Tuesday, July 21, 2020

John Lewis. A man for the ages.

This was supposed to be up a few days ago, but I've just been out of sorts lately. But greatness needs to be recognized. We've heard a great number of stories the past few days, from remembrances of the  character and dignity of son of a sharecropper from Troy, Alabama. One of the fabled Freedom Riders who went first so the rest of us could follow.

The most interesting story I heard, of all the history that seems to get divulged after someone passes, was of his moment at the March on Washington. We all know that this is where Dr. King delivered his historic "I have dream" speech. But John Lewis spoke as well. Something I didn't know. And I also didn't know, much like the family secret kept until after, is that they had to corral the young firebrand. Apparently they were backstage negotiating what he would say on the podium as the event happened. A foursome that included the yet to appear Dr. King under the gaze of the grand statute of Lincoln worked to tone down the young John's fiery words. This man, who would go on to serve in Congress had to be calmed.  

It's funny how things change, the more they stay the same. Passion, but controlled. He and his colleague C.T. Vivian. Arrested the same day, died the same day. Lived the same way.

I salute Mr. Vivian and John Lewis. Because I do not know if I could have endured what they did.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Will and Jada (as required by Internet Rule #478b)

Ramblings Post #384
I watched the video. It looked like he'd been crying for a while. That funny laugh you do when you try to play it off. I watched his jaw clench. His body language. But she...she looked like she had just gotten something off her chest and was finally free. We're all different the ways we deal with stuff. 

This year. I can honestly say that one thing I did not see coming this year was so many black women out here trying to revive that old Friends excuse from the mid-ninties? You know the one I mean. They were on a break! Yeah, but here we are now and Will and Jada, well, they still married. So that break got the same validity as it did the first time. I mean, if they had really wanted one, it ain't that hard to get the divorce process started. People start it and then take it back all the time. Especially in California. But ya'll believe what ya'll want to.

Because the truth is, this the old double standard. On damn steroids. Let's just be completely honest here. If a still married Will had gone out and developed a sexual relationship with one of his daughter Willow's friends who was half his age, under the guise of "helping her heal herself," the Fresh Prince's new nickname would be "Black Epstein." And the uptick in discussions about wealthy prominent men preying vulnerable young women would have been high enough to start a new cable channel. Will woulda been cancelled, deleted, cast out, defrocked, and they'd even be taking Wild Wild West off of streaming platforms (Okay seriously, that's a terrible movie, they can take that one out the rotation anytime, no scandal needed.) But here it's Jada. And she was in a very unhappy place. So...it's okay then?

That part.

That part right there is why even if it was an "open relationship" or whatever, what she did was just foul. Now, I imagine if the stories are true, and I'm not saying one way or another if they are, then the other people in their life are supposed to be like OTHER people. Like away people. I dunno, maybe a little chippie down in Hollywood. Maybe a yoga instructor. Maybe somebody who only rolls through when their team plays the Lakers or the Clippers. The other person is NOT somebody who you both invited into your home, became friends with your kids and took on family vacations with you. Not somebody you posted up on the red carpet with. And then when it all comes out, your description isn't supposed to use artful words like "entanglement" instead of simple words like cheated, because well it kinda makes it sound like maybe there were feelings on both sides of that "tangle." Which isn't the flavor you want to add right now. Since you're still married and all.

Maybe there is a feeling she "deserved to get him back" for past transgressions. Maybe they were on a break. But this situation is like he hooked up with a waitress from the Cheesecake Factory she'll never meet, and she hooked up with the next door neighbor kid who he taught to play catch and sometimes comes over to eat dinner. The little fella is even in your family Christmas card.

So, it's not the same thing. It's not even close.

Barkeep. Water. Because there is no celebration in heartbreak.

Monday, July 13, 2020

They actually agreed to do what?

Ramblings Post #383
Sometimes sports is bigger than a ball, a jersey, and a determination to win. Sometimes sport is more about our values as people, respect, and realizing that just because we've put a lot of time and energy into something that we can just go ahead and make a change. Because basically, as Shannon Sharpe said, it's just the right thing to do. 

A lot of things happened in 2020 that I was not expecting. The economy crashing? No, I saw that coming, there is this little thing called history. The Pandemic? Nobody thought the people in charge would mess it up this badly. I'm stunned how the people who keep screaming don't make it political keep going out of their way to make it not just political but also personal. Just the words "I got it wrong, let's do what we have to fix it" would change everything. But nobody currently in charge is grown-up enough to face up to the consequences of their actions. A hoarding of toliet paper? I still don't even believe that happened. They literally stopped professional sports? That was a blow to my soul. A Will and Jada kinda love? That's tomorrow, I believe I'm leagally required to comment. But today, something I swear I didn't think would ever happen actually happened.

The NFL team in Washington agreed to change it's name.

I used to read the sports column Tuesday Morning Quarterback, which was probably the most highbrow football piece ever written. And while it threw in odd statistics and hidden indicators between hilarious commentary, the author started referring to the team as the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons (both as indicator of the need for DC statehood and the ridiculousness of the team name) way back in the early 2000s. Sports pundits on every outlet have been asking when Dan "The Grift" Snyder would stop trying to figure out how to charge for oxygen in the stadium and change the name for decades. This isn't a new issue. Even as Cowboy who grew up loving the way the rivalry seem to naturally slot together, the Cowboys and the Indians, I grew up and realized that all lot things in American history have been romanticized. And a lot of things we grew up believing in, and Snyder grew up a Washington fan, need to be corrected now that we're older and know better.

Of course every major sponsor picking up their satchels of money and threatening to leave if the name wasn't..."reconsidered," probably didn't hurt either. 
As much flak as black people take, the very hint of selling a blatantly racist item will get you cancelled so fast you'll barely have time to unbox it. That will quickly be followed by the question "how did this get approved?" Shortly after some people will be fired, a department will be re0rganized and a black person will get to collect a fat check for eighteen months or so as the new diversity officer or guru or whatever they call it. But in the case of the, um...Native Americans? Is that the right term? I know you should refer to the individual by their tribe, Sioux, Cherokee, etc., but what is the name of the group of all of them. Indigenous Persons? In either case, this group got a racial slur them at them for sixteen weeks a year by major networks. It could not have been cool at all.

One of the few things in this country that transcends race for MOST people in this country is sport. We'll celebrate a hard fought victory with anyone wearing the same jersey as us. Check any tailgate or traveling fan group. It's amazing to see. So these activities that let us all find a common ground probably need to be brought into line with our ideals first. This change at this level however, is just the first step. A few other professional teams in other sports need to go ahead and man up as well. And there are still a lot of colleges, hundreds of high schools and lots of junior leagues who'll need to buy new gear, make some headspace changes. It's just the right damn thing to do.

And Jeep. I do really like the SUVs, but I think there are some people who want to speak to you too.

Barkeep. Cold Beer. Let's hope there is a football season.