Presidential Debate: Thoughts on Manners, Accents and Ass-Kickings

Categories: Schutze

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OK, they're finally getting down to the part of the last presidential debate I care about, accents and manners. So I have questions.

The New York Times has a piece on its local page today about how New Yorky and Jewish the last debate was, because most of the people who spoke from the audience had New York accents and ... I'm sorry, the Jewish part was a little too inside for me.

The Times quotes a piece in a self-described "online magazine of Jewish ideas" saying the reason the debate was so Jewish was, "Four words: Town Hall. Long Island." I'm not familiar. I'm going to take their word for it.

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We don't know about the accent, but looks-wise this fella would fit right in at any ZZ Top concert in Texas.
But I did notice the accents. The story in the Times says most New Yorkers were proud to hear authentic Northeastern urban accents coming back at them off the TV in such an auspicious setting, but some winced.

I do get that. That's how Texans were when George W. was in the Oval Office -- a mixture of boot-scootin' pride and cringing embarrassment. But here's my question: Why? Why do regional accents make us proud and also make us blush when we hear our own in what we know is a very focal setting?

Of course, when I say, "our own," I have to be careful. I have lived in Texas about 200 years, but my fourth-generation Texan wife has warned me in the past not to take on airs and try to act like a real Texan. To her, I will always be a carpetbagger, and she says I have not lost one ounce of my Michigan accent, which, by the way, is not a Sarah Palin accent, thank you.

But I guess it might be a distant cousin. When we spent a week of vacation in Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula this summer, I came to a terrible realization: I have been away so long now that when Michigan people speak to me with regular Michigan accents, I find myself wondering, "Why won't they be serious?"

They are serious. But they don't sound serious to me any more, because of their accents. Which my wife says I still have. So am I not serious?

Some accents, like Palin or Gomer Pyle, are I.Q. accents. We hear one, and we immediately make assumptions about a person's intelligence. Which, of course, is stupid. Of us. But there you have it.

Our son, a fifth-generation Texan, has absolutely nonregional speech. When he was in college, he used to describe his fraternity brothers as divided into Texas-accent guys and no-accent guys. But they were all from Texas. What is that?

Now for manners. One New Yorker quoted in the Times piece faulted Obama for not telling Romney to "get outta my face" when Romney stepped into his space during the debate. So is that an indicator that New Yorkers are more rude than the rest of us? Certainly that's a common take.

But I'm kind of a neutral observer here on the manners thing. In Detroit, the melting pot city where I grew up, people barely shared a common spoken language, so we had to yell a lot and do sign language with our arms to make ourselves understood sometimes. In rural and small-town Michigan, people were polite but also had a major personal space thing. In a post-office line, everybody had to stand five feet apart. I always wondered, if they were so polite, what were they so afraid of?

When I first came to Texas, I did a roving reporting job out in the boondocks, and one of the first things I noticed was that Texans, especially in small towns, were elaborately polite when approaching or being approached by strangers. But here's the catch. It's sort of like, "You will either be elaborately polite with me, Mr. Stranger, or I will shoot you."

Is that really polite? Is it manners, if the next thing right beyond it is an ass-kicking? Here's a theory: Maybe the New Yorkers have better manners, in a way, because they can afford to get some tension out without resorting immediately to fisticuffs. Hmm? Yeah, I knew I wasn't going to get very far with that one. Just a thought, anyway.

The saddest day -- I'm glad I won't be here to see it -- will be the day the last trace of regional accent evaporates from our culture and we all sound like TV announcers. We know that's coming. I don't want to see it. Or hear it.

Manners, however, that's more up in the air. The big thing people talk about now is the erosion of civility. I don't know where I stand on that. I'm for the erosion of ass-kicking. But, you know, I make my living approaching strangers, so I have a dog in the fight.

Is it possible that less civility could lead to less ass-kicking, if we learned to manage our tensions like those Long Islanders? Hey, again, only a thought. Don't hate me. Especially don't kick my ass.

I wish we could hear the accents of all the commenters here. Which way do you think they would tilt? Gomer? Sarah? George W.? I think it's Sheldon Cooper.

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111 comments
rufuslevin
rufuslevin

how can a crude unsophistocated yankee have anything of value to comment about manners or speech?  beyond comprehension.

 

all accents will disappear when we either speak with spanish accents, or pause for the call to prayer from the mosque minaret....

