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Where does the phrase “basket of deplorables” come from?

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morrisey

I have spent days hours minutes using my weak google-fu trying to determine the answer to this question, and now, in the spirit of the contemporary entrepreneurial university, I am going to outsource it.

My guesses regarding its origin:

(1) Something from a Smiths song.

(2) A phrase from a Victorian novel.

(3) One of Shakespeare’s minor plays.

(4) Harry Potter?

If this wasn’t actually an allusion, and Hillary came up with the phrase herself, color me impressed.

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  • cleek

    trying to Google this really does illustrate the uselessness of Google’s date filter…

    i set my ‘before’ range to Sept 1, 2015 and i’m seeing articles dated Sept 11, 2001 talking about what happened yesterday.

    • postmodulator

      “I was trying to Google a schnitzel recipe. Has everyone heard about this Hitler guy? Someone should stop him!”

      • The Temporary Name

        The more I find out about this Hitler guy, the less I like him.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          “That’s not my idea of a silver-tongued devil!”

  • It’s a riff on “binders full of women.”

    Many have asked what the collective noun is for Trump supporters, a la “a murder of crows.” This would seem to be a good suggestion.

    • CP

      I’ve always liked “bunch of assholes,” but then my phraseology isn’t always as erudite as perhaps it should be.

      • keta

        The phrase “a spray of assholes” generally tempers the image with thoughts of spring.

        • MAJeff

          An “explosion of assholes” prepares one for sudden downpours, though.

          • catbirdman

            And now we all know how many holes it takes to fill a Trump rally…

            • AstroBio

              As of now, there are 197 comments. I have read eight so far, but I’m guessing, best thread ever.

        • ThrottleJockey

          …or a plate full of refried beans.

        • cpinva

          “The phrase “a spray of assholes” generally tempers the image with thoughts of spring.”

          the first thing that came to my mind was “explosive Diarrhea”, which I’m sure isn’t what you meant. however, it does capture, quite effectively, Mr. Trump’s public speaking style.

        • Solar System Wolf

          It makes me think of my cat. He’s a neutered male, but he still backs his butt up to things and pretends to spray them even though thankfully nothing comes out.

      • Bucket of Fuckwits

    • LWA

      A “klavern of Trumpists” works for me.

    • Her speechwriters suggested “bag of dicks.” She downgraded it to this.

      • thebewilderness

        That sounds right to me.

  • Matt McIrvin

    “Basket of X” as a general collective sounds like econometrics talk to me (like the “basket” of goods used to calculate the CPI). My guess is that it’s a new coinage influenced by that and “parade of horribles”.

    • cpinva

      also too, “baskets of income”, for the purpose of computing the foreign tax credit (FTC). which I’m fairly certain she’s heard before, either in her work in private practice, or in the Senate, in discussions concerning changes to the tax law.

    • catclub

      Maybe Hillary is a “Baskets” fan.
      Depressing, Clowns, black humor.

  • It sounds like the economic “basket of goods” but that doesn’t make much sense. As someone pointed out on another thread, it sounds a lot like “parade of horribles.”

    • Matt McIrvin

      Jinx! Anyway, these are both usages that Hillary Clinton definitely would have heard in the course of her career.

      • Pat

        See also: basket cases.

        • I keep seeing it and thinking of “basket of kisses” from “Mad Men,” but that doesn’t make sense and wouldn’t occur to most people, I’d think.

          • keta

            Yeah. Baskets generally contain nice things, or certainly innocuous stuff.

            Basket of fruit/flowers/vegetables or anything else freshly harvested. Sewing basket. Baby basket. Laundry basket. Easter egg basket.

            Baskets are also almost always permeable. The problem with a basket of deplorables is that they can ooze out of the basket and onto the nice spiffy rug. If I was storing deplorables I’d put them in a bucket.

            • Baskets generally contain nice things, or certainly innocuous stuff.

              Guillotines have baskets, too. And their future content had often been judged to be pretty deplorable.

              • PohranicniStraze

                Their contents probably did ooze a bit though – best to store your guillotine basket next to your basket of deplorables and keep both away from your spiffy rug.

              • cpinva

                I should have known someone on here would beat me to this! :)

            • skapusniak

              Laundry.

              I’m thinking if it isn’t the biblical allusion Keta suggests below, its gotta be the laundry. Gotta be.

              Internet search reminds me that laundry is indeed something one may well wish to sort into baskets — see: http://intl.target.com/s/laundry+sorter — whilst random neuron firings insist “deplorables” rhyming with “unmentionables” (in the underwear sense of the word) must, must I say!, have something to do with the word choice.

              Insert lumbering and strained “these colours don’t run”, and “airing dirty laundry” allusions here.

            • DocAmazing
  • Honoré De Ballsack

    If this wasn’t actually an allusion, and Hillary came up with the phrase herself, color me impressed.

    It really says something about intellectual life in contemporary America that the possibility the phrase is original with Clinton (or her speechwriter) is offered as the least likely option. I was hoping to link the Too Much Coffee Man “Does Everything Have To Be FROM Something?” cartoon from back in the 1990s, but it doesn’t seem to be online.

    • Vance Maverick

      Agreed. Someone mentioned the “parade of horribles”, but that’s not close enough to be more than an influence on what seems to have been a genuine creative act.

      Paul’s suggestion of the Smiths seems a bit unlikely for a woman who named her daughter for “Chelsea Morning”.

      • Honoré De Ballsack

        Paul’s suggestion of the Smiths seems a bit unlikely for a woman who named her daughter for “Chelsea Morning”.

        Really? I thought it was Bill that named her–after “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.”

        • Joseph Slater

          At least it wasn’t Elvis Costello’s “I Don’t Want to go to Chelsea.”

          • mikeSchilling

            Probably not Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, though that would be a good choice.

        • DW

          I thought it had something to do with a to with a time-traveling conspiracy involving Abramovich.

