March 13, 2009 - March 5, 2009
. I take a few days off to recover from St. Patrick's
Day, and all hell breaks loose. If he'd asked, which he didn't, I could
have told him that there's no point whatever in trying to have a
dialogue about race in America. Nobody wants it. It's our own national
Kabuki Theater. We all agree to pretend there's no particular problem,
and then we put on our lavish makeup and costumes to act out a stupid
lie that will eventually sink the country but can never be acknowledged
until it does.
So we went to his little house in his little town at the edge of
America and we dragged him, kicking and screaming, to the place of
punishment. We pointed out to him, -- during the interrogation -- that
he is the only person in the whole country who has ever written , let
alone said or thought, the worst word ever coined in the history of
human life on earth. We showed him the blistering contempt of Glenn
Reynolds, Ace of Spades, Dean Barnett, Sadly No, Salon, FireDogLake,
AlicuBlog, and all the others who have never committed, or even
contemplated committing, a thoughtcrime in their lives, and he finally
caved, confessed, blubbered his remorse, and begged for mercy. That's
when we waterboarded his sorry ass.
You should see him. It's great. He really thinks he's drowning. The terror in the room is so thick even the attendants have to leave every few minutes to keep from throwing up.
Eventually, we'll take him back to his cell and explain the facts of life to him. There's a basic equation we WILL succeed in teaching him. The blogosphere is not about free speech, initiating dialogue, speaking your mind, sharing your perverse views with others who may not have heard them before, or being the kind of dick who just pisses a whole bunch of people off to no purpose. It's about climbing the ladder. The mainstream media is dying. The blogosphere is a tournament to determine who will replace them.
You know the book, "Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned in Kindergarten"? Same principle applies here. Blogging is like coloring. You have to stay inside the lines. You can pick any outrageous color you want, and people will love you to death for your color choices (tits are the best colors, and PhotoShops of Hillary), but just remember to STAY INSIDE THE FUCKING LINES. That's the only way you get to be Conservative Blogger of the Year or Left-Wing Idiot Asshole Blogger of the Year, which are the only true tickets to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: keynote addresses at blog conferences, guest appearances on Fox News and CNN, nationally promoted podcasts of you and your bedmate interviewing other bloggers on webcam, and publication of that book you're writing about the transformational importance of the Internet.
It's been a costly experience for us here at InstaPunk, and you can bet I won't be taking any time off for a few months But now that we have your attention, it's an appropriate time for me to point out that we have just installed spamware that will apologize to each and every person on the Internet for what OldPunk said. And we'll also be offering podcasts on iTunes (and DVDs) of the OldPunk interrogation and waterboarding events on webcam. All these webisodes will be offered free of charge, although we will, of course, be asking a modest $29.95 shipping and handling fee to cover distribution costs..
Down the line, perhaps in month or two, we'll all be offering a line of T-shirts emblazoned with the legend, "I Survived the Racial Assault of OldPunk." We're presently working with our supplier to finalize color options and pricing.
And I probably shouldn't even mention this last marketing gambit because it's still only in the talking stages, but what if you could get your own numbered podcast (or DVD) of OldPunk actually expiring from fear and self-hatred during his waterboarding experience? How much would you pay for that? And would you pay more if we could also make available a limited number of test tubes containing OldPunk's genuine, certified, blood extracted from his pitiful old ass post-mortem?
I've got to go now. He's spluttering something awful at the moment. Better make sure his pacemaker isn't short-circuiting or something. (If we auctioned the pacemaker, should we do it here or on eBay? Never mind. The marketing director is crunching the figures as we speak.) I'll get back to you on the specifics.
Anyway. So sorry. Watch your email for the official version. And rest assured that InstaPunk won't make any remotely similar errors during the remainder of our campaign for Conservative Blogger of the Year, 2008. (That's right, Ace. Look out! We be coming.)
UPDATE. On the off chance that this post wasn't servile enough, I want to take this opportunity to apologize personally to Ace of Spades, 2007 Conservative Blogger of the Year, for any implication or inference by OldPunk that Ace is somehow an ambitious, illiterate, sex-pandering, gay wannabe, one-joke practitioner of blogorrhea, meaning the nonstop posting of absolutely nothing just because the topic happens to be in the news and maybe we can dig up a mildly related old YouTube video that has tits and ass to boot. If OldPunk said anything like that, it's absolutely no reflection on the blog as a whole, which is doing its darndest to win 2008 Conservative Blog of the Year. (Ballots will be emailed you shortly via our slick new spamware.) The truth is we all love Ace of Spades here, especially the crack-whore person who is grosser than any female we've ever met, and we all agree there just couldn't be any better representation of all that's so outstandingly wonderful about the conservative cause in America.
