SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2020
With worse results to come: We hope that Senator David Perdue (R-GA) gets turned out of office next week.
Full disclosure! Barring exceptional circumstances, we automatically support the D over the R. This particular Senate race would have been no exception.
That said, Perdue branded himself as deeply lacking when he mocked Kamala Harris' first name last week. He did so during a public address, in a deeply unfortunate manner.
"No people are uninteresting," the anti-Soviet Soviet poet once said. ("Not people die but worlds die in them/Whom we knew as faulty, the earth's creatures.")
We regard those statements as scripture. We'll assert that those statements are true even about Perdue.
That said, to behave that way, at Perdue's age, is a sign of some deep inner vacuum. At the very least, the gentleman signaled the need to get turned out of office.
Then again, there's the somewhat peculiar op-ed column in today's Washington Post. It was written by Nana Efua Mumford, who holds the position of executive assistant to The Post's editorial board.
Mumford's column is deeply self-referential, which isn't always wrong. Eventually, though, it gets around to the mispronunciation of Harris's name, not Mumford's.
Forget Perdue—Donald J. Trump has been doing it too! Right there in the hard-copy Post, here's what Mumford eventually says:
MUMFORD (10/31/20): This behavior might be expected in elementary school. It’s improper and insulting from elected officials. The president, who has repeatedly referred to KAH-ma-la and COMMA-la, said this week: “Kamala. Kamala. You know, if you don’t pronounce her name exactly right, she gets very angry at you.” At a recent Trump rally in Georgia, Sen. David Perdue (R) also denigrated and dismissed the Democratic vice presidential nominee, saying “Ka-mal-a, Comma-la, Ka-mala-mala-mala” and then “whatever.” These attempts to mock and otherize Harris resonated with me and many other Americans.
For the record, we know of no evidence that Harris gets angry at people who mispronounce her name. If she did, she'd be angry at quite a few pundits, perhaps even at Joe Biden.
That said, we were struck by the claim that Donald J. Trump has repeatedly referred to Harris as "KAH-ma-la and COMMA-la," with the fairly obvious suggestion that these pronunciations are insulting and also wrong.
In fairness, Trump—who seems to be profoundly disordered—insults pretty much everyone. He even tends to pronounce the familiar name "China" in an unusual way.
As we've frequently noted, we assume that Donald J. Trump is some serious form of "mentally ill." That said, we were struck by Mumford's apparent complaint about the way this disordered person pronounces Harris' name.
Why were we puzzled by Mumford's complaint? We were puzzled because "COMMA-la" seems to be precisely the way Harris says her name should be pronounced.
Below, you see the passage in question from Harris' book, The Truths We Hold. The passage appears early on, in the book's Preface:
HARRIS (page xvi): Just two more things to mention before we get started:
First, my name is pronounced "comma-la," like the pronunciation mark. It means "lotus flower," which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture.
Harris' name is pronounced "comma-la." But Trump has been pronouncing it "COMMA-la," we learn in this morning's Post.
Apparently, we're supposed to regard this conduct as insulting. Indeed, this deeply self-referential column appears beneath this headline:
Why I feel insulted when Trump mispronounces Kamala Harris’s name
Trump's behavior is so insulting that Mumford feels insulted! But as part of Trump's insulting behavior, it seems that he's been pronouncing Harris' name in the way Harris says it should be pronounced!
(Or something. As is common with upper-end journalism, it's hard to know what's being said.)
Full disclosure! At no point in this morning's column does Mumford explain how Harris' name actually should be pronounced. The reader is left to flounder ahead, quivering with anger at Donald J. Trump but unencumbered by actual knowledge.
Three days out from Tuesday's election, this is the best the Washington Post has to offer today. Each week, the Post publishes two (2) op-ed columns in Saturday morning's print edition. Mumford's column is exactly half of today's mother lode.
Should Trump stop clowning around with Harris' name? In a sane world, yes, he should and he would. (Perdue's behavior was pathetic, egregious and worse.)
That said, this morning's column—good God! Is it possible that Vladimir Putin actually got it right?
In the very long run, is Putin on his way to a win over the dysfunctional west? Consider:
Before we read Mumford's column today, we listened to C-Span callers explaining the basis on which they'll be casting their vote.
Listening to such testimonies is always a sobering experience. Then too, we rewatched Brian Williams' segment with Dr. Stephen Sample last night.
Yesterday, the commander told one of his rally crowds that doctors are fraudulently inflating the number of Covid deaths because they get paid to do so. Williams and Sample exhibited their deep disgust with this claim without making any attempt to explain how viewers can know that the president's statements were bogus.
There was no attempt to offer anything like information! Meanwhile, the New York Times' report on Trump's claim constitutes competent journalism in much the way your frisbee-catching dog is ready to be a wide receiver in today's NFL
Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others! We often say that Churchill said this.
Within the past decade, Putin apparently came to feel that he could prove that the self-satisfied sentiment behind that statement is bogus. He began to interfere in our discourse, gambling that we imperfect creatures of the earth could be turned against each other in various ways.
We progressives were eager to help him out. Next Tuesday, his leading helpmate could even get re-elected!
(We don't know if Trump will get re-elected. In the long run, we also don't know if it makes any difference as our human desire to split into tribes keeps pushing us toward the sea.)
This morning, the Times has produced a Potemkin fact-check. At the Post, Mumford is personally insulted because Trump has been pronouncing Harris's name correctly.
Or something. As is persistently true with the work of our "well-educated" journalistic elites, it isn't entirely clear what Mumford is actually saying. But so what? Here's Fred Hiatt, describing Mumford's "must-read" piece as the greatest Post piece ever penned.
Somewhere in a sumptuous dacha, Putin is chuckling as he watches our struggles unfold. He's playing the primal human game, the game known as Strongman Wins Out in The End.
Meanwhile, how should Harris' name be pronounced? Endlessly discussing herself, Mumford forgot to say! Post readers were invited to feel all the heat. We'll get our light some other day!
Full disclosure: We consulted with Carlotta Valdes (1831-1857) on this. Somewhat dreamily, she said she's seen this process unfold a million times, through all our species' days.
She told us it's already too late. In fairness, she could be wrong.