        • benjoya

          bill? leonard cohen? i don’t see it.

          • benjoya

            it was the joni mitchell thing, right? maybe she wrote it about leonard cohen? i think chelsea hotel is about janis joplin.

          • Nick056

            Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I wouldn’t name my daughter specifically after a song that begins with Janis Joplin giving Leonard Cohen head on an unmade bed, and responds to her death, after all, with a tender fatalism.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      well, Campos does generally put forward the more cynical take on things

  • The OED allows “deplorable” to be used as a noun:

    B. n. pl.Deplorable ills.
    1828 Scott Jrnl. 10 Apr. (1941) 222 An old fellow, mauld with rheumatism and other deplorables.

    A rare (if not unexampled) 20th century use of “deplorables” in English was made by Rudolph Willard, in “CHAUCER’S ‘TEXT THAT SEITH THAT HUNTERS BEN NAT HOOLY MEN'” (Studies in English, No. [26] (1947), pp. 209-251).

    The general attitude towards hunting is the same: hunters are to be classed among the disreputables. In Ivo all the canons but one are to be found in Pars XIII, which, according to its descriptive title, treats of a generous variety of deplorables:

    Of robbers, of thieves, of usurers and of takers of interest, of hunters, of slanderers and of the quarrelsome, of revellings and of drunkenness, of those mad with rage, of Jews, and of their amendment. 24

    Note 24 reads:

    24 De raptoribus, de furibus, de usurariis et feneratoribus; de vena toribus, de maledicis et contentiosis, de comessationibus et ebrietati bus, de furiosis, de Judaeis, et eorum correctione. Patrologia Latina, 161, 803.

    Perhaps a serious search of the literature on the Latin Patrology would find other uses of “deplorables”; who knows, maybe even baskets of them. I will leave that search to others.

    • Vance Maverick

      See Ben Zimmer, including your Scott example. Conclusion: she made it up, using excellent principles of parallelism.

    • FridayNext

      Just one quibble. The OED doesn’t “allow” a damn thing. They record usage. They do not enforce usage. Dictionaries describe. They do not prescribe. Even if nobody ever used “deplorable” as a noun before she did, everyone knows what she meant and now we have a delightful new phrase, a new usage for an old word, and eventually the OED would edit that entry to reflect that usage.

      • I should have said “allows as” (with suitable changes later).

        • FridayNext

          I apologize for my tone. I tend to be an anti lexography nazi nazi.

      • mikeSchilling

        English allows almost any word to be used in almost any way. The lack of inflection helps; we can e.g. stick two nouns together without having to decide if one’s now an adjective and has to agree with the other one.

      • Scott P.

        In the United States, the dictionary certainly was envisioned as a prescriptivist enterprise from the start. Noah Webster wanted to ensure the English language would remain uncorrupted in the New World despite the separation from the mother country and the United States’ proximity to a vast, ‘savage’ wilderness. This would ensure Americans could continue to understand and benefit from their literary heritage.

        There was also an egalitarian impulse to make proper spelling and word usage available to every citizen and not only those with an elite education.

        This attitude has persisted in the US over the last 200 years.

        • N__B

          Noah Webster wanted to ensure the English language would remain uncorrupted in the New World despite the separation from the mother country and the United States’ proximity to a vast, ‘savage’ wilderness. This would ensure Americans could continue to understand and benefit from their literary heritage.

          Epic fail.

          NEXT!

          • DocAmazing

            “I think we’re all indebted to Gabby Johnson for clearly stating what needed to be said. I’m particularly glad that these lovely children were here today to hear that speech. Not only was it authentic frontier gibberish, it expressed a courage little seen in this day and age. “

      • cpinva

        “everyone knows what she meant”

        even the group being described knows what she meant (no small feat), sorta. they are being told by their Trumpian Overlords how they should respond.

      • TopsyJane

        It’s possible for a dictionary to perform both functions well. People do look to popular dictionaries for guidance on usage and good dictionaries like the American Heritage provide it. They will let you know that, for example, if you want to use “disinterested” for “uninterested” there’s nothing to stop you, but the two words have usefully distinct meanings and some readers may think less of your term paper if you don’t seem to be aware of any difference. Some neologisms and colloquialisms are more acceptable in some contexts than others. A good popular dictionary can and should help you with that.

  • sibusisodan

    Harry Potter and the Basket of Deplorables?

    “Some years ago, Harry, before I became headmaster, we had a very toxic culture at the school. The solution was to confine the worst elements in…well, let’s just call it a container.

    “It’s over there, next to the Penseive. Yes, you can see ‘Make Slitherin Great Again’ etched into the basket work.

    “Of course, under no circumstances should you open the…container. The consequences would be dire. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must step out of the room for a few minutes…”

    • a_paul_in_mtl

      Excellent!

  • Nick never Nick

    I agree fully with this, and I think that one of the remarkable features of this whole contretemps — for good or ill, I don’t know — is that ‘basket of deplorables’ is a rare moment of true poetry from the Clinton campaign.

    • Matt McIrvin

      Sometimes it happens. Whichever George W. Bush speechwriter came up with “the soft bigotry of low expectations” gave us a good phrase (one that applied frequently to GWB himself).

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Michael Gerson, who also apparently gave us “Axis of Evil” and Condi’s delightfully iambic “We wouldn’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

        • keta

          “A of E” was from Frum.

          • Gareth

            “Axis” from Frum and “Evil” from Gerson, I think.

            • aidian

              I thought I read Frum as saying he wrote Axis, he struggled with Axis of what before settling on Axis of Terror and it was W who actually changed it to axis of evil.

              I could be wrong, but I don’t care enough to look it up, because Frum.

              • (((Hogan)))

                From the people who wanted to call the Afghan invasion Operation Infinite Justice, because they were reading old DC comics instead of intelligence briefings.

      • AMK

        I always thought that was a very artful term for what they’re describing, though it is rather ironic coming from the party that embraces The Bell Curve as a policy document.

      • DAS

        The media, by grading Republicans on a curve, engages in the soft bigotry of low expectations. Thus whenever the media tosses softballs at Republican candidates, it just shows how liberal the media are. Of course, if the media didn’t just toss softballs at Republican candidates, it would also show the media to be liberals. (/GOoP )

    • Mellano

      The metaphor sounds a little mixed, though. It would be helpful if someone could pin down some examples of what kinds of deplorables might be gathered in baskets. Say, mildewed jam, expired lutefisk, etc.

      Or to go the other way, a busload of deplorables? A jalopy of them?

      • postmodulator

        expired lutefisk

        How can you tell?

        • When it begins to pine for the fjords.

        • DAS

          The problem with lutefisk is that it’s made with (cod) stockfish. Lutefisk is about the yummiest thing you can make with god dried that particular way.

          • Lutefisk is about the yummiest thing you can make with god dried that particular way.

            Man, those Norwegian Lutherans take consubstantiation way too seriously.

            • DAS

              As you may suspect, autocorrect is responsible for this particular theological statement. I meant to say “cod” not invoke the divine. Stockfish made from cod is the work of the devil.

  • twbb

    She’s already apologized. Is there anything more quintessentially Democratic than making a perfectly legitimate attack and immediately apologizing when there’s any pushback?

    • marduk

      It’s been sold as an apology but she didn’t really apologize. She said she regretted saying “half” and then doubled down on the rest of it.

      • Pat

        We’re seeing the Clinton double standard again in full force. This is how they got George the Second elected.

        You have to admire their mastery of the media narrative. These guys really understand power.

      • CP

        She certainly was wrong to say “half.”

        • Incontinentia Buttocks
          • Nick never Nick

            the rolls of the unelected are packed with Democratic candidates that had data backing them up

            • Incontinentia Buttocks

              Absolutely. Just cause it’s true doesn’t mean she should have said it.

          • CP

            Oh. Really?

            I’m surprised it’s that low.

          • Generally agreed, but by the same measurements about a fifth of Clinton’s supporters are deplorable too (there isn’t as much partisan variation in the “are black people lazy” question as one might hope, for instance).

        • demit

          I think she was aggregating a collection of polls & surveys. 40% racist here, 70% Islamaphobic there, and so on, so she could fit them all in one basket.

        • DocAmazing

          Next time she’ll show her work.

      • cpinva

        “She said she regretted saying “half” and then doubled down on the rest of it.”

        which I interpreted as meaning she should have said “whole”. what’s really got their knickers all in a twist is the simple truth of it. the argument isn’t that it’s not true, but that she said it out loud. how dare she!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      other Democrats getting in line with the other side’s spin and saying “o my god o my god o my god we’re all d00med’?

      • twbb

        No, the opposite, actually: I’m saying she SHOULDN’T have gotten in line with the other side’s spin.

  • NickFlynn

    I was disappointed that she didn’t go with a variation of Laurie Penny’s “Army of Unfuckable Hate Nerds” but I guess that’s the price we pay for allowing PoliticalCorrectnessRunAmok(tm).

    Also disappointed that “klavern” hasn’t made a bigger impact in our political discourse this year.

  • keta

    Basket of Deplorables is the title of an unfinished Jules Verne novel abandoned in 1869. Verne had experienced some publishing success with his Five Weeks in a Balloon, (pub. 1863), which told the adventures of a scholar/adventurer, his manservant, and his friend the professional hunter as they ballooned over the continent of Africa.

    The success of FWIAB prompted Verne to retain the hot air balloon as a literary device in a much more philosophical work as he imagined the depravities of the day, in human form, sentenced to oblivion by having to share a balloon basket and exist in exile far above the earth’s surface, forever circling a world seen by them yet inaccessible. Verne was never wholly satisfied with the story arc of Basket of Deplorables, mostly because of his deep satisfaction in happy endings. He gave up on the project and shifted focus to different balloon story, Around the World in Eighty Days, a work still much-celebrated today.

  • Avattoir

    A legion of horribles, hundreds in number, half naked or clad in costumes attic or biblical or wardrobed out of a fevered dream with the skins of animals and silk finery and pieces of uniform still tracked with the blood of prior owners, coats of slain dragoons, frogged and braided cavalry jackets, one in a stovepipe hat and one with an umbrella and one in white stockings and a bloodstained wedding veil and some in headgear or cranefeathers or rawhide helmets that bore the horns of bull or buffalo and one in a pigeontailed coat worn backwards and otherwise naked and one in the armor of a Spanish conquistador, the breastplate and pauldrons deeply dented with old blows of mace or sabre done in another country by men whose very bones were dust and many with their braids spliced up with the hair of other beasts until they trailed upon the ground and their horses’ ears and tails worked with bits of brightly colored cloth and one whose horse’s whole head was painted crimson red and all the horsemen’s faces gaudy and grotesque with daubings like a company of mounted clowns, death hilarious, all howling in a barbarous tongue and riding down upon them like a horde from a hell more horrible yet than the brimstone land of Christian reckoning, screeching and yammering and clothed in smoke like those vaporous beings in regions beyond right knowing where the eye wanders and the lip jerks and drools.”

    from Blood Meridian, or The Evening Redness in the West
    by Cormac McCarthy

    • GeoX

      Good lord that man’s an embarrassing writer.

  • Mac the Knife

    Someone at TPM mentioned its similarity to the phrase “legion of horribles” in Blood Meridian. I’m not sure I buy it, but I did chuckle at this passage as applied to Trump supporters.

