The Septuagenarian Speaks – June 12, 2019

Last week I celebrated (underwent?) my 77th birthday.  I’m not complaining, it beats the alternative.  But it’s hard to imagine how I got here so fast.  I have three more years of being a septuagenarian.  If I make it that long, I’ll have to change the name of my column.  I can’t think of anything that works well with “Octogenarian.”

My wife’s birthday gift to me was a DVD of “Blazing Saddles,” a movie released, if you can believe it, forty-five years ago.  She chose that gift out of a not-unreasonable fear that it might be banned in the future as the Political-Correctness Nazis are gradually undermining our First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

I am afraid … very afraid.  What is happening?  People want to ban “Blazing Saddles?”

Even Mark Twain, more than one-hundred years after his death, is under fire.  A few years ago, “new” editions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were published in which the offensive racial epithets “injun” and “nigger” were replaced by “Indian” and slave.”  The original language of Mark Twain’s books has been judged by some school districts to be unsuitable to teach to children.  Sure, in today’s world, those words are inflammatory, but to desecrate literary masterpieces because of such words, common when written, is frightening.  Even more so, when you consider that the stories, as well as the author himself, were profoundly anti-racist.

Today’s political-correctness hysteria doesn’t just apply to literature.

Take for example the recent removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a pillar in New Orleans’ Lee Circle.  As one news pundit correctly observed, “If we have only perfect people on statues, we’ll be a nation of pedestals.”

Yanking down statues of historical figures while focusing on what they did wrong and ignoring what they did right is very scary.  Reminiscent of Soviet Russia.

What’s next?  I’ll let my imagination run amok.

The wonderful sculptures of Ralph Starritt have contributed monumentally (no pun intended) toward making Yreka the great town that it is.

But they may be insensitive to someone, so probably should come down.

First, there is that dragon at the north edge of town.  That signifies the devil at his worst.  Take it down!

And the cow and calf south of town, symbolizing cow flatulence and climate change.  Take them down!

Then there are the many statues of miners scattered throughout town.  They must go.  Think about it.  They celebrate people who have scourged our rivers and streams, leaving dredger tailings like the ones you see when driving between Etna and Callahan.  Of course, if it weren’t for the miners our town wouldn’t exist.  But maybe that would be for the best.  Have you watched the TV series “Deadwood?”    I’m guessing that Yreka in the 1850s was like the Deadwood pictured on TV.


There were whores.  (Take a deep breath).  I’ve been told there were still whorehouses in the location where Grandma’s House is/was located up until the sixties when Sheriff Al Cottar clamped down.

I’m getting on the band wagon.  Our Yreka history is fraught with evil doings.  Whores!  Gold miners!  Hangings!  A Chinatown that burned down!  In the interest of political correctness, we need to rip all that out of the history books as if it didn’t exist.  Tear down all of Ralph Starritt’s statues!

After all, it worked pretty well for the Bolsheviks.  It should work okay here too, don’t you think?

Bob Kaster
Yreka, CA

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