Identifies as heterosexual
Blaska just pawn in game of life
Today’s Page One headline in the print version of our favorite Madison WI morning daily newspaper:
“First Black sheriff sworn in”
Is that all of Kalvin Barrett, Dane County’s newly appointed sheriff? His sum and total? Twelve years a lawman, master’s degree in criminal justice, educator. Given the hoo-hah around race and policing, post Michael Brown and George Floyd, we get it. But …
God have pity on our souls! The headline reminded the Werkes of Mel Brook’s sacrilegious movie Blazing Saddles. Old Gabby Johnson on the roof; peering through a telescope he announces (in his authentic frontier gibberish), “The Sheriff is a …” CHURCH BELL RINGS. “The sheriff is a …” CHURCH BELL RINGS again.
On the ground, one of the other Johnsons of Rock Ridge translates: “He’s saying, the sheriff is a-comin’.” That is, until Black Bart (played by Cleavon Little) rides into town.
No laughing matter
Blazing Saddles is canonical. Deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and enshrined in the National Film Registry.) Reality check: The movie was released 47 years ago! Has America gone forward or backward since that time? Could the movie be shown on NBC today? The network pulled out of the Golden Globe award show because none of the foreign film journalists — predominantly European and Asian — who vote on the awards is black.
Now that Dane County WI has its first black (we do not capitalize) sheriff, black police chief, black school superintendent, district attorney, judges, legislators — plus a good admixture of hispanic, asian, differently abled, and LBGTQ folk (including our mayor, U.S. Senator, and congressman)— can we move the hell on? How much longer must we be identitified by our externalities?
Blaska’s Bottom Line: We continue our quest to scrub future Censuses of any reference to race or national origin. As for Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett, all we want to know is “Can he shoot straight?”