I bet you feel some relief now that Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her retirement. Pretty soon, Roe v. Wade will be toast, and you won't have to worry about dodging a suction tube.
Sure, I'm feeling a little less insecure about my chances. Hell, I might even last long enough for my skull bones to fuse. But don't look here for thanks. What, you thought I'd be a grateful little blastocyst? Look, I'm a long way from getting the kind of fetal rights that I'm really interested in, and I'm starting to get fed up. So when do I get to vote, you bastards? And what's with this drinking-age crap? Hey, remember what the good book tells us: "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments." Well, I can tell you I have ailments aplenty, so get that hooch down here and, like, now. Look, I better start getting treated like a full member of the race or I'm going to start cracking heads. Don't think I can't do it, either -- even if I am still so underdeveloped that I've got more tail than a Jessica Simpson video. Come on, now; don't tease me with a little power. That just won't do.
Over the Line
Being voracious readers of local media, we enjoy the mostly harmless rants of columnists in papers large and small around the metro -- even the tiny Platte County Landmark, whose screed artists sometimes make us chuckle with their observations about life north of the Missouri River.
The most unhinged is Brian Kubicki, whose weekly "Parallax Look" is one of those "items" columns -- lots of little observations, usually about how stupid Democrats are, separated by ellipses, as though Kubicki had difficulty concentrating on any one subject for more than a few minutes.
Anyway, in Kubicki's July 14 column, he interrupted his usual flow of throwaway witticisms to include a vile, unfunny joke at the expense of this city's Asian population.
"Is it only my erroneous perception," he began, "or is there an inordinate number of dogs gone missing from suburban homes? It seems that every telephone pole in suburban KC is adorned with a new missing Labrador, Golden Retriever or Shar-Pei.... Could there be a new Asian restaurant in town?"
Now, perhaps we're a little more sensitive than most to this putrid attempt at humor because one of our editors is married to a woman who is Chinese-Indonesian. But surely, we thought, the editors at the Landmark would understand that it's really beyond the pale to suggest, even in a joke, that KC's Asian immigrants would steal neighborhood pets for food.
We sent an e-mail to both Ivan Foley, the Landmark's editor, and Kubicki, and pointed out that Kubicki's attempt at humor was a slap not only to local immigrants but also to Platte County's Asian restaurants.
We were thinking of one in particular.
In 2002, the Pitch named the Malay Café the city's best new restaurant. The eatery, on Barry Road a little east of Interstate 29, doesn't look like much from the outside. But there are few ethnic restaurants in this city that can match Allison Lim's place for creative and delicious cooking. Its amazing Malaysian cuisine -- in the Northland! -- is one of the reasons we have hopes for this metro. So what was with the nasty swipe, we asked Foley and Kubicki?
"Landmark columnists will occasionally offend a reader or two, I must admit," Foley wrote back. However, he added, "Brian's comment was so generic in nature, obviously, that he intended no ill will toward any particular restaurant."
Well, apparently not. The Landmark couldn't have had Lim's place in mind, because Foley admitted that he hadn't even heard of the Malay Café.
You've obviously got Platte County covered like a glove, Foley.
Kubicki, meanwhile, explained his column by referring to Internet stories about restaurants in other parts of the world where it is acceptable to eat dogs or horses or other things we keep off the menu here. But we didn't buy that dodge. The message of his column was clear: He was amused by the notion that immigrants who were either too lawless or too stupid to respect American cultural norms would go through KC's suburbs kidnapping pets for meals.
Hardy har har.
"It's offensive, all right," said Allison Lim after we read Kubicki's column to her. "And I'm very sad they would say that. If it was a reader, I'd be less surprised. But from the staff?"
Lim admitted to being only slightly less ignorant of Foley's newspaper than he is of her restaurant. "I think I saw the Landmark once," she said.
But Lim said that, unfortunately, Foley's rag fits the area. "People here are very different from people south of the river," she explained. "We are lucky to survive here, but only because we have loyal customers [from the south]. It doesn't surprise me that they [the writers at the Landmark] don't know us.
"It's not easy to survive here, serving Malaysian food," Lim continued. "After four years, we still have people who walk in and then walk out."
We can only hope that Foley and Kubicki will do the decent thing and apologize to Lim and other Asian restaurateurs in the Northland -- and then get educated about Lim's amazing restaurant so they can tell their readers what a gem it is.
Got a moral quandary? E-mail Jimmy at email@example.com.