A couple of weeks ago, after yet another nasty column I'd written about Catholicism, I received a disturbing missive.It was in e-mail form. It was anonymous. It contained only one word, but the word was huge—a 72-point font if memory serves. The word in the e-mail was “bigot” and it was so big, it damn near filled up the entire computer screen.
Now, I've had this word used against me before, but never so large, and never by itself, which always made it easy to dismiss. After all, how could I be a bigot? I'm the bigot hater. I detest bigotry with all the marrow in my bones. But this e-mail was different. There's just something about seeing a 72-point-font insult, hovering before you like an alien spacecraft in the middle of the night, that makes you start to wonder about things. So against the better judgment of my lizard brain, which had spent a lifetime building up a wall of denial between it and my conscious brain, I looked up the word “bigot” (multiple times) and, according to just about every definition I read, my neo-cortex is screwed.
To paraphrase the various definitions, a bigot is a person who is intolerant of any creed, opinion, belief, behavior or group that is different from their own.
Uh oh! Hard to ignore the black-and-whiteness of that definition. It might just as well have read, “Hey Ed, you're a bigot!” and included a photo of me recoiling in horror when encountering a midget.
It was deeply disturbing.
That's the reason I looked it up so many times. I was hoping to find an entry that contained some sort of redeeming disclaimer such as, “A bigot is a person who is intolerant of any differing belief, creed, behavior or group—unless they deserve your intolerance, like midgets, who are taking all our jobs away, and door-to-door Jehovah's Witness enthusiasts, who I tolerate as much as I tolerate house flies crawling on my hamburger.”
But no such exception did I find, causing me to understand that my lizard brain, and Mr. Anonymous Letter Writer and all the accusatory letter writers before him, were right—I am, quite literally, inarguably, a bona fide 72-point-font bigot—sans serif!
Because there are all sorts of groups I cannot tolerate, like Jehovah's Interlopers, as you now know, like Muslim extremists who torture women in the public square, like redneck yokels who hold Barack “Hussein” Obama's middle name against him and like Southern evangelical mystagogues who claim they can heal by faith.
Also, I have no tolerance for Yakkety McYakkies who pull up a nearby bar stool and won't stop blabbering into your disinterested ear until you punch them in the face. I have no tolerance for the parents of cute babies who cannot resist showing a frame-by-frame photographic rendering of that time their child piddled on the dog and, to be perfectly honest, I'm no big fan of cute babies, either.
I hate drivers who blare horns at other drivers' minor traffic infractions, people who shit on Mexicans who work in jobs of servitude and guys who brag about all the women they've banged, whether true or not.
I hate gorgeous SoCal model-types with smoking-hot bodies that don't bring money to bars because they know they can coerce lonely guys into buying their drinks, and I can't much stand the guys who fall for it, either.
I loathe hippie pot snobs, professorial beer snobs and excessively patriotic, love-it-or-leave-it, motherland-supremacy snobs. I loathe ebullient male cheerleaders, female comedians (Judy Tenuta excepted), and Jewish American Princesses who use Aqua Net® and still listen to the St. Elmo's Fire soundtrack.
But of all the groups I simply cannot tolerate, the faction that continues to crawl like flies upon the hamburger of my sanity is flabby black chicks who have shows on television.
I don't know what it is. It's not because they're overweight, nor that they are black or female even. Individually, I'm totally down with them being on television.
But when you combine the three, they become something else—a creature, a fiend, a beast that is more than the sum of its parts. When you combine them you get, well… you get Star Jones. You get Queen Latifah (ugh!). You get Oprah, “Look-at-Me-I'm-on-the-Cover-of-My-Own-Magazine-Again” Winfrey. And worst of all, you get Sherri Sheppard, of The View, who belongs to another collective I can't stand:
The point is, I can no longer hide behind my old wall of denial. I have looked up the definition and the definition is clear: Edwin Decker is a bigot. What's worse, I have no intention of changing. I've already made peace with this fact. Indeed, I've already created a bigger and better wall of denial, a new-and-improved justification, which is this: Isn't everybody intolerant of somebody?
According to the aforementioned dictionary definitions, aren't we all bigots? And if we are, doesn't it make sense that we should distinguish between the different types?
It's like cholesterol. There's the good kind and the bad kind: Bad bigots are the bigots who do genocides, who create and manage slave trades, and who scribe or vote for repressive legislation.
I consider myself to be a good bigot.
Sure, there are many groups I am intolerant of, but I don't act on my intolerance. I don't go fat-black-chick bashing. I don't try to round them up, or keep them down. I don't vote for laws that deny their right to marry each other, vote, or adopt kids. I don't even wish they'd leave the country. In fact, I prefer that they stay. My hatred for any particular group is a warm gooey puddle of pleasure in which I like to rollick like a bimbo in a mud pool. But you will never see me oppressing any group I can't tolerate. You will never see me try to keep them from exercising their rights to free speech, freedom of assembly or due process. All I do is write editorials about how much they suck and then I happily move on to the next group that deserves our intolerance.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Free hair brushes now on sale at www.edwindecker.com.