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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Racist Economist?

posted by on January 23 at 9:33 AM

-15.jpg How else are we to read this cover?

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Why couldn't Obama be the King?!

Posted by Rye | January 23, 2008 9:37 AM

At least they didn't make him the ace of spades.

Posted by tsm | January 23, 2008 9:37 AM

that a woman and a black man are the most prominently featured?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 23, 2008 9:39 AM

i vote for him as the/a joker.

Posted by lineout fan | January 23, 2008 9:39 AM

Okay, explain to me how this is racist. Clearly I have some sort of internalized bigotry that makes this a blind spot.

Posted by Greg | January 23, 2008 9:39 AM

Ahhhhh,, not racist but if Obama had been made king some people would scream sexism.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | January 23, 2008 9:40 AM

it's a jack not a joker, charles. please remove this stupid post.

Posted by le sigh | January 23, 2008 9:41 AM

indeed - it's clearly the JACK OF HEARTS (the symbols on the card are a giveaway), charles?

Posted by wtf charles? | January 23, 2008 9:43 AM

hmmm... all the white guys are kings or aces, but the one black guy is a jack. is that it?

Posted by brandon | January 23, 2008 9:43 AM

Obama is the Jack of Hearts, Clinton is the Queen of Diamonds. The race is up in the air, i.e., undecided with no clear favorite. Racist, how?

Posted by Fnarf | January 23, 2008 9:43 AM

I'm not getting the racist tone at all. Obama is pictured on the Jack of Hearts, alluding to his message of hope and change. His message is a emotions. Hilary is pictured on the Queen of Diamonds, alluding to her roles as former first lady and a cold, calculating woman, as well as her connections to money.

The republicans are pictured on the spades and clubs. Rudy on the Ace of Spades, Huckabee on the Ace of Clubs, Romney on the King of Spades and McCain on the King of Clubs.

For Romney, in particular, the Spade seems to imply he's digging his own grave, especially as his card is aimed down. Giuliani could have the same meaning with the spade due to his whole "9/11 + verb + noun = speech" style of talking.

The Clubs of the Republicans, I would think, refer to the two different aspects of the Republican party that McCain and Huckabee appeal to. Huck is aiming at the religious conservatives, trying to tie himself to that group of voters, where McCain is trying to attach himself to the moderates, the independents.

Or, alternatively, they just gave the men the traditional "male" cards, gave Hilary a Queen because she's a woman, and decided Obama would be Hearts, making Hilary Diamonds (to keep Dems red and GOP black) and then randomly assigned the GOPers.

Posted by Phelix | January 23, 2008 9:43 AM

Because the white man is the king, and the black man is the lower-ranked jack? Is that negated by the jack's higher prominence on the page?

The fact that the two biggest Dem candidates are above all the Rs is a good sign in my book.

Posted by NaFun | January 23, 2008 9:44 AM

Clearly an equal to the queen would be king. It is obvious the magazine gave him much less stature by making him a jack.
Wake up people!

Posted by subwlf | January 23, 2008 9:44 AM

Feelin a little sensitive there Chucky?

Posted by Wurm | January 23, 2008 9:44 AM

rudy and schmuckabee as aces? or is the "a" for "asshole"? now, i'm reading an anti-republican slant into it? see how easy that is? yes, the "j" is for "jack" not "joker" as 7 noted. or maybe it's for "jack...ass"? in which case, yes very racist indeed!

Posted by ellarosa | January 23, 2008 9:46 AM

Also, Obama is on a Jack to allude to his relative lack of experience. He's new to this kind of national level politics, and don't forget he's actually younger than the rest of the crowd. The two men on Kings are significantly older, as are the Aces.

Posted by Phelix | January 23, 2008 9:46 AM

I find it rather interesting that every Republican is either a King or an Ace- and the black man is the ONLY exception being the lowest rank of Jack.

Yes Charles, it is Racist and Republican centric. Doesn't matter what size the cards are.

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | January 23, 2008 9:46 AM

charles is race baiting. pure and simple.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 23, 2008 9:46 AM

Clearly this requires a careful Marxist analysis to understand why this is racist that is beyond the understanding of Slog readers and beneath Charles to explain.

