Monday, April 28, 2014

The unforgiving minute: What are you grateful for?

A bit of standup schtick for years has riffed on this question: Why do people who imagine they have been in touch with their past lives always imagine they were someone cool? A pharaoh, rather than someone who was forced to build the pyramids? One of the kings or queens of France, rather than someone who emptied their chamber pots into the open sewers of Paris until they died of cholera at thirty?

I'm remind of this puzzle by the recent bout of slave-era nostalgia encouraged by the states-rights deadbeat rancher in Nevada who fell off the Fox News speed-dialer when he went too far and "wondered" if African-Americans weren't happier as slaves. Funny that people like this always imagine that, back in the old times which were not forgotten, they naturally would have been one of the wealthy plantation owners like Ashley Wilkes or Gerald O'Hara.

They never imagine themselves as some poor schlub stuck in the dirt-poor class by rich folk, maneuvered into being grateful that at least they weren't "Negroes."

Minute's up.

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