Gee, E. Gordon Is Gonzo

"This is how many Catholic friends I have."

“This is how many Catholic friends I have.”

It was one thing for E. Gordon Gee, the now ex-president of the Ohio State University to make dumb remarks insulting the Southeastern Conference (dumb, but not a firing offense),  Arkansas coach Brett Bilema (dumber, but still not a firing offense) a couple of potshots at other colleges.   This wasn’t the first time Gee’s mouth had outrun his brain, but this time it turned out to be the last.

What were the magic words that led to a warning from OSU trustees and finally Gee’s sudden itch to go fishing?

“The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they’re holy hell on the rest of the week,” Gee said at a Dec. 5 meeting attended by Athletic Director Gene Smith along with other staff, faculty and students.  “You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that.”

Oh,  Elwood, you’ve done it again!  Now you’re slamming an entire religion?  Now that’s a firing offense!

When you’re saying things that are true, others are free to object, but they can’t correct because it is true.   But who you are saying these horrible but true, things makes a big difference.  It’s one thing for a football coach to take swipes at a rival and quite another when you’re the president of a prominent university.

Gee’s run as the head honcho at OSU was long and distinguished.  He’s an accomplished educator who has brought considerable riches and clout to the school and I’ve been to the dude’s house.  Gee is a charming guy.  He’s also an old man and like many old men with a habit of saying what he thinks he lets fly at targets that tick him off.   Gee is almost 70 years old.  He’s earned the right to speak his mind.

But along with the right comes the consequences of doing so.   No one knows with completely certainty that Gee, who is a Mormon, has a real religious-based bias against Catholics, but it doesn’t matter.   When Gee speaks he’s speaking as the head man of Ohio State and is held to a higher standard than any coach, professor or employee.

There are still certain things you can’t say.  You can’t rant against Blacks and Latinos without being called a racist.  You can’t rip women without being branded a sexist pig.   Go ahead and blast lesbians or gays as offensive to God and find out how many you’ve offended by doing so.  Gee’s distaste for Catholics would have gotten him removed immediately if he derided Jews in the same way.   He tried to apologize, but it was far too late to backtrack.  The odor of bigotry hung over Gee’s head and for that he jumped before he was pushed.

Across the country the Ohio State haters will be short-stroking this story.  Oh, look.  Ohio State is in the news again yet again for all the wrong reasons   What the hell is going on there?

Those that already despised Gee and OSU only have another reason to.  Goody for them and let them enjoy their laughs.  It doesn’t matter.    The haters are just as far off the mark as the ones who bleed scarlet and grey who are upset Gee is gonzo.

Whether Gee retired of his own volition or it was strongly suggested he should doesn’t matter either.  Sooner or later he was going to leave anyway.  When I met him at a gathering at his home he was frail and a bit shaky and I doubt I was the only one that noticed.    Maybe he was already starting to lose it a bit.   He certainly lost it enough to be eased into retirement.

You can only keep cutting your throat so long and so deep until you finally run out of blood.  Or chances to cut your throat.  Enjoy your retirement, E. Gordon.  I’m sure it came a bit earlier than expected.

No more pretty girls for you, bud.

“No More” Say Critics of Obama’s Morehouse Speech

"Okay, enough encouragement.  Here comes the scolding."

“Okay, enough encouragement. Here comes the scolding.”

The president is invited to give the commencement speech to colleges all across the country.   As far as speakers go, President Obama and  First Lady Michelle Obama are considered major “gets.”

However, his speech last week at Morehouse College got on the nerves of some of his critics.

    “We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices. Growing up, I made a few myself. And I have to confess, sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. But one of the things you’ve learned over the last four years is that there’s no longer any room for excuses. I understand that there’s a common fraternity creed here at Morehouse: ‘excuses are tools of the incompetent, used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness.’ We’ve got no time for excuses – not because the bitter legacies of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they haven’t.

Not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; that’s still out there. It’s just that in today’s hyperconnected, hypercompetitive world, with a billion young people from China and India and Brazil entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything you haven’t earned. And whatever hardships you may experience because of your race, they pale in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured – and overcame.

