Dark Continent

Dark continent: (n) reference to Africa

Although it’s never really organized, there is a definite attempt to rally for the victim—or make numerous excuses for the bully.

Both positions suffer from a weakness.

The bully and all his advocates appear defensive.

And the victim, trying to come across sympathetic, is often anemic—maybe even a little suspect.

Maintaining the insanity of racism requires a verbose bully and a wounded victim.

And may I say, as long as this profile is bolstered, the roles continue—bully and victim.

For perhaps two hundred years, Africa was referred to as the “Dark Continent.”

It was a conversational way of allowing the ignorance of our society, permitting them a tenuous explanation for egregious actions.

After all, the word “Dark” is simply a more clinical phrasing of “black.”

And adding “Continent” clarified that it was not part of Western expansion by the European explorers.

Merely consider how the slave traders were comforted, easing their conscience concerning stealing human beings by gently reminding one and all that these pieces of property had been poached from a Dark Continent.

Hell, they might even have done them a favor—escaping the treachery of their own surroundings.

We must remember that racism never really goes away.

It just changes its lingo and softens its rationalization.

 

Dark Ages

Dark Ages: (n) the whole of the Middle Ages, from about a.d. 476 to the Renaissance.

The difference between religion and the secular world is that the secular world scares the shit out of you.

Religion chooses to scare the shit into you.

Recently at a convention, a woman spoke aloud in front of one and all, and proclaimed, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a world where our faith, church and worship of God was in control?”

I held my tongue.

I did real well until I saw her out in the lobby, surrounded by gullible young kids, and repeated her statement.

I quietly stepped in, but resolutely pointed out, “My dear, we already had that opportunity to see what life would be like when God was worshipped and the church was honored.”

“It was called the Dark Ages.”

Much to my surprise, some of the older students started laughing.

She was upset—though I don’t know whether she caught my meaning.

“The Dark Ages” describes a time when the human race selected everything off the menu of possibility that was unnatural or unhealthy.

  • Blind devotion to God.
  • Kings and Queens in charge of lands and castles.
  • The rest of the citizens living as serfs to bless the church and the ruling class.
  • Ignorance promoted as unfaltering faith.
  • And a Bible blindly revered—even though nobody was allowed to read it.

It is easy to imagine a Dark Ages arriving upon us again.

It commences whenever we believe that one human being is better than other human beings and should be followed without question, because the church tells us that he or she is supreme.

And they know this to be true—because “God has ruled it to be so.”

Dago

Dago (n): a contemptuous term used for a person of Italian or Spanish descent

I was seven years old and not about to lose the blessings of my youth by questioning grown-ups on what they did.

There was fifty cents worth of allowance at stake and the occasional affectionate pat on the head—plus a half pound of pickle pimento loaf, purchased once every two weeks just for me at White’s Market.

I had much to lose.

So when I heard grown-ups say “Spic,” I thought it was short for “spicy.” After all, Mexicans do like their hot peppers.

When they said “Chink” I thought it was a tribute to Chinese armor, or that protective gear worn by the Samurai.

“Negro” sounded to me like “Negro,” which I believed to be an appropriate term for a race of people I rarely saw.

“Injun?” I had convinced myself it was the Iroquois word for “American Indian.”

And of course, “Dago,” for Italian folks, seemed logical to me because it sounded like pizza dough, and I sure did like pizza.

I was a full blown-out adult when I realized that these terms were not only derogatory but disabling.

I repented quickly of my foolishness and tried to find a way to understand the ignorance that brought this nasty language my way.

Cribbage

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cribbage: (n) a card game for two, three or four people

Yes, this is one of those words.

There are many of them: words or terms that are brought up in front of me which I do not know–neither what they mean nor how they are played or applied.

For instance, someone in my presence might say:

“Well, a couple of us were playing cribbage…”

At this point I notoriously nod my head. The reason? Nobody else in the room looks bewildered—they are also covering up their ignorance, and I don’t want to be the one to ask, “Cribbage? What’s that?”

I do it with other words, too. Honestly, Cherries Jubilee is like that for me. I know there’s a fire involved—which is enough to make me want to back off, considering that I’m a bit intimidated by a flaming dessert.

Something topical? The census.

I kind of have an idea what it is, but I’m afraid to speak anything out loud because the whole room may turn to me with one perplexed glance, as if to sneer, “That’s not the census…”

I can break out in a cold sweat if people start talking about constitutional amendments.

I would probably faint if I were suddenly challenged by a woman asking me to explain exactly where the clitoris is.

