Essays

Have we become too safe?

Last week, a controversy broke out. It contained three things: 1) a t-shirt, 2) a nursery rhyme, and 3) The Walking Dead.

If you are unaware of the Racist Walking Dead T-Shirt Controversy of 2017, go read about it here. Or here. Or here. Or just check your Facebook feed, perhaps it showed up there, too.

In short, a t-shirt was created which showed a bloody baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire and accompanied by the words “eeny meenie miny moe.” It captures a rather bloody and well-known scene from the rather bloody and violent television show The Walking Dead.

A customer in the UK walked into a store, saw this t-shirt, and found it “fantastically offensive” as the words came from a nursery rhyme that used to end with the words “catch a n—-r by his toe.”

And stop. Let us stop right there and take a minute.

I grew up singing that nursery rhyme and in my head it ended in “catch a tiger by his toe.” Of course, I do not dispute that at some point, possibly at the beginning (I’ve yet to get secure provenance on which version came first) it was ‘the N-word’ but at what point do we stop? At what point do we just… stop?! When do we let things go? Why do we keep bringing things up?

Also, at what point is nothing racist or sexist or whatever offensive thing that it is? I hate to point this out, but not too long ago, less than a century in fact so in still in a fair number of people’s lifetimes, the whole world was a cauldron of racism, sexism, and hate. We have already come so far and we still have further to go, of course, but this sort of identity-politics, over-sensitive, safe-spacism–

If you were more offended by the nursery rhyme and its racist origins than the show that it was promoting which is a show that find to be offensive for its outright, outrageous, and senseless violence, I think you should check yourself. I am not discounting the racist origins of the nursery rhyme, but I am discounting the response and the value of it. In fact, I am saying it’s producing negative outcomes. Why?

I am not political, but I swear to you, every time a liberal (or liberal-type) does something like this, an alt-righter gets his wings. There. I said it and I mean it.

The person who likely buys that t-shirt is less likely a racist and more likely a bit of a nerd. The person who is a racist and buys that t-shirt for that reason is probably doing so many other things that one ought to be concerned about, so consider this inconsequential.

Correct culture is starting to verge on the territory of Newspeak. Do you remember what Newspeak is? Get off of Facebook, get off of Twitter, get off the outrage bandwagon, and go read 1984. Then look in the mirror and ask yourself: when did you become a citizen beat cop for the Bureau of Thoughtcrimes?

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