The most pressing issue in American politics today can be summed up, quite simply, as this: "Macaca." What does it mean?
The answer lies somewhere in the well-coiffed recesses of Sen. George Allen's (R-VA) mind. Allen uttered the alien epithet repeatedly to a young Indian-American man at one of his campaign appearances. This made the collective US political press drop its stories on Iraq, Lebanon, Bush, Cheney, Clinton, Hamas, Hezbollah, and healthcare to pursue the "Macaca" angle with the vigor of a coked-up wolfpack.
After the ensuing uproar about what appeared, to most impartial observers, to be a hastily invented racial slur, Allen and his team sprang into explanation mode:
"'Macaca' is a version of 'Mohawk,' which was the nickname the campaign had given the young man because of his hairstyle. What's that? He didn't have a Mohawk? Well, Allen really doesn't know what it meant. In any case, nothing to apologize for."
It didn't help Allen's attempts to play down the story when news outlets discovered that "Macaca" was actually a genus of monkeys. Nor did the senator's own penchant for being photographed grinning proudly at Confederate flags.
By the time Allen's campaign started dragging out acquaintances for the "some of my best friends are Indian" phase of damage control, people's minds were mostly made up against him.
This could put a damper on his Presidential aspirations. Lesson: don't make up mysterious insults when existing ones are more than adequate. You idiot.
PR Play Rating:
3. On the right track