Ed Driscoll

Just Another "Rich White Man"

James Taranto frequently likes to refer to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as being “intelligent as a post“. Sometimes it seems fiiting though.

Here’s how yesterday’s story on University of Washington’s recent attempts to block a memorial to legendary alumnus Gregory “Pappy” Boyington begins:

After rejecting a memorial to Marine Corps fighter ace Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, a University of Washington alumnus — and feeling the sting of talk radio, television commentators and the e-mail-sending public — UW students may now back a tribute to all former students who have received the Medal of Honor.

A resolution calling for students to recognize five Medal of Honor recipients has been submitted to the student government, and it will probably be considered next week. Student government leaders briefly discussed the issue at a meeting Tuesday night.

The university itself, which received hundreds of e-mails about the rejection of a memorial to Boyington, is also trying to cool public tempers that student leaders raised when, among other things, some questioned whether the university should honor a Marine who had killed people or another rich white man.

At no point does the article comment negatively on the racist (not to mention sexist and classist) “another rich white man” slur, or even mention that the late Boyington was actually half-Sioux Indian–which is pretty ironic for a newspaper published in a town that was itself named after an American Indian chief.

And as the Paradosis blog notes, Boyington wasn’t exactly rich, either, despite having actor Robert Conrad portray him every week in the mid-1970s on NBC:

Also, clearly, the student who made the racist statement never met him because I will tell you that you could not mistake the Sioux in him. And while he did write a best-selling book (best selling authors are a dime a dozen), he was never really a rich man…rather he spent most of his last days wandering through Air Shows reliving the glory days, never in any grand luxury that I saw. He seemed a very nice man, who despite his personal problems did some extraordinary things to help defend freedom and defeat tyranny and injustice.

It sounds a bit like the late Boyington is still doing just that, today.