Thursday, June 25, 2015

Journalists Share Blame for Charleston Tragedy

American journalists are partly to blame for the recent racist shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, because they continue to perpetuate the old southern racist myth that black Americans are a separate "race" from white Americans.   Journalists seem to support the "one drop rule" or "part black all black". For example, they continue to refer to Asian ancestry golfer  Tiger Woods as "African American" even though his mother has Asian and Dutch ancestry and his father has Asian, European and North American ancestry as well as African ancestry.  These racist journalists even refer to a child who has a black parent and a white parent as "biracial" even though the black parent might have more recent ancestors from Europe and North America than from Africa.

The extremely racist term "African-American" implies that blacks are Africans living in America rather than Americans with some African ancestors.  The only African ancestors most descendents of American slaves had left  Africa over two centuries ago.  The number of Africans arriving in the United States dropped substantially after the government banned the importation of slaves in 1808.  Some  African ancestors of black Americans left Africa four centuries ago.  Twenty Africans arrived at Jamestown in August, 1619.  Others had been living in the Spanish controlled areas of what became Florida, Georgia and South Carolina before the English established Jamestown or landed at Plymouth Rock.  It was the Spanish who gave the Africans the name "Negro" which is Spanish for "black". 
The dark skinned peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa might be  of a different race  from the light skinned peoples of northern Africa and Europe,  but Americans have had too much sex across the color line over the last 400 years to be of different races. 

Sex across the color line in North America has been documented as far back as the 1630's when African John Punch married a white woman believed to be an indentured servant.    Punch is believed to be the first permanent slave in Virginia.  Previously "slaves" were called indentured servants and they served for a specific number of years.   His descendents were called "Bunch" and are believed to include diplomat Ralph Bunche and Stanley Ann Dunham, the mother of President Barack Obama.   The small population of early Virginia meant that people often had to find mates across the color line.

In the mid 17th Century slave owners  decided to turn the dark skinned slaves into permanent slaves with white slaves continuing to be indentured  servants.  To increase the number of permanent slaves some  slaves owners required white female slaves  to mate with African male slaves so that the resulting dark skinned babies could be kept as permanent slaves.  The white male slaves would then be left to mate with African female slaves.

The early Africans began a long association with the various North American peoples.  The first association of an African with North Americans occurred in 1526.   In the English colonies some villages would accept escaped slaves into the village and others would not.   In the early 19th century the Cherokee and some others held black slaves.

Virtually all the  African ancestors of slaves arrived before importation of Africans was outlawed in 1808.  Only about  500,000  Africans were imported into North America during the period of the North American slave trade.   This number is significant considering that the total U.S. population in 1790 was only about 4 million with  about 20% or  757,000 blacks.  

The only inherent difference between black and white Americans is a half dozen genes that control skin color.  A person can have a dark complexion even though a majority of skin color genes come from European ancestors because the genes that code for dark complexion are dominant and only a couple are needed for a relatively dark complexion.  One of the genes that codes for a dark complexion is common among peoples of North America and Asia as well as Africa.

The slave genome continued to receive new DNA from plantation owners and overseers until slavery was ended.  The most prominent example of this practice in the United States was the relationship between President Thomas Jefferson and his concubine Sally Hemings.

Southern laws prohibiting sex across the color line were ignored if the female was black such as in the case of the  mother of  Sen. Strom Thurmond's black daughter. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is known to have had a white male ancestor who provided his "Y" chromosome. In the South white men could rape black women without fear of prosecution until the 1960's.  

It's likely that some children of mixed ancestry were passing for white by the early 18th Century.  Many whites who researched their ancestry after the "Roots" television series were surprised to find ancestors whose military records included the letter "C" after the name for "Colored".  President Warren G. Harding acknowledged he had some black ancestors. Some believe that  four other white presidents  may have had African ancestors.   It is particularly likely that President Abraham Lincoln got his dark curly hair from a black ancestor.  Many of his contemporaries believed he had slave ancestors.   Most white people who have African ancestors probably don't know it because that type of information usually was kept secret when a person passed for white.

It's time we Americans recognize that America is not the home of a black race and a white race, but instead is the home of a single race  whose ancestors were red and yellow, black and white.
Those who are serious about eliminating racism need to begin by eliminating racist terms like "African-American" and racist myths like the idea colors separate us into different races. They need to concentrate on how we are the same rather than how we are different.  We need to recognize the wisdom of the Lakota phrase Aho Mitakuye Oyasin (We Are All Related) .

