Saturday, October 01, 2005

A couple of lessons in unnecessary "speech".

Recently HUD chief Alphonso Jackson predicted that the "new" New Orleans will no longer be a majority black city. Immediately the Black Congressional Congress and luminaries such as Jesse Jackson, et al, jumped on the statement.

Now, as far as I can tell, it's a fairly neutral statement, but even I know it's the kind of thing that will just get you in trouble, and I'm not even smart enough to head a federal agency such as HUD. Race is an incredibly touchy issue and unless you're saying something positive (as opposed to merely neutral), it's best just to leave it unsaid. I do have some non-racial thoughts about the "new" New Orleans, which I'll post later. I stumbled on a premise I find rather interesting.

Lesson two involves Halloween costumes, which is why I put "speech" in quotes. Apparently visual things such as flag burning and photographs of crucifixes in urine are "speech", so here we go.

There's a new shop up in town which is selling Halloween-related items. They only have 30 days to make money, so they're going full court press to publicize themselves. When I drove by early this morning they had several people standing along the road, wearing costumes and holding signs. I saw Darth Vader and a clown, albeit a very creepy clown. Now I'm not real wild about the clown--Halloween was once witches and goblins, but now it has to be edgy. I can live without the clown. But I can live with him, too. He was merely creepy, not offensive.

Later in the day there had been a shift change and right in the middle of the biggest intersection in town I beheld the obligatory offensive costumes. A pregnant nun accompanied by a priest sporting an enormous woody.

The question is Why? They could have been vampires, ghosts or Porky Pig. But they had to be something that a lot of people would find offensive. Right there, just like Mr. Jackson, they simply weren't thinking.

But just like Mr. Jackson's unthinking statement, this one is going to bite them in the posterior like a pit bull (I was tempted to say "Like a tiger biting a certain effeminate magician", but I know better than to say things like that...). Because as they stood at that intersection, the vast majority of the traffic was emanating from an event a quarter of a mile away---A flea market at the largest Catholic parish in the entire state had just shut down.

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