I never wanted to do hard news. You don’t need my backstory, it’s too convoluted. The story of Virginia Tech has opened that door for me & I’m sure I’ll be able to close it sooner than almost anyone with a heart can here in Montgomery County VA. I feel for all of them. However, randomly following up on a few issues, and given impetus by my incredulity, I am compelled to react. I do not care one bit for any other opinion but my own on the following:
1. Mainstream media: you are disgusting. You know it & I know it. Knowledge is understanding. Understanding leads to compassion. In aggregate, you may choose to lie to yourselves about presenting the truth. The truth for you is a lie. All your knowledge leads to is ratings & hollow achievements. I would rather die homeless in a dumpster than have ever been like you.*
2. For those few who have suggested the victims of this or any other homicidal maniac should have attacked him, it is not a movie. In a movie, the victims can get up and walk away. For the one individual I saw post on a message board, the students didn’t attack their killer because they are the products of nannies, who wait for others to do everything for them, I can’t say what I feel out loud. You are for sure, as sick as the monster who pulled the trigger.
3. For the sick individual who has set off others, I’m sorry you couldn’t get laid. I know how it feels to be rejected. I have been rejected more in one day, both socially & in my career, than you were in your entire short, unfortunate life. To make a video & send it to the media, proves you were deserving of the rejection. And now billions know it too. You knew the media is too soulless to reject your calling card. You are made for each other.
4. The issues of gun control, the purview of mental health officials & law enforcement are always on the table. Now we are back to an all you can eat buffet mode. Very thin ice, lots of heavy thoughts, all skating on it. WE all know an individual may own a hundred weapons & never kill. Someone can have a hundred pornographic items & never rape. It is the nature of their soul that matters. Examples are meaningless. Exceptions are always just that. Guns should not be sold to anyone who can’t provide a genuine need, subject to review & approval, and on a regular basis. Again, those whose truth is only a lie, may ‘ think ‘ what you will.
You may arm teachers & church choir directors. But the first incident in which one round of friendly fire kills one innocent, will it matter to the family? will it make the death more acceptable? Yes, gun advocates, you may now throw your numbers at this, you’ll take 1 dead versus, say, 32? Your solution is flimsy. The media will love it no matter what happens. AND fools on message boards will say the nanny was a lousy shot.
*I have not, and will not ever view that kind of material
Blacksburg is a town in Virginia. Up until yesterday, it was known for the Virginia Tech football team. Now, at the point of gun it has leapt to international news. And local tragedy.
This is nothing new to Blacksburg. At the very beginning of this collegiate school year, August 2006 there was a manhunt for an escaped prisoner who killed 2 people before his rampage was through. As the end of Spring semester approached, another even more insidious individual, possessed of a jealous, social class rage & a pair of 9mm weapons, shot his way into history, killing himself but not until he’d murdered 30 plus people.
There are many things to be determined and said in the coming days. I will claim no special insight nor do I have any facts not available to anyone else. My thoughts are likely not too different from any observer. I have no criticism of law enforcement or the VA Tech administration for decisions made in the heat of the moment and now in the media spotlight. I do have first hand knowledge of the campus, and as with many universities, it is huge, many buildings, many open stretches of land, many people doing many, many things.
What needs to be corrected is so enormous. I don’t like being a reactionary or isolationist; I think a global community is a way to evolve life on this beautiful but increasingly dangerous home planet we share. As much as it’s an individual job first, we can’t do it without the help of the powerful people who, rightly or wrongly, shape this world. We need to implement policies which are virtually unenforceable and more often impede the innocent than pre-empt an individual or group bent on homicidal madness.
Virginia Tech is an international school with a large multi-national student population & faculty. They have a campus in India, and our current governor, Tim Kaine was visiting Japan, working to foster positive international relations as part of a conference, while sadly, one of his state’s schools, was being violated by a foreign national. Someone the state school welcomed to further their education. While no ties to terrorism have been discovered, this was an extremist act and by any measure, terrible beyond thought. [ Gov. Kaine flew home immediately and has been a strong prescence on site. ]
So many lives, young lives especially, are now irrevocably altered. They were facing tough final exams; many on the verge of graduation. Some will not have that future. Many will have a heavy burden when they take those exams & it will no doubt affect performance. Survivor’s guilt will assail some for the rest of their days and nights. Let’s pass on whether or not mental toughness is part of the curriculum for success. This was not on the syllabus.
They are implementing the mechanism for the kind of healing which grew from the killings in Columbine, Colorado. As of this writing, the crime scene with all it’s implications, is intact. Forensic procedures demand an attention to detail, even when the results are plainly evident. This deepens the grief of families and increases the stress on everyone there.
