Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sweet Victory

Ahhhh...that's nice.

There's no need to gloat. 88 years of futility should be enough motivation to prevent any gloating, but damn, it's nice to have a World Series on the South Side.

I've got a lot of thoughts on the playoffs and the season that I'll be posting about later, but I just wanted to respond to my sister's comment about gloating. I won't be.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck...........


1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there! Found you on Chicago Bloggers. I love in Independence & Polk. Thought I'd say 'hi' to my neighbor!

3:04 AM  

Monday, October 17, 2005



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Blogger Theresa said...

Well, the White Sox won. Where's the gloating post?!

12:30 AM  

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Freedom of Speech

On the Chicago Tribune's site today, Kathleen Parker's article addresses the "workout" that the 1st Amendment has been getting.

In Gainesville, Fla., where the 1st Amendment argument is more clear-cut, cartoonist Andy Marlette drew an image that has angered some black groups. Yes, a new generation has produced another Marlette. This one is the nephew of Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and author Doug Marlette, whose talent as an equal-opportunity offender apparently seeped into the family gene pool.

Marlette the Younger's cartoon in the Independent Florida Alligator was a commentary on rapper Kanye West's remarks following Hurricane Katrina that: "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Marlette drew a cartoon of West holding an oversized playing card labeled "The Race Card," with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying, "Nigga Please!"

The N-word makes me cringe ... especially every time I hear West say it. His spicy songs, including his current hit, "Gold Digger," are liberally seasoned with the word "nigga," often couched in violence and obscenity. But when I imagine the immaculate and proper Condi Rice saying it, especially to a "brotha"' who has made a fortune playing the bad boy, it makes me laugh.

Which is to say Marlette's cartoon hit the mark. It was sophisticated, irreverent and funny. His use of West's own language to parody the rapper's political statement was, in fact, the "art" of the cartoon.

When did Kanye West play the "bad boy"? One of the problems that he repeatedly had in getting his first record made was that he didn't fit the bad boy image of most rappers. He's not "from the streets". His music is more complex in that it both criticized Hip Hop's "bling" mentality even as it admits, and at times embraces, the allure it holds.

Why refer to his "music" with quotes? My guess as to the number of times that Ms. Parker has listened to Kanye West's "music":

0. Zero. Zilch.

So, Kanye's use of the "N-word" is "often couched in violence and obscenity"? Well, I guess that must be since he's a rapper, and that's what they do, right? I cannot think of one example of obscenity on Kanye's latest album, Late Registration, and I listen to it regularly. In fact, the album has received accolades for returning Hip Hop to its origins as socially-conscious commentary.

The First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The 1st Amendment protects against government limitations, not against private limitations. Organizations have the right to limit speech. In fact they are compelled to limit speech, but not by the government. They are compelled to maintain limits by the potential for other responses, namely civil actions. Consider verbal harassment. Why wouldn't that fall under free speech? Does the government actually limit such speech? No, but organizations definitely limit such speech. To protect themselves against litigation and against loss of revenue, organizations regularly place limits on their employee's speech.

When Louis Farrakahn was asked to speak to some universities in the 90s, protests were held by the Anti-Defamation League. Is there much difference?

The point is that organizations regularly limit the speech of their members, and those limits are not a violation of the Constitution. Removing a person from a position does not limit that person's speech. If anything, it limits the association of that person's speech with the organization. A person can choose to limit their own speech to maintain an affiliation, whether personal or professional.

In fact, either of the people that Ms. Parker mentions could publish their "speech" in another medium. Maybe they could start a blog together and start publishing all their stuff, offensive or not, as often as they want.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

children clothing

8:54 PM  
Blogger GJC said...

hey look--a NON-spam comment!!

I read that commentary too, and thought the same thing--since when is Kanye West a stereotypical rapper??? And the "music" thing in quotes bugged the hell out of me. This looked to me like another let's-dogpile-on-the-rappers-for-all-the-evils-of-society thing, which was played out back in the early 90's, when it was 2 Live Crew under all that outrage.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Michael M. Davis said...

Yeah, I've been getting a few spam comments now and again. At least the guy at the top here is somewhat on topic. The comment is on the wrong post, though.

I'd be willing to concede the point that 2 Live Crew or even NWA were getting rich by playing the bad boys, but Kanye West? Come on. The best response: "Jesus Walks".

10:54 PM  
Blogger rokkgod said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:42 AM  

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sibling Rivalry

At the beginning of August, the White Sox had the best winning percentage in Major League Baseball and a 15 game lead in their division, but August was going to be the test. They had to play the Yankees twice, the Twins twice, and they had a road trip to Boston. White Sox fans were bracing for the worst. Actually, many White Sox fans had been bracing for the worst since the start of the season. We're a dispirited bunch, White Sox fans. I guess 46 years without a trip to the World Series will do that to you. Of course, you could confirm that by spending some time talking with Cubs fans. The Cubs haven't been to a World Series since 1945. So, 60 seasons for the Cubs and 46 seasons for the Sox, which means 106 continuous seasons of baseball futility in Chicago. It's only been 92 baseball seasons since the city of Chicago has participated in a World Series.

