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Pasture time

By Owen Paine on Friday May 20, 2011 07:05 PM

Father Smiff and his pal Glen Ford seem to have gone off on quite a jag lately, bashing the leading lights of the African diaspora. The good father has been spitballing Melissa and Cornel, while Brother Glen kicks those poor old mules Al and Jesse.

According to Glen the two are now nothin' but a broken-down pair of "court jesters for Power". Of course that's no news at all -- but maybe this is: not content to scratch and shuffle for the O'Barry bunch, now they're "cheerleaders" for the "so-called War on Terror"! And a lot of lefty palefaces are whoopin' it up right along with the Glenster.

Here's Ford:

"Jackson either needs to hand in his anti-war credentials right now, or find a good mouth doctor that will stop him from encouraging those who would increase the $1.2 trillion national security budget that is pushing human needs programs into the Valley of Death... It does not bother Sharpton that Obama’s bigger picture means bigger wars. Which is alright with Sharpton, as long as he gets a bigger check."
I don't get it, really. Why bring the heat here, and why to these two Passover lambs?

Let 'em be, for fuck's sake. So what if in their twilight hours they play side trumpets for the Obaminator? Ain't times hard all around? Come on, bro, they've earned some slack. There were moments, weren't there, when they made... well... moments -- right? Why not let their mellow sloe-gin juicy-eyed wistful old Heckle and Jeckle gig pay 'em some long-overdue White House dividends?

Scolding 'em like this strikes me as absurd. It's like screaming at the Katzenjammer Kids for stealing a hot pie off Mama's kitchen windowsill.

Let's have some respect for forced indignities. Who among us has not sung chorus in the Beggars' Opera?

Comments (8)

Why bust their chops? Fuck, man, why not? It's not like they don't deserve it for barging in on peace and justice movements and sucking all the oxygen out of the room for the past, what, twenty-five years or so?

I saw that column also, and man, did it ever rock. It did me good to finally see somebody call bullshit on a couple of clowns who are, as Salinger might call them, a couple of "goddamn' phonies".

It especially did me good after all my years of covering these buffoons for Indymedia at events in DC. I've lost track of how many times I'd be shooting a rally or a march, and Jesse would show up and suddenly attract every cameraman for a hundred yards, like some kind of time/space distorting, media-attention-sucking cosmic vortex. I especially remember shooting a national antiwar mobe in January of '97; you may remember the video you picked up here, the even I fondly nicknamed Dullest. Mobe. EVER. I'd gotten tired of including speechifying footage in my pieces by then, fed up to the point where, that day, I chose as my featured speech footage a minute and a half of some RCP guy with a bullhorn belting out a ball-busting rap about how if we trust the Democrats again in '08, "we're gonna be screwed" -- a helluva lot more perceptive and interesting speech than was Jesse's speech that day, which basically consisted of The Rev yelling "Keep hope alive!" about ten thousand times.

And, don't get me started on Sharpton, a man who was reportedly the model for the exploitive sleazeball activist preacher in Tom Wolfe's Bonfire Of The Vanities. You wouldn't believe how much footage I have of Sharpton at the head of a march about to step off, where I'm in the camera mob trying to get the classic standard big-shot-activist-leading-off-the-march shot, and I'm being grabbed and groped and jerked and shoved around by Sharpton's "security" goons. I have an especially fond memory of covering the march which was part of Sharpton's counter-event staged opposite the Glenn Beck "Restoring Honor" rally. Here I was, worrying all day about being roughed up by Teabaggers after seeing and hearing about shit happening in that crowd, and I ended up being assaulted by the Nouveau Nation (or whatever the fuck they called themselves) thugs working security duty for the goddamn' Sharpton march -- one of whom was a woman, f'cripesake, a woman about my sister's size, reaching across the front line of the march, sticking her hands in my face and grabbing me by the shirt. Jeezus Christ, lady, let me just get a few seconds of the march stepping off and I'll be outta your way! at which point some other pseudo-badass steps around Tom Joyner and grabs me by the shirt and drags me halfway across the goddamn' street. Crass bastards; someone really needed to remind those guys that they weren't in Noo Yawk Fuckin' City, man.


So, long story short, fuck yeah! I'm totally digging watching Glen Ford knock Rev. Jesse and Rev. Al's dicks into the dirt. Fucking Toms.

D'ahh, crap, I forgot to close an italics tag.


Mike F has got a point. The minute they become media idols, they start roughing you up.


Sharpton was an FBI snitch too.


There are many things I would enjoy doing to various tools of empire like these two clowns, who have stayed way past their sell-by date. Cutting them slack? That's not one of them.

Y'know what really bugged me about the Sharpton event -- even more than being roughed up by his "security" thugs -- was how much their speakers swore up and down that they didn't care about the Glenn Beck crew getting the use of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Dr. King's March On Washington. Trouble was, the more I heard them talk about how it didn't matter, the more convinced I became that they were absolutely beside themselves over it. The ultimate destination of the Sharpton march seemed perversely fitting as well -- the site of the planned King Memorial, which was about as desolate a patch of ground as I'd ever seen in this city, surrounded by tall wire fencing, with construction trailers here and there, half dug-up, with no shade, and several thousand people standing there sweltering as speakers ranted about what hallowed ground we were standing on and how they still "support our President". The speakers at the Sharpton rally, in their own fashion, were even more annoying than the right-wing freaks at the Glenn Beck event.

I don't know which was worse -- the preacher at the Beck rally bellowing "God BLESS America!" in a throaty snarl, or some smarmy woman at Sharpton's event thanking God "for raising up Barack Obama". The low point of the Sharpton speakers was some high-school principal doing a Bill Cosby rant in which he demanded that young black men "pull their pants up". This especially stuck in my craw as it reminded me too much of the guff I used to get from my parents' generation as a young teenager in the early '70s, all those admonishments for me and my buddies to "get a haircut", as if all this country's problems at the time -- Vietnam, Watergate, energy crisis -- were solely due to the fact that my hair came clear down to here*....and here was this dick trying to tell us that problems like poor educational opportunities, mass unemployment, mass incarceration and police brutality were entirely due to young black dudes wearing saggy jeans.


* Hell, my hair still comes clear down to here.

Michael Hureaux:

Hear, hear. Not to mention the tiresome wannabe Sharpton and Jacksons who continue to rally black neighborhoods behind these gloryhogs. These sorry suckers have been out in front of the urban ed movement for a long time, and the sooner we push them aside, the better off we're all going to be. Enough Joe Clark bullshit. Glen's just firing the opening shots of a struggle that is way since overdue.


If we'e lucky, young brothers will start throwing bottles at 'em, a la Dinkins getting chased out of Crown Hts.

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