♠ What Happens When A “Dark-Skinned Male” isn’t… ♠
“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”
— Will Rogers
DETROIT (JSC) — Greetings & salutations, people. After what has been honestly one of the more insane news weeks in memory, I almost wouldn’t know where to start if I had to do a mash-up of every horrible and amazing thing that’s happened in the last seven days. But let’s first and foremost throw thoughts and prayers out to the nearly 200 people who were injured in the heinous and senseless bombing of the Boston Marathon. Rest in Peace to the three people who were killed during the attack, and to the family of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was murdered by the two cowards on that insane Thursday night. Thoughts and prayers to the people of West, Texas as well, who are reeling from that horrific explosion at the plant that killed 14 people and obliterated most of that town. Big ups to the police departments of Boston and Watertown, Mass. as well as the FBI for their work in capturing one of the culprits while killing the other one. Incredible work. A lot of people did the damn thing in terms of their jobs. One entity that didn’t exactly have a very good week was the American news media — which, if you didn’t know, I am a member of. Never one afraid to smack my own when needed, I’m here to address the hottest of hot buttons and that’s the performance of CNN, specifically a man I had grown to respect the hell out of the last decade: John King. With one speculative statement amidst a chaotic afternoon, he may have single-handed ruined his reputation and exposed an multitude of greater problems in the news media and journalism as a whole. Let’s Go.
Continue reading “Dark”ness in Boston: When Getting It Right Goes Wrong…
♣ Apparently Getting It Right isn’t what sells these days…♣
“In Journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right.”
— Ellen Goodman, 1980 Pulitzer Prize winner for Commentary
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — In the Fall of 1980, an incredible piece of writing hit the front page of the Washington Post. The story was so incredible that it held the city and country on the edge of its seat. It was a piece called Jimmy’s World. It was written by Janet Cooke, an extremely talented Black writer who spoke multiple languages and went to some of the best schools in the world. The story was about an eight-year-old boy in Washington, D.C. who was a heroin addict, often shot full of smack by his mother’s live-in boyfriend. The boy was a product of a rape. In the aftermath of the story being published, people in DC were aghast and outraged. Dr. Alyce Gullattee, who was the director of the Institute of Substance Abuse at Howard, claimed to know the boy and his family. DC Mayor Marion Barry claimed that the city knew Jimmy’s identity (irony abounds on that one). The story was so riveting that it was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. On April 13, 1981, Cooke won the Pulitzer. On April 15, 1981, she admitted she made the entire damn thing up. From start to finish, it was all a lie, from the boy, to the family, to the name. Hell, she even lied about speaking multiple foreign languages, and attending Vassar and the Sorbonne. She gave back her Pulitzer and was forced to resign from the Post (Then-Executive Editor Ben Bradlee wrote in his book “I can’t explain now why I let her resign rather than fire her on the spot for the grossest of negligence”). She became a pariah in the industry, never to be heard from again. No paper would ever think of hiring her. That was 1981. In 2010, she’d have been given her own blog and one hour special on Fox News. Let’s Go.
Continue reading Fair & Imbalanced: Why Journalism is Being Held Hostage…
♣ Whatever Happened To Bowing Out Gracefully? ♣
“You can’t legislate intelligence and common sense into people”
— Will Rogers
DETROIT — Imagine, if you will, that you were the head coach of a basketball team. You had this unknown point guard suddenly show up on the scene. You signed the kid the day before a big game and you toss him into the lineup when you find your team in a 23-point hole in the 3rd quarter. You figure you have nothing to lose. This PG, gets on the floor with a basic grasp of the offense and runs the plays you feed him to perfection. He’s hitting teammates at the right spots. He’s running the pick-and-roll to perfection. He even made a killer 18-foot jumper off of an iso. Next thing you know, you’ve trimmed the lead to six points with that guard on the floor. Just as it seems like you are ready to make that push in the 4th to try to win the game, that damn point guard decides he’s gonna start running his own plays and goes into business for himself. He’s no longer running the offense through the post. He’s jacking up 28-foot jumpers with 14 seconds left on the shot clock. He’s leaving his man on defense. He’s trying to drive on three guys and gets his shot tossed. Next thing you know, that lead has ballooned to 28. Game over. You Lose the game…and your job. Ladies and gentlemen, this particular point guard’s jersey number was 2. The name on the back: Palin. Let’s get down to business. Continue reading Forgetting Sarah Palin: Why Do People Still Care About This Woman…?
