Saturday, January 03, 2015

Shorter Gene Demby: I Like To Chant And March

NPR contributor Gene Demby has a blatherthon of a post on Politico. It's 3 pages long and you want to drink a tall glass of rye whiskey after the fourth paragraph. Under the heading, "Suffering For Your Art," I read the thing so you don't have to. You're welcome. Here are the dimlights*.

First, it looks like I didn't get wound up enough about people I've never met getting shot for doing stupid things.
The shattering events of 2014, beginning with Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, in August, did more than touch off a national debate about police behavior, criminal justice and widening inequality in America. They also gave a new birth of passion and energy to a civil rights movement that had almost faded into history, and which had been in the throes of a slow comeback since the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012. 
I wasn't shattered, nor was anyone I know. Instead, we watched sports, drank beer and cooked delicious food. Our kids went to school. Plants were watered and trash was taken out. Other than marvelling at people like Gene yelling about some thuggish dingbat who picked a pointless fight with a cop, nothing around me was "shattered."

Apparently, I was supposed to join a "movement" or something like that. Gene goes on for pages and pages and pages (at least it seems that way) about the movement and how dynamic it's become. The dynamism is shown by things like this:
Sarah Jackson, a professor at Northeastern University whose research focuses on social movements, said the civil rights establishment embraces the “Martin Luther King-Al Sharpton model”—which emphasizes mobilizing people for rallies and speeches and tends to be centered around a charismatic male leader. But the younger activists are instead inclined to what Jackson called the “Fannie Lou Hamer-Ella Baker model”—an approach that embraces a grass roots and in which agency is widely diffused.
I embraced the San Diego "@deanriehm - @bdaddyliberator - @mad_maximilion - @doodooecon" craft beer model. That's where you stop at Albertsons on the way home to pick up a big AleSmith ESB or Firestone Union Jack. This movement is characterized by grassroots-fed beef cooked on a grill and wins for our sports teams that are widely diffused throughout the season.

Honestly, I tried to read the rest of his narcissistic gum-flapping, but the best I could do was skim it. Just what all the marching and chanting is supposed to accomplish is beyond me. I've been around a little while and from the looks of things, longer than Gene. While "organizing" might be a good thing, it's utterly irrelevant in your life compared to going to church, getting married, picking up valuable skills, getting along with your bosses and devoting yourself to your spouse and children. You can march and chant all day, but if you don't do those basic things, you're going to be a failure.

In the time I've spent working with the homeless, mentoring fatherless young men and coaching kids, I've yet to see a life that could have been improved if only more people had attended rallies and "organized". I'm not sure what concrete things Gene intends to accomplish by waving signs around and clogging up our streets with shouting people. Maybe concrete things aren't the goal. Maybe the chanting and marching is the goal.

I wish Gene all the luck in the world with his movements and rallies and gabfests. I hope he has a great time. Meanwhile, I'm going to go back to working on some PHP code, cook a Cajun Prime Rib and follow @lee_ryder to see if Newcastle can beat Leicester City today in the FA Cup.

Mississippi Smothered Chicken in a big cast-iron skillet. Marching and chanting doesn't get the food cooked, Gene.
* - Since the thing is so utterly pointless, it doesn't really have highlights or lowlights.

1 comment:

Trigger Warning said...

I started to read the Politico screed, but I was shattered, completely #shattered, and only got as far as "the over-policing of black and Latino communities".

I've noted elsewhere that minority communities are overpoliced, and I've recommended that the police simply leave them to handle the problem of crime in their own, more culturally appropriate, communitarian, "organized" ways.

The whole problem has been the use of statistics to assign officers to "high-crime areas". Stupid idea. They should do what the French police do with their Zones Urbaines Sensibles, (Sensitive Urban Zones): forget they exist. Use the statistics to assign police to neighborhoods that care about crime and don't hate the police. Everybody, including the police, will be happier! Isn't that the whole point of Progressive utilitarianism?