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Is Amy Holmes Straight Stupid?

Amy Holmes

When writing here I will try my best to resist the urge to speak about folks who disagree with me in a demeaning way. My mother always told me that if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. Well in this instance I’m going to ignore mom’s advice, sort of. It’s not that I want to be mean or call names. In fact, I don’t think I’m doing that. I’m just bothered by a nagging question. I really can’t resist the urge to ask it.

Is Amy Holmes just straight stupid or is it just an act?

That Cartoon
source: The New York Post

Apparently I’m not the only one with this question. If you go to Rick Sanchez’s blog on CNN many of the commentors question whether Amy is dumb, clueless (different than dumb) or just putting on a show. How could Amy not have seen the now imfamous cartoon in The New York Post as racist? And even if she didn’t, how could she have, with a straight face, come up with that cock-eyed defense of the cartoon. But let me not get ahead of myself.

I didn’t know much about Amy except what I’d gathered from Real Time with Bill Maher and her appearances on various cable news shows. I did a little more digging. From her profile on the CNN site, she’s a registered independent, a Princeton graduate and has been on People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” list.

In a series of YouTube videos she explained a little of her background. Amy was born in Africa in the country of Zambia to a Caucasian mother and an African father. Her mother divorced her father when she was 3 years old. After that, she and her mom moved back to Seattle where her mother grew up. Amy was then brought up on Rob Lowe movies, idolized Brooke Shields and now prefers to date only middle aged Jewish men.

Whenever Amy appears on Real Time my instant thoughts are, “Man, she’s good lookin’.” She possesses a middle brown cuteness with a half-fro. Amy’s attractiveness is clearly a factor in her popularity. I mean, have you ever noticed that most of these news anchors, men and women, are some pretty handsome people? But even with Amy’s cuteness, the nanosecond she opens her mouth I think to myself, “This chick is so messed up.”

And trust that it isn’t that’s she a conservative. I would classify myself as a moderate with conservative leanings having voted for Democrats and Republicans. It is more that she consistently suspends logic and common sense when offering her opinion. I mean, if it truly is her opinion and not some script she’s reading from. Mostly I think it’s just something she regurgitated after reading, perhaps just skimming, the latest National Review in her local Starbucks. The opinion she gives today, undermines the opinion she gave the previous day. When I see her I shake my head with a little smirk on my face thinking… “Amy, Amy, Amy. You are so mixed up.” But that was pretty much the extent of it.

It made me giggle to myself when she would vehemently defend Sarah Palin’s intellect and her candidacy for VP but on the other hand question Barack Obama’s capacity for the office of the Presidency. It amused me when she said Hillary Clinton would destroy Washington with partisan politics (even though she voted for Bill) but supported Sarah’s rally of cry of “Barack pals around with terrorists”. Or saying Barack has a “Moses Complex”, wrongly quoting one of his speeches. She didn’t even take the time to check. I actually found it hilarious, in the Amy-you’re-so-mixed-up kind of way when she referred to Republican candidates for president campaigning to African-American groups as “spade work”. I thought it interesting that she criticized Barack’s speech on race as being boring and chastised him for “outing” his grandmother for her racial biases. But she cries foul when someone calls her on not seeing the racist undercurrent emanated by the “cartoon” in The New York Post. [Incidentally, Amy Holmes is a former classmate at Princeton with Rupert Murdoch’s, the owner of The New York Post, son Lachlan.]

Now before I go on let me say that when I saw the cartoon originally on African American Dad’s site, my immediate reaction was that the cartoonist’s intent was to depict Barack as the chimp. But instead of reacting immediately I said, let me sit on this for a couple of days and try to figure out what else this could have meant. After all, I want to live my life in a certain way. I want to promote racial harmony in this post Obama era. So the last thing I want to do is jump to a conclusion. So I thought. I came up with nothing. Even if there was no intent to be racist doesn’t change the fact that the cartoon is racist.

Amy Holmes’ defense of this cartoon only confirmed for me how racist it was.

Last week she appeared on Rick Sanchez’ CNN broadcast with UCLA Professor Mark Sawyer, who is the director for Race, Ethnicity and Politics. Instead of putting the whole exchange in this post, here’s the link to the transcript of that show. [Scroll about two-thirds of the way down.] But I’ll give you part of it:

SANCHEZ: Amy, do you think that was the intent [to be racist] of this cartoonist? And do you think it’s proper for the Reverend Sharpton to be protesting “The New York Post”?