There. We said it. And we feel so much better for having unburdened our chests about the unpleasantness that caused Ace to diss this site because of one of our late contributors. Ace is the Man. Absolutely. So shrewd, so insightful, so topical, so borderline brilliant bold. And we're also happy to announce that we contributed $5 to the fund appeal that's making its way around the Internet to buy Ace a spell checker and a grammar book. When he gets those things, his gay joke -- and that headline punchline he uses every single time -- will absolutely improve on every telling.
Okay? Cool. That's a huge relief. We just couldn't have taken the moral disapproval of a world class conservative like Ace for one more day. We promise to be better and much moraller from this day forward. We've already arranged for an RSS feed from Maxim to get our tit quotient up to speed. Yes, we're competitors here. And as we said already: "Ace, we be coming." We've even gotten our shipment noitification from Amazon that the book we ordered on Jizz Jokes is on its way. (Um, maybe we shouldn't have given away that part. Forget we said anything...) Uh, well, you know. We're all square now, Ace, right? We luv ya, dude. But not in any gay sort of way. (Sorry. That just slipped out. Sorry.) AOS Lifestyle all the way! Cool!
So I finally read an attempt to fisk my previous
post, which was laudable in that it at least tried to respond
to some of the text. The rest of you can thank "Jennifer" for the fact
that I'll be commenting on a number of your comments,
including some commenters who didn't have the moxy to do it here but
only at a distance and only by inference. Jennifer quoted several passages
-- none of those describing black people I admired, but let that go --
and came to this conclusion:
It's a clever attack that will appeal to a lot of like-minded people.
It may even be successful, but it's false. I'm willing to bet I'm a
good deal older than Jennifer, perhaps a couple of generations older, and
when I have encounters like the ones I described I don't feel fear but
sadness. As I pointed out, I live in a small town. The schools are not
poor, but they are bad, economic opportunities are poor, and those who don't
educate themselves out of town are likely to live in the same county
forever. Here's what the scene tells me. The clothes reflect allegiance
to a self-destructive hip-hop celebrity culture very few derive any
monetary benefit from. The spinner wheels (whose prohibitive cost
I doubt Linda knows) suggest that sheer appearance is more important
than rehabbing a smoking, moribund motor and a rusted frame. The
ground-shaking music -- obscene lyrics including the ultra-super-obscene
N-Word that's supposed to be magically occluded from white
consciousness -- makes it very clear that thinking of others is not
high on the list of priorities of the occupants. I wouldn't want Chopin played at that volume.
What's going on in the heads of those who clearly see music as a weapon
when the people they're assaulting with it might very well represent
their best prospects for employment? Not enough.
As you get older your thoughts turn increasingly to the young ones. You don't want them to blight their lives and prospects at the very beginning. (And no, I'm not going to offer evidence and proofs of my concern for youngsters. Talk to other old people. See what they say.) When I think that word I'm not supposed to say, I'm thinking of it in this context: "Shit. Why do you want to be done before you even start? Why do your parents allow you to act out a stereotype that will never die until you stop acting it out. Is THIS what Martin Luther King was fighting for? Why do you WANT to be perceived as a n_____?" And then: because for whatever reason, you have chosen to be.
Jennifer is slick, but all her reasoning is out of context. She doesn't read the scene in terms of local court records, pointless black-on-black shooting deaths, high school dropout statistics, and literally dozens of well-attended local black churches who don't seem to inspire kids to study in school.
Jennifer's position is a deadly and effectively genocidal cliche: all culture is valid culture -- even that which devours its young before they even comprehend the alternatives. And I'm the criminal for daring to notice it.
Of course, Jennifer was not alone in cartooning me to drive home a shallow point. There were those who asked mocking questions whose answers they mysteriously already knew. Like Bridget:
The answers to your questions are: 1) Yes. 2) No.
