Saturday, February 09, 2008


I saw the hindmost intellects of our era
co-opted by conventional wisdom sated smug designer-labeled,
And wondered what I, one conscientious honky poet, could do about it

The answer came as a flaming pie descended over my back yard and
Spake unto me, saying, "Son, you must surely craft and share
A righteous, rowdy, Discordian prayer."

Well, I didn't get to where I am today by arguing with a pie, so let us pray:

Children of Eris, Beloved of Discordia,
Will we ignore the march of Shiva's legions?
Will we whine and maunder as a misbegotten mishmash of cosmic zoning ordinance
Disjoins the elements, separates, rearranges and remanifests as pogroms
of slaughter in pursuit of social justice,
slander in the service of truth,
rot and vileness and lies in the name of love?
Forbid it, Almighty Goddess!

Now, before the minions of the Crown descend on this blessed valley,
Step ye lively to the minuet of the ringingly rude!
Strum aloud the chord of misrouted resurrection,
Forswear annihilation of every wild, pungent, libertine impulse to breathe.

Oh gentle Goddess,
interrupt and befuddle blind alliances of tasteful zealots,
as they plan and riot, riot and plan,
the air about them turgid to bursting with vacuous slogans,
the ground at their feet awash in the ichors of unclean dreams;
Their natural state is tragedy of a high and histrionic order,
They thrive in the saddest regions of the human heart,
Their tears, their own reward,
Their laughter, the snicker the sadist,
Their past,
By default
Their chosen future.
Can we stop the broken, bug-like meandering toward their final fantasy
the rape-induced return to the stately womb?
For even as they natter in our nightmares
and assail our ears with the ten million names of corruption,
they are we, and we are they.

We, most deserving of the beautiful burden, the frank and frightening all-American legacy of liberty,
We, this day, will forge a pact:
Before the daylight fades,
Before we accept the killer's final, blissful kiss
Let's grab a footnote, let's climb the big hill
Let's give the paparazzi a big thrill.
Let's chow down on endangered species,
Then bow down and try to appease these.
Let's scare the hell out of monocrats,
Let's whistle Dixie 'til our lips explode,
Let's search for tits and settle for tats,
And E-mail Godot at his winter abode.

Why ban the questions?
Why crib the answers?
Why frisk the Mexicans?
Why ditch the dancers?

Let's guzzle a tonic and
Careen through time,
Go supersonic
Then stop on a dime.
Let's turn the tables
And alter our eyesight,
Spin a few fables
And believe in the White Light.

Why woo the spring tides?
Why attack a paragon?
Why chew the bromides
When all the flava's gone?

Let's grab a bank note
Let's court the Big Girl,
Let's give our bunkhouse buddies a bit whirl
Let's git down with a long, slow waltz,
Then sit down with purveyors of schmaltz
It may be our duty
It might be our destiny,
'Least dat's what I suspects wit' the shameless, blameless resta me:


Boots Dorfman © 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dueling Memories: The Land That Time Forgot


This charming bit of doggerel, with some excellent thoughts and rhymes, showed up in my mailbox the other day. A retired Military Lifer pal of mine forwarded it, and I got a huge kick out of it, even agreed with some of it ... except for some of the assumptions about the values and virtues of America in days gone by.

So, Warrior Poet that I truly am, I just had to write a response. My buddy, a stone Libertarian, loved it and asked to share it with his mailing list, so I figured it was only fair to share it with y'all. Enjoy.

Boots Dorfman
Bon Vivant, Warrior-Poet, Ph.D., B.M.O.C., S.O.B., Q.E.D.

In the Land of Sandra Dee

Author Unknown, but if it was you, please contact me. I'd love to buy you an indecent number of beers and discuss at length the validity or non- of Nietzsche's personal survival code, "Das, das uns nicht tötet, bildet uns nur lustiger."*

Long ago and far away,
In a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan
Or the dawn of Camelot.

There lived a race of innocents,
And they were you and me,
Long ago and far away
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

Oh, there was truth and goodness
In that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges,
And Peyton Place was porn.

For Ike was in the White House,
And Hoss was on TV,
And God was in his heaven
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

We learned to gut a muffler,
We washed our hair at dawn,
We spread our crinolines to dry
In circles on the lawn...

And they could hear us coming
All the way to Tennessee,
All starched and sprayed and rumbling
I the Land of Sandra Dee.

We longed for love and romance,
And waited for the Prince,
And Eddie Fisher married Liz,
And no one's seen him since.

