I think that I shall never see
A racist poem ’bout a tree
Bugger me! How wrong I be!
(Extract of ‘Trees’ by Joyce Kilmer, bastardised by me)1
Last weekend, I went to visit Best Friend Dan to do some work on our sitcom-that-will-never-happen. I travelled up the country by train to meet him at Peterborough station, and I passed through the town of Loughborough. Now I’ve seen many alarming things on trains. I’ve seen a man arm wrestle himself for a laugh. I’ve seen a boy flirt with the girl unlucky enough sat next to him by drawing a picture of her face, and then when she didn’t reciprocate, add a mane and pretend she was meant to be a lion all along. I’ve tried not to see a girl with her hand down her boyfriend’s trousers, pumping like a plumber for all the world to see.
But last weekend, I saw something that (arguably) trumps all of them. There is a tree just South of Loughborough train station onto which someone has graffitied a big yellow Swastika.
Bang out of order.3
At this juncture, I’d like to point out that I am no way condoning racism; arboreal or otherwise by including its presence in this blog. I hate racism. It is rubbish. However, in this progressive day and age, no opinion should be dismissed out of hand, no matter how morally objectionable, and the best way to combat prejudice is to educate, and to sympathise to an extent to help the individual to improve themselves. Unfortunately, the dickhead in question appeared to have promptly fucked off, so in his absence, we must get analytical:
Firstly, why? For God’s sake, why? What on Earth does the racist vandal hope to achieve? Is this a method of venting hatred, of releasing the prejudice pent up inside like a politically incorrect timebomb?
Plausible Thoughts of a Racist #1:
‘Agh! Ethnic minorities wind me right up, for some reason! If only I could tell some of them how I feel, but I won’t, because society thoroughly frowns upon it, and quite rightly so. If only there were some passive entity around here for me to share my bigotry with. Ah! A tree! Prepare your self for some racial abuse! FEEL MY WRATH YOU TWIGGY BASTARD!’
If it’s simply a release of prejudice then, in a way, good on him for finding an outlet which doesn’t involve abuse or violence, even if it does damage perfectly innocent vegetation. Perhaps this is even a form of therapy or outsider art; imagine all the aggression and hate crimes that could be avoided if wankers were encouraged to go to the forest and daub the trees with racist symbols rather than oppress minorities… On the other hand, this might make for a very uncomfortable place to stroll through of an evening.
But this doesn’t answer why he or she4 chose to daub that particular tree. We can assume it was to draw the attention of passing commuters, as it is clearly visible from the tracks. In principle it works; the message can easily be seen from the train, and the yellow paint does catch the eye, but why?
Is it to deter incoming commuters who might be of an alternate nationality or religious persuasion from entering Loughborough? If so, in order to see the swastika they must already be on the train; a vehicle out of their control which travels in only two directions; you can’t turn around and flee the city limits whilst on a train. You can run it’s whole length to avoid entering an unwelcoming racist town, but you’ll only get as far as the buffet car.5
Or is the motive altogether more sinister; does the arboreal thug hope to convert passing train passengers to his cause? If this is the case, I must ask what kind of person is so easily swayed by what is only a single icon? Must they already be teetering on the edge of bigotry?
Plausible Thoughts of a Racist #2
‘Are you there, God? It’s me, a racist.
I come to you in my hour of need; I have these latent prejudices, but society frowns on active discrimination… I just can’t decide!
Should I, or should I not, become an racist? Please, give me a sign!
…Oh hang on, a fascist tree! Thank’s God, I’m off to go and scowl at an ethnic café.’
Of course, there is the possibility that the tree itself has grown some moss upon its trunk in the shape of an offensive emblem because it has developed sentience and is itself a racist. If this is true – and it isn’t – then the tree could simply be dismissed as being barking mad.6
In conclusion, there’s a lesson to be learnt from all this: if you’re stupid enough to daub a fascist symbol on an innocent tree, you are in no fit state to offer any thoughts on foreign affairs. Racism is bad. Pack it in.
NOTE: Changed the name of the blog because it seemed needlessly confrontational.
1 That’s a poem. I am officially deep.
2 I do worry that I’m being insultingly flippant about these serious issues, but I hope that readers will realise that I’m dancing around the edges for comedic purposes, and I mean no malice or trivial disregard. That said, if you’re going to have a cruel laugh at someone, it might as well be a racist. Who actually likes racists? Not even their mums.
3 This is an image I obtained from a stock-photo site and photoshopped a swastika onto. I just want to make it perfectly clear that the tree featured in that picture has no moral agenda, although if he did, he’d definitely be a progressive liberal. I looked at pictures of trees for ages, trying to find one that didn’t look too lovely to photoshop a racist emblem onto, and that fella drew the short straw.
4 Statistically, it’s probably a he. Probably with a shaved head and a football shirt and an sub-average wang.
5 I must point out that Loughborough is not a hotbed for racism, and everyone I’ve met from there is lovely. Admittedly I’ve met one fellow who is an exceptional bassist, but he is 100% cool, because bassists ain’t racists.
6 So happy right now…