Speaking from the Heart: Random Thoughts and the Return of JSC


Greetings people. The last time I came at you guys was on Feb. 16, 2014. That’s 426 days ago. I have long neglected this blog and it’s now time to bring this puppy back. There have been a lot of things worth my attention that I haven’t had the ability to really shoot on until today. This blog will be a place for me to let rip with MY opinions and MY feelings. If you have a problem, you can do two things:

1. Sit.

2. Spin.

Without further ado, let’s get this started.

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♠ Back in Business ♠

Writing means sharing. It’s part of the human condition to want to share things – thoughts, ideas, opinions.
— Paulo Coehlo

LAKEWOOD, N.J. (JSC) — In the 426 days since I last blogged from this site, there have been a multitude of things that have happened that I haven’t been able to really express myself on because of my aforementioned jobs. I can honestly say that after 10 years having worked professionally as a journalist and broadcaster that this notion of being a journo meaning you can’t express your thoughts on pressing societal matters, or even simple shit such as sports or entertainment, is as outdated as Netscape Navigator. Why not just write your stories with a typewriter and mass produce papers on an old school printing press while you’re at it. It’s 2015. This idea that reporters are essentially only to speak facts and remain unbiased died with the Fairness Doctrine 30 years ago. It’s never as simple as playing it straight down the middle. I have discovered in the last five years working primarily as a print journo that it’s nearly friggin impossible to do so. This blog is going to be, for lack of a better term, a well-organized brain dump. Some of it will deal with current events; some of it will be personal observations about life; some of it will be thoughts on sports; all of it will be off the cuff. It will contain the occasional salty language, and it will have gratuitous usage of pro wrestling lingo. So without further ado, let’s go!

A couple of thoughts on Journalism in 2015: I first became interested in newspapers while being babysat by my late uncle Harvey. He used to read the Detroit News every day and I would rifle through the paper looking for the comics. When I was old enough to understand baseball (this was about 1983 when I was 4), he would explain what the baseball standings were to me and it was off to the races from there. Now, some 32 years later, I can’t say that I’ve become bitter or jaded. I would say that I’ve been more or less smartened up. In my experience, journalism is right there with thankless jobs such as teachers, medics, and police (more on them in a second). It’s a job that not many people can do, yet everyone likes to think they can do it better than you. Newsflash: You can’t. Many of our loudest detractors seem to have issues navigating the treacherous landscape that is Your/You’re, To/Too/2, and Their/There/They’re. I’m gonna need you to square that up before you start trying to tell me how to cover a story or what questions I should be asking, junior. But I’ll say this for the current state of the industry: At its best, it can be beautiful and stunningly informative. At its most base and lowest level, it’s a complete mess.

Too many aggregators. Too much focusing on “numbers” while at the same time not knowing how to maximize what numbers you get. Too much trying to be the first the get the story, not enough being the first to get the story RIGHT. Too much intransigence by out of touch editors who look at Twitter the way cavemen likely looked at fire. Too much pettiness, and too many holes. Part of the reason people don’t trust us is because there are too many holes and too many lapses. Look at what just happened at Rolling Stone. That was a situation that was potentially worse than many of the cases of fabrication and plagiarism because these were easy fixes that could’ve been caught with a few simple questions being asked. As annoying as it is for some clown in a comment section or a knucklehead on Facebook telling us what we should be doing as writers, we need to get our shit together and stop giving the peanut gallery ammunition.

Sadly, this shooting was not the most recent shooting...
Sadly, this shooting was not the most recent shooting…

Police need to chill the f–k out: For those looking for my thoughts on all of these damn shootings by the police on unarmed black men, feel free to check out my piece from BuzzFeed last week. As for my thoughts on cops, it’s a little complex. As has been mentioned in a number of my past blogs, my dad is a retired Detroit Police Officer. He was a cop in Detroit when it was akin to the Wild Wild West in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. I’ve also met a number of police officers during my time as both a radio talent and print journo who are awesome people who genuinely care about their community. I know it’s not cool to put over police these days, but there are a lot of good police officers and most of them are not out here hunting black men for sport.

The thing is that there are also a lot of cats with badges and guns out here carrying some kind of grudge and treating that badge as if it’s a license to harass, beat, and even kill innocent citizens. Look here. It’s 2015. The streets is watching. Much like Michael Slager thought he was gonna get away with killing Walter Scott with that same, tired “he went for my gun” bullshit — a line of thinking that the department itself was running with until the video surfaced — there are thousands of cops around the country who have been getting away with being mad snug with minorities at traffic stops that are sweating Crisco, thinking that they could be the next contestant on that Summer Jam Screen. If the public actually trusting you isn’t reason enough for them to not act like savages, maybe the fear of being outed as a murderous thug in a uniform will do the trick. Also, if it’s not too much to ask, can you good cops start making some God damned noise about the bad ones, please? Because, right now, we can’t tell you MFers apart and that’s doing you and men such as my father a great disservice.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) stunningly underestimated the blowback the "religious Freedom" laws would have.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) stunningly underestimated the blowback the “religious Freedom” laws would have.

On “Religious Freedom” and Discrimination: Here’s something that unfortunately will rub a lot black people the wrong way: I’m a 35-year-old heterosexual black man raised in a Christian household who firmly and unequivocally believes in Marriage Equality and civil rights for the LGBT community. Being homosexual is as innate as being born black or with brown eyes or being predisposed to be tall or short. This is not up for debate. It’s been long proven to be genetic, regardless of what some idiot pastor told you in church or what you think the Bible said but actually didn’t. I think these asinine “Religious Freedom” laws are essentially the modern day version of Plessy v. Ferguson — nothing more than legalized discrimination against an oppressed minority of people. It’s no different from discrimination against Blacks, or Native Americans, or Women, or Interracial Couples, or Latinos, or Arabs, or Muslims. It’s just under the flimsy guise of “religious beliefs.”

