For obvious reasons, I'm usually a big fan of Vietnam War fiction. I belong to an email group of other Vietnam War authors, and normally the group is entertaining and informative.
But the other day I got an email that went to the group praising a new book of Vietnam War fiction: Land of Childhood's Fears - Faith, Friendship, and The Vietnam War by David Todeschini. For reasons which will become obvious, I refuse to give the guy's website or anything else about the book. Google him if you like.
This email itself was from a member of the group, and was not from this Todeschini guy, but attached to it was an email from The Toad, which said "Play the attached MP3 file; my sentiments exactly" with an .mp3 sound file of a song entitled "Sand Niggers". As you would expect, it was an inflammatory, violent and racist diatribe against Arabs -- but it also included gays and "communists" who "took god out of the schools". It also contained some wishful thinking that these "problems" could best be taken care of right here in the good ole USA by a shotgun and an M-16, accompanied by the sounds of shotgun blasts and fully-automatic rifle fire.
It is beyond me how someone who, presumably, is trying to sell as many books as possible would do something so incredibly stupid as to alienate a large portion of the book-buying public.
So, since silence is assent, I fired back my own diatribe to the group:
This is disgustingly racist and disturbingly violent and to make matters worse, it's not even funny. And, given the recent events in Tucson, it's also in incredibly poor taste. I'm sure that the parents of little Christina Taylor Green would just be tickled pink to hear this crap.To be fair, the person who sent it to the group was not the author of the book, and he realized immediately that he had made a mistake and issued a profound apology. Which I accepted, along with, I assume, most other members of the group.
I am surprised that you would forward this, especially embedded in an otherwise striking review of this book.
But listening to this shit, I can swear that I will NEVER buy this book, I don't give a goddam how fucking good it is, if the author comes off as such an intolerant racist homophobe that this is what he thinks passes for political discourse. Especially since he has "faith" in the title -- it kind of begs the question, who would Jesus blow away with a shotgun and an M16?
I am appalled that in the second decade of the 21st Century people still think this way. This is not the America that we're supposed to have.
Please take me off this list if you ever plan on sending out anything like this again.
Life is too short for this kind of shit.
Except for this one. He (who shall not be named here unless he wants a public fight in which he will be the pathetic loser) sent me a personal email, not to the group, calling me out:
For the love of God, I do not know why some folks want to paint them selves [sic] as lilly [sic] white and pure in actions and deeds.The word nigger was coined by the English, it means a dirty trashy person. It was their way of refering [sic] to the Irish, not anyone of color. Through hard work and intergity [sic] the Irish out grew [sic] the name. Then the blacks picked it up and now it is taking a violation of our right to free speach [sic], and laws passed by half assed politicians trying to buy votes at the cost of our free speach rights to make it a raciest [sic] term.What is the NAACP? What is LULAC, La Raza, Brown Berets, and the Latino Congresional [sic] caucus? All raciest [sic] organizations.If you are sincer [sic] point these organizations out as raciests [sic]. Other wise shur [sic] up.
Also note that he claims that the Irish, through their "intergity" and hard work, outgrew the term, which of course blatantly implies that the "others" (i.e., black people) do not work hard and have no integrity...
Here's my email response to this jackass, to which as of this posting I have not received a reply:
Thank you for that reasoned and rational response. Ignoring the fact that your response was neither "reasoned" nor "rational", nor was it even correct.I think that the reason he hasn't responded is that he's having too much trouble with words like "etymology" and "pejorative". Plus he's probably scouring desperately the Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin and Clusterfuck "News" websites to find that fake origin that he cites. I know that his enfeebled mind didn't come up with that on his own. He's just parroting something he's heard, and my best guess is that he heard it coming out of the spewing maw of that nitrogenous-waste semi-human pimple-assed draft-dodging slimebag, Rush Limbaugh. I can just hear him saying it...
From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigger):
"Nigger is a noun in the English language, most notable for its usage in a pejorative context to refer to black people (generally people of Sub-Saharan African descent), and also as an informal slang term, among other contexts. It is a common ethnic slur. The word originated as a term used in a neutral context to refer to black people, as a variation of the Spanish/Portuguese noun negro, a descendant of the Latin adjective niger, meaning the color 'black' ... In the Colonial America of 1619, John Rolfe used negars in describing the African slaves shipped to the Virginia colony ... In the United Kingdom and the Anglophone world, nigger denoted the dark-skinned (non-white) African and Asian (i.e., from India or nearby) peoples colonized into the British Empire, and "dark-skinned foreigners" — in general."
I can find no reference that backs up your claim that it was first used by the British to describe the Irish, and I challenge you to prove your claim. It's obvious from its etymology that it was first used to describe dark-skinned peoples, and ascribing any other origin to the term is nothing more than wishful thinking.
It is a horribly offensive -- and yes, racist -- term for black people, and those other organizations that you throw in willy-nilly are not "racist" in any normal usage of the term. However, to be fair you didn't actually call them "racist"; you called them "raciest"...
You have some ... issues ... with race, obviously, most likely taking the form of Denial. Go ask your friends who are black what they think about your statements.
Oh, wait. My guess is that you don't actually HAVE any friends who are black, do you.
So maybe you should do a little thinking for yourself before you tell anyone else to "shur up" (whatever that means).
"Violation of our free speech"? Really, that's the best you can do? You want to be able to call a black person a "nigger" without any responsibility for what that speech can mean? As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. stated in Schenk v US, free speech does not include things similar to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. In other words, freedom is not license; freedom comes with responsibilities.