    “A legion of horribles, hundreds in number, half naked or clad in costumes attic or biblical or wardrobed out of a fevered dream with the skins of animals and silk finery and pieces of uniform still tracked with the blood of prior owners, coats of slain dragoons, frogged and braided cavalry jackets, one in a stovepipe hat and one with an umbrella and one in white stockings and a bloodstained wedding veil and some in headgear or cranefeathers or rawhide helmets that bore the horns of bull or buffalo and one in a pigeontailed coat worn backwards and otherwise naked and one in the armor of a Spanish conquistador, the breastplate and pauldrons deeply dented with old blows of mace or sabre done in another country by men whose very bones were dust and many with their braids spliced up with the hair of other beasts until they trailed upon the ground and their horses’ ears and tails worked with bits of brightly colored cloth and one whose horse’s whole head was painted crimson red and all the horsemen’s faces gaudy and grotesque with daubings like a company of mounted clowns, death hilarious, all howling in a barbarous tongue and riding down upon them like a horde from a hell more horrible yet than the brimstone land of Christian reckoning, screeching and yammering and clothed in smoke like those vaporous beings in regions beyond right knowing where the eye wanders and the lip jerks and drools.”

    • Avattoir

      That was me.

      You posted “I’m not sure I buy it”. Do you not know? Do you think it’s possible one or both Clintons have read Blood Meridian? They have, you know: they’ve both met him as well.

      • Mac the Knife

        Oh hell, I should have checked the edit window. I went away after posting, and I see you put it up here too.

        I’m sure they’ve both read it. I’m just not sure it’s all that close, but maybe I’m wrong. If so, it’s even funnier.

        Either way, good catch and thanks for the laugh.

      • vic rattlehead

        The Clintons are highly educated, cultured, intellectually curious people, and McCarthy is not exactly an obscure novelist anymore, and Blood Meridian is widely regarded as his opus (although, for my money, Suttree is the better book – and I believe the one that got him the MacArthur grant that allowed him to write Blood Meridian). I wouldn’t be surprised if they hadn’t read Blood Meridian in particular (the Border trilogy and Suttree are better choices for the squeamish), but very surprised if they haven’t read any McCarthy.

        Also-is there a living American novelist with a more interesting life? I want to believe that Tommy Pynchon was up to some crazy shit between Gravity’s Rainbow and Vineland, but maybe he was just lounging around and smoking pot.

    • keta

      Wait, does this make Hillary the Judge? America the Kid?

      It doesn’t end well out by the outhouse.

    • I read The Road and thought it was a worthwhile read but didn’t like it, in part because of the nonspecificity of the danger. Would I possibly like Blood Meridian better? Or another one of his?

      • keta

        Blood Meridian is unrelentingly violent. Beautiful and lyrical, but fiercely savage.

        Suttree is melancholic, but is the most humorous of MCarthy’s novels and contains some wonderful characters and set pieces that stay with you long after you’re done reading. Highly recommended.

        • I read Suttree when I lived in Knoxville. But his Knoxville was utterly unrecognizable. Urban renewal, basically.

        • vic rattlehead

          Blood Meridian-it didn’t really do it for me. I admire McCarthy’s talent, but meh.

          Suttree was much more my speed-what a gorgeous book. I think that was the last book I read that really, truly shattered me. The last book before that that really shattered me was Miss Lonelyhearts.

  • AMK

    She already gave a headline speech two weeks ago to call these people racists, which is refreshing after eight years of Obama being unable to just come out swinging like that. I dunno why “baskets of deplorables” is somehow more objectionable.

    And i think it is probably an original creation on her part (or the part of her speechwriters), reaching for something that conveys the message while still sounding like a mature insult.

    • Matt McIrvin

      She was attacking Trump’s voters–a large fraction of them–rather than his campaign staff and advisers. And thereby saying something you usually don’t say about American culture if you want to get elected President: that a lot of us are bigots. A really appalling number. It’s a genuine risk to call that out. But in a world where the Republicans can run and win on “he says what we’re all really thinking!”, screw it, it’s not wrong to say it.

      The phrasing in the alt-right speech could still be read to pretend that it was a tiny fringe, because after all not very many people in the US self-identify as “alt-right”; it’s this weird little movement with heavy representation on the Internet, basically the racist-right fringe of the West Coast techie community.

      • That’s a good point: in a way she could be seen to be correcting to answer people who criticized her handling of the alt-right from the left (which had some things in common with some criticism from the right but wasn’t identical).

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        I drove across the state yesterday (mainly through Steve King’s district) and there are actually quite a few Trump signs. And so what, as pros like Lemieux say. The signs that bothered me were the homemade ones, that say “Hillary for Prison 2016” and go into little roadside rants about how horrible she is. there’s something very personal about how they hate that makes me think Clinton really has to take the fight to them and try to make people think about how they’re voting- are they going to vote for a racist thug in order to keep their taxes low or is there more to America than that?

        • MAJeff

          That’s where my folks live. It can get a bit scary, but I try to avoid Sioux County at all costs. Crazy-ass Dutch Calvinists up there. (My Grandparents, who lived there, still used the term “darkies” well into the last decade, when they died.)

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            Spencer, for the Clay County Fair. Always like going, had a nice time. Still, it felt like enemy territory in a way it hasn’t before- which might just be paranoia on *my* part. Times are strange

            • MAJeff

              My aunt lived there for a long time (and the folks are now in Spirit Lake).

              Times *are* strange. I think the summer tempers a bit of it because of how many folks come to that area from other places for the summer. But, there’s a lot of Trump/Palin derprage. I know what you mean about feeling like “enemy territory,” though. Glad my folks are coming here for xmas instead of us kids heading to that part of Iowa this year.

        • cpinva

          “are they going to vote for a racist thug in order to keep their taxes low or is there more to America than that?”

