Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Obligation to Stay White and Die!

On a post on regarding:

LL Cool J, Fox, Palin & StopBeck

there is a recent post by @Shoq which makes the following assertion:

"All bloggers who posture as reporters and truth tellers, to any degree whatever, need to remember they have an obligation to not just report what's visible, but ask questions about what might not be so visible."

More offensive to me was that he called out The Political Carnival a blog by 'Laffy' or @GottaLaff as one of the "bloggers who posture as reporters and truth tellers" that he was giving the focus of his public attack.  

I disagreed and I was offended he chose to single out any progressive for his public tongue lashing but especially someone whose work I have recently come to know and respect.  Sorry, but that's wrong in substance and its wrong to pick on a fellow progressive.  So I weighed in. 

Here is my response to @Shoq:

WRONG! Completely WRONG! I can't disagree with you more! Do you really think that?

It scares me to ponder that you would even for a moment believe that statement yourself. "OBLIGATION"? 

I report what I want on blogs, at city council meetings, rallies, and at any opportunity I get. I don't call myself a "reporter" Does that make me a reporter nonetheless? 

In 1978, I started Golden Quill Publishers. At the time I was deeply involved in the health movement on issues of freedom of choice of medical care; natural noninvasive vs cut radiate and burn. 

I created my own press pass that has gotten me into events that every other activist were barred. Does that give me obligations? Hell no! 

I blog. Sometimes a lot; other times I go months without a single post. Last I counted I have at least a dozen blogs on as many subjects. Often when I write a post it will be so long and wordy it takes me hours on a single post. 

Last night I saw several videos: Olberman, Maddow, Maher, etc. I did 3 or 4 post with 1 video on each but without a single word on any save a title like: Teabaggers gone wild - Olbermann edition.

So according to your logic here I am in violation of some "obligations"? Really? I have several times done tweets saying that if rich liberals who didn't have time but wanted to do something for the 'cause' they should fund any one of a number of people on twitter whose work is nothing short of twitterific. 

I've been an activist all my life on all kinds of issues working with all kinds of people. Everyone has a role to play. That role is to contribute WHATEVER they can and more importantly, whatever they are willing.

Most ALL the activist I've ever met are flat broke. I'm one of them. We put in twice the time we ever did on a paid job. I often work til after 3am working obsessively to do everything I can to make a difference in between all my other actual, real 'obligations'. Most of the blog/activist I meet here and elsewhere are much the same. 

They have NO 'obligations to anyone for their hard work and service. The world owes them. The world they help save has an "obligation" to them not the other way around.

I never heard the name Angelo Carusone until I just read it here. I have routinely been trying to 'push' the stop Beck or Turn Off Fox messages. I RT any message I see that I like on the subject. Awhile back, I did one that wove several user names together in one tweet such as: Please @StopBeck by @TurnOffFox and watch @Maddow and #Olbermann. [It was something like that; you get the idea.] 

@StopBeck responded with a thanks and comment on the clever factor. I am doing more and ore individual #ff and I do them any day any time I see them on my radar.

I have a hard time believing that Angelo Carusone is hung up on getting the all the credit and glory for Beck's ultimate demise. I would be shocked to learn he thinks he deserves all of the credit. We all do what we can for the good of the over-all progressive effort. If that is true then Angelo should find something else to do with his time.

For two years in a row I got the Congressman George Brown Activist of the Year Award for the 34th AD. It came with very impressive plaques, certificates from members in Congress, State Assembly, Senate. etc. Quite impressive indeed. Especially since I cut my teeth under the late great Rep George Brown. 

The thing is that I got THAT recognition for some of the activism that I consider to be amongst the least of my work. I am the most proud of activism I got zero recognition for, save an arrest record. Stuff like shutting down the Riverside PD, getting arrested with Martin Luther Kind III, Rev Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Dick Gregory, Kim Fields and others.

The point is that for those of us who turn off FOX, the football game, American Idol, etc; stand up, speak out and do whatever it is we do to make the world a better place. we have only satisfaction of a job well done as our reward; being able to sleep at night knowing you did SOMETHING. 

For our self less efforts we owe nobody nothing. NO 'obligations' to anybody. Woodward and Bernstein we're not. When the Washington Post, The New York Times, MSNBC, or any number of actual news agencies get smart and hire us then we have an obligation. And with that obligation comes a staff of top researchers who can track down all people who need and deserve credit and run the titles at the end of the show.

