So I know I said earlier that I was sure the Republicans-love-Simpsons-because-it-espouses-family-values bit would be the stupidest thing I read all day, but …
Along comes Cary Tennis, Salon advice columnist extraordinaire and perennial favorite of people who like to point out dumb things in the media …
In today’s column, someone wrote to Tennis about feeling guilty because they had a racist little jingle from their childhood stuck in their grown-up enlightened now-apparently-non-racist head, and didn’t know what to do about it. If you ask me, that’s a pretty dumb problem to begin with (dumb is my oh-so-eloquent word of the day, apparently), or at least a dumb problem to write in to an advice columnist about. But so be it. The letter writer is afraid he’s going to blurt it out at some inappropriate time, which I think is something that enters everyone’s head at some point. As a little kid in Catholic school, I remember thinking, “What if I just ran up on the alter during the priest’s homily and started doing cartwheels?” That’s a pretty lame example, I know, but you get the gist. Everyone has that what-if-I-do-something-completely-inappropriate-just-because-it-pops-in-my-head anxiety from time to time.
So what is Tennis’ advice?
It doesn’t matter anyway because there are homeless people and poor people and do you think it would matter if a man working at a soup kitchen had a racist ditty in his head? Now get out there and end world hunger, and then talk to me about racism.
Honestly, that’s the gist of what he said. That’s not even me taking a little snark liberty with it. See for yourself:
I wish that all we white Americans, instead of skulking around in shame because some ditty from childhood comes unbidden into our heads, could come out and say yes, many of us as children were raised in a racist way and yes, there is racism in white society.
But this is my biggest, fondest wish: I wish we could feed and house everybody. I wish we who are lucky enough to be born and raised in the richest democracy in history could agree on a simple premise: Nobody should have to live on the streets. Not here. Not in this luxury hotel of a country. Not in this gleaming ice rink awash with money.
So you’ve got a stupid song playing in your head. What did you see on your way to work this morning? Did you see any poor people living in the streets? Did you see any people begging for food? Did you see anyone living with open sores because they have no money for medical care? What did you do about that? Did you stop to sing them a song? Did you stop to inquire about their plight?
What could it possibly take to care for all these poor people of all races “ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished”? A billion dollars? Ten billion dollars? A hundred billion dollars? What could it take to build a big building in the center of town and give everybody a bed who needs a place to sleep? What could it take to give everybody a good meal who is hungry? Keep it open 24 hours a day. Staff it with ministers, cooks and bouncers. Have drug and alcohol recovery meetings there. Put all the soup kitchens there. Put all the cots there. Put the mayor’s office there. Put all the deacons and elders and mullahs and bishops and rabbis there. Put all the columnists and communists and free-marketeers and Christian fundamentalists there. Put everybody there who pretends to give a shit. Put me there. Put us all there. Give us showers and hot soup. Keep us there until we make it work. Do the same thing in every city and town. How hard could that be?
The first paragraph here actually makes some sense and seems like it’s going to lead into a non-insane answer, but … sadly, no. And it just gets weirder and weirder from there. It’s not that what he ends up saying is absolutely without merit, it’s just that it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the question at hand, really. It’s like he just had this tirade planned, and thought, okay, next time someone writes in anything even loosely related to, oh, society or life in general, I’m gonna answer with this nonsensical screed. It gets so bad at the end, if it were on videotape it would probably be the equivalent of Ann Althouse’s don’t-ask-me-about-boobs tirade or Leslee Unruh i-love-babies flip-out. Or, who knows, maybe this is just par for the Cary Tennis weirdness course.
A few choice quotes to end with:
Our publishing industry has been hijacked by soap companies and toy makers.
I’m just standing here watching the empire crumble.
Maybe this tune is a little ray of hope. Maybe it’s a wake-up call from the front desk of the Dignity Hotel.
Oh, if only there was such a hotel, and it’s next wake-up call would go directly to Cary Tennis. I’m not sure what it would say, but something along the lines of “stop being such a fucking crazy-ass weirdo, you crazy-ass weirdo,” would be a good start.
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