by John Walters
Tweet Me Right
Received some very disappointing news today pic.twitter.com/NXcBSr0DYi
— Sir Michael (@Michael1979) January 18, 2019
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.
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.
Former VP Joe Biden at MLK breakfast: “America’s been made better, all the struggles many of you have endured and led.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 21, 2019
(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 Wu—36, 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.
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.
Rockets at Sixers
8 p.m. TNT
Warriors at Lakers
10:30 p.m. TNT
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.