Louis Farrakhan is coming back to Detroit, the birthplace of the Nation of Islam. His face is emblazoned on billboards at several major freeway interchanges, advertising his talk this weekend at Ford Field. Interesting to note how the dailies are playing it; Farrakhan’s pretty sick now (cancer) and there’s speculation this will be his last major speech. Anyway, he and the Nation of Islam have lost their mojo, and his ability to shock anyone probably peaked in the ’90s. Whatever appeal Islam had for African Americans ebbed in the wake of 9/11 and the Iraq war, but Farrakhan’s still swingin’, so he’s news.
The Freep played its advance with Farrakhan as toothless-lion-in-winter, emphasizing the Nation’s Detroit roots and its appeal to non-Muslim blacks. Farrakhan and his group “have been accused of anti-Semitism, a charge the Nation denies.” Hmm. Because, you know, just because you call Judaism a “gutter religion” doesn’t make you an anti-Semite. I once heard Farrakhan claim he couldn’t be anti-Semitic because he loved the Semitic peoples of the Middle East — you know, the Arab ones, the same ones who happily sold native Africans into slavery for centuries, and the ones practicing genocide in Darfur.
The News at least bothered to ring up the Anti-Defamation League for a comment. Both stories emphasized the good the Nation has done in the black community, and good is truly the word for it, when you can inspire people to stop taking drugs and take care of one another. Still, it’s hard to see the difference between the Nation and the Promise Keepers, offering salvation with one hand and a whole list of people to hate (Jews, gays, crackers) with the other.
Man, I had one of those epic sleeps last night — 9 hours, more or less, and after two cups of coffee I still can’t wake up. Had vivid dreams that I can’t remember, except that one featured my old colleague Mike Dawson, Emma’s ex-husband. He wandered through one of my dreamscapes, like Abraham Lincoln and that beaver. I will remember Mike forever for his killer impersonation of Deion Sanders speaking at the Fort Wayne Prayer Breakfast a few years back. Sanders, in the usual manner, laid out the depths of his degradation before his religious redemption: “You don’t know what it’s like to have one…two…three women…in the bed…and still not be…SATISFIED.” I’m sure that was a jolt to the spine of all the Lutherans in the audience.
OK, since this entry is clearly going nowhere, let’s go to bloggage:
Once women watched Diane Keaton in a movie and said, “I want her wardrobe.” Now they say, “I want her kitchen.” Inevitable, probably.
When my friend Debi moved from Michigan City, Indiana up the coastline to Milwaukee, I attended her going-away party. There were lots of jokes and jests that suggested she was leaving Paris for Mayberry — that her old hometown was an oasis of culture and that the Dairy State was full of obese cheese-eaters, hats with earflaps and alcoholism. I remember thinking this was not only stupid but wrong, but every so often I read a story under a Wisconsin dateline that makes me think those Hoosiers were on to something.
Off for more coffee. Back later, maybe.