“Wow, talk about déjà vu! Although I still don’t know why you’re not armed, or how you guys talked me into doing this.” – Bernhard “Bernie” Goetz, after rapidly shooting four unarmed black men in a game of paintball several hours after escaping the scene of his subway shootings.
Bernie, Jamal, Deion, Marcus, and Raymond—or the “Jive Five”, as they were known in college—were virtually inseparable. In fact, Bernie’s famous (or perhaps infamous) adventure on the no. 57 subway earlier that day (read it–this whole thing will make a lot more sense if you do) marked the first time in a week that the crew had been separated for more than a few minutes during the day. They all worked together at a bread bakery they had opened just after graduating, a popular local joint by the name of “Baggoetz”, and when a bank statement detailing an unsettled loan repayment was discovered in the back office, they were left with no choice but to send one person out in the middle of the day. Bernie volunteered, telling his best friends only half-jokingly “You know they’ll go easy on a white guy!” He hurriedly finished handing out orders to the long line of customers, apologizing for the delays. He even offered an extra loaf of sourdough to a black man seated in the corner, saying “You look like you could use some bread…here’s another.” Continue reading
What we read while exiting through the evacuation slide….
What we read while trying to remember where we parked our Nissan…our BLACK Nissan…
- Bad sports columns are written all the time, which is why we don’t often link to them. But sometimes, a really bad one catches our eye, like Bill Rhoden’s idea that LeBron James can only exceed Michael Jordan by–get this–playing for him on the Bobcats.
It’s hard to believe that only two years ago very few people in America knew who Lady Gaga was, because now nobody can shut the fuck up about her. Her first single, “Just Dance,” was released in April 2008, but it took a long time—nine months—to reach #1. The real Lady Gaga phenomenon didn’t start in earnest until 2009, when she seemingly had a new single on the radio every week (and that’s only a slight exaggeration: In 2009, “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” “LoveGame,” “Paparazzi,” and “Bad Romance” all spent time in the Billboard Top 10).
But sheer quantity of radio play doesn’t qualify anyone for “phenomenon” status these days—after all, who still listens to the radio? But Lady Gaga has become culturally significant in a way most pop stars only dream about. People care about her and have an opinion about her in a way they don’t about, say, Beyoncé. Even people who don’t really like pop music find themselves compelled by Lady Gaga. I, for one, feel like I’ve had more conversations about Lady Gaga in the past year than I’ve had about all other musical acts put together. I would even go so far to say that she’s “polarizing,” except that I don’t really feel like there is a sizable anti-Gaga pole. Nevertheless, her fans often have the passion and fervor of zealots needing to defend their messiah from some threatening albeit nonexistent opposition. Continue reading