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In the gloaming rain water is dripping from the leaves of trees after the rain and thunderstorm passed through an hour or so ago. The distant occasional rumble in the sky is gone by now. All is quiet with occasional sounds of drops hitting a small puddle of water. A few months ago, it was about this time, an hour or so after the storm passed, a bolt of lightning hit so near the house, the light and the bang almost simultaneous, it gave me goosebumps for half an hour. Total surprise. The kind of surprise that makes you jump. When lightning is popping all around, I get uncomfortable. Have had conversation with several friends this year who talk about being uncomfortable in a lightning storm. We've had so many this year, they stay in the front of the mind. I don't object to the rain that comes with them. Don't object to the lightning either, except sometimes it's a little unsettling.
At Selma's last night I had one uncomfortable moment. One of those moments of being taken for the opposite of my own meaning by somebody who didn't know me well enough to know I'm not television. It wasn't the kind of thing where I can say: What I really meant was.... Just have to let it go. Shit happens. In conversation with somebody I'd seen in Selma's a few times, but had never talked with, he mentioned about living near the Pioneer Eclipse plant. I mentioned some local people I knew that lived nearby. I said, "They're real hillbillies." And they are. He went into defending hillbillies saying his dad came from West Virginia, lived and learned in the good old days, then he walked away. He took it I was running mountain people down calling them hillbillies, I suppose. He doesn't know any to know that over the last 5 to 10 years the mountain people, anyway the ones I know, have taken to the word hillbilly with pride. You're darn right I'm a hillbilly and proud of it! Hands on hips. Possibly, it's a reaction to political correctness. The problem was created by talking as myself instead of adhering to political correctness, which, I'm seeing is a totally middle-class phenomenon. An offshoot of American denial.
Somebody I know sent an email regarding yesterday's post about the Cuban party at Selma's, making a statement with a question mark, "what's GOOD about anglos?" Like I'm prejudiced against his race. As I recall, all I said was anglos, as a rule, considering there is an exception in every city, don't dance with a sensuous flow like Cubans. Like dancing is the only facet of a human being? Maybe it is, spiritually, but he's an atheist and has no sight into the spiritual dimension. That's not what he means. I'm cornered by Dr Science like I'm making a sweeping generalization that includes every aspect of anglo-American culture and the nature of every individual when I say dancing. Like I've written a treatise making Cubans out to be a superior nationality to his own because I assess they dance better. Maybe he wants equal time for his nationality when I say something positive about somebody else's. Didn't make an A on that paper. It's evidently not politically correct to say white people dance like stick figures.
I heard Juan Williams interviewed on the Diane Rehm show a week or so ago. He was fired from NPR without recourse, because he said out loud he felt a bit of ill ease on a plane with middle eastern looking people on it. After a decade of government- and media-generated fear of Muslims, who can honestly say anything else without lying? The point is: lie. The irony was that he was a liberal being fired for political incorrectness off the air. I went to amazon during the radio show and put his new book on my wish list. The title is MUZZLED. Fox, a right wing Rupert Murdoch tabloid tv network, then hired him. At Fox he is allowed to be a liberal voice. At NPR he was not allowed his own voice, even in private. He's been writing this book of his experience and thoughts on the matter of press censorship since that time. His point is political correctness has gone off the deep end into absurd. It has become so absurd you can't even say white people dance like stick figures without being attacked for political incorrectness.
I sat back and listened the whole time Juan Williams was talking. He's an intelligent man, and I have to say I respect him more now than before. Before, I paid attention when he talked. Now, I really pay attention when he talks. He resonated with me. I saw on Yahoo news two or three days ago a couple of women were at Dollywood and one of them had on a tshirt that said, marriage is so gay. Management, in exaggerated mortification that a child might see the phrase and be corrupted for life, evidently made into a queer by reading it, and Dollywood might be sued by parents for turning their kid into a fag, asked her to put on another shirt. She got all shittin and made a fuss for the news in full self-righteousness. Like the old gal told to put on a shirt in Walmart. It wasn't for indecency, I'm sure. I get these emails periodically of pictures taken of people in Walmart, a whole lot more indecent than she was.
It was surely for her own benefit from apprehension she might be arrested for public ugliness, self-made ugly with tattoos and piercings and a body too old to be time-traveling in the mirror all the way back to teenager. It was the equivalent of me walking into Walmart in a thong and a big tattoo on my back that said, Abercrombie, with a red dragon breathing fire. I think of it as plain decency not wanting to cause everybody around me to recoil in horror from what I look like naked, which nobody but a true sicko would want to see, and I'd be afraid of whoever that might be. Innocent bystanders would say, "Now I seen it all." The old gal was rough to look at. If she were to walk into Selma's, my eyes would open so wide so fast they'd be in danger of popping out. She huffed and puffed in self-righteous indignation too; I have a right! She has a right, but, alas, no shame. If I were brave or senile enough to walk into Walmart in a thong (don't worry, I don't have one), I'd hope to at least have the good humor, when asked to put on some clothes, to say, "That's what I come in here for."