HOLMES: Well, you would be assuming this was a depiction of Barack Obama and I don’t think that it was. I think that everyone knows that this legislation was written by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and that it was along almost entirely partisan lines. So, when I looked at that cartoon, I thought the cartoonist was referring to politicians in the Democratic Party, here in Washington, D.C. who passed a $787-billion stimulus package, primarily behind closed doors.

Obama's plan
source: The Economist

Nancy Pelosi? Are you serious? I would bet the typical New York Post reader doesn’t even know who Nancy Pelosi is or what the breakdown of the vote on the bill was. They are not calling it the “Pelosi Stimulus Bill” or the “Democrat Congress Stimulus Bill”. They’re calling it the “Obama Stimulus Bill”. In fact I saw a much better cartoon on the cover of the February 14th edition of The Economist. Notice what they’re calling it? One could argue that both the corresponding article and the cartoon itself are critical of the President and Congress. But neither are racist. It’s not racist to be critcal of our President. But you must call The New York Post‘s cartoon what it is. Also notice the conspicuous absence of Nancy Pelosi’s caricature in The Economist‘s cartoon. Amy give me a break.

Here’s more:

SANCHEZ: But the question that is being raised here is should this guy have known better? You’re talking about the very first African-American president of the United States and whether you’re referring to him or not –

HOLMES: But that’s the question. Are we talking -but that’s the question. Does this cartoon talk about Barack Obama or is it talking about the Democratic Party and the legislative process? I looked at that cartoon and thought it was talking about the latter… We also know there was this hugely disturbing, shocking story in Connecticut about this chimpanzee that mauled the neighbor. Those were the connections I was making, not the racist ones.

SANCHEZ: How about it, Professor?

SAWYER: There is not connection between a chimpanzee and the stimulus bill. [Thank you professor!] Everyone knows the stimulus bill is most associated with the president. And look, I mean, Amy is very interesting. But when you try and defend the indefensible it just sounds foolish. There’s just no connection between these two stories.

Amy, there are one of two things going on. One, you’re just straight stupid. And not because of this one incident. It’s the culmination of stupid stuff you’ve said. This is just the proverbial straw. In fact you could have said the cartoonist’s intent was not racist. I could have accepted that. But again the cartoon is racist. If you’re a jerk to everyone you meet but you intend to be nice, it doesn’t make you not a jerk. It just makes you a clueless jerk.

Or, the other possibility is that you’re putting on an act just to get on TV. I’m not against profiteering. Clearly you’re on a lot because you present a rare combination of looks, ethnicity and political opinion. Go for yours. I mean it could be that I’ve become a victim of your master plan. Maybe you want folks talking about you in any way, no matter what you have to say to make it happen. Could be I’ve been hoodwinked. C’est la vie.

But, I implore you Amy, whether it is that you’re just not that quick on the uptake or you’re just executing a big con, when offering your opinion, draw the line when it comes to issues that either take some common sense or some conscious. I’m not sure you possess either.

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1 Mr. Man { 02.24.09 at 9:07 am }

Ben. My first reaction was the same as most. I thouught the cartoon was at best, insensitive. As I thought further, I considered the “infinite monkey theorum”, but also ruled that out. It is required that rational people explore every possible explaination, however, Amy Holmes’ denial is beyond rational. I’m with you. She does possess the right mix of qualities for success, but not the capacity to execute the master con as you suggest. She is clueless

2 Janet { 02.24.09 at 2:53 pm }

This was a great entry. I, too, have never been much a fan of Amy Holmes. However, up until this point, I thought her a rather logical and level-headed person with whom I’d just have to agree to disagree. But this is where I draw the line – clearly she is delusional and should not be trusted to provide any political commentary whatsoever.

3 Charles { 02.24.09 at 4:20 pm }

“White people will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this-which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never, the Negro problem will not longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.”

4 E. Payne { 02.24.09 at 5:03 pm }

I was only able to read the parts you wrote. Not that attractiveness should factor into this, but that woman is too attractive and articulate…to be sooooooooo repulsive. I can only endure her for about 2 sentences before I stop watching, reading or listening. It happens every time I try. But as I’ve heard from media people, being on the outside of what we consider logic — gets you ratings and locks you in your time slot.

5 Mark { 02.24.09 at 6:12 pm }

‘People’ in general need to accept and love another, not just white people. How that cartoon ever made it to print is mind boggling but we are talking about the Post. I used to work in New York and read that rag for some time. The last time I bought it was when 125,000 Rawandans were killed, many with machetes, in one day. This news was reported in an article stuck in the back, not much larger than a couple of postage stamps. The cover sported Sylvester Stallone doing something barely newsworthy. I finally saw that paper for what it was then and haven’t picked it up since.

