Hold My Beer: Tucker Carlson Comes to John Kelly’s Rescue

Well, we’ve covered John Kelly enough. Though I am, as I said, relieved that the media world is piling on the ignorant, racist man for his statements, the time has come to set aside stupid, racist statements from famous people and …

…wait. Hold on. The teletype is clacking away as we speak, more info in a moment.

Oh My Freuding Freud. Tucker Carlson, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

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Does the Entire Media World Think John Kelly is Stupid and/or Racist? Spoiler: Yes!

It really is as if Kelly’s discourse on intercultural communication and compromise before the civil war has drawn the attention of every single person with a brain and access to a media outlet – and a few without brains as well. But let’s focus on the BRAAAAAIIIIIIIIINNNNNNZZZZZZ for a minute, as it is Halloween.

MSNBC’s talking head Roland Martin let Kelly have it:

I’m not going to allow four stars stuck on stupid to simply go on.

Snap!

Martin also had some substance to add:

First of all, historic fact number one. The Civil War was fought over slavery. 11 southern states left the United States in 1860 and 1861 in order to protect the institution of slavery following the election of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was an avowed opponent of the expansion of slavery that said he would not interfere with it where it already existed.

It is not yet confirmed whether Martin continued:

Well, alright. Hey I was diggin’ on John Kelly for awhile
Sounds like he got a three on him though, to me.

Maybe I’m reporting on this entirely too much, but people have been getting away with this for so long that earlier this year I had to go absolutely off the deep end when Jack Kingston insisted that advocating slavery doesn’t mean a (white) man isn’t working for peace.

It is so good to see some piling-on take place. If the people who spread this malicious, racist disinformation routinely got trashed when they did so, we might see less disinformation out there. Honestly, when Kingston’s comment passed by without notice from the members of the panel with whom he was talking about Andrew Jackson, I thought I’d never ever live in a land where the war mongering, the racist statements, or the rape apology of the elite would ever be seriously challenged. But with Weinstein, #metoo, Spacey, and John Kelly, I’m starting to think I’m living in once upon a time called Now!

I like this new media environment: strongly against rape-apology, refusing to hear gayness equated with pedophilia, calling out racism. Great Calliope’s Capybara, Batman! This is how mass media should be: chocolate covered and freakin’ habit forming.

Ta-Nehisi Coates Knows More Than Me, John Kelly, So Watch Out

When things fall into my particular area of expertise, being a non-entity as far as the national (or even local) media is concerned can be crushingly disheartening. Watching people with next-to-no knowledge on a topic have their opinions broadcast to millions while your demonstrated mastery and expertise in a field make it plain to you that everyone involved in an important national conversation is missing out on some very, very important basics is horribly frustrating, as anyone who has ever studied any of the fields on which an Important Political Consultant pontificates can attest. Imagine if you will, that in the aftermath of some horrible tragedy involving vaccines produced by in vivo exposure of embryonic zebra fish to a virus Our Hero PZ Myers is forced to listen to David Brooks pontificate

Well, of course if you give this vaccine to farmed salmon you’re going to see a higher incidence of anadromous autism, the evolution of the zebra fish practically guarantees it. Then that autism is inevitably going to cause a collapse in fish stocks because if you’re autistic you won’t breed, and these sick farmed salmon are eventually going to pass that trait on to the wild salmon through genetic mixing of farmed and wild fish, which ends up hurting the livelihoods of fishermen in the Pacific NorthWest and leading directly to the tragedy we saw this week.

Well, I’ve felt something like that a time or two, as have many actual experts in their fields, I’m sure. What doesn’t typically happen, however, is having your idiocy immediately challenged by someone who is both an actual expert in the field and a writer of special magnificence. So even though John Kelly was clearly spouting idiocy (and evil) in the interview I’ve already critiqued, I did not realize what was coming: a thorough and complete trashing by someone with very practiced communication skills, strong connections throughout the national media, and legitimate expertise in the US Civil War. Oh, John Kelly, what have you done? You’re a general, you’re not supposed to be ignorant enough to walk blithely into a big gun’s field of fire. Pissing me off is one thing, but pissing off someone who actually knows the history of slavery? I hesitate to continue. It’s over, Kelly. Ta-Nehisi Coates has the high ground:

Yes. A few things. Go read Coates’ tweets, and prepare for what I expect will be a devastating long-form piece in the near future. In the meantime, it is, of course, worse for Kelly than just that. He’s actually walked into overlapping fields of fire, and I don’t think it’s going to help him much that his allies are going to say some of these blazing guns sound a bit shrill:

 

Yeah, I think racist is the least of the criticism Kelly has (deservedly) coming his way.

