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Sunday, July 08, 2012

Culture Shock & Haters

I keep meaning to stop and take this picture. It's poster art in front of a liquor store I pass on the way to work. I won't say it's in a dodgy neighborhood, the obvious drug dealers in the park a block from here might actually just be conscientious malingerers.

An older black man was walking up the sidewalk as I started to frame my shot. He gave me a look, and I asked him if this was a rapper, somebody famous.

"That's Snoop!" he said. "It's Snoop!"

I said I thought it might be, that's a rapper even I've heard of. He kept repeating himself as he walked away, amazed to encounter someone so unplugged, uncultured, that he couldn't recognize Snoop Dog instantly.

Snoop's Colt 45 ad strikes me as somewhat offensive, not just because he looks all likkered up in the photo, but because of the name of the liquor store. It ends up saying, "Black's Liquor Works Every Time." Or 'EveryTime' I guess. Maybe the proofreader was drinking malt liquor, too.

But I know at least one white person who prefers Colt 45 to actual beer. So I can't speak to the efficacy claim, but you don't have to be black to sacrifice your liver on that alter.

Anyway, while I snapped my pictures, another guy (white, if it matters to you) rode down Central on a kid's BMX bike, no helmet, no shirt, and no prospects I could detect. I wouldn't have noticed him except he shouted, "Fucking faggot! Fucking dumb-ass!"

I could tell he meant me, not the shirtless black man who couldn't believe I wasn't familiar with Snoop Dog's whole catalog. I'm pretty sure he took me for a homosexual and this was a bonafide case of hate speech. Gay bashing.

I'm not a violent person, and that's probably good for all concerned, because catching this hateful dork on his pitiful bike would have been a piece of cake. And a U-Lock to the back of his un-helmeted head would have probably been a message about hurling fighting words that even a loser like him could understand. But I honestly couldn't muster any interest in confronting him: I got the sense that his uncontainable hatred of someone he couldn't understand was the result of how his life was working out.

And even a bike lock to the melon isn't probably worse than the guy just having to go on living his life.

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