We all live in a Freakbat Mutant submarine
The Webster Retort, Dec. 30, 2005
“We bake a little cake with Duncan Hines
and never wear the vest they call the Calvin Kleins
Cause Calvin Klein's no friend of mine
Don't want nobody's name on my behind
Lee on my legs, sneakers on my feet
D by my side and Jay with the beat”
-- Run D.M.C., “Rock Box”
Writer’s block. I had it bad. For three days I went from being my own worst critic to fearing those invisible boundaries that every liberal-thinking columnist surely feels in this capricious state of Texicanica. I had a topic and two basic points plotted on the weekly writer’s map, but no path to traverse between them. The problem took up residence in my mind like some damn burrowing parasite, dredging my brain and rendering any form of creativity a hopeless endeavor.
As I was driving home Tuesday night, it came to me. Over the Christmas holiday, I had been gifted “Distortion,” the new album by Reverend Run, a.k.a. Run D.M.C. Sitting at a stop light, I began to pay particular notice to the lyrics. A close friend of mine was in the car with me at the time. She also seemed to be paying mind to Run’s Words.
“You know, I should get this album for my father,” she said. “He generally likes anything related to rap, so long as it doesn’t make any political statements or have any vulgar or sexist language.” I looked at her a little confused. After all, most popular rappers make a living off controversial statements, either political or simply adverse to society’s average norms. I’m not a connoisseur of any genre, but there are several artists and groups that I can think of right away which do not fall into this category, though they never break the top 50 charts. “Basically,” she continued, “he doesn’t like listening to a black man with an opinion.”
Suddenly, my writer’s block shattered into pieces. It all became clear oh so quickly. “Do you remember the day Run D.M.C.’s Jam Master Jay died?” I asked. “I remember that day. It was several years ago, and I was working for Borders Books & Music as a Bookseller at the time …”
“And some woman walked up to you …” she began. I cut her off. “Okay, so I’ll spare you the retelling. Either way, you’ve cured my block,” I told her.
So, where was I? Right. The day Jam Master Jay died, I was working the closing shift at Borders. I was subbing in the music section for one of my coworker’s lunch breaks. Like any good book store, there was music playing. That night, it just so happened to be Run D.M.C.’s first album, and for good reason if I do say so myself. It was also chess night in the café.
So, as Run rhymed away about Converse sneakers, tightey whitey underwear and bubblegum, I nodded my head to Jay’s then-revolutionary rhythms. His legacy had come to an end, and listening to that CD that night was one of the few pleasures a Bookseller may get in the dead-end world of retail.
A short, lumpy, light-skinned woman with a curly, gray focaccia loaf where her hair should have been approached the music counter and whistled for my attention. I grinned that fake grin that every register-biscuit knows so well. “How may I help you?” I asked. She did not look happy.
“I want you to turn that music off, right now!” she said, emphatically waiving a copy of Southern Living above her head, pointing it toward the small speaker on the ceiling. As she thrust her right hand upward, large folds of flesh wobbled like so many spoonfuls of jell-o; her face, contorted as though a small black-hole had ripped a gap in the space-time continuum just below the tip of her unusually large nose.
“I do not want my son hearing that filth!” she insisted. “He’s only 15, and we always come here for chess night. He’s just a few feet away from that … that …” I held my hands up in surrender. When groveling earns your less-than living wage, there is no sense in reasoning with the cretins. You could end up getting lynched, mugged, robbed and spit on. And there are bad things that can happen, too. I pressed stop and she seemed satisfied.
I could not figure out what it was about Run D.M.C. that so grated her cheese. The least offensive rapper in the history of rap agitates this woman to the point where she calls his music “filth” and pleads for its dismissal on behalf of her 15 year old son? She was offended because it was the voice of a man with a different color of skin, or so I thought. But this hypothesis needed a control and outcome, which I aimed to establish.
I crouched below the counter and flipped through a book of albums, looking for the perfect white artist. The Ramones … no. Aerosmith … no. Ah. Ah-ha! The Sex Pistols.
“You four years on
You still look the same
I think about time
You changed your brain
You're just a pile of shit
You're coming to this
Ya poor litlle faggot
You're sealed with a kiss
-- The Sex Pistols, “
A few people actually raised an eyebrow when this song came on, but not the subject of my experiment. She had her nose buried in the same issue of Southern Living she’d so eagerly waived in my face. My imagination began to drift to an alternate world where, upon hearing the words in the Pistols’ “Anarchy in The U.K.,” the poor lad spontaneously combusts upon hearing the word “antichrist;” his head explodes into a thousand gooey pieces after seeing the Brit-punks hip-thrusting into their guitars and downing Kentucky Whiskey like ginger beer.
My experiment had brought the truth to light. The woman was a quiet racist; the very kind I hope to annoy to this day. Take it from an Irish Muckraker - bringing whitey down a peg or two can be fun on occasion. But
According to a Dec. 16, 2005 article in The Washington Post, the intrepid team of scientists discovered the reason some people have light skin. A gene called “slc24a5,” which represents just one letter out of a 3.1 billion character genetic sequence, apparently mutated between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago, giving rise to the first light-skinned person. The researchers were conducting gene replacement therapy on a Zebra Fish when they found a mutation that caused some fish to have a lighter pigment than others.
Comparing this to a genome databank that catalogs four of the world’s most predominant racial groups, they discovered the same gene in the exact state in people with darker pigment. In fact, they found the gene present in an identical state in a wide array of mammalian life. The only brand of human which possesses an alternate form of s1c24a5 is white. The underlying message: white people are Freakbat Genetic Mutants. I love it.
Gripe and moan as you will, this proves beyond any reaches of prejudice and hatred that we are all, more or less, the same. There is no master race. However, it would be foolish to say that because we know this, anybody can get a cab in
I think this is the case because so many people concentrate on race as a defining factor. Many older people I have known will first assert color when describing a non-white person. Some even mention it with a whisper, which never fails to make me laugh. So much emphasis is placed on race, especially by those of similar tincture to myself, that I cannot help but deposit a sly smile knowing that if there ever was a Master Race, it was the First Race; the only race. The Black Race, from which whites mutated and separated.
Take it down a peg or two, whitey. A little more pride in humanity; a little less screeching about that Freakbat Mutation. We’re all just people after all, and this submarine is getting a little stuffy.
Stephen Webster is an Investigative Reporter and Syndicated Columnist with The News Connection, a Staff Columnist with George W. Bush’s hometown weekly The Lone Star Iconoclast, and a former Contributor to The Dallas Morning News’ Science & Technology section. For more of Webster’s musings, visit GonzoMuckraker.BlogSpot.com.