Hold My Beer: His Name is Isaac

While it’s not exactly news to say that there are racists in Utah, this particular story captured my eye (h/t RawStory). It’s not so much that it’s got a Halloween slant, though I like Halloween. It’s not so much that his slogan “Purge and Purify” is inevitably terrifying to many Jews, even people like me with no direct connection to the Holocaust. It’s not anything new, unique, or different about this racist jerk at all. Instead it’s what the man said that isn’t new or unique at all when he attempted to preserve his public image against charges of racism. I mean, when you use a white sheet to cover your entire garage door with huge painted letters saying “Make America Great Again, Purge and Purify,” you wouldn’t think it could get much worse. But area racist Kade Rogers took up the challenge and passed his beer to a good friend before speaking in front of local news cameras, saying

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Fascist Policing: Caddo Parish Edition

In a story in The Advocate (no, not that one, I’m talking about the one that is slightly less gay & writes primarily about mardi gras and other spectacular events in New Orleans … okay, maybe it’s just as gay), a Louisiana Sheriff discusses the effects of criminal justice reform (a collection of 10 new Louisiana laws collectively titled, “the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Package”) that permits earlier release from prison than was possible under previous parole conditions. Because of the transition to new criteria for reducing time spent behind bars*1 and the way the law come into effect, a larger than usual number of people will be paroled on a single day. 1,400 people will likely be released on November 1st, all of them people who have been without violence or other significant incidents while in prison and most of which*2 were convicted for non-violent behavior. Many of them are people who were jailed as victims of the Drug War.

However Republican Sheriff of Caddo Parish Steve Prator is not excited that he can save taxpayer money by running a smaller jail. No. The Advocate notes that he frets that every single person eligible for parole will actually be granted parole, including particularly one person “arrested 52 times” including for a charge of manslaughter… curiously, the Sheriff didn’t say whether or not the person was actually convicted of manslaughter.

While The Advocate includes all this in its coverage, what is more interesting is what The Advocate leaves out: Prator is unhappy with the new law and its somewhat-earlier release of people who carry around the leaves of plants that grow like weeds just about anywhere in the US because it’s the best prisoners that will be released early, and he counts on being able to force those prisoners to work:

I don’t want state prisons. They are a necessary evil to keep a few, or to keep some [people] out there. And that’s the ones that you can work, that’s the ones that can pick up trash, the work release programs — but guess what? Those are the ones that they’re releasing! In addition to the [cough]. In addition to the bad ones [waves some manilla folders, presumably holding details of people like the current prisoner who has been arrested 52 times] – and I’m calling these bad – In addition to them, they’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to, to wash cars, to change the oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchen, to do all that where we save money … well, they’re going to let them out!*3

That’s right. No efficiencies of private enterprise, please. The Sheriffs have a good thing going where they can force people to work, and the better you are at doing that work, the more they want to keep you locked down. If you’re uncooperative, you’re a bad prisoner and need to be held longer. If you’re cooperative? Well, then you’re a good worker, and you need to be held longer.

This isn’t a law enforcement official concerned about good law enforcement policy. This is a fucking white man mourning the loss of his slaves.

Speaking or which: Fuck you, Steve Prator.

But the truly terrible thing, is that this was Prator in a public press conference. The Advocate didn’t report Prator as advocating slavery and immediately call for his resignation. Prator clearly believed, and the terrible reporting of The Advocate tends to support his belief, that publicly praising the value of slavery was good way to endear him to the majority of the local populace.

To which I can only say: Fuck you, majority of the local populace.

Fuck the ever-loving fuck.


*1: the total sentence is typically not reduced, but more of it is spent under supervision in the community participating in programs and, the state hopes, working at regular jobs)

*2: Possibly all, I haven’t read the text of these 10 related laws yet.

