My Interspecies Marriage, Redux

When it got super-hot last month I started skipping my morning gym sessions. There’s no good excuse so I won’t make one. Last night I told myself it was time to quit sitting around, and this morning I was back at Anytime Fitness, where for a change the TVs were set to CNN. Just from the drone of words being said, without consciously listening or looking at the screens, I knew right away it wasn’t Fox. A nice welcome back, no?

Speaking of Fox, when the pee tape finally comes out, what do you want to bet the very next day the hosts on Fox & Friends will be giving one another golden showers on the set? Now that’s one thing on Fox I will watch!

Yesterday on Twitter people were passing around a photo of a young Johnny Cash with his first wife, Vivian. In the photo Vivian appears to be an African-American woman. There are lots of photos of Johnny and Vivian on Google (which is why I’m not posting any of them here … you can easily look them up yourself). In some she looks African-American, in others she doesn’t. The people commenting on the photo were a mixture of white and black Americans. Almost all of them, based on the photo, had come to the conclusion that Vivian was in fact a black woman.

Here’s the thing: Cash was tried for drug possession in El Paso in 1965. A photo of Johnny and Vivian leaving the courthouse (one of the photos wherein Vivian looks black) was printed on leaflets and distributed across the South by a white supremacist group. The leaflet was titled “Arrest exposes Johnny Cash’s negro wife.”

To counter the allegation, Johnny and Vivian produced her birth certificate, records of her attendance at a whites-only school in then-segregated San Antonio, Texas, and documents showing her paternal grandparents came from Italy. Nowhere in Vivian’s autobiographical book, “I Walked the Line,” does she say anything else about her racial & ethnic background. Johnny never said anything else, either.

My own conclusion, photos aside, is that Vivian Cash was what she said she was, an Italian-American women.

One comment in the Twitter discussion on Vivian’s racial background must have registered with me, because I’m still thinking about it this morning. An African-American who often tweets about racial issues said there’s a history of light-skinned African-Americans claiming Italian heritage in order to pass. I’d never heard this before. I don’t know if it’s true. But it might explain some of the piercing looks Donna got from old people back when we were first married and they learned she was half-Italian.

In fact, and I just remembered this, the lovely folks of Fox & Friends … the ones who’ll soon have to find a way to sell co-ed watersports to their audience … have some fun thoughts about the Italian species:

That’s from 2009. You know, all you can do with stuff like that is make fun of it, which I did at the time in a post titled “My Interspecies Marriage.” I’ll save you the click and repost it here:

Boy, I remember how upset my parents were when I told them I was marrying an Italian girl. “How can you turn your back on your own species?” they cried. But I was blinded by love and wouldn’t listen. Oh, we suffered for our love. Society turned its back on us. Restaurants wouldn’t serve us. We had to camp by the side of the road … no motel would take us in. Back in those days, it was actually illegal to marry a creature of another species, you see. But we were young and bull-headed.

So was our first child. Bull-headed, that is. It’s the sort of thing that can happen when different species interbreed, and we knew we were taking a risk when we decided to have children. But there he was, little horns and all, and we loved him and raised him to be the best man-calf he could be. Our second child is almost fully human, and can actually pass for white (unless you look at her eyes real close). Why, she almost got a job as a Fox News anchor, until they found out she had more than an eighth-grade education and wasn’t a member of the Klan.

Well, to hell with Fox. I love my wife and children, and if we don’t match the white Christian family demographic Fox caters to, too bad. Now if you’ll excuse me, the wife and I are going to couple, and with luck, produce additional interspecies offspring. Here’s to the mongrelization of America!

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