by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Brady once again taught a Master Class in Playoff Quarterback

Double Overtimes!

For the first time, both the AFC and NFC Championship games went into overtime, making Roger Goodell and saloon proprietors coast-to-coast giddy. An added plus: the Selection Committee has been vindicated.

Both road teams won. The Rams, with a 23 year-old QB who was born and raised in the Bay Area (Jared Goff, Novato), kicked a field goal in OT after intercepting New Orleans’ future HOF fortyish QB Drew Brees. The Pats, with a 41 year-old QB was was born and raised about an hour south in the Bay Area (Tom Brady, San Mateo), won in OT after he led them on an extended TD drive.

He’s looking at the play, he’s just not seeing the play.

The Saints were screwed at the end of regulation by a blatantly missed pass interference plus targeting. The Chiefs screwed themselves at the end of regulation when DE Dee Ford lined up in the neutral zone on a play in which KC intercepted Brady in the final minute. Ford’s transgression was incidental to the outcome of the play, but it altered the outcome.

It’s one play in each game, and sure one play isn’t the entire game, but those two will and should be remembered. We missed most of the first game, but New England-K.C. was a thrill ride. Exceeded the hype.

2. I Was Wrong

More information and a second, longer video has emerged concerning the Friday afternoon standoff at the Lincoln Memorial between students from Covington Catholic and Nathan Phillips, the drum-banging Omaha. I was wrong to jump the gun on condemning the students.

From the original video I saw, I wrongly assumed that they had moved in to surround Phillips. A later video shows that Phillips had moved into their area and that the real confrontation was taking place a few yards away, as a small band of Black Hebrews were inveighing against the students primarily because of their whiteness and yeah, probably, their MAGA gear. And, yes, that means the Black Hebrews were being racist.

I live in New York City, so the Black Hebrew sect is nothing new to me. But if you’ve never come across them, what you notice when you encounter them is their open hostility and their unwillingness to find any common ground, any harmony. They were trying to provoke the students and while the students were clearly intrigued and mostly bemused, they were never nasty. They weren’t the ones throwing out the “N-word,” the Black Hebrews were.

As for what happened between the lone student (whose name has spread far and wide across the internet, partly his own doing), different people are going to see what they wanna see there. True, he never said anything or made any type of gesture toward Phillips.   At the same time, I wonder why he didn’t simply move to give Phillips the opportunity to pass (“WHY SHOULD HE?” I dunno, maybe because Native Americans have been yielding ground to white people for two centuries? Maybe it wouldn’t have been the worst thing for a teenager to step aside to let a 66 year-old man pass, at least give him the option?).

Like I said, people will see what they want to see. I don’t often see teenage boys staring down men old enough to be their grandfathers, even if it is with a smile on their faces. What we seem to have had on Saturday was a maelstrom of discordant forces: angry Black Hebrews, a large group of mostly white suburban high school boys and a few Native Americans. People of different walks of life.

Let me restate: I was wrong to jump to the conclusions that I did about the students. And for that I apologize. But I’m not sorry I wrote what I did (a post or two ago) about the red hats that many of the boys were wearing and what they imply to people of color and to many of us who are white but would like to see a less racially divided country. Maybe the boys bought the hats in D.C. on a lark. Maybe they thought it was ironic. Maybe they already owned them. Maybe someone handed them out to them. I don’t know.

But the hat is hate. You can’t hide behind it obtusely and say, “I just want America to be great.” Who doesn’t? And when the man who made this “fashionable” is Donald Trump, his track record speaks for itself. I’m not going to admonish 16 year-old boys for not knowing better.

What I do find humorous is the people on Twitter who’ve come to castigate me about this, though. As if my incorrect assumption of the incident validates their belief that I have the MAGA phenomenon wrong. They hassle me for an apology and a mea culpa all the while excusing the daily transgressions of Donald Trump. This goes back to the election: the Trump crowd demanding a standard of ethics and accountability from Trump’s adversaries that they would never once demand of Trump himself. Or of themselves. This is the game that they play and I’m just not interested.