Posted by PJ | January 23, 2008 9:48 AM

The democrats are all red cards, the rebublicans are all black cards. All the republican cards (King and aces) out rank all the democrat cards. Clinton and Edwards (a 10) are diamonds while Obama is a heart. No racism here, but I do sense a subtle message from the elephants.

Posted by Cat in Chicago | January 23, 2008 9:50 AM

How is this racist?

Posted by Matthew | January 23, 2008 9:52 AM

BTW he cropped out Edwards as a 10 of diamonds in the bottom corner to make it appear that Obama was the lowest ranked card. CHEATING!

Posted by Cat in Chicago | January 23, 2008 9:53 AM

Don't you trust the queen of diamonds...

Posted by minderbender | January 23, 2008 9:54 AM

You are such a tool, Charles.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 23, 2008 9:57 AM

I interpreted this as Sen Obama representing the new vanguard, or 21st Century insurgents, while Sen McCain is the soon to be deposed old guard King (note he's lower down) from the 18th Century, while Sen Clinton is the 20th Century Queen that he will nominate to the US Supreme Court.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 23, 2008 9:57 AM

A British synonym for "Jack" is Knave. So the Economist is calling Obama a Knave.

Posted by upperclass twit | January 23, 2008 9:59 AM

The cover story's subtitle suggests that the image is a reference to Bob Dylan's "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts":

"The festival was over, the boys were all plannin' for a fall,

The cabaret was quiet except for the drillin' in the wall.

The curfew had been lifted and the gamblin' wheel shut down,

Anyone with any sense had already left town.

He was standin' in the doorway lookin' like the Jack of Hearts."

Posted by DOUG. | January 23, 2008 9:59 AM

Charles did this on a dare. I have proof.

Posted by conium | January 23, 2008 10:00 AM

Is there any other kind of economist? mind you i am talking about the field of study rather than the magazine.

Posted by vooodooo84 | January 23, 2008 10:00 AM

Maybe they're using the Swiss Jass card ranking system, where the Jack is highest rank, then the 9, then Ace-6 (there are no cards lower than 6)?

Posted by Lou | January 23, 2008 10:02 AM

False claims of racism like this make some of us completely immune to ANY claim of racism. It's rather tiresome.

Posted by MGD | January 23, 2008 10:02 AM

i know there is free speech and freedom of press and all that, but can get a petition going to revoke CM's slogging priledges for the sake of the "integrity" of The Stranger?!?

Posted by had enough of CM | January 23, 2008 10:02 AM

Well Obama may be a Jack as opposed to the Republicans who are Aces and Kings, but Obama is also towards that top so on a more prestigious part of the cover. What does that mean?

Posted by arduous | January 23, 2008 10:02 AM

False claims of racism like this make some of us completely immune to ANY claim of racism. It's rather tiresome.

Posted by MGD | January 23, 2008 10:03 AM


Posted by superyeadon | January 23, 2008 10:07 AM

It's crap postings like this that has burned out society on "the racism card."

I burned out when I got into an argument with a black woman about the term "lighten up" having nothing to do with skin color. She insisted that it was racist to say such a thing (to her, lighter skin = happier) and wanted it on a list of "racist" statements prohibited at work.

Obama is a jack because he's got less experience than the other candidates - that's what the card's meaning is anyway. A jack = knave = apprentice = young.

It's tiring to force your community to walk you through the logic of illogical statements made by someone who so obviously and desperately wants to be identified as a victim, like it's their only identity.

Pastor Hutch comes to mind.

Posted by Brad in Seattle | January 23, 2008 10:07 AM

so charles not only is race baiting, he is also race baiting by cropping the picture.

he is worse than me in the heath ledger threads.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 23, 2008 10:07 AM

Hey, it's a Charles Mudede post that doesn't feature a 45-year-old Italian woman! Wonders never cease.

Posted by Uncle Vinny | January 23, 2008 10:09 AM

Quit cribbing your material from BAGNews Notes, Charles. Try something original.

