Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Sins of The Father

No hand can make the clock strike for me the hours that are passed.
-Lord Byron

As the James Ford Seale trial gears up with jury selection, a local media outlet, The Jackson Free Press has been reporting pretty hard core on this Civil Rights era murder case. I am grateful that charges have been brought in this case and I agree that murder should never have a statute of limitations, but I have a problem with the soap box tactics of the JFP in polarizing this issue into "your either with us, or against us." Through this case, the JFP and specifically, Donna Ladd, have found another reason to indict everyone in this state, young and old, as long as they are white, as being culpable in the murders of black victims of racially based Civil Rights era killings. The JFP and Donna Ladd have found it appropriate to advocate for the white citizens of this state to apologize for lynchings, murders, and racially based hate from the past. If people wish to apologize for these types of actions, perhaps people who were there or committed the acts, I say go for it. If someone feels that much guilt that they need to confess, apologize or repair damage they feel responsible for, take the first step and do it. However, and this is a big however, I feel no responsibility for what happened to black victims of racially charged murders or violence during an era, time, period, and place that I did not exist. Make no mistake, I feel very sorry for the families who lost people to senseless violence, I feel sorry for the millions of black people who had to ride at the back of the bus or who could not even eat at a diner with white people. I feel sorry for the fact that a great leader like Dr. Martin Luther King was gunned down by a coward, as was Medgar Evers. Mississippi and the United States lost great minds when these two leaders were murdered. However, I was not responsibly for what happened in any of these cases. I owe no one, any kind of responsibility except for what I do in my life. My family was in this state before statehood and fought on the side of the Confederacy and I do no apologize for this, because I had no hand in those decisions. Very possibly, many of my ancestors in this state, were racists, ignorant, and advocated for Jim Crow laws. I do not apologize for this, because this was not my doing. Many people who might read this, might say, "well, he is just a goddamn racist." No I am not. I don't apologize for the past, because its not my life and if I make a disingenuous apology for those things, I might as well apologize for the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, apologize for Cortez's massacre of the Aztecs and apologize for any other travesty committed against another people. I work very hard in my life to make friends from all walks of life. I count myself very lucky to have black friends, white friends and a best friend from the former Yugoslavia. I apologize for my life and my transgressions, but I will never take blame for what others have wrought. The JFP and Donna Ladd have decided to indict everyone who happens to be white in this state for the crimes of the past. Get the killers, get the conspirators, but I will never allow myself to be lumped into their category. Euripides once said, "the gods visit the sins of the father upon the son." Well, this country was founded on the antithesis of the this Greek maxim. The founders of this country understood that passing the crimes and debts of the father to the son was against justice and righteousness. I agree. I am responsible for myself and no other and I take great pride in that and will not ever apologize for crimes or attitudes that are not my own. So to the JFP and Donna Ladd I am proud of your reporting and helping bring about justice in an old Civil Rights era crime, but never, ever, ever think that you can push me into the category of being a complacent white person who is guilty by association. I push back.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Canned Post

I am very addicted to TCM, that is Turner Classic Movies. Recently, the bastards that own my cable devil box decided that it was time to update the channels. TCM was added, along with some other bullshit channel called Fox Reality Channel. Jesus. I have an intense love for old movies, and according to my friends, old music. I don't really consider these things that old, just undiscovered. I'm happy to find them and hopefully enhance my mind.

Everyone today seems obsessed with new things, or the next big thing. Hell, I guess thats the way its always been. Me and the Panda, of whom lies about reading this blog, were discussing tonight how our generation lacks many of the self sustaining skills that our forebears had. Such as canning fruit. LOL. Yes, canning fruit, we have concluded is a necessary skill that our generation lacks. I posed the idea to the Panda that maybe life is so complicated today that we need this extreme division of labor and skills. Maybe, or maybe I should learn how to can fruit.

Speaking of reading this blog, I'm not sure many people do. I have been keeping my counters going, but I'm beginning to suspect that there are only about 3 real live people who actually keep up with this record of my thoughts. One of them is me. I wonder what makes a good blog? I could start blogging about sex, drugs and violence, but that just seems so passe. Alot of the popular blogs I have noticed are technology based, such as blogs about Macs or Ipods or whatever the fuck people buy today. I'm pretty far behind the times.

