The stench of hatred wafted out of North Carolina last week. I caught my first whiff at the meetinghouse last night and really didn’t know what to say. I blame it on football. Football is a sissy sport. Young men bind themselves and daub evil smelling chemicals on tight muscles, and wear bizarre fetish action armor while running about and smiting each other. For some reason Guilford College encourages this activity, and with all this programmatic smiting going on you have to know that a little ad hoc smiting was sure to follow.
Well, I’ve changed my mind. I don’t blame it on football per se, because we know that earlier at Duke University there was another case of student athlete horses-asses-ness and that was Lacrosse players smiting a woman. I’ve never been sure how much smiting there is in Lacrosse proper, but I know they have sticks and balls and behave much like hockey players except without the ice.
So now I blame it on big tobacco. Without the Duke endowment (funded pretty much by the carcinogenic profits of the American Tobacco Company), Duke University would still be a sleepy little Methodist school rarely visited by the over-privileged children of America’s white elite. It’s doubtful there would be a Lacrosse team. Up the road in Greensboro, the same tobacco money had long since tainted tiny Guilford College where Palestinian smiting took place last week.
In truth, I didn’t know what to think last night when I first heard the story of Palestinians being smote on a Quaker campus. In January 2003 we visited Greensboro for a meeting on the peace testimony. The middle east was much on our minds. Friends had returned from Palestine with news of their visas being revoked by the Israelis, NGOs being shut down, and a wall being built to inform a new era of Apartheid in Palestine. We shared concerns about Iraq, about the coming invasion and about the children dying there of dysentery due to the blockade, the lack of clean water and medical supplies, and the general senseless smiting that the US and Britain, like post adolescent low-IQ testosterone laden football players were engaged in. A year later it was quite clear to everybody that the low-IQ fetishists were entrenched and that the people of Iraq and of course the Palestinians would continue to suffer at their hands.
After those quiet words at the meetinghouse, I began to notice dyspeptic belches of blogospheric debate and commentary regarding the smiters and the smote. Doc Searls pointed to Ed Cone where a huge comment string elaborated some less than inventive invective and name-callery, and clicking away from those comments to the blogs of the commenters it was clear that some smiting had gone down but that North Carolina is still smarting from the juridical smiting of the poor Lacrosse team, hardly any of whom actually raped anyone except maybe in the butt, so calling some Palestinians vile racist names and failing to consider that the smiting that went on wasn’t really metered smiting… like nobody can tell on a scale of one to ten just how hard the smiters smote the smited (smitten?).
It took the folks at Cone’s blog a day or so to encounter the irony of violent racist behavior at a Quaker college. It took a walkout by the students to bring it into focus.