Black leaders along with politicians and journalists should forget the spurious issue of the Confederate flag.  As the great grandson of a Union army veteran, I don't really understand why southerners have a fascination with the flag, but it is not inherently a symbol of racism. I've always understood it has a defiance of authority.   Eliminating the flag will do absolutely nothing to eliminate racism.  The action might actually encourage violent racists.  With one violent act a coward terrorized the black population of the south.  Racists may think that all they will have to do is wave a confederate flag and black people will hide under their beds.  Normal people don't understand that some people, especially some men, would rather be a pariah then a nobody.

Eliminating the flag will make the little coward who committed murder in God's House a major hero among his kind and a major historical figure.  He will be mentioned in history books as the man who caused southern states to change their flags.  To borrow a quote from the late Paul Harvey: "he [the killer] would want me to mention his name."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Disney Apparently Ordered Award for Jenner

In my previous post I discussed the possibility of bribery being involved in the selection of the so called courage award for the actor formerly known as Bruce Jenner.  I had planned to ask in this post if Disney might have ordered ESPN to give the award to Jenner because it was thinking about a movie deal with him to take advantage of his previous association with the popular Kardashians.   Then I discovered that Disney had premiered its own reality show about a man becoming a woman called "Becoming Us" at the same time as the Vanity Fair article and the courage award announcement.

There is an old saying in the field of counter terrorism that can apply to other areas of human behavior.    "Once is an accident.  Twice is a coincidence.  Three times is enemy action,"

It is unlikely that those three events occurred at the same time by coincidence.  The fact that Disney was in direct control of two events and could have influenced the third indicates that Disney arranged for the Vanity Fair article and the award announcement to coincide with the series premier.  

My understanding of the way programs are scheduled is that schedules are usually set months in advance because of the time needed to write, cast and perform the program.   Disney likely told  ESPN someone at Disney would select the winner of the Arthur Ashe award so the people at ESPN  wouldn't announce giving the award to a legitimate candidate.  Disney  probably didn't tell the people at ESPN the name of Disney's selection at first to avoid the name becoming public before Disney was ready.

Jenner is in no way qualified to receive the Arthur Ashe award because he hasn't done anything yet except talk.  A recipient of the Arthur Ashe award should first demonstrate he can walk the walk and not just talk the talk.   In the past the award was given only after the recipient had done something, usually over a significant period of time except in tragic circumstances such as the Columbine massacre.  Recipients have generally either encountered  personal tragedy such as dread medical disorders or murder or done something significant to help  others.   

If the award was really about the homosexual/transsexual situation, the logical recipient would be long time female impersonator RuPaul Charles, the so-called "drag queen " who has been impersonating women, onstage and offstage,  and helping others to do so for  years. RuPaul has improved the image of those female impersonators called "drag queens" who had previously been at the fringe of the entertainment field.   RuPaul is a recording artist whose recordings have appeared on the charts in both America and Britain.  RuPaul's acting credits include appearing as a woman in movies based on the wholesome American family sitcom "The Brady Bunch".

Jenner doesn't look like he will be significantly different from any other female impersonator.  RuPaul is obviously a better choice than  Jenner if the award is to go to a female impersonator.  But then RuPaul is a  black man of ordinary means who entered the business at the bottom and worked his way up.   Jenner is a rich white guy who until recently was part of the Kardashian family media "circus".  This situation has allowed Jenner to enter the female impersonator business at the top with Jenner's own reality show instead of having to earn the opportunity through performances.

I believe Jenner is getting preferential treatment because of his association with the Kardashians, but if I were black I ,might think otherwise.   In fact if I were black and a member of a civil rights organization I would be encouraging my fellow members to demonstrate against Disney / ESPN because of the misuse of the Arthur Ashe award to benefit a white entertainer. 

Jenner is getting an opportunity to realize a long standing dream and get paid for it.   Other suggested candidates had to give up their dreams, or at least alter them.   There is a saying that if life throws you lemons, you should make lemonade. Lauren Hill and Noah Galloway didn't just make lemonade.  They made lemon meringue pie.    

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Did Jenner, or E! Network, Pay for Arthur Ashe Award?

I'm not accusing anyone of bribing ESPN or its employees at this point.   I'm just looking for a logical explanation for giving the wealthy actor formerly known as Bruce Jenner an award for courage for a decision that required no special courage because the decision is going to make him even richer.  I also want an explanation for why ESPN which is owned by ABC is going out of its way to promote a program on the E! Network which is owned by NBC.   A bribe is a logical possibility considering Jenner's purported wealth and the tendency of many rich people to think they should be able to buy anything they want. 

I'll suggest another possibility in my next post.