Watched the Liddell/Jackson fight the other day. The undercards were good, but the main event seemed like a waste of time. Yea, yea, I know. Its really hard and UFC is no joke, and no, I'm not going to get in the ring, but come on. Liddell got knocked out in like a minute. Please.

Drank a bit this weekend, however last night I refrained from excess. I just wasn't in the mood. All my friends at the bar were hitting the shots pretty hard and I'm not a shot guy, so I left a little early.

Ramble, ramble ramble. Blah, blah, blah.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lets Look At Television!

I was doing a little research today on the Neilsen ratings and how they are obtained. The first way these ratings are gathered is through an extensive system of demographic surveys, in that certain people and families are selected and asked to keep a journal of what they watch, when they watch. This way is pretty basic and is used by all types of industries to gather information about product use. The second, way, however is pretty shady. Through devices planted in cable boxes and the like, called Set Meters, Neilsen ratings are gathered about what your watching. Ergo, if your watching ABC on Monday, someone, somewhere is going to know about it and use that information to give favorable ratings to shows. I'm sure my television watching habits buck the trend. My day typically consists of The Discovery Times Channel, 5 or 6 hours of news from all the news sources, and Star Trek on Spike TV. I cannot remember the last time I actually watched network television in prime time. The only time I'm actually watching CBS is when Lincoln Financial is showing Ole Miss on a Saturday.

The problem with the Neilsen ratings system is it reports according to view watching habits, but does not reflect content. Now I know what your thinking, thats what the Emmys are for, well I don't give two shits about the damn Emmys or any awards shows for that matter. I'm talking about measuring quality. Unfortunately, today, there really isn't a way to measure quality of a television program or channel.

With the rise of the internet into the entertainment medium, coming close to punching television's lights out, big networks and cable channels are getting scared. I don't know too many people today who don't get at least part of their information and news from the internet, not to mention fluff entertainment sources like youtube. Many moons ago, the prophecy was that the integration of all entertainment and information technology would occur in a few years. The great problem is that big money corporations like Newscorp, and GE have delayed the transition because they can't yet discover how to profit from just streaming an entire channel online. Sure, they dish out a few programs here and there online, but nothing that significant.

Why are they so scared? Obviously, losing ad revenues is a frightening concept for these big companies, but I say isn't it time we as a society stop consolidating power and money with entertainment? Why did Jerry Seinfeld need to make a billion dollars an episode? Why do commercials on The Super Bowl cost a ca-trillion dollars a second? Entertainment is meant to be entertainment, not a cornerstone of the GNP.

I listen to a lot of public radio. One of the best shows is Ira Glass' This American Life. A while back they did a show about entertainment and television and featured a segment regarding a television station a guy tried to develop. As strange as it might sound, it was called The Puppy Channel. This guy, who happened to be a retired television and marketing guy, had been in the hospital for some extensive surgery. During his time there he watched a lot of television and was disgusted with the bile that was flung at him vaguely representing entertainment. He came up with the idea of a channel that just showed images of puppies doing funny puppy stuff. After getting out of the hospital he did some research and filmed a pilot. In all of his testing audiences he got higher ratings than Court TV and a few other garbage current television stations. His idea was so basic and so poignant that it really stuck with me. Puppies on television, no voiceovers, no commercials, but paid for with product placement of dog food and other stuff related to dogs. After pitching the idea to a few executives and companies he was laughed out of the building, despite having the extensive market research showing that the Puppy Channel could be more successful than several current shit channels.

