Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Maxwell James

Appalachians themselves form a distinct culture and identity. If the rejection of identity politics is as widespread as you claim, then why does the rejection or acceptance of Obama follow such a tribal pattern?

Donna B.

Reading my comment again, I realize I made one mistake. I wrote they were unwilling to forgive where I should have written unwilling to forget or unwilling to overlook.

To add to your analogy about those huddling in the elevator instead of getting off on the first floor, I wonder if they expect it to eventually take them to the penthouse.


Maxwell: 1) widespread is not universal. 2) the rejection of identity politics is a conservative value. Partly, it's driven by white people not wanting to be guilt-tripped -- "We had a couple of centuries of racism, but you don't get equal time; you're supposed to be better than that." Not exactly a pure motive, but still, ID politics is a losing proposition. Where there are legitimate grievances, and God knows there are, they need to be based on universal human values from now on.

Donna B.

Maxwell, check a map and some history. SW Arkansas is as close to the Rockies as to Appalachians. My ancestors on that side of my family are Dutch, German, Irish, Scots-Irish, and Native American (a number of them still "card-carrying.") The Scots-Irish and the Native Americans are the only ones who came to Arkansas from what would be considered Appalachia.

Maxwell James

Donna, my bad.

amba, given the extent to which even conservative groups have embraced identity politics (even while badmouthing it at the same time!), I'm deeply skeptical that they're on the way out. If anything, I think they're becoming an ever more ingrained part of our culture.

Peter Hoh

Look for ideological identity politics to rise.


An excellent recent article on Obama and his church is


It's certainly understandable that that would bother them about Obama. Let's just face it, Obama is a weird dude. Most people can't easily get themselves into the perspective of a black boy that was raised by a white family in Hawaii, who spent time with an Indonesian step-father, and who moved to the south side of chicago where most residents thought he was far from being authentically black.

In fact, I believe that he lost his race to Bobby Rush for congress because black people didn't trust him. He won the white intellegentisia but this half-white boy who taught at the U of Chicago lacked street cred.

And remember that the first problem with Obama is that he wasn't black enough. The guy really can't get a break.

But sure it's more than understandable that heartland dems would not find it easy to get into the head of someone like Obama, who it's worth noting is the son of a PhD anthropologist (his mom). I play the anthropologist all the time, and I think that's what Obama was doing at that church -- the son of white Kansans trying to grasp the black experience with all its warts. I think it's clear he disagreed with the ideology but nonetheless was buoyed by its energetic progressivism. I would imagine that your everyday black church would have bored him to death. The fact that Trinity had such strong racial themes probably was a draw for Obama -- he wanted to hear a lot about race and how people thought about it because he was struggling to figure it out for himself.

People can work themselves all up into a lather about how it's a "racist" church blah-blah-blah. But I think the reason why the word "racist" has its powerful emotional charge is because of slavery, Jim Crow etc. Really, because of all the connotations, it's not really appropriate to call his (former) church racist. Sure it's very angry at white people and so is racial in very negative way, but white racism is very different from black racism and so using the term racist just is more of a smear tactic than a way of getting at what's really going on.

Finally, as the article I linked stresses, I think the heartland dems need to ask themselves do they really believe that Obama hates his own mother and grandparents. And has Obama ever said anything "racial" like Jeremiah Wright. No. Don't give me no sleazeball "whitey" tapes.

But frankly, I think that Obama's understanding of both white American and that segment of black america which still feels deeply aggrieved would make him a far better president.

But I can certainly understand the hurdle it would present for people used to attending the same church all their lives.

If they could afford it, although there is a risk of developing snooteritis, those folks could really use some anthro courses, some religion courses, and some philosophy courses to help limber them up. I remember reading this Kos diary from a West Virginian relaying the tale of his experience of finally seeing an Asian person in a California airport and exclaiming "they look like just they do in the movies." All this in the context of why we need to reach these people and not to write them off and in the midst of a general defense of the people he knew growing up.

Again, this problem again reflects that Obama didn't have enough intervening time between entering the Senate and running for president to "pivot" to his campaign for president. Oh and in addition to Dick Durbin, Tom Daschle told him to seize the day as well, and not to delay his run becaue the opportunity might not ever arise again.

So you guys may call Barack a newb but a whitey-hater he ain't.

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