♣ Congratulations! You Got The Job. Now Don’t (Expletive) It Up! ♣
“You’re a fighter, you’re a lover/You’re strong and you recover/From whatever gets you down…”
—Sammy Davis Jr., Hello Detroit (1984)
CHICAGO — That is the opening line of a song that started many of my mornings as a little boy. Every morning for nearly 20 years in Detroit, that song opened up the Mason in the Morning show on WJLB (Yes, the Mason that those outside Detroit know as the “DEEEE-TROIT BASKET-BALL” guy). The song, which was Sammy’s ode to Motown after being signed to the label in 1983, became a Detroit feel-good anthem. Ask anyone who grew up in Detroit or lived in Detroit during the 80s and 90s, and they can give you the first verse of that song off rip. The 1980s were far from Detroit’s best years. In fact, they may have been our worst. But there was still a pride in the city. There was some semblance of confidence that the City could fight back after the riots and racism of the 60s and the exodus of people and business, rampant crime, and subsequent collapse of the 1970s. The problem is, aside from a brief rally in the mid 1990s, Detroit has yet to recover from the 1970s. In fact, unlike the 1980s, it appears that people are on the verge of giving up. That’s what makes what transpired in this week’s originally scheduled general elections so amazingly huge, and potentially Detroit’s last shot at redemption. Continue reading An Open Letter To The City of Detroit…
♣ Just Because You Think It, Doesn’t Mean You Have To Say It…♣
“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”
— Jackie Robinson
DETROIT — I will be the first to admit that I have not always been the nicest guy in the world nor have I always said the nicest things. I freely admit that I have been an asshole at various stretches of my now 30 years and, as such, I know an asshole when I see one. Last week we were introduced to three different kinds of asshole behavior on three very different but public arenas. Each was egregious in its own special way and included a brand new face, one you unexpectedly saw lose it, and one of the usual suspects. Obviously I’m talking about Congressman Joe Wilson (R-S. Carolina), Tennis Superstar Serena Willams, and Rapper/Producer/Egomaniac Kanye West. Each of them acted like an a-hole last week. But there are varying levels of asshole-edness that were exemplified by each of them last week, and what better place than JSC than to break it down. This is a non-scientific analysis of the level of true asshole that each of these people exemplified in the last week ranking from 3 down to 1 (With #1 being the most offensive).
Continue reading Pardon The Interruption: Respect Takes a Vacation…
♦ Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Step In The Classroom…♦
“An Educated Man is Always The Most Dangerous. Why do you think people try so hard to keep us dumb?”
—Christine Smith, aka Mom Dukes.
DETROIT — When I was in high school, oh so many years ago, every day before third hour we would sit in class and watch this mini-newscast called Channel 1. Channel 1 usually talked about the major stories of the previous day and was anchored by a couple of familiar names: Lisa Ling and Anderson Cooper. It lasted between 5 and 10 minutes, and it was mainly a waste of the first few minutes of class. When we would have guest speakers in class, usually city officials or someone giving a special presentation, it would usually hold our attention for about 5-15 minutes, before we were off in our own world (I would usually be writing poetry, or drawing up football plays). However, if the President of the United States (who at the time was Bill Clinton) wanted to come speak to us, or had an important message for the nation’s students, I can guarantee it would’ve been met with anything ranging from approval from parents to random indifference. Same thing would’ve applied to any of the other presidents of my lifetime: Carter, Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43. Strangely though, when President Barack Obama decided to give an opening day speech to the nation’s students about the importance of education, something that everyone not named Sarah Palin claims they are in agreement is a positive thing, it kicked off another edition of the fake outrage machine, this time driven by the right wing-nuts Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, and the rest of the Republican Party and sponsored by News Corp and Fox News. And of course, thousands fell for it. Continue reading Fear of a Black President II: You Must Learn…
♦ This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things…♦
Often fear of one evil leads us into a worse.
DETROIT — As I have spent the last couple of weeks being completely mesmerized by the clusterfudge that has become the debate turned debacle associated with the proposed health care bill, I cannot help but find a disturbing amount of humor in this entire thing. Most of you (well, the grown ups anyway) have seen the angry mob-like scenes at town hall meetings the past couple of weeks. Hordes of belligerent, angry White people frantically screaming at the top of their lungs about such big words as “Fascism”, and “Socialism”, and crying about how their rights are “being taken away from them” and my personal favorite: “I Want MY Country Back“. That last little ditty was shrieked at a town hall meeting in Arkansas. My initial response to all this buffoonery was “Are you (blank)ing kiddin’ me!?”
Continue reading Fear of a Black President: How Health Care and Fear Don’t Mix…