While I sat for the better part of an hour — okay, perhaps longer than that — outside H Street Country Club on Saturday enjoying a few libations as the Northeast corridor’s fabulous festival unfolded around me, I watched club owner and impresario extraordinaire Joe Englert [a white guy] and his compatriots do a rather brisk business in a repurposed piece of D.C. political memorabilia.
His navy-blue T-shirts bearing the legend “Mayor Barry: Making a great city even greater” were going gangbusters.
That would be the official logo of Marion Barry’s 1986 re-election campaign. An original sign, incidentally, hangs above the stairs down into the basement of Englert’s Capitol Lounge on Pennsylvania Avenue SE.
Most of the folks I watched buy the tees were, shall we say, not in Barry’s base demographic.
While Englert acknowledged the shirts’ appeal to master ironists, he insisted he printed up the shirts out of appreciation for Barry, not to mock him.
”I think people, even newcomers, sort have a fond view of him,” he said. “He’s a folk hero. He’s as close to Johnny Appleseed as you’re going to get here.”
On the second thought, a lot of these hipsters might not even get that they are racially gloating over the upcoming economic cleansing to Baltimore of the remainder of D.C.'s poor blacks. They possess elaborate conceptual vocabularies for thinking well of themselves, so they might even believe that they believe that "folk hero" nonsense.