"Drop Squad" for a long time. I personally have mixed emotions about the guy. Sometimes he makes sense, and sometimes he leaves you scratching your head.
His latest article about Obama's speech was a head- scratcher. Not because he didn't like it, but because of the reasons he gave for not liking it.
"Why was the President’s speech at the DNC convention kind of boring?
Especially when it's this President? Remember that sense of drama there used to be whenever he was about to do some talking? Yet let’s face it, most of us were more titillated in anticipation of Mitt Romney’s speech than Obama’s.
It’s easy to forget how novel Obama’s way of making a speech was just four years ago for someone in the Oval Office. Bill Clinton’s Southern speaking flavor was notorious, but hardly unknown at 1600 Pennsylvania. America had heard a similar sound from Jimmy Carter, not to mention Lyndon Johnson in his more buttoned-down moments.
Obama brought the black English “flava” to the Presidency. Who would have even imagined, as recently as six years ago, a State of the Union addresses sprinkled with the floating speech melodies of the black church? Who would have imagined a President who, with all of his dignity and even reserve, can speak with a faint but perceptible hint of the street?
It was easy to drift into thinking of that melody as lyrics. The humble honesty we hear in the black sound — hiphop, Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock — can come off as a statement in itself. Many, for instance, might be hard-pressed to remember just what black rock star academic Cornel West actually says. What moves people is the funky way that he says it.
Obama got by on that kind of thing to a certain extent in the old days. But like songs that get overplayed and jokes that run stale, the novelty in Obama’s gift of gab has worn off for most of us.
It’s great that his oratorical gifts helped get him elected. But after four years we just hear him talking, again. Comedians do imitations. Reality has caught up to “24” and “Deep Impact”: the President is black and kind of sounds like it. We’ve moved on.
Now what we need from the man is content over form, and at the convention he underperformed on that.
“Explainer-in-Chief,” the media has dubbed Bill Clinton for his masterful bullet-point refutation of the Republicans’ nonsense charges against Obama. But why in the world isn’t the President himself the explainer-in-chief?
Why can’t a former law professor, who could even give a tease in his speech about how being American entails not only rights but responsibilities, give us as good a teaching as Clinton did?
“Think about this,” Clinton often said before launching into a careful elucidation. It’s Obama who should have done more of this. He’s got enough gray hair and gravitas now to do that without seeming pedantic. The black cadence would even help rub out any possible air of Adlai Stevenson, just as Clinton’s down-home accent does for him.
Yet many people still thrill viscerally to Obama’s rising intonations because it reminds them of being in church. There is even a whole book about to be published about how Barack Obama talks, written by people to whom this mindset is likely not alien.....
....But that brand of spoken-word poetry won’t have the potency today that it did in 2008. There are people who are more interested in how Obama will deal with Sen. Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Fox News than in whether he can bust a move." [Source]
"Black English flava"? Did he really write that? "Bust a move"? Yes, I think he did. McWhorter's incoherent and silly article was a serious waste of his time not to mention the folks who took the ten minutes or so out of their time to read it. When he writes about people liking the "funky way" that Obama says things you have to wonder where he gets his motivation for such crap. Is he simply trying to impress his white editors by showing them that he has some insight into black thought? If he is, using seventies lingo-- that is both silly and stereotypical-- to help his readers reaffirm their stereotypes was lazy and superficial on McWhorter's part.
Right now I am thinking that I just might have to make that call to the "Drop Squad" after all.