How can anyone with an ounce of sense give a courage award to someone for accepting a reality show contract to appear as a woman, or, for that matter, as Count Dracula or a clown?   I don't recall anyone giving Jamie Farr a courage award for playing the crossdressing Cpl. Max Klinger on "M*A*S*H*".  Would Jenner have gotten a courage award if Paramount had given him a contract to appear in public and on television as part of a new "Star Trek"  series in which he  played an alien such as a Klingon, a Bajoran, or maybe even a Cardassian?  

Perhaps if Jenner's "condition" had kept him from getting a contract there might be some merit in considering his action courageous.  How can doing something that is financially rewarding be considered courageous?  Giving Jenner an award based on his "condition" implies that he is afflicted with something dreadful like Jim Valvano's cancer or Pat Summitt's dementia.

The whole decision smells like there is more than one dead skunk in the middle of the road.   The timeline for Jenner's various publicity activities strongly implies that Jenner, or more likely his publicity agent, had arranged with ESPN for the award before the interview with Diane Sawyer was telecast on April 24th.  ESPN's announcement just after the publication of  the Vanity Fair article appeared  sound's like they scheduled the announcement in conjunction with  publication of the article. The claim that they hadn't been  considering anyone else implies they made the decision long before the article was published.  The award will be given out just before Jenner's new series starts.

Considering the prestige associated with the Arthur Ashe award, the expectation would be that potential nominees would be selected by at least the end of March so they could be properly evaluated.  The people at ESPN seem to be saying they waited until the last minute and grabbed Jenner's name  out of the news.   Wouldn't it be more believable to think that they worked out a deal to give Jenner the award as part of his publicity campaign for his new show?  Or, in other words the award is just part of a publicity stunt.  It is common to pay those who help publicize a tv series.

Friday, June 19, 2015

ESPN and Capital One Are Dishonoring Real Heroes

The decision by ESPN and Capital One to allow the actor previously known as Bruce Jenner to desecrate the Arthur Ashe courage award dishonors real heroes.  Jenner has done nothing to deserve the Arthur Ashe  award.

Jenner's decision to be the character Caitlyn in an E! Network reality show is a common type of  action in the entertainment industry.  There is nothing unusual about an entertainer with a male body impersonating , or playing, a female character.  His action involves no more courage than all entertainers must have to perform before an audience.   His theft of the Arthur Ashe award to make himself look courageous is nothing more than a sick public relations stunt.  

It doesn't take courage for someone to take a high paying entertainment job that doesn't involve physical danger like the driver of a truck load of dynamite would face.   Many of us old guys would be willing to let our hair grow, or wear a wig if the hair has stopped growing, and put on a dress for the kind of money Jenner is getting from the E! Network..   Some of us might be willing to go even farther than Jenner is willing to go and let them remove what David Letterman calls our "junk".   When a man reaches 65 it sometimes isn't much more than junk anyway.

Giving a courage award to someone who has done nothing courageous dishonors those who have actually done something heroic.  Giving an award named after the black man who integrated the American Davis Cup team to a wealthy white entertainer so he can further his career is sick.    When Arthur Ashe discovered he had received an HIV infection from a blood transfusion he worked to educate people about the disease and founded Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.   Jenner's decision to do a new reality show playing a woman doesn't remotely compare to what Ashe did.

The actions of a young college woman named Lauren Hill does compare favorably with  Ashe's actions.  When she found out she was dying of an incurable cancer she dedicated the remainder of her college basketball career to trying to raise research funds so other young people would not have to share her fate.

Sgt. Noah Galloway didn't get a fatal disease in Iraq, but he did lose an arm and a leg.   If I had suffered that type of injury in Vietnam I would probably have spent the rest of my sitting in front of a tv set.   Galloway chose to fight back like Arthur Ashe and became a motivational speaker and even finished 3rd in the show "Dancing with the Stars".

Both of these individuals demonstrated far more courage than Jenner has. I recently saw a news story about a young father who demonstrated far more courage than Jenner.  When a man attempted to steal his car with his son inside, this courageous father jumped on the moving vehicle and held on as long as he could. 

The men and women who have served in the War on Terror have demonstrated far more courage than Jenner.    The same can be said of those who work as police officers or firefighters.

