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Kyrgyz Eyes: Slanted Toward Moscow

I’m not only missing Bush, I’m beginning to miss Rice! It’s that bad. See, for example, this story on an American base in Kyrgyzstan , which was important in the Iraq war. Now the Kyrgyz want to boot the Americans.

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced his intention to oust the Americans [from their base] after a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, in Moscow last week. The Russians insisted, however, that they had nothing to do with the decision, saying the aid package had been under discussion for months.

The Washington Times reported last week that the Obama administration was prepared to engage in a bidding war with Russia to retain access to the base, which is a major hub for U.S. troops and cargo. It warned the Kyrgyz that they might be hoodwinked by the Russian offer, and that keeping the base open would be more beneficial to them than the aid package, which includes loans and grants.

I tweaked a former Kyrgyz student of mine, for its tilt to Moscow. She responded in turn:

Based on mass media resources I see that US wants to cooperate with Russia on major issues as anti-missile defence, terrorism, etc. I also read that Vice President of US stated that US was open for cooperation with Russia on the international conference in Germany. Politicians say that that was the first reaction of the new administration toward American-Russian relations. I see changes.

If the U.S. wants to get along with Russia, so do the Kyrgyz!

Discussions - 19 Comments

What? Did you actually just make the title of your post a "joke" about the facial features of people from Kyrgyzstan? I think you did, as the wording is just too awkward otherwise. Once again, the Respectable Right doesn't disappoint.

If my country were that close to Russia, I'd want to make sure we were on their good side... wouldn't you?

No way that post title is a slur, unless one thinks slanted eyes are a disability. I suppose you think the Washington "Redskins" are an ethnic slur.

The point of the Kyrgyz change of position is that under Bush they did permit an airbase to be used for Iraq operations. Under Obama they flipped. Maybe they would have anyway, for other reasons, but then again maybe not.

Even if I extend a generous benefit of the doubt your way (that you didn't intend to be racist), playing with the old term "slant-eyes" term not only strikes me as more than bit juvenile, not to mention of just questionable factual accuracy. The point isn't whether one sees it as a "disability" or not, it's whether the group referred to in that way appreciates such a characterization.

Would you defend use of the term
"gook" similarly?

And I don't think my view of the moniker for the DC football team is as relevant as that of Native Americans themselves.

The term "kyrgyz eyes" (Thomas Mann uses it in Magic Mountain to underline the beauty of a character) is no slur; the odious terms you choose (not mine) to bandy so freely and coarsely are. Your link is irrelevant to the Redskins issue, which can be answered factually without reference to a grievance group's views. Whatever your motives are, you are the race-baiter.

Or you could have simply titled your post, for example, "Kyrgyz Eyes: Looking Toward Moscow". The phrase "Kyrgyz Eyes" itself was not, of course, ever the issue here (nor would it have been if used alone), although your literary name-dropping is a fun diversion.

And yes, I get it - the Redskins object to being called Redskins. Silly "grievance group"!

The foolishness of Thomas's point was not in his racist reference but in his admitting that maybe the Kyrgyz position would have flipped anyway, hence never, never, miss an opportunity to score small-minded points on every 'maybe' that is out there. All honor to so high and noble a calling.

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The only person who wrote any racial/ethnic slurs on this blog is Mr. Scanlon, who didn't need to do so to make his point. That is evidence of his character. Slanted eyes in context of the kyrgyz reference could never be taken as a slur: how does it demean anyone? On the contrary, Scanlon's odious terms are uttered for no other reason than glorifying his own sense of moral superiority. Finally, perfectly legitimate ethnic categories--take Jew, for example--can be used as slurs. I would cite the Michael Kinsley essay and the Woody Allen movie lines making this point, but Scanlon would take this as name-dropping rather than evidence, which he seems eager to avoid.

The issue at hand is why you chose to write "Kyrgyz Eyes: Slanted Towards Moscow". If you were talking about this in public, would you accompany your speech by pulling the skin around your eyes upward, too, making the "classic" slant-eyed joke? Why the word "slanted"? I called you on name-dropping because the Thomas Mann reference was wholly irrelevant to the dog-whistle (and then some!) language you employed, especially given that you're unhappy with the recent behavior of the Kyrgyz leaders (a perfect time to trot out the slurs).

It must be incredibly convenient living in such a realm where you can say any obnoxious thing at all, and when someone calls you on it, you can accuse the observer of that exact wrongdoing because they simply noticed yours. Oh, and then, don't forget to toss in some accusation of "thought police" and "political correctness" to ensure you get a free pass.

Ultimately, though, what does the shape (at least from your perspective) of any Kyrgyz person's eyes have to do with the military base issue? Nothing.

Avoiding the mindless PC crap, I think cooperation with the Ruskies is a good thing. Why fight the hordes of mongoloid pions if you don't have to (refrence to Patton and Dr. Stranglove that I just could not avoid). What are we scared of: Red communist infiltration, oops we are a socialist country now thank you newsweek for pointing that out. Lets embrace our ideological commrades and move towards sculpting the workers paradise that was undermined by that evil merchant class.

Mr. Scanlon: All you're doing in these last posts is exonerating me from your preposterous charges. In order to maintain that the title of my post is racist, you have had to invoke racial slurs and now some silly public exhibition of your own imagination. In other words, all you've done is beg the question of my alleged guilt and in the process demonstrated your own! And in the course of your argument you've accused me of making arguments I've never bothered to make: They are of your own imagination, as is the rest of your blather.

