Links for September 27th

  • Mediaite: AP Reporter Responds To Chris Hayes Panel Debate On Racism Of Droppin’ G’s From Obama Speech
    There's some fussing about how an AP reporter transcribed a quote from President Obama. In a recent speech, the president said: "Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’." On one of those sunday morning shouting shows, the reporter was declared to be racist for doing so. Ridiculous. Anybody who saw or heard the president's remarks knows full well that this was a deliberately affected speaking style. To transcribe his remarks with the "g" would have whitewashed his speech while altering his remarks. This is not a matter of transcribing a dialect paternally, but instead attempting to convey his remarks accurately.
  • National Arbitration Forum: Ms. Stefani Germanotta v. oranges arecool XD
    This is a really interesting decision that resulted from an ICANN complaint that Germanotta filed against a Lady Gaga fan site,, demanding that the fan turn over the domain name. Though there are a lot of facts that led to their conclusion, the mediators found in favor of the fan, finding that the site was run in good faith, there was no substantial likelihood of confusion with the official site, and that Germanotta doesn't appear to be having any trouble promoting herself.
  • Sunlight Labs: House Revamps Floor Feed
    The U.S. House has made some great changes to their legislative data service. The U.S. Senate remains in the stone age.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

8 replies on “Links for September 27th”

  1. Obama adopts that particular speaking style anytime he’s in the south, and anytime his audience is mostly black. On those occasions, he also forgets how to pronounce the word “for.”

    While saying “fo'” is common among blacks in the south, it sounds pretty strange coming from a Chicagoan.

  2. I think the reporter should have probably just transcribed them with the “g”s, but I don’t think it’s racist not to have them. They did the same thing when transcribing Palin. Does that make reporters racist against white people? Alaskans?

    I will agree with I.Pub above that Obama does have a habit of slipping into some fake accent when visiting certain areas. I remember when he came to Charlottesville in support of Rep. Perriello, listening to him and thinking, “That is not what he normally talks like. Why is he talking like that?” I also remember it being funny because Charlottesville is decidedly not the type of town that is Southern in that manner.

  3. You choose not to use her universally recognized stage name, Lady Gaga? Ms. Germanotta sounds so clinical, so legal. You might as well throw in a reference to a dead language like inter alia. =)

  4. I will agree with I.Pub above that Obama does have a habit of slipping into some fake accent when visiting certain areas.

    Though perhaps I haven’t heard what you’re describing, I don’t think it’s entirely fair to call it “fake.” Many people (myself included) speak in a range of accents, depending on our location and to whom we’re speaking. Our surroundings bring out various facets of our speech.

    That said, yes, it’s certainly not unheard of for candidates to adopt a ludicrously unreasonable accent when speaking to audiences, and they sure can sound like jackasses.

  5. I remember feeling the same way about it at the time—not having been a fan of hers for the nomination—but the story turned out to be pretty different than the “look at her pretending to have an accent that she doesn’t” line of the time. All that ever got played was that one bit, but not a word before or after—no context. She was quoting from lyrics by gospel musician James Cleveland (who I blame for creating the lousy sound of modern gospel, but that’s another discussion), and reading them as they are famously sung. The audience is reacting excitedly because they’re hearing lyrics that they well know. Once that story came out, the problem for Clinton was basically the same problem that the AP reporter is having for quoting Obama dropping his Gs—the question of whether it’s appropriate to quote in dialect, or whether that’s insulting. In her case, it just made her look dumb, so the question of appropriateness turned out to be moot.

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