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Confederate = Terrorist?

12 Apr

I’ll admit it: I’m tired, easily annoyed, and when I stumbled across this headline today – “Were Confederate soldiers terrorists?” – all of that annoyance and exhaustion spilled over.

So naturally, I’ve decided to write about it.

What truly sucks in all of this is the fact that I like the writer of this piece. I like his perspective, his candor, his language and style. I happen to disagree with him in this case. And like I said before – I’m cranky. So take this with a grain of salt, I suppose.

Roland Martin, an occasional contributor to CNN.com, has crafted a masterpiece of doo-doo, the Sistine Chapel of flung poo. In a hackneyed opinion piece that is a response to the State of Virginia declaring a “Confederate History Month”, (a political brainfart if there ever was one) Martin does nothing more than stir up the blogosphere (and, yes, I know, I’m falling into the trap, spare me your emails) by asserting that the soldiers who fought on the side of the Confederacy were mid-nineteenth century terrorists, the 1860s version of the Taliban, enemies of all that the great and glorious United States stood for.

Please. Stop. 

The South lost the war. And as I’ve said on this blog before, we deserved to because we were undermanned, outgunned, and outclassed, but mainly because WE WERE WRONG.

States’ rights or slavery, or whichever theory of secession you subscribe to, we screwed up. And we got beat.

But that doesn’t make the men and women who supported the secessionist cause terrorists. They united themselves under one flag. They marched into battle wearing uniforms (such as they were). They participated in combat and aggression under the accepted codes of the time, engaging not in destructive actions targeted to malice an unsuspecting populace but in straight-ahead uniform combat.

And did I mention: they were beaten by the Union. 

Martin doesn’t offer anything new in his commentary; he barely offers anything that would seem to remotely resemble educated opinion, educated being the key word. He makes no attempt to understand the context of the war, or the tenor of the nation during that time in our history because for Martin, the issue isn’t what the men and women of the time understood or believed. It isn’t about understanding that the entire history of humanity is conflict – with self, with nature, with others. It’s not even about the tragedy of a nation torn apart by that most nasty of polemics: pride. 

It’s about slavery, and being wrong for supporting slavery. And those who support wrong causes must, by definition of the 21st century rhetorical rulebook, be terrorists. 

You know, like all Muslims. 

Oh, damn your insistence that we be civil and non-judgmental. Muslims are terrorists, we all know that. They believe wrongly, whether it’s theological or political in nature, and that wrong belief spurs them all on to acts of beady-eyed aggression in support of a cause/belief that in their heart they know is wrong. And they know this because we tell ‘em so. But they refuse to listen, they refuse to surrender their antiquated notions of belief and practice, and instead resort to violence and malfeasance across the globe, even the ones who don’t seem so extreme. 

Especially the ones that don’t seem so extreme. 

And if the preceding paragraphs sounded stupid to you as you read them, understand that they were as exceedingly stupid to type, because I know they are just muckraking, tabloid, pot-stirring journalism, and not true in any meaningful sense of the word. I know that extremist language does little to actually bridge divides and reconcile anyone. And chances are, you know it too. 

In fact, Martin himself makes a similar point, albeit from a different vantage: 

“The fundamental problem with extremism is that when you’re on the side that is fanatical, all of your actions make sense to you, and you are fluent in trying to justify every action. Every position of those you oppose is a personal affront that calls for you to do what you think is necessary to protect yourself and your family.” 

Too bad Roland Martin falls into the same trap he condemns.

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All-American Idiocy

21 Jan

You may not be into basketball, either collegiate or professional. You may care more about other things, better things, than ten men running up and down a hardwood floor. If so, kudos to you.

But even if you absolutely hate basketball, you have probably heard about the young man pictured to the left. If you haven’t, get your TV fixed. Or, simply read this Bill Simmons piece from ESPN.com – it’s as good an article on LeBron James as you’re likely to find.

To make it plain and easy, LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world today. A perfect creation of power, finesse, intelligence and personality that just draws people to him. Even if you hate basketball, you can’t help being amazed. Simmons sums it up nicely:

“LeBron James is the best basketball player alive… If you were ever fortunate enough to have season tickets for a memorable athlete in his prime — Gretzky, Montana, Jordan, Magic, Bird, Pedro, Koufax, whomever — then you know exactly what this means. It’s not just about the winning. It’s about heading to the stadium or the park feeling like you won the lottery. It’s about the buzz in the crowd, the way everyone seems like they spent just a little more time getting ready. It’s about the ceiling being removed for the night. It’s about the chance that, 50 years later, your grandkid or your great-grandkid will ask you, “What was it like to see HIM play every night?” … and you’ll have an answer for him. It’s about the familiarity of excellence — constant exposure to someone who’s better at his job than you will ever be at anything — and how that superiority ebbs and flows from night to night.”

And, in case you haven’t noticed, LeBron James is black. Hate to bring race into it, but it’s kind of hard to avoid. The best basketball player in the world – bar none – is African-American.

So what?