(From under rocks and onto your Twitter timeline)

So yeah, I’m sorry that I saw that first video and jumped to an incorrect conclusion of how the mob was formed and what it was all about. My bad. I’m not sorry for condemning people who walk around in MAGA hats. Or people who defend them as if all they are about is not wanting your taxes to be so high (Shit, bro, your conservative president just sent the national debt to an all-time high. That’s fiscal conservatism?).

Even if you insist you’re not racist, your stubborn refusal to appreciate or understand how Trump has galvanized the rotten, racist underbelly of this country and how that hat is a symbol of their unity, well, it leaves me wondering why you’d rather defend that than open your eyes to it. Saying, “I hate Hillary” is hardly a sufficient answer.

(The Black Hebrews actually began by harassing the Indigenous Peoples. I love the “That’s right” dude, though.)

It was a learning experience for me. I will do my best to appreciate that what looks like something through one lens is not what it appears to be. I don’t expect the people attacking me on Twitter to change, though. They’ll continue to defend Donald Trump and the MAGA movement no matter what. And many of them will call themselves Christians. Which I find funny.

One last question for them: If it’s okay for Mike Pence and his wife to defend her place of employment because the Bible condemns homosexuality, why is it okay for Mr. Pence to continue to serve at the pleasure of a president who is a serial committer of adultery? Isn’t that the seventh Commandment? “Thou shalt not commit adultery?” I’m just curious why some sins are worthy of conversion therapy in Mr. Pence’s mind and others are blatantly ignored?

3. Woe Is Wu

This is Gigi Wu—was Gigi Wu36, who to the extent that she enjoyed renown, was renowned as the “Bikini Hiker” because she scaled mountains in two-piece bathing suits. Last week Wu, from Taiwan, fell into a ravine while hiking solo in a Taiwanese national park. She sent out a distress signal but it was 28 hours before helicopter rescue teams could reach her and in that time, more than 5,000 feet above sea level, she was dead.

Cause of death: Exposure (duh).

At least she won’t be stuck with that hefty rescue operations bill.

Kids, if you’re going to hike in swimwear, please go with a one-piece. It could save your life.

p.s. Who’s going to take care of her cat?

4. Millennial Millions

After a month off, SNL returned with a few very good moments: Colin Jost’s Super Wolf Blood Moon (“I’m told that’s the name of the lunar eclipse and NOT the name of the band that played just before this segment [Greta Van Fleet]”) joke was solid, as were John Mulaney and Pete Davidson on The Mule (“Clint Eastwood’s has two threesomes in this film and he directed it!”).

5. Fake News From Fox & Friends

Earlier today Fox News strongly suggested (see above) that Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has been battling cancer, had expired. Now of course that’s just an innocent mistake. Seriously, I’m sure it is. But the next time MSNBC or CNN (or I) gets something, I won’t expect the MAGA crowd to react with magnanimity or a sense of equanimity. That’s the world we live in now.

Music 101

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

This Motown classic was written by the gifted duo of Ashford & Simpson in 1967 and given to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, who had a Top 20 hit with it. The duo had played it for Dusty Springfield and she wanted to record it, but they wouldn’t let her. They held out for a Motown artist, hoping this would be their golden ticket of entry into Berry Gordy’s world. They figured right.

Three years later Diana Ross recorded this more epic version of it, which rocketed to No. 1 on both the pop and R&B charts.

Remote Patrol

NBA Day!

Rockets at Sixers

8 p.m. TNT

Warriors at Lakers

10:30 p.m. TNT

For those of you wondering on this, MLK Day, Kyle Kozma’s middle name is Alexander, hence that initial is an A.

This may be the NBA’s best day of the regular season, even better than Christmas (having been marooned in NYC on many a bleak, frigid MLK Day in the past, I’ll attest to this). So how come no one is airing Mavs-Bucks (Doncic v. Giannis) at 2 p.m.? Adam Silver’s TV peeps always seem to be a year behind the times.


2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. I’m not in the habit of commenting often but I find myself compelled to add some comments to the Catholic boys behavior in Washington.

