The King You Didn’t Know Is the King You Need To Know

Another Martin Luther King Day has come and gone.  Maybe you observed it by attending a King Day observance or you checked out Selma (which I did, but that’s for another time).  Maybe it was just an excuse not to go to work and you spent the day not even remotely thinking about Dr. King or his legacy.

Maybe you just can’t stand hearing “I Have A Dream” even one more time.  If so, you can’t be blamed if King’s Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence speech missed you.  It missed most Americans when MLK gave it on April 4, 1967.  Exactly one year later King was dead, slain by an American sniper named James Earl Ray for reasons and motivations which remained murky.

The speech is important because it was so different from the speeches King had given before.  This King was angrier and less hopeful  He was not the warm and fuzzy Santa Claus of race relations he’d been made out to be.   This King distressed at the direction American was going and he despaired seeing it debased by the immorality of the Vietnam War.   This speech wasn’t filled with the comforting words of the humble Baptist preacher nor is the bluntness of  the language the kind politicians feel safe invoking now.

This is not the Dreamer.   The Dream ran headlong into the nightmare of Vietnam and it sickened him.  That man has his time and place.

This is another Martin Luther King,  Raw.  Radical.  Straight, No Chaser.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

American Sniper Victim

American Sniper Victim

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on…” We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when “justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

The Oscars Grew Tired of Us.

Academy Awards to Ava DuVernay: “Love your movie. You, not so much.”

It’s not so much I’m mad about Selma and its directory Ava DuVernay being screwed over by the Academy Awards, because I haven’t seen Selma yet and I thinking I’d get around to it in my own good time but since Selma and DuVernay were snubbed now it’s a holy mission.

There’s a certain irony Martin Luther King fought a strategic battle in Selma, Alabama against racial discrimination and 50 years later along comes a woman who makes a movie about the battle ends up facing racial discrimination all over again.

Columnists, bloggers and social media blew up with a collective Now this is some bullshit when the Academy Awards nominations were announced and Selma was limited to one category it won’t win (Best Picture) and another nobody cares about (Best Song).   New York film critic David Edelstein summed up how Selma got screwed, “I tend to think that the Academy collectively thought it had discharged its duty to the African-American experience with 12 Years a Slave. How else, in a year in which black people confronted inequality with greater urgency than any time in the last 50 years, can you account for the omission? You say it wasn’t a very good movie? You’re wrong. Selma has scale and depth. Ava DuVernay was robbed.”

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

Too black, too strong to be honored by the Academy

Here’s a plausible reason for the exclusion and  it’s right there in the title of an 2014 article in The Atlantic:Oscar Voters: 94% White, 76% Men, and an Average of 63 Years Old.” Blacks make up only two percent of the Academy Awards voters and to drive the point home of how White the folks are who decide who goes home with the little gold man, if they were a state, Oscar Voters would be the eighth Whitest state in America.

Well. Damn.

How embarrassing it must be for Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first Black president of the Academy of Motion Pictures to be the diversity hire thrust in the spotlight and have to represent, but represent she did.   Or at least she tried as Boone Isaacs looked to score a few brownie points,  “In the last two years, we’ve made greater strides than we ever have in the past toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization through admitting new members and more inclusive classes of members. And, personally, I would love to see and look forward to see a greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in all of our categories, “

The sad thing is Boone Isaacs knows what she said is a steaming load, but she has to say it anyway.  The old White guys who hired her in the first place exactly for a bit of cover provided by the a Black face in a formerly all-White place.  Let’s cut the crap.  Cultural diversity was the big hit of 2014 with all that 12 Years A Slave stuff.   Throwing an Oscar, if not jobs at Lupita Nyong’o gave all those good liberals a warm, fuzzy feeling especially when Brad Pitt showed up to free the slaves,  but there’s no time to linger on faded glories.  Hollywood is getting back to doing what it does best:  Celebrating White men making movies about White men doing White men stuff.

We gave you people a holiday. You want Oscars too?

Being blown off by withered old bastards of the Academy is nothing new for someone like Spike Lee, no stranger to Oscar snubs for both Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X had some explicit advice for DuVernay about being passed over by the bosses,  “…That doesn’t diminish the film. Nobody’s talking about motherfuckin’ Driving Miss Daisy. That film is not being taught in film schools all across the world like Do the Right Thing is. Nobody’s discussing Driving Miss Motherfuckin’ Daisy. So if I saw Ava today I’d say, ‘You know what? Fuck ’em. You made a very good film, so feel good about that and start working on the next one.”

“Anyone who thinks this year was gonna be like last year is retarded,” said Lee. “There were a lot of black folks up there with 12 Years a Slave, Steve [McQueen], Lupita [Nyong’o], Pharrell. It’s in cycles of every 10 years. Once every 10 years or so I get calls from journalists about how people are finally accepting black films. Before last year, it was the year [in 2002] with Halle Berry, Denzel [Washington], and Sidney Poitier. It’s a 10-year cycle. So I don’t start doing backflips when it happens.”

You can’t go to awards like the Oscars or the Grammys for validation. The validation is if your work still stands 25 years later.’”

Absolutely motherfuckin’ right, Spike.

It’s possible Selma marches to a Best Picture victory even with DuVernay denied a shot at Best Director and David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. passed over as Best Actor, but it’s obvious the fix is in. How can a movie be nominated and win as Best Picture of the Year but the director, screenwriter and none of the actors aren’t? Does that mean the movie was great but everybody who made it sucked?

