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Tony Snow and Tar Babies

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Mulder, May 17, 2006.

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Do you think Tony Snow should apologize for using the term Tar Baby?

  1. No, it was used in the correct context and he meant nothing else.

    64.0%
  2. Yes, it was insensitive and he should at least apologize.

    24.0%
  3. Not Sure.

    12.0%
  1. Mulder

    Mulder Contributing Member

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    The Left Wing blogs such as Raw Story and Croooks and Liars are making a lot of hay about Tony Snow using the term "tar baby" in a press briefing yesterday.

    For those that are unaware, the tar baby story is from Brer Rabbit and is often used to describe a sticky situation.

    Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby

    One day Brer Fox thought of how Brer Rabbit had been cutting up his capers and bouncing around until he'd come to believe that he was the boss of the whole gang. Brer Fox thought of a way to lay some bait for that uppity Brer Rabbit.

    He went to work and got some tar and mixed it with some turpentine. He fixed up a contraption that he called a Tar-Baby. When he finished making her, he put a straw hat on her head and sat the little thing in the middle of the road. Brer Fox, he lay off in the bushes to see what would happen.

    Well, he didn't have to wait long either, 'cause by and by Brer Rabbit came pacing down the road--lippity-clippity, clippity-lippity--just as sassy as a jaybird. Brer Fox, he lay low. Brer Rabbit came prancing along until he saw the Tar-Baby and then he sat back on his hind legs like he was astonished. The Tar-Baby just sat there, she did, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

    "Good morning!" says Brer Rabbit, says he. "Nice weather we're having this morning," says he.

    Tar-Baby didn't say a word, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

    "How are you feeling this morning?" says Brer Rabbit, says he.

    Brer Fox, he winked his eye real slow and lay low and the Tar-Baby didn't say a thing.

    "What is the matter with you then? Are you deaf?" says Brer Rabbit, says he. "Cause if you are, I can holler louder," says he.

    The Tar-Baby stayed still and Brer Fox, he lay low.

    "You're stuck-up, that's what's wrong with you. You think you're too good to talk to me," says Brer Rabbit, says he. "And I'm going to cure you, that's what I'm going to do," says he.

    Brer Fox started to chuckle in his stomach, he did, but Tar-Baby didn't say a word.

    "I'm going to teach you how to talk to respectable folks if it's my last act," says Brer Rabbit, says he. "If you don't take off that hat and say howdy, I'm going to bust you wide open," says he.

    Tar-Baby stayed still and Brer Fox, he lay low.

    Brer Rabbit kept on asking her why she wouldn't talk and the Tar-Baby kept on saying nothing until Brer Rabbit finally drew back his fist, he did, and blip--he hit the Tar-Baby on the jaw. But his fist stuck and he couldn't pull it loose. The tar held him. But Tar-Baby, she stayed still, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

    "If you don't let me loose, I'm going to hit you again," says Brer Rabbit, says he, and with that he drew back his other fist and blap--he hit the Tar-Baby with the other hand and that one stuck fast too.

    Tar-Baby she stayed still, and Brer Fox, he lay low.

    "Turn me loose, before I kick the natural stuffing out of you," says Brer Rabbit, says he, but the Tar-Baby just sat there.

    She just held on and then Brer Rabbit jumped her with both his feet. Brer Fox, he lay low. Then Brer Rabbit yelled out that if that Tar-Baby didn't turn him loose, he was going to butt her crank-sided. Then he butted her and his head got stuck.

    Brer Box walked out from behind the bushes and strolled over to Brer Rabbit, looking as innocent as a mockingbird.

    "Howdy, Brer Rabbit," says Brer Fox, says he. "You look sort of stuck up this morning," says he. And he rolled on the ground and laughed and laughed until he couldn't laugh anymore.

    By and by he said, "Well, I expect I got you this time, Brer Rabbit," says he. "Maybe I don't, but I expect I do. You've been around here sassing after me a mighty long time, but now it's the end.

    And then you're always getting into something that's none of your business," says Brer Fox, says he. "Who asked you to come and strike up a conversation with this Tar-Baby? And who stuck you up the way you are? Nobody in the round world. You just jammed yourself into that Tar-Baby without waiting for an invitation," says Brer Fox, says he. "There you are and there you'll stay until I fix up a brushpile and fire it up, "cause I'm going to barbecue you today, for sure," says Brer Fox, says he.

    Then Brer Rabbit started talking mighty humble.

    "I don't care what you do with me, Brer Fox, says he, "Just so you don't fling me in that briar patch. Roast me, Brer Fox, says he, "But don't fling me in that briar patch."

    "It's so much trouble to kindle a fire," says Brer Fox, says he, "that I expect I'd better hang you," says he.

    "Hang me just as high as you please, Brer Fox, says Brer Rabbit, says he, "but for the Lord's sake, don't fling me in that briar patch," says he.

    "I don't have any string, " says Brer Fox, says he, "Now I expect I had better drown you, " says he.

    "Drown me just as deep as you please, Brer Fox," says Brer Rabbit, says he, "But please do not fling me in that briar patch, " says he.

    "There's no water near here," says Brer Fox, says he, "And now I reckon I'd better skin you," says he.

    "Skin me Brer Fox," says he. "Snatch out my eyeballs, tear out my ears by the roots," says he, "But please, Brer Fox, don't fling me in that briar patch, " says he.

    Of course, Brer Fox wanted to get Brer Rabbit as bad as he could, so he caught him by the behind legs and slung him right in the middle of the briar patch. There was a considerable flutter when Brer Rabbit struck the bushes, and Brer Fox hung around to see what was going to happen.