*3: Transcription of Prator’s remarks by me, from a video of Prator’s press conference on the subject. The video was released (and possibly originally made) by journalist Shaun King. Video taken from King’s twitter feed and embedded here for your convenience:

Police Violence is Racialized And Racist, But That’s Not All

About 15-20 years ago now, I first encountered studies whose data found a person’s disability to be a stronger predictor of police shootings than race. It is tragic, it is racist, and it is utterly predictable that the US law enforcement system would kill Black men disproportionately. I’m very, very glad that issue is getting attention and hope that the even more disproportionate killings of indigenous and First Nations men get the same attention. Our racism must end, and the NFL protests among other avenues are fruitful efforts to bring attention to racist killings by police officers and the utter lack of accountability for them.

I hope, however, that there is room enough for us to discuss not only the racism of police, but other things as well. The increasing militarism of the police gets some attention, though it is frequently (and wrongly) framed as an alternative reason for concern, as if it’s not okay for white people to care about racist killings of Black men, but if we concern ourselves with police militarism generally then we’re being “fair” or “reasonable” by devoting ourselves to an issue that affects all of us. But receiving very little attention is the slaughter of persons with disabilities.

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Hold My Beer: Speaking of ‘Both Sides’ on Columbus Day

Wow. Bill O’Reilly has sabotaged his own credibility literally hundreds of times. He has said some of the worst things ever said on television, even if he’s not quite guilty of saying the single worst thing I’ve ever heard said on TV. And yet he felt it necessary to hand a friend his beer to take another go at this being-a-dishonest-asshole-for-cash gig because he really felt he had one more valuable contribution to make to public discussions.

Now, Bill O’ has managed to impress me with the arrogance of his ignorance and with his utter confidence that bothsiderism is somehow a careful, commendable journalistic practice. Given his history, that takes some serious doing. Yet he did it, and The Hill published it.

How, precisely, did he manage to make an impression that stood out after a career of such bullshit? Well, start with this:

First of all, “Indigenous People’s Day” might sound good on the campus of U.C. Berkeley, but it may be troublesome. Yes, some native tribes were enlightened societies but many were not. After inter-indigenous battles, torture and enslavement were often on the menu for the losers.

Wait, Bill. When you describe capturing people in battle and then torturing them, were you intending to describe the enlightened societies or the unenlightened ones? I’m a bit curious given your history.

But hey, the vast numbers of people in the Americas before Columbus did include some good folk and some bad folk. At least that has the benefit of being true, right? So what’s so appalling about this new column? Well, because Bill O is just warming up. Try this next:

Christopher Columbus was not a villain and does not deserve the vilification the PC police are heaping upon him. Every person on the planet has done bad things, but it is the totality of a human being that should be the litmus test.

Soon, the loons will come for the slaveholders George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In fact, the Dallas school board is now debating their diminishment right now.

This is, of course, just the same macro point about populations brought down to the micro case of an individual:

Sure, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and shot literally hundreds more, but he was also a fan of country music. Human, see? Complex! Good and bad! Not a villain! And John Shaft was a little bit white, okay? Can we all just agree to that like reasonable people?

Columbus landed on islands in what we now call the Caribbean. He came looking for loot. When he arrived, he found locals quite willing to trade, which we all know generates wealth. But Columbus decided against free trade. Instead he had something else in mind (quoted from Zinn’s Peoples History of the United States which itself quotes Columbus directly):

Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

And it’s not like he idly mused about this while twirling a mustache, but then forgot all about it, went home to his mother and talked about how excited he was just to have been on a ship that crossed a whole ocean. No, Columbus refutes that idea in his own writing:

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.

Okay, maybe he was a bit tribalist. He wasn’t a melodramatic villain to everyone, just those people who weren’t from his own European roots. Yes, sure he enslaved. Yeah, okay, when coming into contact from people of a totally different culture, with no common language and the fear of being one of a few whites on an island dominated by the darker Arawak, Columbus kinda went and kid a few bad things. But what was he like to his fellow whites? I mean, tribalism is a common human failing and I’m sure he was a good guy to those whites he bonded with over the course of a month at sea, right? Well, let’s see:

…on October 12, a sailor called Rodrigo saw the early morning moon shining on white sands, and cried out. It was an island in the Bahamas, the Caribbean sea. The first man to sight land was supposed to get a yearly pension of 10,000 maravedis for life, but Rodrigo never got it. Columbus claimed he had seen a light the evening before. He got the reward.