I'm just guessing here, but I'm pretty sure Bridget is white. She can tell us if she is. Otherwise, my bet is that I've spent more time talking honestly with black people about exactly these subjects than she ever has. I've been a lumber yard boy and truckdriver, a retail music clerk, a telemarketer, a city employee, a press manager for a construction newspaper, a barroom pool player in both white and black taverns, and the spawn of parents and grandparents who were taken care of in their last days by compassionate black nurses and home health aides. As a small town boy, I've known black people since I was old enough to say a name, and well before I took any note of color. Along the way I've always been curious about what they thought about the forbidden topic, and I've listened and debated, drunk and sober, for all my life.
I won't spill truly intimate anecdotes here -- all I'll say is that they're just like the post that inspired so much intolerant fury. They know and use the unspeakable word, even with white people they care about, because I've been warned about so-and-so and so-and-so, and more than most well educated white folks could ever believe they subscribe to the wildest conspiracy theories imaginable. But they're not a monolith, and I never suggested they were. I've experienced the joy of instantaneous friendship with people who proceeded to solemnly warn me about the perfidy of all "white people," and when I pointed out that I was white they assured me they could overlook that. When I was a music clerk I learned more than I could ever have imagined about jazz from old black guys who were anxious to share the art that was their passion with an old white guy who was curious and anxious to learn. None of them ever pretended they didn't notice I was white. None of them ever made a secret of how much they detested the white counterparts of what white people call "niggers," and they always assumed that I would know the difference between that hostility and whatever personal relationship we had.
And, no, I never used the forbidden word with them. I used it here to provoke the discussion. The real advantage of a blog should be that it can be like Catholic Confession, where people say what they could not shout in the street. Private thoughts that might be helpful to others because they convey complicated realities that mix good and evil impulses in the mingled stew that is most often scrupulously hidden from all eyes.
My sin? I have spent much of a long life thinking about racial matters. Born in a nominally northern town that was nevertheless 60 percent black and 40 percent white, I have witnessed the sins and virtues of segregation and the sins and virtues of the civil rights movement. Segregation was a deadly wrong and it ended. Civil rights was a moral imperative and it prevailed. Today, my town and the black community that lived in it since the Revolution are worse off -- families destroyed, prostitution a commonplace where it never existed before, drugs and guns and dead children of both races rife, and because I will die in this town as I was born in this town, I want to understand it and help navigate a new way forward. Not back. I don't want black people to be subservient, or white, or know their place, or be just like me. I just want them to get over the past and start building their own lives without waiting for the government to do it for them.
Which is a good lead-in to WhitePeopleSuck:
I'm delighted to provide a 'white trash' list that corresponds to the
'nigger' list. It's even more expansive. It includes people who aren't
just dirty, violent, and stupid, but also slimy, mean, hypocritical,
and manipulative. And unlike a lot of the commenters, it's not confined
to just one political party. I urge our leaders -- and, indeed, all
white people, to join me in admitting that the following white people
are inexcusable trash:
Yeah, I know the list can be longer. And people will object that some
of the entries seem political. But both parties are represented, and no
one is on the list who isn't -- regardless of political stripe --
corrupt, a liar, a fraud, damagingly immoral, an unabashed hater,
suspiciously well connected, or all of those things...
This is part of my answer to the commenter who wrote:
Uh, right, sure. But perhaps you'll agree it's rare that nepotism gets
seconded by 62 million votes. I'm guessing -- given your bias against
familial relationships in politics -- you're also opposed to the
political careers of Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Jack, Bobby and Ted
Kennedy, Chris and Andrew Cuomo, Jay Rockefeller, Lincoln Chafee, Jesse
Jackson, Jr., Nancy Pelosi... oh, forget it.
The flip side of nepotism is damnation by ancestral association:
Wrong. I never enslaved anybody. And you're wrong on the historical record, too. The Chinese who built the transcontinental railroads were slaves
in every respect but the name, because the word 'slave' was no longer
permitted. They were shanghaied here on boats, bound in chains and
murderous conditions, isolated from help by language and legal contracts, and
were subjected to endless ridicule as 'monkeys,' 'idiots,' and subhuman
utilities. The Irish were victims of genocidal, anti-Catholic riots in New York and other cities after their desperate emigration from Ireland in the midst of the
potato famine. They were caricatured as subhuman animals and lived in
conditions of urban filth that would make 19th century plantation life
look mild by comparison. Black people are not the only U.S. immigrants
who have ever had all the odds against them. And don't even dare to ask
about the Jews black preachers hate so much. From the beginning and to
this very day, they have prevailed against reverse Affirmative Action in all
the top schools that granted entrance to the corridors of power. But
you must know this. Why do all the politically correct leading lights hate them as much as
the Palestinians do? Even though blacks owe their civil rights victories
more to the Jews than to any other demographic or political group you
Well, most of the rest of the comments are merely advertisements for the points I was trying to make. For example, Nandino misread my suggestion that current events could make Americans believe African-Americans were a fifth column as a charge that they ARE a fifth column. He deftly refuted the charge by pointing out that hip-hop is crude, apolitical, ignorant, and materialistic. Duh. Then he obliterated his own argument by revealing his zest for a black nationalist movement. That's right. He wants a fifth column. Please try to be smarter about these things, you super-intelligent, morally perfect people.