          I doubt taxes are the first thing on those people’s minds, they don’t make enough for it to be an issue, since their effective rate is probably in the 10% neighborhood. their concern is the continued loss of (male) white power, over every other group in the country. that’s the undertow of Trump, that keeps them swimming back to him.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            yeah- you know that, I know that, and maybe even most of them do too in the recesses of their lizard brains. But they always start out with things like taxes and regulation before they get to the racism, sexism etc. So what I think I see happening here is Clinton working to heighten the contradictions and making (r) leaning people give up some of their illusions about not just their party but themselves. She’s also working to consolidate and maintain her coalition

      • Nick never Nick

        Yep, I agree with this, and I think it is a far greater risk in a world where Clinton is saying it, and the American media is covering it. Just like Obama was not the candidate to point out that America is racist (remember the pushback just from him attending a god-damned church where the pastor said that at some point in the past?), Clinton is not the candidate to point out that Real Americans are a bunch of assholes.

        She has never been permitted to forget anything — Whitewater, the vast right-wing conspiracy, Benghazi, email, health care reform, Lewinsky, blue dress, sniper fire — and the final two months of this campaign are going to be saturated with White People asking her if they are deplorable. Remember Joe the Plumber? The saturation this gets is going to make that look like a random man-on-the-street interview.

        • MAJeff

          Just like Obama was not the candidate to point out that America is racist (remember the pushback just from him attending a god-damned church where the pastor said that at some point in the past?), Clinton is not the candidate to point out that Real Americans are a bunch of assholes.

          So, who gets to be the assholes’ Nixon, particularly considering how large the asshole constituency in the national press corps is?

        • Matt McIrvin

          Nobody is the candidate to say it. A white man probably wouldn’t say it, because it’s not personal for him, and he’d worry about the risk. That means it never gets said, and the problem never gets better.

          I changed my mind about this by listening to non-white Americans. Some are livid at white liberals for immediately fretting about the optics of this. They take it as a sign that we really don’t have their back, and they’re probably right.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            and that shows just how wound up in ourselves white people, even the liberal ones, are- we think people who look like us- even, maybe especially, if they don’t agree with us- count for more

          • Nick never Nick

            Oh, hogwash. Disregarding your personal poll of non-white Americans, if you think that the fact that a lot of people are worried Clinton put her foot in it shows that all the white people have turned their backs on minorities, you’re an idiot.

          • cpinva

            “Some are livid at white liberals for immediately fretting about the optics of this. They take it as a sign that we really don’t have their back, and they’re probably right.”

            I’m glad they’re livid, and yes, they probably are right. not only do I not want her walking this back, I want her expanding on it. pointing out the various and sundry groups of nativist/white supremacist/misogynist/homophobic assholes that support Trump. if Trump doesn’t like the description, prove her wrong.

        • (((Hogan)))

          White People asking her if they are deplorable.

          “Deplorable is as deplorable does, dear.”

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        This, exactly. The alt right speech, however unfortunately low its impact was, was the right way to make this point. The “basket of deplorables” comment was (spectacularly) the wrong way to make it. Given the state of play of this race, if somehow Trump wins, this has all the makings of a Dean Scream moment, i.e. a much discussed event that is seen as a critical turning point even though it really isn’t.

    • Downpuppy

      And her speech’s content was ignored, which is not too surprising. The NYT has turned Trump coverage over to their second string theater critic, who has failed repeatedly, while Clinton coverage is left to the same old bevy of haters.

      So, what draws coverage? Nothing like a gaffe!

      Will the media be able to run all over this without noticing that her point – the Trump campaign is run by & for open white supremacists & related nutters?

      Sure, but she had to try.

      • MAJeff

        Once upon a time, I knew him. He was a climber at the Boston Globe, trying to get to NYC. Looks like he’s learned how to toe the party line.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    For some reason this conversation has brought to mind the 2008 wingnut obsession with the idea that Bill Ayers had ghostwritten Obama’s book (water imagery! etc). Good times!

  • Joe_JP

    It sounds like a neologism of sorts that is a mixture of “parade of horribles” and something. We are talking about a crafty career pol here with a bunch of writers and so on, and it is surprising she found a catchy label? This is more evidence of the writer’s biases than anything else, probably.

    As noted in comments, the “apology” is mostly doubling down on the main theme of the comment, which itself is but a comment that people are so concerned about because she phrased it a certain way. Hundreds of remarks, she is going to say something now and then to give people the vapors.

    But, her basic skill is shown here — as Talking Points Memo notes, even the responses from the Trump camp doesn’t really push back on Trump’s camp being racist etc. It is just that it is mean to say so. You almost get the idea, contrary to a few so concerned, that she isn’t THAT bad of a candidate after all.

    • twbb

      “As noted in comments, the “apology” is mostly doubling down on the main theme of the comment”

      Which is a more likely headline? “Clinton Apologizes for ‘Deplorables’ Comment” or “Clinton Subtly Reiterates ‘Deplorables’ Comment”? This election, like the past several ones, will be decided over headlines and sound bites.

      • Joe_JP

        The Washington Post had something about the email story being taken to ridiculous levels. So, yes, I think you will get some headlines and sound bites that will favor her about this too. It isn’t all bad. Let’s not make it out to be.

  • trnc

    I just don’t understand where people get the idea that Trump supporters belong in that basket.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/crazed-trumper-assaults-muslim-women-in-brooklyn

    • Wapiti

      The headline shoulda/coulda been “Deplorable Trumper assaults…”

  • demit

    What I think is wonderful about the phrase “Basket of Deplorables”—aside from the pleasing cadence of it— is that it has no other definition than the one Clinton has given it. It doesn’t allude to anything that has come before. From here on out, anyone who utilizes the phrase has to refer back to racist, misogynist, homophobic, etc to explain what it means.

    • rachelmap

      “Crooked Hillary” OTOH is a terrible styling. It has no assonance or alliteration, and because “crooked” is a iamb while “Hillary” is a dactyl, in just these two words you have two metrical patterns fighting each other. If Trump paid a speechwriter for this (unlikely) he should get his money back.

