Towleroad Guide to the Tube #267

LOU DOBBS: Ranting about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s remarks that America still has race issues, Lou Dobbs nearly calls her a “cotton picker”. Dobbs: “Not a single one of these cotton…these just ridiculous politicians should be the moderator on the issue of race.”

COUGAR CAMP: Camp is in session.

LUKE AND NOAH: Van Hansis interviews Jake Silbermann.

MCCAIN GIRL: Remember “It’s Raining McCain”? Well, one of the weather girls isn’t too happy about some of the comments left by viewers. (warning: language NSFW)

Check out our previous guides to the Tube here.


  1. banjiboi says

    Um, Lou, we might be ONE of the most racially diverse countries, but we are in NO way one the most TOLERANT in terms of of racial differences. There’s still lots of work to be done.

    And you’re right, when idiots like you, Glenn Beck, Imus, etc., get called on your intolerant views, please expect all due forthcoming recriminations appropriately.


  2. Clinton says

    I beg to differ on your interpretation of what Lou almost said. I believe he was about to say “cotton pickin” politicians, used as an adjective which I have heard him say many times before.

    According to…
    Believe it or not the adjective cotton-picking comes from Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes cartoons and is used as a general adjective of disapproval, similar to damned. From a 1952 cartoon:

    “Get your cotton-pickin’ hooks offa me!”

    Bugs may not have been the first to use it, but he gets credit for first recorded use.

    But the noun cottonpicker is older. It dates to around 1919 and refers to a contemptible person. From Joel Chandler Harris’s Dizzed:

    “What are these boys from the South? Are they cotton-pickers, corn-crackers, stump jumpers, ridge-runners or bog-leapers?”

    It has also served as a derogatory term for a black person since at least 1930.

    While cottonpicker has distinct racist overtones, the adjective cotton-picking does not carry them, instead being a reference to the unpleasant nature of the work

  3. Unbeliever says

    Clinton, as logical as your academic explanation may seem, “cotton-picking” is widely regarded as offensive. As a white boy growing up in Europe I knew this, so surely Dobbs should too. The context is also very important, even the fact that Rice is referenced. He could easily have chosen other ways to express himself – I mean, he even said “heck” instead of “hell”, because he didn’t want to offend Christians… despite the fact that hell isn’t even originally a Christian construct.

  4. David says

    I despise Lou Dobbs and his constant border-phobia, war-on-the-middle-class nonsense, but I totally agree with Clinton. I think Dobbs was about to say “cotton-picking”. It’s a word that I grew up with, and we never used it with racist intent. Perhaps he thought it would be mis-construed, like that poor guy in DC government who lost his job for correctly using the word “niggardly” in public.

  5. Chris says

    I have to agree with the last few commenters. It’s pretty clear he was going to say “cotton-pickin'” and bailed at the last second, probably seeing the consequences in his mind in a split second.

    I have to say I’ve never considered those two words racist at all, although I’ve never thought about the origin of the phrase, and can certainly see why some people may jump to that conclusion. But I’ve never heard it uttered in a derogatory tone before in my life, and even though it’s Lou Dobbs, I think he should be given the benefit of the doubt – if only because certain folks are much too eager to dissect every little comment and scream “racist” or “homophobe”.

  6. noah says

    The bigger issue is Dobbs telling any person of color that there is no racism and that he/she should keep his/her mouth shut. What the hell is up with these ignorant people who pretending that there is no racism, sexism, or homophobia in the United States? Oh, that’s right, Lou Dobbs isn’t affected by it and therefore it doesn’t exist.

    Lou Dobbs is a rich, white heterosexual man with a major television show is drenched with power and privilege. How does he come to know for a fact that people are not suffering discrimination? Telepathy? When the news reports stories of children murdered for being gay or reporters beaten up for being black, how can one pretend that everything is all right?

    Statements like Lou’s are like a man telling a woman that there is no such thing as menstrual cramps!

  7. Chip says

    Umm…regardless of his intent, using “cotton pickin” as an insult is just as racist as calling something “gay” is homophobic. Both are offensive, and claiming ignorance as to their implications or origin doesn’t make their use any less hurtful or inappropriate.

  8. RJP3 says

    uh … to try and take the racial element away from the term cotton picker is hysterical ! uh while there were white indentured workers in the field most COTTON PICKERS in American were there by FORCE and were BLACK and when referred to in the derogatory were called N***ers.

    I was alive in the uber racist 60’s and 70’s and to be common slur was to call people cotton picker N word …. yes it is also another way of saying God Damn … but to imagine that that term did not come to mind in a racial way during a racial rant is just SILLY. Dobbs racism slipped out — he is of the age group that used that term all the time! Keep it real people.

    Condi Rice is an AWFUL human being – an elitist Aunt Tom … but she dared to speak the truth (once during 8 years) and was punished for it on national TV by Whitey.

    Cotton Picking Corporate “News” !

  9. RJP3 says

    Once last note — it was common in my family to tell people to “Mind your Cotton Picking Business” …. yes it was replacing the term God Damn with Cotton Picking — but the intent was ALSO to diminish the person speaking up and to communicate for them to keep there place by calling them a subhuman less than equal COTTON PICKER…. again keeping it real folks. That is how the common folk used the term, that is how it was understood while in common use, and that is how used sadly it slipped out of Lou Dobb’s mouth. (The edit of the CNN transcript should be a lesson for those who still trust corporate news.)

  10. sam says

    cotton picking is not a racial slur, if you had come from cotton picking country you would know. The funny thing is how your racial sensitive political correct minds are so cotton picking wrong. You hear cotton and go to the blacks, sad. You have trouble with watermelon too? Fried chicken?

    seems you may harbor your own pathetic racial slurs, and may be even creating some out of a poor understanding of language and it’s use. Lou deserves a break from you cotton picking intellectuals.

  11. Rey says

    Those of you who assert so vehemently that “cotton-picking” has no racist origins or undertones are some mighty deep-in-denial cocksuckers.

  12. banjiboi says

    My dear Sam.

    Don’t be obtuse. Surely we’re not all intellectuals, are we? Why, I never even graduated from high school!

    After all, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that his Freudian slip was showing.

  13. Sebastian says

    Poor America, just can’t get over the hate, be it blacks who have been here forever, gays, Latino’s, Asians, Jews, Muslims, anyone who isn’t straight and white and hate it seems, although as much as I despise Connie Rice, he should have tried to be professional and keep his personal hate out of it, or is that asking too much? But, then again, the uproar from the peanut section here, who are the same ones who have made some pretty racists comments, and, yet don’t feel that they are, need to stay on topics they are better to post on, men’s looks, since, its obvious they don’t live in the real world and are far from progressive on anything race related. That line is so easy to cross, even when you don’t mean it, which, I don’t think he did on purpose, but, certain words are well know mean certain things, no matter how some like to say otherwise in thier catty tones.

  14. warmsunshine says

    Hey…want to comment on one of the other videos posted. I really liked the Van / Jake interview. They come off as pretty cool and likable. Jake seems like the closest personality-wise to the character he plays while Van just seems to be a normal goofy guy who really Talks! With! His! Hands! A lot! Funny, and probably apropos of nothing, but I didn’t get a gay “vibe” from either of them (esp. not Van).

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