Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Knucklehead Ranch

Does owning a hunting camp called "Niggerhead Ranch" make you a redneck? Absolutely. A racist? Not necessarily. No more, probably, than climbing Squaw's Tit (Alberta, CA) might qualify you as a groper, or running a jet ski across South Dakota's Squaw Humper Dam or casting a worm into Little Squaw Humper Creek would make you a wenching, antifeminist misogynist (although casting one's worm anywhere these days could . . . never mind).

Owning a scrubgrass rattlesnake ranch called "Niggerhead," however, does make you a . . .


. . . unless, of course, you've only ever invited select fellow "lawmakers" to join you there. (Lawmakers are like neighbors who all own barking dogs - none will ever complain about the excesses of the others' dogs.)

A recent article in Slate points out that, "The U.S. Board on Geographic Names . . . issued two blanket rules decades ago to erase racial slurs from federal maps. In 1962, they replaced “Nigger” with “Negro” in the names of at least 174 places. You can still find such locales as Free Negro Point in Louisiana and Little Negro Creek." Of course, one is free to translate into the regional dialect - as you might expect, federal cartographic standards do not always apply locally. And then you can always find those little cartographic obscurae on private property, Rancho Cabo de Negro a case in point.

Some "liberal pundit from Guvuner Perry's home state" (not an oxymoron, apparently) on one of the left-leaning talk shows pointed out, quite reasonably, that there is a good deal of "residual racism" in this country and that a place name for example, particularly of a place that's been in a family for decades, can escape notice as much from familiarity as from insensitivity or racism. I'm guessing that's the case with Guvuner Perry, although the subsequent song-and-dance about the offending piece of rock having been painted over sometime just after the last Ice Age is predictable, lame, and strains credulity. One does not strain to imagine the sort of guest generally in attendance chez Domaine de la Tete Noir . . . 

"Oh, dwat! Pwugged one before Wamadan."

. . . as opposed to others generally pas invitee . . . 

College educated hunting party, Cornell University, 1969

So think of it this way: does owning a hunting camp called "Niggerhead" make you a knucklehead? Well, does naming your first-born "Dalejunior" make you a redneck?  


Does Elmer Fudd have trouble with the letter 'R'?

"Happy Wamadan, Wick!"

Did John Wayne make movies?

Does Herman Cain know who's his Daddy?

Can you see Wasilla all the way from Russia?

So far, not so good. It may take the Supreme Court to bag this election. Guaranteed 5-4, just say the word.

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