      • rachelmap

        Oops, “crooked” is a trochee, not an iamb, but my point remains.

        • cpinva

          “Oops, “crooked” is a trochee, not an iamb, but my point remains.”

          see, there you go, using those big academic words again! seriously, I tried looking this up on yahoo, and it caused IE to crash. I’m not quite certain what this means.

          • A trochee is two syllables with the stress on the first one, an iamb is the reverse, two syllables with the stress on the second. A dactyl is three syllables with the stress on the first.

            • (((Hogan)))

              Also, those are about the smallest big words you’ll ever run into.

          • rachelmap

            What the other said. Also:

            caused IE to crash

            there’s your problem.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        rachelmap – you are confusing metrical feet with metrical patterns, which are built from combinations of metrical feet. It makes no sense to suggest that a trochee and a dactyl “fight” each other, when they can – and do – coexist perfectly happily in the same metrical pattern. The standard ending for a Latin hexameter is, in fact, dactyl plus trochee. The same combination is the final line of a Sapphic stanza – and in fact the Sapphic metre itself is built around combination of dactyls and trochees.

        • The same combination is the final line of a Sapphic stanza – and in fact the Sapphic metre itself is built around combination of dactyls and trochees.

          Hawt.

        • rachelmap

          Oh, come on. Do you really think that these two words sound good together to an English ear?

          • They sound better if they come out as a single word (thus, omitting any hint of a glottal stop to mark the word boundary), sort of like “croocadillery” (slant-rhymes with “mock artillery” with a lingering bouquet of “crocodile” and a barely perceptible aspiration following the /d/).

        • Brad Nailer

          Man, you can’t get away with anything on this blog.

  • Bloix

    Clinton divided Trump supporters into two baskets: the “basket of deplorables” – “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

    and “the other basket — … that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change.”

    The metaphor of two baskets is pretty common, I think. What’s unusual here is the use of “deplorables” as a noun to describe human beings.

    The only English-language hits I’ve found are a reference to the ministers of King Charles X of France, who apparently were called “les deplorables” and so in some English histories are called “the deplorables,” and an indie band called “The Horrible Deplorables.”

    • keta

      The metaphor of two baskets is pretty common, I think.

      It is? A quick google offered only this, from the bible (Jeremiah 24:1-10):

      I. THE SYMBOLS EMPLOYED. The two baskets of figs – one very good, the other very evil. But:

      1. They had each the same advantages and disadvantages. The same seed, soil, training, climate, sunshine, and other influences teeming on them.

      2. They were of directly opposite character.

      This makes sense, given Clinton’s use of “two baskets.” Coincidence? Or crafty vague allusion?

      • rm

        Economists put things in baskets a lot, as has been noted above.

        • keta

          Yeah, but as Bianca noted it doesn’t really make sense here. I was more looking at “two baskets.”

          One thing’s for sure, Hillary’s choice of words has floated multiple rafts of speculation.

      • rachelmap

        Evil figs?

        (I think that would make a good band name, but WTF?)

      • Oh no. I hope HRC doesn’t have a speechwriter putting in biblical dogwhistles like GWB did.

        • (((Hogan)))

          She’s reaching out to a different breed of dog.

        • Thom

          I think she is pretty well versed, as it were, in the Bible.

  • Ahenobarbus

    Harry and David used to sell a Basket of Deplorables aimed at the budget-concious consumer.

    • MAJeff

      Just needed the Trump steaks, then it really would have taken off.

  • rm

    I agree that it’s an original phrase on the model of “parade of horribles,” and Language Log seems to agree too.

    While we are talking about phrases that seem to be “from somewhere” but are original, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time attempting to find out if the line “He needed sweet sleep in his bad-addled brains” from The Cat in the Hat TV special (1971) was Dr. Seuss’s original poetry (he wrote the screenplay) or a literary allusion. I was sure it was Shakespeare, but no. It seems to be completely original. The phrase “bad addled brains” seems to have entered our dialect in the years since the TV show aired. But I have only used Google as my research method, and I don’t ever want to claim this is true, because what could be more embarrassing than to attribute it to Dr. Seuss in conversation, only to have someone laugh and say that of course everyone knows that’s Ben Jonson or someone.

  • cleek

    a tisket a tasket
    a brown and yellow
    basket of deplorables

    • (((Hogan)))

      brown and yellow

      Oh well done.

      • John Revolta

        Ella sang it that way BTW.

  • Hells Littlest Angel

    Her advisers vetoed the much more lyrical original phrase, “bucket of fuckheads.” I hate political correctness.

    • Joe_JP

      What about “bucket of shitheads” … no?

      Come on Hillary! sigh.

    • tlaura

      That is *very* lyrical. On the other hand, “deplorable” as a noun has a certain edge that “fuckhead” doesn’t.

  • msobel
    • Casey

      I was thinking Lemony Snicket, but yeah, same neighborhood.

      (Gashlycrumb Tinies joke about Trump left as an exercise for the reader.)

  • mikeSchilling

    If you spray-paint Trump slogans, you get a Basquiat of deplorables.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    It’s a hand basket

  • robert e

    Hate to say it, but “basket of deplorables” is downright Rumsfeldian in its tantalizing literaryishness. If it’s making progressives itch with curiosity, imagine the burn of puzzled outrage that it’s set churning in the alt right craw.

  • Karen24

    Well, today’s scandal is that she left the 9/11 memorial in New York early because she ‘felt overheated.’ Those last two words are always in scare quotes in the coverage. I have a depressing feeling that this will be far more damaging and get far more coverage.

    • N__B

      My living room windows face the site and what’s going on there is very low-key compared to, say, the 2011 service.

      • Karen24

        I’m sure it’s nothing, but it’s going to be covered like she had an epileptic fit and broke out in running sores in front of everyone.

