The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Rob Langrell

Society has lost its cotton-pickin' mind


April 15, 2018

Sadly, we now live in an age where someone somewhere will always be offended by something.

Case in point: On Wednesday night, Oklahoma Thunder play-by-play announcer Brian Davis referred to how All-Star Russell Westbrook was playing as “out of his cotton-pickin’ mind.”

Davis used that phrase as the point guard was en route to a historic season for triple-doubles.

Soon after, Davis was being blasted for his linguistics and labeled a racist and socially insensitive.

It was once a commonly used phrase — not so much nowadays — and carries no racial or demeaning overtones. It was harmless in the environment of an NBA broadcast.

Context matters, please remember that. That’s especially directed to the folks with the thinnest of skin.

The “Word Police” is out in full force nowadays. The world is full of way-too-sensitive morons. Those are the people who’ve taken common phrases and transitioned them to somehow being racially or politically incorrect.

It’s the time we live in, and it’s sad — just stop the insanity.

My best recollection of the cotton-pickin’ term probably was the dialogue between Yosemite Sam and Bugs Bunny in the old Looney Tunes episodes. I looked it up — that dated back to the 1950s.

Then what about the TV show “Dukes of Hazzard?” Are you offended today when watching a past episode showing the General Lee rolling by with the Confederate flag displayed atop it?

Take a deep breath if you responded “yes.”

If I order soup tonight at dinner and the waiter offers me “crackers,” should I be offended? Would I think he had just uttered a slur and offered me a poor, white person from the rural South?

Of course not.

If I hit my thumb with a hammer and yell out “rats,” who’s going to come confront me first? Will it be the folks at P.E.T.A. or the mafia bosses, who are up in arms because I used the term referring to snitches back in the day?

These are called figures of speech. If you really want to fall down the rabbit hole of that thing called the internet, just search for the history behind phrases such as: chink in the armor, off the chain, peanut gallery, mumbo jumbo, redneck or sitting Indian-style.

So, now some of the simple verbiage from the past carries racial overtones? Absolutely not. Culture has changed and turned so many things into everyday silliness. That’s not a good thing.

If we continue down this road, we may never be able to say “Hi” to someone. They just might be assuming that you’re posing that as a question and accusing them of being a pothead.

Oh my, only in today’s society. Someone get me away from all of this craziness.

Rob Langrell is the publisher of The Eastern New Mexico News. Contact him at:


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