Here’s what you should be reading today instead of worrying yourself with things like actually diving back into the work week.
1. No Justice, Still Peace
A lot of news regarding the fallout from Saturday’s not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman. First of all, protests took place across the nation yesterday, from a march by thousands through New York City — hitting places like Union Square, Times Square, and Harlem — to a series of impromptu rallies in L.A., where I’m located. The protests out here shut down the 10 Freeway for a while, led to a mostly non-violent confrontation with police, and even turned into a kind of prayer circle in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard. The overall message of these gatherings was a righteous and powerful one: that despite the reality of a sub-par effort by the prosecution, there really was no excuse for a guy who basically stalked and killed an unarmed teenager to walk out of court a free man.
We have short attention spans these days, there’s no doubt about it, but even hamstrung by that it’s important to keep in mind that nothing happens in a vacuum. If Trayvon Martin had been the first young black man ever profiled as suspicious largely because of the color of his skin, maybe the outrage over his death wouldn’t stick with us as an American culture. Maybe it would get lost down the 140-character ADD, 24-hour news cycle memory hole. But Martin’s death is just the latest example of a plague that’s swept this country for far too long, and yesterday, no matter what age, color, or socio-economic status you happened to be, the image of African-American fathers and mothers clutching their children with fear and concern on their faces should be burned into your mind. A court of law just proclaimed that any deluded, gung-ho idiot who thinks he’s an instrument of law and order can willfully shoot and kill one of their kids — or potentially any of ours — simply because he thinks that kid is a threat to him and to others.
This case stood out among many others with good reason. Mostly because the manner in which it highlighted the differences in treatment between black and white in this country — and what it said about the worth of a young black man’s life — really was so blatant and ugly.
It’s worth pointing out, by the way, that Zimmerman’s troubles may not be over; the Justice Department is still considering whether to file federal civil rights charges again him. Now that the criminal case has been lost, I wouldn’t hold out too much hope.
2. Pilot Error
On Friday, KTVU made hands-down the dumbest goddamn mistake I’ve seen out of a local news station in more than 20 years in the business of media. It was a mistake so unbelievable that calling it a mistake just doesn’t do it justice; it was a disastrous fuck-up, one so once-in-a-lifetime and impossible to truly get your head around that rather than firing the people associated with it, the entire station’s staff should be dragged into the street and beaten with rubber hoses while the station itself is burned to the ground as an object lesson to the rest of local broadcasting.
When I watched the clip of KTVU reading the names of the pilots in the Asiana crash as “Captain Sum Ting Wong,” “We Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk,” and “Bang Ding Ow,” my first thought was that it had to be fake. With very few exceptions, your average local news station is populated with two kinds of people: breathtaking idiots and the handful of overwhelmed and brain-fried competent people trying to crank out good work despite being surrounded on all sides by breathtaking idiots. But even with that in mind, it seemed impossible to imagine that something that obviously not legit could’ve made it past — are you ready for this? — desk people, executive producers, producers, writers, graphics people, and finally the on-air talent who either read the thing cold or, worse, stressed out over how to pronounce “Fuk” inoffensively without noticing everything else she was saying.
I don’t care how many people at the NTSB confirmed those names. I don’t care how 100% sure you were that your source on the names was good. I don’t care whether the President of the United States personally landed Air Force One in your backyard to deliver those names to you by hand. You do not fucking go with those names. I know that a lot of people are all over the staff of KTVU because of the racist angle in all of this, but I honestly can’t even get past the rank stupidity angle. There’s simply no way those names were for real. As people who are supposedly paid to be curious — all except for the talent, who’s essentially paid to look nice and read what’s on the teleprompter — everyone who came into contact with those names at KTVU should’ve known better. They should, but of course they didn’t.
And now Asiana Airlines is suing them for it. If that’s as far as it goes, these morons are getting off easy.
3. Patton’s War
You all know how I feel about Patton Oswalt. You also all know how I feel about Salon. Well, over the weekend, a gorgeous little perfect storm came together for yours truly and really anyone who loves comedy and despises humorless and cynical liberal outrage trolling. On Saturday, Salon decided to once again take on Patton Oswalt because of a tweeted joke he’d fired off in response to the above story — the KTVU Asiana pilots’ names fuck-up. Well, this time around Patton wasn’t having any of it and immediately began a hashtag on Twitter called #SalonArticles, which trended with entries such as:
I wish I could say that Patton both smacked down and shamed into submission the website that gave us Glenn Greenwald and which continues to feed us outrage porn from the likes of Irin Carmon, Falguni Sheth, and the serially stupid David Sirota. But the truth is that Salon loves the attention. Loves it. It wouldn’t be the online home of the troll-baiting liberal polemic if it didn’t cynically revel in the hits (and anyone who’s read Salon for any length of time knows that Patton’s “parody” headlines aren’t that far from what you really can find at Salon on any given day).
My advice is to read the story, then go right to Twitter and plug in the #SalonArticles hashtag. It’s a productivity killer, and one guaranteed to make the joyless liberal cliché in your office lean into your cubicle, read over your shoulder for a couple of seconds then huff, “That’s not funny!” before stomping away to go get another cup of fair trade coffee.
Have a nice Monday, kids.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.