Even if you still feel that we do have an obligation you should lead by example and let people follow if they want. Leave them alone if they don't. Its just your opinion and your wrong. 

Furthermore, these 'obligations' would put an anchor around the neck of any activist. So before I can weigh in on an issue I have to spend hour doing research and give all of the praise, kudos, recognition that someones ego may crave? Bull shit!

The fact that you want to call out another progressive to abide by Shoq rules is wrong. Its divisive and counter productive. It also runs counter to the very core principals of the First Amendment and the progressive movement. 

If you run your "obligation" standards to there logical end then I would have to post a large banner with credits on it for every bumper sticker I put on my car. Me and what staff are supposed to do all this background research and investigations to give all proper credit where do. Frankly I don't give a rat's ass whether LL Cool J is on Palin's show or not. Let LL Cool J fight that battle. 

We got a mountain of work to do in this country. In the past decades whenever I am out fighting for social justice and I turn around to see who's got by back I have yet to see LL Cool J.

Last Friday I caught a tweet by @GottaLaff with a link to a post with yet another video on her blog. I've come to notice that she is often the one that breaks a story to ME before I see it anywhere else. I started tweeting a series of sarcastic tweets that I am so damn tired of all these smart progressive women who every time I show up on the scene to get the goods they are already leaving with the story if its not already on their blogs. 

I love progressive women because they are always sharp and on top of things; even though they often make me look bad cause I'm often NOT.

Laffty and The Political Carnival has her role. I have never met her and a couple of month ago I had never heard of her. I had often gotten emails with links to some of her blog post. To that I am obligated as a progressive to push that message; NOT to spend my time doing investigative research into how she got what she got. I feel the same about anyone who says a message like STOP Beck.

You should retract that statement of our "Obligations" and you should apologize to Laffy. Then you should apologize to progressives for giving them anything other than praise and encouragement in the hope they will do more! 

There is a saying in the black community when someone tells them they have to do this or that: "All I got to do is stay black and die!"

For this old, white, burnt out activist;my ONLY "obligations" are to my family! Oh, and stay white and die!


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1 comment:

Aviva Gabriel said...

TO @larrydhalstead, @Shoq , @StopBeck and all readers:

The "back story" is certainly worthy and valid. Angelo's initiatives, the power of Twitter activism...these are great topics and deserve to be explored, told, honored. However, my understanding is that @GottaLaff and others were preoccupied, rightly so, with the "front story," which was Fox/Palin/LL Cool J, and with putting a quick stop to LL Cool J's participation on Palin's show. Angelo's projects, his innovative initiative, and his contribution to purging Glenn Beck of so many sponsors, may be the "back story," may be simply "another" story.

Since I don't know how you approached @GottaLaff and other bloggers, @StopBeck, in regard to blogging about the "not so visible" agent (Angelo) working "behind the scenes" to make this Twitter activism possible (and perhaps also blogging about all of the supporters and collaborators who broadcast (RT) messages), I have no opinion on the "failure" of bloggers to dig, investigate and then narrate all "the details of the backstory that generated it" [the front story].

I wonder if there was ever a direct request to feature the "back story." Was there ever a direct explanation of what this might mean to Angelo, to the work, to promoting the projects of @stopbeck and @quitpalin? Or was there indirection in the conversation with bloggers, including @Gottalaff? I don't know. A direct request to promote Angelo and/or Twitter activism would certainly have been appropriate. Without a direct request, perhaps people were expected to "mind-read" Angelo's unspoken agenda or wish?

Of course, Larry's point, that there's no "obligation" involved, is key. We all contribute what we can, blog as comprehensively or incisively as we can, with the few resources we have.

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I don't understand the problem either.

Now that I see StopBeck is doing his first fundraising drive to support his Twitter activism, I have a hunch that he and Shoq may have hoped that GottaLaff and others would profile or feature Angelo's work as a promotional contribution and tribute. It would certainly help his fundraising drive. you said...there are two stories here. One is about Fox/Palin/LL Cool J. The other is about Angelo's initiatives (and/or the power of Twitter activism, with Angelo's work as a model or case history).

Both stories are worthy, but I don't see that GottaLaff has any obligation to write a feature on Angelo. Did Angelo come straight out and ask for such support? I don't know.

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