My recent post on two-hit wonders led to some discussion of whether or not Obama counted as such, given claims that he didn't write his own books. Searching for evidence regarding this allegation (which, as it turns out, includes several direct claims by Bill Ayers to have written Dreams from My Father) led me to this passage from a book about Rush Limbaugh.
Limbaugh claimed that Obama did not have the intellectual capacity to write his own books, and that Bill Ayers wrote them. . . . There is not even the slightest evidence to support this attack, but Limbaugh contended that Obama's use of the word "ballast" in his books was proof that he didn't write them: "He doesn't talk this way. You know, there are stories out there he may not have written this book."-- John K. Wilson, The Most Dangerous Man in America
(Actually, he does talk that way. Trying to find that passage again in order to include it in this post led me to a 2016 statement by Obama that his wife, Michelle, is the "ballast for our family." Is that something he would have said anyway, I wonder, or did the Limbaugh allegation lead him to start consciously using the word ballast more often?)
A day or two after reading the Limbaugh "ballast" reference, I was reading a novel in which a pirate's wife asks the main character about "ballasting," and the author feels the need to explain how she happened to know that word.
"Still ballasting that thing?" she said, nodding past him at the Carmichael. She had learned the term while watching him work one afternoon a few days ago.-- Tim Powers, On Stranger Tides, emphasis in original
Finally, shortly after reading that, I happened to check The Onion, which I haven't read regularly in a very long time. The main page featured, for some reason, a link to an old (2017) video called "Black Lives Matter Organizer Explains Movement To Older White Americans Using Sailing Metaphors To Make Them Feel More Comfortable" -- the implication, of course, being that sailing metaphors (like, I don't know, "ballast for our family") are a white thing and that black people "don't talk that way."