        • delazeur

          I dunno, the clip of her getting carried into a van is kind of concerning. I hope she’s okay.

    • (((Hogan)))

      If she’d stayed to the end, she would have been pandering.

      • Karen24

        Oh, of course. They’re playing this like she’s actually sick and trying to conceal it.

        • Chris Cilizza, who may have literal shit for brains, has already said this makes Clinton’s health a “central issue” of the campaign.

          • Cheerful

            It might not be such a bad idea, because if speculation that she is near death becomes an actual thing, her simply walking and talking normally will be greeted as a success.

            It reminds me of Reagan in 1984, during the debates. As it became clearer that he was starting to lose it, there was tremendous speculation about his mental state, which he “disproved” by recovering and being able to carry himself ok in the final debate.

            of course I speak as a partisan who would vote for Clinton if she had an arrow sticking out of her side and was coughing up blood.

            • DAS

              Only Republicans get graded on a curve. If Clinton isn’t able to do cartwheels and bench press her own weight, the story will be how she’s unhealthy.

              • Karen24

                This. Trump is in fine shape if he repeat — repeat, mind, not say without prompting — his own name and isn’t actually using an IV. Clinton is on death’s door unless she can beat Katie Ledecke in the 500 meter freestyle while wearing an evening gown and lead weights.

                • Not lead weights, they’ll bust her for brain damage.

                • Karen24

                  Iron kettle bell weights, then,

    • cleek

      speaking of 9/11…

      here’s Trump speaking about 9/11.

      https://twitter.com/ScottyLiterati/status/774895778817073152/video/1

      lots of empathy there. the best empathy. so much.

      • catclub

        Kevin Drum expanded on the Trump 9/11 empathy.
        Not a penny to charities.
        Got money for repairs that was aimed at small businesses.

        So much for New York values.

    • Gregor Sansa

      She has a medical condition where she doesn’t sweat. Combine this with the outdoor sun, a dark suit (required for a memorial service), and a bulletproof vest underneath (her presence at that place and time was as predictable as it ever is)… there’s no surprise at all that she got a bit overheated. No scare quotes are necessary.

      Of course, the media reports have left these facts out, and the scare quotes in. But they’ll drop the story quickly. Anybody who’s not already stewing in a fever swamp of trumpen facebook posts will not change their mind over this.

      • Karen24

        She’s got pneumonia. As I said below, this could not have come at a worse time.

        • John Revolta

          Chicken Little, please pick up the white courtesy phone…………………

          • Karen24

            I have to finishing running around and screaming first.

      • John Revolta

        This reminds me of the part in Philip Roth’s “Our Gang” where Nixon has surgery to remove “the sweat glands lodged in his upper lip.”

    • vic rattlehead

      In a sane world, a Democratic candidate’s health might be relevant. But in a world where Donald Trump is the Republican candidate, and the rest of the Republican party has completely gone off the rails, I just can’t bring myself to care one whit even if there is something to this.

      It could come out that Hillary Clinton has stage iv cancer and I would still crawl through broken glass to vote for her, and canvass and phone bank for her, content knowing that Kaine would do a fine job.

  • KeithB

    It’s the latest novel in George Martin’s Game of Thrones series. A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons, and A Basket of Deplorables.

  • Clinton should have addressed the bigots directly, as their future President, and not referred to them in the third person. A first draft of a speech here.

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man

      I didn’t read your proposed speech but I agree completely with the your point about “their future President.” Clinton should have deplored the attitudes not the people. She’s running for President of the whole country, including the assholes who said “He’s not my President” about Obama.

      I’ve generally liked her since way back when, but I’m firmly convinced that a fair bit of the elitist snobbery shit directed against her has a solid foundation in fact. It’s not just that it’s politically unwise to make a statement like she did, it’s actually pretty shitty to effectively write off some of the people that it will be your job to represent.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        OK, how does she “represent” the sizable group of people who are racist in this country?

        I know it’s common to say that someone is the President of the entire nation, but I don’t see how that it’s truly possible to represent diametrically opposed groups, both racists and the people who are in the minorities they hate.

        • bender

          By providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            I agree with that, though by definition the “general” welfare isn’t the same as what various people see as being the best way to proceed.

            To go a bit deeper, IMO the general welfare, like absolute truth, is not knowable by humans. The best we can do is do the best we can do. But in the absence of robot overlords (the technological age’s gods), there’s no one else to do it.

            But whatever choices are made, inevitably the choices are more representative of the wishes of some and less representative of the wishes of others.

        • No Longer Middle Aged Man

          That’s the job. If you don’t think that the President is supposed to be president of the entire nation, then in effect you are endorsing the same viewpoint as the assholes who say “Obama isn’t my President.”

          Presidenting is hard. You still represent the people who hate you.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            To get personal, my Kansas State Representative wants to, among other things, criminally prosecute any teacher who teaches anything she views as obscene, such definition of obscenity to be provided after the fact because of course she can’t define “obscenity” until she hears something and has an emotional reaction to it.

            I cannot say she “represents” me to any degree, but then a racist would no doubt feel the same way about Obama. Yet by virtue of her elected position she is the Representative of my district in the same way that Obama is the President of the entire nation.

            I suspect the core of our disagreement is on the meaning of “representing” and how that task is accomplished. I support democracy because, as the saying goes, all of the other systems are worse. So in that sense she is my Representative. But in everyday conversation I would never say she’s my Representative because the Venn diagram of our political views has almost no overlap.

          • mpavilion

            She’s not saying she won’t be their president (and, yes, technically “represent” them) – she’s just saying they f’ing suck. It’s a big deal for a candidate to call out racists / xenophobes / homophobes so directly, without worrying about the “optics.”

            • vic rattlehead

              Yes. You can absolutely “represent” people and think they’re deplorable (for whatever reason or reasons). She’s a lawyer-I’m sure she’s done it before.