Posted by Toe Tag | January 23, 2008 10:09 AM

When I first saw this I thought someone might be upset about who was which card. Can't say I'm surprised it's Charles.

Posted by PA Native | January 23, 2008 10:09 AM

What would a nonracist nonsexist array of candidates and cards be?

Posted by unPC | January 23, 2008 10:11 AM

He just does this shit to watch to comments queue fill up so he can say to his boss, "You can't fire me! Look at the kind of response I get from my posts! Can anybody else generate 50 comments in 2 minutes flat? I am clearly NOT a moron and you CAN'T fire me!"

Posted by Cat in Chicago | January 23, 2008 10:12 AM

You cheat, Charles!

Thanks @37.

Posted by umvue | January 23, 2008 10:12 AM


A squire is an apprentice, not a knave.

Posted by keshmeshi | January 23, 2008 10:13 AM


the stranger: employing race baiters because it generates revenue.

has a ring to it, doesnt it?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 23, 2008 10:15 AM

i'm sure there's something totally sexist about it, too. where's ECB?!?

Posted by jaykay | January 23, 2008 10:15 AM

Come on Charles, offer us an explanation. No one can figure out what you're talking about.

Posted by Gurldoggie | January 23, 2008 10:16 AM

How is that any different from usual?

Posted by Cat in Chicago | January 23, 2008 10:18 AM

maybe you shouldnt invite charles to a party gurldoggie. after all, he will be talking about something that no one cares about.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 23, 2008 10:19 AM

you will find something racist in everything it seems.
Let it go.

Posted by -B- | January 23, 2008 10:19 AM

from wikipedia...

"As the lowest face (or "court") card, the jack often represents a minimum standard..."

"As early as the mid-1500s the jack was called the knave. A knave is a male servant of royalty in this instance."

Posted by Andy | January 23, 2008 10:19 AM


the sexist thing is she is the queen of diamonds, implying that women love diamonds slavishly.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 23, 2008 10:20 AM

It's sexist, racist, and homophobic. And...

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 23, 2008 10:21 AM

whooooooooooooooooooooooooo cares?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 23, 2008 10:22 AM

which are the gay cards?

"one-eyed" jacks?

Posted by unPC | January 23, 2008 10:25 AM

When I got this issue, I tried to find a pattern in the cards. Seemed like it was mostly based on standings after NH but wasn't consistant. The Economist supports Hillary and hates Edwards--he's the only non-face card with a 10 (not shown).

Posted by Gabe Global | January 23, 2008 10:28 AM

The US economy is a falling house of cards, so which of these will be the card which starts the rebuilding...

Posted by isabelita | January 23, 2008 10:30 AM

Is Jack some kind of slang for a black person that I'm not familiar with?

I guess it's possible to think that hey, they made Hillary the Queen (because she's a woman) so there must be a reason why Obama is a Jack. I'm not sure what that reason is, but I'm sure that's where Charles thinks the racism lies.

I think it's irritating that Hillary was made a queen, but at least see wasn't the queen of hearts (Off With Her Head!). Also, at least Obama wasn't made a spade.

Posted by Julie | January 23, 2008 10:31 AM

I don't like you, Charles.

Posted by Cindy | January 23, 2008 10:31 AM

The French term for Jack is Valet. Maybe The Economist is suggesting he should be out in the parking lot parking the cars?

Posted by Mark at YVR | January 23, 2008 10:31 AM

"the black man is the ONLY exception being the lowest rank of Jack."
here's the full cover. John Edwards is a "10".

There is nothing racist about this cover at all.

Posted by Jacob | January 23, 2008 10:32 AM

I'm sure so many Economist readers are going to fail to pick up on the layers of racism cloaking this magazine cover when they read it on the john. Their inability to deconstruct means WHITEY WINS.

Posted by Ziggity | January 23, 2008 10:34 AM

gabe @56, why exactly does the economist hate edwards? now THAT'S worthy of discussion.

Posted by ellarosa | January 23, 2008 10:36 AM


Posted by Medina | January 23, 2008 10:37 AM

Making him a jack instead of a King/Ace like the rest of the men might be reasonable construed as racist despite his prominence in the ad.
Plus that whole knave as manservent thing that 51 pointed out.

