Friday, January 18, 2008


I have a question. When did the noose become a purely racist symbol? Did I miss a memo? I'm probably just ignorant and insensitive, but a hanging has never had any racist overtones for me. Not so with Golfweek magazine. Under pressure from the PGA tour, they fired their editor because of this:

Apparently Jeff Babineau, now jobless, thought that this cover would highlight their story about Kelly Tilghman's offhand "lynch him in a back alley" comment regarding Tiger Woods (who, kudos to him, released a press statement calling the entire affair "a non-issue"); still, the Golf Channel suspened Tilghman for two weeks.

(Al Sharpton is, of course, calling for her dismissal and subsequent burning at the stake, no doubt. But that's another story.)

Sure, the cover was a dumb idea. But fire the guy? I don't think he was any more racially motivated than Tilghman. Still, in our current culture of hypersensitivity to anything that might offend anyone, Golfweek felt the need to axe their editor.

That's dumb.

Golfweek's statement: "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."

Their point about how the image conveys the controversy is obviously correct. Perhaps they should have said "the over reaction to our cover".

The PGA Tour said "Clearly, what [Tilghman] said was inappropriate and unfortunate, and she obviously regrets her choice of words, but we consider Golfweek's imagery of a swinging noose on its cover to be outrageous and irresponsible. It smacks of tabloid journalism. It was a naked attempt to inflame and keep alive an incident that was heading to an appropriate conclusion."

So it was tabloid journalism; so what? I was under the impression that the "appropriate conclusion" had already been reached (i.e. Tiger writing it off). If tabloid journalism were a crime, you'd be firing the editor of Weekly World News contantly. I don't think the cover was racist any more that I think Tilghman's statement was racist. I've used the expression "lynching" jokingly about any number of people. "He screwed up. Let's lynch him." The cover was pointing out America's overuse of the race card.

Lynch [linch] –verb (used with object): to put to death, esp. by hanging, by mob action and without legal authority.

Nowhere does this definition mention race.

I'll paraphrase a great line from Law & Order where White Cop says to Black Cop, "It isn't always about race". Black Cop responds, "Actually, it is always about race."

Is it?

Well, it shouldn't be. Until people actually stop thinking in terms of race first (an impossible dream, I realize), relations in this country will never get any better. If Tilghman has said exactly the same thing about Vijah Singh, the comment would have gone over with barely a blip.

Today's toxic stew:

Various - Thinner Volume 17
(more tasty dubtech)

Techno Animal - Versus Reality
(and reality cannot win)

Billie Holiday - The Complete Decca Recordings
(primo Billie from yesteryear)

Lamb - What Sound
(dnb, jazz, and downtempo in an easy open pouch)

Slotek - 7
(so mellow, it barely moves)


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