Oh. Okay. But disease, right? It’s not like he was really that evil, or that he sought to take lands by force. That whole genocide thing was just the accidental result of the introduction of European diseases to American populations, right?

Columbus built a fort, the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere. He called it Navidad (Christmas) and left thirty-nine crewmembers there, with instructions to find and store the gold. He took more Indian prisoners and put them aboard his two remaining ships. At one part of the island he got into a fight with Indians who refused to trade as many bows and arrows as he and his men wanted. Two were run through with swords and bled to death.

Columbus’s report to the Court in Madrid was extravagant. He insisted he had reached Asia (it was Cuba) and an island off the coast of China (Hispaniola). His descriptions were part fact, part fiction:

Hispaniola is a miracle. Mountains and hills, plains and pastures, are both fertile and beautiful … the harbors are unbelievably good and there are many wide rivers of which the majority contain gold. . . . There are many spices, and great mines of gold and other metals….

The Indians, Columbus reported, “are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone….” He concluded his report by asking for a little help from their Majesties, and in return he would bring them from his next voyage “as much gold as they need … and as many slaves as they ask.” He was full of religious talk: “Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities.”

Because of Columbus’s exaggerated report and promises, his second expedition was given seventeen ships and more than twelve hundred men. The aim was clear: slaves and gold.

Okay, that kinda sounds bad. He was safe back in Europe and turned around to go back with the specific aim of taking slaves? And this after proving that he was perfectly fine with murder and theft? Yeah, that does sound kinda bad. But not too bad. I mean, lots of people killed people back then, right? I mean, the indigenous peoples of the Americas even tortured and killed sometimes, right? So it was a bad time, but it’s not like Columbus was EEE-ville with a capital EEE. I mean, he believed in God, right? What did the priests have to say about his expedition? Good things, I hope, right? Let’s ask the Catholic priest Bartolome de las Casas who went on Columbus’ expedition to Cuba (via RawStory):

Endless testimonies . .. prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives…. But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy…

And the Christians, with their horses and swords and pikes began to carry out massacres and strange cruelties against them. They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike. They took infants from their mothers’ breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them head first against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, “Boil there, you offspring of the devil!” Other infants they put to the sword along with their mothers and anyone else who happened to be nearby. They made some low wide gallows on which the hanged victim’s feet almost touched the ground, stringing up their victims in lots of thirteen, in memory of Our Redeemer and His twelve Apostles, then set burning wood at their feet and thus burned them alive. To others they attached straw or wrapped their whole bodies in straw and set them afire. With still others, all those they wanted to capture alive, they cut off their hands and hung them round the victim’s neck, saying, “Go now, carry the message,” meaning, Take the news to the Indians who have fled to the mountains

Oh, er. So that genocide wasn’t all just an accident of disease? And Columbus carried out a campaign of violence in order to terrorize entire populations so that he could take land and gold and spices and slaves and whatever else he wanted? Well, it’s a good thing he wasn’t after any political objectives as well. Armed robbery is bad enough. Genocide is as bad as it gets. If we had to add terrorism to Columbus’ crimes, I think I’d just have to cry some ivory white tears. Thank goodness that quote stops there. Right? RIGHT?

They usually dealt with the chieftains and nobles in the following way: they made a grid of rods which they placed on forked sticks, then lashed the victims to the grid and lighted a smoldering fire underneath, so that little by little, as those captives screamed in despair and torment, their souls would leave them.

Oh, fuck. He was engaged in political killings, too? Well, at least he was a good Christian man. Yeah, he killed those who didn’t give him whatever he wanted. Yes, he terrorized entire nations. Yes, he engaged in targeting killings of political leaders. Sure, it’s hard to believe that anyone could say that he had no political or social objectives such that this would actually constitute terrorism. But he didn’t have, like, naughty sex or anything, did he? I mean, except for the coveting, the murder and such, he didn’t actually break any really important commandments or anything, did he? I’ll let the relentlessly conservative Death and Taxes Magazine tackle this issue, republishing in full their defense against charges of Columbus’ sexual violence and sexual immorality:

 In 1500, Columbus wrote to a friend: “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”  Another letter written by Columbus’ friend Michele de Cuneo (in 1492, before the expedition reached the New World) reads “Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape.”