I've been watching and listening to games and commentary all season, and White Sox fans have been picky and frustrated with every loss and even with many of the wins. I've tried to sit back and enjoy their time atop the division while I could because, if recent history is any indication, they were probably going to fall out of the race at some point. It's been hard to watch the team late in the season over the past couple of years. Last year, the Sox were leading their division at the end of July, but fell apart in August.

My wife has used a southern phrase "bless his/her heart" a few times (she's from Georgia), and Eric Zorn has started using it on his Chicago Tribune blog when referring to some politicians. The phrase has been used by Southerners in an almost dismissive way, but even more, it's used in a denigrating way. The speaker is almost shaking their head while speaking it.

When I started this post on August 24th, the White Sox were in the midst of losing their 15 game lead in their division. Eric Zorn, bless his heart, took it upon himself to begin tracking the Cleveland Indians' magic number and he referred to it as the White Sox' "Toxic Number". It is the number of Cleveland wins combined with White Sox loses that would give the division title to Cleveland. He wasn't far off. The White Sox have been very average since the beginning of August, and that's partly to blame for my hesitancy in finishing this post. Their record since August 1st through Thursday was just 27-28. Now that they have won their division and guaranteed themselves the best record in the American League, I feel a little more comfortable completing this post.

Zorn: Sox hater.

"Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate." -- Chappelle's Show's Playa Haters

This week, I read this on the Chicago Tribune's web site:

Q: If a Cubs fan living in Chicago pulls against the White Sox, does it indicate he or she might be mentally unbalanced?

A: "If the teams are not directly competing against each other, the idea of a Cubs fan rooting against the White Sox becomes a little pathological," says Dr. Robert Burton, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University. "Technically, it probably stems from some unresolved sibling rivalry kind of thing. Otherwise, you have to wonder what a Cubs fan has to gain by pulling against the White Sox. Not too much, really, unless it's to feel better about himself. If the White Sox lose, then they're both in the doghouse.

"A resolved sibling rivalry would let you enjoy the success of your neighbor, or whomever, and root against each other only when you're going head-to-head. Any kind of sibling rivalry is commonly referred to as arrested development. Then, you get history and other issues layered on top of everything, and it can compound things. I personally pay more attention to whichever team is succeeding."
-- Mike Conklin

Did you catch that? "[I]t probably stems from some unresolved sibling rivalry kind of thing." Hilarious. I had titled this post "Sibling Rivalry" because my brother, bless his heart, is a Cubs fan. In 1983, our family moved into the city of Chicago from a small town about an hour's drive outside the city. Our family had been to White Sox games a few times at old Comiskey Park before we actually moved to the city, but apparently that had little effect on my brother. The Cubs had a big year in 1984, and he became a Cubs fan. He's been lost to me ever since. I mean, come on, we lived on the South Side, and we went to Sox games on occasion. I'm a White Sox fan, and I've kind of wondered if that also played a part in my brother's preference for the Cubs. Maybe there was some sibling rivalry there.

Now, I don't hate the Cubs. When they were in the playoffs, I didn't root against them, even though some Sox fans did. I just waited to see them collapse, as they always have. Actually, part of me was hoping that the Cubs would at least get into the World Series just so the "woe is me" fans would shut up about their stupid curse. Ideally, the Cubs and Red Sox would have played each other in that World Series in 2003 just so we could find out who had the bigger curse. It could have been branded as the "Worse Curse" series. Ironically, they both fell apart just five outs from clinching a World Series berth.

Those two teams in the World Series might have shone some light on the plight of the White Sox. The White Sox have been cursed by not having a curse. The other Sox team is more popular, the other Chicago team is more popular, and both of those other teams are cursed. The White Sox struggle in the shadow of two overly-reported curses. The history of the White Sox has been filled nearly as much with futility.

Earlier this season the White Sox were doing well, and the Cubs looked pretty good, too. Of course, we both think: 'wouldn't it be great if they met in the World Series?' Yeah, that would be the ideal. In fact, I'd love it if the Cubs would make the World Series on a regular basis...and lose to the White Sox. I've come to look on the Cubs the way I look on my brother: I want them to be successful, just not more successful than the White Sox. I think Chicago baseball fans have come to hate the other team so much because its hard to watch your team flounder every year. When your object of affection is struggling, there's some comfort in the knowledge that the other team is struggling, too.

Wait, all this is so...familiar...hmmm, let me think. Check this out.

Wait til next year, Cubs fans. Hopefully, both teams will make the playoffs then.

Go Sox!!

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