aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, September 24, 2007
Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights, October 7-13
“Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights” will feature straight people standing up for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. Events across the nation October 7-13 reflect growing support for equal rights.
Austin, TX—On October 7-13, 2007, straight people across the nation will “come out” as supporters of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans.
From Santa Rosa, California, to Montgomery, Alabama, to Augusta, Maine, overnight vigils will light up American cities over the course of seven nights, providing unprecedented visibility to heterosexual men and women with the conviction to stand up for their gay and lesbian friends and neighbors.
This grassroots groundswell, dubbed Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights, was initiated by Soulforce and Atticus Circle, two Texas-based organizations with members across the nation. With their support, straight community leaders are organizing vigils in towns like Greenville, South Carolina, Shreveport, Louisiana, Duluth, Minnesota, and Salem, Oregon.
To date, straight equality advocates in thirty cities have stepped forward to hold vigils over the course of the week. The October 7 kick-off will feature an opening night vigil at The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
I alerted my friends in Harrisburg, PA, who will no doubt turn out. Now I wonder if I can interest some straight friends here…
Jena 6 complexities
I’m aware of them. I’ve not seen them articulated in a way that I’m comfortable with so if I’m going to err it will be on the side of the Jena 6.
Then I came upon Richard Thompson Ford writing in Slate, “the racial problems facing this town-and many others-are more complex than simple prejudice, and finding solutions will necessarily require more nuance than a mass protest can offer...”
[T]he demonstrators have plenty to be upset about: racial segregation; racially disproportionate arrest, prosecution, and incarceration rates; and a pervasive societal racism that is passed from generation to generation. But because none of these sadly common racial injustices have a discrete cause, none are likely to respond to the type of quick and specific reform that a demonstration can demand. As a result, the march on Jena was a bit unfocused. It’s telling that the demonstrators moved between the courthouse where Bell was tried for an offense no one denies he committed and the site of the “white tree” that, with all-too-fitting symbolism, has since been cut down. “Free the Jena 6” has become a rallying cry, perhaps because, “Stop Informal Segregation and Prosecutorial Overzealousness That Disproportionately Affects African-Americans Here and Elsewhere” won’t fit on T-shirt or a placard. (And the Rev. Sharpton, who has led rallies in support of self-segregation in ethnic theme houses at Cornell University, is especially ill-positioned to lead the way forward in this respect.)
The 21st century’s civil rights movement will need more sympathetic poster children than the Jena 6. These young men weren’t exactly engaged in peaceful civil disobedience when they ran afoul of the law. The injustice here is not that they are being prosecuted for their crime-it is that the many other wrongs that preceded the assault have been inadequately addressed. When you think about it, the logic that underlies the demand to free the Jena 6 comes down to this: These six young men were justified in kicking their lone victim senseless because other people who shared his race committed offenses against other black students. This sort of racial vendetta is diametrically opposed to the message of social justice and cross-racial understanding that underlies the civil rights movement of the last century.
And yet, all along, Jena has had a better symbol for civil rights on offer. The anonymous black students who defied the informal segregation at the high school and sat under the perversely misnamed “white tree” are the movement’s true legatees. They have received so little attention that I don’t even know their names or how many such brave and defiant young people there were.
I’m seeing a lot of nuanced, sophisticated and innovative thinking about race and race issues by Blacks; reflexive old-style civil rights rhetoric from liberal Whites. If someone can point me in a different direction I’d be appreciative. We’ve got to address the problem of racism together.
LATER - Mark Sorkin:
I know at least one of them, Mr. Ford. His name is Bryant Purvis, and he stands accused of aggravated second-degree battery.
Fighting the first backlash is a matter for the authorities. Fighting the second requires some rhetorical skill. It seems crucial to me to make sure that the story begins with those nooses, not with the fight. And to acknowledge that the Jena Six are not angels; they don’t have to be.
Er, or maybe they shouldn’t have to be.
A movement or a turd? Gingrich gets the runs…
Last November Fortune magazine called Newt Gingrich the ‘08 Stealth Candidate and quoted him thusly:
“I’m going to tell you something, and whether or not it’s plausible given the world you come out of is your problem,” he tells Fortune. “I am not ‘running’ for president. I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen.” So he’s running, only without yet formally saying so.
I headlined my post, a movement or a turd? Nearly a year later it’s looking more like the runs.
Yesterday on Fox News Sunday:
GINGRICH: Next Monday, Randy Evans, who’s been my friend and adviser for many, many years, will hold a press briefing. Randy will spend the next three weeks checking with people around the country.
If he reports back that, in fact, we think the resources are there for a real race… then close to that we’ll face a very big decision in late October. If there aren’t enough resources, I’m not for doing unrealistic things.
WALLACE: But why even go through it unless, if you get the money, you’d run?
GINGRICH: I think the odds are very high, if we ended up with that level of pledges, we’d—I don’t see as a citizen how you could turn that down.
WALLACE: So you’d run.
GINGRICH: I think you’d be compelled to… I think any citizen—how could you turn to all of your fellow citizens—if they walk in and say, “You know, we think you’re the person who ought to debate Senator Clinton, and we think you’re the person who can actually explain where we ought to go,” how could you turn to them and say, “Well, I’m too busy?” Couldn’t do it… But I want the commitments first. I don’t want to go out on personal ambition.
