The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check + Readers Responses
No Cure For Stupid
It is time we begin to phase out the word racist from our vocabulary. Not expunge it in some social construct like what we so cautiously present as the “N” word now, as if an acronym can lessen its impact.
What I mean is just stop giving credence to it, as if a superfluous adjective, not unlike Hate-Crime; the distinction being that there are violent crimes committed to help a brother out. The word is useless and thus obsolete like mubblefubbles and dretched or firefanged. My favorite may be shittle. Most of my work is “shittle”, and not for reasons you may think. These terms were once at the top of their games, but are relegated to the scrapheap of history; where racist belongs.
Racist used to be a thing; like a knight. There are no more knights, except in fiction, because it is not of this time or place. It is anachronistic and bizarre to think of a gentleman donning pounds of iron to joust some other asshole or to take on the hordes. We would chuckle at someone doing that today, unless it was done over bad food in some theme park restaurant. This is the racist today; an oddity, something you might find in the Wax Museum Chamber of Horrors.
To continue to evolve as a society, I say we let racist fade into the sunset and chuckle at those who may espouse irrational discriminatory views, as we would someone using a rotary phone.
However, what is still in vogue, and always will be, is stupidity.
This week, L.A. Clippers owner, Roger Sterling made discriminatory comments about African Americans, much of which has been played and re-printed to death, so I shan’t repeat it here. Suffice to say, he is stupid and has offered his stupidity up to harshly judge one race of people. This, like stupidity, is a not a crime. The problem for Sterling is he owns a franchise in the National Basketball Association and it cannot have his stupidity bringing down the money train.
Choosing to accept one race above another as “acceptable” is not a good business model, specifically for a concern with a dominant African American employee base. And so the NBA, which has forgiven Sterling previous legal issues regarding race to allow him to own a franchise in the second largest market in the country, kicks him out. Sterling had been sued multiple times in the past for racial discrimination, including a 2009 case in which he paid $2.7 million to settle allegations his companies targeted and discriminated against blacks, Hispanics and families with children in renting apartments in greater Los Angeles.
The league displayed its stupidity by ignoring this moron for decades. Shit, the NAACP was going to hand this guy an achievement award next month despite documented acts of discrimination. How stupid is that?
The point is the NBA and the NAACP would never have provided these privileges to a racist, just someone who is stupid. Because, let’s face it, if you listened to Donald Trump speaking about this recently, you know that you can be really, really stupid and own stuff.
What about that idiot who owns Chick-Fil-A?
But these guys are not alone. Stupidly is rampant; amazingly so. Despite literature, science, experience, and the enlightenment of the information/technology age there are just some of us that cling to stupidity. Granted, some cannot help it. And our hearts go out to them. Then there are others who, and this is purely on the assumption that unless there is a serious problem with learning disabilities or mental illness or head trauma, adult humans in a fairly free society simply choose stupidity.
For instance, had Sterling been ranting on tape about the shape of someone’s skull deciding their level of intellect or that a good idea to cease California mudslides would be to burn a wayward woman at the stake we would call him stupid.
It is important to note the distinction between mere stupidity and racism, which was all the rage for generations around here, resulting in the systematic slaughter and exploitation of the Native American, the horrors of slavery and the ensuing Jim Crow laws, using the Chinese to test dynamite whilst building the railroads or using the Irish and Italians as Industrial Revolution fodder, the internment camps for the Germans in WWI and the Japanese during WWII, keeping minorities from competing in collegiate and professional sport or even entering educational institutions, and lest we forget generally treating Jews like a disease. These were institutionally sanctioned rules of law or acceptable social parameters placed on the color of skin or race or religion, and let’s face it, now they’ve moved on to decide acceptable acts of sexuality.
We now consider those actions absurd, excepting the choice of sexuality, but we’re working on it.
Stupidity is a difficult disease. But for the most part it is hard to believe we live on the same soil and breathe the same air as these cretins, not unlike going to the doctor today and being reminded that bloodletting and leaches used to be accepted forms of medicine.
Honestly, you cannot be a racist today. It’s impossible. Are there people who still believe the earth is flat? Sure. But…come on.
The other reason racist must go is that some people still enjoy being labeled a racist. We are only doing them a favor bestowing an anti-social term upon them, as if they are warriors in the fight for white supremacy, when really, they’re just stupid, like those who choose to ignore climate change for fear it might cause environmentalists to make them stop using the earth as a dumping ground for toxins or those who think anyone with some Mediterranean blood are terrorists.
You know what is racist? The laws in this country that are slanted against inner city black kids jammed into our prisons, voter-Id laws that target minorities, Stand Your Ground laws that work like gangbusters for whites, but not so much for everyone else, not to mention the many victims of these egregious laws.
Sure, throw Sterling to the dung heap.
And send “racist” there too.