Posted by arandomdude | January 23, 2008 10:38 AM

I am munching on some Planter's Almonds right now. I bet Charles would say I am racist for eating the Almonds. Or would that just be the exploitation of corporate interests in my consumption of nuts?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | January 23, 2008 10:38 AM

Why is Romney the only upside down card? Is this a symbol of religious bias?

Posted by Cat in Chicago | January 23, 2008 10:39 AM

You mean, because Obama is a Jack, as in "Black Jack"?

Posted by spencer | January 23, 2008 10:42 AM

umm...couldn't this just indicate how much younger he is than all of the other candidates?

c'mon mudede, multiple readings.

Posted by zombiesmmm | January 23, 2008 10:44 AM

Taken from the Fox News playbook of showing fairness and balance by appending a question mark to an outlandish statement.

Charles Mudede: Pederast?

not true as far as i know, but now the question is planted in your mind, and if either subject is of any interest to you, you'll begin to equate the two.

You're a better writer and thinker than this, Charles. Would you have felt the same way if everyone else was on red cards and only Obama was on a black card? What if Obama was on the Queen card? Would it have been more racist if he were on a Spade?


Posted by diggum | January 23, 2008 10:46 AM

@65... except for the whole Edwards as a "10" thing that Charles cut from the posted picture.

In thinking about it, I would bet that they wanted to make Hilary the Queen for obvious reasons. Obama came in 2nd in NH, and Edwards in 3rd, therefore Q, J, 10.

Posted by Julie | January 23, 2008 10:48 AM

#32, to whom would you submit the petition? Dan Savage? Real bastion of integrity there...

Posted by sigh | January 23, 2008 10:49 AM

Like Obama, Mudede chooses to play the race card.

Posted by crazycatguy | January 23, 2008 10:52 AM

DRAW the queen of diamonds... stupid me.

Posted by minderbender | January 23, 2008 10:55 AM

@41: they should all be the same card. but not a king. or a queen. or a jack. or a ten, a nine or an eight. seven might be safe. but they cannot be a spade. or a club. or a heart. or a diamond.


@70: there is apparently no way to use the deck of cards in a fair, non-racist non-sexist manner. that might be the point.

otherwise, yes, it seems as though they bent over backwards to make this as not racist and not sexist as possible -- i almost cannot image it any other way. maybe that's what is racist and sexist about it after all.

Posted by infrequent | January 23, 2008 10:56 AM

@73 and just how has obama played the race card?

Posted by infrequent | January 23, 2008 10:57 AM

@71: yes!
Obama and all men as Ace/King, Hillary a Queen. Hmmmm....nope, no discrimination problems there.

So again: show us how to use the card analogy in a nonracist nonsexist manner.
(Correct answer: cards are institutionally racist, as they pressupose rank, and when Obama is the only African American and is also fighting to change the old political order, the use of the card analogy is a dig at him. Cards= Hillary's message, experience. The nonracist use of cards would be to show all the other "face cards" in a house of cards on a table, with a real Obama standing beside the table, majestically sweeping the whole house of cards away).

Posted by unPC | January 23, 2008 11:01 AM

@36 and @34: yes it can grow tiresome. but i find people use these far-fetched cases -- which are few and far between -- the justify dismissing the numerous actual cases where racism was a factor.

you know what? there has been enough discrimination for long enough in this country that white males should be expect cases like that. injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, but at least the injustice should be spread around in a more equal manner!

Posted by infrequent | January 23, 2008 11:01 AM

71 - thank you, julie. i'm pretty sure charles is just lookin' fer trubble with this post, but that is the most logical explanation.

Posted by brandon | January 23, 2008 11:05 AM

The title says, Race Economist?

I'm not sure Charles was making a statement.
Perhaps he thought it was funny. I find it kind of humorous, maybe that makes me a racist.

Posted by mj | January 23, 2008 11:06 AM

Here's how I read this: The game is still "up in the air"... Obama may have gone into this thing with "lower rank": ie he may be less experienced than some of these folks, he may not come from privilege like most of these folks; but against all those odds he's got a real shot at being the Leader of the Free World next year. The subtext is a success story (and elucidating the racism that survives in that needs a more nuanced forum than either Slog or The Economist, I'm afraid).

