Having spent so much time this week trying to track down some COVID vaccine, I have managed to sign up for waiting lists for practically any place within driving distance that is rumored to be in line to get some of the magic elixir. This is hard for me to do, being white. White people hate to wait in line for anything.
Being in queue is a sure sign that one doesn’t have the connections to get into the fashionable restaurant or club ahead of the other schmucks waiting for entrance. Avoiding such disgrace is why reservations came into being in the first place.
On the other hand, it strikes me that people of color, particularly black people, are down with waiting in line. Mind you, I’m not speaking for these people—not being one of them—but I have seen the news footage showing them standing in line for hours waiting to vote. That’s why the voter suppression tactics that result in these lines so frequently fail. (I’m looking at you, Georgia.) If there’s a line to vote, we know who will say, “Oh, forget it, Charlie. Look how many people are waiting to get in. Let’s just go on to the Jack in the Box. There wasn’t a line there when we drove by.” White people, the folks who popularized microwaves and Sanka.
Not waiting in lines is one small part of what many white people expect from their white privilege. That privilege is so indelibly part of white identity, I suspect it’s packed in with the swag when little white babies are brought home from the hospital.
It was there for me every time I’ve had an encounter with law enforcement, every time I’ve acted a fool outside my house, and every time I’ve found it necessary to dress down anyone in a public space, including—but not limited to—a Democratic national convention. No car searches, no detainment, no arrests. Sparkling wit? Excessive good looks? No, white privilege.
After suffering the indignity of getting into multiple lines, comic relief was needed. Since we’re in the middle of an insurrection as well as a pandemic, I needed the Extra Strength Tylenol version of funny. That means George Carlin.
He did a bit years ago, back when Dan Quayle was vice president, in which he said, “Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are stupider than that.” Daunting, to say the least, but true and funny at the same time.
Carlin, in his inimitable style, described three subsets of human characters. Using his own words, Carlin defined those that are “fucking stupid,” those that are “full of shit,” and those that are “fucking nuts.” Because I’m not George, I’m going to reduce them to the stoops, the poops, and the kooks. All three types were on full display at the Capitol last week.
The best of the kooks is one Jacob Chansley, aka Jake Angelia, aka “Buffalo Man.” He has added to his notoriety in jail by refusing to eat non-organic food. ‘Nuff said.
It’s harder to pick the exemplar of the stoops as there are so many from which to choose. Certainly one Adam Johnson, seen all over social media apparently stealing Nancy Pelosi’s podium, deserves mention. But my personal favorite is West Virginia state representative Derrick Evans, who broke into the Capitol on a livestream shouting “Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”
The stoops seem to be populated with people who would never admit to having white privilege while expecting it to protect them from their own criminal behavior. For example, I may get off with a warning for driving down the interstate at 15 miles per hour over the speed limit because the highway patrolman thinks I’m an old white lady (the most privileged of all white people), but I’m not stupid enough to think even Betty White could get away with smashing into the Capitol while chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”
Which leaves the poops, a group which Carlin acknowledges may be “fairly intelligent.” What they did may be criminal, but at least investigators and prosecutors are going to have work for it. These are the ones who organized, facilitated, and made the insurrection possible. They may have been elected officials inside the Capitol during the melee, or they could have been working from home a thousand miles from Washington. Their day is coming.
Far be it from me to speak for George Carlin, so I’ve attached a short clip so the man can speak for himself. He could deliver the exact same bit over 25 years later, and the only change Carlin would need to make would be substituting Donald Trump’s name for Quayle’s as a member of all three groups.