    “You now hail from a lineage and legacy of immeasurably strong men – men who bore tremendous burdens and still laid the stones for the path on which we now walk. You wear the mantle of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, Ralph Bunche and Langston Hughes, George Washington Carver and Ralph Abernathy, Thurgood Marshall and yes, Dr. King. These men were many things to many people. They knew full well the role that racism played in their lives. But when it came to their own accomplishments and sense of purpose, they had no time for excuses.”

    “I was raised by a heroic single mother and wonderful grandparents who made incredible sacrifices for me. And I know there are moms and grandparents here today who did the same thing for all of you. But I still wish I had a father who was not only present, but involved. And so my whole life, I’ve tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father wasn’t for my mother and me. I’ve tried to be a better husband, a better father, and a better man.

ta-nehisi-coates

“I’m going to scold the Black president for scolding Black people.”

    “It’s hard work that demands your constant attention, and frequent sacrifice. And Michelle will be the first to tell you that I’m not perfect. Even now, I’m still learning how to be the best husband and father I can be. Because success in everything else is unfulfilling if we fail at family. I know that when I’m on my deathbed someday, I won’t be thinking about any particular legislation I passed, or policy I promoted; I won’t be thinking about the speech I gave, or the Nobel Prize I received. I’ll be thinking about a walk I took with my daughters. A lazy afternoon with my wife. Whether I did right by all of them.

    “Be a good role model and set a good example for that young brother coming up. If you know someone who isn’t on point, go back and bring that brother along. The brothers who have been left behind – who haven’t had the same opportunities we have – they need to hear from us. We’ve got to be in the barbershops with them, at church with them, spending time and energy and presence helping pull them up, exposing them to new opportunities, and supporting their dreams. We have to teach them what it means to be a man – to serve your city like Maynard Jackson; to shape the culture like Spike Lee. Chester Davenport was one of the first people to integrate the University of Georgia law school. When he got there, no one would sit next to him in class. But Chester didn’t mind. Later on, he said, ‘It was the thing for me to do. Someone needed to be the first.’ Today, Chester is here celebrating his 50th reunion. If you’ve had role models, fathers, brothers like that – thank them today. If you haven’t, commit yourself to being that man for someone else.”

This was a pretty standard Obama riff: be responsible. Be a man.  Take care of your responsibilities.  Don’t blame others for your lot in life.  We’ve heard variations of this uplift-the-race speech from Obama since 2008.   This is not new.

What is news is how some Black commentators have had enough and don’t want to hear it anymore.  They want President Obama to talk to them the way he talks to predominantly White audiences.

Ta-Neshi Coates:  Taking the full measure of the Obama presidency thus far, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this White House has one way of addressing the social ills that afflict black people — and particularly black youth — and another way of addressing everyone else. I would have a hard time imagining the president telling the women of Barnard that “there’s no longer room for any excuses” — as though they were in the business of making them. Barack Obama is, indeed, the president of “all America,” but he also is singularly the scold of “black America.”

Courtland Milloy There is something vaguely contemptuous about the president’s style of criticism when addressing black audiences. Invariably, his rosy rhetoric comes with insensitive scolding — his mesmerizing visage leaving them oblivious to the blood he has drawn.

“Heh-heh. I have destroyed their youthful spirit.”

“The blood he has drawn?”  Come on, Courtland.  You can make your point without resorting to heavy-handed and silly exaggerations.   Coates has also written much better columns than this and he, as well as nearly every Black columnist I’ve ever read have all scolded Black Americans over one thing or another.    Sitting back and pointing out where others have come up short is practically what the job description for a columnist.

What the President said was not drastically different from what others from Bill Cosby to Minister Farrakhan have previously said. I, like many others here have “called out” my own people for our failings. Leadership is not always telling us what we want to hear, but what we need to hear. Why should this be more of an irritant coming from Obama than anyone else?

And to my Super Soul Sister Tonyaa Weathersbee , who took the president to task on Facebook, I must take issue with your observation that “Obama’s speech on black male responsibility is wasted on an audience of Morehouse graduates who get it. They’ve already been responsible enough to pursue a degree, so why drive home what they already know?”

How do we KNOW the president is telling these grads “what they already know?” Who’s to say the social conscience of a Morehouse man is more highly attuned than the working class brutha holdin’ down a 9 to 5? You don’t have to accept W.E.B. DuBois “Talented Tenth” concept to know more than a few Blacks who graduate from institutions of higher learning, have no intentions of doing anything to uplift the race and are going to run as far and as fast from those who haven’t been as blessed as they are. Their top priority is finding a high-paying gig with a Fortune 500 company because baby needs a new pair of shoes and to pay off those student loans too!