Personal ambition aside the Dems are licking their chops at the notion of a Newt candidacy.
Remember, here in Georgia we know Newt. Exit polls conducted with last year’s election found that 63 percent of Georgia voters said he wouldn’t make a good president.
Via Steve Benen, “Can’t you just feel the Newtmentum?”
Online ads we want
C-Net’s Declan McCullagh suggests the global nature of the web makes legal action unlikely but a “technological arms race” wherein the software is defeated and developers come up with counter-measures and sites come up with counter-counter-measures is possible.
He and host Bob Garfield go on to agree that viewing a web page while blocking the ad is morally akin to stealing. Wladimir Palant, the 27-year-old German developer of the open-source Adblock project has heard it all before:
...this guy thinks that he as the website owner has every right in the world and the visitors that pay him indirectly don’t have any rights at all. He would probably prefer if ad blockers were forbidden by law. And the hosts file. And the remote control because it allows you to zap away to another TV channel when the advertisements come. Actually, I don’t think you have the right to turn away from your TV when the advertisements come - you watched the show so now you have to pay.
I’m with Palant; the need to appeal to morality is the mark of a faltering, lazy ad industry. I recall the day when ads were cultural touchstones, all the buzz among me and my young friends for their style and wit and trendy sophisticated appeal. Advertisers have no one to blame but themselves for poisoning that well.
Having lived in the heart of marketing mania and them moved to a place where advertising space goes unsold, I can tell you that I want advertising. As a blogger who’s embedded Apple ads, I am happy to have them online too. I think we all do. But few of us believe it a moral obligation.
Advertisers may want to construct a moral code that makes us watch, but do they really believe that will make us buy or accept the advertisers message? Ads that are well-produced and relevant and that do not interrupt or appear in a cacophony of clutter are effective. Those are ads we want and that’s the advertiser’s challenge.
While on the topic, Om Malik has 5 Ways to Make Web Video Ads Work:
AdAge in its latest issue offers up a few key lessons for brand advertisers and how they can make web video as work. These are tips are based on a recent study of video consumption habits by TNS, done on behalf of AOL and Google.
- Video-sharing sites are getting a bigger share of visits (77%) versus news sites (55%) and broadcast TV sites (49%). Lesson: Good for YouTube, not so good for old tubes.
- 43% of those polled want ads to be interactive and clickable. Lesson: Don’t put stupid TV-style commercials that are not actionable.
- Videos are for sharing. Lesson: Big media, listen to CBS Interactive’s Quincy Smith.
- 52% want ads to be relevant to them, 46% think they need to be relevant to web site’s content. Lesson: Consumer electronics ads next to people being blown up aren’t going to work. Make your ads contextual, relevant and of course tasteful.
- Make ads fun if you want attention. Consumers feel annoyed by videos ads today. Lesson: Simple enough.
Giuliani and the falling sky
“I do think he rose to greatness after the World Trade Center, but it wasn’t because he was an expert on terrorism but because he was an affected and obviously level-headed leader when we didn’t need cheerleading, we needed honesty,” Gross said. “That’s the tone he set. But it wasn’t because he was some kind of expert on terrorism.”
That from a major WaPo piece noting that Rudy’s rhetoric about what he calls the “terrorists’ war on us” contrasts sharply with his record. Where now he criticizes Democrats for treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter, at the time of the World Trade Center attack he was all about the rule of law:
Giuliani’s desire to keep terrorism in perspective could be discerned even on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the days following, when he sought to marginalize the attackers and the threat they represented. Asked on the day of the attacks whether they constituted an “act of war,” he said, “I don’t know that I want to use those words. . . . I’m totally confident that American democracy and the American rule of law will prevail.”
In an interview later that month, he noted that one of the inexplicable things about the attacks was that, unlike the attack on Pearl Harbor, they lacked broader context: “This has no purpose,” he said. “They’re not going to gain freedom as a result of this. They’re not going to win a war as a result. They’re not going to stop us. America’s not going to stop as a result of this.”
But Giuliani’s rhetoric changed as time went on. Campaigning for President Bush in 2004, he described the attacks as part of an existential war for survival—“the worst crisis in our history”—that had been going on for years, but that Clinton and others had failed to recognize. It was, he said in his speech at the 2004 GOP convention in New York, “much like observing Europe appease Hitler or trying to accommodate the Soviet Union through the use of mutually assured destruction.” [...]
Hauer, the former emergency commissioner, said he does not know what to make of the rhetorical shift. In the 1990s, Giuliani “wanted to play the threat down,” he said. “Rudy felt like talking about [terrorism] was alarmist. He never talked about it except in reaction to something. Now he’s screaming that the sky is falling.”
On the oft-noted bad decision to put his Office of Emergency Management at 7 World Trade Center:
Giuliani and his advisers have rejected criticism of the site selection, saying no one could have predicted the collapse of the towers. But Louis Anemone, a top-ranking police officer who has since retired, disagrees. The World Trade Center “was number one on our list of the most vulnerable and critical and symbolic locations in the city. The place had been attacked once before, and they had been threatening to bring those towers down again,” Anemone said. “For those of us who lived and breathed this stuff day in and day out, it boggled the imagination.”
For more on all of this, see Wayne Barrett’s Rudy Giuliani’s Five Big Lies About 9/11 and Peter Boyer’s Is what New York never liked about Rudy Giuliani exactly what the heartland loves?