You Are the Quarry

    

    With no apologies to the Moz.

    Anonymous denunciation inspires this post. On one of the social sites to which I contribute, a correspondent objected to a topic dissected by the Slow Boat Media surgeon. 

    Which post, what aspect, who knows? Only the person skulking in the shadows can inform, and he or she won’t. Can’t confess without a backbone.

     On one hand, these social media boards are terrific because exchanges run the gamut between thoughtful erudition and freewheeling irreverence. Doesn’t matter whether God’s a dog or American intelligence services are financing Cuban Twitter. On the other, more pernicious hand, distance and cloaking permit espousals that likely would’ve remained unstated. These convictions are the sort that ought to have continued seething behind sour breasts.

     The above is a nice way to backhand trolls without lying beside them and catching any of their fleas. Nothing emboldens the meek better than when they can launch unnamed assaults and scurry away unscathed.

      However, in our accord respect to all outlooks era, even batshit views, we must suffer ridiculous equivalences from reasonless people. Our open-to-all forums demand we regard with gravity others’ most moronic utterances. Occasionally we also must kowtow.

      Prosaically put, it’s the educated adults’ version of mollifying colicky infants.

      Rather than investigating then dismissing the complaint raised, the site’s lectors took an easy escape. They greased the squeaky wheel. The sensible maneuver would’ve been a response that questioned the complainant’s misunderstanding. If whoever manning the desk catching the dispute had stirred several brain cells, roused a jot of ambition, oh, I dunno, read what caused the consternation, he or she could’ve reached the obvious conclusion: misinterpretation.

      Like wilfully confusing niggard for every rappers’ favorite variation on nigger.

      The lector’s sensible response would’ve been letting that comment’s content pass unmolested. Yet sensible and America are becoming more and more exclusive of another.

       I can’t imagine what shook up my detractor. No need bothering worrying about it because who cares? It’s his or her problem. Unless I make it mine too. Which I won’t.

       However, aware of the limits upon open forums (isn’t that a contradiction?) I do take care in presentation. In presentation, though never the topics themselves. If you’ve read any, you know Slow Boat Media posts reflect their creator – eclectic. And damn, sometimes outré, too!

    What’s been issued and might be is never unintentionally offensive. Yet. Of course if the reader is a boob, well, there’s little recourse on this end. That bus has left.

     These posts are for adults. If at some point the words assailing off the screen (or page) become too [gerund here], why, stop reading. Think of it as station surfing. Here. You’ve come across Fox News during an exceptionally stooge-slapping stretch of fabrication masquerading as reportage. Don’t throw the remote at the screen. Switch the channel.

      Apparently my detractor wound up from the stretch and pulled a Juan Berenguer. He or she just let the pitch fly.

      When the site’s overseers alerted me, instead of angering, I wondered how Bob Grant and maybe Arthur Koestler might’ve regarded our modern absurdity. We’ve developed devices for instantaneous communication but remain yoked to the lowest tolerable standard.

       Koestler wrote Darkness at Noon. His novel is a shady recounting of invented crime and devised punishment in a one-time “workers’ paradise.” A committed fellow traveler, scales popped off Koestler’s eyes when the extent of Stalin’s depravities personally threatened the writer. Too bad John Reed died before being shaken by that aspect of communism.

       Anonymous denunciations figured prominently throughout Koestler’s book. Why, he told a real-life Kafkaesque tale though only fictionalized. Just barely.

       In this country, after we endured and overcame our flirtation with McCarthyism, Americans eventually rejected hollow accusations made by veiled provocateurs. For a while this posture made us quite exceptional.

       My fellow Americans, we have fallen back into the pack. Seemingly glad to be among the vipers again at that.

       Doubtless many see Bob Grant’s name and recall him fondly. Before current right-wing radio haranguers took Joseph Goebbels’ dictum to their blackened hearts – Lie! Lie repeatedly! Lie loudly! – Grant further enflamed needlessly frightened Anglo ethnics by stoking their imagined grievances. Mainly by inflating the solid five percent of any subset into slavering bestial hoards and denigrating any woman who desired more from life than subservience to any man, he assured the fear of susceptible listeners: that America was going to hell. Since he heated Metropolitan New York airwaves, Grant never lacked for material or popularity.

       Father and I enjoyed listening to Grant. Not from shared self-loathing but because of Grant’s audacity. We heard the wink in his gravelly bellows. Many must’ve heard the same through his repugnance. For us, Grant was entertainment. The sort to be laughed at, not with. Moreover, hearing his diatribes confirmed we were superior people. Sadly, too many within the sound of his voice heard a clarion.

       “Let your voice be heard!” served as his catchphrase. Daily it incited hundreds of thousands of New York listeners.  

    Day after day, Grant churned out loathsome opinions and odious observations that a sizable portion of friends, neighbors, associates and co-workers barely concealed in their own hearts. That admitted, one major point differentiated Grant from successor screamers like Rush Limbaugh – Grant opened phone lines to listeners. He invited outrage. He confronted outrage. He encouraged further outrage.

    Who knew whether he was brave. Or committed to his stances. He certainly made for good radio. The shtick bolstered his audiences.

    Best of all Grant spoke persuasively. He was learned and eloquent. Like Satan.

    Sometimes, okay, often, he became curt. His on-air disputes led to an infinite number of disconnections. Nonetheless, he extended more than modicums of courtesy. If callers kept the level of debate civil, Grant chucked his rudeness. Sometimes, okay, rarely, he could charm.

    Today, can frequent listeners imagine any prominent right-wing radio barking head inviting dissent into his studio kennel? Such men prefer hearing nothing but their own spew. They cannot let their rivers of bile be stemmed by something as damning as opposing voices. Discussions, honest ones, not the kind salted with token opposition seated on the same panel, soft voices who serve as sheep staked in glens, would expose them and their faulty arguments.

    Bob Grant was a rascal. Always pugnacious, at times also a vile one. But at his insulting worst he would never have cottoned to any unsigned remark scrawled on a wall under cover of night.    

  

 

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