If Obama’s tone to the grads at Morehouse is different from that of The Ohio State University, perhaps he realizes the odds differ for their success and the stakes are higher.  A graduate of OSU that blows it once they live school may have alternative paths to success.   A Morehouse man may only get one shot to make it and if they fall short, that failure reflects on not just them and their family, but the collective hopes of the Black community.

If the educates classes of Blacks don’t want to hear any more “tut-tut-tutting” from the President and the working class masses aren’t paying attention, who’s left?

Instead of saying, “I’m tired of hearing Obama telling me what I already know” a better way of looking at it is, “Is he saying anything that isn’t still a problem?” Maybe we should pull ourselves away from Kerry Washington’s imaginary love affair with the fictional White Republican Chief Executive long enough to look at the unresolved real world issues the Black Democratic one is bringing to our seemingly unwanted attention.

Those bitching about the president’s speech are probably the same ones who bitch about how Obama ignores the concerns of Blacks.   Now when he mentions them  and suggests its up to Black grads to address some of the outstanding issues that have plagued the race for decades,  if not centuries, he’s lecturing Black audiences in a way he doesn’t do White audiences.   Well, duh.   Black folks don’t have the same problems as White, gay, Latino and female audiences do.

Don’t kill the messenger because you don’t dig the message.   If we truly want Obama to be the Black president, don’t complain when he speaks to problems peculiar to Black people.    It’s unfortunate Obama’s speech fell on so many deaf ears among the Black illuminati.  Instead of telling the president he has no business talking about the problems Black folks have, they should be writing columns proposing solutions to them.

Next year when Obama doesn’t speak at any Black colleges and says, “Who needs that drama,”  he’ll catch hell for only speaking to White graduates.   You can see this train coming long before it gets here.

I went to college for four years and all I got was rained on and a lecture from the President.

Then Came the Last Days of May

A big winner on the field and a big loser off it.

As the last few hours of May 31 tick away, my assessment is it was a rough month for a lot of folks.

Rough for Ohio State University head football coach Jim Tressel.  He was forced to quit under a cloud of scandal and lies.   Shed no tears for him as this is a mess he put himself in trying to clean up after star quarterback Terrelle Pryor.  The NCAA is now turning their investigation toward Pryor as they look into whether he got the hook-up from a local car dealer.

The NFL announced they will hold a supplemental draft in July before the first training camp opens (IF any training camps open) giving Pryor a potential escape route provided he can find a team willing to take a chance on a college QB with a rough skill set, tremendous potential and character issues.

Rough for the folks of Joplin, Missouri where tornadoes ripped through the city killing 139 and leaving hundreds more injured.

Rough for President Obama who had an uncomfortable meeting with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  over the president’s call for Israel to return to the 1967 borders, a request Netanyahu flatly rejected.

Rough for the ex-Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger as it was revealed he had fathered a “love child” with a housekeeper some 14 years ago and the child was born less than a week after Schwarzenegger’s son Christopher was born to his wife, Maria Shirver.   Shriver and Schwarzengger have separated ending their 25-year marriage.

"Remember when I said I'd impregnate you last? I LIED!"

Rough for the GOP who lost a special election in New York in a district which had been drawn to be a stronghold rejected the Republican candidate and sent a Democrat to Washington instead.   The key issue was Medicare where Kathy Hochul pounded Jane Corwin for her support of House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize the program.

Rough for Cornel West who gave an interview where he ripped President Obama as having a problem with “free Black men” and a “mascot for Wall Street.”  West also came off as a clueless and entitled elitist when he whined how his “dear brother Barack” hadn’t thanked him personally for working for his election and how he hadn’t been invited to the inauguration but a hotel bellhop had.

Rough for my family as my wife Vanessa lost her dear mother Delores who passed away at the age of 81.

But Osama bin Laden had it roughest.   He finally lost his world champion Hide and Seek title. His hiding place was besieged by a Navy SEALs  team who shot him in the head, dragged his corpse away and dumped his corpse in the ocean.   That was both rough and well-deserved.

Wonder what June will be like?  Guess we’ll know in 30 days.

Gotcha!