Thursday, April 10, 2003

Apparently, coherence isn't required of's Page 2 writers:

At this year's Masters, something smells funny among the magnolia trees.

Anticipating the shape of things to come, National Geographic magazine tapped your boy for the duty for a 1,000-word "Zip USA" story. I had 30904 -- the Zip that included, among other things, Augusta National Golf Club. I was to try to make sense of it all, find a telling theme, in a thousand or so words.

National Geographic was denied a credential for the 2002 Masters by the Augusta National Golf Club, which cited as its reasoning that a Zip USA story could be about anything in that "Zip" code, not about Augusta National itself. The implication was that Augusta National was a theme alone, not standing on anyone else's back, or at their side, for that matter. It would not sully its reputation by potentially being cast in the same set of photographs with the rabble, or the help. Or, since you bring it up, the womenfolk, either. They could come around and work, if and when invited to do so. But they could easily be dismissed, when it came time for cigars and blue stories that mostly used them as punchlines.

I spoke to Glenn Greenspan, media liason between Augusta National Golf Club and the rest of the world. He was nice. He sent "Masters" press guides and such to me; they tell you everything about it, except what you want to know.

So, I went to Augusta to see for myself.

They might just as well have taken a "Hell No, We Ain't Forgettin'!" sticker off the back of a pick-up and wrote it up purtier as a template for the etching on the statue on Broad Street downtown that speaks to the time in the long-dead past when the "Masters" came into being.

All Martha Burk wants is women members at Augusta National.

The "Masters," and all horrors its name implies, was born akin to the statue that honors the Confederacy on Broad Street downtown. Its etching says, "No Nation Rose So White and Fair, None Fell So Pure and Free of Grime."

No need to dwell on it, though. There's newer stuff around now to occupy you. There's an art gallery across the street from the statue. There's a colored guy in there, acting like he knows something about art. Jessye Norman, the opera singer, has an ampitheater named after her, bisecting the freshly bricked Riverwalk. Over to Fox's Lair downtown, good white guys to know -- the ones in the law business, ex-sheriffs, bailiffs, bail bondsmen, lawyers, and what-not -- were getting hozzled, and I don't mean golf clubbed.

One lawyer with a practice on his boat said, "Hell, idjit, don't you know nothing? Discotechque over there's for the po' folk; the real jizz goes on up in the big houses, upland, uptown, not down here ..." He said the big houses would be rented out for that week for 10 and sometimes 20 thousand dollars -- the higher price fetched three "Masters" Patron Badges instead of two; "'maid service' is included, if you know what I mean ..." That's a direct quote. "But you didn't hear it from me. You don't know my name."

"Yes, you do," said the black barmaid. "Jack Boone, Jr."

Jack Boone Jr. squirmed, chafed, then pleaded with her, "Aw shoot, Doris," although her name was not Doris. He told -- asked -- the barmaid to top off his drink. She did while giving him a look. Not so free from grime was he.

"Wow," I thought, "there are a lot of interesting things about Augusta and mastery that aren't in a press guide."

I found that, black or white, the general consensus was that the founders of the "Masters" tournament, Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, were making a social statement, too; they weren't just holding a tournament, or, as it's called here, a "too-na-mint."

For example, for years, the unwritten, understood rule at Augusta National and the "Masters" was, golfers were white, and caddies were black, and never the twain should meet otherwise. There was even a written Caucasians-only restrictive covenant that wasn't officially struck until 1961. Very odd in a way, because the whole place is crawling with blacks and women. I mean, literally crawling with them. But between the "Masters" and "Gone With The Wind," a semblance of honor could be regained for the Old South. It wasn't all bad. Some of it was ever so grand ...

Yeah. Right. Whatever.

That's just the way it was in Augusta, for what seems like many years, an Old Testament eternity, but actually isn't. The "Masters" tournament isn't even 70 years old.

Hell, Earl Woods alone is as old as the "Masters."

Lee Elder shakily stepping up to the first tee box was the first black man to play -- officially play --at Augusta National in the "Masters," in 1975.

Tiger Woods was not even born by then. In fact, if you look at it, he was born on December 30 of that same year, so he would have been conceived about the time of the 1975 "Masters," in which Clifford Roberts dryly shook hands with Lee Elder, and unbeknownst to him at the time, inspired Earl Woods, not to join a club, but to embrace his wife Kutilda. Now, not half a lifetime later, Tiger Woods is the "Masters" tournament's great champion of champions; his brown skin and the hint of epicanthic fold at his eyelids did not stop Life from happening, even out of chaos.

So now, is 2003 Women's Day at Augusta?

It isn't, it will be.

There is no edict making it so.

No letter or protest will announce it.

