoekstra’s alternative explanation is like “OMGZ their education system is so good they are coming for us” when in reality we should just be flattered.

  17. Iany
    Iany February 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm |

    I’m just pointing out that educators in China aren’t short sighted or stupid, and they don’t learn japanese just because it’s a close neighbour. There are plenty of other close neighbours that are less popular in terms of learning their languages (I bet urdu isn’t too popular and you could get around not speaking it since one of Pakistan’s official languages is english). Japan is big on education and business, it’s got a lot of power too.

    You’re also assuming that english is being learned because of the USA. Australia, my country, is quite close to China and has a good working relationship with it (the highest proportion of international students in Australia come from the People’s Republic of China). English is popular partly because of *us*, and mandarin (to a lesser extent cantonese) and japanese are becoming more popular for Australia due to them being ‘business’ languages.

    Anyway, my point is that the ad isn’t just horrendously racist, it’s basically WWII propaganda all over again. There are plenty of good reasons for a kid in China to learn english, that have nothing to do with the USA at all.

    I don’t think there’s anything to be flattered by, so much as proof that the chinese education system (err, both of them) values being multilingual. Apparently that scares Petey, although that too is annoying because there’s so much “don’t come here if you can’t speak the language” and now it’s “but don’t speak the language too well, in fact, don’t come at all, we’ll skype you if we feel like it!”

    Pete needs to stop being so US-centric.

  18. Tony_
    Tony_ February 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm |

    I’m just pointing out that educators in China aren’t short sighted or stupid

    I never said that.

    they don’t learn japanese just because it’s a close neighbour

    It’s a neighbor (much closer than Pakistan, to the center of China’s population), it’s populous and economically powerful, and it’s culturally close. The fact that you can get around Pakistan with English is another illustration of my point – it’s a legacy of imperialism and a reminder of what the British did to establish the modern political order in South Asia.

    You’re also assuming that english is being learned because of the USA.

    Not at all, where did you get that? The entire English-speaking world is in the same boat.

    I don’t think there’s anything to be flattered by, so much as proof that the chinese education system (err, both of them) values being multilingual.

    I don’t think you understand my point at all. When a peoples halfway around the world teach their children your language, mandatorily, from low levels of grade school, it is a huge reflection of your influence and value in world affairs. That’s why it’s especially unfair to castigate them for not speaking it too well. That they got as far as they did is a HUGE statement.

  19. Iany
    Iany February 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm |

    Ok dude, whatever, so why should “we” the entire english speaking world be flattered? We shouldn’t, we’re just privileged by virtue of speaking english, which, I might add, is not the most commonly spoken language in the world.

    I’m saying he’s an idiot, and he’s missing the point. Having his actress not speak english very well isn’t castigating people for being fluent but not grammatically correct. It’s just racist. And it’s wrong. Which is why I’m pointing it out, I’m addressing the fact that his thesis statement (china is coming for our jobs) is a load of shit. China’s doing well, it’s not about the USA at all. Not everyone is coming to get you (plural you). I’m criticising him more than you, Tony. Although I am now criticising you for ignoring my point entirely.

    And while he’s making that racist ass statement? Guess which country also has a strong representation in terms of international students in the USA? Why, that would be China (yes, among others). Because apparently a good amount of chinese students are willing to make that enormous leap to study in another country for undergrad or grad school. If he wants to reverse that relationship he should be encouraging all the kids in his state to learn another language and study in another country.

    So yes, he has no idea what kind of country China is, no idea that the rest of the world DOES NOT BASE ALL IT’S DECISIONS ON THE DAMN USA, and apparently bases all his opinions on WWII propaganda posters.

    And, lastly, the english speaking world is incredibly diverse. In ideologies, the way english speaking countries are run, blah blah blah. Being a native english speaker gives you some privileges, but we’re not a homogeneous group. So, there is no “us”. There are a few countries with a lot of privilege and some with less, but I think there should be a distinction between saying “english speaking privilege” and “us-privilege” because when people say the former, they’re usually meaning the latter in some way. Because you can speak english and still have a country falling to pieces (not all elements of the UK are doing too well right now).

