Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Practical Guide to Racism

Posted By on Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM

It is a little-known fact that Arabs are made of a highly volatile compound similar to nitroglycerin, author C.H. Dalton writes in A Practical Guide to Racism. Under stressful conditions, they are liable to spontaneously combust, and their nervous constitutions cause them to do so frequently. Often in public places, like cafés and Israeli buses.

Assuming that Dalton is an actual person (despite the existence of Web sites that suggest he's a college professor, the man seems like a fabrication of a snickering gang from Spy, Onion or McSweeney's) he's not going to make too many friends with this flagrantly politically incorrect compendium of snarky, misogynous stereotypes disguised as an outdated anthropological text. Every race on Earth — and a few, like Merpeople, that aren't legit — comes in for a psychopathic revisionist-historical drubbing here. When he isn't ripping off the Totally Gross Jokes book series, Dalton enjoys riffing, predictably, on pop-culture mass-media iconographies and myths. On blacks: Whether it's a war, a routine police mission, a haunted house or an experiment involving mutated, super-intelligent sharks, blacks are always the first to die in any situation. On white-face performers: They neurotically check their BlackBerries and listen to smooth jazz, while tucking their T-shirts in and dancing a-rhythmically. It should come as no surprise that the subsection on Cubans sends up Scarface dialogue or that a discussion of the peculiarities of Jewish people takes aim at writer-director Woody Allen and his oeuvre.

Guide's ironic, post-PC tone doesn't make any of what it's repackaging any less hateful, and before making it halfway through, you become overwhelmed by just how relentlessly stupid and equal-opportunity offensive this entire book actually is. For yuks that might not upset your stomach or draw your ire, visit the glossary, where "Mack" is defined as "A Scottish person. Because of the Scottish proclivity for pimping" and "Cake-Eater" means: "A white person. But really, who doesn't like cake?"

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