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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Can We Now Officially Ban the Word “Narrative,” Please?

posted by on January 27 at 11:54 AM

With all the talk of the black vote going for Obama, it should be noted (and it was to me by Annie, promptly) that Obama got twice as much of the white vote in S.C. as he was projected to get. He got about a quarter of it.

Here’s two other things to note:

Among young white voters in South Carolina (not a huge percentage of the vote, but they will be one day) Obama got 52%! Talk about the New South. Right on.

This, and another supposed anomaly—Obama’s heavy support among white voters in the outlying precincts in Nevada (63-31 in Elko County! 50 to 41 in Washoe County)—upends any notion that Obama is “the black candidate” —or “Jesse Jackson”—as Bill Clinton idiotically put it.

A thorough look at the demographic breakdown in all the races so far notes these complicating factors among many others (including the difference between richer white voters and poorer white voters and the difference between Hispanic turnout and black turnout).

It’s a must read for anyone who’s trying to come up with a neat narrative for this election. Because, it turns out, the data says there isn’t one.

My suggestion right now, let’s ban the word “narrative.” Please.

RSS icon Comments


Thanks for that narrative, Josh.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | January 27, 2008 11:57 AM

1. narrative, narration, story, tale, message, content, subject matter, substance

usage: a message that tells the particulars of an act or occurrence or course of events; presented in writing or drama or cinema or as a radio or television program; "his narrative was interesting"; "Disney's stories entertain adults as well as children"

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 27, 2008 12:02 PM

DAMN! Forgot to attach snarky comment.

Well, the moment's gone, but it was gonna be something to the effect that if we're going to ban the word "narrative" wouldn't it make sense to ban "news commentary" as well?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 27, 2008 12:04 PM

Mudede already banned Narrative.

Posted by Get With The Times, Yo | January 27, 2008 12:05 PM

ROTFL. Boy, he sure did.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | January 27, 2008 12:31 PM

We should also ban prose.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 27, 2008 12:36 PM

We should all use Ban, Rose.

Posted by WHAT ABOUT POESY? | January 27, 2008 12:52 PM

i went to furman university, in greenville sc from '00 to '05, so i have a bunch of friends from south carolina who are in the "under thirty" age group that people are talking about so much. Of the ones i've spoken to recently, they all voted for Obama. i don't think i know a single person in my age group that plans to vote for clinton on tuesday in FL either.

Posted by konstantConsumer | January 27, 2008 12:54 PM

Hey Josh, me here. I know it's been a while since I rapped at ya, but let me just interject one small point.

Look, the word "narrative" in the political context is used in an accusatory way, such as to denounce the pat characterization of Obama as popular only among blacks. Pundits who actually think Obama only appeals to this or that minority group don't say "my narrative is that only young people who don't vote like Obama." They leave out the word "narrative" because it undermines the believability of their assertion and reveals that it is only a stereotyped set of expectations. Critics of said lazy pundit would reply, "that's only your narrative (you dick)."

So if we banned the word, it would be all the harder for you do make the critique we just did. Plus, who are we to ban words? And don't we have anything better to do?

Posted by elenchos | January 27, 2008 1:39 PM

Not a huge percentage of the vote, true, but 18-29 year-olds made up a measly 9% of the turnout in 2004 (admittedly, SC was slightly farther back in the calendar), and this year they were up to a solid 14%. Not bad at all.

Posted by annie | January 27, 2008 1:54 PM

There is a narrative:

It's pretty simple:

USA to GOP: Time's UP! Get LOST!

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 27, 2008 3:57 PM
It’s a must read for anyone who’s trying to come up with a neat narrative for this election.

I say we ban the word neat.

Posted by Mahtli69 | January 27, 2008 8:47 PM

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