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By C. Antonio Romero

SAN FRANCISCO, 15 SEPTEMBER 2008 - When we live, we dream out loud-in full-color, full-contact, four-dimensional reality. Which is to say, whatever is in the unconscious of each of us and all of us leaks out all over, metaphoric discharge from our psychic lesions. What we picture, what we present, what we call ourselves, and who we stand with tell anyone with the sense to pay attention what wounds we carry, what un-lanced boils of fear and hate and shame and rage throb feverishly with each of our heartbeats.

"Point the box towards Mecca for tastier waffles!"

And so it comes as little surprise that an event with a name like the "Values Voter Summit", sponsored by tribes that mark themselves apart with names like "American Values" and "Focus on the Family Action," should wind up harboring self-dubbed satirists and " well-known Christian writers" who would target their Adversary Other, Barack Obama, with a barrage of the nastiest images from the national unconscious, that mostly reveal their own inner sickness, inflammations of hate complicated by infections of nostalgia for some white supremacist, Christian-safe good-old-days-gone-by that has brooded within the "American" soul at least since slavery took decisive hold on this continent and demanded that white should loathe black.

See a full-size version of this image

Barry's Bling Bling
Waffle Ring Recipe Rap

"...For a waffle wit' style, like Chicago's Magnificent Mile/
Spray whipped cream around the edge/
Shake it first like Sister Sledge/
Then say wit' me, I can be as waffly as I wanna be!
(That goes out to my Ludacris posse)"

And, likewise, it is inevitable, and inadvertently revealing, that the event organizers should declare their ignorance-that they were unaware that the boxes had displayed "offensive material" until, after a couple of days of brisk sales, a reporter from the AP (tipped off by a trouble-making atheist) started drawing outsider attention to the insiders' joke.

Perhaps they were too distracted by the larger-than-life blowups of the box, or the thronging crowds snapping them up at $10 a pop, to notice the box itself. Perhaps they were too lost in a memory of long-ago " temptilatin' happyfyin' good old-time down South eatin' (just like down on the plantation!)" to be put off by the Stepin Fetchit dialect in the Waffle Ring Recipe Rap. Or maybe they were caught up in the potential of " budget-balancin', energizin'" waffles like the ones Jemima used to make to address America's urgent fiscal and energy policy problems.

Or perhaps they knew of the product but were genuinely unaware that it was offensive. Ignorance, when you can get it, is indeed bliss.

The creators of "Obama Waffle" interviewed by American News Project

Barack Obama's campaign will almost certainly remain mostly silent about the insults and lies slung about in this bit of innocent fun, at most sending unofficial surrogates at most to voice any potentially controversial response. And frankly, it cannot help his campaign to dignify something like this with a direct reply. Already there have been too many sideshows, such as the Palin pick, to draw voter and media interest away from the innumerable real issues at stake in this election. The news cycle must move on, and quickly.

"What's wrong with Aunt Jemima? I always looked at that as a symbol of quality..."

But that does not mean that this topic is not significant or newsworthy at some level. And it does not mean that Americans, whether inside the Obama movement or outside, cannot protest. Citizens who believe more in ideals of liberty and equality and opportunity and representative democracy than in some stupid, sick myth of national tribal identity must come together, regardless of politics or party or race or creed, and say, with one voice"Enough!"

The fever must break, the abcesses must be drained, and the deep-down illness must pass. Otherwise, to be sure, the American body and mind politic will drown in its own bilious humor.

C. Antonio Romero is the Nouveau and Technology editor of He last wrote on Barack Obama: The New Caesar Africanus? Or, What the hell is Chris Matthews Talking About?

Book Tip

All titles are chosen by the editors as being of interest to Culturekiosque readers.

The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation
By Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff

Hardcover: 528 pages
Knopf (November 2006)
ISBN-10: 0679403817
ISBN-13: 978-0679403814

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