Every once in a while, you read something that makes your jaw go slack and you gasp, “Holy ****, is this for real?”
Such is the case with the now infamous (and growing more infamouser by the minute) e-mail written by Officer Justin Barrett of the Boston PD to several reporters and media pundits in response to the Gates brouhaha (that term used deliberately, in honor of today’s symbolic mea culpathon at the White House…get it? “Brou” haha? Beers at the White House? C’mon, that’s gold).
Officer Barrett, who is currently suspended from his job (one would hope by the elastic of his underwear from atop a tall tall flagpole), chided Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham for what he deemed “sub standard and strictly one sided” reporting in a column she wrote in the wake of the Gates arrest. Barrett did this by first extolling his many virtues — English teacher, writer, veteran, police officer, father, husband, social butterfly, raconteur, collector of rare and delicate treasures — so he could better belittle the writer so privileged with the receipt of his sage words.
“Your written messages and material is so 4th grade level,” the writer and former English teacher wrote. “Are you still in the 5th grade, Catholic School?” the writer and former English teacher wrote, in an e-mail in which he said he wanted to “ax” a question of the Abraham.
Did I mention that he’s a writer and former English teacher?
Oh, and a chivalrous defender of womankind as well, as evidenced by his jab at Abraham, who he called “a hot little bird with minimal experiences in a harsh field…you are a fool. An infidel…you should serve me coffee and donuts on Sunday morning.”
Yeah, Yvonne! You heard him! Get in the kitchen and make him a damned sammich!
Ah, but you’ve seen but the scummy surface of Officer Barrett’s noisome pool of misplaced righteous wrath. He hits rock-bottom with the line that shall be quoted ad infinitum in the media for days to come: “If I was the officer [Gates] verbally assaulted like a banana-eating jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC (Oleoresin Capsicum, aka pepper spray) deserving of his belligerent non-compliance.”
The phrase “jungle monkey” crops up a total of three times, not including the thrilling title of this missive — which strays into some bizarre tangents — “JUNGLE MONKEY – BACK TO ONE’S ROOTS.”
Say it with me: “Holy ****, is this for real?”
The punchline to this: he boldly proclaims that he is not a racist. He not only states this in his e-mail, but in an interview with WCVB-TV he revealed the breadth and depth of his self-delusion when he called the use of his phrase “jungle monkey” “a poor choice of words” and said he “did not mean to offend anyone. The words were being used to characterize behavior, not describe anyone . . . I didn’t mean it in a racist way. I treat everyone with dignity and respect.”
Except, oh, Professor Gates, Yvonne Abraham, reporters, women…
A lot of people have criticized Professor Gates for his behavior, I among them, and I stand by my words. I don’t know if Sergeant Crowley is totally blameless in this — there’s evidence he could have handled the situation better — but there’s as much evidence Gates grossly overreacted and took the wrong tack in protesting the sergeant’s presence by throwing out the dreaded so-called race card.
It’s a touchy subject, yet even some of Gates’ harshest critics have managed to express their dissent without ever coming close to spewing racist bile. Barrett? Nope. He let his freak flag fly, and it bore a striking resemblance to a Confederate Flag hoisted high atop a burning cross.
Tom Menino mumbled his outrage over Barrett’s behavior, stating that Barrett “has no place in this department, and we have to take his badge away. That stuff doesn’t belong in our city, and we’re not going to tolerate it…He’s gone, g-o-n-e. I don’t care, it’s like cancer, you don’t keep those cancers around.”
Barack Obama made a mistake in wading into the Gates/Crowley mess and opining that the Cambridge police acted “stupidly.” He should have saved it for Justin Barrett; if ever there was a fine upstanding example of someone behaving stupidly, it’s Barrett — who, in his arrogant and self-righteous zeal to set the record straight, may have given citizens of color an even better reason to fear and distrust the police than Sergeant Crowley ever did. The Gates situation may or may not have been couched in racism, but there is no doubt when it comes to Barrett’s vile rant.
Bravo, sir. Bravo.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.