From these letters it has been deduced that Columbus was something of a New World pimp, auctioning off women to his men for sexual pleasure. Surely this behavior must have occurred to an extent, but was it systemic and carried out with great relish by Columbus?  No one can know for sure, yet the charge is leveled at Columbus by his detractors as if it is indisputable fact.

Well, good to know. Columbus killed locals and when their parents were dead enslaved girls “from nine to ten”. Then the wages paid to the Europeans who worked to bring him gold were taken back in exchange for these enslaved girls. But since we don’t know how systemic this was, and we don’t know if Columbus actually chortled with glee while contemplating the profits he made off the rape of children, let’s not actually criticize, okay? It could have happened only a few dozen times, after all! Thank goodness we have conservatives here to give us the best possible view of Columbus. It’s just lucky Columbus didn’t give any of the sex slaves birth control, or he might have lost the advocacy of even those as effective as the writers at Death And Taxes.

After all that, you would think that O’Reilly’s bothsiderism-inspired statement imploring us to remember Columbus was actually a good guy is as bad as it can get. Even when he literally dismisses murder, genocide, theft, and slavery as irrelevant to our moral evaluations of Columbus, that’s merely an extension of what he’s already done, right? I mean, you couldn’t be any more infuriated by this

that was a minor part of the “Columbus business,” as Hollywood would have put it if they were wooing him for a three-picture deal. Mostly, Columbus was a brilliant navigator who opened up the world for travel. No small achievement.

than you already were, could you?

Well then, you really ought to stop reading right now. Now is when O’Reilly passes his beer to whomever counts as his best friend, cracks his knuckles, and outdoes his own obscenities. His bothsiderism (hell, Bothsiderism itself) reaches peak dishonesty, peak horror, and even peak wtF? with this quote:

Columbus made four voyages across the Atlantic between 1492 and 1504. He was looking for a route to Asia so he could buy spices at a discount or something.

But Chris kept running into various Caribbean islands, also the formidable obstacles of South and Central America. There was no passage to the Far East, only an endless drifting around.

Along the way, Columbus ran into some Indian tribes, most notably the Caribes. They did not like Chris and his malodorous European crews. Strife broke out and some bad stuff went down on both sides.

Presumably, of course, he’s referring to the fact that his first military fort in the Americas, on land he didn’t own and wasn’t even in the possession of Spain (his sponsor) or Genoa (the city-state of his birth), was attacked by locals after he murdered many, enslaved more, and left for Europe allowing his 39 representatives living in the fort to scour “the island in gangs looking for gold, taking women and children as slaves for sex and labor.” All 39 representatives were missing and presumed dead on Columbus’ return. Since O’Reilly doesn’t specify any “bad things” done by the Arawak or other nations Columbus attacked, we’ll likely never know to what O’Reilly refers. But perhaps it’s as safe a bet as any to assume that local leaders punishing a gang of serial rapists is a very, very bad thing to O’Reilly.


You can, and should, contact The Hill to tell them just exactly what you think of their publication of this apologia for genocide.

 

 

99 & 44/100ths % Pure Racism

D’oh! I’m an idiot. IVORY soap advertised itself as 99 & 44/100ths% pure, not Dove. My idiocy now set aside, I leave the OP alone so you can at least get the substance about the current advertising campaign, which is correctly attributed to Dove.


Dove, having famously marketed their soap as “99 & 44/100ths % pure,” now has a new ad campaign – or had. That’s right, it’s already over and in all likelihood you hadn’t even yet seen it.

The Kansas City Star appears to have been the first to call it out, and three hours after this article detailing the contemptible ad, the Star had another article up, this one, that highlighted a tepid apology from the company that received less attention in the initial article.

The best news out of all this is that the company took down the ad quite quickly, and also that

None of Dove’s statements on the Facebook advertisement this week described what the company’s intent had been in making the ad.

That’s actually a step up from what we normally see, regardless of how bad the initial ad might have been.

The substance of the racism critique is that a Black woman with a dark shirt is seen pulling that shirt up and off over her head. Through the wonders of green screen tech, this reveals a white woman with a lighter shirt underneath. The apparent implication being that Dove can make you lighter/whiter (and that this is desirable).