We danced to "Little Darlin'",
And sang to "Stagger Lee"
And cried for Buddy Holly
In the Land of Sandra Lee.

Only girls wore earrings then,
And three was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts,
Except for Jean McKinney.

And only in our wildest dreams
Did we expect to see
A boy named George with lipstick
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

We fell for Frankie Avalon,
Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie,
They never made it twice.

We didn't have a Star Trek V,
Or Psycho II and III,
Or Rocky-Rambo XX
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold,
And Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat
Whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr. Wizard,
But not a Mr. T,
And Oprah couldn't talk yet
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

We had our share of heroes,
We never thought they'd go,
At least not Bobby Darin,
Or Marilyn Monroe.

For youth was still eternal,
And life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever,
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

We'd never seen the rock band
That was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren't named Jefferson,
And Zeppelins weren't Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then,
And Monkees in a tree,
Madonna was a virgin
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

We'd never heard of Microwaves,
Or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed,
But they weren't grown in jars.

And pumping iron got wrinkles out,
And "gay" meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never coed
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

We hadn't seen enough of jets
To talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at
The bottom of the bag.

And Hardware was a box of nails,
And bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

Buicks came with portholes,
And side shows came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough
To cover both your cheeks.

And Coke came just in bottles,
And skirts came to the knee,
And Castro came to power
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

We had no Crest with Fluoride,
We had no Hill Street Blues,
We all wore superstructure bras
Designed by Howard Hughes.

We had no patterned pantyhose
Or Lipton herbal tea
Or prime-time ads for condoms
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

There were no golden arches,
No Perriers to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda,
And cats were not called Bill.

And middle-aged was thirty-five
And old was forty-three,
And ancient were our parents
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

But all things have a season,
Or so we've heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline
We swear by Retin-A.

And they send us invitations
To join AARP,
We've come a long way, baby,
From the Land of Sandra Dee.

So now we face a brave new world
In slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they're using
Smaller print in magazines.

And we tell our children's children
Of the way it used to be,
Long ago and far away
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

* "That which does not kill us only makes us funnier." This belief was muttered by the philosopher-poet in his sleep and was reported to his biographers, ironically enough, by the same hoyden who gave him terminal Syphilis).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bygone Days Remembered ...Truly

Reflections upon an era by a survivor thereof
By Boots Dorfman

Long ago and far away,
In a time I well recall,
A lot of folks were very weird,
But thought they knew it all

Before the days of Roe v. Wade,
There lived a race of fools
Who dwelt in Never-Never Land
Where wistful thinking rules

And all seemed truth and goodness,
In that land that Time erased,
Where women mostly stayed at home,
And non-whites knew their place

And we all did as we were told,
And ne'er kicked up a fuss,
For if we did, the Million-Pound
Shit-Hammer dropped on us

And only in our wildest dreams
Did we expect to see
Most people doing as they pleased
In the Days of Sandra Dee.

For they could hear us coming
All the way to Tennessee,
All starched and sprayed and 'way repressed
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

For Ike was in the White House,
Billy Graham was on TV, and
The State could force your kids to pray
In the Schools of Sandra Dee.

They meddled with our motto,
All those Senators and Reps
"Out of Many, One" seemed
To be lacking verve and pep

A better motto, they believed
Would "Trust God," paramount,
("Agnostics may pay taxes,
But you know, they just don't count")

We longed for love and romance,
Women all besought their Prince
Then got wed to a macho jerk
Who has not been seen since

We danced to "Little Darlin'",
Sang along to "Stagger Lee"
(A funny pop song, oozing blood)
In the Land of Sandra Dee.

We fell for Frankie Avalon,
Annette we did adore
(Each movie that they made
Was cloned from what they'd done before)

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold,
And Chester had a limp;
Miss Kittie was a madam,
Chester was a goofy gimp

We had our share of heroes,
Some like Bobby Darin; he
(A second-rate Sinatra)
Married our girl, Sandra Dee

For youth was still eternal,
And life was yet to be,
And Elvis wed a 16-year-old girl
(Not Sandra Dee)

We'd never seen a rock band
That was Grateful to be Dead;
Our music and our lyrics
Tasted strongly of White Bread

And Beatles lived in gardens then,
Instead of Liverpool
And some guys thought that bashing queers
Was really, really cool

We had no patterned pantyhose
Or reproduction texts
Or prime-time ads for condoms
(Of course, we did not have sex)

We'd never heard of birth control,
And if you fooled around,
You had the kid (no matter
If a good home could be found)

And pumping iron got wrinkles out,
And "gay" meant fancy-free,
(The closets, they were good and full
In the Days of Sandra Dee)

Buicks came with portholes,
And the sideshows came with freaks,
And oh, the fun we'd have,
Just lining up to gawk at geeks!

