Of Conservatives and Body Odor
October 16, 2011
I’ve heard of ad hominem attacks, but this is getting just plain weird.
Ever since Occupy Wall Street began, conservative commentators have been obsessed with the protesters’ bodies, particularly their smell. The most recent such prissy attack is by Ted Nugent, of all people, who, in a Washington Times column, called them “stinky hippies.”
Whence comes this obsession by Nugent, Bill O’Reilly, P.J. O’Rourke, and so many others? Well, I think I found the source.
In 1787, in his Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIV, Thomas Jefferson wrote:
The first difference which strikes us is that of colour. – Whether the black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the skin and scarf-skin, or in the scarf-skin itself; whether it proceeds from the colour of the blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature, and is as real as if its seat and cause were better known to us. And is this difference of no importance? Is it not the foundation of a greater or less share of beauty in the two races? Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less suffusions of colour in the one, preferable to that eternal monotony, which reigns in the countenances, that immovable veil of black which covers all the emotions of the other race? Add to these, flowing hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, their own judgment in favour of the whites, declared by their preference of them, as uniformly as is the preference of the Oranootan for the black women over those of his own species. The circumstance of Superior beauty, is thought worthy attention in the propagation of our horses, dogs, and other domestic animals; why not in that of man? Besides those of colour, figure, and hair, there are other physical distinctions proving a difference of race. They have less hair on the face and body. They secrete less by the kidneys, and more by the glands of the skin, which gives them a very strong and disagreeable odour.
This greater degree of transpiration renders them more tolerant of heat, and less so of cold than the whites. Perhaps too a difference of structure in the pulmonary apparatus, which a late ingenious experimentalist has discovered to be the principal regulator of animal heat, may have disabled them from extricating, in the act of inspiration, so much of that fluid from the outer air, or obliged them in expiration, to part with more of it. They seem to require less sleep…
Etc., etc., etc.
Now, as Jefferson is one of the main freedom fighters of the the Conservatives, and as he is generally believed to have enjoyed some, for lack of a better phrase, Liaisons dangereuses with one (at least) of his many slaves, this obsession with body odor by Nugent et al. takes on a whole new angle, one which I’d really rather not pursue any further.
Or, as Shakespeare said, “Methinks they doth protest too much,” if you kow what I mean.