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• • •
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"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

February 08, 2008

Earl Butz, RIP NSFW

Earl Butz, Secretary of Agriculture for Nixon and Ford, recently died.

This reminds me of a joke!

...however, it is NSFW. All I will tell you up here is that it's of my favorite genre: pointing out that whenever someone says "What you have to understand about the ______s is that they're all _______," the description always applies to everyone everywhere.

Here's the joke, which will someday be performed in public:

• • •

Earl Butz got fired from his job as Secretary of Agriculture for saying, "The only thing the coloreds are looking for in life are tight pussy, loose shoes, and a warm place to shit."

I heard this and I thought, Wait a I colored? Because...that's pretty much the only thing I'm looking for in life.

...although, to be honest, I don't really care that much about the "shoes" part.

[pause to consider]

Perhaps it's the shoes difference that makes me part of the master race!

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at February 8, 2008 04:12 PM

I heard this way back when. This comment has always been an inspiration to me, and served as a model for my User Profile at, where I list my interests as:

* truth
* justice
* the potentially sentient way
* true love
* tasty and nourishing food
* a comfortable place to read an interesting book

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at February 8, 2008 05:36 PM

one of the most beautiful aspects of being part of the master race is that you get to be a master *without any effort on your part whatsoever*, then you get to turn around and disdain the slave races for their unwillingness to put forth *any effort whatsoever* to be more like you - in other words, you get to be on the right side of a buttload of irony *all the time*. it's a wonderful thing.

Posted by: Guest at February 8, 2008 05:48 PM

A friend gave me a framed needle point of this quote shortly after it came out (of Butz). It is one of my favorite things.

Posted by: Bruce at February 8, 2008 05:49 PM

Wait until you get older and develop a bunion. You'll quickly gain a deep appreciation for loose shoes.

Posted by: Mark Gisleson at February 8, 2008 05:59 PM

According to Terry Southern, in "Notes from the War Room," those are exactly the three things Slim Pickens declared he needed shortly after arriving on the London set of Dr. Strangelove. Kubrick had assigned TS to look after Pickens, a fellow Texan on his first trip outside the US. Later on, Pickens, a former rodeo clown, regales serious thesp James Earl Jones with stories of working with "Bud" Brando on One-Eyed Jacks: "Ah never seen him [Brando] do one thing that wudn't all man an' all white."

Posted by: Frooky at February 9, 2008 01:21 AM

Your standards of "NSFW" are very high, if the phrase "pussy" and "shit" are enough to make you blush. Or maybe I'm wrong - is it "coloreds"?

Posted by: saurabh at February 9, 2008 06:51 AM

Your standards of "NSFW" are very high, if the phrase "pussy" and "shit" are enough to make you blush.

Mostly it's just that I liked RIP NSFW.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at February 9, 2008 10:08 AM

I remember Earl Butz. I used to describe him in the then-print version of Lotus as "America's fastest rising comedian" with his knee-slappers like saying of the Pope's comments on population control, "He no play-a the game, he no make-a the rules."

I also remember his name coming up on the game show Hollywood Squares, prompting the celebrity - I think it was Anthony Newley - to burst out "What's an Earl Butz?"

But as for the quote you mention, I had the same sort of amused reaction as you. I recall saying, after noting the racism of it, "On the other hand, I expect that's true of most men."

Posted by: LarryE at February 11, 2008 01:11 AM