capsule sum: Bush calls Obama "articulate," people point out that "articulate" is often used wrt black people with a not-so-subtext that is roughly equivalent to Samuel Johnson's
"Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."
BOR consults an actual black person, Marc Hill, to express his frustrations and bewilderment--jeez, can't a white guy catch a break around here? now even a -compliment- is Bad? Wackiness ensues.
i particularly like the bit where Bill sez, in a not-at-all-patronizing-tone, because, you know, he's not that way at all:
"I know the man, and, there was no condescension in his delivery. --Listen. I know what you're saying, and I agree. There's a lot of condescension in the white establishment toward the black community, in this country. It's true. It's true. And if he were to say..."
(continues talking as his guest opens and closes his mouth like a fish, tries to get a word in edgewise, fails)
although, Hill coming back with, in the process of explaining how BOR is not held responsible for all white people in the same way Obama or any other prominent black person is held as a "representative" of other black people:
Bill, when I watch you on television, I don't say to myself, oh, all white people are condescending, or all white people are uncivil, or all white people talk over other people--not to say that you do those things, that's just an example...
was also rather choice, i must say.
Well, but so. So BOR then asks Hill whether it would be okay for him to call Hill "glib." Hill goes off into talking about how the context (i.e. comparing him to other guests) is "different."
But of course, besides a whole shitload of other things, (not least of which the utter poignance of getting the "compliment" of "articulate" from, of all people, Dubya), the other difference is--speaking of "articulate," Bill--"glib" has a different connotation from "articulate." "Articulate" as an adjective may technically denote what the complimenter is trying to say, but it has the connotation of,
"AND he can count to twenty, WITHOUT taking off his shoes, even! My."
"Glib," well now, that may have the same denotative meaning as "articulate," did you consult a dictionary; but, it still doesn't -connote- exactly the same thing. Although it's not really a compliment, either, really, is "glib." A "smooth talker," but more specifically: oily, superficial. A car salesman is "glib." "Slick Willy" is "glib." "Like shit through a goose" is "glib."
And, you know, I have seen a number of instances in recent months where a POC has been complimented on hir beautiful words, (ignoring the content of those beautiful words), right before the not at all condescending white person rings down the curtain on the discussion thread. So, I can see why one might be skeptical of that particular compliment, no matter how carefully, um, articulated. And no, I don't find that thought particularly "terrifying," personally, but then BOR is a sensitive little flower, as we all know.
But, let's say someone is just genuinely trying to say is “so and so is really a remarkable speaker/writer, with a true gift for words. Okay! Here are some possibilities, each with its own particular connotation:
“Eloquent.” “Magniloquent.” “Mellifluent.” “Lucid.” “Brilliant.” “Persuasive.” “Facund.” “Silver-tongued.” well that last one makes me think of a lizard statue, but you get the idea. Word power is for EVERYBODY!
Alternately, if you’re O’Rly?, you can just fling out something even more outrageously patronizing/insulting, and then go back to the important business of telling your hapless assistant about how you really wanna scrub her big boobies with a falafel.