Sometimes you shut your mouth.

Because the minute you open it, all your stupidity and ignorance come pouring out like the fizz in a two-liter bottle of Coke, uncapped, on a hot day.


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Craw

Craw: (idiom) to rankle

When I received the menu at the Getting Older Cafeteria, there were many items listed which were unappetizing:

  • Chronic pain
  • Memory slips
  • Aching joints
  • Slower movement

But some of the nastier dishes afforded to those who are joining the Gang Just Over the Hill are:

  • Fussy
  • Self-righteous
  • Judgmental
  • And cranky

All of these particular offerings place those with “graying futures” in dispositions where things start sticking in their craw.

It’s an old-time phrase—matter of fact, many younger folks would not know the meaning (and should be commended for their ignorance). But they would recognize the phrase easily if you changed it to a word they are more accustomed to: bratty.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I guess you reach a certain age when you just can’t be a brat—so what you have to do instead is “get something stuck in your craw.”

The two conditions certainly appear to be the same. The sour facial expressions are identical. The grumping and complaining, spot-on.

But once your birthdays have accumulated to a certain heap, you are no longer allowed to be a brat. You just get things stuck in your craw.

I, myself, am very careful to make sure this never happens to me. So intent was I to guarantee that nothing got stuck in my craw that I actually went out and had my craw removed.


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Court of Public Opinion

Court of public opinion: (n) the beliefs and judgment of most people

I have never met “most people.”

They normally come as individuals who begin to cling together over some belief or even prejudice, simply because they have been taught since their youth that there is strength in numbers. (Once again, I don’t know if even that is true.)funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

After all, there have been some awfully “populated” ideas over the centuries of mankind which dissipated when exposed for their greed or stupidity.

So when it comes to the court of public opinion, there is actually a wide range of assertions within that single courtroom.

What I have learned is that there are three things that will never be illegal, can’t imagine them being improper, and generally speaking, gain favor when the public opinion decides to hold court.

1. “I’m sorry.”

Even though we tout the power of arrogance, we simultaneously despise it.

Even though we want people to espouse their confidence, our skin crawls a bit if humility doesn’t show up immediately.

You will certainly be convicted in the court of public opinion if you are unable to say, “I’m sorry.”

2. “I have faults.”

There is only one entity we believe to be sinless, and quite honestly, He, being God, gets an awful lot of questioning of His comings and goings.

I don’t think any of us are looking for our leaders, friends, spouses or children to be without mistakes or error-free. We just appreciate it when folks know they are capable of a stumble before we come along, have to pick them up and listen to all their excuses.

3. “It’s none of my goddamn business.”

You certainly have a better chance of being acquitted in the court of public opinion if you aren’t prosecuting too many cases against other folk.

If it’s not involving your money, your time, your soul or your body, stay the hell out of it. Then you won’t have to face the revenge of disgruntled people who were accused by your court and ended up walking out the doors smelling like a rose.

Yes, if you want to get a good verdict in the court of public opinion, you might want to remember these three things.

Or be prepared to spend some time imprisoned by your own ignorance.

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Countryfied

Countryfied: (adj) not sophisticated or cosmopolitan; provincial.

Short elections ago, when candidates were desperately searching for a means or an end to guarantee the vote of people of color, there was an abiding premise that the United States was becoming a deeper shade of beige.

Those running for election tried to guarantee the support of the younger crowd who could hip and hop instead of the older ones, who seemed to flip and flop.

Then, in 2016, the notion of the decline of rural America and the urbanization of the nation was startled by the election of the new President. His constituency didn’t seem to know too much about Hollywood, the Oscars or America’s Top 40.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Their musical selection landed somewhere between “the Johns”—Lennon or Cash. Their clothing was simple and bought from a common department store they shared with their neighbors (being careful not to wear the same shirt on the same day).

Their food was country-fried because they, themselves, were countryfied.

Although attempts were made to characterize this voting block as bigoted, prejudiced, ignorant and unwilling to accept new ideas and different people, it turns out that in many cases, they didn’t hate blacks, gays, Hispanics and feminists—just chose not to hang around them.

The reason for this, in their minds, was simple. These countryfied folks were taught to be humble and not pushy, with a stringent fear of God and zealous honoring of the flag. They deemed themselves patriots. Actually, it’s the piece of arrogance they proudly display while trying to suppress any other willfulness that attempts to surface.

So suddenly, in our time, the politicians are trying to find “countryfied” again.


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