(Editor's Note: I've had to opportunity to sit at a table across from Max Reddick over dinner and some spiritual libation. He didn't pick up the check but he's still cool with me. Ladies and gentlemen, do yourself a favor and ad the blog soulbrother v.2 to your daily reading and get to know this man as I have. And be on the lookout for big things to come from this brother if you will.)
RiPPa told me that anything goes over here, so I should just drop my usual aplomb and get buck wild. So I am typing this post butt naked. I did put a towel in the seat, however; I didn’t like how the leather felt on my naked behind.
But let me begin.
I am not necessarily fans of our favorite two uncles, the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. As author Norman Kelley recently wrote, the two have become incessant headline chasers. And over the years, they have become very adept at the use of images and artifice; they know black folk really well, and they know just what buttons to push to incite them. Additionally, the two of them know how to gain and hold the spotlight. However, I believe our two uncles are still useful to us. If I might use comedian and activist Dick Gregory’s washing machine analogy, their greatest usefulness is as agitators. Gregory writes that the agitator is the working mechanism in a washing machine that cleans clothes as it moves back and forth. Without the agitator, the clothes would not come clean.
In our society, the activist is the agitator. If we did not have activists, if we did not have agitators, the powers that be would just plow over us. And that is the function our two uncles perform; they are professional agitators. After making a statement or taking an action that in anyway can be construed as racist, who wants to hear that dreaded phrase, “Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are out front, and the media would like a statement”?
And in the last week or so when racist rhetoric king extraordinaire Rush Limbaugh decided he wanted to become part owner of an NFL franchise, who was the first to step up and shut that foolishness down? That’s right! None other than our favorite uncles, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
Now, many people speculated that perhaps Rush Limbaugh knew all along he would not be awarded a franchise, and the whole effort to do so was one big publicity stunt to get media attention. However, I believe he had every attention of owning a franchise.
In fact, when he went on air to rail against the NFL after his exclusion from the ownership group, I thought I could detect just a bit of hurt in his voice. I thought I could detect a bit of indignation in his demeanor.
You see when I man amasses so much money, when a man reaches a certain stature, owning a Negro or two is the next logical step. You don’t agree? Negroes are bought and sold all the time. Somewhere, someone has to hold to title to Jesse Lee Patterson and Pastor James David Manning. Why else would they dare utter the foolishness that comes out of their mouths? And these days, I’m thinking that someone has put a firm down payment on Juan Williams.
But to own a whole stable of the biggest, strongest, fastest bucks in the form of a football team would be a coup de maître for any up and coming racist millionaire. So, I understand his disappointment when the thing did not go through. And I understand his surprise. Money and white privilege went a whole lot further at one time. But I do not understand his next move.
In his anger, he struck out in rebuke at the Reverend Al Sharpton, accusing him of being the catalyst behind the 1991 Crown Heights riot and the 1995 Freddie’s Fashion Mart riot. Recognizing a media opportunity when he sees one, Uncle Al quickly struck back and threatened a defamation of character suite against Limbaugh if he did not issue an apology by the close of business this past Friday.
Do you recognize that threat from the old westerns? Be outta’ town by sundown or else… Old Uncle Al really knows how to turn a rhetorical phrase. Why Limbaugh would want to pick a fight with Uncle Al is beyond me. Limbaugh is keen on manipulating the media by uttering incredibly incendiary and stupid things, but then again, so is Uncle Al. And Uncle Al knew exactly what he was doing by issuing a Friday deadline. In that manner, he could stretch the story out over the whole of the week and get maximum media time. And Uncle Al is not above “going there” with Limbaugh.
So this is the final assessment of the situation. We have two media hogs entering into a rhetorical war of words. However, I think Limbaugh bit off a little more than he could chew when he chose to take on Uncle Al. Uncle Al is no slouch when it comes to rhetoric, and he always endeavors to have the last word.
Perhaps, Rush thought that many of his right wing cronies would join him in excoriating Sharpton, but I don’t seen help coming any time soon; no one wants to see Sharpton headed in their direction with a media hungry for its next story fix in tow.
I predict that the two of them, Limbaugh and Uncle Al, will stretch this one out for a while, but this time Limbaugh has done picked the wrong ninja to eff with.