Politicans Search for the Electorate’s G-spot

On Monday,  I was startled when  I did my morning headline glance at MSNBC to see the President’s speech to the CBC headlined “Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’ “with the elided “g”’s clearly signaled.  Remembering criticisms of Bush for forced folksiness, and recalling that the intensity  of Clinton’s Arkansas speech rose and fell, I wondered it this were another sign of Obama‘s slide in the estimation of the MSM.  I didn’t watch the accompanyin’ video as Youtube  was not cooperating.

Now a few days later, I see that it has kicked up an excremental weather front, but not the one I would have predicted,

From the
WSJ  
Sept 27, 2011

“Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’,” President Obama lectured the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. According to the White House transcript, the president said: “Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying.” Dylan Stableford of Yahoo! News reports that the case of the missing g’s is now prompting charges of racism:

On MSNBC, the African-American author Karen Hunter complained the news service transcribed Obama’s speech without cleaning it up as other outlets did–specifically including the “dropped g’s.” . . .

    Hunter called the AP’s version “inherently racist,” sparring with New Republic contributing editor and noted linguistics expert John McWhorter, who argued the g-less version “is actually the correct one,” noting that the president’s victory in the 2008 election was due, in part, to how effortlessly “he can switch into that [black] dialect.”

It does seem, in the eyes of his supporters, that our first post racial president is all about race.  For me, the issue in this instance is in the last sentence.

“…how effortlessly “he can switch into that [black] dialect.”

Are politicians really unaware of the internet and Youtube? Do they still think they can get away with addressing one audience one way, and another quite differently?

Is it worth considering that the racism here might be the president’s, in that he felt Blacks must be addressed in “their “ dialect to get the message, or that they are so self obsessed that they will not consider a message, even from an ally, if not couched in group approved language?

Herman Cain speaks with a heavy black intonation – “g”’s intact, as far as I can see, to wildly appreciative, mostly white audiences.  I’m no linguist, but his speech sounds more ”black” to me than the President’s mildly African American inflection.

Mr. Cain understands that it is best to be one’s self.  This elocutionary metamorphism on the part of the President might lead one to wonder if Obama indeed knows how exactly he is, or  feels the need to present different selves to different electoral segments.

If the latter, he has, and has had plenty of company on both sides of the aisle, but is unwise.  Despite, or perhaps as a result of a media saturated culture, authenticity will prevail over calculated and hastily erected and and just as quickly disassembled multiple persona.

Rick Perry to the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans: no “g’s”
His Presidential run announcement in South Carolina: no “g”s

Presidential debate     Some “g’s” present.  Perry would appear to be genuine “g-dropper,” struggling to maintain standard pronunciation when he thinks it is appropriate. He should be consistent, and himself.

I didn’t bother to check up on Romney.  It’s impossible to imagine him as a “g” dropper.

Those who live in a region, or come from a class or linguistic group that pronounce “ing”  as “in”,  should a politician suddenly start dropping “g’ just to address you, might think about drop kicking him or her out of the race.

We will be listening.