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This Week's Entry in the Ignorance of Your Elected Officials: The Fighting 11th

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Videos | September 6, 2012 | Comments ()


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I assume that a lot of you have already seen this, being as Stewart and Colbert are common viewing in these parts, but for those of you who didn't happen to catch this, you're going to love it. And by love it, I mean in the same sense that you loved news about the Ninja Turtles movie a couple of days ago.

Colbert was plowing through his recurring segment of getting to know a particular congressional district, in which he sits down with a representative from that district and does his particular interview thing. He sat down two nights ago with Yvette Clarke of the New York 11th (or 9th depending on whether you use the old or new label).

There's the usual back and forth, some good interplay. She's funny, likable, gets some laughs out of Colbert with not so gentle ribbing of Manhattan. And then the bomb of complete and utter historical ignorance drops out of the blue. Watch it.

You can see Colbert almost have a stroke trying not to break up laughing and give the whole thing away. You can see his complete incredulity at the first mention of slavery, even reiterates exactly what she's saying in order to make sure that there isn't a slip up going on, that she actually thinks that there was slavery in Brooklyn in 1898. And he even throws her the ultimate bone, asking who would have owned slaves in New York at that late date.

"The Dutch" she says matter-of-factly.

This is not Leno's Jaywalking segment where random people off the street demonstrate a lack of historical knowledge. This is one of our democratically elected members of Congress demonstrating a complete lack of the most basic education of this country's history. My god, this doesn't even require education, one should be able to pick up a better education than this just from television and movies, without even touching a book.

This is somehow worse than Todd Akin to me, because at least Akin's ignorance has some pattern to it, in that it is at least consistent with the moronic beliefs he holds about the world. This is consistent with nothing except a dull-headed incuriosity.

I will allow the great Professor Farnsworth to sum up:

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • BierceAmbrose

    This Week's Entry in the Ignorance of Your Elected Officials: The Fighting 11th

    Only one a week? How will you choose?

  • RAS

    I can't seem to watch the video, but is there any chance she misheard or meant to say 1798? Because it wasn't until 1799 that New York passed an abolition act, and even then it only legislated gradual abolition.

  • RAS

    Of course, it wouldn't have been the Dutch at that point in time either....so...

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    I was wondering if she "heard" 1798. That would make more sense, especially all the Dutch references. If Colbert was interviewing me, I'd probably say something equally dumb.

  • John G.

    She was talking about parallel universe 1898 Brooklyn where the Dutch still keep slaves. In that reality, the Dutch are an invading alien species of lizard men.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Content aside: You know you can embed clips from both Colbert Report and The Daily Show directly, without using Hulu?

    Because fuck Hulu!

  • Brenton

    Indeed. Surely the Pajiban executive team knows that there are a good number of Canadians who frequent this site to whom Hulu is off-limits.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I did watch this last night, and laugh and cringe in equal measures. I am also impressed with how smart and well-spoken she came off in the rest of the interview, and how blithely she continued even once Colbert was trying to maintain his composure.

    I think it devolved from trying to make a witty quip - and just not processing the actual year.

    Still. As Marty Markowitz says...oy.

  • Some Guy

    Get real, folks. This woman went to Oberlin for three years. She is an educated woman. You can go through school with a misconception akin to Akin's simply because it is not all that much talked about. The body does some crazy things in times of stress, and a misconception like his is easily perpetuated. Is he still an embarrassing dumbass? Absolutely. But how many of you took more than a basic biology class in school? And how many politicians take science classes in college?

    Slavery, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, however, are often the focal point of most US history curricula in the US at all levels of education. Clarke was taught somewhere that the Dutch owned slaves, plain and simple. Odds are that it wasn't in high school.

    Clarke's way of thinking is worse because it is symptomatic of the joke that is high education in this country. Right now there are thousands of professors out there perpetuating the same lies to thousands of impressionable kids from generation to generation, and it is of a largely progressive bent.