Dave Ybanez
Dave Ybanez

Foreign policy? Yeah, Obama is in the definite disadvantage out of the chute. He still hasn't answered the question he was asked. YouTube video LOL

Tim Smathers
Tim Smathers

How can you be thinking about the debates when Big Tex is dead?!

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

http://blogs.nbc12.com/decisionvirginia/2012/10/arr.html

 

Ahh, a case of vote fraud for the GOP.

 

"The Rockingham County Sheriff's office has arrested a Pennsylvania man and charged him with attempting to throw away filled out voter registration forms.

Colin Small, 31 year old male from Phoenixville, PA has been charged with 8 felonies and 5 misdemeanors in connection with the controversy. He is employed by Pinpoint, a company that was hired by the Republican Party of Virginia to help with voter registration"

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

I don't understand why calling out someone's rude behavior is considered rude.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

I think the personal space thing is definitely mid-western, but also a North American (U.S. anyhow) trait in general. I spent a good bit of time in South America and it really freaked me out at first when I would be the first person at a bus stop and the second person to arrive, rather than take the seat farthest from me, would routinely sit right next to me, literally touching me. Elbow to elbow, knee to knee.

 

You do get used to it, people there seem to be genuinely more open, but it is disconcerting for a Norte-Americano.

 

Also, when they ask you where you are from, never respond, "America". Folks there tend to be a little defensive that we presume to take ownership of that term.

 

Have a blessed day!

Texbard
Texbard

. @Dallas_Observer The most entertaining way to "watch" the debates is to turn off the TV & follow Twitter commentary instead.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Jim, have you ever heard the phrase:

 

"Pardner, you better smile when you say something like that."

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @rufuslevin

 

great job of providing a perfect example of the stereotypical culturally ignorant and socially backward Texan.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

I get a kick out of fake empathy, like Romney's.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @totallyshocked1 Try the Detroit Area, including Grosse Pointe and the whole tri-county area.  Your stats are wrong in that light.  Detroit has the largest Muslim population center in the country, not to mention the Windsor influence. 

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@totallyshocked1 - Correct. And when a melting pot becomes 100% of any race, then it becomes officially diverse.

clevertrousers
clevertrousers

@scottindallas @totallyshocked1 grosse pointe blank.

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@scottindallas - The stats come from city-data dot com. Go quibble with them about it.

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz - so does this mean that your 'alleged brain' is trying to claim that Detroit IS NOT 82% black and less than 8% white?

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @totallyshocked1 - your math skills are awesome.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@mavdog @albert.finney000 - we don't know what was in his head, but we know what he said, and how he said it. I suspect, since he voted against waiving of the Stafford Act, he knew he was lying.

clevertrousers
clevertrousers

@AdultBabies @mavdog does that include the crack and the gay sex?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @albert.finney000

 

it is absolutely incredible, dare I say baffling, that you can look inside Obama's mind as he gave that speech, and be able to tell us just what he was thinking when he said the words he said....yet you cannot show one single example, any set of factual situations, that would support your assertion that "Romney is actually the more empathetic candidate".

 

what's wrong, does your purported mind reading abilities of people in video recordings only extend to those you want to portray in a negative way?

 

bahahahaha.

 

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

 @mavdog 

 

He didn't stretch the truth, he lied. That's not the bad part, he lied assuming that his audience either wouldn't know, or wouldn't care. And he lied to perpetuate a black grievance myth, and he did it in accent blackface.

 

To an audience which represents a 99% voting bloc, and that lack of ideological diversity is historically problematic.

 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @albert.finney000

 my opinion of the video?

 

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that a politician would stretch the truth to make a point.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

 @scottindallas  @mavdog 

 

I find it phony, but that's just me. 

 

I guess it could be an empathetic thing, and maybe that explains his fallacies about the Stafford Act, he's just telling them what they want to hear, and if none of it's true, so what?

 

 

 

 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @albert.finney000

 

"M'dog, I'm not going to sell Romney to you. You're in Texas, your vote doesn't count."

 

if you somehow believe that any poster expects a reader is buying, based on what is posted, you are unbelievably naive.

 

and yes, I am in Texas, and everybody's vote counts. If a voter cast their ballot for a candidate, that vote is tallied, it is indeed counted. That candidate may not come close to a win, that however doesn't negate the votes cast for the candidate.A  citizen who doesn't perform their duty to vote has little to bitch about when they disagree with a politician's policies.

