Thursday, March 15, 2007

Improper Nouns

I was watching a video the other day of a woman and man attacking a convenience store clerk while yelling, "F&*^ing Arabian! Go home! F&*^ing Arabian!" The question at hand was whether or not this was to be tried as a hate crime.

I had two thoughts on the matter. First, It reminded me of all the times in my high school where someone would write graffiti on a desk or locker or wall--and the swear words would be misspelled. I loved that. It was the perfect message: I'm so committed to the idea of you "making love to yourself" that I just have to write it on this wall. Furthermore, I've been so busy communicating my message that I've neglected to learn that "f&*king" is not spelled "f^&ken" or f&*kon." Either way you slice it, the graffiti says, "Stay in School, kids."

Same with the beating on the TV. Who the hell calls someone an Arabian?! I guess it used to be a pseudo-nationality, much like "Hebrew" used to mean a Jewish person, but has any normal person referred to Arabs as Arabians in the past twenty years? Are these the people who insist on calling people from Asia "Oriental?" Or who ask me if I'm proud to be Scotch?

Who ARE these people and why didn't they get the memo? Oriental, Arabian and Scotch refer to things, not people. Oriental rugs (which are often from Persia, Morocco, etc--not everyone's mental picture of "Oriental"), Arabian horses, Scotch whiskey and oh all right--Scotch tape. Even the phrase "Oriental food" is ludicrous in 2007. As opposed to what? Occidental food? I was reading an old copy of a Lewis Grizzard book. Most of it was funny in a 1989 kind of way. Lots of jokes about women golfers and stuff like that. In this book he made reference to some food item that "Orientals consider a delicacy." I laughed so hard at the retro statement in its entirety, both the "oriental" thing and the "considered a delicacy" thing. Does anyone say "delicacy" anymore either? As Chandler Bing said in an episode of friends when Joey, I think, made some reference to Chinese food in China: "Yeah, although in China it's just called 'food.'"

Oh. So my second thought on the beating video. Yes, it's a hate crime. Some say it isn't because the two perpetrators were intoxicated, uneducated, whatever. I say that if someone is beating you up while calling you a racial slur--however incorrect the slur may be--they're making the point of why the beating is occurring. It strikes me as aggravating circumstances. Because, let's face it, I'm no less beaten up while being called an Arabian than if I were called an Arab ^&%$." Just like I'm no less invited, via the bathroom wall, to orally pleasure you simply because you spelled it wrong.

ps--I insist that my nomme de medicin of previous posts, "Hottie Hebrew Hematologist," is fully tongue-in-cheek. Besides, "H Cubed" just sounds better than "HJH." ;)


Raine said...

Mm. I haven't had scotch in months. Too long, I think.

Hate crimes? Well, let me tell you about hate crimes. They start as children, and they get better and better at rationalizing and hiding it as they grow up.

Really fascinating stuff, if you're into finding out why kids become little shitheads at school and whatnot.

Anyway, check your g-mail for my e-mail, c-mail?

Vigilante said...

Can't let this go without reminding everyone that, in 2000, Bush referred to Greeks as "Grecians". Since then he has been, no doubt, on-the-job-schooled.

Joe Tornatore said...

thought provoking. great.