Posted by a | January 23, 2008 11:13 AM

wheeeee! there are all kinds of trump games where the jack is the highest card.

i like when the internets troll.

Posted by beef | January 23, 2008 11:14 AM

What strikes me is the color choices for the cards--being that this is the Economist (and that we're speculating on the cover's possible subtexts). Are they suggesting Dems will keep our economy in the red and GOPpers will put us in the black? Not if this week's Wall Street news is a report card on the neocons fiscal management...

Posted by Dominic Holden | January 23, 2008 11:14 AM

This is racist how? Give me a break.

Posted by sprizee | January 23, 2008 11:27 AM

I think Charles and Erica are having a contest. Erica 85, Charles 84, for now.

Posted by Fnarf | January 23, 2008 11:30 AM

ha! fnarf ftw! er... i mean, charles ftw!

Posted by infrequent | January 23, 2008 11:31 AM

Considering the four Republicans are black Aces and Kings while the Democrats are portrayed as a red Queen, Jack, and Ten, I wouldn't say the cover is racist so much as GOP-centric.

The Aces & Kings on the GOP side probably symbolize how close the race is, with no clear front-runner.

Hillary is the clear Democratic front-runner (as told by delegate counts), so the Q-J-10 layout of Hillary-Obama-Edwards makes sense in that regard.

Of course, putting Obama on a black suit, especially the spades, would have been patently offensive, which is why all the Dems are in red and the GOPers in black. I think the Economist is guilty of using a tired and idiotic cliche to portray the candidates, not overt racism.

(I bet the related story references Kenny Roger's "The Gambler." I just know it does, and it makes me want to puke just thinking about it. The gambling metaphors (because of Las Vegas) are almost - almost! - as bad as the boxing metaphors. If I hear "the gloves are coming off" one more time...)

Posted by Ryan | January 23, 2008 11:32 AM

One other thing: I'd be more angry about this cover if I were Hillary. The cover obviously references "Desperado": "Don't draw the queen of diamonds, boy, she'll hurt you when she's able. The queen of hearts is always your best friend."

Posted by Ryan | January 23, 2008 11:35 AM

Sorry guys, I was just trolling!

Posted by Charles Mudede | January 23, 2008 11:39 AM

i'm not 89.

Posted by charles mudede | January 23, 2008 11:43 AM

I just thought Obama was a Jack because he is younger, he is an 'up and coming'.

Hillary is obviously the Queen b/c she is a woman.

Posted by Mrs. Y | January 23, 2008 11:44 AM

Wow how very typical of you to go and make everything a race issue! Just as ECB would probably make this same post claiming misogyny had it been Hilary on the Jack!

He's not on the Jack of spades, so how is it racist in any way? Please skool us clueless white folk.

Posted by fs | January 23, 2008 11:50 AM

If that's the Democrats' hand, I fold that shit in early position. Maybe I'd call a raise from the cutoff or button.

Posted by Gomez | January 23, 2008 11:54 AM

Of course, JFK was a Jack. And he's still our most popular President.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 23, 2008 11:55 AM

Typical Economist viewpoint (i.e. conservative asshole). Dems are lower ranked cards than Reps. Hillary and Barack are shown larger so that readers can be sure to note they are not white males. Edwards is not shown (despite polling better than the shown Guiliani) for this reason.

CM spouts this sort of horseshit all the time. Evidently, the editor thinks it's cute. It certainly isn't insightful or informative.

Posted by butterw | January 23, 2008 12:03 PM

i was actually admiring this cover the other day. obama as the jack of hearts seems totally natural. hillary as the queen of diamonds (making her the queen of hearts would be innacurate), mccain as the king of clubs (the GOP being a boys club, also indicating his strong stance on nat'l security), etc. i think the king and queen thing indicates some inkling of inevitability, whereas the jack of hearts being more prominently sized than the king of clubs indicates his better chances. i think it's a very well-done cover. i don't see any racism anywhere at all.

what i don't get is how giuliani is the ace of spades...?