    Ana Navarro, from CNN, posted the full video that everyone is now promoting as one that vindicates the students. It’s almost 2hrs long. As I have a son, I watched the film in its entirety and all that was revealed to me was that there was more than one “teaching” moment in the video. You do not even see the mocking student in the long video.

    It’s a hard watch because of the hateful vitriole being flung at anyone who comes within the proximity of the 5 African American Hebrew Israelites. However this is hardly the whole story.

    What you will notice, is that people who engage with the Hebrew Israelites and those that don’t, despite the taunting, all eventually walk away.

    First there are just a few students but soon they are the size of a mob. And they eventually start to engage with the Hebrew Israelites.

    The mob is growing and getting closer to the HI.

    Then you see the Mr. Phillips and a fellow drummer, from a distance, walk into the space between the two groups. Mr Phillips and the other indigenous people are the only ones who have a permit to be there for their march, the pathway of which the students are now blocking. Mr. Phillips was acting with only good intentions and with a desire to complete his march. He puts himself between the two groups to dial down the tensions.

    The students then surround him. What happened between Mr. Phillips is then captured on the more common video being circulated. That student can say what he was doing was trying to deescalate the situation but there is no basis in the multiple videos to support that. Those kids were mocking and jeering Mr. Phillips.

    Mr.Phillips, when he has completed his ancestral song, makes his way out of the mob. The students turn back to the HI who have now reclaimed their audience.

    Several times you see a chaperone running up and down the line of students telling them to move back.

    Eventually the person shooting the video runs out of power and the video ends.

    Yes, the HI were shouting incredibly offensive things at everyone. And some people try to have a dialogue with them even as they respond with terrible curses and poisonous ideas. However, every single one of those people eventually moved on and there is never any concern of violence.

    Once the students arrive, everything changes.

    Why don’t the students just walk away as everyone else does? Why do the chaperones not lead the boys away? Why do they let the boys stand there for over an hour when they are clearly concerned about the situation as they are seen more than once trying to push the students back? Why is the taunting of Mr. Phillips ignored and tolerated by the chaperones? By all the boys who know they are mocking this man?

    That student walks right up to Mr. Nathan and gets in his face. The rest of the students then surround him. You can then see them laughing, calling out offensive things, and even one boy who comes up to massage the shoulders of the mocking teen while all his buddies laugh and get more fired up.

    That student has likely hired a slick PR company. They are counting on people not watching the entire video. They are counting on people being so outraged at what the HI are yelling that any action by the students is justified. They are counting on your belief in a white male student over a Indigenous man who they say looks menacing and got in the students faces, who they say was only trying to descalate the situation.

    Don’t fall for it. The videos speak for themselves. All of them. I fear though that most will be in a hurry to let the white boy off the hook, shower him with praise, apologies and give him his time in the spotlight.

    What lesson does he learn? What lesson do the rest of the students learn?

    They’ll learn they can get away with lying. They”ll learn that their parents will buy them out of trouble instead of demanding they own their behavior. And they’ll learn that they don’t owe anyone any respect.

    My son will be watching the entire video and the others and the teaching moments he receives won’t be spun into a poor white student tale.

    It will be made clear to him that you walk away when that’s an option, that people are owed respect unless they act in a way that negates that respect. I will also be teaching him to be the one in the crowd who calls out the others and their behavior and to be the example for others. I can only teach the lessons and hope that he absorbs them.

    That jeering student will learn none of those lessons and will walk away believing he’s the hero of the situation. Eventually that boy grows up to be another man with a sense of entitlement.

    I apologize for the essay but I believe in facts. It has never been more important than now to make sure our children learn facts and learn right from wrong.

    • Well said, Jane.

      I’d add that all of the critics who are so eager to pounce, who are saying that this is why nobody trusts the media (which isn’t true, but it’s a convenient thing to allege) conveniently ignore one central point: when someone such as myself gets even part of an issue wrong, via an honest mistake, we own up to it and we seek to clarify what we got wrong and why. What Alex Jones and Sean Hannity and others are doing is actively CREATING false news and spreading it. Their false news is not a product of incomplete facts, of an honest error. It’s the product of creating a narrative and never backing down from it.

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