Tag Archives: Darren Wilson

Rams players continue recent trend of athlete activism, and its awesome. A hilarious cartoon I didn’t get at first. And man reveals in obit that he was Spider-Man

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I was going to write a throwaway line or two Sunday night about the five St. Louis Rams players who, before their game with the Raiders, protested the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson non-indictment decision in Ferguson.

But the more I thought about it, I felt it deserved its own post.

What the Rams players did, if you didn’t see it, was come out in pregame introductions and throw their hands up, in the now-familiar “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” symbol that has become such a part of the Ferguson protest movement.

Predictably, some on the lunatic fringe went nuts, accusing the NFL players of siding against the police (Less predictably, the St. Louis police department lost their damn minds, vaguely threatening to no longer protect Rams players in the community. Stephen Colbert perfectly captured the insanity of this.)

But what this small protest was, to me, was a continuation of a welcome trend in pro sports over the past few years: Athletes using their status to speak out on social and current issues.
We’ve seen LeBron James and the Miami Heat publicly show solidarity with Trayvon Martin. Major league baseball players threatened to boycott the All-Star Game in Arizona in 2010 over the state’s proposed draconian anti-immigration law, and then-active NFL’ers like Chris Kluwe and Brendan Ayanbadejo strongly supported gay-rights legislation.

This is all in stark contrast to what athletes mostly did in the 1980s and ’90s, when Michael Jordan’s infamous quote when asked to oppose racist Senator Jesse Helms (“Republicans buy sneakers, too) typified how star athletes felt. Then, it seemed they couldn’t be bothered, so self-centered and greedy and single-minded were they.

Why are athletes so much more motivated now? Maybe it has to do with the explosion of social media, with athletes feeling a closer connection to their fans and communities and feeling safer in expressing their views.

Maybe, like LeBron, more of them simply feel they ought to use their standing for good, to push issues even further into consciousness, and force sports fans to think about other things (always a good idea).

I don’t really know the reason, nor do I care. I’m just thrilled that so many of today’s “heroes” have a social conscience. They have so much influence over kids, it’s great to see them push something more than sports drinks and headphones.

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**Next up, my boy Pearlman threw this out on Twitter last week; a cartoon by Mark Parisi from a few years back, and it stumped me for a while, then made me annoyed that I didn’t get it, then when the joke was pointed out to me I laughed real hard.
So far of the 10 people I’ve shown it to, only 2 have gotten it straight out. But since my readers are brilliant, I’m sure you’ll get it. Pretty damn funny if you ask me…

**Finally today, I thought this was all kinds of awesome. A 35-year-old Minnesota man named Aaron Purmort died of brain cancer last week, but in his obit in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, he revealed that he was indeed, Spider-Man.

The obit reads that “mild-mannered” Purmort “died peacefully at home on Nov. 25 after complications from a radioactive spider bite that led to years of crime-fighting and a years long battle with a nefarious criminal named Cancer, who has plagued our society for far too long.”

The obit goes on to say that Purmort is survived by his wife, Nora, and their young son, Ralph. He cites accomplishments including a high school band “which reached critical acclaim in the northern suburbs,” a degree from the College of Visual Arts “which also died an untimely death recently,” and his ability to always have “the right cardigan and the right thing to say (even if it was wildly inappropriate).”

That’s a beautiful obit for a man taken far too young. But hey, he did get to be Spider-Man during his life, so that’s something. (I also love that in the comments section of the obit there’s an entry from “Bruce Wayne,” saying they’ll meet again somewhere.”

Humor is the best antidote to everything in life.

 

A few thoughts on the depressing, but not surprising, Ferguson verdict. My favorite Thanksgiving clip ever. And the state of Texas, rewriting history for America’s youth

Ferguson

So the Darren Wilson non-indictment came down Monday night and it’s still totally OK for a white guy to shoot an unarmed black guy in America, which has to be reassuring to millions of mouth-breathers out there.

For the rest of us, it’s just another moment in a long, long, long line of racial injstices being perpetrated against African-Americans, a list of moments that’s too depressing to even list here (go Google the name Amadou Diallo if you want to get angry.)

I don’t have anything particularly brilliant or trenchant to say about the Ferguson grand jury’s decision, although there have been many terrific articles written that basically say that Darren Wilson’s testimony about what happened is nearly impossible to believe (not saying he’s a liar, but check out Ezra Klein on Vox.com going through Wilson’s words and trying to figure out exactly how his story gibes with reality.)

I will say that I do agree with my smart friend Will, who said on Facebook that as much anger and outrage and nonsense that is being spouted on TV and the Interwebs, none of us were there on the grand jury, none of us saw and heard everything, and that we shouldn’t be so quick to call them “idiots” or “morons” for not indicting Wilson.

It’s just that this was so predictable, that once again, a dead African-American kid elicits no justice. I think so much of the rage and anger seen Monday night, in Ferguson and elsewhere, is because so many are so damn tired of the same story being re-written, over and over again.
The names change, the faces change, but it’s the same old story, with the same people getting the short end of the stick again.

And it continues to be wholly depressing.

**And now for something happier: Thanksgiving! As I say every year here, it’s my favorite holiday ever. Food, family, football (good games this year, too), it’s all wonderful.
By far my favorite TV Thanksgiving moment is one I watch every year at this time (above). Still the best food-fight ever filmed….

Moses.texasschools

**Finally today, this is almost as big a “surprise” as a dead African-American kid shot by a white police officer not suffering any penalty: The state of Texas, the biggest by far supplier of textbooks to American schools, has decided once again to rewrite history using the Bible as a model.

The State Board of Education, controlled by Republicans just approved new textbooks that will teach that our Founding Fathers based our Constitution on the Bible, and that the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses.

Aside from the obvious jokes I can make (“Parting the Red Sea? That was nothing! This guy came up with three branches of government and checks and balances, baby!”), it’s just so freaking sad. Right-wing nutjobs hijacked the process, wouldn’t let any “normal” textbooks teaching actual, you know, history be taught, and now 50 million textbooks bought by the state of Texas will have this crap, along with fiction about climate change, the Civil War (did you know slavery was barely  a factor?) and so much else.

Here’s a background story from The Atlantic about how this was went down in Texas. Just freaking depressing. This is how a new generation of Tea Partiers gets born.