6 Ayanna { 02.24.09 at 8:49 pm }

I agree with you as well as the other comments! That cartoon was totally geared toward Obama. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the chimp mauling the woman happen after the NY Post cartoon?
Amy would make a great regular on the Fox News Network! Don’t know if she is one already because I can’t stomach that biased channel.
Also, maybe she is just trying to fit in with every sector, race etc with her ridiculous comments and views. Trying to appease all…I really don’t know what to say about her or what planet she is from! Well written, thanks for sharing.

7 Eddie { 02.25.09 at 12:38 am }

I like your take on this. I personally think it is all an act. No one can be that dense.

8 Kobie { 02.25.09 at 2:37 am }

Her mind has either been completely colonized, or she suffers from acute cronyism. It happens. Good piece, Ben.

I’m considering severing all of my Murdoch ties, starting with Myspace.


9 Weny { 02.25.09 at 5:10 am }

I just realized I thought Amy was cute too until she opened her mouth. Even if you did not initially interpret the cartoon as racist, most logical people with even a bit of an historical background can understand how it could be percieved as insensitive. Even Rupert Murdoch issued an “apology”:

In addition to inferring that our President was a monkey and suggesting his assassination the cartoon also mocked the horrific attack on a woman who lost half her face. It was lacking in sensitivity all around.

10 Amelia { 02.25.09 at 10:17 am }

Well B, as you can see, Amy isn’t the only one that’s straight stupid. I don’t think you’re being hoodwinked by her “master plan”. I think she is what she is. Straight stupid.

11 Talani { 02.25.09 at 10:44 am }

Unfortunately, Ms. Holmes is lost in the Matrix. Self-respect and dignity was never emphasized as a youth. My best advice is to ignore her commentary. She’s not the first and not the last hired assassin. Nonetheless, another engaging article.

12 Ben { 02.25.09 at 1:21 pm }

I have to say I regret a little using the word “stupid”. And I swear I didn’t set out to call her that but when I go back and read it now, that’s what I was doing. Amy puts herself out for public scrutiny which is a hard thing to do. Many times you’ll get somebody, like me, who’s passionate and they’ll just lay into you. I guess that’s what this post is about. But I have to say that I wouldn’t want someone to call me stupid no matter what the circumstances.

Just some buyer’s remorse happening I guess. I feel bad a little.

13 Amelia { 02.25.09 at 1:44 pm }

I didn’t take by you saying she was “straight stupid” as an attack on her intellect. Clearly she must have some smarts! But its her theories that seem to lack common sense. She reminds me of Elisabeth from “The View”. You cannot say anything wrong about Sarah Palin or Busch in front of Elisabeth. She’ll defend them each and every time (even if she knows they’re wrong). As someone posted above, I guess they are just trying to “fit in”??

14 Doug { 02.25.09 at 3:40 pm }

Unfortunately you have to be controversial these days to stand out in the crowd and grow a following. I often sit in my car amazed at some of the comments and ideas thrown out there by Rush, Hannity and Bortz. You have to question why she has so many opportunities to speak on various shows……this is just a prime example of why people want to hear her speak…so she can stir the pot.

15 Ben { 02.26.09 at 9:15 am }

@Doug: I’m recalling this commercial when this couple are in a hotel room, she relaxing on the bed on the computer, he in the bathroom amazed the hotel had given him a choice of two shampoos… She suggests the hotel is just trying to get a good review out of him and he begrudgingly growls “They got me!” as he pours two shampoos on his head.

I suspected that all Amy wants us to do is pay attention to her… “She got me!”

16 Valerie { 02.26.09 at 6:18 pm }

I don’t think Amy is “stupid” nor do I think she is trying to hoodwink anyone . I think she offers a different view based on her own life experience. When I saw initially saw this cartoon race never entered my mind. I think is wasa bit insensitive since a woman had her face and hands ripped off but I thought the Chimp represented Pelosi who I have always heard was involved in writing much of the bill. Pelosi is the biggest danger to the democratic party and this nation. I have been following the news and have heard much of the bill is not a “stimulus” to jumpstart this economy but earmarked for other things that will be coming many years later. The bill was supposed to be posted prior to being voted on so Americans could read it and comment on it and form their own opinion on it (which was one of Baracks campaign promises) this never happened so many of us d0 not know what is in the bill and how it is going to affect future generations, we just know it is a ridiculous amount of money. My life experience in which many of my values and beliefs were formed began where I grew up and lived for 22 years in Vermont which is now and was then 99% white. So call me “stupid” or just appreciate that I may have a different view since I was not exposed to many things that other people may have been in their childhood. Not everything is black or white and not everyone thinks there is a race element to everything. At least we live in a country in which we have political cartoons that the artist is not in danger of losing their life for printing.

