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Just the good old boys 

It’s been dizzying to watch how the story New Times broke about the racism on display at Cal Poly’s Crops House has taken on a life of its own.

In interviews with the college newspaper, Mustang Daily, students from the house explained the Confederate flags and noose they had on display this way: “Someone without our knowledge came to the house with the props and put them up.”

Of course. That makes sense. Happens all the time. Some houses get toilet papered. Other houses get Confederate flagged. And noosed.

They went on to say that the flag and noose were up for less than 24 hours. And as for the sign that said “No ni**ers”—the only piece of the visual puzzle that wasn’t photographed—they said it never existed. They said there was a “No Obama” and “no liberals” sign, but no “No ni**ers” sign.

Just to clarify: New Times confirmed the existence of the racial slur with the head of the department. I don’t know how he confirmed the sign, but he said he did. As for the noose, Confederate flag, and Confederate flag table, our reporters saw those for themselves. You think they just got lucky, going by the house on the one day in the history of the house when it had these items on display? I don’t.

The students went on to observe in the paper that the Confederate flag was on the hood of the General Lee in Dukes of Hazzard so, ah, they figured, how bad could it be? I mean, nobody’s got a problem with Daisy Duke, right? The students never thought of the flag as racist, they said, just a sign of rebellion.

Um, so you didn’t put the flag up, but you, ah, also don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. And what about the table? A giant table painted with the flag. Must weigh 100 pounds. That one, they say, they borrowed and it, um, wasn’t there for very long.

Right. We got it. It’s not your fault, and even if it were, what’s the big deal?

Let’s compare these statements to those the Crops House students issued last week. Back then, their collective statement read: “With regards to the recent inappropriate, symbolic items displayed at the California Polytechnic State University Crops Department Housing Unit, we house members truly recognize how intolerant, insensitive, immature, and ignorant our actions were. These items were displayed without forethought and were promptly removed when their negative significance and connotations were realized.” It went on to describe them as truly embarrassed of their actions.

Really? In their interview with the student paper, they don’t sound like they recognize how intolerant these statements were. It doesn’t sound like they’re embarrassed for their actions. I’m beginning to wonder exactly who wrote the first statement, because it sure doesn’t sound like the same folks who talked to the student paper.

Just the good old boys. Never meaning no harm. Beats all you ever saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they were born.

And by the time the story got to The Associated Press, the racist shit was being described as a “Halloween display.” Folks, the house didn’t have a pumpkin or ghost in sight. There was nothing Halloweenish there. It was scary as hell, but it didn’t seem in any way connected to Oct. 31.

Awkward ads

Try this out: Go online and read the Tribune’s follow on the Crops House story. Now scan all the way to the bottom of the page, past the comments. If it’s working the same way it was when I checked it, you’ll see a trio of ads for Confederate flags. They’re Yahoo-placed ads, so they’re just automatic; the paper didn’t choose them. But still, isn’t it a bit awkward to have this whole story on an uproar caused in part by Confederate flags, and then have it followed by ads for more Confederate flags?

Hope, fear, and the antichrist

My e-mail box got so crammed up on Election Day I had to pour Maalox up the parallel port. Most of it was last-minute election fish mongering. Er, fear mongering. (Fear and fish: How come those are the only things anybody mongers anymore?)

If you had been a diligent reader of e-mails on that day you might have learned such false information as:

• Barack Obama was foretold in the Book of Revelation as the antichrist. (For those easily confused, check out Snopes.com, or even the Bible, for a thorough rebuking of this idea.)

• Democrats were supposed to vote on Wednesday.

• Your polling place has changed.

Last word: Nice try, losers.

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