“That one” and sheer idiocy

The use of "that one" by Sen. McCain to indicate Sen. Obama last night during the Presidential debate has created some controversy.

Some idiots are making a big deal of this, even insinuating that there is something "racist" in saying "that one".

When I heard that phrase "that one" last night I was instantly reminded of a very common usage still to be heard in the northeastern part of the US, perhaps under the influence of immigrants who spoke Italian or other languages. 

In Italian you will often say "quello" for a person, "that one".  I heard this "that one" fairly often in New Jersey and New York.  

In any event… it seems to me to be an emphatic way to direct your attention. 

It has no racial over tones at all. 

It is sheer idiocy to suggest that.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Chris Altieri says:

    The brouhaha, the angst, are more than silly. The expression, as Sen. McCain used it, is likely best rendered by the Latin, “iste”. Not exactly complimentary, but nothing uncivil, either. Racist? IGNORAMUS!

  2. Bruce T. says:

    Utterly ridiculous! If you hadn’t posted this I’d’ve not even see this quote as memorable.
    But, when necessary, the onetime party of slavery and now party of abortion love to play the race card. So much for a new kind of politics. We Demokratz! Let’s assume a bad motive in everybody.

    The Obama cult will look for anything to decieve America.
    Already children are being indoctrinated into an “Obama youth.”
    If, horror of horrors this pro-baby-murder candidate wins this and a next term, I won’t be surprised if there are calls to amend the constitution so that die Furher (aka leader) can run again and hold power indefinitely.

  3. Jude J. says:

    Bruce – come now,a little over the top don’t ya think — you betcha.

  4. Joan says:

    My mother always uses the reference “that one” to show her displeasure (good-natured or not) with the intended target. No more, no less.

  5. Dave says:

    Also popular in Chicago-ese…a bit smart alecky, as in “Look at THAT one…” but definitely not racist or even demeaning.

  6. Luke D. says:

    I think the level of professionalism (or lack thereof) of Sen. McCain and the arrogance displayed last night was distasteful. His choice of words in this particular instance is a good example.

  7. dcs says:

    No, it is not racist but it seems to me that it is not particularly civil in the context of a debate.

  8. DoB says:

    I’m sure he’s poking fun at “The One”

  9. TJM says:

    Luke D, arrogance is in the eye of the beholder. Many people say the same thing about Obama. Tom

  10. gregg says:

    I think it’s more of a flubbed attempt at “The One” (the whole messianic thing among Obama supporters).

  11. jaykay says:

    “That one” is actually extremely common in demotic Irish-English (Hiberno-English) but it´s always used in the context of a female, never of a male, and the tone is usually one of exasperation, or frustration, or even of contempt. As in: “Aaacch, would yeh listen to that one…” (meaning “There goes that person – female – blathering on again. Take no notice.”)

    Just so´s you know.

  12. athanasius says:

    I don’t see why people are harping on this one [sic] thing when that was probably one of the worst debates I’ve seen in years. I had to turn the radio off, it was too sickening. I can’t stand either Bush or Kerry but their 2004 debate was far better than this scripted campaign pitch from two of the most low and evil candidates to run for office since…..04…. At least Palin-Biden kept went off the cuff and answered real questions (with some dodges, but they weren’t dull).

    Luke D, McCain is indeed arrogant and unprofessional in almost everything he does, but I don’t see that remark as indicative of it. It is really a dumb thing which the press can sieze upon to make themselves look important. The sad thing is Obama is a fluent and excellent speaker, he just wants to aggressively support the American holocaust. Such a waste.

  13. Jon says:

    During the first debate, which my eleven year-old son watched with me, he asked, “Dad, why does Obama keep calling John McCain ‘John,’ when John McCain calls Obama ‘Senator Obama?'”

    Now, again, where’s the disrespect?

  14. Memphis Aggie says:

    Calling everything and anything that stings “racist” is getting old and will hopefully hurt the Obama camp. Just imagine how often the opposition will be smeared as racist if he wins.

  15. ALL: I thought you might be able to exercise some self-control and stick to the phrase “that one” and what it might mean. Nope. Wrong again.

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