Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fear of a Black Candidate: Obamaphobia

Reading among the far-right blogosophere, you're always in danger of getting burned by the stupid. Example: Pam Atlas is deeply concerned about Barack Obama's middle name (WARNING: ugliest blog in the known universe). Right. She links to a crazy column by by Judi McCleod, which she calls a "must read." It is, of course, if "must read" means Hey, look how far off the rails the wingnuts can go and still write something that looks like English! Among the baseless accusations (did he go to a madrassa? will he embrace Islam in the White House?), she doesn't quite say (as others have suggested) that Barack is the anti-Christ. But she does make the following ominous observation:

Obama went to Occidental college, whose motto is "West is nearest to the East".

Occidental College has a historic connection to the Summer Institute of Linguistics (now known as SIL International.) Associated with the Rockefellers, SIL has something going on in Dubai. Scroll down three quarters of the way until you see their blinking pyramid logo.

(The link doesn't work in her column; I corrected it and incorporated it into the text. Ah, the editing capabilities of the right.)

Anyway, what does this column tell you about the Summer Institute of Linguistics? It's "international," "associated with the Rockefellers," "has something to do with Dubai," and is associated with a "blinking pyramid logo." If you're a right-winger, this sounds scary -- black-helicopter, one-world-government, Trilateral-Masonic-banking scary.

Except that it's not a blinking pyramid. And except that the Summer Institute of Linguistics is a Christian organization. They offer services to all nowadays, but basically, SIL is an outfit that trains Bible translators.

How wrong can you get?

1 comment:

dr ngo said...

I found this interesting because it's so wrong in so many many ways that I happen to be acquainted with.

1) SIL is associated with Occidental College only in the sense that its founder (William Cameron Townsend) went there, more than half a century before Obama.

2) When I attended Occidental - between the two figures mentioned - it was jokingly characterized as "a small Christian college for very small Christians." It had absolutely no connection with SIL.

3) The college motto, Occidens proxima Oriens (I quote from memory, 40+ years later) was taken as referring to the geographical factoid that when you're on the West coast of the USA, you're actually closer than other Americans to the Orient.
Asian studies, man!

4) As it happens, although Obama attended Oxy, he never graduated, so we can't "claim" him as much as we'd like.

5) When my father worked for Wycliffe Bible Translators (small world, eh? I also had an aunt and uncle who were with WBT their whole lives), which is the parent (sibling?) organization of SIL, it was not just Christian, but specifically evangelical Christian.

6) Sheesh!