If you're not angry, then you're not caring hard enough.
I grew up with the Stars and Bars. Among my childhood swag: a Dukes of Hazzard slot car set, a Dukes of Hazzard lunch box, a Dukes of Hazzard General Lee Matchbox car, a Dukes of Hazzard board game and (of course) the Dukes of Hazard album featuring Tom Wopat singing “Up On Cripple Creek.”
I was a tremendous fan of the show – a Californian’s reckoning of what life is like in Georgia. My brother and I never missed an episode. The Coy and Vance episodes represented my darkest year. I had the hots for Daisy. I mimicked Roscoe P. Coltrane’s laugh to perfection, much to my mother’s considerable dismay. And it took me an inordinately long time to accept that K.I.T.T was faster than the General Lee.
To me, the “rebel flag” represented adventure and justice. It was the banner for all that was right and courageous. It was the symbol for anyone with an appreciation for flaming arrows, jumping over creek beds, and besting corrupt localities.
But later, it devolved. There was, while I was in junior high, a national debate centered on honoring Martin Luther King with a holiday. This benign recommendation sparked a surprising amount of vitriol among my classmates. If Martin Luther King should be honored with a holiday than so should Robert E. Lee.
Even as a dopey junior high school kid, I found this logic perplexing. One man was a proponent of peace and unity. The other was a defender of traitors whose able military tactics resulted in the deaths of tens-of-thousands of men. To me, there was no correlation.
To many of my classmates, however, to honor King was somehow a threat to whiteness – as if one day of commemoration would become a starting point to some kind of Caucasian overthrow. There was no real public outcry among my classmates; there was only a surly grumbling. One utterance of this grumbling changed my outlook of the Stars and Bars forever.
“They got their X, and we got ours.”
The message was convoluted and clear all at the same time. For whatever reason, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were often considered one and the same among my brethren. The second X, of course, was sown on a field of red. To my peers, the flag wasn’t about heritage or Southern pride. It was about creating a racial distinction that, among other things, would not celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. because, well, I dunno. Draw your own conclusion.
You can justify the Confederate Flag as an heirloom to history all you want. But what matters is what the flag represents today. And what it is is a reminder is that what prevents us from being equal as human beings is our unwillingness to do what is right and just and courageous.
We can’t even measure up to the Dukes.
A trio of African American youths walked by, their jeans slung low on their hips, the bright hue of their boxer shorts on display. Just like everyone else on the street, they were just going somewhere. A white woman at my side stared holes into the youths before snarling, “Pull your pants up!”
Saggy pants is an issue that is driving a segment of America crazy. It’s a baffling mystery. The United States ranks 24th in the world for literacy and 33rd for Internet speed, but the metric that concerns many white people most is saggy pants.
Arguing the benefits of pants worn dangerously on the verge of sinking to your ankles is a Herculean chore. I’ve never understood the appeal. But then again, my generation wore parachute pants, shirts branded by Coca-Cola, and jeans with holes purposely ripped at the knees. Who am I to judge?
Gang associations may be an excuse to pass judgement, but then again, we didn’t seem to mind that regrettable, biker-gang inspired Ed Hardy trend. And quite honestly, the kids that offended the middle-aged lady weren’t giving off a gangland vibe. They were certainly better behaved than her.
What rankled this lady? The absurd discomfort of the fashion? The immodesty of exposed underwear? Furthermore, why did it matter so much? These kids were strangers. They passed soliciting no provocation. And yet, this woman was so offended she felt compelled to advise the teenagers on how to wear their pants. How might have she responded if the teens had sneered, “Do you realize you’re wearing a man’s windbreaker?”
Which she was.
This was going to be a post entitled “10 Reasons Why The New Star Wars Movie is Going to Suck Big Rocks”* but instead of pissing everybody off, I decided to write about racism.
I, for one, am not racist, because I know black people. Lots of black people. Some even friend me on Facebook! Also, I was born in Illinois which, as you mostly likely know, is the “Land of Lincoln” as in Abraham Lincoln, who single-handedly destroyed slavery. Furthermore, I’ve voted for Barack Obama not once, but twice, and not just because I’m a Democrat. One time, I attended a service at a predominately African-American church. Talk about an experience!
So, definitely not racist.
Except, there was this one time, at night, at Walgreens, when I was picking up some ibuprofen, a young black man entered the store and immediately approached the counter and I was like “Oh shit he’s going to pull a pistol and rob the Walgreens!” and I tensed up like, I dunno, maybe I was going to tackle the dude or maybe dive for cover behind the discounted DVD display because who walks into a Walgreens and immediately goes to the cash register except to rob it?
Turns out, the man just wanted cigarettes, which are sold behind the counter. I watched him buy his cigarettes and disappear into the evening. Later, I sat in the parking lot, behind the wheel of my car, and contemplated what had just happened. I didn’t have to contemplate long because I knew what had just happened. So I drove home and watched SportsCenter.
* Remember the last time we saw an elderly Harrison Ford reprise a beloved George Lucas character? Yeah, you do, and it sucked big rocks. You have been warned.
I am no expert on Christopher Lee.
That said, I prefer him to any Count Dracula who has ever graced the silver screen. He was the pissed off Dracula. The Dracula who gave zero fucks. The Dracula who was smooth with the ladies but could also deliver an unbreakable throttling whenever he wanted to.
He brought the Draction.
I wish I saw Christopher Lee’s Dracula before I saw Bela Legosi’s, because Bela’s became my brain’s Dracula default. But Lee crushed the role. Crushed it like he crushed Peter Cushing’s windpipe. Lee didn’t blush around naked vampire ladies or avert his eyes from heaving bodices. He certainly didn’t give a shit if you didn’t see his reflection in the mirror.He only gave a shit about sunlight and wooden stakes.
Christopher Lee was 6’5″ which means he could suck the blood right off the top of your head. It’s a shame he never got around to snapping Gary Oldman’s Dracula in half. He probably thought Frank Langella was a pussy. Do you know how badass you have to be to think Frank Langella is a pussy?
Farewell, Christopher Lee. You were 93 years old, which is Draculean in of itself.
It’s been more than a year since I posted to the Angry Czeck.
There was a time when the Angry Czeck was very important to me. But then it all became pointless. You can rage and you can seethe and you can stew in self-righteous anger, but people listen only to their own rage and seethings and self-righteous anger.
I don’t need Angry Czeck.
Everyone else needs an Angry Czeck.
The argument is ceaseless. There is no truth, just perspective. A friend once asked me if I believed in ultimate truth, and before I realized that he was setting me up for a religious sermon, I said “yes,” there is an ultimate truth, just as there is ultimate right and ultimate wrong.
But there is no right and wrong. No truth and lie. Whatever you believe is truth, even if your beliefs evolve into something else. It’s just newer truth.
Accepting this negates any need for argument. Raise your voice, and you’re just yelling. Compile a list of bullet points defending your stance, forget it. Somebody has a list of points contradicting your own. Sure, minor truths evolve. I used to believe The Sixth Sense was a good movie. Now I don’t. That’s not opinion. It’s truth. We can argue all damn day. You can’t convince me that The Sixth Sense isn’t a piece of shit.
That’s why I haven’t posted to this blog in more than a year.