Only girls wore earrings then,
No nipple rings were worn
(Now that I think about it,
It’s a shame that fad was born)

And Coke came just in bottles,
And skirts came to the knee,
And Cuban missiles very nearly
Started World War III

So now we tell our grand kids
Of our oddball yesterdays;
I do not know about you, Pal;
I'm glad they've gone away

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Three poems I really mean

Real men

A tribute to Alexander's most recent incarnation, the cartoon character Hank Hill

Real men carry a Leatherman Tool or a Swiss Army Knife everywhere

Real men carry a pocket pistol most places
Because when the choice is flee or fight, sometimes it's not a real choice

Real men love their lovers and sometimes fight back-to-back with them
Alexander the Macedon and Hank Hill:
Real men we have all known, and should love

Frontiers of volition

Driving on a fool's mission in City Point one day
I carelessly cruised through a flock of Cardinals perched upon the street
All flew; one flew too slowly and was struck
I saw him in my rearview mirror, collapsed but still breathing on the blacktop

I drove around the block, still on a fool's mission
I approached his injured body at moderate speed,
His coup de grace to execute
"Never leave a wounded animal,
It's cruel," said Daddy all those years ago.
"If you wound it, you kill it."

The little red bird, no doubt a fledgling, stood his ground
As the wheels of my car closed in;
When I felt the tiny bump and looked in the mirror to confirm my kill,
I realized that both He and I were living on the frontiers of volition

Nuptuial promises

My wife and I have made promises:
If I predecease her, she'll attend my funeral in a red dress
If she goes before I do, I'll show up at hers in a red kilt
It's only fair.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

In Perpetuity

Certain discovery at first light
And the last rebel is hung
They came from miles around
To witness the christening of the mandrake shrine

If you are the sort to whom the long, tall days seem little more than
A viscous blot on the copybook of an amusing little domestic truth;
If you give a particular damn whose God won the perpetual
All-night crapshoot in the backroom of the Hotel Hades;
If legions of suicide drivers sing your praises from beyond the outer wall,
Then let's kick back, have a chat, hoist a few beers
On this, the day the world ends

If you are the sort to whom awareness is
The necessary frolic
The Stated Aim,
The found wallet, bulging with expectation,
Bereft of magic plastic (and ID)
Then let's run amok, you and I,
Cop some weed
See the world
Have a ball
Then wander home to find the tents gone,
fires cold,
no forwarding address
just a poem about patience, written by a child

Well ... that brings up some things I lost
in my haste to be about my father's work
Crusted and nestled in the rich red dust of liberty
Slightly sticky with remorse and guaranteed to turn your hair white, white, white;
Mother of color, womb of light
and shot through with earth-tone
Fading … but still numerous and remindful that this once was human flesh,
this walking ghost
this odd little loser
this beggar at Heaven's door

Copyright 1986 by Mark Dorroh

Three Poems Which Reflect on Pop, Alt and Freak Culture

Rarmcwa’s Blues

Factoids and truthiness and truthiness and factoids
Give me a royal pain not unlike hemorrhoids
Rumors most vicious and slander that stings
These are some of my least favorite things

Biased reporting and wisdom (conventional),
Rancid old racists whose harm seems intentional
Loud Bible-thumpers, gang-bangers who sing
These are some more of my least fav’rite things

When the crap flies, is triumphant,
That’s when I feel sad;
I consider the way that our culture is going
And try not to

Thespians who don’t know squat about history
Get quoted widely, though why is a mystery
Singer/songwiters and frontmen for bands
Spout off on subjects they ill understand

Media darlings all full of celebrity
Passing as persons with claims to integrity
Fill up our airwaves with pernicious jive
(It’s hard to imagine their brains are alive)

When my gag re-
Flex gets tickled
I no longer look,
I just turn off my radio and my TV
Then lose myself in a

