I have been avoiding the story of the "Jena Six" since day one. Actually, the story has kind of come in and out of focus. When I first covered it back in June, few other blogs had paid attention. I got no response at all. Then about a week or so later, a few blogs caught fire. The fire died down and then has been rising again over the past few weeks.
I am struck by the particular insignificance of this story in light of what else is going on in the world. Not that the story is nothing, but that African American political interest has seemed to be so inflamed by a series of incidents that will have so little impact on the health and welfare of Americans. And rather like the story of Shaquanda Cotton, it's one of those stories that are ripe with symbolism and starving for significance. But the mind is a great place to dance, and with the right combination of ingredients, you can ignite a firestorm in the imagination. This is the story of Jena and their victimized six.
Now I may be wrong, but there were six or so white boys caught with their pants down at Duke University some years ago. The nation seized itself in that racial fracas and frenzy for a long time, and I jumped in. A dozen or so lives have been derailed from an otherwise peaceful existence, but nothing life threatening. The good guys won, the bad guy, Mike Nifong, is now the OJ of district attorneys.
Speaking of OJ, he and his posse are getting ripped in Las Vegas. Another non-event event. I suspect we'll see some prosecutorial zealotry there too.
My standard response to such melodramatic episodes in various corners of Sherwood Forest has become 'support your local police'. And generally speaking, I tend to slam the 'communities' that generate such anti-social behavior as requires intervention by police and the Justice System. Every one of these tawdry episodes begins with a caustic disrespect for human dignity. The conservative in me wants to slap people around, like the coalmine boss father in the film October Sky when the drunk stepfather hits his son's best friend. (There should be a You Tube clip for that somewhere). Somebody's dad wasn't around to kick ass, now we're called to kick ass for him.
Unfortunately, that job falls to the police and the criminal courts - people who are overburdened and making America into a police state, because we have 'hoods instead of neighborhoods where nobody's neighbors, just animals acting out that animal behavior. So I get sick of returning to the judging judges and policing police, and the caustic politics that attends such necessary democratic recourse. Why? Because so many people have no good home training.
But that people with no home training should generate nationwide attention which gets turned into grist for national black political activism... well that's just pathetic. But it continues to be what sets blogs and political discussion on fire. This is the fire next time. Nooses on a high school campus in a one McDonald's town where nobody actually gets hanged. I guess I'm kind of nostalgic and lonesome for some black politics that was actually part of a movement that was moving something. This sounds like a one note samba. Yeah I hear the beat, but damn.
I'll return to this meme within six months. We'll find a whites only bathroom in some town, or we'll find a store called Coons' in another town, or maybe some Hollywood type on the cover of a gossip magazine will drop an N-Bomb, or maybe one of the presidential candidates will 'call a spade a spade'. I will emote another sigh of disgust and try to move on, but...
Several weeks ago, a friend named Bob who is an attorney in the OC told me something that I had forgotten. I had some crazy theory about why lawyers in America make so much money - because America has no strong cultural tradition and therefore a surfeit of laws. I pronounced this to him as why we are such a litigious society. His answer shot me down. "No.", he said. "It's just that people are petty." He got that right.
So I defy the self-serving commercials on CNBC by DiTech. They say "People are Smart". No. People are smart-asses, and most of them are petty and cannot handle their own business. That's why there's always trouble in America, and there are always political hacks, cops, judges, journalists and assorted hangers on with a steady stream of tales from the 'hood to get our blood up.
I like Fish over at AOBFS. What he needs to do, instead of spinning great conspiracy theories about global white supremacy, is to leverage his business promotion skills to become the TMZ of racial offense. That's the right level for most of this fact-finding all over these United States.
But I think I said this before.