This will be first for this blog… a post that doesn’t involve putting up the next in the chronological exploration of my poetry. Halifax will have to wait (probably until Monday).
First I will tell you why I am at home today and then I will tell you why I felt compelled to write anyway.
Yesterday at work I leaned up against one of the desks in my cubicle (something I have done dozens of times), and in a flash the whole thing came out of the wall and crashed to the ground, taking all of my stuff with it (and landing on top of my computer, doing some cosmetic damage). I fell backwards and hit my neck and shoulders against the over-hanging cabinet.
It was nearly quitting time when that happened so we cleaned up and I left work, heading over to the Cajun Attic for the Bill Brown 1-2-3 Slam.
By the end of the night I was really sore. Ruthanne says the back of my neck looks swollen. So I took the day off and may go visit the doctor if it doesn’t feel any better soon.
Now, the point of my post…
See the title? I mean the word you think I mean.
Last night at the Slam, someone dropped the N-bomb on stage.
A white dude.
This is the first time I have heard someone in Ottawa (well, a white someone in Ottawa) do that on stage. Previously, I was present when a Victoria poet did it on a stage in Halifax and ignited a firestorm.
What I saw last night was worse.
What’s the difference? The one in Halifax was done out of ignorance. Small i ignorance. Look, I was born and raised in Victoria and you couldn’t get a more whitebread town. I think there are more black people on my poetry team, The Recipe, than there were in my graduating class in high school. A graduating class of 500.
So when that poet did a poem about the racism of his youth and dropped certain words, in his own shame, he didn’t realize the impact it would have on his Halifax audience? No.
Does that excuse it? No.
What I heard last night was something completely different. This poet dropped the word, KNOWING it would offend and anger people.
His lines went:
Oh, does that offend you?”
I would like to answer his question.
Yes… yes it does.
I would also like to extend a message from one pasty-looking white dude to another, and pardon my caps…
WE DON’T GET TO SAY THAT WORD. EVER.
Was that clear enough?
I was disappointed with the judges, to be honest. Only one judge took him task for saying it, while the others gave him the sorts of scores he would have gotten if he hadn’t said what he did.
I wanted to see a ZERO thrown up, honestly.
After the show somebody told me something that bothered me even more. I was told that he HAS done that poem at Capital Slam. Obviously when he did that, I didn’t hear when he said THE word (I’m a busy guy at these shows), but that means there was no uproar from him saying it.
That disappoints me. I thought our Merc crowd would explode on him for saying it.
Last night Ruthanne told me she was reading a thread about John Mayer dropping the bomb in an interview with Playboy. In the thread somebody said “it depends on the context”. Somebody else said “there is no acceptable context”, and that is where I am on this.
Let me reiterate from up-post, WHITE DUDES DON’T GET TO DROP THE N-BOMB! EVER!!