NY Times Gives Endorsements

On January 24, 2008, the New York Times Editorial Board announced the two candidates that they are endorsing in this year’s Presidential Primaries.

On the Democratic side, the oft-liberal paper selected Senator Hillary Clinton as their choice to win the Democratic nomination for the general election this fall. In their published endorsement of Clinton, the editorial board called her “brilliant,” and seems to be of the mind that she is experienced in both foreign and domestic affairs that could lead this country out of this mess, which President George Bush has created, better than any of the other Democratic candidates. In the process of anointing Hillary, they patted Barack Obama on the back and dismissed John Edwards as basically a flip-flopping candidate.

The NYTimes choice for the Republican Party nomination was John McCain. In their endorsement of him, the say that he is the only “Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe.” However, the “endorsement” actually only focuses on McCain for the first three paragraphs, and then immediately goes in to Rudolph Giuliani bashing. Posing the question to themselves as to why they, a New York-based paper, are not backing Giuliani, they essentially say that he is not the man he used to be.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find it preposterous that these big producers of mass media find it necessary to fully endorse a candidate for the President of the United States. And don’t fall for the “it’s the editorial board endorsement, not the paper” excuse.

That’s bologna!

You and I know that if the major figureheads at the head of any major paper were adamantly against the endorsement of a particular candidate or any candidate at all, that it just wouldn’t happen. And if you want to sell your endorsement as being the opinion of just a few select people from part of your staff, then don’t put it on the front page of your newspaper; otherwise, I have to call a spade a spade.

Is this really okay though? This is an extremely liberal paper in democratic-based environment, yet it feels the need to tell the readers whom to endorse, and it even goes as far to use selective reasoning as to why to vote for their choice.

What ever happened to objectivity in media? Did Rupert Murdoch by the NYTimes, too?

The NYTimes (or their editorial board) should stick to just giving us the facts and diversity of opinions on the issues pertaining to the race, where the candidates stand, and why or why not one individual writer is in favor of a particular candidate. I don’t want to know what candidate a multi-million dollar company with a fiduciary responsibility to its owners wants to endorse. Just give me my news and opinion and save the vote tampering for Super Tuesday.

“Crank That Soulja Boy”…Great Business Platform or New Aged Blackface?

I was one of those who thought that the term “Crank that Soulja Boy” would immediately mean the end of the Black race as we knew it.

Many performances in the history of entertainment in America have been at the expense of a black person’s self-respect and/or a black person’s sensitivities to being a part of such a marginalized social grouping. From blackface to coonery, and from token stereotypical black characters in early white sitcoms, to black sitcoms making fun of us on their own, entertainment has long been a platform to disrespect the race.

And when I first saw “Crank That Soulja Boy” on youtube.com, I didn’t know what to think. The video itself was pretty interesting and there was no real problem with it by itself. However, I was quickly directed to an instructional video, followed by dozens and then hundreds of videos with people dancing to this beat, doing outrageous things like picking up guns, and doing stereotypical things like popping collars and pointing to their shoes, and I honestly thought to myself:

“Black people might not be able to live this one down.”

But with “Crank That Soulja Boy” so engrossed into today’s pop culture, I’m not sure how to judge it. Afterall, it is a song, dance and video, that has made a young 17-year old man, artist and Creator “Soulja Boy”, into at least a “well-off” individual. His song is now the highest selling digital song ever. “Crank That Soulja Boy” was #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks. It has sold 3 million ring tones, and has produced 600,000 album sells. It was nominated for a Grammy, and sells over 100,000 digital versions (iTunes, Zune, etc.) a week. And then there is their web space traffic, where they have multiple videos tallying over 25 million views, and a litany of homemade videomakers performing the “Crank That Soulja Boy” dance.

So is “Crank That Soulja Boy” just a modern day blackface performance, or nothing more than cult phenomenon for loves of dancing and music?

Given its business success, one might be tempted to say that it is nothing more than entertainment and that its acceptance by the masses is evidence of that. However, Black minstrel shows were popular and profitable, too, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t come at one’s detriment.

I personally think that the video itself is fine. Its catchy beat, innovative dance ancillary, and digital focus are the makings of great entertainment and business initiatives. The song, of course, is very typical of a young rapper. Its self promotional, and uses unbecoming and stereotypical language. From “why me crank that Roosevelt” to “superman dat hoe”, the language just does an injustice to the race by promoting every negative term you can find on urbandictionary.com. The lyrics and video together promote violence and demeaning behavior, and have inspired many adults to teach their kids to dance to these lyrics. You can find countless people on YouTube dancing to this, while unbeknown to them, they are rebroadcasting black stereotypes and looking quite silly.

It’s embarrassing, and yet I can’t blame someone who is old enough, smart enough, and responsible enough, for appreciating the catchy beat and creative dance, because in the end, it’s just a song. So when I see common sensed, learned people dancing to this, I have no problem. It’s the young, ignorant and stupid that scare me everytime I hear “crank that soulja boy.”

