On Deplorable Screeds and Window Dressing

I write about problems like my terror of having the back exterior stuccoed in a texture that doesn’t look old. Sure, there are real problems that I care about, but there’s always someone who knows more about them than I do. And aside from what I know well enough to write about it, avoiding controversy is an important way to stay happy day to day.

Then on Saturday there was a canvasser coming around to register voters. My dad and I were chatting with him a bit when a neighbor let out an unhinged screed of misogynistic insults and unhooded racism, as well as bad words including the one that’s been all over the news this past week. You can ask me to e-mail you if I’m being too subtle. My standards are lower in a closed message. But it gets worse. He had the Irishman’s 3 and 5 year olds with him. Hopefully they didn’t pick up on all of it.

My roommate was downstairs, too, at this point. The three of us just stood there. I said something snippy at the end but didn’t stick around to find out if he heard me. Standing there might have been the way to put this situation to bed but I’ve been stewing over it ever since. But what would be worth doing? Saying nothing was bad but saying something could be oh so much worse. In the end all I could come up with was, well, window dressing.

window dressing.jpg

 

I’d say the signs lend a little class to my grotty façade. Now I can’t take credit for the orange Halloween lights; that’s my roommate’s doing. But I am proud of the DIY typesetting job I did for the sign on the right (which shouldn’t be controversial by the way). Microsoft Word really isn’t made for this. And after being on a war path for a couple days I think I’m ready to have an argument if I must. After all, this screed wasn’t just disgusting. I’ve sung my praises of this tidy little block and seeing someone chased off of it with the most disgusting insults possible is downright embarrassing. Plus, those kids next door may have to hear more than their share of ugliness, but it can’t hurt to throw a little wholesome discourse into the mix.

Well. I’ve drifted really, really far from the intended point of this blog. Next week I’ll be back to normal things like the missing parts to my vintage light fixtures. I promise.

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18 thoughts on “On Deplorable Screeds and Window Dressing

  1. Jean

    Good job! You can be proud to have stood up against hate. Direct confrontation is not always the answer. You have made your views known in a friendly way. Thank you.

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  2. curt

    Thanks for this Chad – I try to stay out of politics and other people’s business. When I was young it was the late 60’s when the message of love and sharing were creating hippies like me – except for the drugs I was all in – as were most of my classmates. Now in my 60’s – I see so many of my peers as angry old white men and I just don’t understand where the optimistic, live and let live attitudes have gone.
    We are getting old – we will be leaving this place sooner rather than later. Why not save some of the planet for your grandchildren. Why is money more important than helping the weakest among us? I guess I have had the same attitude since 1972. Most of my contemporaries do not.
    As with politics, you can’t change many minds in a vacuum. People look for others who are like minded. There is a reason they feel the way they do – and usually ignorance and unfamiliarity with the opposing sides perspective is to blame. Each side has some issues that are valid – except there is no discussion for hate. All we can hope for is that we can create a rich circle of friends and make our neighborhood a wonderful place to live. Your Crooked House is a great addition – keep up the good work.

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    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Well my parents are about your age and they and I’d say that they and their friends have an optimistic, live and let live attitude, and I’m pretty sure my mom was a Goldwater girl at the time!

      And yeah, a mild scolding had to happen after this incident. I get along well with the guy I’m mad at but every now and then he just goes off. There was no way to reply nicely to anything he said on Saturday, it was all so vulgar and dirty. But if anyone scolds me for the signs I can address that nicely.

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    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Nothing I said here was wishing any harm on white people. This all lives matter thing seems to add in an invisible “only” when I’ve always heard an invisible “too.” Either that or it’s about taking offense at the idea that racial injustice exists. Black people say it does and I have a hunch they know better than we do.

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      1. joleeinca

        I am just wishing my favorite blogs would stick to there original intent and stay away from politics. Although it is cutting down my reading time on the computer. If I want politics I can get that elsewhere. Although it may look like I am angry, I am not , just disappointed.

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  3. Barbara H.

    It’s so difficult when faced with such an opposing viewpoint. It often takes us by such surprise that we don’t have the context in which to react in the most positive way. You’ve done good, though. Just watch your back.

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  4. coteetcampagne

    I’m of a similar vintage to Curt above and still preach the tolerance of that whole generation. I’m glad to hear that your parents also do so.
    I find any kind of bigotry uncomfortable and I am proud to have raised two kids who are totally free of any hint of racism, sexism, or any other ism of that ilk.

    Sadly, the current upsurge of these racist attitudes both in the States and the UK is clear, and its disturbing. Are we all going backward?

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  5. E Oliver

    I try to be optimistic and think that things are changing for the better, despite certain public figures stirring up — and exposing — some of the ugliness that still exists in our society.

    Good on you for fighting back. And good on you for seeing that the home you have worked so hard to create for yourself also reflects your neighbourhood, your country, your society. This post is absolutely an appropriate part of your blog.

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  6. Jessica@CapeofDreams

    I am glad that you put up the signs and that you are writing about it. I think that this ugly backlash is a sign of real progress and forward movement. It is a last ditch effort for backwards people who are terrified of change. The reason why it is important to let our views be known is to show that there are actually more people that favor love and tolerance. When we are silent, it seems that the haters outnumber us merely because we are not making as much noise. Bad things happen when good people are silent and look the other way. We need to bring back healthy discourse.

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  7. john feuchtenberger

    Proud of you lad–as a great lady ( actually a couple of ’em) said “They go low, we go high.” I teach Sunday School in an evangelical church, which regards me as a flaming liberal. As an article of faith, I do my best to avoid hot words even with the most deplorable provocation. “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” Not necessarily the other’s, but yours. No sense both getting mad, and one being principled, firm and civil while the other loses it and fumes sort of reinforces the point, what?.

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    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Well then you’re definitely more used to being in the minority than I am! But you’re right that Irishman’s 5-year-old said to me yesterday, “What’s the sign say? … No, it says all.” If his father wants to debate me I’m going to offer to do it over tea instead of using a kindergartner as a middleman. I’ve heard the secret to perfect scones is to freeze the butter and shred it on a cheese grater.

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  8. Nine Dark Moons

    Love your signs! It’s so discouraging when unfiltered hate and prejudice pour out of someone. You did the right thing. Going high is better than sinking to their level. And I think it’s great when you (and other bloggers) post stuff outside the norm. Helps us get to know you better!

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  9. Pingback: Escalating Deplorability and Lessons from my Mom | Chad's Crooked House

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