Monday, November 19, 2012

Off to the Racial Buffet: the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Voices page and writers from the World of Yesterday

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM

All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others. - Douglas Adams

There are days when I truly am more than halfway convinced that those in charge of the Voices page of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette send interns driving through the night, dropping sacks of Crayolas on doorsteps, with the battle cry, “You too, can be a writer!”

I’m not bashing letters to the editor. Some skip over the pages, because they are not interested in the views of others. This is a mistake, I think. On the letters pages, one can often find truly great writing from contributors, along with the occasional cow patty.

I have written more than my fair share of letters to the editor over the years; you can often find eloquent arguments from those who would get us to look at the world from their point of view, at least for a few minutes.

And you reach thousands of people in the state and even beyond.

But as I say, there is the occasional cow patty, the reminder that not everyone has gotten the memo that we are living the 21st Century, and are a loathsome reminder that for all too many, there is a great deal of bitterness about the quilt of diversity which covers America.

Looking over today’s ADG was a reminder of this.

H.L. Snipes from the town of Mabelvale wrote to tell us all of Barack Obama’s “12-million jobs plan,” when he scrawled the words:

“Hey, y’all white folks better get your cotton sacks ready.”

Ken Hughes reminded us that there are at least some consolations to Obama having been reelected.

“Our consolation: No riots, nor an outbreak of drive-by shootings.”

I suppose somebody, somewhere, on some website, must have predicted that black Americans would react with all the charm of a driver gripped by road rage should Barack Obama not have won the election.

If you were to suggest to the two writers above that, well, just maybe their views might come off as a little bit racist, it would no doubt puzzle them.

The thing about those who display such racism is this - far too many times we make the ad hoc assumption that they are old. Well, if you believe that, Fabricated Reader, you should get out more. There’s lots of young folk who hold the same beliefs. And they are all around us.

Oh, and Craig Buttry (I don’t make up these names) of Little Rock wrote on the passing of Newsweek, quoting their caption on the cover of a recent issue:

“GOP: You’re old, you’re white, you’re history.”

Goodbye and good riddance, he writes in reference of the news weekly which is no longer in print.

The God card was dealt out several times, informing us that Barack Obama “does not please God,” as Herbert Page of Conway reminds us.

God is mentioned several times, and we told, once again, that God may be angry with us, hence all of the natural disasters we are having. As ever, such writers never address (if they are even remotely aware of it) the disasters other nations in the world are facing as well.

One thing they will never, ever, go near is the fact that some nations, with brutal dictatorships and where freedom is just a word that can only be found on crossword puzzles, have really nice weather, and few disasters, to boot.

Well, no doubt Satan is taking care of these folks.

From all of the above, one might surmise that I wish the ADG would stop publishing these letters, but nothing is further from the truth. I’m glad they print just about every letter that comes their way.

It is just that racism of any kind has always bewildered me, and even now, at the age of 58, I don’t understand how people can express such views openly, and expect respect of any kind.

But they do, of course.

Then again, these fellows also make it harder, every time they send off such a letter, for the conservative movement to claim that there is not deep trouble in their own ranks they must address.

Thankfully, most of the letters are a lot more rational than the ones I have mentioned, and if you want to reach out to others, and practice the fine art of persuasion, the letters pages - of any publication - are an excellent way to go about doing so.

Much more so than Facebook, where we all argue with the same people, day in and day out, often just recycling what we wrote the day before.

******

Women get their fair share contempt, as well

Yes, we know, for some in the world, Obama only got reelected because millions of women want an abortion in the very near future. The ultimate “I despise all the women in my life” letter was published last week, when a fellow mocked women for being concerned about the issue of rape in the military.

*****

Facebook and Muslims

It’s true - I’ll accept just about any friend request that comes my way. I enjoy reading the views of others, even when I find them beyond the pale. I leave my own comments, which often annoy them.

One fellow on Facebook this week posted that someone who was a “Muslim” had sent him a friend request, and that he turned it down - because, well, you guessed it.

Then he wrote a proud Facebook post about his refusal to accept the request.

The responses? Pretty much all variations of “You rock!” I added my two cents worth, but who knows, he’s probably defriended me by this point.

****

Quote of the Day

The number of substitutes for fine and clean thinking the world provides positively gnaws at one’s vitals. - Harold J. Lanski

rsdrake@cox.net

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