Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fooled By The Lovely Cover

A few months ago I received a postcard. Its cover displayed a photograph of a magenta camellia blossom, a raindrop about to slide off the lowest petal. How lovely, I thought. Fan mail.

The canceled stamp featured legendary black baseball pitcher Satchel Paige, who pitched three shutout innings at the estimated age of 60 (nobody, apparently including him, knew his actual birthday) for the Kansas City Athletics in 1965. Paige was a legend in the Negro Leagues, a showboat who backed up his boasting with his deeds, a precursor to Muhammad Ali. Paige finally got his chance in the Major Leagues at the age of 42, where he pitched sporadically for another two decades.

Paige was eminently quotable. One of my favorites lines is: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” Excellent advice.

Anyway, I didn’t at first recall what I wrote that prompted this postcard from a fellow named George. It was an editorial, not a column, the difference being that the editorial purports to represent the newspaper’s viewpoint and not just mine. Also, an editorial is unsigned for that reason. That’s a bit of inside baseball. Whatever I published set off George, who wrote:

You should read David Duke’s book — “MY AWAKENING” and Evans’ book — “BLACKLISTED BY HISTORY.” You seem to be educationally disadvantaged about Americanism and truth. And Racist.
All you bleeding heart liberals & socialists are useful idiots for Zionists and Communists. America is doomed. Read & learn — See the Truth. Love — Don’t hate!

When I recently found the postcard, I again tried to remember what set George off in mid-January when I received this postcard. Looking up what “Blacklisted by History” is about reminded me. It is a revisionist biography of Joseph McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator who ruined hundreds of people’s lives by falsely accusing them of being Communists. McCarthy eventually was censured by the Senate for his ham-handed tactics and died as a result of alcoholism before reaching his 50th birthday.

Far as I’m concerned, Joseph McCarthy is one of the villains in American history.

That’s why I wrote an editorial in January blasting some members of the State Board of Education, who wanted to rewrite history and praise McCarthy for fighting Communism.

Right. While we’re at it, let’s praise George Wallace and Lester Maddox for their racial tolerance. I believe I will pass on reading “Blacklisted by History.” I put it in the same genre as those Holocaust denial books.

As for David Duke, I don’t plan on reading his autobiography either. Duke was just another run-of-the-mill racist white supremacist until he scared the pants off everyone in 1991 by nearly capturing the governorship of Louisiana. Folks over there were forced to elect Edwin Edwards for a third time. I remember seeing “Vote for the Crook” bumper stickers in Shreveport. That referred to Edwards, who is still serving time in a federal prison for taking kickbacks.

Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the KKK, now claims to have a doctorate as he peddles his book and other merchandise online. I didn’t know one could get a PhD in racism.
The contradictions in this postcard abound, curving around each other like a Satchel Paige screwball headed toward the plate. A camellia blossom on the front, one of my favorite flowers because it blooms all winter. I will soon be leaving this old house. One of the things I will miss most is the camellia tree on the south. It reaches the roofline and boasts hundreds of pink blooms until early April.

There’s that stamp of Satchel Paige, the famed black pitcher, and a recommendation to read David Duke’s autobiography. Duke says, according to his Web site, “belief in racial equality is the modern scientific equivalent of believing that the earth is flat.”

There is the implication that I am a bleeding heart liberal and a socialist, as if they are the same. As if those labels even mean anything. And that makes us tools of the Zionists and Communists.

And then there is the final admonition on the card: Love. Don’t hate!
I wish I could believe George was sincere when he wrote that last line. But I can’t.


  1. George must worship at the altar of Limbaugh and Beck. Such a pity. If you haven't seen it, check out Ben Sargent's cartoon of March 31, 2010.

    I'm sorry to read about you leaving your fine old house.


  2. I'm afraid I'm not following George's train of thought here. You're racist...against white people, I presume? Because McCarthy was white and you condemned his methods?