          • (((Hogan)))

            Presidents don’t represent anyone. They make sure the law is carried out properly and fairly and take care of foreign policy matters. She’s not obliged to carry out everyone’s views in doing that (as if that were even possible), just not to go out of her way to screw anyone over.

            • mpavilion

              I’ve always seen the President as the people’s “representative” in the Executive Branch (after all, it is an elected position). But I’m not a political scientist, and will defer to anyone who knows better.

            • Hmmm. Well, the president is the head of state as well as chief executive. In the former role they *definitely* represent everyone (hence the phrase “respect the office”).

              But also, the president has a legislative role, e.g., by agenda setting, the veto, and by (for example) proposing a budget. Given that the president is directly elecdted *and* is head of state *and* is generally regarded as having a representative relationship with people, it seems too strong to say that they aren’t representative.

              I mean, given that they are delegated various powers while the people retain sovereignty, there’s a straightforward way in which they are representative.

          • TopsyJane

            Presidenting is hard. You still represent the people who hate you.

            Unlikely that she needs any schooling on either of those points. Both she and Bill went to coal country to reach out despite the fact that they could expect little in the way of a warm welcome, and if elected she will do more for them than Trump or any other Republican would.

      • vic rattlehead

        Since when is calling a spade a spade an outrage? In a world where Donald Trump is not so subtly calling for ethnic cleansing, and he and his surrogates are constantly, constantly, making racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, fill-in-the-blank-ic comments, I just cannot get the least bit upset about Clinton calling bigots bigots.

        You don’t want to be called “deplorable”? Well, let me give you a nickel’s worth of free advice: don’t say, believe in, and stand for deplorable ideas and people.

        • so-in-so

          It’s an outrage when it refers to conservatives, Christians or white people in general. “Real ‘Muricans”. Referring to minorities or other religions or “liberals” as moochers, potential criminals, etc. is A-Okay.

      • FWIW, my little draft does not use the word “represent”. It’s a needless distraction from the point. Any of you could read it in the time it takes to write a comment saying you haven’t.

  • were-witch

    “It puts the deplorables in the basket.”

  • Karen24

    So apparently Clinton has pneumonia. This could not have come at a worse time.

    • Thom

      Immediately before the first debate would be worse. But yeah, it is not good.

      • Karen24

        She really could lose this thing, which would be a catastrophe for the entire world.

    • Why is her having pneumonia worse news than her having heatstroke/exhaustion/what have you? The latter is easy to unfairly spin as a “stamina” issue, while anyone can get pneumonia and virtually everyone knows how debilitating it can be.

      • (((Hogan)))

        Just another unforced error.

      • It’s probably not. But it is worse than not having any health related issue. Not that it’s remotely fair, but there you go.

      • vic rattlehead

        Well, anyone can get heatstroke as well.

      • Nick056

        Journalists (and most of the rest of us) observe perennially that candidates exhibit an unnatural level of stamina and endurance during the campaign, so much so that regular campaigning has become a fitness test of its own. Falling ill during the campaign smudges the picture of the perpetually active, preternaturally healthy candidate. And while pneumonia can happen to anyone, it’s not hard to get people to contextualize this type of event as a case of Clinton over-exerting herself and becoming more vulnerable to sickness.

        Of course, none of that matters. Trump is a lunatic, Hillary will probably be fine, and Tim Kaine is fit for day one if need be.

    • vic rattlehead

      Pneumonia can kill, and can be especially deadly for people Clinton’s age and older. But she has access to the best medical care in the world. I’m sure she’ll be fine.

      And why is nobody talking about Trump’s health? Supposedly Hillary had a super secret stroke that the librul media is too craven to discuss.

      But Trump, despite knowing how to pose and wear a suit, is about the same age, looks like he’s at least 50 pounds overweight, never seems to exercise, and by all accounts has an absolutely atrocious diet. If he’s not on a megadose of lisinopril, I’ll eat a bowl of my own shit.

      • Karen24

        My husband is a diabetic and my husband looks healthier than Trump does. Still, IOKIFYR applies here.

    • Karen24

      So far the coverage has been reasonable. NBC even has a small article explaining ‘walking pneumonia’ and even going so far as to say a person can have it and not know. If her campaign plays this right, then the health story will bury the non-apology and Trump will in the meantime say something appalling about her. We can only hope.

  • mpavilion

    “Hillary’s such a badass, she’s barely missing a beat even with pneumonia.” – there’s your spin, go work it.

    • Karen24

      Indeed.

  • I believe the term comes from the phenomenon describing how you feel when you buy a bunch of stuff at Marshall’s you know you don’t need.

  • Beth, I thought it might be some avant-garde sociology (cf. Basket of Goods and Services) but came up dry. But I did an Irving Berlin parody “I’m putting all my oicks in one basket” that nobody seems to like, but you might.

  • eyerolld6

    Clearly, Hillary was inspired by the Circle Jerks’ “Parade of the Horribles” from their Golden Shower of Hits album.

  • The Lorax

    It is encouraging to see that others have the same take on assessment I do. I feel like that stupidity is everywhere. What a godawful waste of time. And if you complain, you’re made to feel like you don’t care about knowing if you’re teaching well. No, I do. What I don’t like is formulating nebulous goals that may be satisfied by everything or nothing and pretending like I’m getting “data” out of grading my papers a second time. Funny how the academics who work with data (as opposed to the proliferation of EdDs in the academy) think it’s bullshit, too.

  • Bert Horneyback

    The historical provenance of this phrase is not too interesting. I do however thank this vile shrew for taking off her mask in front of a crowd of fatuous Libs and telling us out loud how she really feels about 1/4 of voters. it made a great commercial!

    • Look! It knows the word “provenance”!

      • Bert Horneyback

        Look! They votes for corpses, preciousssss….

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