© James Campion May 2nd 2014
READERS RESPONSES 12th May
What the hell is a Hobby Lobby and why are they trying to dictate law above and beyond the channels allocated to this union through the United States Constitution? (Religious Nonsense & The Law – Issue: 4/2/14) I love these goobers. What the hell does religion have to do with anything? We can pick and choose stuff now? Great. I don’t have children and I do not want to pay school tax. Also, I am a pacifist therefore I shall no longer pay taxes that support the state-sanctioned violence this nation perpetuates around the globe. I am an excellent driver at high speeds therefore I do not recognize speed limits. This is fun. Let’s keep going.
Actually, I change my mind. Go Hobby Lobby. Let’s make all laws we don’t like obsolete.
Ha! Love you, Campion. I’ve got a good one; if Hobby Lobby wants to be so literal about not supporting contraception by providing it to their employees based on the ACA, why do they pay them? Are they sure they are not using that money for ill-gotten gains, to sin, to buy condoms and booze and gamble? Did Jesus not say render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God?” And did he not say, “It is easier to put a camel through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?” Then why oh why does Hobby Lobby try and make money? Is that not against our savior’s wishes?
Oh what a tangled web we weave when we begin to literally translate out morals into a societal construct.
Let me throw out a wild guess, these assholes just don’t want to adhere to the ACA. Then why don’t they just say it? I know; because it was passed as a bill by the U.S. Congress, signed into law by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court. All avenues of our legal process have rendered it the law of the land and they are out of options, so BINGO! they use this “religious nonsense” (good one) to avoid cost to their evil profit business that would have had Jesus overturning their tables and shouting, “Heretics!’ in their fat faces.
This is one of the most pathetic jokes going and your piece was brilliant and on the money calling these fascist moral-mongers on their scam.
What the fuck is clouding your reason in such an obvious situation as Hobby Lobby's defense against the ACA - the most egregious Liberty-raping legislation ever put forth by our soft-tyrannical Federal Government, second only to the Patriot Act? If you ignore everything else, the fact that Obama, Reid, Pelosi and the rest of those Progressive motherfuckers chose the IRS - the IR fucking S for Christ's sake, the most brutal LEGAL collection agency ever devised by man - to police the fucking law should tell all but the politically retarded who the real bad guys are! I mean for fuck's sake, the ACA is tantamount to the Government saying all poor children will be given toys for Christmas...but the toys will be delivered by pedophiles.
Maybe it's an anti-organized religion thing for you. Your complete misreading of freedom of religion aside, to me organized religion is like Xanax for those afraid of their own spiritual shadows, yet that doesn't distract me from seeing what an abject fraud the ACA is in how it was conceived, sold and implemented. Or maybe your problem is just that you have a hard time accepting your generational brother Obama is 4 times the doosh Bush was. Either way man, focusing on Hobby Lobby in this situation is like beating up a guy in a wheelchair.
And how can you write about ignoring laws with a straight keyboard when Obama himself picks and chooses laws he wants enforced and those he doesn't, as if being elected President was akin to dining at a Constitutional buffet? If past Presidents did the same thing, then they at least had the good taste to hide it from us - the political equivalent of a reach-around (hat tip Dennis Miller). Obama slaps his dick in our faces with it. I must have missed your scintillating columns on Obama ignoring immigration law, DOMA (before the Supremes struck it down) or his endless re-writing of the ACA - the explicit purview of Congress like it or not - with these endless delays, whose only REAL purpose is to save his party's political ass. But who cares about that shit when the Vacationer-In-Chief is running verbal rings around the hapless Repubs makes better copy. That it in a nutshell?
The country is going down the fucking toilet, and for good or ill this column of yours has some reach and sway. If we all come to our senses and pull the country back from the brink, 20 or 30 years from now the kidlettes of today will look back on this time and wonder how we let shit get so bad. In that future, if your kid asks if you used your column to help hold the real bad guys' feet to the fire, will you feel good about saying, "No honey, I beat up on Hobby Lobby instead?”
I'm sure you knew I'd like this one.
You wrote: “...but on the grounds that they can pick and choose what laws they want to obey is not realistic...”
Really?? Try telling that to Obama. Hmmm, what examples should I pick?
If our own president can pick and choose what laws to obey why can’t the rest of us, including a corporation?
Elizabeth Vengen esq.
I’m never crazy about your relentless attacks on religion. As much as I think it pains me to agree with radicals like Hobby Lobby, who wish to make a mockery of our laws, they do not represent my views and when you jam us all in as loons, then it is as unfair as someone who paints all women one way or black another. I think it is discriminatory and I know that usually burns you up and I would like to see the same courtesy provided those of us who worship, but do not make a stand every five minutes using religious beliefs for economic or political gains. As you do I find it unseemly and embarrassing, but that does not justify your hammering religion at every turn.
I know you cite Mark Twain as a literary hero of yours and I must say I feel the same twinge when he obsesses on religion and faith in a similar way. I think it lessons his impact on dissent and yours as well. I will continue to read your work, but I find that aspect off-putting and mean-spirited. You are (maybe not) better than that.
Bundy Ranch Solution:
Free-For-All in Nevada
This Bundy Stand-Off nonsense is about ripping stuff off and calling it rebellion.