 

your cynicism is only less than your hollow ability to support what you claim is true.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @mavdog he uses the the Black American inflection that is different from the way he speaks to most broad audiences.  This is common among Blacks, though, when I played Rugby I'd pick up the British accents when around them too often.  It's subconscious, I'd also yell on field in the accent of my Kiwi coach.  Wasn't trying to, that's just how I learned to say those phrases.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

 @mavdog 

 

M'dog, I'm not going to sell Romney to you. You're in Texas, your vote doesn't count.

 

But, I'll ask you what you think of Obama's affected accent in that speech, and that whopper lie he told the audience.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @AdultBabies 

to be honest, I'm not aware of any accent, that is why I asked the question of the poster who introduced the phrase.

 

are you "assuming the narrative of his life" is inaccurate?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

"The evidence is out there, I've seen it. If you haven't, I don't care".

 

what an incredible, ineloquent way to say "I don't have anything to support what I have said but this big 'ole bag of nothing. nada. zip. zero".

 

well done albert finney, well done!

 

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@mavdog - The evidence is out there, I've seen it. If you haven't, I don't care. The black accent in the 2008 tape is not Obama's normal accent, it's street black or whatever you want to call it. It's just hilarious. Have you seen the video? Not so funny was that racially-toned blatant lie.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

why don't you elaborate on these supposed "facts" about Romney's empathy.....this should be entertaining!

 

As for the "fake accent", that assertion is in itself is a bit of a mystery. Are you believing Obama has a "fake" Chicago accent? or a "fake" Hawaii accent? or a "fake" African-American accent (whatever that is supposed to be)? or are you of that ilk who believes he has a "fake" American accent?

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz - not really, just that many are skewed heavily towards democrats, which many are. But back to accents, did you see the hilarious one from 2008, featuring the "black" Obama? Funny as he'll, even my black friends howled. Not about the blatant lying though.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz - Nice paraphrasing, but it's a bit late, checked the polls lately? It's not working.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@mavdog - If you bothered to learn facts, you'd realize that Romney is actually the more empathetic candidate, in Spades. But Obama is trying to be empathetic with the fake accent, especially when he's lying to provoke racial hostility.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

really? not me, I never "love" insincerity and duplicity.

 

how about you?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @ilikefacts  @mavdog get it through YOUR head, that JIM cited Detroit, and he can mean which ever he wants.  You don't get to revise his meaning.  That's his prerogative.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @ilikefacts  @scottindallas  @mavdog I'm so glad you're prescient and know what Jim meant by Detroit.  I think you confuse assumptions with facts.  You don't know what the word "FACT" means. 

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

White-guilters! Is DeSoto really 68% black according to your dogma, or not?

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

Hey naive white-guilt libtards! Is Highland Park 91% white, or not?

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@scottindallas @mavdog Too much! If you bend over backwards any more trying to make reality fit your naive (you've never ever been to Detroit) fantasy, your spine will snap. Sure, sure, Detroit is a "majority white city" .... That's why it is such a turd world cesspool ....just keep telling yourself that, you NAIVE WHITE-GUILTER.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @ilikefacts  @mavdog Kinda overblown it seems to me.  Jim is the one who chose the word, "Detroit."  I've never been there, but he didn't indicate whether he meant Greater Detroit, the Tri-County Area, or what.  So, you're being a bit strident in your insistence on the most limited meaning of the word.  But, then again, that says volumes about you.

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@mavdog Yes indeed, most of the time city limits do dictate a community. Are you trying to claim that Highland Park is the same "community" as Lower Greenville? After all Lower Geeenville is only about 2 miles from HP at most. Those two communities are exactly the same according to your "logic". As far as what race you are, I'd bet ten dollars that you're white, but I'd you aren't then you have my sincere condolences. You are a really stupid poster. Keep up the bad work.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @ilikefacts  

 

"you are terribly naive and woefully uninformed, aren't you!"

 

too funny. you want to believe that city limits dictate a community, and YOU call me "naive and uninformed"??

 

bwahahahaha.

 

BTW, "people like me"? how do you know what race I am?

 

just another example of you being the "uninformed" person.

 

hey, you're a really funny poster! keep up the good work!

 

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@mavdog LOL now you know why people like you are called NAIVE white-guilters.

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@mavdog you are terribly naive and woefully uninformed, aren't you!