Slam Rant

I'll ask it once; please make it so, these Jerry Springer riffs should go
I'm sorry Dad was such a satyr,
Sorry Mom was such a martyr
Sorry your big sister drank
Sorry Little Brother tanked at the ripe old age of 21 behind a loaded spike
And a loaded gun,
I’m sorry your ex is a jerk
Your boss (no doubt) a toxic toad at work
I'm mad your uncle fiddled you
Upset your lover diddled you
But trotting out old hurts and shocks
Just to get one's own poet’s rocks
Haranguing the compliant crowd
(While kvetching really, really loud)
Just seems to me some less than arty
(Smacks to me of pity-party)
If noisome whining's not enough, we've poets made of sterner stuff
Who seem to think some fine result
Flows from personality cult:
They give all props to Mao and Che
Fidel, Hugo, Sal Allende,
They really seem to like these guys
And I've no doubt that in their eyes
These avatars did naught but good
For suff'ring, oppressed humanhood
The closer read of history
Comports more with reality;
They neither gods nor monsters be,
They're people … just like you and me
Complete with biases galore
Vendettas nursed from years before
And lots of little blind spots, Dears
Like, some of ‘em’r stone down on queers
I kid you not, suppose I'm gay
Residing in Cuba today
Fidel's prepared a place for me
Where decent folk won't have to see
My deep romantic deviance;
In jail, with this week's dissidents
(Those anti-state contrarians
And Menshevik librarians
Who with The Man do not play nice
Here in the worker's paradise)
The Beard can't let 'em just run loose now
So Raoul chucks 'em in the hoosegow
Chucks 'em in there with the queers
Leaves 'em there for years and years
Re-educates the ones he may
As for the rest; a million days
Is really not too long a sentence
To teach such lishentsy repentance.
Such cavalier and stinging slights
On basic, common human rights
Seem to this boy both foul and lame,
Do stink to me of power game
(A type of game both vile and hearty;
Like a "Happy Gulag" party)
Thus, once again, please make it so
These Fedilista, crypto-fascist, paleo-Maoist cults must go
Hey, thanks for listening to my rhymes
If any I failed to offend
I'll get on your last nerve next time
When I come rhyming back again!

1972 Revisited: An Incredibly Short One-Act Play

Author's note: The author is well aware of the pop maxim, "If you can remember the 1970s, you probably weren't really there." Fortunately, this play-in-verse was written as lyrics to a blues-rock song in 1973 and is, accordingly, substantially accurate in regard to historical/social detail. So let us now return, albeit briefly, to those halcyon days when anything one chose to do short of
kidnapping an heiress or setting fire to a ROTC building was pretty much OK with everyone else ...

Act One, Scene One

The curtain opens upon a quiet north side Chicago neighborhood near Wrigley Field. On this winter night of clear skies and 20- degree temps, enter stage left a rather nicely dressed middle-aged businesswoman of indeterminate age, race and place of national origin. As she walks home from the Sheffield Avenue El station, she detects approaching her from stage right a young man who appears to be about one quaff short of knee-walking drunk. Having been gently reared in the city (and being nobody's complete damn fool) she steps gingerly to one side of the shared sidewalk in order to allow this big galoot unfettered egress to ... wherever he thinks it is he's
going. Seeing her shy away from him, the young man locks his gaze upon hers. He speaks:

Young Man - What'sa matter Lady, do I make you uneasy when you see me on the street? My eyes are wild, my hands do shake, there's sweat on my brow, and heaven knows, it's only 20 degrees … But what could I tell you 'bout the party I've been to, Girl, the people there were crazy as loons! We smoked some weed, then ate some speed, then drank some cheap whiskey, then we got into the cocaine and 'ludes. Everything was fine until an hour ago, when they sent me out to get some more gin, and now I'm wandering lonely on the streets of Chicago, and I've got to find my way back to that party again! When I get back to that party with this bottle of booze, I know exactly what we're going to do: We'll sit right down and drink it up and then drop some acid and we’ll wash it down with lots of cold brew. And then we'll party 'til dawn, just a'watchin' the walls breathe, and we’ll probably get completely berserk, and then someone will remember that it's just Tuesday morning, so we'll all get up and go off to work. Things were pretty righteous 'bout hour ago, but then I had to leave to cop some more gin. And when we get home from work tomorrow, we'll get back together, and you know, we're gonna party again!


Sunday, February 06, 2005

I saw the best minds of my generation co-opted by Conventional Wisdom ... sated, smug, designer-labeled ...

By Mark Dorroh

I've been indulging my artsy side of late, ripping off a verse or three at some Richmond poetry slams. The deal with a slam is, it's sort of like a poets' battle of the bands; everybody brings his best stuff, you're judged by randomly selected audience members and the winner gets a few bucks and bragging rights.

