Thursday, July 29, 2010

Van Jones Address at Netroots Nation 2010

Great speech...Mr. Jones raises some great points that we all need to pay attention to. We need to hold our elected officials and ourselves accountable.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


MTV, the bastion of American popular culture, had huge success with a show called, "Punk'd." It was a hidden camera practical joke series.  The show, which was the brain child of actor, Ashton Kutcher, was akin to a celebrity version of the once famous Candid Camera Show, which was hosted by Allen Funt. First airing in 2003, Kutcher's version was like Candid Camera on acid. Candid Camera usually played innocent, yet comical, pranks on everyday folk in America, Kutcher chose to prey solely on some of the biggest names in entertainment and sports (wait, aren't those the same thing?).

"Punk'd" ended it's successful run on May 29, 2007...or so we thought. FOX News thought they would bring the show back, this time in a prank of epic proportions. Andrew Breitbart, was to do his best Kutcher impersonation, and the pawns in this political joke were the NAACP, its president and CEO, Mr. Ben Jealous, a host of political pundits (especially those from CNN), as well as the White House.  The joke was to be centered around USDA's Shirley Sherrod. She was the department's Georgia director of Rural Development. I won't go into more of that story because I'm sure that you have heard it.  If not, I would ask you to read the great work of blogger and journalist, Danielle Belton in her piece,  "NAACP, White House, Pundits, Et Al, Get "Snookered" By FOX News." 

I want to focus on a larger issue that I think is being lost in all the media hoopla. I consider myself a big picture type of thinker and this situation has a big picture that many are missing. Last night on the "The Rachel Maddow Show" she had Ben Jealous on as a guest. He obviously wanted to explain what exactly went wrong with the NAACP during this fiasco. Jealous spoke for a lot longer than he needed to. I think both he and LeBron James could take a course on how to announce something on national television in a clear, concise way--with emphasis on concise (i.e. short and to the point).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Open Letter to Glenn Beck

Mr. Beck,

My dear fellow American, while in the midst of my graduate studies here at Cornell University I happened to come across your recent article published at entitled, "Liberation Theology and Social Justice." I will address that in a moment. Before I discuss what you wrote, I must say that it has long been my practice to refrain from responding to problematic notions of republicanism with regard to this nation that are printed in the media. If I did so I would never finish my work. Americans are bombarded with innumerable so-called experts in all things political. My primary focus while I reside here in central New York state is on my intellectual development--my education--which is preparing me to expertly teach the history of this republic and the African Diaspora, and especially the intersections of the two.  I study history because I believe it to be vitally important to the development of human society; I think that is safe to assume that you believe similarly. I view history as the late Dr. John Henrik Clarke did. He defined it as "a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day."

In our contemporary society, many find their political and cultural time of day through news media of some kind. For some, your show operates in this capacity. I have also tuned in periodically, watching your show both on CNN and FOX, intrigued by your point of view and eager to understand it. While I do not think I have ever completely agreed with anything you have said, I do defend your right to express yourself as you have. You have a platform and an ability to reach a large audience in various ways: radio, internet, and television.  Many in the news media, no matter what the political affiliation, point to you as an integral piece in the stimulation of the conservative base, usually associated with the Republican Party.  I am sure that you would agree that the beauty of this nation resides in how we bring our myriad experiences, cultures, beliefs and faiths together to make a more perfect union. No matter what the color, race, or creed, we are not a monolith, no more than the framers of the constitution were.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Who's the Master?!?"

By now we have all read, watched and talked about the LeBron James decision and the fallout--ad nauseum. ESPN, who is likely one of the main culprits of the creation of "King James" aired his hour long decision like it was some supplement to the 2008 presidential campaign. They have always been near James, since they started airing his high school games on their network seven years ago. However, I'm not really writing this to talk about ESPN, that will have to wait for another day (that's really a book project).

I'm just as tired of hearing about this as you likely are. So why chime in now?  Well most of it is due to what sportswriter J.A. Adande called a "reaction to reaction" (on Twitter), the phrase he used to describe the Reverend Jesse Jackson's comments toward Cavalier's owner, Dan Gilbert. Gilbert's vitriolic, outrageous comments have caused just as much a stir as James' departure from Cleveland. In essence, Jackson likened Gilbert's words to that of a angry slave owner who lost one of his prized bonded men.
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Negrointellectual by Vernon C. Mitchell, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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