Uncle Sugar Rorschach

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 25 20:46:42 UTC 2014

On Jan 25, 2014, at 11:18 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> At 1/25/2014 10:15 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> Mike Huckabee has employed the phrase "Uncle Sugar" in a speech lambasting
>> (wait for it) Democrats for "making [women]  believe that they are helpless
>> without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each
>> month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their
>> reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it...."
>> ...
>> The point is that people were speculating about 1. what "Uncle Sugar" might
>> possibly mean, and 2. (wait for it) whether it's racist. or 3. (wait for
>> it) sexist.
>> Somebody ventured the opinion that it was a sexist reference to a "sugar
>> daddy." Anchor Victor Blackwell said he'd thought Mike was comparing the
>> federal government "to a pimp."
> Of course it was -- both of the above -- in Huckabee's intent.  He's
> using it to add these negative associations to "(present) United
> States government", and thus tar the Democrats.
>> Conservatives since McCarthy days have used "Uncle Sugar" derisively  to
>> refer to liberal fiscal and welfare policies.
>> That's because "sugar," in the '40s, was still a familiar synonym for
>> "money." Get it? "Uncle Sugar." How clever!
>> Anyway, Cain of CNN lamented Huckabee's use of "an obsolete slang term for
>> the federal government" as the GOP is trying to "improve its brand."  Such
>> usage, he said, "reeks of old man."
> And "libidinous old man".
> Also, I have not heard any commentator -- and I would expect feminist
> commentators to -- ask why women's libidos need controlling but men's
> do not.  Huckabee I can understand -- after all, to a fundamentalist
> women's lust is what lures men into sin.
There's a good column by Gail Collins in today's paper:

The first time I heard about Huckabee's speech was in a Huff Post piece a few days ago by a woman (I forget who) who indeed pointed to the part of it you mention and objected on those very grounds.


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