My Version of “The Talk”

After the senseless killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Central Florida, some black people were incensed enough by the prospect of their own progeny being gunned down for walking through a residential neighborhood while black that they revealed the existence of “The Talk” — a conversation they have with their youngsters to help the kids avoid Trayvon’s fate. This didn’t set well with certain white grievance mongers.

After breakfasting on “Birth of a Nation,” masticating The Bell Curve and washing it all down with a 151-proof bottle of Ye Olde Imperial Wizard, NRO’s resident white supremacist, John Derbyshire, vomited up a screed in the guise of his own version of “The Talk,” which ABL eviscerated here. Derbyshire’s column on “The Talk” was overt enough in its racism to attract condemnation from “conservatives” who prefer dog whistles to white linens, a dishonesty that Freddie deBoer ably vaporized here.

I can now reveal the existence of yet another version of “The Talk” — this one a heart-to-heart we liberal white women who are raising daughters in Dixie have to help our children navigate life among ignorant bigots, religious fanatics and Derbyshire-class assholes in the rural South:

1) Some 41% of our fellow Americans identify as “conservative;” this is why we can’t have nice things. By “nice things,” I mean things like universal health care, marriage equality and a sane foreign policy. “Conservatives” believe despite all evidence to the contrary that it makes more sense to invade foreign countries, kill tens of thousands of people and spend trillions of dollars in a fruitless effort to convert Baghdad and Kabul into Arlington, Virginia than it does to ensure that American families aren’t one diagnosis away from medical bankruptcy and homelessness.

2) Despite the fact that “conservatives” and “Christians” have dominated civic life in America for centuries and even today ritualistically require candidates for practically any elected office to declare fealty to Jesus, “conservatives” always behave as though they are the victims of anti-religious bigotry. Even though your entire holiday choir program was devoted to Christian-themed songs (well, I think they did the dreidel song too) and that you and your classmates are free to engage in private prayer the entire time you are at school, “conservatives” will insist that the country is going downhill because radical atheists gave Jesus the bum’s rush. You can point out reality and make enemies or privately roll your eyes. The result will be the same. This is what’s called “an article of faith.”

3) Being able to look down on gays makes “conservatives” feel better about their own dumb life choices and misery. That’s why your aunties can’t get married and enjoy the special tax treatment and societal status your father and I enjoy, even though they’ve been in a monogamous relationship for just as long.

4) About 100 million of our fellow Americans are Evangelical Christians. Since we live in a low-lying coastal region, you can thank the majority of that 100 million when the water comes lapping at your door due to climate change. Many Evangelical Christians are anti-science on numerous fronts. They are the reason that it was illegal for your science teacher to utter the word “evolution” in the classroom until 2008, and we can attribute the country’s decline in science education to their hysterical superstitions.

5) John Stuart Mill once said, “Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.” This is very true. However, it is possible to find non-stupid conservative people (which I shall identify by the acronym NSCP), but the Law of Large Numbers dictates that if you find yourself at a NASCAR race, the taping of a Fox News program or the Republican National Convention, you should assume you are surrounded by heavily armed, ignorant yahoos (HAIYs) and comport yourself accordingly. The safest thing to do is to avoid all events likely to attract large numbers of HAIYs since you will be at risk of falling victim to accidental gunfire — even at church.

6) That said, I recommend making friends with an NSCP if you can find one. Not only will you enjoy the benefits of friendship, you can use your friendship with an NSCP as an amulet to ward away prospect-destroying accusations of elitism if you happen to be photographed engaging in activities like windsurfing, consuming mustard that is not bright yellow or eating lettuce of the non-iceberg variety.

I could go on, my precious child, but this is probably enough to see you safely through eighth grade. Next year we’ll have “The Talk” about how to deal with local men who rattle the ice cubes in their empty tea glass at you as a way to indicate that they’d like more tea. (The hedge clippers will play a key role in my recommended response.) Until then, let’s be a careful out there.

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43 replies
  1. 1
    Egg Berry says:

    let’s be a careful out there

    obligatory.

  2. 2
    beltane says:

    Some of my best friends are conservative. No, actually, they’re not. I have met a small number of non-stupid conservatives over the years but they have all, without exception, been what I would charitably refer to as “eccentric”. I have a high tolerance for eccentric people, but none for mean and stupid people.

  3. 3
    WaterGirl says:

    Betty Cracker, while reading your posts, I often think about how lucky your children are to have you for a mom. We are lucky to have you here, too.

    Edit: I would pay money to have that printed as sort of an op-ed in the New York Times.