  • David Sorenson

    It's all a conspiracy to make us hate the dutch so Obama can start World War 3 and sacrifice the Netherlands to his communist socialist Kenyan Nazi overlords at the United Nations! Then he'll take away our guns and force us to accept universal health care or get gay married! GLENN BECK WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I used the extra exclamation points so y'all would know I was super, super cereal.

  • Some Guy

    High(er) education. My bad.

  • GunNut2600

    Stupidity knows no political persuasion. I am often annoyed by friends and family when they tell me I must be a Democrat and Obama supporter because as an engineer, I am educated.

    Now there is no way in hell that I identify with Oven Mitts and the modern GOP, but to imply that the Democrats are the "smart" ones is hilarious. The Democratic Party exploits and benefits from ignorance and fear just as much as the GOP.

  • Jennifer Schmennifer

    No, Akin's ignorance is dangerous, while Clarke's is merely embarrassing.

  • APOCooter

    Furthermore, Akin's ignorance could have a direct impact on public policy. We're just going to point and laugh at Clarke (who will probably laugh along with it once she realizes what happened).

  • BierceAmbrose

    Well, I think it's the other way.

    Aikin's never going to get anywhere with his batshittery. It'll never become law, or policy, and will pretty much kill his political career as well. For Godtopus' sake, Reince Priebus threw the troglodyte under the bus on TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    That's "not a penny", "even if he's tied", and we know the senate's in play this time around. When even The Stupid Party knows Aikin's misogyny is too toxic to tolerate, this one's settled, and the angels won.

    On the other hand, redressing racial discrimination is current policy through law and regulation. We spend money and moderate access to opportunities explicitly based on race to balance grievances elsewhere. If the grievances like, say, slavery, ended later, we've got more balancing out to do. That would be more of what we're already doing.

    FWIW representatives of the current Justice Department civil rights division have repeatedly framed their mission as redressing grievances, not color-blind equality before the law. (Google is your friend.) Besides, reparations aren't that bad. One scholar on the subject proposed explicit reparations & even
    calculated a value - about $ 1 trillion as I recall. He wrote a book
    about it. So, an extra 50 years or so of slavery would ballpark cost, say, another trillion. That's practically chump change the way we've been throwing money around.

  • Cree83

    Yeah, no, Akin's was worse.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Akin's was more *offensive*, this is worse as a failure of inteligence/education especially for a person in federal government.

  • no one

    I have to agree. Yvette Clarke sounded uninformed. Akin sounded stupid.

  • Groundloop

    Well, stupid is as stu....tee hee a puppy!

  • no one

    I'll add that I'm just really glad this wasn't a republican. Cause all we'd be hereing about his how they "wished" there was still slavery then. and now probably

  • Jezzer

    Pajiba points out the failings of a Democrat and you still find something to get your panties in a twist about, Eric? There really is no pleasing you, is there?

  • lowercase_ryan

    *hearing. What are you, her press aide?

  • branded_redux

    Zounds! Foiled again!

  • no one

    I'd just call that ignorance not stupidity, she doesn't seem like a stupid person. To some people I guess when something actually happened doesn't matter. The past is the past.

  • Even if it's merely ignorance, someone this ignorant should be barred from serving in Congress. How could she possibly cast an intelligent vote on anything?

  • Maguita NYC

    Hmmm, you have a full party of ignorant imbeciles where some believe a woman cannot get pregnant if she gets raped.

  • Some Guy

    By your standards of over overgeneralization, Maguita, can we then assume that we have an opposing party who all believe that the Dutch owned slaves in NY in 1898?

    Akin is an exception, not the standard, and you know it.

  • To be fair the Dutch CAN be blamed for most imaginary things.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I only have to blame them for Robin Van Persie and Arjen Roben. That's all I need to hate them.

  • Zirza

    No, just Hollanders. The rest of the country was perfectly happy belonging to Austria, Germany or Spain.

  • Hey!

  • Snath

    Like Bigfoot.

  • Snath

    DAMN THOSE SECRET DUTCH SLAVE-OWNING BASTARDS!

  • ChuggaWasTaken

    She doesn't hate the Dutch, she just holds them to a higher standard.

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