Friday, January 26, 2007

Sheer Genius

Among the many things I learned as a musician is an appreciation of talent. Hard work is indispensable for success, but it’s not enough. People who are inordinately successful have talent.

Pete Rose probably worked harder than any baseball player ever. He still didn’t hit .303 without eye-hand coordination most of us can only imagine. Doc Severinsen will be 80 in July. The amount of time he’s had a mouthpiece actually touching his lips can probably be measured in decades. He was also the trumpet champion of Oregon when he was nine years old.

I envy those who have a talent I’d like, but lack. (Pete Rose and Doc Severinsen come to mind.) I try to make the most of the talents I have, and have little regard for those who waste their own gifts. This is why I stand in awe of Virginia Delegate Frank Hargrove.

Insulting people isn’t as easy as it looks. I’ve written and said quite a few things that pissed people off, but rarely has anyone felt truly insulted, even when I make an effort. That takes true insensitivity. Delegate Hargrove managed to offend and insult two diverse groups of people in virtually consecutive sentences last week. (Three groups, if you count people with a brain in their heads.)

Virginia’s history of sensitivity toward those unlike themselves (read: not white Protestants) is distinctive. Shamed into making the third Monday in January a holiday to coincide with the Federal Martin Luther King Day, Virginia created the Lee-Jackson-King holiday so two Confederate icons wouldn’t feel left out while those boys celebrated that Nigruh’s birthday. (The holidays were finally split in 2000.)

Before the Virginia Legislature is a bill that, if passed, would officially apologize to blacks for Virginia’s two hundred plus years of slavery. Common sense dictates any comments be kept innocuous, especially for Republicans fresh off of George Allen’s “macaca” gaffe. Delegate Hargrove apparently has his own definition of innocuous.

“I personally think that our black citizens should get over it,” Hargrove said of slavery. “Are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?”

Oh, baby. A two-bagger. Regardless of your sentiments on either comment, I think we can all agree that for an elected official to say that, on the record, is bad taste at a Bushian level. As an outright display of public stupidity, it’s absolutely Sharpton-esque.

I bow to a master. This grasshopper has so much to learn, and so little time.

No comments: