I could have written about politics this week, but since all the politicians were barbecuing ribs instead of the city attorney and each other, it would have been as flat as week-old beer. So I’m popping the cap off Richard Noegel’s musings on the Paula Deen affair.
“LOL! Of course you can use my letter on Sunday,” he replied to my request to use his composition. “I mean, after you ran my remarks on the hypocrisy of the modern-day Puritan guardians of public morality by which they have deigned to allow that it is OK to say ‘people of color but not ‘colored people,’ your readers will hardly be surprised by my observations on what I have decided to call ‘l’affaire Deen.’ So yes, by all means – run it. … All this bull is coming from the New England Puritans who outlawed Christmas in New England in the 17th century but are outlawing it everywhere now. These are people who hanged or pressed people to death for witchcraft. Pigs. They have turned the whole freakin’ world into a gigantic Unitarian Sunday School from which there is simply no escape. So all I can think of to do is to ridicule them. Christ called them ‘a generation of vipers.’ But I opted instead for skewering their self-righteous hypocrisy.”
“Anyway, use it. And my name. I got a lot of e-mails after the ‘colored people’ column – all positive. People – Southerners especially – are sick to death of all this crapola. And it’s high time that somebody – you – printed the bald truth.”
L’AFFAIRE DEEN: Hey, Sylvia, Been a long time, hasn’t it? A lot has happened. The main thing, of course, is the shattering revelations about Paula Deen.
I have to tell you, Sylvia, that when I first heard that the moral fabric of society had been shredded like a block of extra-sharp cheddar cheese for a broccoli casserole because this woman that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright would call “a blue-eyed devil” had used what everybody was calling “the ‘n’ word,” I was very perplexed indeed because I could not imagine why a woman with a cooking show should not use the word “nutmeg.” But as you know, I am unspotted by
the world, so I couldn’t imagine what all the furor was about.
So finally, I went to the Huffington Post to get the facts from the morally superior readers of that Web site. That’s how I learned The Awful Truth.
I. was. stunned.
The HuffPo readers were condemning Paula Deen for using “the ‘n’ word,” and that’s as it should be. But when I read a comment calling Paula Deen “benighted,” I had to speak out.
I pointed out the moral hazard inherent in using such an insensitive word as “benighted.” And HuffPo readers were totally awesome. They all vowed never again to use words like “night” or “dark.” I was deeply moved.
Because, Sylvia, I guess you know better than most how morally superior I am. How many times have you looked at me over a platter of moo goo gai pan and said, “You know, Richard, you really are a morally superior person”? And I always say, “Very true, but I am also extraordinarily humble in a very spiritual way.” Right? Don’t I? Then you always say, “Very true!” don’t you? So there you are.
And that is why I am better qualified than anybody to show the world the way out of the moral morass of using “the ‘n’ word.” For you see, I have had an epiphany. (That sort of thing is all the time happening to morally superior yet extraordinarily humble people.)
So my new morally superior discipline is that I no longer use any words that begin with any letter of the alphabet whatsoever.
And, Sylvia, I cannot tell you how liberating and empowering it is! I feel a sort of spiritual exaltation as though I had parted the Red Sea or single-handedly put a stop to second-hand smoke in Augusta restaurants and bars.
Shakespeare wrote that “words without thought ne’er to Heaven go.” And in our enlightened, inclusive times, we know all about words without thoughts and where they go. So I guess it’s like Christ said: “The poor you always have with you.” Because I guess we’ll always have people who use words that begin with letters. But not I. Not anymore.
I just hope that all other morally superior people will adopt my method. Because I’m thinking that if they stopped using words that begin with a letter of the alphabet, we’d soon begin to hear the sound of silence from them. And that would be – how shall I put it? – delicious.
YAZOO: Richard has worked as a civilian employee of the U.S. Air Force Intelligence Service as a specialist in Middle East and African Affairs and as a German, Arabic and French linguist. He is also the author of The Yazoo Scandal, a scholarly piece that appeared in this column in installments six years ago. He wrote it on the bicentennial anniversary of the corrupt Georgia Legislature’s outrageous sale of 35 million acres of the state’s land.
From Yazoo, Chapter 1: “At the end of the Revolution, Georgia was the largest state in the new Republic, just as it is today the largest state east of the Mississippi. The period after the Revolution was a turbulent, heady time, just as things always are anywhere after a revolution. So the whole country was chock-full of speculators. Land was wealth in those days, and Georgia had more land than any other state. But she had the smallest population, so most of Georgia in 1795 was not settled. Georgia included almost everything that is now Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. The Yazoo River was in northwestern Georgia (now northern Mississippi).
“So, speculators from all over came to Augusta (the capital until 1796) and bribed the members of the General Assembly to get them to vote to sell Georgia’s public domain to private buyers for a penny an acre. So the General Assembly, thus corrupted, sold off tens of millions of acres of public land to private companies that had been formed for this nefarious purpose.
“Well, such a thing cannot be a secret, of course, so word of the bribery and corruption and criminal sale of the people’s land spread like wildfire throughout Georgia, and the people were ab-so-lutely outraged. So lynch mobs formed in nearly half the counties in the state, and they set out to hang the corrupt legislators. That happened in Burke County, Hancock County, Oglethorpe County, Columbia County and others.
“In Hancock County, the mob decided to tie their state senator Robards Thomas to a sapling and whip him publicly for his corruption.
“Sen. Thomas wisely high-tails it to South Carolina. But one of his constituents follows him there, finds him sitting alone in a cabin and shoots him.