If Jenner accepts the award he will mark himself as a coward rather than a hero.   Jenner's attempt to steal the award reminds me of an old Warner Brothers cartoon about a phony hero dog.   At the start of the cartoon "Fresh Airedale"  the dog helps a burglar by serving as a lookout until the car chases the burglar.   When the dog hears someone coming he pretends he has chased the burglar away.  When the dog hears about another dog being called the "Number 1 Dog" he travels to the Number 1 dog's home and attempts to push him into a pond.  The phony hero misses and ends up in the water.  The Number 1 Dog rescues the phony, but is exhausted by the effort.  The phony revives first and when he hears people coming acts like he rescued the Number 1 Dog.    The dogs in the cartoon were males, but Jenner wants to be referred to as a female.   When you get older you sometimes have trouble remembering some words.  Does anyone remember the word for a female dog?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

E! Network Paying Jenner for "Sex Change"

The E! Network has destroyed the story by the actor formerly know as Bruce Jenner that his decision to adopt a female persona is a result of some feeling he really is a woman even  though he still wants to have sex with them.  E! is doing a series on Jenner's transformation into a female character named Caitlyn.  Now don't we all feel sorry for Jenner having to take all that money to the bank.  I wonder if he will be crying all the way to the bank.

Jenner has no intention of becoming an anatomically correct woman.  He prefers to have sex with women which indicates his brain is male rather than female.   His brain and body are of the same sex which means he is not transsexual.  He merely wants to be a character called "Caitlyn" during the day.  At night if he can find a woman to go to bed with he plans to still be Bruce.

The term for entertainers who wish to  perform as female characters is "female impersonator".  Males who aren't entertainers who like to dress as women are called "transvestites".   Such men don't want to be women.    Twin advice columnists Ann Landers and Abigail van Buren used to claim they had been told transvestites were better lovers than other men.   However, I'm not aware of any scientific studies on the subject.

Men should be allowed to dress as women if they can do so without looking too ridiculous.  If women can get jobs digging ditches and driving dump trucks, men should be allowed to look beautiful if they can.  However, I can understand why women don't want such men in their restrooms.  Old overweight guys like me or men who look like the actor who played the character with the metal teeth in the James Bond movies probably shouldn't try to look beautiful.

 Those who think Jenner is being courageous ignore the fact that we accept it when entertainers do  what might be considered outrageous appearance or behavior for non-entertainers. Music videos by singers like Madonna can have a weird appearance.   We may even prefer that entertainers act weirdly.   That way we can say maybe we can't sing or act like Pat Superstar, but at least we're normal.  Circus owner P.T. Barnum recognized in the 19th Century that people would spend money to watch a "freak" show.

 Jenner is not homosexual, but people today accept homosexual entertainers.   Singer Sir Elton John remains popular even though people know he's homosexual. Ross "The Intern" Matthews  on the Jay Leno show was openly homosexual.  

Liberace was a very popular pianist in the mid 20th Century in America and Britain even though many recognized that he was homosexual.  He denied it but his speech, clothing and mannerisms fit the stereotype people had of homosexuals.   His denial may have helped his popularity among those who thought they knew his secret.   They would have watched for clues they thought indicated he was homosexual.   People at the time knew that homosexuals usually didn't admit it.

The exception to acceptance of homosexuals would be men who want women to see them as sex symbols.   Women aren't as likely to swoon over men who "don't like girls".

Female impersonators like Jenner have long been accepted as entertainers.  People like to watch men impersonating women.  Many people consider such situations inherently humorous which could mean Jenner has a better chance of success impersonating a woman than if he played male characters.

 RuPaul Andre Charles has had television shows for years.  Frank Marino has made a career in Las  Vegas impersonating Joan Rivers, including 20 years at the Riviera Hotel.   Australian John Barry Humphries  has played the aristocratic character  Dame Edna Everage for 50 years in Britain and America. The character started out as a housewife.

Robin Williams [Mrs. Doubtfire] and Dustin Hoffman [Tootsie] appeared in successful movies in which the male character each played impersonated a woman to get a job.  Actors Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari started their careers playing women on the tv series "Bosom Buddies."    Jamie Farr helped make the popular series M*A*S*H* a success by playing a character who was trying to get out of the army by wearing women's clothes.

When E! was paying Jenner to be a husband and father he acted like he was a normal heterosexual male. Now that it wants to pay Jenner to be a female character Jenner claims to really be a woman.  Jenner seems to be whatever sex the network is paying for.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bill Clinton Iraq Attack Made Invasion Necessary

Those who talk about the Second Iraq War, The WMD War, seem to have forgotten  that the war began during Bill Clinton's administration rather than George W. Bush's administration.

Clinton began the war late in 1998 either because he didn't think Saddam Hussein was adequately cooperating with U.N. weapons inspectors or to distract attention from his impeachment.  The bombing of Iraq was just as much a declaration of war as Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 had been a Japanese declaration of war against the United States.   American bombing of Iraqi targets continued after 1998 in areas designated "no fly zones" for Iraqi aircraft.  The U.S. was still at war with Iraq on 9/11/2001.   It is for this reason that it was logical for President Bush  to ask if Iraq might have been responsible for the attack.

