Will the O-Word Replace the N-Word?

Back to the acting life again,  I’ve been busy playing a smirking, conniving  villain in an absurd melodrama–no, not Dick Cheney–so I’m a bit behind on some cultural observations re the Obama Reformation:

1. At least a few of the black rappaz who’ve contributed to the ongoing sleazification of America are now saying that with Obama in charge, they’ll consider cleaning up their acts, starting with a reduction in the number of N-words they blast in their alleged music.

 A savvy African-American blogger has quotes and details  here . If I read this right,  some rappaz may even start using the president’s name in place of the ubiquitous N-word as a kind of backhanded honorific, I guess.

So we’ll hear “Yo, homie, get these niggaz Obamas a beer,” and “I don’ want no niggaz  Obamas comin’ in here strapped,’  you feel me?” 

 Perhaps  the song “Mah Niggaz” from the soundtrack of Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday will be redubbed  “Mah Obamas.”

 2. Also caught a sign-o’-the-times NPR piece with cultural critic John McWhorter reflecting on the intonations and inflections in Obama’s Inaugural Address.  By the way, Obama is “bi-dialectal,” McWhorter informs us.

  Of course, he says,  Clinton and W. Bush were also  bi-D, doncha know, but it turns out that Clinton and Bush’s bi-dialecticality was not good, see, while Obama’s is good.

“Clinton and Bush used colloquialisms, but we tended to process them as Southern,  hillbilly, or  Texan,” McWhorter  tells NPR.  So when Clinton said he’d be with New Hampshire voters “until the last dog dies,” or Bush used some boot-scootin’  Texasism, that was  deemed hickish by the mediarati. By contrast, when Obama tells a waiter, “I’m straight” on a generous tip, or uses an expression like “that’s how I roll,” this is cool and new and hip and authentic.

Lesson: We need to be tolerant and welcoming of all kinds of diverse life styles, but we sure don’t need to broaden our circle to include the slovenly cowboy-cracker dialectic of Southern lowlifes.

Got that, y’all?


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