The press conference in a few hours, will attempt to provide some facts. The media, of which I once once a small part, from all over the world, will again pressure the people handling this awesomely awful tragedy. I do not mean to be glib when I hope they will learn to be part of a solution, rather than demanding the impossible, to get the real story.
I am grateful I no longer work at my old radio job for the first time, it was within walking distance of VA Tech. I’m grateful my only nephew left there 10 years ago, when he was an engineering student. I no longer have any real ties to Tech; but my home is within 10 miles of campus. I am sad past words for everyone involved. They all deserve whatever blessings may come their way. I hope they know it.
Dona nobis pacem
* copy has been edited to reflect the facts
If my calendar is correct, it’s the 21st century. As a kid, reading Popular Science magazine & novels by Arthur C. Clarke, I had big hopes. The 21st Century was really going to be something. Oh, it definitely looks like something, as Dave Letterman would say. Same old stupid human tricks: war, hunger, race problems, bad sitcoms. . ..
Nothing says 21st Century though, like the fact boxing still exists. In fact, in the late 20th, they went one better, meaning worse, with serious women fighters. It had its roots a few decades earlier with Roller Derby. Then the height ( though not the goal ) of the Feminist movement was achieved: Foxy Boxing. This was two women, a few hours past their prime bimbo years expiration date, duking it out. With huge gloves!
Who was the audience for this wonderful display? Men who were too afraid or too spiritual to go to a strip club? Or men who couldn’t afford the high ticket prices of real manly prize fights? I’m guessing it was sexually repressed men, plus guys who subconsciously (or not so subconsciously) wanted to kick their wives asses.
There is no doubt the sport of pugilism done well, takes skill & endurance. Also good writing & perserverance. Once upon a time, I was waiting to see a band named Valentine perform at a small club in Princeton, N.J. It was getting close to show time and the band wasn’t anywhere in sight. Apparently they had been in Philadelphia ( not far off at 45 miles away ) performing a song for an upcoming movie the lead singer’s brother was filming. When I asked and subsequently learned it was a boxing movie, I said quite sincerely, boxing movies never make money. That movie was of course the first Rocky. The last Rocky flick was just released on disc and opened up with that same song Valentine did 30 years ago. Hey! what do I know.
While Rocky is about real boxing, it ain’t real boxing. I’d also like to state here, you have, whoever it was gave me the heads up that Frank Stallone boxed Golden Gloves, to thank for these blogs. Frank started dating my old gf and it had crossed my mind to suggest he stop. I can still imagine how hard he’d have hit me. BTW back then media people thought Frank was a joke. I can tell you he was a really good singer & not a bad guy either. Being the brother of a big time guy is win-lose. Just ask Johnny Drama. Or Jeb Bush. . ..
So, boxing. The ‘ Sweet Science ‘ ha ha ha, who thought that one up? I think it was Madame Curie. Did somebody hold the copyright for ” Man Beating? ” Those who’d stop thinking about punching my face in, long enough to tell you, will say boxing is a way for low income individuals to rise above their situation. Well, yes it is. For those who succeed. Mostly, it’s a way to pound other guys and/or get pounded. Get some good brain damage too. Ever heard of punch drunk? it didn’t come from drinking spiked fruit concoctions. Not every prize fighter is Muhammed Ali. Or even Mike Tyson. None of them are sympathetic icons like Rocco Balboa.
Ali is truly a special case. When he embraced Islam, it was during the Viet Nam war. He refused to be drafted into military service because he was Muslim and killing was not allowed( Nam was not on the jihadi to do list ). He had to give up his boxing career ( for awhile anyway ). As soon as the smoke cleared, he resumed man beating, which is apparantly cool with Allah. I guess because boxers wear gloves. When the gloves come off, look out! The irony is, if they made Ali wear boxing gloves while using a rifle, he likely wouldn’t have been able to kill anyone. The result would have landed him back home in a box.
This is not an exegesis on fisticuffs; I’m too lazy for that level of committment. I just want to say that it’s simply sad boxing exists. Economics can be thrown into the mix all you want. It’s really not thriving as a sport now. As a meaningful alternative to street violence, focusing that energy in the gym, is a valid point. For all that, it’s still lamentable. Yet another case of humans, snailing our way up the evolutionary trail to enlightenment. Oh, I am sure on his days off Mohandas Gandhi got comped for as many Joe Louis fights as he could. There’s probably a great story in boxing circles about Mother Theresa causing a scene at the Rumble in the Jungle when they told her she had to wear shoes to get in. Probably.