This idea got me really thinking. Channels like this could be great. The Landscape Channel. Just sweeping views of valleys and nature, set to classical music. How about The Job Channel, where jobs are listed from all over the country and people just discuss what they do? I think its time to rethink what we want television to do. Neilsen be damned.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Open 24 Hours A Day

Only a few Sopranos episodes left. Sad. David Chase is a great writer and creator of some incredible shows. I am also a big Northern Exposure fan. I'm really torn on whether I think Tony will end up getting killed. Tonight's episode was pretty violent and set the stage for more to come, however, with Chase at the helm, like with the end of Northern Exposure, don't expect the usual ending with resolutions to all the plots. Chase has a great ability to chop up a traditional linear story and really get the audience sucked in. Its like coming into the middle of a movie and even though your pissed because you missed the first 30 minutes, the dialogue and story are so strong, you have to stick around.
This weekend would qualify as my Lost Weekend. Literally, lawyers, guns, and money. All weekend. I didn't get to sleep until 8 this morning, if thats any indication of how the past few daze went. I'm at that point where I'm so exhausted I can't really think straight and after watching The Sopranos, I'm just trying to focus.
I've been focusing pretty hard on a few songs, recently. John Prine's Sam Stone and The Rolling Stone's Thru and Thru. Also, tonight I heard this song called Shenandoah, which is a traditional song and no one knows where it came from. My friends like to pick at me for only listening to older music, but thats just me. Its like when scientists and historians talk about sunken ships that carried gold. There is more gold in sunken ships than in all the vaults on dry land. My point is, that great music isn't just produced today or on some greatest hits compilation. If you do a little digging, you can find treasure.
Well, not much for today, kiddies. See you next time.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Slow News Day

Weekend is here. Good. I'm tired of just being lazy during the week; I need to up my game to the weekend. I am trying to plot on what to do this weekend, but poker armageddon has been called off and the band listings aren't looking to promising. Not looking good for the home team. I think this weekend I'm going to try to discover something completely new to do. Or at least go to a bar I have never been to.

By the way, locals, if you missed the news the other day, Bert Case, a local news anchor was chased by a wild dog. I am glad ol' Bert wasn't hurt, but man was it funny. There is nothing more funny than an older man wildy flailing his arms around like a windmill.

So fair reader, there you go. Two pretty mundane posts in one day. I haven't been feeling too inspired lately, but rest assured, The Expatriate is hard at work and I'll get back to regular postings soon. Keep the faith, bitches.

I'm still inside the box

Saw Barry Leach last night up at Hal and Mals. He and his band were terribly good. All the while that I am sitting in the restaurant section of H&M's, the "Chick Ball" is going on next door in the Red Room and the Big Room. I had thought about making an appearance over there, but changed my mind once I realized there was going to be spoken word poetry, intermixed with the music. Now, don't get the wrong idea, I do love poetry. Billy Collins, Robert Frost, to name a few, however I just don't feel like drinking a Bud Light and being one of only a handful of men at an event called the "Chick Ball" while I'm listening to an angry lesbian. Sorry if I'm just that much of a dick.
G and the Hippy hung out with me and we sampled some of the new concoctions that H&M's had come up with. I advise everyone to get a taste of their vodka infused stuff and try out the new Lazy Magnolia Indian blend or whatever its called. Nice and spicy.
I'm trying to decide what to do with the rest of today. I still have yet to register for a few things I need to and I have to finish an application or two. With any luck I'll have a job pretty soon and then its all bitches and 22s. Hells yea.
I'm still mulling over the idea of a southern blogazine, a word which I think I have coined. I think it would be a great idea to organize something similar to the Chicagoist and the rest of Gothamist's websites, somehow integrating southern cities with the same flavor. I have researched Movable Type, which is the type of blogging software which powers these websites, or at least some that are similar.
If anyone who reads this blog would be interested in contributing to an idea revolving around a blogazine site for the Jacktown area or anywhere in Mississippi, drop me a message.
A point of interest: I suggest everyone to check out this fellow blogger who does a fantastic job. Months ago, this blog was suggested to me and I think its great. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

In the End, He Hated Big Brother

To say I'm sad school is over, would be a blatant lie. I don't and will not miss school. I have spent the greater portion of my life living under the thumb and schedule of professors and teachers of one type or another and I am so sick of it. Now its over and I'm relieved. My life has be an unfettered stream of unrelenting stress and now this monkey is off my back. Obviously, I will miss getting to see some friends regularly, but we all move in different directions and I know they will be fine. So to academia, professors, buildings, exams, and all the judgments that come with these things; kiss my ass. There is a great song by Sam Cooke called, "A Change is Gonna Come." A change is here for my life.