However, I would like to know why Talani thinks Amy Holmes is a “hired assassin” and why Amelia thinks Elizabeth from the view is defending people even though “she knows they are wrong”. Could it be that there are other views other than yours that may also be worth while to also hear and give credit to? I love hearing other views and I learn a lot from other views and experiences and have even changed my mind on some of my views. I can disagree with that person and still respect them. I can appreciate the view that that someone thinks this cartoon is racist even though that wass not my first impression I still like to think of the chimp as being Pelosi :).
As for Charles and his comment say what??? “White people will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this-which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never, the Negro problem will not longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.”………do you feel this is true based on the last election results or are you still listening to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?


17 Keith { 02.26.09 at 10:39 pm }

You are giving her too much credit. She is not that cute, and obviously not that smart. That said, while I think the cartoon is racist, I think people are entitled to their opinions. The beauty of this country is is that you get to blog about the absurd things that Amy says. And that a cartoonist can draw an offensive picture and we all get to tell him that it is not ok, and that he and his lousy newspaper are out of line. And to Valerie, Yes I am still listening to Al and Jesse because they attack issues that many are too scared to go near to. Racism still thrives in the U.S – just accept it.

18 Ben { 02.27.09 at 12:06 pm }

@Valerie: I definitely don’t want to speak for Charles but his quote is from James Baldwin’s, The Fire Next Time. My understanding of what Baldwin was saying was that hateful acts usually eminate from hateful individuals… Those that do not love themselves for whatever reason. So to displace that self-displeasure, they project it onto others.

I think Charles’ point, again I don’t want to speak for him, is that once we all learn to love ourselves, we’ll have less issues with others.

Check out the original interview from 1963 about the book.,9171,830326-1,00.html

19 Ben { 02.27.09 at 12:10 pm }

@Keith: Hey, I call it like I see it. To me, Amy is attractive. So are most of those newsie types. I think it’s part of the job description. I’ll give “credit” where it’s due and won’t where it’s not.

20 Amelia { 02.27.09 at 12:30 pm }

The reason I believe Elisabeth from “The View” defends “people” even when she knows they are wrong is because she does. I guess I figure that anyone with a half of brain would KNOW that Palin would have made a lousy VP. Or that my 3 year old daughter could probably tell you that defending the republican party in 2009 makes you look pretty clueless. Elisabeth needs to grow up. Whenever anyone says anything negative about Bush, Palin or even McCain, the best comebacks Elisabeth has is to turn it around and start bringing up Obama. “Well what about when Obama did this….said that….” And thats all she’s got. But I guess this is just my O-P-I-N-I-O-N.

21 @Steelergurl { 02.27.09 at 12:51 pm }

So, I read this the other day, Ben, and meant to comment then…anyway, I think the cartoon was a straight mess. But one thing that this, among all other things that have happened over the last 2 years leading up to Obama’s election, has done is create conversation. I wish “big” things didn’t have to happen to get us to talk about racism in a real way. White people (although not *this* white person) shy away from talking about race as an issue, and it still brings very raw and bitter feelings from people of color (rightly so). We should talk about it. I can’t stand all that “color-blindness” talk that white people try to force…I’m white, I want to know what anyone of color goes through, feels on a day to day basis so I can make my imprint on making that better.
I’m an MSNBC girl and haven’t seen her actually, so no clue what she’s really like on TV, but maybe the girl is sheltered. Not a reason for her to be ignorant, but maybe some light into the psyche. OR, more likely, maybe they have her offer a different view for the full purpose of ratings. Or conversation like we’re having right here, right now.
A thin line between love and hate right? Either evokes emotion. The worse thing we can do, not say anything about her, because that means…she does not exist in our worlds :-)

I love, respect and cherish all my friends – and embrace our differences. That, my friends, is what’s beautiful about this country. Barack was right when he said in no other country but America would his story even be possible. (ok, I am a little in love with our President, I admit it :-) )
Have a great day – and thanks Ben, for another thoughtful post.

22 Henry { 02.28.09 at 10:22 am }

It all boils down to this: throughout the history of this country white people have equated Black people with animals and chattle; and in throughout the history of this country popular culture has depicted Black people as apes. How could the cartoonist (someone who works with visual puns and metaphors) and his editors not have known that ?