I had some medical problems about this time last year and my physician put her foot down and told me I had to take a few months off to recover, so I did. Toward the end of that time, I got itchy to resume wordsmithing, so I cranked out some new poems (I've been writing poems and songs since shortly after birth) and hied myself up to the Firehouse Theatre for my first-ever slam.

I recited an abstraction-heavy piece ("In Perpetuity") chock full of Biblical references and lots of e.e. cummingsesque wordplay. I bombed horribly, while a bunch of kids who spent their entire three minutes raving out about how dead, white European males, capitalism and George W. Bush are part and parcel of a Satanist conspiracy got full props.

I quickly recalibrated my act, pumped up the Bombast Coefficient Factor to "11" and returned a few months later loaded for bear. My offering that night was "an incredibly short one-act play rendered in verse, song and interpretive dance."

The piece, a carefully metered and rhymed bit of pop doggerel, gives the listener a pretty good ride, but is nothing special compared to my "In Perpetuity." It was, however, larded with references to the riotous living in which I engaged during my misspent youth ("1972 Revisited").

It's fair to say my performance was less than restrained. In point of fact, I ran amok on stage for three minutes in front of a room full of startled Virginia Commonwealth University students.

The crowd approved. The kids seemed to especially enjoy the interpretive dancing, which combined odd elements of Mick Jagger's stage moves (poorly rendered, but my butt is considerably bigger than his, so whaddya want?) with a sweet little Illinois roadhouse step called The Four Corners. I should stipulate that this dance is one which should be illegal - for anyone my age, gender and race - to perform in public. It's like the Shimmy, but ruder. A lot ruder. Middle-aged white American men have been known to cringe, then instruct me to leave the building upon witnessing my performance of The Four Corners. But women, persons of color and foreign-born persons think it's fine. And kids love it.

On the strength of this uninhibited display of extreme silliness, I scored my way into a Rhyme-Off, tied for first with two other poets. I stupidly reprised "In Perpetuity," placing third out of three.

Since then, I have written other, similarly deft ruminations in verse, and I keep getting blown off stage by credulous children rhyming about how dead European males are responsible for every single misfortune to befall humanity since we left The Garden. They also like to allude to the well-known fact that George W. Bush's horns and tail are routinely airbrushed out of news photos by former Nixon aides.

I got wise to the ways of slams only after I had bombed one more time, on that occasion by reciting my newest effort, "Let's," a tribute to human volition and creative chaos.
"Let's" begins with a reverse-spin riff on the opening line of the seminal Beat poem "Howl." Allen Ginsberg wrote, "I saw the greatest minds of my generation destroyed by madness starving hysterical naked."

I, seeking literary engagement with the real-time Real World, wrote, "I have seen the hindmost intellects of our era co-opted by conventional wisdom sated smug designer-labeled."

Not only did the judges fail to grok in its fullness my implicit message, I doubt if many of them had any idea whom or what I was referencing. The ones who did probably resented me messing with The Master and scored me accordingly.

I scored sixth out of six poets, but I'm a big Libertarian Republican boy, and let's face it, we're all blind to the limitations of our own talent, so coming in dead last wasn't all that big a deal. But the judges' lack of literacy, awareness and/or class extended far beyond their lack of appreciation for my own meager talents.

Specifically, the guy who placed fourth, an ace poet named NazDak - of whom I feel certain we will hear more in coming years - lit up the room with a brilliantly constructed plea for love, reason, spiritual cleanliness and general godliness. His performance was every bit as good as his verse but, unfortunately for him, he didn't blame Amerikkka, dead European males, capitalism or George W. Bush for a single thing.

Bad move, Naz. This particular gang of aficionados would rather trash predictable boogymen than eat chocolate cake with icing and Häagen-Dazs. They want to hear President Bush and his execrable ilk lit the Reichstag fire, shot J.F.K. from the grassy knoll and killed Cock Robin.

What they don't want is to hear is a lot of damn sorry truck 'bout love 'n reason.

Here's what I've finally figured out, Naz; Political Correctness is the New Conventional Wisdom. It's much like the Old Conventional Wisdom, lame beyond all imagining but not nearly as easily-detected as its witless progenitor.

The CW is dead! Long live the New CW (The Prince Formerly Known as PC)!

Please allow me to state, emphatically and for the record, "More's the pity."

