Let’s get right to it. What do you think about the outcry by some who say that Florida governor hopeful Ron DeSantis blew a “racist dog whistle” with his comment about not wanting voters to “monkey up” the election by putting his opponent, Andrew Gillum, into office? If you ask me, too many are trying to make something out of nothing, just for political gain. After all, if what they’re trying to make everyone believe was true, don’t you think DeSantis is smart enough to be more subtle?

Is not everything said or done open to not only interpretation, but criticism as well? And isn’t the object of competitions (elections included) to win at all cost? And who among us has never uttered something that was questioned by others who chose to interpret it their own way? This is much ado about nothing and a desperate grasp at a non-existing straw. Not a plastic straw, mind you, so don’t get all squirrelly on for using that word.

Social media is all over this topic, splashing everything from racism to folly all over its electronic pages, where there’s no shortage of scrolling, trolling, and eyeball rolling. Some have been going ape over the mere use of the word “monkey” ever since. Pun intended, so don’t get offended.

Let’s muse about that for a bit. Isn’t there a particular metal structure on most school and public playgrounds that’s called monkey bars? I believe that’s because children love to hang by their hands and knees like monkeys. And if monkeys could talk, I don’t think they’d take offense.

My wife makes a wonderful dessert dish from biscuits, pecans, cinnamon, and other stuff, using her bundt pan. It’s called monkey bread because utensils are not needed, as the consumer merely plucks the pieces of torn biscuit and eats them, like a monkey would do. In all seriousness, if you’ve never had it, I highly recommend it, and I’m sure you can find the recipe online. Best when eaten warm, with coffee!

When I was 10, The Monkees had a TV show on that was fun and entertaining, and the chorus of their theme song started with “Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees, people say we monkey around...” and we all sang along and enjoyed their antics. It was great, innocent fun, and I don’t remember anybody getting offended, unless it was Beatles fans, upset over the lads from Liverpool now having American counterparts who were also attracting throngs of screaming teenage girls.

Have you never used the term “monkey business” in conversation? It implies mischief, and if I recall right, that was the name of the yacht being used in the late 1980s by then-Democratic presidential hopeful Gary Hart. Onboard was a model named Donna Hart, who effectively sunk his career once the media caught wind of it. It’s an old familiar phrase, and was even part of the title of a song Chuck Berry wrote and recorded in the mid-1950s called “Too Much Monkey Business.”

I don’t know if there’s a movement on the horizon to get the word “monkey” stricken from the English language, but I hope nobody is silly enough to even try it. But what if they did? What would we call those hairy critters that go by that name? And if they’re as smart as some believe they are, wouldn’t they be offended? I’m recalling scenes from those “Planet of the Apes” movies, and they’re not nice ones, so let’s not get the primates riled up into a revolution, please.

“Monkey see, monkey do” is an old phrase we’ve used forever, referring to someone observing another and copying them. “Aping” is another term for it, and those of us who enjoy working crossword puzzles see that one quite often. Have you ever tied a monkey-fist knot with a piece of rope? It’s unique, and serves as a weight on the end of the rope, to make it easier to throw.

How many of us have carved our initials on trees and park benches, painted them on water towers, and drew them in dust on dirty storefront windows or back windshields of vehicles? Or even in fresh cement? I’m guilty as charged, but I won’t say when or where. Anyhow, that reminds me of the old saying regarding graffiti: “Fools names and monkeys’ faces are often seen in public places.” Remember that one? I do. Remember the media frenzy over it? I don’t, because it was only monkey shines, so to speak.

People these days can say anything and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if there aren’t those out there who love to twist the wrong meanings out of what is spoken, just to use it for self gain or as a weapon against someone else. Monkeys are always going to be with us, as are all the connotations associated with their name. How we incorporate them into our vocabulary remains to be seen—hopefully without intentional misuse for personal or political gain.

I think it’s best summed up that some folks go out of their way to drive others bananas.


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