  4. 4
    gogol's wife says:

    This may sound OT but really isn’t. I was reading AARP magazine this morning, specifically an article about the dramatic increase in the number of cancer survivors in this country since 1971. The author repeatedly stresses the importance of the Cancer Act that President Nixon signed that year, which gave rise to all kinds of GUBMINT sponsored scientific research that has improved everyone’s chances of surviving cancer. It almost made me cry. NIXON signed it into law. In those days the people who passed as rabid right-wingers still believed in the importance and power of government to improve our lives, not to mention science. What has happened to us?

  5. 5
    WereBear says:

    Next year we’ll have “The Talk” about how to deal with local men who rattle the ice cubes in their empty tea glass at you as a way to indicate that they’d like more tea. (The hedge clippers will play a key role in my recommended response.)

    Lawzee. Exactly.

    A formative moment in my upbringing came about when I was too young to join the age class I was observing.

    There were teenagers next door. The boys were bent over the engine compartment of a car with the hood open. The girls were sitting decorously on the lawn nearby.

    At intervals the boys would hold out an empty container. Without looking.

    The girls, who were alert to their designated Other, would leap to their feet and exchange it with a fresh, full, one.

    It all became clear to me. I fled North at the age of 19.

  6. 6
    WJS says:

    @gogol’s wife: Evidence of the success of government, society, or an American culture where we help each other has never been accepted by conservatives. They only embrace the failure of government or society and don’t much care for what America has turned into. Diversity, tolerance, and selfless service are foreign to these people because they can’t imagine being decent to others.

    They hate you. They hate everyone and everything that they cannot conquer or bring to heel or buy off. They hate with unrestrained glee. They just hate and hate and hate and there’s nothing that will change them. They just want to serve up hate and pretend it’s candy coated fun.

  7. 7
    Josie says:

    With the exception of the ice cubes, this is similar to a number of conversations I had with my three sons as they were growing up. Boys have to be especially careful in the south if they are to avoid problems arising from being too intelligent or too liberal.

  8. 8
    danielx says:

    7) Finally, if they get too annoying and you simply must react, play Living in America by James Brown…really loud. They hate that.

  9. 9

    Next year we’ll have “The Talk” about how to deal with local men who rattle the ice cubes in their empty tea glass at you as a way to indicate that they’d like more tea. (The hedge clippers will play a key role in my recommended response.)

    Just had to laugh!

  10. 10
    scav says:

    I have apparently led a sadly protected life: all I hear in the rattling of ice-cubes is the errant thought of “Hey! I may have invented an entirely new instrument probably played by a percussionist!”

  11. 11
    danielx says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    After her description of about firing Newticles into a toxic waste dump, the hedge trimmer thing is enough to make me wary of ever doing anything that might conceivably piss this woman off.

  12. 12
    Jager says:

    Mrs. J and I attended the wedding of the son of a friend of hers in Atlanta in 2005. The groom and his best man were Citadel grads. There were about 5 or 6 other classmates of his at the wedding. The entire guest list was southern (except for us) rich and ultra conservative. Not one of the patriotic, Bush supporting, pro war Citadel grads had taken a commission in the military. I asked one of the young lads why in the hell would you go to the “West Point of the South” if you weren’t going to at least join the Georgia National Guard? The answer, “I have more important things to do in my life.” The groom was the 4th Citadel grad in his family, military service stopped with his grandpa who had been and Infantry officer in WW2. Old gramps was about the only sane person we met over the three days wee were in Atlanta.

  13. 13
    dmbeaster says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    In those days the people who passed as rabid right-wingers still believed in the importance and power of government to improve our lives, not to mention science. What has happened to us?

    Since conservatives do not accept basic programs put in place over the last century, and have little hope of repealing them, the alternative strategy is to just destroy government. That has the convenient side effect of ridding us of those pesky programs.

    And since science gets in the way of belief all too often, its better to just accept irrational thinking than trying to reason out the conflicts between belief and science.

  14. 14
    quannlace says:

    After reading Derbyshire’s screed (and picking myself off the floor after being assured it wasn’t a parody) all I could was that scene in ‘Hairspray’ where Mrs. Pingleton follows her daughter Peggy, and *horrors* finds herself in a black neighborhood.

    Oh, and the later scene where she finds Seaweed in Peggy’s room. “oh, no. There’s a negro in my house!’

  15. 15
    burnspbesq says:

    Anti-religious bigotry is real. Ever read any Sam Harris?

  16. 16
    grandpa john says:

    The basic problem is that the so called Christianity of Conservatives is not the Christianity that Jesus espouses in the bible. It seems to be based strictly on the Old Testament books and Mosaic law and ignores the new testament and the fact that the death of Jesus created a lnew covenant that surpassed Mosaic law For all their piety and and public worship, most seem never to have read Chapter 6 of the book of Mark, if the did the certainly did not do so with comprehension. Chapter 6
    essentially lays out for all, the manner in which a real christian is to behave. Love they neighbor as thyself, you are to care for the poor, the sick, the needy. Judge not others lest ye be judged. The Sermon on the mount,
    In other words real
    Christians are to love everyone, not hate those that are different.