Boxing is beating people up for money. Or fun. It attracts gamblers & Hollywood types. But if you like it, you’re a dummy. Internationally, people trumpet the fact soccer or European football is the world’s most popular sport. They use it to point out how lame Americans are to not like it so much. Occasionally we get one right. This admittedly original version of football, started with the heads of the losers being punted all over the village by some bad men who showed up after breakfast, killed them, raped their women & ate a few children. BTW for those who don’t read, slaves were made of select survivors. Most of whom were not black in Europe circa 450 AD. Nobody mention Apocalypto. Oh, all right. That’s the heart swallowing, if not heartwarming story of jai lai. It’s really popular in South America. along with said version of football. Anybody who thinks they know why, raise your hand. Death is still a popular part of the halftime show of there too. OK, so they can’t afford Janet Jackson.
Am I suggesting only primitive people enjoy boxing & non-American football? Never! there was a college professor once who like boxing. Of course Frank Stallone stole his girlfriend and, now, you know the rest of the story. In a strange twist of Fate, the brain damage the prof got created an obsession with boxing. But how often does that really happen? Let’s get ready to Rummmmmmmmmmmmmmbulllllllllllllllllllll
The FCC needs to be investigated for deregulating station ownership in a single media market. Instead of focusing on controlling words & thoughts, as they did in good old NAZI Germany, how about stopping huge corporations from controlling the airwaves? The average person in the audience doesn’t really care who owns all the stations in their area. Most don’t even care about programming content until it affects them in some way.
Regardless of who cares, it’s still based on ad dollars & that’s divided more & more with the many media venues available since technology has grown. The FCC ruling of over 10 years ago enabled one company to own 6 or 7 TV/Radio operations in designated market regions, mapped & regulated by an appointed body, the Federal Communication Commission. Previously it had been limited to essentially one TV station, and an AM/FM radio station (2/3). Look no further than this obvious conflict:
In 1964, and I remember it vividly, my favorite Top 40 station was WINS (NY). That’s because unlike WABC, the number one Top 40 station, WINS actually played most of the records on the list. Big shot & boring WABC played the same 15 over & over, and gave me the material for my first non-anti-parental rant. But one day I literally woke up & the music had died: WINS became the first major market all news format station. My disbelief & depression aside, it was groundbreaking.
Not long after WCBS-AM, NY, also went all news–this kids, is just called good old American competition. Having more network resources & stations around the US, CBS ( Columbia Broadcasting ) regularly kicked WINS ( Westinghouse ) butt in the ratings ( Arbitron ). Then 30+ years later, CBS bought WINS. Yep, they owned 2 all news stations in the number 1 media market! I guess 24/7 ain’t enough. That’s hardly fair & balanced, is it?
Satellite, cable & eventually the internet are all competition now for a news junkie’s attention. But still, one company can control the news & editorial direction for a whole region without true rebuttal or even a different opinion. Some talk load will have you on the phone for 30 seconds, chew you up if he or she doesn’t like you, choke off your voice, then hang up. Then proceed to tear you a new one, because 1. it’s their show and 2. it’s their show. They can even edit what you say & play it back to make you say things you didn’t. Now that’s entertainment.
Ostensibly this deregulation was to enable a dying medium to consolidate ad revenue, one can sell more time if you have more time to sell. You can also offer Ed’s Hardware more airtime on a Country Station, a Talk format, Album Rock all in the same building, maybe even the same room. If Ed doesn’t like an Urban Contemporary representing him, he doesn’t have to advertise there. But his money will be used to run that station, if The Greed Broadcasting Group has that format on let’s say Hizzop 109. Unless Ed is a savvy media buyer, he won’t know, and they ain’t gonna tell him.
What they will say is he gets more bang for his buck & at low low rates. Which is mostly true. I love radio, but radio spots only do one thing good: if they are well produced, and many are, they stick in your head. One day, when you’re a mile away from home & you realize you need some nails, but don’t want to drive 7 miles backwards to Home Depot, you see Ed’s up ahead, and you think: hey! it’s Ed’s!!!
Jackpot for Ed! he just made 3¢! he can buy Mrs. Ed that string of pearls he’s been saving for at Dollar Deals. They need the traffic, those ad dollars haven’t been exactly getting driven there! Meanwhile, the big companies in the big time markets, you can figure them out: New York, LA, Atlanta, Chicago etc., run Coke & Chevy commercials & make some real money because they own 300 or 3000 stations in the USA & Coke & Chevy ain’t stupid. Mostly. . ..
Forget that stuff. You don’t care why the FCC sold out to big business. My old friend Miss Elizabeth could size bunch that up in a hamster heartbeat. What I don’t like, is how they don’t really need humans anymore. One ambitious ‘ voice talent ‘ with good tech skills, a decent budget & the a pep juice of choice, can do the work of hundreds, from a home studio. AND they do for many small US stations. These stations mostly run syndicated shows, using very few locals on air.
That’s not good for the workforce. What’s really worse is, ownership likes it this way & if they want to a hire blonde blue eyed 23 year old lefthanded Swedish swimsuit model to do weather, they can. If they want her to be fluent in English, Spanish & the click language of the Bantu (the Xhosa branch), they can wait 5 minutes for someone liker her to apply. And they don’t gotta hire you! Well, me actually. . ..
