Big Chief Running Joke

Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who is hoping to unseat Republican Senator Scott Brown in November, has been having a rough time of it lately. Not only has her claim of being 1/32 Cherokee Indian been shown to be baseless — despite Ms. Warren’s high cheekbones (which she cites as evidence of Native American ancestry) and the fact that she once contributed some recipes to the book Pow Wow Chow* — but to add insult to injury, researchers have discovered that among her actual (as opposed to imaginary) ancestors was a member of the Tennessee Militia who helped to round up Cherokees from their homes in the southeastern United States and force them into government-built stockades in what was then called Ross’s Landing (now Chattanooga), Tennessee — where the Trail of Tears began.

But Bernie Quigley of The Hill’s Pundits Blog believes that Ms. Warren’s unsubstantiated claim of Cherokee ancestry is (in his words) “not so much a lie as it is the acculturation of personal and regional American myth” and “the fabric of old-soul American consciousness.” After a couple of paragraphs of this sort of twaddle, he makes the amazing assertion that “Warren’s claim to be ‘part Indian’ is correct in mythical terms… even if this in [sic] nominally not true… It is not a lie to want to be an Indian and to imagine your ancestors were. It is to be free of Europeanism.” He concludes his article with this helpful suggestion: “I hope Elizabeth Warren doesn’t back down on this, because wanting to be Indian, like Hawkeye, makes us in a deeper sense fully American.”

How does one respond to such astonishingly imbecilic claptrap? Claiming to be something you’re not is a good thing? It’s okay to lie about who you are, if you really, really want to be what you say you are? (Thought experiment: What would happen if a Republican tried that?)

The Bard of Murdock decides to give it a shot:

I’m mythically handsome.
I’m mythically thin.
By myth and by legend
I normally win.

I’m mythically brilliant.
I’m mythically smart.
I have the awareness
Of Mr. Descartes.

By day I’m a teacher,
But in my belief,
I morph in the evenings
To Indian Chief.

With deep meditation
And tricks of the mind,
My heritage changes
When I am inclined.

And when I’m applying
At Harvard or Yale,
I’m no longer freckled
And no longer pale.

For if there’s a preference
I’m certain to be,
Exactly as ordered
As mythical me.

*If you need a good laugh, go to and read the reviews of Pow Wow Chow — they’re hilarious. A few examples:

“Admirers of Pow Wow Chow may also enjoy Bow Wow Chow, a Indonesian-influenced cookbook from a former professor now in politics.”

“Overall this selection is lacking and has just a few good recipes inside. One for Humble Pie and another for Roasted Crow.”

“At least 1/32 better than any comparable book.”

“Left me with a trail of tears.”

“I have wanted to try the crab recipes Warren’s great-great-great grandmother passed down to Lizzy, but I have yet to find Oklahoma crabs anywhere. Have they gone extinct?”

“I loved this book so much, I decided that I might be part Indian. I once worked with a guy who lived near Lake Mohawk in New Jersey. Does that count?”

7 Responses to Big Chief Running Joke

  1. Freedom, by the way says:

    Fabulous post, Bob! It reminded me that I am not backing down on wanting to be wealthy. That’s what “makes me in a deeper sense, fully American.”


  2. chrissythehyphenated says:

    Amazon review: “I’ve received nothing but rave reviews from my colleagues after whipping up treats from this cookbook in the faculty lounge kitchen. Admirers of Pow Wow Chow may also enjoy Bow Wow Chow, a Indonesian-influenced cookbook from a former professor now in politics.” ROFLLLLLLLLL

    Methinks the “Sitting Bull” in the graphic should have an h in it.


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