Regardless of the reason for the attack,  Clinton's request that the inspectors leave so they wouldn't be hurt by the bombing meant Saddam no longer had to worry about U.N. inspectors exposing any work on Weapons of Mass Destruction.   The rest of the world had no way of knowing if he started rebuilding his nerve gas stockpile or developing other WMD.

After the 9/11 attack demonstrated the total inadequacy of western intelligence about the Muslim world, President George W, Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair developed a legitimate concern that Saddam Hussein might have redeveloped, or even expanded, his WMD programs.   They also had to take seriously rumors that Hussein might form an alliance with America's new enemy al Qaeda.   It is common for those who face a common enemy to become allies. 

President Bush began an effort to restart the U.N. weapons inspections, but Iraq resisted.   When Iraq finally allowed inspectors in, they found that in the time after the inspector's departure in 1998 and their return in 2003 Iraq had acquired rockets that it was illegal for Iraq to have as well as nerve gas shells that had not yet been loaded.

Bush once again tried to get adequate assurances about inspections and destruction of any weapons programs.  Because of the climate in Iraq the United States had only a small amount of time to take military action before weather conditions would have inhibited military action.   When Bush could not get adequate assurances he had to order the invasion of  Iraq.

The invasion discovered evidence of    WMD   programs in Iraq.  CNN reported in June, 2003, that parts and plans for a nuclear gas centrifuge had been found under a rose bush.

Richard Miniter in his book, "Disinformation" lists the following as examples of WMD related discoveries.

  "• Found: 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium

• Found: 1,500 gallons of chemical weapons

• Found: Roadside bomb loaded with sarin gas

• Found: 1,000 radioactive materials--ideal for radioactive dirty bombs

• Found: 17 chemical warheads--some containing cyclosarin, a nerve agent five times more powerful than sarin."

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Reality Show Star Jenner Steals Courage Award from Real Heroes

ESPN has damaged the credibility of the Arthur Ashe "ESPY" Courage Award by planning to give the award to reality show actor Bruce Jenner for what appears to be nothing more than an elaborate publicity stunt.  Jenner claims he's now a female character called "Caitlyn" but admits he hasn't had, and doesn't plan to have,  an operation to change his body from male to female.   As far as I'm concerned a person with a male anatomy, or at least a close approximation, should be referred to as "he".  A  person with a female anatomy should be referred to as "she". 

I might let him get away with this farce if there weren't much better qualified candidates for the award.   The late Lauren Hill is one such candidate.    Even though cancer had given her a death sentence, she continued to play college basketball as long as she was able to so she could to help her team and she could  raise money to fight cancer so others might not have to go through what she was going through.  Hill reminds me of one of my childhood heroes, Lou Gehrig, who continued to play baseball during the early stage of ALS.   Hill was a real hero who gained nothing from her heroism except personal satisfaction for having done something to help others.   The Arthur Ashe award would mean a lot to Hill's parents because it would show that others recognize the value of Hill's sacrifice.

Sgt. Noah Galloway is another qualified candidate.  Galloway literally gave an arm and a leg for his country in Iraq as the result of an encounter with an IED explosive device.  He didn't let his injuries stop him.  He became a motivational speaker and finished third on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars".

Jenner is an actor who has already benefited from portrayal of the character called Caitlyn by being the subject of a Vanity Fair article.   American male actors have been playing female characters for generations.  Tom Hanks started his career playing a woman on the tv series "Bosom Buddies".  Comics Milton Berle and Flip Wilson frequently played female characters on their television shows.   There is no legitimate reason for giving Jenner an award for courage when he's doing something actors often do in their careers.  He may be playing the character for longer periods of time than other actors have, but then they weren't doing reality shows like Jenner does.  The Arthur Ashe award is unlikely to mean anything more to Jenner than something he can use in ads to get people to watch his character.

I was going to urge a boycott of  ESPN but how would anyone know if the boycott was in place?   A boycott of ESPN's owner the Disney corporation could be effective. We should boycott 'Disney if it doesn't agree to give the award to Hill or some other worthy recipient.  We should also urge Disney to replace the current group that chooses the recipient of the award with people who themselves have had to deal with adversity either directly or indirectly through family members.  People might also call their local ABC affiliated station to protest.

We should also request the Federal Communications Commission and Congress to investigate the highly questionable circumstances of the award to Jenner.   He announces on ABC's "20/20" in April that he thinks of himself as a woman and then two months later we're told Jenner will get the Arthur Ashe award and there is no runner up.    It's hard for me to believe that they would give the award to Jenner without being paid off by Jenner.  At best the whole thing sounds like an elaborate publicity stunt in which ABC was a active participant.