If they want to keep somebody out of work in a market, they can. Since all they really need is 5 or 6 warm bodies: a sales manager, sales people, who can sweet talk Ed, an office worker and 2 guys to do High School sports, either of whom, run equipment when one is on a remote, out of the studio. Any personality on the station wil come off a satellite like Bob & Tom, Bob & Sherry, Bob & Forapals, you get the picture.
To be continued. . ..
While Barry Bonds’ hit & miss pursuit of Hammerin’ Hank continues it’s troubled path. A war, at it’s root, like all other wars, kills on. Thugs call for the heads of those just like them. Classic misdirection by lounge act magicians.
There will be some children who will suffer because of this result. They will not be the children of the man who lost his job. They will not all be white children. Maybe it’s a case of somebody’s karma catching up with them. Many of the people involved in engineering this coup de grace should take note.
Where were these same people when Buck O’Neil was treated so poorly? Don’t bother now, he’s dead. He didn’t need the baseball Hall of Fame.
Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. AND a sword swings both ways. Whose un-nappy head is next?
PS any chance we can get Osama bin Laden to say ‘ nappy headed hos ‘ on his next video?
PPS nappy does mean diaper, doesn’t it?
Since I never intended to use my dubious wit & even more dubious wisdom commenting on what is being treated as a race issue, this is the last I’ll say about it.
I have personally used every word I’ve ever read or heard. I’ve heard whites & blacks say nigger. I’ve seen it in black & white. I’ve heard it in movies & on the radio. AND from the mouths of comedians. Somebody said the word, because I heard it. Somebody had to have thought it & written it, because I read it. They said it. They will likely continue to do so, those are all paying gigs. Hmmm just like Imus, they are performers. If an actor, possibly not a black one, is willing to say the word for a role, does that mean they are doing it for money? a whore? a ho! Are they comfortable enough because they are good actors? actually think that way? or good hos?
A very good TV show, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS centers around a small town Texas high school football team. A recent program arc focused on an assistant coach who told media something to the effect, that on the field, blacks have the moves, whites have the minds. It became divisive. They resolved it partially. Like real life, some compromise, nobody forgets etc. etc. My point? How many people will see the white actor who portrayed the coach ( not a high profile face ), in real life, and think: it’s the racist coach! This kind of associative response happens all the time and not all viewers can separate a role from reality.
A few thousand years, somebody, possibly with a Latin vocabulary, saw a dark skinned human & used the word negro, which means black, to describe the other human. Had I been that person, today the word would be either marrone ( brown ) or scuro ( dark ). Without attempting a history of racial epithets, both those words are in play, just uncommon. I bet if I looked an dark skinned Human in the eye during a disagreement and said either in a less than pleasant tone, regardless of the limits of their Italian, they’d be unhappy. The same could be said for using any word in that way.
Maybe, what we are talking about really is tone. Not of skin, but of voice. However, reading intent into an individual’s words, is shakey ground. Now many are coming out of their holes to condemn Don Imus, for a persona he has evinced in the public ear for 4 decades. Not in some self published rag, hidden in a last stronghold of the antebellum South, but in the world’s largest media market, New York City. Being insensitive isn’t grandfathered in. And a trigger is a trigger. So, now his critics feel justified in claiming, based on his ‘ record,’ what he said reveals the real Don Imus. OK—Imus doesn’t need my help. I just can’t stand the hypocrites attacking him.
I was co-opted early in life. I learned what power big fish have over lesser mortals, regardless of the pond size. That’s my problem. I’m even a Johnny Come Lately to weblogging. I had to wait until the technology was simple enough for my 1997 connection speed. I’ll be gone soon enough. There’s very little here to commend me, but it’s taking my mind off other things. For now.
I never judged a person on race or religion after the age of 7 [ the nominal age of reason ]. I sadly starting judging people on their actions based on experience. I know words hurt. AND while I’m not a whole race of people, I have felt the impact of prejudice & bias. As a younger musician I have been anxious in an all black venue & all white. I was there for the green, that’s why I was nervous, because I wasn’t very good. I do know no black person ever insulted my performance. Or threw rocks at me at an outdoor gig. The former was white, the latter white AND so called friends. . .. Honestly, I wasn’t that bad! I guess they were though.
I have had personal belongings stolen by whites & blacks. It was white kids who stole my car. Hey! it helped me get out of jury duty. Always a silver lining in a
dark er, um cloud. This shit wears me out. Maybe we could try to think human race first huh? I’m losing my sense of humor. I’m afraid of attempting to be funny now. Not because I’m sensitive, but because I use black humor*. AND gee golly, I don’t want to lose this high paying gig.