Saturday, March 03, 2001

Racism For Dummies

Chapter One: "And everybody hates the Jews"

Racism, often thought of as a complex and multilayered thing, is actually easy to understand, even by someone as scatterbrained as I.

Forget the twisted rhetoric of David Duke, Louis Farrakhan, Elijah Muhammad and Strom Thurmond for a minute, and let's get down to cases. People who have nothing else to recommend them invariably resort to the good people-bad people paradigm for a reason; essentially personal insecurity and feelings of helplessness and victimization. They are the good guys, easily identifiable by a bundle of characteristics along the lines of something as ephemeral as skin color, gender, language, religion (or the lack thereof) and/or ethnicity.

So, in the immortal words of Tom Lehrer, "All the Protestants hate the Catholics and the Catholics hate the Protestants and the Hindus hate the Moslems and everybody hates the Jews."

Chapter Two: "White People Are Corny And Whack"

To further break it down, let's consider one prime racist personality type, which I shall label "Type One" and "Type B." We shall conduct our analysis with imagined, but not unimaginable, quotes.

Type One: "I may be a strung-out redneck who spends all my time tweaking, beating my old lady because she doesn't give me, in a timely fashion, her food stamps and cash from the tricks she turns in our trailer, beating my girlfriends because they get on my nerves, beating my kid for much the same reason, and dealing tweak at a rate that has engendered an identifiable cluster in the national health abstract of suicides, homicides and fatal overdoses in three counties … but at least I'm not a nigger."

Type B: "I may be a thugged-out pimp (for whom life is hard) who spends all my time snorting blow and smoking crack, beating my old lady because she doesn't give me, in a timely fashion, her food stamps and cash from the tricks she turns in our trailer, beating my girlfriends because they get on my nerves, beating my kid for much the same reason and dealing crack at a rate that has caused a localized cluster in the national health abstract of HIV, crack babies and turf-related drive-by killings in three cities … but at least I'm not a cracker."

The assumption in each case is that no matter how much another person might appear superior, the racist easily identifies that person as inferior if his/her skin is not similarly pigmented.

Ayn Rand correctly identified racism as "barnyard collectivism." It removes the necessity of having to consider each person on his/her objective merits and makes visual identification and classification the sole criteria of worth.

"It was impossible to distinguish man from pig, pig from man" indeed!
Of course, there are the secondary characteristics of racist thought, and they do delve in to some complicated cultural and economic matters. A graffito I recently spotted on a men's room stall declares, "White people are corny and whack. The sooner we start killing them, the better."

Well, as a guy who not only is white but has been for a great number of years, I could only congratulate the young man on his perspicacity. Rather too many of us are corny and whack and he's got our measure, fer sure.

But so what? We're also very creative and productive, and (unless we go nuts, as we periodically do, and start killing everyone in sight) on the whole, pretty good folks. We try to rear our children gently, leave them a better world than the one we inherited, care for the poor, the halt, the lame and the blind, and not cause too much of a fuss doing it.

Conversely, some soft-expectations pseudo-Liberal might gloatingly note that there are more young black men behind bars than in college. This (numerically accurate) observation fuels two inner needs: the need to feel superior and the need to blame somebody else for the misfortunes to which flesh is heir. It's also great grist for a pity-party (which combines both inner needs into a single strangled cry of anguish and rage) which makes one feel somewhat better about oneself, although not in a good way.

But how do these persons propose to improve on this thoroughly sick state of affairs? Are these Concerned Citizens out there tutoring young persons of color, teaching them to read for fun so that alternative career paths will not be barred to them?

Those persons who react to the pity-party in such a way are the only ones with any moral authority to ever open their mouths on the subject. The rest are analogous to persons who eat bacon for breakfast, a burger for lunch and a steak for dinner, then chastise hunters for killing litter furry critters.

In the old days, it was the no-expectations pseudo-Conservative who thought this way. They cleverly constructed roadblocks to all areas of personal improvement, up to and including blowing off your family's front porch some night to remind you that your "place" was not at the voting booth. Softer measures included rigged literacy tests, in which the white voter would be required to spell "cat" and get most of the letters right, and a black voter would be expected to explain Newtonian physics, them compare and contrast them to Einstein's theorems of special and general relativity. When the black voter failed the test, they said, "See? They're not bright enough to vote."

It was a snide, vicious little game, and it's no wonder so many black people think we're corny and whack. And since we killed them by the barrelfull when we had it all our own way, I can't really argue with the justice of killing as many of us as possible if and when this young man and his pals take over.

Sauce for the gander, you know.