Lobing. The creation…

Published 9:47 am Friday, April 7, 2017

By TJ Ray

Sorry to interrupt, but an alarm just went off. In a careless moment, I was about to speak on a topic without due consideration of its societal ramifications. In other words, I was about to say what I thought without checking with the Committee.

Recently at Walmart in the checkout line, a lady of advanced years was ahead of me. It was difficult not to marvel at the blurred ink pattern around her neck. What might have been very creative art work when first inked, these days it was just so much blue and gray stirred together. As I was by myself that day, I had no one to share a comment with, finding myself for the umpteenth time admitting that the world is changing, not necessarily in ways I find palatable.

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Back on the street, stopped by a red light, I was alerted to an approaching storm by the roar that raced up beside me. The light changed, and the guy in the old German helmet gunned his Harley and lunged ahead with a deafening, chest-thumping blast. Not surprisingly, I wondered at the need to disturb folks all around just to hear the exhaust blast on his bike for two hundred yards.

Lobing is similar to vaping . . . . But first a further word about the Committee, if you don’t mind.

Policing the thinking of an entire people is labor intensive. Tracking down, documenting, reporting and pressing for prosecution of social wrongs is challenging. As definitions of identities change in almost chamelion fashion, identifying targets is constant. But happily for the future, outlines for correcting discourse are emerging. Consider some dogma: “One should promote an anti-racist, anti-heterosexist, anti-transphobic, anti-ableist message and analysis in everything we do, in and outside of activist space.”

“Power and privilege can play out in our group dynamics in destructive ways. We must challenge supremacist practices which marginalize, exclude or de-humanize others.”

“Privilege, like power can be used for positive purposes but should be used with awareness and care.”

“We can only identify how power and privilege play out when we are conscious and committed to understanding how white supremacy, patriarchy, classism, heterosexism and all other systems of oppression affect each one of us.”

My favorite are these two from a list the Committee put online: “White people need to take responsibility for holding other white people accountable.” Further down on the tactics list was this one: “Avoid generalizing feelings, thoughts, behaviors etc. to a whole group.” Am I wrong to think that the folks who wrote the second axiom demonstrated its meaning in the first axiom? Duh?

Vaping is now out and about. Mixed couples are doing it. Even teenagers. Soon the same will be true of Lobing. The creation of a hole (perhaps) large enough to insert a dime or a quarter is catching on. Maybe it will be called “Lobing,” joining the list of other ear-piercing terms: antragus percing, conch piercing, tragus piercing.

In the meantime, the Committee will be out there ready to strike if someone makes a negative comment about ears full of adornments. Sadly, we have come to a place in our history where no one can say anything about anybody without risking the label “–ist.” It is socially dangerous to say in public, “I don’t like ….” Good fortune has blessed our local Nirvana with experts, poised now to mould the attitudes of teachers so in turn those folks can mould the attitudes of children. In the end a spirit of “Everything is OK” will prevail.

All this social engineering reminds me of a story by a fine Southern writer, Shirley Jackson. In a piece called “The Lottery” we find a society that selected one of its members once each year and stoned that person to death.

TJ Ray is a retired professor of English at Ole Miss.