The Sheriff Is a Dinger

Blazing Saddles introduced the memorable line, “The Sheriff is a n***er”. The N-word was used repeatedly throughout the film. Mel Brooks and company intended to show the idiocy of the “white people of the Old West”, stand-ins for lesser thinkers of then-modern early 1970’s time who might still be using the word. It’s funny because it’s biting. Now it’s sad because it’s not allowed.

The nuance of language is dead. Nuance is now where people go to get fired, strung up, or destroyed. Why tempt fate? You’re certain to be taken out of context, if not intentionally misconstrued, then summarily tried and executed in the kangaroo court of social media. When weak-minded people declare that a certain word itself can “trigger” them, they’re not hyperbolizing. It’s not the thought, it’s not the intention, it’s the actual literal word. So whether that word itself is used in a joke or even satirically to prove why you should never use that word, it’s a trigger. As a gunshot, ripping through the corporeal flesh of the already thin-skinned.

We’ve never had town square rules of this fundamentalist nature. We’ve left heretical words to the role of religious factions and Harry Potter world magicians. Don’t utter the name Voldermort. The word itself is evil. The most pious man becomes a blasphemous exile with the mere enunciation of an outlawed word.

We might largely agree that ethnic or racial slur words hold no place in polite society. We ought to be hesitant to assign them Voldermort level prohibitions. Gay activists in the U.S. understand that banning words such as “queer” would only make them more attractive to detractors. In prohibition you provide power. Rather than insist everybody who ever uttered the word “queer” have their life and livelihood destroyed, they did a quite wonderful thing. They took the word for themselves. They owned it. They danced around it like a maypole and absorbed it into their totems. Like a cultural backwash. Now Queer is in the LGBTQ acronym moniker. Total absorption.

To some extent, the black community has done the same with the N-word. They’ve taken ownership of it in social exchanges, lingo, cultural iconography, music, and entertainment. But unlike the “Q”, the “N” remains verboten for all outsiders. A harsh lock on who can or can not drop an N-bomb, or drop forty in a single rap song. That has created confusion. Is the N-word akin to Voldermort or not? Why okay for the wizards but not the muggles?

We have a severe N-word challenge in the culture with the obvious division. The result is that depending on who utters the word, it’s either perfectly cool or it’s the great rhetorical offense in the history of the spoken word. As woke culture has grabbed hold of America by its testicles and squeezed, the establishment powers in media, academia, and the government has raised the absolutism even hire on anything even six-degrees of separation from hurtful racism. That includes any usage of the N-word.

Forgo for a moment the increasingly rare use of the N-word in vile, intentionally hurtful public discourse. Not that hate-filled and ignorant racism has been stamped out in the United States. Hardly. But the overt use of racial slurs (against Black Americans) is not acceptable in any public setting. The kinds of things that were likely heard somewhat routinely when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball, simply haven’t been heard in some time. That doesn’t mean there are no closeted racists sitting in the stands. It means that they are closeted.

Haters are by nature cowards and only reveal themselves in condoning environments. Worth noting that a ton of blatant racism still occurs at soccer (football) games and similar across the European leagues. Signs and imagery of monkeys and bananas and quite open racial slurs remain routine against black players in the leagues. (And not merely black athletes, but anti-Semitic, “pro Holocaust” signs have been seen at European soccer matches calling out owners of teams who are Jewish.) For all the wishful thinking of Europe as a progressive haven, visit sometime and report back. It’s many rungs beneath the U.S. on the melting pot acceptance ladder.

In a contemporary American context, imagine what it might take for an individual in Denver to stand up at a Rockies baseball game and start screaming the N-word at a black player on the field. It’s clearly not a common phenomenon. Even in the recent incidents with a couple of Boston sports fans throwing popcorn or even spitting on players on opposing NBA teams, a truly impotent and vile fan gesture, there was no mention of the fans hurling N-bombs. That would’ve been considered beyond the pale, even for the lousiest, drunkest, dumbest fans in Boston. Again, not that they aren’t potentially racists, but that they would violate such an explosive taboo in public. Not even considered.

But somehow the online media believed a random man at a Rockies game was doing the unthinkable. Screaming out the N-bomb at a black player on the field. Because somebody took a video of somebody in the stands yelling out this bad word and shared the video and the bait was simply too much to not bite. So they did.