  20. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick February 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm |

    The Hoekstra campaign called the advertisement “satirical”

    That’s a damn magical word, that “satirical.” What else can it negate? I mean, if I fall off a tall building, can I hit the ground satirically and not be hurt? It makes about as much sense as its use here.

  21. jrockford
    jrockford February 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm |

    I’ve been trying to find a word for the increasingly common phenomenon that is, releasing something offensive or just plain wrong, then when people point out that it is defensive and/or wrong explaining that it was actually satire.

    I want to make “retroactive satire”, or maybe retrotire or some other clever buzzword a thing. This seems to be happening all the damn time lately.

  22. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 February 12, 2012 at 6:51 am |

    Not just stupid. Not just racist. But completely unrealistic.

    I would have shown one the nouveau-riche 19-year old Chinese kids sitting in and throttling the brand-new Lamborghini Gallardo his parents bought for his birthday. Eminem bumps in the background while the kid smiles at the camera and pulls back his sunglasses. He then says–in perfect English–“Hey America, why don’t you dumbasses start another trillion-dollar dead-end war in the desert, and while you’re at it make another trip to Wal-Mart with your 28% APR credit card. Yeah, do that. I need to get my tires rotated!” He then lowers his glasses, pops the clutch, and the scene closes in a cloud of tire smoke. Eminem still bumpin’.

    You may not like this either–it’ll draw criticism–but it’s more accurate than rice paddies and bicycles.

  23. Tony_
    Tony_ February 13, 2012 at 12:19 am |

    Ok dude, whatever, so why should “we” the entire english speaking world be flattered? We shouldn’t, we’re just privileged by virtue of speaking english,

    That’s my entire point. It’s a reflection of our privilege. Perhaps flattery isn’t the right word, but it’s a lot closer to the appropriate emotion than fear.

    I’m criticising him more than you, Tony.

    I have no problems with your criticisms of him. Although, your first post in this thread, was mostly in response to me, and that’s what I’m responding to. I’m not out to pick a fight with you. Nor should you assume that, just because I don’t respond to something you say, it means I disagree with it, or that I’m ignoring it. If I don’t respond to something, it probably means I’m okay with it.

    As for the rest of your post, I’m just going to assume that it’s directed at Hoekstra and not me, so I’m not going to respond to it.

    Except for this part, because it seems to be a response to something I wrote:

    Being a native english speaker gives you some privileges, but we’re not a homogeneous group. So, there is no “us”. There are a few countries with a lot of privilege and some with less, but I think there should be a distinction between saying “english speaking privilege” and “us-privilege” because when people say the former, they’re usually meaning the latter in some way. Because you can speak english and still have a country falling to pieces (not all elements of the UK are doing too well right now).

    There is an “us”. In this case, “us” is literally anyone who can read and understand what I wrote. In fact, I’d argue that it’s a more appropriate usage of the word “us” in an impersonal context than in any other case, because usually if you write that word, chances are, someone will read and understand you, who goes not fall into the category. But in this case, comprehension equals inclusion.

    That is not to say that there is no diversity within the english-speaking world. Where do you get that? Again, I never said we were a homogenous group, that we all live in the USA, or that we all even live in the same country… or even that English is our native language. Or that we don’t live in a struggling country, or that we aren’t struggling, or that we are privileged racially, by gender, orientation, economically, or anything else about us. We could be Australians, English, Pakistanis, Filipinos, Nigerians, or even Afghan… We could be this guy. But we are *all* privileged on the dimension of language, because English is a language that you can go to so many non-native English countries and find people who speak some English. More so than Mandarin, or any other language. Because of the collective, total, economic, cultural, political power of the english-speaking world, as an aggregate. It is a language of enormous privilege, in itself, independent of any other privilege.

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