David Axelrod, who slightly resembles a proboscis monkey himself, has reintroduced name-calling into the political arena – specifically animal name-calling. Although the animal kingdom provides apt descriptions for many politicians (think Chihuahuas, sloths and the Aye-aye), thanks to political correctness, analogies have been banned from the animal farm.
Nevertheless, in an attempt to get the Obama 2012 campaign moving in the right direction, David broke with politically correct protocol by tying monkeys on sticks to aquatic amphibians, saying about Newt Gingrich that “The higher a monkey climbs on the pole the more you can see his butt.”
Meanwhile, outside of Washington DC, senior citizens are notorious for sending blast emails featuring dancing bears, smiley faces and flickering gifs of stars, stripes and American flags. These types of annoying communiqués circulate around the firstname.lastname@example.org set more than a few times a day.
There’s no denying that 74-year-old Marilyn Davenport, an Orange County, California Republican Party official described as “a ‘petite grandmother’ who taught Bible study and had a heart condition,” failed to use good judgment last spring when she sent an incendiary email featuring a photo of a Papa and Mama chimpanzee cradling a baby chimp that was Photoshopped to look like President Obama.
The photo was captioned: “Now you know why no birth certificate.” Marilyn’s colossal blunder was instantly viewed as being more proof that both Tea Party activists and Republicans, without exception, are all racists.
Davenport, who should have rethought her LOL material before monkeying around and pushing ‘Send,’ apologized, claiming she didn’t realize that her actions would be viewed as racist, and begged for forgiveness, saying “I would never do anything to intentionally harm or berate others regardless of ethnicity. Everyone who knows me knows that to be true.”
Marilyn’s profuse apology did not impress Orange County GOP chair Scott Baugh and former chairman of the California GOP Michael J. Schroeder, nor the always-racially-offended Al Sharpton and California’s NAACP, all of whom called for Nanny Davenport’s immediate resignation.
Scott Baugh agreed with Al that the email was “without question extremely racist. Depicting African-Americans as monkeys is a longtime, well-known and particularly offensive slur because it denies them their basic humanity.”
What about ‘cool cats’, ‘rare birds’ and ‘sly foxes’, when assigned to certain personality types, do those descriptions ‘deny basic humanity’ too? Because if things are that sensitive, let’s pray nobody ever introduces a companion edition to Curious George called “Inquisitive Barry.”
Marilyn Davenport’s obvious poor judgment aside, why, in some circles, does an image of a monkey instantly evoke racial overtones? During WWI, enlistment posters depicted Germans as ‘mad beasts’ that looked like King Kong, which makes one wonder if, at the time, the insult was directed toward Germans or gorillas.
How about Mr. Rogers? Fred hugged Koko the ape. Looking back from a more enlightened perspective, could the man in the tennis shoes who lived in an all-white neighborhood be the reason white cardigan-wearing people, based on their outerwear, look a lot like racists?
Now we have political consultant and senior advisor to the President, David Axelrod, calling Newt Gingrich, who looks more like an albino panda, a monkey.
Where are all the ‘M’ word crusaders, who should be calling Mr. Axelrod to task for bringing up monkeys and never mentioning pachyderms and jackasses? Despite the most recent ‘monkey’ kerfuffle, Al Sharpton, the NAACP, Marc Lamont Hill, and Janeane Garofalo, all renowned for voicing racial indignation, strangely, are nowhere to be found.
Even still, by lobbing a monkey insult at Newt Gingrich, Chicagoan and ‘Hailer of the Dawn’ David Axelrod may have provided an educational public service by pointing out that monkeys climbing poles expose their butts, an observation that most would agree is indisputable.
Moreover, by calling a doughy white guy from Georgia a monkey, David Axelrod may have unintentionally reclassified monkeys and placed them in the neutral category when it comes to racial overtones surrounding animal references, email imagery and political name calling.
Yet, one obvious point that David Axelrod conveniently forgot to mention is not mammal but reptilian in nature and concerns a certain snake who, the more he slithers around in the White House, the more he proves he’s an ass.