“There comes a point at which we must ask ourselves if only
idiots are interested in public office or, if not, how is it that we
always manage to end up with idiots.” Darryl Mockridge
According to FoxNews.com (8/2/13) "The Office of Civil Rights, in the city of Seattle has instructed
city workers to avoid using the words "citizen" and "brown bag", saying that they are potentially
offensive." Elliott Bronstein, whoever he is, explains that it’s "because some may find these terms
Bronstein went on to say that "the term "brown bag" has been used historically as a way to judge
skin color. Here’s a quote: "For a lot of particularly African-American community members, the
phrase brown bag does bring up associations with the past when a brown bag was actually used, I
understand, to determine if people's skin color was light enough to allow admission to an event or to
come into a party that was being held in a private home."
I’m assuming Mr. Bronstein said this with a “straight face”… a term which I find personally offensive.
Of course, no one has yet determined where on earth Mr. Bronstein gets his information. I know that
when I was a kid you had to be as tall as the plywood cut-out of a cartoon mouse in order to ride the
Wild Mouse roller coaster. I found that offensive, but only for as long as that mouse stood between
me and a genuinely dangerous, somewhat frightening, remarkably short-lived, experience. Thinking
back now, I’m pretty sure the word mouse may have left a mark on some other poor people as well. I
recall an entire generation of cartoon women shrieking and climbing up onto chairs whenever
someone said they thought they’d seen one. I don't think those cartoon wounds will ever heal.
Oh…you know, now that I think about it, once, while living in Dayton, Ohio, we hit our baseball into
the fenced-in yard of the old guy next door and he wouldn’t let us into his fenced-in yard to retrieve
it. Even though it was late in the summer and we all had a pretty good tans at the time, I would have
welcomed a brown bag test to get that ball back; baseballs were kind of expensive back then. IF that
guy had given us a brown bag test and we had passed, the words “brown bag” would have meant
something kinda good to me. I know that doesn’t really count, but, you know…just thinkin’ out loud.
These days, I’m kinda indifferent to the term ‘brown bag” –as I was back then-- but begin to tremble
uncontrollably whenever some insensitive dolt starts talking loudly, with no consideration
whatsoever for the feelings of others, about his fenced-in yard.
As kids, we actually did carry our lunches to school in a brown bag, we just didn’t know any better.
So, now I’m beginning to wonder if some may find the term high-top sneakers offensive. My wife’s
father, who is French, has a tremendous distaste for sneakers. Forced by circumstance to utter that
awful word, he spits it out with theatrical ferocity.
"According to the memo, city employees should use the terms "lunch-and-learn" or "sack lunch"
instead of "brown bag." And that makes tremendous sense. They could combine the luncheon
experience with the growing community concern for obesity and the concept of ‘eating a healthy
meal once in a while’, and call it “A Leaning Lunch".
I think anyone carrying a healthy meal in a re-cycled paper bag of any color, begging entry into an
event or private party called "A Leaning Lunch", would be far more welcome than anyone carrying
foie gras in something they just picked up the other day at Louis Vuitton. Those are the people who
irritate me. I wish Elliott Bronstein would do something about those people, and all those poseurs in
their Range Rovers while he's at it.
"Bronstein told KIRO Radio the word "citizen" should also be avoided because many people who live
in Seattle are residents, not citizens. "They are legal residents of the United States and they are
residents of Seattle. They pay taxes and if we use a term like citizens in common use, then it
doesn't include a lot of folks," Bronstein said.
This is the very same reason I have stopped calling my wife, “Sweetheart” in public; it just excludes
so many others. On the other hand I seem to recall that my Uncle Sid used to call everyone
Sweetheart, and a lot of people found that offensive.
Naturally, I was sorry to read that “Seattle, however, isn't the only city with an eye on potentially
disruptive words. The New York Post reported in March 2012 that the city’s Department of
Education avoids references to words like “dinosaurs,” “birthdays,” “Halloween” and dozens of other
topics on city-issued tests because they could evoke “unpleasant emotions” among the students.”
I once had unpleasant emotions in school and, man, I can tell you, THAT was rough. Really rough.
Unpleasant emotions are really, really rough. Thank God I haven’t had any unpleasant emotions
since. I still remember those unpleasant emotions…I don’t think I’ll ever forget them…and… and...
you’ll have to forgive me… I just don’t think I can talk about it right now.
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