David Thompson
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July 22, 2013

Comments

Bob Smith

Olander appears to have failed to inquire as to the racial makeup of the store's employees. It is they, after all, who put out the asparagus for sale. Might one presume that a store in a black neighborhood has mostly or nearly all black employees? If so, why would they discriminate against themselves? Might this perhaps be a simple case of incompetence rather than malice?

John D

I will, though, note that if a person’s mission in life and their own claim on piety is to hunt out witches, they will, in time, find witches everywhere.

And they'll insult whoever they like and waste people's time (at our expense).

David

And they’ll insult whoever they like and waste people’s time (at our expense).

Now just imagine the kind of personality, the kind of petty, vindictive arseclown, to whom that role would appeal.

jeepers

I'm stealing 'arseclown'.

James

Is it common to display asparagus in a tray of water in North America? I have never seen it sold that way in Sydney.

witwoud

James, that's because Sydney is 100% racist. Fact.

David

I’m stealing ‘arseclown’.

Well, we do, I think, need a word for the kind of person who would happily insinuate, based on nothing, that a single batch of asparagus somehow implies systemic racial bigotry, thereby insulting one of the area’s key employers and by extension its staff. The kind of person who could say such things and not find them a little odd. Someone who, when questioned, would actually double down on this absurdity. And all because he, our Witchfinder General, “just felt like stirring it up a little bit” and “letting them know that somebody cares.” And letting them know who’s boss.

Or the kind of person who would take $86,000 of taxpayers’ money, year in year out, in order to tell us that expectations of punctuality and responsibility are “cultural racism,” and then claim that “students of colour” needn’t learn the grammar and fluency she herself enjoys - and which employers usually expect of job candidates. Again, because she cares about Those Brown People™ so very, very much.

Or the kind of person who says she wants to make her victims, including small children, “feel discomfort, guilt, shame, embarrassment and humiliation” in order to free them from their invisible racial animus, which only she can see. And who tells us, quite seriously, that “all white people” perpetuate racism, that racism is something “white people invented,” and that white people are “parasitic” and “have stolen” almost every modern convenience, even language itself, from darker, more noble cultures. And who then sends the taxpayer a bill for up to $6,000 a day.

You know, that kind of arseclown.

Spruance

@James, Sydney: OMG, it's the same here in Berlin, in the middle of one of the largest asparagus producing areas in Germany - we are completey racist too!

Noel

Thank God it is was not the watermelons that were looking a bit peeky.

Anna

Was Mr Olander wearing his LaurieGoggles™?

Watcher

if you ever need a section heading for 'news items' like this, you might consider "People with too much time on their hands"

Steve 2

Vegetables are racist. Not as racist as, say, antipasti, but still pretty evil.

Top racist groceries:

White Cabbage
Monkey Nuts
Nick Grif-fennel
Rudolf Hess Avacado
Ku Klux Kale

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Somewhat off-topic, although the question of whether it's parody is I suppose on-topic:

However, I cried mostly because how could I, an art historian, make a difference in this racist society when there were lawyers who thought and acted this way?

Read the rest, as they say.

Severian

I think I have the answer: Government-mandated stamp collecting.

Stick with me here. Obviously these people lack for hobbies. Time was, social misfits of whatever age and gender would try to fill the void in their souls with obsessive-compulsive little hobbies like gardening, stamp collecting, cats, etc. No Victorian novel is complete without a pen-portrait of the local vicar, a confirmed bachelor, and the translation of Horace's minor verse over which he labors by candlelight night after night. Modern education killed that one, alas, and internet trolling just doesn't have the social cachet that gardening used to.

Obviously, too, these people love government. They're like children in the backseat, who have discovered that the window goes down when you press the button. And then you push the button the other way, and it goes back up! Up, down, up, down... wheee!! You walk into a supermarket determined to "shake things up," and you've got an entire bureaucratic apparatus -- dozens of professional "public servants," all on a healthy salary -- moving your gripe to the top of their action items list. You've even got the mayor and the CEO taking time out of their day to acknowledge your existence.