Heres’s how the AP reported the story, entirely without proof or confirmation:

“Lewis Brinson of the Miami Marlins was targeted by a fan at Coors Field who repeatedly shouted a racial slur at the Black outfielder when he batted in the ninth inning Sunday.

The slur was clearly heard on the Bally Sports Florida telecast of the Marlins’ 13-8 loss to the Colorado Rockies.”

Now, if you believe the world’s most overt racist happened to be at the Rockies game channeling his inner David Duke quite loudly for all to hear, then you must believe that the people around him who simply let him be, were in on the contemptible business as well. How else do you explain the fans around this man, the ushers, security, even the umpires, would all sit idly by as this random man hurled disgusting epithets at a black player on the field.

And the media did. They indicted the entire stadium of people. All portraits of the systemic racism invading the white supremacist souls of America. A final straw in the argument for why Huck Finn can’t be read in schools and why a guy at Netflix who said the word “n***er” in a meeting when describing words that are forbidden at work was himself forced to resign for even saying the word. A nadir moment for racial relations right there at Americana’s pastime in 2021. And on videotape. The witch hunters started collecting boughs.

MLB responded immediately. Nobody was going to suggest this pro sports league was taking a backseat to the NBA painting #BLM signs in 500-point Impact font across their courts. A spokesperson for the MLB called the incident all kinds of inflated terms, promising an immediate and thorough investigation. Hordes of Twitterati jumped in to start piling on with suggested medieval torture-type punishments. The rabble hadn’t been this intrigued since throwing rotten lettuce at Cersei while screaming, “Shame!”. It was go-time for CRT. Pull the white kids out of second grade and force them to apologize for the White Devil in the stands at Coors Field. Jesus, Charlie, push the red button. Race War!

Only it didn’t happen. None of it. Not even a staged Smollett hate crime. Merely a total rush to completely faulty judgment.

As Rockies fans surely know, and many others around baseball, the Colorado baseball mascot is a purple dinosaur named “Dinger”. Dinger being the long-time slang for a home run. Coors Field at 5200’ altitude is known for its plethora of home runs.

Like all baseball mascots, Dinger runs around the stadium during games, putting on slapstick comedy antics for the fans in attendance. Particularly bad teams rely heavily on their comical mascots to divert attention from lousy records on the field. Who can be angry at another failed Rockies season when Dinger is doing funny dances?

Fans adore their team mascots. Apparently, this dude in the stands, whether or not he was a couple of sheets to the wind, was screaming to get Dinger’s attention. “Dinger! Dinger! Dinger!” The gentleman in the video clearly isn’t even looking at the on-field game or players. He’s turned within the stands calling for Dinger. Why? Who knows?

The video itself is a wonderful Rorschach test for the modern American self-righteous soul. Some people see the random inkblot and see a kind young boy helping a woman cross the street. Some people see the same inkblot and identify a patriarchal boss sexually harassing his female employee. The power of suggestion included herein, what with the video-sharing like wildfire across the interweb with red alerts as to the disturbing and vile racism on display.

A thoughtful viewer, of which few remain percentage-wise, would hesitate at the actual scenario. Does this seem even in the realm of possibility? And upon even an ounce of digging for an iota of context would realize the man was yelling for the team mascot. It’s the most basic level of common sense. The kind your parents would drub into your head the first time you sold the family cow for magic beans. And that common sense is gone from the land, or in the least, in deep hiding.

Poor Dinger. He certainly never asked for this.

The cult of Malthusian pessimism and perma-scolding of the human condition is at peak levels in the U.S. So many of us want things to be bad. We feed off anecdotes of offense and oppression to comfort ourselves in being above the rottenness. The righteous can’t exist without the heathens. The self-righteous can’t exist without the heathens and social media to second their virtue. It’s a sickness every bit as deleterious to society as racism itself. Bigotry disguised as morality. Far worse than a country singer dropping an N-bomb when telling a stupid joke. He can’t hurt you. An Inquisition hurts many and demeans the entirety.

No matter how many of these moments embarrass any shame left among the preaching class, they will continue unabated. This is a religious zeal. It’s not abated or humbled through reality. Remember all those televangelists exposed as fraud in the 1980s? Every television platform has dozens of them still going strong. They fill a need every bit as powerful as narcotics. This “America is racist” exaggerated episodes are the drug for a growing class of chronic lamenters and virtue signalers. They will never stop. Because they can’t.

As for poor Dinger, expect the people who require their ounce of flesh to seek to have his name changed to something less phonetically distantly related to the N-word. There’s no explaining crazy.