On Monday the online realm of the mainstream media reported that a group of Scott Brown supporters and staffers made vile racist hand gestures and hurled racially-charged epithets at Elizabeth Warren supporters near the Eire Pub in Boston, Massachusetts. “Casual racism and sports collide in Massachusetts,” reported the Pulitzer Prize-winning publication the Huffington Post.
“Supporters of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown are seen at a rally doing tomahawk chops and war whoops in an apparent attempt to mock Democrat Elizabeth Warren… The Brown supporters laugh as they mimic Native American war cries” reported Huffington, citing a video disseminated by a group linked to Warren’s campaign.
Clearly, if HuffPo‘s word is to be taken at face value, it was yet another case of the drunken Irish-Catholics getting out of hand, inflicting their backward cultural views on the good, progressive people of Elizabeth Warren Nation. We all know that when booze and broads are involved, those Scott Brown supporters can turn any Boston political rally into a genuine race riot. Shameful behavior, but not exactly surprising considering their reading comprehension level (why are they still supporting Brown even after HuffPo reported on the first debate with the headline “The Professor and the Jock“? Don’t they know that a professor is better than a jock?)
But here’s a fact not mentioned by the Huffington Post or Rachel Weiner at the Washington Post: It was Scott Brown’s campaign event.
The Elizabeth Warren people ambushed it, angrily and methodically chanting “Warren! Warren! Warren!” sticking their signs in the faces of the Brown supporters, taunting and intimidating them in the hope that somebody on the Brown side would say something off-color that could be captured by the pro-Warren filmmakers infiltrating the rally.
The Warren people got their wish.
Confronted with a swarm of dead-eyed warriors right off the Daily Kos blogroll, a couple of Massachusetts guys in backwards baseball caps tried to lighten the mood. After trying out the chant “Yankees suck,” the pro-Brown guys started doing the Atlanta Braves tomahawk chop, smiles on their faces. It was a lighthearted reference to Professor Warren’s most publicized embarrassment.
They were not insulting Native Americans, the way Warren did when she co-opted their heritage on a job application or talked about their “high cheekbones” — actions that caused a good deal of pain in the Cherokee community. No. They were lampooning Warren’s actual relationship to Native American culture, pointing out that Professor Warren is about as much of a Native American as the Cleveland Indians mascot or any other shallow white mainstream appropriation of the American Indian people.
They were noting that on the list of important Native American events in this country’s history, Elizabeth Warren’s Senate campaign ranks somewhere alongside “Come And Get Your Love,” Ed Ames’ tomahawk throw on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and Jane Fonda’s awkward participation in the Turner Field rally cry during the 1991 World Series. Elizabeth Warren, in a sense, is the Atlanta Braves tomahawk chop.
They were only mocking one Indian — the fake one.
Stop taking yourselves so seriously, the Brown guys were saying in a language imperceptible and unacceptable to the overeducated radicals confronting them. It’s a nice day outside. And, hey, it’s just a political race.
But the Warren people practice a different breed of politics — the politics of Occupy. The Warren people came armed with high-tech video cameras and a take-no-prisoners agenda. Within minutes, the pro-Warren activist organization BlueMassGroup was frantically tweeting their video to every mainstream media reporter in Washington.
For the Gen-Y liberal bloggers sitting in front of their Twitter feeds in our nation’s capital, it was like their non-denominational holiday of choice came early this year.
This video had it all! Racism! Quasi-violence! And, unlike at Zuccotti Park, this time it was the Republicans, not Warren’s students, ostensibly misbehaving.
Our friends at Buzzfeed and Talking Points Memo (etc., etc.) typed out their faux-outrage with unrestrained glee, their hyphenated last names and Ivy League headshots popping up across the blogosphere beneath sensational racially-charged headlines.
The Massachusetts sense of humor — the very thing holding together that proud, beautiful old state — was being assailed by a bunch of folks not only ignorant of the state’s unique culture but openly hostile to it.
And after the scandal had been created, promoted, and acknowledged by Senator Brown — “I’ll tell that (staffer) to never do it again” he said — the communications director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, Kevin Franck, took a quick break from his righteous outrage to make clear on Twitter what had just transpired.
“Thanks for your help today,” Franck tweeted at Scott Brown’s Twitter supporters, who were defending their senator with humorous but not altogether Harvard-appropriate gusto. “Please keep doing what you do.”
The Yankees won.