    By and by he heard someone call his name and 'way up on the hill he saw Brer Rabbit sitting cross-legged on a chinquapin log combing the tar pitch out of his hair with a chip. Then Brer Fox knew he had been tricked.

    Brer Rabbit hollered out, "Born and bred in the briar patch. I was born and bred in the briar patch!" And with that he skipped out just as lively as a cricket in the embers of a fire.


    I recall that people have used the term tar baby before, creating a lot of controversy.

    I quite honestly think it was used exactly how it was intended, had no racial overtones, and to say otherwise plays to the ignorance of reactionaries who see a lot of things as racist that are never intended to be.

    Then again, I'm white. So admittedly I'm not exactly be coming from a point of complete understanding on this issue.

    I remember a couple of other situations that were similar using the word *****rdly.

    At UT a supervisor used the term "*****rdly" in its correct, Webster's dictionary usage in an email to his employees. According to Wiki: It is a word synonymous with stingy and miserly, and a *****rd (noun) is a miser. They are both derived from the Old Norse verb nigla, meaning "to fuss about small matters". (The English word "niggle" retains the original Norse meaning.) The UT official basically said it was not his fault that ignorant people didn't know the meaning of ther word, but he apologized if he offended anyone.

    In 1999, a white aide to Anthony A. Williams, the black mayor of Washington, D.C., United States, used the word in reference to a budget. This apparently upset one of his black colleagues (identified by Howard as Marshall Brown), who incorrectly interpreted it as a racial slur and lodged a complaint. As a result, on January 25 Williams forced Howard to resign.
     
  2. Master Baiter

    Master Baiter Contributing Member

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    If a word is used in it's correct context and it has no racial overtones, why should he apologize if they are ignorant to it's meaning? People need to lighten up.
     
  3. Mulder

    Mulder Contributing Member

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    I agree completely, meaning I am likely in disagreement with a majority of the websites I frequent. If there is something I can't stand more than racism, it is ignorance.
     
  4. rhadamanthus

    rhadamanthus Contributing Member

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    No kidding, it's like people who get upset over the word "*****rdly".
     
  5. giddyup

    giddyup Contributing Member

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    Yeah... they aren't even spelled alike although they sound creepily alike:

    nig·gard·ly ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ngrd-l)
    adj.
    Grudging and petty in giving or spending.
    Meanly small; scanty or meager: left the waiter a *****rdly tip

    DISCLAIMER: I HAVE NEVER USED THIS WORD IN MY LIFE!
     
  6. rimbaud

    rimbaud Contributing Member
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    No need to apologize for other people being stupid.
     
  7. Batman Jones

    Batman Jones Contributing Member

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    When the liberal blogosphere concentrates on non-issues like this they undermine the real arguments they have. I'm with you, Mulder. This outrage is silly.
     
  8. MR. MEOWGI

    MR. MEOWGI Contributing Member

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    Where is the ironic, dumb choice of words option?
     
  9. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    methinks you meant ignorant.
     
  10. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    You can make an itellligent argument that "tar baby" in the correct context is inoffensive.

    You can make the argument that Snow comes from a party of closet rasicts and that given that context he was speaking in code to his fellow racists.

    You can make the argument that the sound bites will not show any context and will make Snow look like a card carrying KKKK member.

    Apologzing if anyone took him out of context would be the prudent thing to do. The apology if carefully worded could be decrypted as more code for the racists out there, so the apology could be "win-win".
     
  11. Batman Jones

    Batman Jones Contributing Member

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    You think? While I certainly agree this kind of codespeak happens, there is no way you can make that argument here. Tony Snow's not an idiot. He's not going to send coded messages to people that hate blacks on his first day on the job. Arabs or Mexicans maybe, in a major stretch -- at least that would be on message -- blacks no way. And he's definitely not going to do it using a code that 99% of the country can crack. He was using the term in its proper context (with non-apology apologies to giddyup and Ted Nugent, this term isn't like "wetback" -- it actually has another meaning) and obviously didn't think of the fact that the term's been used in nasty ways.
     
  12. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    Maybe Mr. Snow forgot that he was no longer speaking to his Fox News audience?

    BTW I voted yes mainly because of the sound bite issue. Media is sound bite driven. This is how it is, for good or bad.
     
  13. Saint Louis

    Saint Louis Member

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    36 years and this is the first I have ever heard of the term "tar-baby". What decade did this term come from? Suddenly I am thinking of this,

    "We can’t bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell 'em stories that don’t go anywhere -- like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. 'Give me five bees for a quarter,' you’d say.
    "Now where were we? Oh yeah -- the important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones..."
    "Nothing's impossible in life. For example, I never thought that I could shoot down a German plane. Last year I proved myself wrong."
     
  14. giddyup

    giddyup Contributing Member

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    "We're sorry but Mr. Nugent is not accepting apologies of any sort at this time. Check back later."

    -- giddyup

    :)
     
  15. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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    The meanings of words change over time, 'tar baby' is now primarily used as a racial slur. You've got to keep up with the times if you're going to be the WH press sec.
     
  16. rimrocker

    rimrocker Contributing Member

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    I'm a happy, cheerful, blissful, delighted kind of guy... I am not, however, a gay guy.
     
  17. bnb

    bnb Contributing Member

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    True dat.

    As NW said...an apology if anyone took him out of context would be the reasonable and prudent thing here.

    (I've conveniently ignored NW's hidden code word agenda here as I don't agree with that bit ;) )
     
  18. thegary

    thegary Contributing Member

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  19. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    No way in hell he should apologize. There was nothing wrong with what Snow said.

    I agree with batman in that this is a diversion from real issues that should be focused on.
     
  20. J DIDDY

    J DIDDY Member

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    I have and i am not gonna apologize for it. Why should I be sorry just because i have a better vocabulary than some other guy.
     

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