A friend told me about this, and I honestly didn\’t believe him.

Last week in Janesville, Jim Doyle stood at the podium before hundreds of General Motors workers who had just found out that the plant will be closing in 2010. The pain in the room was evident, as the workers flanking Doyle onstage openly wore their disgust on their faces.

Doyle began his speech expressing outrage at General Motors, and threatening \”revenge\” against the company. He continually praised the workers, who had done nothing to deserve their fate. (We\’ll set aside, for a moment, the fact that Doyle\’s plan to raise gas taxes by 7 cents per gallon could have hastened the demise of the plant.) Then, to fully ameliorate the pain being felt in the room, he pulled out a quote from one of our great philosophers: Rapper Jay-Z.

In an attempt to say the workers had been \”flicked aside,\” Doyle tried to use The Jigga Man\’s \”Dirt Off Your Shoulder\” as an excuse to make the now-famous gesture. He immediately tried to catch himself, understanding what an absurd statement he just made. But this is why I fear public speaking so much – I\’m afraid I\’m going to say something this stupid in front of an open mike. And in doing so, Doyle may have inadvertently set race relations in Wisconsin back 30 years.  Father Michael Pfleger\’s references to black culture were actually more comfortable than this.

To see the video, click here and fast forward to the 25 minute mark. I\’d pull the clip off and put it on YouTube to make it instantly viewable, but WisconsinEye\’s warnings have sufficiently spooked me into thinking they\’re going to sue me for a hundred million dollars if I do so. (Then they\’ll team up with INTERPOL to come get the backup copies of my DVDs.)

If one asks how in the hell Doyle knows that Jay-Z song, remember that Barack Obama used the same gesture to respond to attacks by Hillary Clinton. Except there were two stark differences: Obama actually used it in the correct context, and Obama looked like a smooth mother doing it. (Shut yo mouth!)

Since the readership of this blog likely doesn\’t even know who Jay-Z is, here\’s the video for \”Dirt Off Your Shoulder.\” Warning – there\’s explicit language, but it\’s necessary, as it exposes how ridiculous it was for Doyle to use it in such a somber context.

And here\’s a video of Obama\’s \”Dirt off Your Shoulder\” reference that\’s good for a chuckle:

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