23 Valerie { 02.28.09 at 5:31 pm }

I agree it may be careless due to history but would the NY Post want to piss off a city of a couple million of possible readers…..that makes no sense. It could have just been a cartoon about a chimp and absurd legislation.
@ Amelia you have to come up with some logic don’t forget for the last 2 years who has had the power in congress. When Bush took office not once did I hear him say that the previous democrat president did not do enough to protect us against terriorism and I know you must remember the result of that. The reason we can pull out of Iraq soon is the surge actually worked so much so they may do the same in Afganistan. Furthermore on the race issue this was brought up in the democrat primaries amongst democrats not by the republicans. When are the democrats going to help the many groups of people that they keep wanting to vote for them?? Are they enabling people or disabling them. Anyway just some random thoughts and opinions but then again I only have a half a brain and I am clueless :)

24 Wenylla { 02.28.09 at 7:26 pm }

@ Valerie “would the NY Post want to piss off a city of a couple million of possible readers” ? To my mind the answer is YES! From my understanding the NYPost has a history of being “provocative”. They were catering to their built in audience. I just don’t believe they anticipated that this cartoon would have generated the level of negative feedback that it did. Isn’t that the goal of most media outlets to generate attention? To your other points: What did Bush do while he was in office to protect us from terrorism before or after 911? Who could have anticipated the the attack on 911? How about , we should not have been Iraq in the first place? Then the surge or withdrawl would have been a nonissue. Frankly, I’m surprised someone didn’t get impeached for what amounted to the attack and destruction of a sovereign nation based on a lie. (Bill got impeached for lying about “relations” with Monica and that didn’t cause any where near as much harm.) I personally think it’s healthy for our nation and people to bring up and discuss race. That’s one positive outcome of the NYPost cartoon people are talking, even those who are in denial with regards to the possible racist implications.

25 Carol Mickelsen { 03.13.10 at 1:42 am }

Amy Holmes is beautiful. She is obviously very smart.
I want to soo more women taking part in the global debate.
I don’t want to see her there. She does not think deep enough. She relies on her looks. This, as a woman, is an embarrassment to me. Women are to be wise and strong. She is not thinking from her true heart. She is enamored with her own beauty and success. I hope she will be in a place at some point in her life where she can hear this. She could be a very positive influence in this world if she could learn to see clearly.

26 ds { 09.02.11 at 1:58 pm }

Maybe some people have forgotten what things are considered racist. Good thing we have folks to remind us. Racism is taught, and oddly, it does not care about the color of the teacher or the student.

27 j matt { 05.10.13 at 8:18 am }

Just stumbled across this, even though I am a 30 something white southern conservative that has a pet peeve against political correctness, I find this racist. Holmes used to be truly independent, now just another pundit…sad

28 Andy { 05.10.13 at 6:58 pm }

I looked this Amy Holmes up because I am catching up on Real Time podcasts from April and I couldn’t agree more. It’s like she is missing the point on purpose on most of the conversation, but uses big words and catchphrases. Oh, and sounds almost exactly like “Valerie”, which, considering this is the 2nd Google result for “Amy Holmes”, makes me think she’s been trying to explain herself on this page. Oh, and yes, 4 years later she is the same “not quite with it but can’t keep her mouth shut” pundit.

29 Andy { 05.10.13 at 7:00 pm }

The sad thing is that this panel had Salmon Rushdie on it. Made it even more painful to listen to her

30 Jermain Johnson { 06.12.13 at 10:28 am }

Amy Holmes is a beauty of gal. She say what she say just to conform with conservative theme. I don’t think in real life she believe any of it. After all she is a product of the like of the president. She try to straddle the fence but leaning right is too much, probably just to get a job. Unbelievable working with the joker Glen Beck.

31 Don { 09.08.13 at 3:21 pm }

I didn’t read all of your comments above regarding Amy, but I think your opinion of her is the same as mine. I have watched her as a guest on a number of CNN shows. My first thought was “man, this chick is very attractive, let me hear what she has to say”. I am now saying “Amy is clearly a blond and does not have a clue, much less her own opinion. When challenged on what she says she always back pedals. Many times she will say she agrees and will try to summarize what one of the other guest commentators have said, …but then the other commentator comes back at her and tells Amy that she is misinterpreting him…..She may have gone to Princeton, but I get she was one of those that flirted her way through school….it happens all the time.

Come on CNN….you can do better than this. I am a middle age black man and love to see beautiful women on CNN, but please get someone that has their own opinion… Joy Reed…..may not be pretty, but she is smart as hell and can articulate her thoughts and hold her own in a debate.

32 Charles Curry { 09.16.13 at 5:15 pm }

Amy said on CNN 9/13 Amy made me almost vomit when she said our
President was Spineless. She must be lacking a brain or very anxious to see a new war.

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