Let's get some synergy going here. Let's mandate that every American shall, from this day forth, be required to maintain a stamp collection. Then, whenever time hangs heavy on the hands of people like Mr. Olander, he can pore over his proof sets, secure in the knowledge that he's so much better than the rest of us, who just throw the damn things in a drawer and use them to mail the occasional letter. Call it "The New Spinsterism." I bet President Obama could really launch it in style, with one of those speeches he does (you know the ones.... the pinnacle of eloquence, Lincolnesque, would be compared to Pericles if anybody in the media still knew who Pericles was... he just tosses 'em off the cuff).

Who's with me? The net effect on most of us is negligible -- who, in this annus mirabilis 2013, is going to notice yet one more hugely intrusive government regulation? -- and at least it'll give Mr. Olander something to do. Won't you help make a difference in this poor man's sad, pathetic excuse for a life?

David

internet trolling just doesn’t have the social cachet that gardening used to.

Six and a half years of doing this and I still enjoy reading the comments.

Well, mostly.

R. Sherman

Shopped at Schnuck's yesterday. I made it a point to inspect the produce aisle for latent "isms." Alas, no luck. One would think that when racism is limited to asparagus issues, the "war" is pretty well won. I won't hold my breath waiting for a declaration of victory, however.

dicentra

The saddest part of this is that nobody in the chain of shook-up persons told this moron to lighten up, for the sake of Pete.

I would have.

And seconds later, I'd be burned at the stake.

johnd2008

My local branch of Tescos sells Asparagus, but I have never seen it in water.I have seen it for sale at the roadside in the Vale of Evesham where they grow the stuff and they do not put it in water either. I have just realised I live in a completely racist country. I must go and lie down and gather my thoughts about who to complain to.

elrond hubbard

I guess it's a case of no justice, no peas. And, to make matters worse, David Olander has heard that the seafood section of Schnucks is featuring Ku Klux Klams.

Captain Fatty


dicentra: And seconds later, I'd be burned at the stake.

Well, at least you would have lightened up...

Cheers,
Fatty

wombat-socho

Misread the name of the supermarket as Schmuck's. :(

Horace Dunn

Anyone who's anyone knows that asparagus is only eaten in May, or possibly in a chilly year such as this one, early June. It is, I think you'll find, July. This is clearly not a racist issue, but a class one. I should have thought that someone on this website would have noticed this.

Peasants.

dicentra

It is, I think you'll find, July. This is clearly not a racist issue, but a class one.

I was sure you were going to say it was a Global Warming issue. Sorry, Climate Change. No... Climate Disruption.

Tim Newman

Somewhat off-topic, although the question of whether it's parody is I suppose on-topic:

However, I cried mostly because how could I, an art historian, make a difference in this racist society when there were lawyers who thought and acted this way?

Read the rest, as they say.

I can't imagine why she has to resort to internet dating...

David

Peasants.

Heh.


In other news, comedy class warrior Owen Jones avoids “demonising” people who aren’t socialists by telling us that people who aren’t socialists are “cruel” and “unforgivable,” deserving only “unapologetic contempt.” Fellow class warrior Sunny Hundal, whose leftist credentials have impressed us no end, merely thinks that non-leftwing people are “evil.”

I guess that’s much of my family he’s talking about. Yours too, possibly.

And in other, other news, Amanda Marcotte, whose big socialist heart has been noted previously, is miffed that some people are happy about the birth of a baby. She therefore lets us know she’s so much better than them.

James

Anyone who's anyone knows that asparagus is only eaten in May, or possibly in a chilly year such as this one, early June.

Horace, I'm offended by your Northern Hemicentric prescriptive predjudice.

Squires

They show their love by their conspicuous tantrums of hate; always remember, "George Orwell didn't write fiction".

Republicans, FOX News, babies - at this point in my life, and as someone who leaned quite to the left up until my early twenties (courtesy of public schools, media, the usual sources of unquestioned assumptions filled conditioning), it now just rolls past like so much familiar and repetitive duckspeak that my first reaction is boredom.

And oh, how they do ever-so-loyally hate that. But what can I say? From the posturing odes of the long-dead tribal leaders of one group of savages or another, to Soviet-era agitprop, and from the talking heads of Hamas to the contemporary chattering classes of the West, same behavior, different vocabulary. A shame-culture by any name is a shame-culture all the same. Stagnation is tedious. Tediousness is stagnant. To paraphrase Aesop's scorpion, that is its nature.

sk60

comedy class warrior Owen Jones avoids "demonising" people who aren't socialists by telling us that people who aren't socialists are "cruel" and "unforgivable," deserving only "unapologetic contempt."