Editor of Golfweek Gets the “Axe” for the “Noose”…Sort of

As many people know, Golfweek Magazine published its January 19th issue with a noose on the cover. The illustration was for an article on Kelly Tilghman’s statements about Tiger Woods that used the word “lynch” (discussed here on The Sports Watchers Radio Show).

However, as of January 18, 2008, Golfweek “replaced” Dave Seanor, the editor deemed responsible for okaying the noose illustration, and the Turnstile Pushing Co. president, William J. Kupper Jr. had this to say:

”We apologize for creating this graphic cover that received extreme negative reaction from consumers, subscribers and advertisers across the country…We were trying to convey the controversial issue with a strong and provocative graphic image. It is now obvious that the overall reaction to our cover deeply offended many people. For that, we are deeply apologetic.”

Quite frankly, I am glad they did replace former editor Dave Seanor. It was irresponsible of the editor to place a noose on the cover!

I will be honest with you, I am a young man, 23-years old, and seeing a picture of a noose does not invoke visions of hatred and the racist atmosphere of America’s past for me.

However, I am quite aware of the origins of the noose and the hatred that it stimulated and provoked throughout the better part of the 20th century, mainly 1882 to 1968 (from Tolerance.org). The noose was used in lynches, mainly in the South, and many southern black victims were hanged by this weapon of choice for bigoted individuals and organizations. It is said that over 4,700 people were murdered in this fashion, with the majority of them being black.

So I think it should be understood by an educated professional like Dave Seanor that a lot of people would have a “negative reaction” to this type of illustration, especially when it comes across as a marketing ploy that is taking advantage of an issue that once had grave repercussions for a generation of people that are still alive and present. Placing a picture on the cover of the magazine would have been like placing a gas chamber on the cover of a Nazi publication. It’s just not right, and reprimanding Dave Seanor was the least the Golfweek could do.

Nevertheless, don’t let president Kupper’s statement full you. He and the magazine should also be held responsible. Never should there have been any such an illustration on the cover of magazine. One only has to look back to last October to see the effects hanging nooses had on society when Jena 6 was in the news. However, I do not expect the president to suspend himself, but a deep reconfiguring of the editorial/publishing process at that magazine should be underway.

As for Dave Seanor, I would never promote the firing of a hard-working, middle-class person to lose part of their pay, never mind their job. But perhaps his next reporting assignment should be to educate the office on the day’s lunch specials from the café down the street from the office.

So What Exactly Did “Fifty” Mean By “Magic Stick”…?

Is there a drug that can make you rap or sing better? Probably not. Nevertheless, that has to be the first comical thought that comes to your mind when you hear that the Albany Times-Union leaked a report that found Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Timbaland on a list of alleged customers involved in a steroid/human growth hormone ring.

Does the idea that 50 Cent takes steroids really bother anybody? One wouldn’t think so. Afterall, steroid use helped bring major league baseball into public favor by increasing the overall entertainment level of the game via an increased production of homeruns. The same effect could be attributed to 50 Cent if he indeed did use steroids. Obviously, steroids and H.G.H. did not help 50 Cent rap any better, but the benefit would seemingly be to increase his sex appeal, or larger than life iconic image. I can’t remember the last time I saw an album cover or video of 50 Cent’s that didn’t involve him taking off his shirt and flexing his muscles.

However, 50 Cent is not the first non-athlete entertainer to use steroids to gain some type of advantage in the entertainment industry. Oh, no! This goes back deep into the 20th century. Who knows where the current Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, would be right now had he not used steroids to amass that gigantic body that lead to a Mr. Universe crowning and a lifetime worth of fame. In addition, there are dozens of other actors who I could speculate on but wouldn’t dare publicly accuse (just think multi-sequel boxing movies and I guy named Rambo).

While we can understand while a hardcore rapper like 50 Cent, and others “Aftermath” rappers like Dr. Dre and Busta Rhymes might have a reason to use the juice (allegedly), but it’s harder to understand why Mary J. Blige’s name was found on this list of alleged steroid customers.

Steroids and H.G.H. do have the possibility of acting as an anti-aging agent, but the jury is out on whether or not they actually do slow the aging process. Even if Blige saw them acting in that matter, is the bad press she could get from using steroids worth a few years of delayed aging? Maybe it is in the world of a female entertainer, whose entire career could end the day some agent decides she has one too many bags under her eyes.

Nevertheless, steroids and H.G.H. are illegal, and if these entertainers obtained them through illegal methods, that’s even more trouble. But personally, as long as the kiddies aren’t inspired to use steroids, I’m okay with these ladies and gentlemen juicing up. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll concoct a designer steroid that helps enhance the performance of one’s vocals chords…?