The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Representin’ Ewok and the Signifyin’ Jive

Posted on | July 17, 2013 | 39 Comments

Inside jokes about Ace’s resemblance to the cuddly creatures of The Return of the Jedi are a sort of signification — an advertisement of tribal membership — in the same way I sometimes get all redneck when I’m angry and start quoting The Outlaw Josey Wales.

The AOSHQ Moron throws out the inside jokes like a Crip throwing gang signs, letting his fellow Morons know he’s one of them. Tribal membership requires one to represent — to conform to the ethos of the tribe, to defend the tribal honor, and to attack the enemies of the tribe. Belonging to the tribe confers certain benefits on the members, although these benefits may not be apparent to outsiders. Nevertheless, the valuable prestige of the tribe requires these signifying and representing customs.

Sociologists and anthropologists understand this and, if you followed the 2007-09 meltdown of the Little Green Footballs tribe, you recall that the key turning point was when Ace — tiring of Charles Johnson’s phony act — decided to throw down on that mofo.

There was a sort of blogger “street smarts” involved there. As full of crap as I have sometimes been, God forbid I should ever be so full of crap that Ace decides to blow me up. It’s like pissing off Dan Riehl — there are some errors a smart blogger avoids.

“Street smarts” aren’t especially common among elite journalists, because the path to an elite journalism career doesn’t usually involve cutting school to go get high with your hoodlum buddies — you’ll never make it to Harvard that way — and the uptight culture of the elite journalism tribe isn’t a place where a former teenage dopehead feels especially comfortable.

All of this is a lengthy preamble to Ace’s reaction to a Richard Cohen column about the Travyon Martin case. Ask yourself this: Why did George Zimmerman think Trayvon looked “suspicious,” “up to no good,” “on drugs or something”? Ace explains why understanding the signification factor is essential:

Among the poor — poor whites, poor blacks, poor Hispanics, poor “White Hispanics” — there is a big difference between the Aspirational poor and the Accepting poor. A poor person who advertises himself as a striver, an achiever, is not usually perceived as a threat.
A poor person, on the other hand, who signals himself as part of the sad, cynical, violent thug culture — and every race has some version of this — is perceived as a threat. I might not be able to see a white guy’s Neck Tattoos and Iron Cross earring at the same distance I can spot someone’s skin color, but the moment I do see the Neck Tattoos and Iron Cross earring, I am in fact labeling that guy as “Likely threat, seems to advertise his identity as being based in Prison Culture. Do not approach.
There is a very big difference between people who advertise themselves as I’ve Got Nothin’ to Lose and those who advertise themselves as I Do In Fact Have Something to Lose. The fact that the latter sort of person has skin in the game himself makes him nonthreatening — he’s not comfortable with impulsive life-changing criminal decisions either.
But the first sort of person is all but advertising he doesn’t think much of his own life and therefore, of course, doesn’t think much of others’ lives, which is the dangerous thing. . . .

Go read the rest at Ace of Spades HQ, or ima f–k you up, mofo.



  • nickshaw

    LOL! Well done!
    Errr…I think. 😉

  • J.J. Sefton

    McCain: I didn’t see your name gracing the Live Blog of “Sharknado.” Very disappointed. ;- )

  • Mm

    Will there be pudding?

  • robertstacymccain

    I don’t know. Is Norah O’Donnell around?

  • Mm

    They should find her. There has been a serious lack of pudding over there.

  • Mm

    And for those who are wondering what this pudding stuff is about, check out Dan Collins’ explanation, but I warn you not to be ingesting a beverage while you do so.

  • RS

    What Ace describes so well is the natural sixth sense we have about dangerous situations. It has precisely zero to do with membership in a group. It has to do with behaviors: those which exude danger to others. A zillion years ago, if you were weaker you were screwed. Fortunately, Samuel Colt changed that. One would think, the God-denying Left would embrace these little Darwinian traits which aid in Natural Selection. Alas, however, science(!) takes a back seat to identity politics when science is no longer convenient.

  • Richard McEnroe

    Like many of his fellow conservatives Stacy was too excited by the spectacle of pinko Santa Monica being destroyed to type…

  • K-Bob

    Just a few days ago I added the following to K-Bob’s Codex. Coming in at number 9:

    9) Nobody runs in fear from the Village People

    It isn’t the dress.

    It isn’t the skin color.

    It’s ALWAYS the behavior.


  • K-Bob

    I kind of doubt that sixth sense thing. At least, not as a trait everyone shares. There are *still* idiot women who jog on unpopulated trails without a gun, and while wearing ear buds (!), so they have no clue when someone is there to grab them.

    And too many people who end up dying for being in the wrong place. And so on.

    On the other hand, God did provide “those who get moved to the edge of the herd” so the predators wouldn’t starve.

  • DaveO

    It is profiling. The Prognazis changed the practice to be DNA-based, but profiling is behavior-based.

  • robertstacymccain

    “Sixth sense” is about pattern recognition. If you’ve ever been in a violent confrontation, you recognize by someone’s tone of voice or shift in posture when they’re about to go all whoop-ass on somebody.

    People tend to be more comfortable among members of their own social tribe, no matter what factor is key to tribal membership. If you took a bunch of Women’s Studies majors from Harvard University and put them in the infield at Talladega, they would be as uncomfortable as if you took a bunch of NASCAR fans and put them in a Women’s Studies class at Harvard.

    We know how to identify members of our own social group, how to “read” them socially. So when you put people in a situation where they are surrounded by strangers from a different social background, they become fearful or disoriented. Somebody from Miami Gardens (76% black) and somebody from Seminole County (81% white) are more likely to have misunderstandings of this nature. This is not “racism,” it’s just reality.

  • Steve Skubinna

    If you’re religious God is behind everything, but even an agnostic or atheist can accept that natural selection works whether you have read Darwin of not.

    Stupid should be painful, and in extreme cases, lethal.

  • Steve Skubinna

    Oh stewardess, I speak jive…

  • Jimmie

    Knock yourself a pro slick. Gray matter back got perform’ us’ down I take TCBin, man.

  • Jimmie

    “Outlaw life is hard.”

    Raylan Givens

  • DaveO

    I disagree. I enjoy studying women whether they’re at Talledega or Harvard. Hearing protection is the key to success in both locales.

  • Patrick Carroll

    Hey home’, I can dig it. Know ain’t gonna lay no mo’ big rap up on you, man!

  • Patrick Carroll
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  • daren

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