  17. 17
    Hill Dweller says:

    Having grown up all over the South, and now, after several years in California, back here again(although in a liberal enclave), Betty’s posts are always both identifiable and hilarious.

  18. 18
    grandpa john says:

    @Jager: To answer your question, the Citadel is the bastion of political connection education in the south,that is Most go there not for the military well other than to have it on your resume but for the political connections made,and to have it on your resume as well
    it is what helps keep the “good ol boy” network going in the south. It is to the south much as the “IVy league is to the northeast

  19. 19
    Jess says:

    @burnspbesq: Not sure what you mean here. I’m quite anti-religious, so perhaps a bigot, and within the marketplace of ideas I’ll refute the arguments I disagree with (such as the theory that sex is a sin, or creationism). But like most atheists I have no desire to prohibit others from worshiping (although I may mock them a bit). I’m not going to burn pentagrams on their lawns or anything like that. The only political action I’ll ever take is to try to prevent personal faith from becoming theocracy imposed on others. I’d be willing to bet that most everyone else who is anti-religion will leave the believers alone if the believers will do the same for those who do not share their faith.

  20. 20
    WereBear says:

    @burnspbesq: Despite whatever your religion may have told you, chances are it has oppressed others far far more than it has been oppressed, itself.

    Whatever religion it is.

    Sam Harris is your refutation? Questioning is proof of oppression. Geez, martyr yourself, much?

  21. 21
    Jennifer says:

    @WereBear: Doubting Thomas was HITLER!!!

  22. 22

    @gogol’s wife:

    What has happened to us?

    The Ayn Rand Infection.

  23. 23
    Emerald says:

    @grandpa john: Yup. I’m frankly amazed that any Christians possibly could align themselves with today’s Republican party. The party teaches hatred of your fellow citizens and to take from the poor and give to the rich. It opposes compassion of any kind.

    Now, that follow’s Ayn Rand’s philosophy perfectly, but she was at least honest about her militant atheism and hatred of Christianity.

    When did the party change from the old style to the new? It was always there. William F. Buckley kept the crazies buried with his screed against the Birchers back in the 50s, but they crawled out from under their rocks with Goldwater, held on after that loss, regrouped, and took over with Reagan.

    The old Republican party died with Reagan and was cremated with Bush the Smaller. It will not rise again. Eventually we’ll push the Teabaggers back under their rocks, but something else will have to emerge to take the place of the old Republicans.

  24. 24
    Will says:

    @beltane:

    Some of my best friends are conservative. No, actually, they’re not. I have met a small number of non-stupid conservatives over the years but they have all, without exception, been what I would charitably refer to as “eccentric”. I have a high tolerance for eccentric people, but none for mean and stupid people.

    I have one. Just one. He is conservative only because of his Orthodox Judaism. It really is a template he applies to himself: “well, I have to believe this, I have to think this. Sorry.”

    Otherwise, he is a laugh riot and very smart. And very, very self-deluding.

  25. 25
    Cacti says:

    The liberal Politifact said Marco Rubio was “half true” when he said a majority of the country identified as conservative.

    Because 41 is half of 100. Also, too, both sides do it.

  26. 26
    ornery-curmudgeon says:

    @grandpa john: The basic problem is that the so called Christianity of Conservatives is not the Christianity that Jesus espouses in the bible.

    Thank you for saying this!

    Right-wing conservatives are not actually Christian, as they do not reflect Jesus in actions or ideas. That is simply a fact.

    The Right is faking it. Religion is just a power center and they are trying to own it. Atheists are by-and-large better at following the Word of Christ than the religious Right … trying to discredit or make fun of Jesus has no real purpose other than to alienate those who are actually believers.

    The hypocrisy should be pointed out often and loudly; making fun of ‘sky gods’ and such is just divisive and justifies the feeling of victim-hood.

    The honest Truth is that the Right simply cannot advance its agenda through Christ’s teachings: if we could get liberals to quit thinking Jesus is the problem, we may find an ally there. Jesus spoke against these same pharisees of the new/old American corporate religion: hypocrites were his only condemnation.

  27. 27
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @gogol’s wife: They were steadily led to perceive that improving people’s lives had a downside, namely, that the lives of people they considered icky would also be improved, which was, like, unfair, because they didn’t deserve it. It worked on millions of people, and now we’re filibustered culturally. At this point, we just have to wait for them to die. We’ll all be much happier. Those of us who outlive Big Stupid, at least.

  28. 28
    Ruckus says:

    @burnspbesq:
    It’s not the religion we are bigoted about. It’s the shoving it down our throats that we don’t like.

