Columns » Bob Lancaster

Assmunchery, cont.

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Q.Were there ever any old Christy Minstrels?

A. Don't bother Assmunch with questions that you can Google yourself. He has more nuanced, more elusive fish to fry. See below for examples.

Q. Football is right around the corner. What are the prospects?

A. Y'all can go ahead but I'm tired of football. It's a stupid game played by stupid people and coached for a lot of money by doorstops. It proves our ape descent, showing that we still find it interesting or entertaining when a huddle of gorillas decide to go somewhere and a formation of baboons decide to get in their way. Same story for two million years. Nothing to do with territoriality or mock war. If the yardage really meant anything, they wouldn't keep switching ends of the field. In short, just a way for the unintelligent to kill some time, and for institutions of higher learning to abase themselves — to hoot their own hoity mission statements — by associating with it, even sponsoring it. Two of the big football success stories in our time are O.J. Simpson and Michael Vick, so you tell me. And the clowns of the show, making a mockery of it, are the little jerk-off field-goal kickers. Sometimes better-intentioned people get caught up in the foolishness, as happened to me one time for 30 or 40 years — OK, 50 years — but get over it if they live long enough.

Q. The 50th anniversary of the Little Rock Central High School crisis is also upon us. How do you plan to celebrate or commemorate it?

A. I'm going to forget to remember it, if that's possible, and pretend as best I can that '57 never happened. It was an embarrassment, a shameful episode, and I fail to see the point of these big anniversary wallows. The conventional excuse for them is that those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it, but I've come to see that as a half-truth. Because those who do remember it are doomed to repeat it also. They do that by reinterpreting it until it comes to mean to them what they want it to mean, what they need it to mean in order to justify a present-day deja vu all over again. We're seeing evidence of that already with the old debbil Orv emerging as having been what Curly Howard called just a victim of soicumstance. Another example just last week was the president remembering and invoking Vietnam as an excuse and justification for his continuing to shove American youngsters into the meatgrinder of Iraq. We're now asked to believe it would've been so much better for all concerned to continue to shove them into the meatgrinder of Indochina, perhaps up to this very day. So remembrance is no vaccine against historical recurrence. It's a convenience, a handy wash for retrospective self-absolution. The Little Rock crisis was a failure of leadership, which knew the right thing to do but decided, from political cowardice or political expediency, or from a low-down hard-headed general universal irresistible sorriness, to do the wrong thing. It was also a failure of the majority to do the right thing, knowing full well what the right thing was, but eager as always to pretend that you can make wrong right if you're belligerent enough about it. And if you're willing to spit on children and act like that's something to be proud of.

Q. The county fair approaches. You got anything entered?

A. Momma will enter some embroidered pillow cases with messages like “last throes” and “bring ‘em on” cleverly lurking in the stitchery foilage, and her finest-ever chow-chow. I swear if that chow-chow doesn't bring home a blue ribbon and some first-prize money, I'm just giving up on the fair as an honest venue. It'll mean they let somebody win that's a personal acquaintance or probably a relative of one of the judges. Or a member of the same church, most likely one of those exclusivist denominations that think everyone else is going to Hell, even those that make boundingly superior chow-chow. I won't say that's happened before, because I believe in letting bygones be, but this is once-in-a-lifetime chow-chow that you'd hate to see fall victim to small-mindedness. Anyway, the prize money is only something like $3 and you burn up more than that in gas coming and going. At least it's better than honorable mention, the prize money for which is exactly $0.00, though you do get some old off-color ribbon, which I'd put in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, or just leave it with them there at the Home Food Preservation display. I had in mind to challenge Billy Attwood's long-time show-chicken stranglehold at the fair this year, but I guess I won't be entering anything — livestock, produce, or artsie craftsie. My most recent entry was a painting, and while I knew the art judges leaned toward the bucolic, I reckon mine, which was an attempted artist's rendering of one of Bro.-Gov. Huckabee's barnyard cattle-and-poultry-fornicating pulpit jokes, just wasn't bucolic enough.

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