The past three weeks have absolutely sucked. Mrs. T has been fighting off the flu resulting in her pushing back scheduled business trips. I've been trying to juggle my schedule around hers and it's been a nightmare. I finally knocked out what I needed to do out of town now, so the pressure's finally off. Mrs. T is rebounding as well.
My maternal grandmother died back in 1991. This Wednesday we lost the last of her siblings, my Aunt J. There were five siblings in that generation. My grandma, Aunt R and Uncle J were beer drinkers, my Aunt L drank water, but Aunt J drank Scotch. Aunt J was pretty feisty. Reports from Indiana tell me she was flicking people the bird right up to the very end. She was a stalwart Republican and we butted heads constantly over politics. Not a birthday card or Christmas card went by without us scribbling a political jab to the other. For example, during the '04 Election I sent Aunt J this scandalous shot of herself:
This really pushed her buttons and she was on the phone immediately giving me an earful.
I regret that I couldn't get to Indiana for her funeral today. But I want folks to know that in lieu of flowers I sent a contribution in her memory to the Republican National Committee. I wouldn't have done that for anyone else. But I just know that this evening she's strolling the golden sands of some heavenly seashore hand-in-hand with Ronald Reagan-- and that makes me feel good.
Speaking of politics, David "Biafra" Shuster was back on the air tonight after MSNBC suspended him for his role in Pimp-gate. Of course, Bill "Freaky Falafel" O'Reilly never left the air after his lynching comments about Michelle Obama. I think this perfectly demonstrates the problems that come with subjectively sanctioning folks for the content of their speech. Note that both the Shuster and O'Reilly comments were metaphorical. I've already discussed my take on "pimping" in my previous post, let me throw in a word about "lynching."
If you look up the word "lynch" in the dictionary chances are it'll define the word in terms of vigilante justice/punishment without due process, usually referring to hanging and often by a mob. The definition is race-neutral. People use the term frequently without intentionally implying race. Problems arise though when listeners unintentionally infer race. Of course when the speaker is white and the subject is black sparks can fly. O'Reilly's comment was careless and insensitive, but we can't just assume he intended to use the word fully loaded with racial implication. We have to be reasonable. Speakers should try to be sensitive. But before blowing a gasket, listeners must consider the context and tone of a statement and ensure that they're not reading more into it than what the speaker intends. Moreover, the ultimate sin in my book is when people intentionally infer the worst from a clearly benign statement in order to smear the speaker or gain sympathy for themself. Such tactics are an affront to reason and folks who utilize them ought to be lynched.