He's one of Laurie's bestest bestest friends you know...

Steve

Ted S,

"Read the rest, as they say"

I just did, along with some of the comments. I think I might now be both racist and suicidal.

Rafi

Owen Jones avoids “demonising” people who aren’t socialists by telling us that people who aren’t socialists are “cruel” and “unforgivable,” deserving only “unapologetic contempt.”

Lots of OJ's readers now saying anyone who votes conservative is 'evil', a 'Nazi', etc. Christ, the Independent's comment section is almost as insane as the Groan's.

David

Lots of OJ’s readers now saying anyone who votes conservative is ‘evil’, a ‘Nazi’, etc.

I suppose the idea is that if the people whose politics you disagree with can be caricatured as monsters – evil, child-strangling monsters – then by opposing them and declaring oneself their opposite, one becomes… well, saintly. By inflating the moral drama and painting in black and white, they, the commenters, are elevated to the level of moral titans, plucky heroes fighting an Evil Empire that feasts on human misery. Which is a lot more self-flattering than a realistic appraisal.

WTP

So any chance the future king will be named James Tiberius Kirk, or is that too teutonic? Yes, I have nothing to do today.

David

So any chance the future king will be named James Tiberius Kirk?

I was hoping for Joffrey.

Severian

I suppose the idea is that if the people whose politics you disagree with can be caricatured as monsters – evil, child-strangling monsters – then by opposing them and declaring oneself their opposite, one becomes… well, saintly

That's the ultimate proof that leftism is nothing more than a pose. If I am, by definition, either too stupid to come around to the enlightened view or too evil to want to, then what's the point in arguing with (lecturing at) me?

I've actually posed this question to several leftists. I never got a coherent answer, of course, but it was fun watching 'em splutter.

SteveS

"Read the rest, as they say"
I just did, along with some of the comments. I think I might now be both racist and suicidal.

May I suggest a long soak in a tub of water? It does wonders for asparagus

lovegoats

Biggest problem I have with 'The Independent's commenters is they aren't in any sense independent - boilerplate from Marx; pocket money from the Government. Their ship's sinking and they're as oblivious as barnacles.

present & correct

I was hoping for Joffrey

I'm quite liking 'Trayvon Cambridge', seeing as we're all Trayvon now, anyway (so they tell me.)
But... 'George' is rather more likely to win out.
Just how can they be so waycisssst?

dicentra

In the Southern United States, earlier in the 20th century, there was no shortage of agitators who ginned up white outrage, insisting that those black "young bucks" were primitive savages, incapable of restraining their baser urges, and if any black man hadn't actually raped a white woman, he was surely hoping to.

Mobs of white men would go into black communities, find some likely looking "rapist", and string him up, no questions asked. Maybe he'd looked approvingly at a white woman, maybe he hadn't. Didn't matter: they were all guilty of lust. The families of the lynched men had exactly zero recourse, the local authorities being in on it either tacitly or actively.

The polarity has now been neatly reversed 180°: all white men (even whitish Hispanics) are hoping to hunt down and shoot black youths, such that any black man killed by a whitish man is naturally the victim of the vilest bigotry.

QED

And there's little recourse for the whitish man unlucky enough to be so accused, given that the very Department of Justice of the United States is in on it, both actively and tacitly.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Again, I'm not sure it it's parody, but:

Don't call the royal baby a boy.

Lance de Boyle

Well, no one likes asparagus, anyway.
1. Stringy.
2. Stupid tips.
3. Makes pee smell--like asparagus, which, as noted earlier, is stringy and sports stupid tips.

Moreover, I have solid evidence that the aforementioned asparagus wilted when Commish Olander breathed on it. He is well known in University City as "Fetid Breath."

He is blaming the STORE for the damage that HE did. A clear case of blaming the victim.

jimmy

"Again, I'm not sure it it's parody, but:

Don't call the royal baby a boy."

That's quite disturbing to me. It's interesting that this insistence that a child ought to 'choose its own gender' at some appropriate time during their development is seen as inherently a means of asserting individual freedom, yet it lacks the self-awareness of an imposition of radical values on society from a clique of gender experts, feminist ideologues, and special minority interests.

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