A new series of video reports by Alexandra Pelosi, which Bill Maher has been showing on HBO’s ‘Real Time,’ are proving highly controversial.
The interviewees, all white men, some toothless, complain about “Adam and Steve,” claim they hated the government while being on food stamps, and threaten that “the South will rise again.” There was also talk of hating black people and the President for being a “half-breed.”
But critics from both the left and the right have said, amongst other things, that her report plays to stereotypes.
A writer for the liberal The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates, said that Pelosi’s work “oozes condescension.”
The violins, the camera angles etc. all portray a snarky “laughing at you, not with you” style of humor.
After conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan praised the video, he was forced to post substantial blowback from readers.
A gay Mississippian wrote:
This video is PRECISELY the sort of condescending, self-congratulating, tautological garbage that fuels the stereotype of the mainstream media as a band of snotty elitists who sneer at everything that resides outside the Beltway, NYC, Hollywood or San Francisco.
Others said that Pelosi’s report reflected an attitude that was damaging the Liberal cause.
Sullivan defended the video, saying:
The idea that racism is no factor in the deep South’s disdain for Obama is a preposterous piece of spin.
March 16, Pelosi (daughter of Nancy) discussed the reactions with Maher. Pointedly, they said her report had offended conservatives but ignored ‘Liberal’ reaction. And they screened another video filmed in New York which she thought liberals would hate as it played to stereotypes of ‘welfare queens’ by interviewing ‘work shy’ black men in New York.
“I’m here tryin’ to get some Obama bucks, that’s what I’m doin’, trying to get some Obama money,” said one man.
Pelosi said that she was making a political point with this video:
“We have to address the fact that this is why Democrats are losing ground. And this is a problem in America. The entitlement culture has gotten so big that we are losing our own people,” she said.
Pelosi claimed that “by Monday morning, you’re going to have the left wing feeding frenzy attacking you for making the Democrats look bad.”
Not so fast. Here’s Coates again:
Alexandra Pelosi goes to a welfare office in New York and proves that she can be as dickish to poor black people as she can to poor white people. Pelosi’s commentary is worth listening to. She evidently is declining to understand the critique, preferring instead to undermine it by proving that her sneering knows no bounds. But cruelty is cruelty and the fact that one’s condescension is of the rainbow doesn’t make one any less condescending. Pelosi thinks she’s surprising by her willingness to unleash her quick wit against poor black people. But there is nothing noteworthy about offending “both sides,” a feat that can be managed simply relieving yourself on a crowded street.
Image: 'Real Time' screen grab