No refusal or bewildered denial can stop it.

Life just happens, and continues to go along. It's chaos theory, and here's how that theory works: There is no barring life, segregating it, no stopping it for long. Sometimes there can be rushing it, or delaying it, or killing it, trying to bury it; but there's no stopping it. It happens. Martha Burk can ride the wave, but she didn't start it, and she can't stop it. Her protest will seem to fizzle out this weekend, at the 2003 "Masters," but that won't matter a tittle. Barbara Eden is out of the bottle.
May I?

First, Augusta is a private club. You know, like, oh, I'm just picking at random here, The Black Law Student Association -- which, incidentally, only accepts black law students as members. Query: Does Wiley think they should be forced to have white members? Just wondering.

So as a private club, why shouldn't they be free to admit whomever the hell they like? Oh, I know: Because chattel slavery is identical to housewifery. Because nailing manacles through men's ankles is identical to asking for fried chicken and biscuits for dinner, instead of meatloaf. Because subjugating a group of humans based on their skin color alone -- the historic injustice that the civil rights movement was trying to undo -- is indistinguishable from not letting women into law school.

Yup. I see where he's coming from now.

(2) The problem with sending a Yankee into the South is that they've all internalized 1958 and Gone With the Wind. Of course "the Masters" refers to chattel slavery, and, ok, sure, they have black members, and Tiger Woods plays there, but MARK MY WORDS! They're trying to re-launch the Civil War!!

(3) How do we know what caused Tiger Woods's father to impregnate Tiger Woods's mom, and:

(a) Why do we care?

(b) Is it even our damned business?

(4) "Toon-a-mint": Because remember, it is wrong wrong WRONG to make fun of blacks, Asians, and Hispanics for linguistic problems with English, but man-oh-man, there is nothing so much fun as making fun of those Southern Bwahs when they speak, is there?

Oh, and moron: In Augusta, they say "Tuhn-ah-ment." At least get your mockery down right, jackass.

(5) Actually, idiot, chaos theory does not mean "[t]here is no barring life, segregating it, no stopping it for long." It means, in one respect (I'm keeping this simple just for you, Ralphie), that even within apparently random event sequences, there is a pattern. It means that small permutations can geometrically build to larger ones. It is the proverbial butterfly in Beijing causing storm cycle changes in Brooklyn. There's much more to it than that, of course, but I figure that sentence probably destroyed your prefrontal lobe, so I'm not going any farther.

(Here's a good primer on the subject. Learn to read, then browse it.)

(6) I'd like to tackle one more bit of idiocy:

It seemed delusional, as homo sapiens, as mammals, to think you could segregate yourself from that from which you come. Consider the source of our comfort and desire.

You see? You don't? Well, I'll keep trying. Roll over and ask your significant other, "Honey, what do you think about women as members of Augusta National Golf Club?"

Notice how she replies. Does her reply reflect total honesty, what she really thinks, or how she knows she has to handle you on this subject? It's a loaded question. It goes beyond Augusta National. Should a woman be free, is what you're asking. Even the ones who say they don't care -- it's just tactical, whether they are actually aware of it being tactical or not. They are saying that to continue to survive in the manner to which they have become accustomed. As one long-time black Augusta caddy who's worked with Gary Player among others told me, "I try not to make enemies out of rich folks." Note that he didn't say white folks, or menfolks, or Republicans. He said rich folks.
(a) As a homo sapien, does it make sense to cut yourself off from the dirt out of which the basic components of your existence come? If not, then why are you wearing shoes? Working in an office?

(b) Wow, false consciousness theory. I thought that went the way of Bill and Hill. So a woman can't honestly believe -- to her core -- that sometimes men need their own space, and women do, too?



(c) I asked my wife about Augusta. She said it's wrong to have a men-only policy, morally, and, perhaps, legally. I told her she was full of [it]. I asked her if she'd mind if high school boys got to hang out in women's locker rooms. That's different. If women should be forced to have male ob/gyns, because after all, men and women should be forced to mingle, right?

She, of course, God bless her, punched me in the gut.

Doesn't make her any more right, nor does it mean that her belief in single-sex locker rooms or having the choice of same-sex doctors are signs of false consciousness.

So, to summarize: The point of the article is that a bunch o' hillbilly rich boys are keepin' the womenfolk out 'cuz they're stoopid, talk funny, and are disconnected from reality; they're probably all racists, even the black ones; they're definitely misogynists; they're on the wrong side of History; and any women who disagree aren't women after all.

Took ol' Ralph 2,000 words to recycle typical left-wing garbage. Took me 58. But that's because I'm a racist, misogynist homophobe, I guess.


(Via Jimmy, who I think still has that burning desire to tell the world off.)

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