Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WHAT'S ALL THIS TALK ABOUT GIVING EAGLES RIGHTS? Reverend Lowery's benediction on Tuesday contained an amusing and crowd-pleasing reference to some old, well-known street rhymes:
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around -- (laughter) -- when yellow will be mellow -- (laughter) -- when the red man can get ahead, man -- (laughter) -- and when white will embrace what is right.
At National Review, Lisa Schiffren is confused:
Was the Reverend Lowery's little race rhyme racist? I don't know. I personally found it more than a little jarring—because of where I had previously heard a version of same. During various water shortages in California in the 1970s signs appeared in public bathrooms with the conservationist suggestion: "If it's brown, flush it down. If it's yellow, let it mellow." Yes: yuck, gross, ick. Flushing toilets always seemed like a reasonable use of water to me. I understand that there is some cultural debate about this. Actually, the original jingle was a personal favorite of former California Governor Jerry Brown—an early 'conservationist.'
A nice, chewy wingnut cluster, that -- raising the specter of racism when the opposite was clearly meant; the scare quotes around "conservationist"; and, most of all, the ignorance of a piece of (as the crowd's response shows) common knowledge.

Even better, Schiffren apparently "googled" the phrase and
I now understand that there is a longer history still involving the capacity of septic systems and/or common practice in rural areas during extended power outages.
She can't have googled very hard.

Tomorrow, Schiffren will tell us she's heard of a song called "Wake Up, Niggers" by a "rock group" called The Last Poets, and that it proves liberals are the real racists.

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