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N.C., Short For Bunkum

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Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot, born 28 September 1934, is a former French fashion model, actress, singer and animal rights activist. She was one of the best-known sex symbols of the 1960s. Starting in 1969, Bardot's features became the official face of Marianne (who had previously been anonymous) to represent the liberty of France. | Photo: | Brigitte Bardot, Charlie Chaplain, Actress, Model, Icon, French, France,

Of Tar, Tards and Real Heels

North Carolina, your bunkum's showing.

It is not lost on this scribbler that the City Ordinance in question is that of the Queen City

As was hinted at in a recent posting entitled 'America's Rome is Berning', Republican-controlled state legislative bodies have 'know-nothingly' dragged the vast numbers of the unwilling of their states into Mr. Peabody's Way-Back Machine to an unseemly era best summarized as the falsely benign Eisenhower/Nixon 1950's. [In defense of that top of the ticket personage, he didn't seek the Presidency, it sought him a true war hero writ large who dared to warn us progeny of a certain military industrial complex whose complexion is, among other dogmatic features, decidedly Caucasian and ultra-conservative to the point of fringe status].

North Carolina, the Tar Heel state--so nick-named by the stalwart Confederate deified in stone astride Stone Mountain in its neighbor Georgia--is the extant exemplar of this retrograde regressive trend permitted to prevail thanks to another of those states achievements: voter suppression, complemented by their federal high court's tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of the natural death of parts of the Voting Rights Act enacted at a time when Washington was not wrongly equated with Satan by the rabid ayatollahs known-nothingness.

What follows, then, literally and logically is a case for the rechristening (a term used advisedly, ahem) of North Carolina as 'The Tarred (read as 'tard) Heels State. (Perhaps a parody in song of Billy Joel's great tune 'New York State of Mind' may be heard softly playing).

This state has a long history of the sort of hysterical hysteria associated with its recent Special Session expense in quashing Charlotte's LBGT-friendly ordinance. Consider that term well-known in police circles as 'bunko' and in general colloquial speech as 'bunk'. Here's a run-down: " 'Bunk', "nonsense," 1900, short for bunkum, phonetic spelling of Buncombe, a county in North Carolina. The usual story (by 1841) of its origin is this: At the close of the protracted Missouri statehood debates, supposedly on Feb. 25, 1820, N.C. Representative Felix Walker (1753-1828) began what promised to be a "long, dull, irrelevant speech," and he resisted calls to cut it short by saying he was bound to say something that could appear in the newspapers in the home district and prove he was on the job. "I shall not be speaking to the House," he confessed, "but to Buncombe." Bunkum has been American English slang for "nonsense" since 1841 (from 1838 as generic for "a U.S. Representative's home district").

MR. WALKER, of North Carolina, rose then to address the Committee on the question [of Missouri statehood]; but the question was called for so clamorously and so perseveringly that Mr. W. could proceed no farther than to move that the committee rise. [Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 16th Congress, 1st Session, p. 1539]." [Source: www.etymonline.com]

It is more than passing interesting that the Missouri Compromise, having to do with the designation of new states as 'free' or 'slave', served as background for this latest round of self-destructive national embarrassment.

Corporate America, not often as praiseworthy as in this context, has responded in predictably commercial denial of previously committed assets and activities planned for North Carolina, joined necessarily by the minority-dominated NBA. Expecting more of the same, it seems that the tin-eared Governor of that state (of confusion) may find the corporate powers (the Duke energy empire among them) who have backed him confronting him and his legislative clones with the prospect of the tar of their state's sobriquet heating up for application with feathers, including the quill he foolishly used to sign the measure also enabling his warranted tarring.

We close with the sage words of two sons of that very Missouri which gave rise to North Carolina's bunkum outbreak, one a near contemporary of Mr. Walker, the other closer to the hard-of-hearing Governor in question:

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." ---Mark Twain

"There is nothing new in the world except the history you don't know." ---Harry S. Truman

The imbeciles of North Carolina politics now know their history; it's time to stop digging that hole...in their heads.

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Updated Apr 22, 2017 5:29 AM EDT | More details

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