To all the commenters who looked in, saw the N-Word, and waved their wands in a superior way: BOO! If you're black and never heard a white person mention this word, you've never had an honest philosophical conversation with a white person who wasn't a race whore. And if you're white and never heard this word used by anyone, you've never ventured far enough outside your social clique to recognize that at the university you attend(ed), all the black people are being systematically taught that you are irrevocable racists even as they are being induced to segregate themselves and fail at every real world test of success. Breaking through the propaganda to a non-politically correct discussion would be your only chance of having a real relationship with a person of color. But this you will never have.
I have had. Which is why, to me, you're simply sad. And far more foul-mouthed than eloquent or morally compelling.
And I haven't even gotten to Glenn Greenwald yet. Before I do that, I must doff my hat to Glenn Reynolds and (especially) to Dean Barnett. Glenn Reynolds once talked about an Army of Davids. Now he has book deals, multiple blog contracts, a weekly podcast, and genuine political clout. He's become his own Goliath. Dean Barnett has had a more direct career. He was a blogger. Then he was a political advocate for Mitt Romney. Now he's a writer for a politically influential conservative magazine. For either of them to take credit for NOT linking to the "OldGuy" post at InstaPunk is quite a lot like Obama taking credit for not voting for the Iraq War in the U.S. Senate before he was a senator. There was never any need. Barnett didn't even get the opportunity to ignore the post (never told him about it, bless his innocent little heart), but he still felt obliged to take credit for the elitist Massachusetts conservatism that somehow never involved encounters with armed rappers on Beacon Hill.
There's never been a more profitable virtue than not taking an unnecessary political risk -- unless it's congratulating one's self in public for not having been anywhere near the risk in question. Yeah, Dean. I'll look forward to all your future moral criticisms of Obama.
Did someone mention Glenn Greenwald? No? Well, then, I did. I hadn't given him much notice before, but now I've learned that he's a disciple of Maureen Dowd, a master of the misleading ellipse. He made a small elision (meaning he left out an inconvenient chunk of something he quoted without indicating the omission; it's called misquoting). Not something that will matter to all the dogs at his command. Come to think of it, nothing that will matter to all the ambitious pols who have become the conservative blogosphere. So I'll drop it. But I offer a challenge to Greenwald: I'm happy to debate you on some topic you actually have experience of at your hideout in Brazil.
Does anyone out there remember the smart kids? Not the ones who played chess, because ordinary smart people could win at chess. I'm talking backgammon. The game you had to be bred to play. That's what the blogosphere, right and left, has become. They huddle over the board with their podcast cocktails and CNN/MSNBC/Fox News appearances, and they move pieces that to most of us would be checkers in ways we can't fathom. Actually, most of us -- ordinary bloggers and commenters alike -- think it's still checkers. It isn't.
The good news is this. If I were a member of most any of the popular, "influential," conservative blogs -- like Ace of Spades or Protein Wisdom -- I'd already have been told to "Take my knives and go." They know they can get away with endless cock and boob jokes but nothing that might deeply offend gays, women, or ethnic minorities. That's actually why I was drawn to InstaPunk. Not a lot of gratuitous cock and boob jokes. They convinced me that my cock was my business and boobs weren't a punchline all by themselves. They also didn't think the word "gay" was automatically synonymous with gales of hysterical laughter.
I did submit my resignation to The Boss after Glenn Reynolds threw the whole website under the bus. But he didn't accept it. He said, "If the ADDS morons who glut the comments of the blogosphere come after you, we'll defend you all we can, and then, if necessary, we'll go to our last resort -- The Shuteye Train.
Then they showed me The Shuteye Train. Believe me. No one one wants that.
So I'm here for the duration. Old Guy is my monicker. Aim all your shit at me.