Well, read this story from my hometown newspaper (ajc.com) this morning, and you’ll get the “so what.” In essence, the nutbag bouche who’s responsible for starting the AABA (All-American Basketball Alliance) is saying that the brand of basketball currently on display in arenas all across the nation is “street ball” and devoid of “fundamental basketball.”

If you didn’t click the link, Don Lewis, the founder of the AABA, is making the league whites only. ‘Cause, you know, only white people know how to play fundamental basketball. Those black kids just run around and jump and holler and stuff.

Don “Moose” Lewis is an idiot. He’s more than an idiot, but I don’t want to waste my limited expletive vocabulary on him.

I am ashamed that this sort of idea could see the light of day in 2010, and be so closely linked with my beloved South. Rest assured, with the current demographic make-up of Atlanta, a whites-only basketball league has as much chance as the All-American Osama Bin Laden Fan Club.

At least, I hope s0…

Five Completely Underrated Movies You MUST Watch

7 Dec

I was originally going to go negative at first – Five Completely Overrated Movies You MUST Avoid – but it’s the Christmas season, and why not spread a little cheer?

Movie tastes are like socks – lightly examined, dirty little choices that reveal a lot about the person wearing them. Some stink. Some are cute. Some make you rethink your previous position on footwear (or cinema). After reading The New Yorker’s recent list of the dceade’s 10 best films and thinking “What the hell?” I thought this would be fun.

So, five completely underrated movies you must see:

1. Unforgiven (1992) – I was tempted to make the list Clint Eastwood’s Ten Best, but that seemed silly. But, for a thought-provoking exceptional western with beautiful photography and stellar acting (just check out the movie’s Oscar wins), you can’t beat this masterpiece. William Munny might be the most memorable cowboy EVER.

2. Star Trek (2009) – Granted this movie isn’t even a year old, and the hype surrounding J.J. Abram’s reboot of the classic space franchise was anything other than underrated. But, as a Team Vader kind of guy (meaning I always liked Star Wars much more than Star Trek) I was absolutely blown away by this movie. Mesmerized by the writing, the castin and the visuals, my wife and I went to see this for our 8th wedding anniversary – and loved every minute. I can’t wait to see if Santa drops the DVD into my stocking for Christmas.

3. Ronin (1998) – DeNiro. Great car chases. International espionage. More great car chases. This movie is an adrenaline rush on DVD. The plot and acting are great, and the highly underrated Stellan Skarsgard is absolute brilliant as the movie’s main villain. Perhaps the best part is Jonathan Pryce as an I.R.A. warlord on the hunt for the film’s MacGuffin. If you’ve ever seen Pryce as a bad guy in any other movie, you won’t believe how well he pulls it off here.

4. Dan in Real Life (2007) – Just saw this for the first time the other night, and dang near fell off the couch laughing at Steve Carrell. This really got to me because Carrell plays a writer on the cusp of making it into syndication, and the struggles between his real life and the life of his advice column is as distant as Obama’s relationship with the G.O.P. Poignant, funny as hell, and featuring the insufferable Dane Cook as a sufferable fitness instructor, this movie has plenty of warmth to go with the obvious comedy.  Must, must see.

5. Elf (2004) – What would a Christmastime top five list be without at least one Christmas movie? This cute movie is underrated because it was the first and last time that Will Ferrell was charming instead of annoying, funny instead of insipid, and likeable instead of loathsome. And James Caan as a father figure is priceless.

So there’s your list. Which movies did I whiff on? Which ones would you recommend? And tomorrow, five totally overrated movies. Starting with this one…

Why Not Just Call Her A “Nigger” and Be Done With It?

15 Jun

donkeySome folks are just idiots.

Take the GOP activist from South Carolina who recently referred to an escaped gorilla from a nearby zoo as “one of Michelle’s relatives.”

Michelle – as in Michelle Obama. As in the First Lady of the United States. As in well educated and accomplished African-American woman.

Did I mention that the guy wrote this on FACEBOOK?

Cause, you know, nobody ever visits that site.

Here’s the link to the story on CNN.

It blows my mind that anyone, let alone someone who makes a living purportedly as a savvy politico, would resort to making a crude joke aboout the President’s wife being descended from a gorilla. It’s just wrong (Darwinism aside).

Have we all gone insane? First David Letterman makes jokes about Sarah Palin’s kids, now we have a political activist resorting to Jim Crow imagery?

Good. God.

And the gentleman in question, Rusty DePass, says it was an attempt at a joke.

Really?

A joke?

Equating an African-American with a primate is a joke? Given the ugly history of racil epithets, I bet DePass really kills ’em when he does stand up at Klan rallies.

The GOP has been reportedly fighting to find it’s identity lately. Some are pushing hard for moderate politics, others see future only in the politics of division and polemics. Folks like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich are calling for the party to lean away from the left and further to the right.

Well, got news for you, fellas – you keep letting guys like this DePass speak for you, and you won’t share anything with the democrats other than an unpleasant symbol.

And at least people will call the Democratic one a donkey.

They’ll just call you jackass.