  29. 29
    whitney says:

    @Jess: This. 1000x

  30. 30
    whitney says:

    @Ruckus: @Jess: This.

  31. 31
    Linkmeister says:

    Here’s an old (2011) religious quiz the CS Monitor ran: “Are you smarter than an atheist?” The question refers to the results Pew got when it quizzed people:

    Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups in a 32-question survey of religious knowledge by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

    I, an agnostic leaning toward atheism, got 31 of 32 right and am embarrassed by the one I missed.

  32. 32
    geg6 says:

    @Linkmeister:

    Heh. I took that quiz, too. And was very pleased to find out that, militant atheist that I am, I got a perfect score.

    Oh, and Sam Harris? Seriously? Sam Harris would be the atheist religionists should like. While I am much more militant about it than he. And even I don’t give a shit if people want to waste their time and money on a huge delusion as long as they don’t try to force me to buy into it.

    But I’m sure burnsie thinks of me when he talks about religious bigots. Because like all people who suffer delusions, he refuses to face reality, the crimes his church has committed against me and thousands, nay, millions of others. It’s not bigotry to hate those who have committed crimes against you nor is it bigotry to despise their enablers. Hell, I was once a Catholic myself, as was everyone I love. I have nothing against Catholicism itself, other than it’s just another one of those fantasies some people seem to need to get through life. But I will fight the fucking Vatican and its apologists and enablers until the day I die. They are some of the most truly evil people on earth.

  33. 33
    ruemara says:

    I got 32 right. I think the questions need to be harder to test atheists.

  34. 34
    Ruckus says:

    @geg6:
    They are some of the most truly evil people on earth.
    I find that when you actually study the tomes and ask even the most simple rudimentary questions the whole house of cards(faith) just falls apart. Then when you look at the history of the implementation of that house of cards the only conclusion I have is WTF. I was lucky/unlucky to meet a cardinal when I was about 12 and already seriously doubtful. The man arrived in a chauffeur driven Rolls, silk satin robes and enough huge ruby and diamond rings to pay off the debt of a small third world country. That cinched it for me, the whole thing is a scam, a grift. That it has gotten this far and big amazes me.

  35. 35
    Some Guy says:

    Atheist and my score was 29. Three wrong. I need to read up a bit more about Judaism. And maybe remember Jesus was born in fucking Bethlehem and not Nazareth even though he is called Jesus of Nazareth!!

  36. 36
    Mike G says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Anti-religious bigotry is real

    It sure is. Listen to the bigoted way some “Christians” talk about Islam, or Buddhism, or Mormonism or other Christian groups who aren’t as dogmatic as they are.

    We are all atheists. There are considered to be about 2500 identifiable religions in the world. You don’t believe in 2499 of them, I don’t believe in 2500 of them.

    Thinking that your religion (that in most cases you happened to acquire through an accident of birth or upbringing) is the only one that really exists and all others are phony, is an act of megalomaniacal solipsism.

  37. 37
    FlyingToaster says:

    I got 31 of 32 on the quiz; I don’t know enough Catholic doctrine to realize that Luther’s “Faith Alone” was not acceptable.

  38. 38
    EBL says:

    http://evilbloggerlady.blogspo.....-talk.html So why hasn’t Marion Barry been fired? Oh by the way, check out the comment I copied from The Atlantic arguing why only Northern Europeans can be racists. How racist is that?

  39. 39
    PanurgeATL says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Back around 1970, I’m sure that people thought the last of them would be dying now. They weren’t thinking that there were lots of kids still living at home with Mom and Dad that were getting the same message from the TV about the DFHs that their parents were. Those people are in their thirties and forties now, and having kids of their own who they can teach well, IYKWIM. If we don’t do something more active, it’s gonna be a much longer time than you think–it oughta be plain by now hoeing the “ironic neo-square” row for thirty years hasn’t exactly had the desired effect (in fact all it’s really done is truly make it Hip To Be Square).

  40. 40
    Nick says:

    30 out of 32: I didn’t know the ones about Maimonides or the First Great Awakening.

  41. 41
    Steeplejack says:

    I got 30 out of 32. Tripped up on “Faith alone” and what’s in the Ten Commandments (stupid error, that).

  42. 42

    […] enterprise he is associated with.”“Since we live in a low-lying coastal region, you can thank the majority of that 100 million when the water comes lapping at your door due to climate change.”“Whatever hurts a part of the community affects the entirety of […]

  43. 43
    wkwillis says:

    @WereBear: Next time, I’ll sit with my friends while you get all greasy and dirty replacing the dilithium crystals, and get up every once in a while to get you iced tea.
    You know, messing about with engines is actually kind of fun. Try it!

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