Before I came to law school I had reached a pretty stable mental and emotional state. Slowly, but surely, law school whittled me down to this near apathetic cynical bastard and I'm so sick of it. I am ready for the next evolution of my life, and despite any potential hardships it might bring, anything has to be better than this. I might be just jaded and forget that plenty of people have it worse, but they don't inhabit my skin.

Graduation day wasn't a great sigh of relief, but more like a series of pre-requisite rituals and stances to be undertaken in order to get on a plane. Think of it like going through a metal detector with a plate in your head. First you walk through, it goes off, you remove your keys and attempt again. Finally you have to point out to the TSA guy that its just a metal plate in your head and not a dangerous weapon. Pursuant to policy, though, they scan you with the wand and pat you down. Satisfied your not a threat to the plane, you embark on your journey.

I have truly no idea what I plan on doing with my life. I have sent out some resumes and emailed a few people, but nothing really strikes my fancy. I enjoy writing and would someday like to make that permanent career, if I could ever get it off the ground. This evolution of my life will most likely entail me trying to pay down my debt and get on my feet. I hope I can plant the seeds of creativity to envision something more rewarding for stage 5 or 6 of my life. Its like a solid growth mutual fund; you have to contribute into order to build equity for the future. This blog is like a steady investment and I'm trying my best to keep it up.

So I'm done and I'm happy for that. I plan on spending the rest of my life being as happy as I can and unmemorializing law school like you would a flat tire.

Nobody said it was easy

Oh it's such a shame for us to part

Nobody said it was easy

No one ever said it would be so hard

I'm going back to the start

-Coldplay, The Scientist

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Well school is done. I have finished and if grades prevail, I should be sitting fat, down south. The graduation ceremony was fine, despite being a bit warm under my ritual robes of a Doctor of Law. Mother's day is tomorrow, so remember to pick up a little something for your ma. I don't have much for this post, because I'm a little busy, but I felt that I needed to post something to let you, fair reader, know that I am still alive and exams couldn't kill me. Hopefully, this evening, I'm going to work up a good post. I have a few ideas about a topic I have been meaning to discuss. Stay tuned and check back soon. Until then, Mahalo.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


In this little hamlet that I reside there are newspapers. Big surprise, huh? Well the two more predominant newspapers here are the Clarion Ledger and The Jackson Free Press. The Ledger is a fairly old, established Mississippi newspaper and The Jackson Free Press is a relatively new, alternative newspaper. For whatever reason, The Jackson Free Press continuously rails against the Ledger. A possible cause could be that the parent company of The Ledger, Gannet Corporation, has attempted to edge out the Free Press through some rather shady business practices. In response, the Free Press is constantly on the offensive against anything The Ledger does.

Recently, I was hanging out at one of my usual haunts, downing a few beers and discussing the situation with a, lets say, "executive" with The Ledger. I inquired to this person about why the Free Press despises The Ledger so much. The "executive" responded with, "You know, I really don't know. No one really noticed their little paper until they started whining about everything." I asked the "executive" about the business practices, but this person claimed no knowledge of that.

After a while we started discussing what the problems are with both papers. The Ledger is outdated. Their features revolve around knitting and have no concept of how to use the internet. The Free Press is self-righteous and more than not, prefers to make the news instead of report it. In the end, both papers are sub-par with sub-par editors. I have decided not to take a side in their little war, but sit back and watch them both look like fools. Don't get me wrong, though. I think both papers have many good reporters, I think the problem starts at the top of both of them.

The worst problem about these papers is the polarization that goes on with each. On one side you have the liberal camp, the Free Press, and the other, the established conservative camp, The Ledger. Both sides intensely look down at one another as being stupid. This is indicative about our culture today. Everything descends to polarization because people like the editors and people in charge at each of these media outlets push their agendas as the "right" one. With blogging and internet posting engaging the public on each of these media's websites, people become involve and fall in line behind their leaders. They cease to think for themselves, but merely rely on what is told to them through these media websites.