I have nothing against Boyhood,  The Imitation Game, Birdman or any of the other nominees for the Picture of the Year, but I don’t have anything for them.  Every movie is not for everyone and this movie  tells a story about people who look like me and not the Academy membership.    DuVernay probably pissed off some movers and shakers in Tinseltown when she dismissed  the film’s critics who griped she didn’t give President Lyndon Johnson enough credit by clarifying,  “I wasn’t interested in making a white-savior movie.”

“Oh yeah?  Then we’re not interested in giving you an Oscar, so there!”

King deserves his praise.  A lot of folks believe Selma does too, but the voters of the Academy doesn’t have anything for them either.

A man who knows something about getting spiked.

Ann Coulter’s Grand Illusions of Knowledge

“Yes, I know all about Blacks. I had sex with J.J. Walker. That counts, right?”

If a writer is supposed to write what they know, what do they write about if they don’t know anything about the subject?

They write books where they spout their opinion and hope no one notices their grasp on the facts is shaky.   Ann Coulter knows just enough about politics to get on television, but not enough that she should be taken seriously.  What she’s serious about is being the scourge of liberals everywhere questioning their intelligence, honesty, patriotism and reason to exist.

Mugged is Coulter’s ninth book.  I’ve read none of them and this one will not be where I start.   I’m not her target demographic.  I’m not White.  I’m not a conservative.  I think for myself.   That pretty makes me unsuitable for a Coulter fan.  I was going to quote something from Mugged, but then I shrugged and said, “Nah.  Why bother?”  If I’m not going to read it and I’m certainly not going to review it, why should I help promote yet another  “Obama ain’t shit” book full of right-wing revisionism?

The only reason for mentioning this witch in the first place is she was on ABC’s This Week to drum up interest in the book and in the process showed  off the ignorance of her bony ass.

“I think what — the way liberals have treated blacks like children and many of their policies have been harmful to blacks, at least they got the beneficiary group right,” Coulter said. “There is the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow laws. We don’t owe the homeless. We don’t owe feminists. We don’t owe women who are desirous of having abortions, but that’s — or — or gays who want to get married to one another. That’s what civil rights has become for much of the left.”

When asked whether immigrant rights were not civil rights, Coulter responded, “No. I think civil rights are for blacks… What have we done to the immigrants? We owe black people something. We have a legacy of slavery. Immigrants haven’t even been in this country.”

Ann is down for the chocolate.

This reflects a fundamental failure to grasp what the Civil Rights movement was waged for.   Blacks were certainly beneficiaries of the reforms brought about by the passage of the ’64 and ’65 Civil Rights Acts, but it was never the sole purpose to help only African-Americans.     Martin Luther King, Jr., made it plain when he said,   “If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”    It wasn’t just the souls of Black folks that were on the line.   White folks were  doomed to be destroyed by their own racism as much as any Negro.   Only radical surgery to expel the cancer of racial hatred from the hearts of America could spare it from a second Civil War.

Ann Coulter wouldn’t know anything about that.

It’s past time to call out frauds like Coulter and their revisionist readings of history.   It’s time to call out these pseudo “experts” who are only out to hustle another damn dollar.  Let Coulter kick liberals around for fun and profit, but she’s in over her head and out of her depth on race matters.  There is an argument to be made for the positive role played by conservatives in the great struggle for civil rights, but there is nothing in her history that suggests Coulter is the best woman to tell that story.

Has she ever authored a scholarly paper?   Has she ever demonstrated any skill, aptitude or interest in the big and complicated issue of American race relations?   One of the first questions a literary agent asks any author is, “What qualifies you to write this book?”   Everything we know about Coulter disqualifies her from writing authoritatively about race matters.

Coulter’s audience is whomever buys her books and believes she’s a great thinker.  It’s a great scam and it’s made Coulter wealthier beyond belief or her meager talent.  She is what she calls others; a demagogue who will slag war heroes, 9/11 widows, or anyone else she can make a buck off of.   Coulter has nothing to give to any dialogue about race because lacks integrity she knows nothing about the subject.

Besides relentlessly scorning all things Obama, what has Coulter had to say about an issue this complex?  Only to speak approvingly of former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain by saying, “our blacks are so much better than their blacks” because “you have fought against probably your family, probably your neighbors… that’s why we have very impressive blacks.”

Speaking of a Black man as if he were a pet that learned a new trick isn’t any compliment and as far as deep, critical thinking it’s worthless.   Except for separating suckers from their cash, is there any reason for Mugged to exist?

Coulter’s audience is whomever buys her books and believes she’s a great thinker.  It’s a great scam and it’s made Coulter wealthier beyond belief or her meager talent.  She is what she calls others; a demagogue who will slag war heroes, 9/11 widows, or anyone else she can make a buck off of.   Coulter has nothing to give to any dialogue about race because lacks integrity she knows nothing about the subject.

The caution to “consider the source” has never been truer than when someone who is clueless about the complexities of American race relations seeks to expound on it.   What makes Coulter qualified to pontificate about it?

If the answer is “nothing” then let’s call Mugged out for what it is;  another cynical cash grab by Coulter that does nothing to bring the nation any closer to racial reconciliation, but will make her accountant very happy.