Posted by kim | January 23, 2008 12:09 PM

Just lucky they used cards, and not dice.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | January 23, 2008 12:14 PM

@90 - Oh, but you really are, even if you're not.

Posted by Wowza | January 23, 2008 12:16 PM

i don't know about racist but it is belittling and penuis-y.

Posted by Cale | January 23, 2008 12:31 PM

Getting the point yet Charles?

Or are we being the racists throwing this back in your face?

Posted by Reality Check | January 23, 2008 12:42 PM

Charles, why dont you just explain what you are suggesting.

Posted by idaho | January 23, 2008 12:43 PM

I guess how you look at those cards depends upon the game your playing. In euchre a card game commonly played through out the midwest, including Illinois, the Jacks are the highest cards. They trump other suits and other face cards of their own suit.

But as I said it all depends upon the game you are playing. Its clear the game Charles is playing.

Posted by First Time Caller Long Time Listener | January 23, 2008 12:54 PM

@95: Actually, the Economist has a very centrist style. They're definitely more conservative than hardcore left-wingers (which really don't exist as a party in the States (think Canada's NDP)), but have much more liberal views than the GOP.

Am I the only one who immediately thought 'euchre' from this cover? Maybe Obama is a bauer, trumping all of the higher-numbered black suits. Even if that's finding meaning where there is none, there is nothing racist about this cover at all.

Posted by Tdub | January 23, 2008 12:57 PM

I love how Charles responds FOUR minutes after someone impersonates him, but in the mean while won't respond to the 40+ requests for clarification.

I guess it's a one way communication, and we're just supposed to be grateful that he deigns to share his insights with us.

Posted by Big Sven | January 23, 2008 1:01 PM

chaz is a coward sven. didn't you realize that?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 23, 2008 1:17 PM

Reading between the lines?

Its only racist if you pulled a couple bongloads the size of Texas first thing in the AM and flew head first into that paranoid conspiracy vortex cannabis is legendary for.

Posted by JaggOff | January 23, 2008 1:28 PM

They should have made him the Jack of Spades.

Can we start
Let me say my part
About the only guy who has some heart
It took some time for the heart to come, but it's here
And everybody's in fear

Posted by K | January 23, 2008 1:57 PM

I don't think Charles reads all this, if he did he might show some change but who actually changes their point of view based upon bogging. Seems it enforces an even stronger point of view kinda like digging your heels in and not budging on your opinions.

Posted by -B- | January 23, 2008 2:25 PM

Obama being a jack is clearly a reference to how he's the literal reincarnation of JFK. Even though they lived at the same time for about 2 years, Obama was a soulless hull until Kennedy died and he received his presidential soul and destiny. It's not racist, it's meta.

Posted by flyingdics | January 23, 2008 2:30 PM

Big Jim was no one's fool, he owned the town's only diamond mine,
He made his usual entrance lookin' so dandy and so fine.
With his bodyguards and silver cane and every hair in place,
He took whatever he wanted to and he laid it all to waste.
But his bodyguards and silver cane were no match for the Jack of Hearts.

Posted by dylan said it all | January 23, 2008 2:45 PM

110, no, 111 posts for a Chaz bash! It's got to be a new record.

Posted by Spoogie | January 23, 2008 4:01 PM

Ooh, the candidates on playing cards! I find that kind of ... whimsical.

Posted by CP | January 23, 2008 5:29 PM

Queen of Diamonds - trigger card from Manchurian Candidate.

Posted by whatever | January 23, 2008 9:16 PM

Eleanor Iselin (Angela Lansbury) looks a little like HRC - she was pure evil - I'd rather be the jack of hearts

Posted by whatever | January 23, 2008 9:26 PM

Thanks, Charles. We'll never get those electrons back. (I should hot-key this post.)

Posted by onew | January 23, 2008 9:50 PM

This post calls to mind the phrase, "Put a puppy on the freeway and see what happens."

Posted by jonnie | January 24, 2008 12:33 AM

I can't believe it took 83 posts before someone finally got beyond the initial point of the post, and went into the more striking subtext.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | January 24, 2008 1:45 AM

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