Yes. I said it. There is no difference between discriminating against gays and discriminating along racial lines. It’s exactly the same. For those of us who creatively ignore history, “religion” has been used for centuries to justify discrimination. Lawmakers in the Jim Crow South often sited the Bible and said such enlightened things as God created the races to be separate. Shit, the Ku Klux Klan, the most dangerous and oldest domestic terrorist organization in U.S., calls itself a “Christian organization.” Some of these same “Christians,” who 50 years ago were burning crosses on your grandparents’ lawns, are now trying to use that same logic discriminate against Gays. Also, the term “religious freedom” really means “Christian Freedom” because, just keeping it 100, you know good and damn well that if a Muslim or Jewish run business denied service to a Christian for any reason whatsoever, there would be some heavy duty furniture moving.

And before one of you Bible-thumpers tries it: I am a Christian. It’s just that the God I believe in is not a spiteful, hateful monster. Discrimination of any kind is wrong and I will not stand idly by and let people use “religion” as a crutch to hate others.

Now for something completely different: It took about six years and a number of whiny, girlish albums but Drake finally made a damn song that I can get with. Well, it’s not the whole song. It’s just this one damn part:

That damn part of this otherwise Drake-y song got stuck in my head and set up shop. Dammit, you broke me!

It’s all about the Cup: I’ll segue from an annoying Canadian rapper to a Canadian institution. With the Stanley Cup Playoffs having started (featuring the Detroit Red Wings for the 24th straight year) and the NBA Playoffs (Pistons-free since 2009) starting this weekend, I have to make a confession: I love the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I mean LOVE them. They are the single most unpredictable playoffs in all of North American pro sports.

How wild is the NHL: The 1998 Red Wings were the last team to successfully defend the Stanley Cup.
How wild is the NHL? The 1998 Red Wings were the last team to successfully defend the Stanley Cup.

When you look at the eight first round match-ups in the NBA, is there any series — especially in the putrid Eastern Conference — where there is any potential for an upset? No, if (when) San Antonio beats the Clippers, that will NOT be an upset. They are the defending champs and they aren’t dropping the title to a team who had THIS done to their point guard twice in one season! Does anyone not named Bill Simmons believe the sub-.500 Celtics are gonna get four wins off of LeBron? Of course not!

Meanwhile, almost every year in the NHL some unsuspecting No. 1 seed gets GOT by an 8th seed (The New York Rangers & Anaheim Ducks best protect their necks). The NHL is a league where it’s not uncommon for the defending champion to miss the playoffs altogether (including last year’s champion, the Los Angeles Kings), and hasn’t had a repeat Stanley Cup winner since the Red Wings in 1997 & 1998. In the last 10 years, the NHL has had two No. 8 seeds make the Stanley Cup Finals. The former, the 2006 Edmonton Oilers, lost in seven games, while the latter — the 2012 Kings — WON THE DAMN STANLEY CUP.

Last year, while on their way to another Cup, L.A. was down three games to none in their first round series against the San Jose Sharks before they ripped off four straight wins. Yep! An 0-3 comeback! Putting that in perspective: When the Yankees choked away a 3-0 lead and the AL Pennant to the Red Sox in 2004, it was called the greatest comeback ever. First 0-3 comeback in more than 150 years of baseball!

The Kings’ 2014 comeback was the NHL’s second reverse sweep in FOUR YEARS!

The Knicks were on their way to being the greatest Cinderella story in NBA history. Then the Spurs happened.
The 1999 Knicks were on their way to being the greatest Cinderella story in NBA history. Then the Spurs happened.

Conversely, the last true Cinderella run in the NBA playoffs came from the 1999 New York Knicks. In a lockout-shortened 50-game season, the ’99 Knicks — a squad that featured Allan Houston, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Chris Childs, and Latrell Sprewell — finished 27-23 and were 8th in the East. You could argue that team would likely have been a 4 or 5 seed had the season gone the full 82 games. Instead, they stunned Miami in Game 5 when Houston hit this last second shot, swept Atlanta in Round 2, and used this Larry Johnson shot for the ages in Game 3 against the Pacers to swing the Conference Finals in their favor. After all of that magic and everything breaking right, what happened to those Knicks? They got gun-clapped in the NBA Finals by the Spurs’ first championship team.

Look, I’m not saying that the NHL is ever gonna catch the NBA in popularity, but the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a friggin masterpiece! You’ll never get New Orleans v. Brooklyn in the NBA Finals, but Winnipeg v. Ottawa in the Cup Finals? It Can Happen!

In closing, it’s been an interesting year-plus and life has taken me from Michigan to New Jersey and given me a completely different outlook on life. Jay Scott Confidential is finally back and there will be plenty more to come from here. Every so often, I’ll have some more of these “brain dumps” where I get shit off my mind. There will also be a JSC Podcast coming soon as well, and I’d love your support on that. To those who have supported me, and you know exactly who you are, thank you. Remember, there are three things in life that are certain: Death, Taxes…and Success. Make yours count.

Until Next Time, That’s The Way It Is. Friday, April 17, 2015.

Take Care, God Bless, Always Dare to Be Different, and G.O.M.A.B. Σ

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