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

Mavdog I will concede one point. Most white-guilt "progressive" libtards don't move to white-minority Dallas these days. They move to super white Portland Oregon, the whitest major city (and one of the most "segregated") in the USA, where they sit around stoned in coffee shops and fret about their "unearned white privilege" to each other. In an amazing coincidence, Portland is also one of the most "progressive" cities in the USA. The Dream of the Whiteys is alive in Portland!

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@mavdog @AdultBabies Dallas was a white supermajority city when Schutze moved here. It isnt one anymore.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @AdultBabies

 

"What force field keeps Jim Schutze from moving back there? The ever powerful tractor beam of white flight."

 

yeah, white flight.

 

uh huh, that's why Schutze lives within the City of Dallas.....you know, where all those people who are guilty of "white flight" go.

 

thank's for the humour, you are really, really funny!

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@ilikefacts :Jettisoned: I don't think that word means what you think it means.

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@JimSX  In 1912, Detroit was less than 2 percent Black.  Hard to believe that in the 1920s, Detroit had the tallest buildings in America and a thriving arts and culture industry. Of course, the city was more than 90 percent white.  The cosmopolitan attitude cultivated in Detroit, with architects building towers that jettisoned into the sky at heights previously unseen in the entire world, earned the city the title of “The Paris of the West.” Now, those largely empty buildings stand as a monument to ‘what could have been’ in a city that wasn’t ravaged by unions, liberalism, or a natural disaster.  It was neglected by its majority population that took over the city in the wake of the 1967 riots.  “The Mogadishu of the West” offers a warning to other American cities. In Black and white, this is the story of Detroit’s collapse.  In 1950, Detroit was known to the World as the “Paris of the West.” Boasting a thriving economy and a population of more than 2 million people (80 percent being white), the sky seemed the only limit for this city on the move.  In 1967, the “Arsenal of Democracy” would be home to the worst riot in American history as the Black population of Detroit – roughly 30 percent of the population at the time– would explode in an orgy of violence that was only stopped when the Army marched into town to restore order.  The white population of the city would flee for the suburbs, leaving the remaining Black population in political control of the city’s destiny. In 2012, order still hasn’t been restored.  Now, a city of roughly 770,000 inhabitants (89 percent Black) has collapsed in a sea of financial mismanagement, crime, drugs, broken schools, eroding infrastructure, and hopelessness.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @Mervis 200 years ago. I worked in the factories. Everybody was from  Latvia, Spain, Alabama, Cuba, Ireland, etc. I guess that's hard for people to imagine today. Seems hard not to imagine to me.

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@Mervis Detroit was only about 30% black in 1968.

Mervis
Mervis

Maybe Jim was referring to the time, 40 years ago, when he lived there???????

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

So also according to Schitze's "logic", 91% white Highland Park qualifies as a "melting pot". There is even a crappy Mexican neighborhood right on the other side of its southwest border!

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@AdultBabies according to libtard "logic", the city of Highland Park ISN'T REALLY 91% white, because it is totally surrounded by Dallas, which is only about 28% white.

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@mavdog You make incredible leaps of "logic" in order to make reality conform to your naive white-guilt libtard fantasies. The city of Detroit is 82% black and less than 8% white. Deal with it.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

well, since YOU are referring to Detroit only, that MUST be the only way to look at it.

 

after all, we all know that City Limits prohibit non-residents from travelling across their lines, keeping each city's residents seperate from each other.....the invisible force field, keeping us all out of other cities!

 

those phrases like "Metropolitan Statistical Area" to define a community? pfttt.

 

who is the "moron"? have a mirror? too funny.

 

keep up the good work!

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

What you are doing is essentially the same as trying to claim that DeSoto ISN'T REALLY 68% black because nearby Dallas is only 24% black.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @ilikefacts  @mavdog You're not the fact czar, I stated you should consider the tri-state area, so I defined the area in question.  Further, it's really up to Jim, since he made the reference.  But, Jim has much better standing, as we have shown.

ilikefacts
ilikefacts

@mavdog Get it through your head moron, I am referring to Detroit ONLY and I'm not including several other completely different cities in the recounting of the population of the CITY OF DETROIT.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @ilikefacts  @scottindallas   You need to define terms to know which fact set to refer to.  I redefined the area in question when I suggested you consider the tri-county (or metro) area, not just the city of Detroit.  You evidently don't know that there are various fact sets. 

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