That message was undercut by the fact that the white woman then removes her shirt to reveal another woman not depicted in the screen-captures that I saw, but identified in writing as “a woman of color” wearing a shirt of a shade in between that of the Black woman’s dark shirt and the white woman’s ecru shirt. However, not many people were willing to give Dove the benefit of the doubt as the product that they were advertising listed it as useful for

normal to dark skin

Yeah, I think just dropping the ad was a good idea. Get that bottle changed as soon as possible, though, eh?


As a post-script, I feel compelled to note that while it’s hard to praise the marketing of a product as marketing itself is so deeply entwined with consumerism and problematic attitudes towards capitalism and consumption, as far as marketing campaigns go, I actually liked the many-different-shapes ad campaign they ran where their products were not just depicted but actually sold in what they called “Real Beauty Bottles” that contained the same amount of soap or lotion, but differed radically in profile. Some bottles were tall and entirely flat. Some tall but slightly curved in at the middle, others were short and shaped like an upside-down apple, with several other shapes included as well. It didn’t work out well, with one criticism saying the bottles made some people feel judged, but I thought that one came from a good place.

I was wondering when John Carlos would show up

John Carlos, the world’s fastest humanitarian, has been relevant to the NFL protests since they began. I probably should have written about him sooner, but the last 2 weeks when things heated up as a result of Trumps douchegabbery I was in the middle of some serious downtime. So now, I’m sad to admit, I’ve been beaten to the punch. Sports Illustrated nabbed an actual interview.

However, that piece is short and just tremendously inadequate. As is too often the case, you’ve got to go to a venue outside of the US in order to get the fuller story of US racism. In this case, I can reasonably recommend Sam Dean’s piece in the Telegraph last year. From that piece:

Carlos was just 23 when he made his stand, and it cost him everything. With his reputation ruined, he struggled to find a job, his children were bullied at school and then, nine tortuous years later, his wife Kim took her own life. By then, their marriage had broken down, and Carlos believes her death was partly the result of the endless interference of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which had placed him under constant surveillance since his return to the United States.

“Here’s a guy with income who can support his family,” he says of himself. “And then the next day he has no income and people start to walk away. You go through a process in your mind, thinking about why. Maybe it is because they have no love for me, maybe they don’t like me. But then it dawns on you that they are walking away not because they don’t love you – they are walking away because they fear what is happening to you might happen to them.”

The article praises Carlos as a “horticulturalist” who planted seeds of hope, freedom, justice and activism who has been lucky enough to see many of those seeds sprout. Among those seedlings is a more active cadre of athletes and other anti-racist activists. Yet even before the atrocious and overt blackballing of Kaepernick, the Telegraph had clearly identified major barriers to athletes speaking out (though they focussed on the then-current Rio Olympics):

“The fight is going to go on.”

The question, then, is whether it will be fought by athletes. In this money-spinning era of agents, sponsorship deals and endless proclamations of the importance of “brand values”, it seems the weight of the establishment is heavier than ever.

… Such is the primacy of sports brands in the United States that an athlete’s kit supplier is listed alongside their name on results sheets, and is often read out when they are announced to the crowd before competition.

:puke:

I had no idea that the Olympics did anything like announcing, “The Nike-wearing Florence Griffith Joyner!” Nonetheless, there are activist-athletes. The Telegraph pointed out in that piece Serena Williams and basketball player Carmelo Anthony. And now we have not merely Kaepernick, but dozens of NFL players, including some at the top of their positions.

Trump is a jerk, a mendacious, malicious, bullying jerk. But in this case there are finally enough NFL players protesting, with enough non-protestors linking arms with the protestors, that maybe the wildly successful Kaepernick will not have to face the same fall and the same later tragedies as the wildly successful young Carlos. And that unity among players has everything to do with having these decisions forced upon them by Trump’s bullying. Many choose not to protest police violence and other racial injustices, but nearly all of those now choose to stand with those who do. Whatever happens to Kaepernick for his 21st Century Mexico City moment, it’s clear that there are now too many players participating in efforts to end racism for the NFL to blackball them all.

 


*1: Though I haven’t written anything focussed on Carlos, I don’t think, I know I’ve mentioned him in a post before. I’ll have to look up the context.

Fascist Policing: Miami Edition

So, Lt. Javier Ortiz, the head of Miami’s Fraternal Order of Police, tweeted last night/early this morning after the Vegas shooting that

I could, of course, just say, “fuck that tweet” and stay classy, but you know I’m not classy. So let’s dig in. [Read more…]