I can't decide if living in your conservative alternate reality would be dreamy (constant hallucinations, no sense of accountability or guilt regarding one's own words and deeds, all bad thoughts and acts are within and from Others, etc.) or nightmarish (too much mental effort to maintain the delusions, not fulfilling or satisfying). Well, all for now, I'm off to my Klan meeting! ;)

Scanlon: You still duck my question of how the title of my post ("Kyrgyz Eyes: Slanted Toward Moscow") could be a slur--especially when the Kyrgyz were not being criticized! The post was a criticism of the Obama Administration! What was the title's purpose, you asked? Merely to be eye-catching, of course!

After all, I did quote (with approval) my intelligent, beautiful, almond-eyed Kyrgyz student.

What do you mean, you want me to tell you how the title of your post "could be a slur"? You admitted that you wrote it "to be eye-catching" - [Oh geez, don't tell me that was a pun, too?] The discussion can't be productive. You're unfalsifiably guiltless, and anything I thought I detected only makes ME the racist.

You basically just used an inverted form of "slant-eyed". You're trying to weasel the whole argument into that hazy zone (which, conveniently, accommodates racists - anywhere along the spectrum of racist severity - and their use of inflammatory language quite nicely) where, nothing that anyone says is racist if they didn't mean it as such, so there's always an easy post-facto "out" if anyone questions or objects. It's long past a fruitful discussion. What you remind me of - and this became clearer with each successive post you made - is an uncle I had who, for every person he met and got to know who was of a race or ethnicity that wasn't his, he just always had to put his verbal (and, I presume, mental) focus on their physical features. Eyes, lips, hair, noses, skin-tone, etc. Yes, he evaluated their character and personalities, too, but he always had to come back around to the physical traits. It got old fast, and struck me as an undesirably childish behavior to manifest itself in an adult. Oh yes, your Kyrgyz student is "almond-eyed," her eyes really ARE "slanted" - whatever. Move on.

And you claim that you were not even criticizing the Kyrgyz. Really, not at all? So, you're pleased that "the Kyrgyz want to boot the Americans"? I get that your big "point" is to blame Obama and wax nostalgic for Bush and Rice, but maybe what's really at issue is that you can't lucidly convey what you really mean.

The only evidence that we have that you are a racist is that you use racial slurs when you don't need to use such language to make whatever point you sought to make. It's as though you wanted to take a moral holiday. You are the classic example of what some conservatives mean by liberal racism. Again, referring to slanted eyes cannot possibly be taken to be racist, without reference to an intent to demean. How were the Kyrgyz being demeaned in my post?

As I noted above, the wholly harmless intentions you claim in using the variant of slant-eyed are unfalsifiable. I never flat-out called you "a racist" which is qualitatively different than noting that someone has, intentionally or not, employed racist language. I started out actually giving you some benefit of the doubt, and that's why I asked the questions (but drew a tentative conclusion), then you put up your turned-table defense and supposed that I was so unreasonable as to consider "redskins" an ethnic slur. That was fairly disturbing, and sorta cinched it for me that your ideas of what qualifies as angelically harmless were fairly far off in right-field. Yet, I didn't label you "a racist" [It's possible for anyone to "be racist" at a particular moment; to "be A racist" connotes a more thoroughgoing commitment and embracing of overt racism. I would need to have a good deal more evidence before I would feel comfortable saying "you are a racist."] - as you did me in the post above.

It's interesting that you seem to have removed any agency at all from the Kyrgyz in your post - at least how you're selling it now. You were only being critical of the Obama administration (yes, they're not nearly the successful statesmen and diplomats that Bush and Rice were (!!!)), but NOT critical of the Kyrgyz? The Kyrgyz didn't, in effect, CHOOSE Russia over the U.S. (even if, as some think, that situation was itself brought about by the Obama administration)??

But what really made this discussion lapse into laughable absurdity was in your last post where you cited the "evidence that we have that you are a racist is that you use racial slurs when you don't need to use such language to make whatever point you sought to make. It's as though you wanted to take a moral holiday." Again, I refer back to your post title and the obvious suggestion (one of many that would have worked well) for a title such as "Kyrgyz Eyes: Looking Toward Moscow". Get it?

"Liberal racism" looks to be about as cynically self-serving to the right-wing as the academically puddle-deep "liberal fascism" that Lucianne's son and his fans have been marketing lately. I'll leave the last word to you. Best regards.

I see, if I had titled the post, "Almond-Eyed Kyrgyz Say Nuts to the U.S." that would not be racist or racial, but my original title was? BTW, as evidence of your careless reading, please note that I have never called you a racist but did emphasize how you toss about racist language with wild abandon. By your standards (not by any reasonable ones) you should call yourself a racist.

[When I left the last word to you I wrongly assumed it would be something remotely sensible. Whoops! You never called me a racist? Try comment 16, not exactly an ancient post, in blog-time. Do you even read your own posts, let alone mine?

And are you seriously comparing your OWN imagined reworking of your post title, "Almond-Eyed Kyrgyz Say Nuts to the U.S." to mine, which was "Kyrgyz Eyes: Looking Toward Moscow"???

Maybe for your next show you could explain how this isn't racist?]

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