Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Anecdote" Is Not the Singular of "Data" ...

... but anecdotes can still be significant, and at the very least interesting. Here's an anecdote.

I went to the public library today to get out of the house, do some work, see some friends. I set up my laptop on a table, near another table where a neatly dressed older (mid-60s, I guess) white man was working with his laptop and a scanner. He got my attention because his cell phone kept going off, quite loudly. The first time that happens it's understandable, because maybe you've forgotten to turn the ringer down or off when you came in; so you turn it down before it rings again. But he didn't. Maybe he didn't know how -- he had to ask the library staff for some very basic help with his computer. He would walk off to a chair a dozen feet away to have his phone conversations, though there were other people nearby who could have listened in if they wanted to. Then he'd come back and work some more until his phone went off again.

Anyway, just before he left he had one final conversation without leaving his work table. Here are the two sentences that jumped out at me.
The fucking media is doing the same fucking thing to Ron Paul they did to Wallace! All they talk about is the 'three candidates': Perry, Romney, and Nigger Cain.
I shit you not.

I don't have any qualms about posting these statements here, because he was talking in a public place, with other people besides me nearby. I don't think he cared if anyone heard him; he wasn't yelling but neither was he trying to keep his voice down. Besides, I don't know his name (and wouldn't post it if I knew), and I don't think he could be identified anyway from what I've written here.

I'm not going to generalize from this racist shitbag to all Ron Paul supporters, of course, nor to all old white men in southern Indiana; I was just fascinated to hear such quaint rhetoric, spoken so openly, in this day and age. I know there are there are plenty of Americans who'd say Amen to his complaints. (It's not only right-wing swine who have criticized the corporate media's neglect of Ron Paul, either, just as a matter of principle.) And despite Herman Cain's strong numbers just now, I suspect the right-wing Republican base must be feeling some cognitive dissonance about him. Is the Republican Party ready for an African-American Presidential candidate who sounds a lot more like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright than Barack Obama, even if he as ignorant and batshit crazy as Michele Bachmann? I don't believe so.