Ghost, with bullwhip.

So Alan and I were watching “Robert Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures” on HBO, and within the first five minutes, we get to the infamous bullwhip picture. The camera holds for a long, long time. There are voices of others who knew him, and the bullwhip picture stays on the screen. Stays and stays, for a few long minutes.

“Something’s wrong here,” I said.

“It’s a choice,” he said. “In your face.”

“But it makes no sense,” I said. “Even for in your face, this is too long.”

I fast-forwarded, and sure enough, the picture was somehow frozen, while the audio played on. Played a little with forward and reverse, and it happened again. I couldn’t get past the bullwhip picture just by hitting play.

Very strange. A ghost in the machine.

I love Robert Mapplethorpe’s work, and always have. A great artist. I wish I could be an artist like that. His work will outlive all the yammering of all the idiots who couldn’t — can’t — handle it.

So, got a better sleep last night, and felt enormously better on Wednesday, which was reasonably full — a radio interview, a regular old interview, lots of reading. Here’s something I read – Charlie Pierce on Ted Cruz, plus high dudgeon:

Make no mistake: Ted Cruz is running an explicitly theocratic campaign. (His well-worn Constitution seems to be missing Article VI, Section III. You know, that whole thing about banning religious tests for office.) He has mashed up radical Tentherism, talk-radio conservatism, and religious extremism into a great ball and he is running to lead a revival in this nation based in end-times Protestant eschatology. It is Dominionism 101. (There is more than a little irony present when Cruz mocks the president as “the chosen one,” when there is considerable evidence that Cruz was deliberately raised to believe that of himself by his crazoid preacher father.) When Steve King says he prayed his way to endorsing Cruz, and that he did so “hoping that god would raise up a leader,” he’s not kidding, and I promise we’ll get to that later. But the thing about it is, not only is Ted Cruz running an explicitly theocratic campaign, he’s running a very good explicitly theocratic campaign. Of all the true believers in Ted Cruz on that stage, nobody believes more truly in Ted Cruz than the candidate himself.

I also read a bunch of stuff about blood-borne illnesses, but no need to cut and paste that.

And now I’m going to listen to some Merle Haggard, just to make sure the day’s artistic content covers a pretty wide spectrum. Merle to Mapplethorpe. Have a good Thursday.

Posted at 12:10 am in Popculch |

58 responses to “Ghost, with bullwhip.”

  1. Dexter said on April 7, 2016 at 3:24 am

    I first became familiar with Robert Mapplethorpe’s work through many features in newspapers. The Trib, The Freep, the Plain Dealer would herald his work frequently.
    One artist that I never heard of until maybe ten years ago was the famous New Yorker Jean Michel Basquiat.
    Another was Lou Reed’s friend, the multi-talented Julian Schnabel.

    Sometimes I take a long time to catch up.
    Basquiat died of a heroin overdose twenty-eight years ago.
    Mapplethorpe died twenty-seven years ago, same age as Elvis at death, 42.

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  2. Suzanne said on April 7, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Cruz scares me. A lot. But I know more people who support him than Trump because he’s a constitutionalist and a godly man. God & guns in a nutshell.

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  3. ROGirl said on April 7, 2016 at 7:24 am

    I saw a show of erotic art by Picasso at the Montreal art museum about 10 years ago. The imagery was very graphic. At first it was kind of shocking, but as I continued through the rooms the tittilation value went way down. It was also arranged chronologically, so his depictions of himself receiving oral sex from a prostitute when he was a young man were one thing, but his depictions of himself 60 years later, as a grizzled old satyr ravishing a young woman had a different effect.

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  4. adrianne said on April 7, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Man, too much news Wednesday – I didn’t get to my favorite blog,, so just catching up today! There were three important developments in my wheelhouse: Pfizer-Allergan called off their $160M merger “inversion” (read tax dodge), just two days after the Treasury announced new rules to prevent such dodges. Justice Department says to Halliburton-Baker Hughes, no, you can’t merge the two biggest oilfield developers around because it’s anti-competitive. Sherman Act, anyone? And the Labor Department came out with rules that investment advisors have to act in the best interests of their clients, even the mom-and-pop IRA and 401K accounts. That wouldn’t seem to be controversial, but the howling and gnashing of teeth from these financial clowns was unbelievable about how they couldn’t possibly comply.

    And Brian, the biggest laugh of my day was the Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University realizing that hey, this means our students are assholes! They’ve changed the acronym, but I think they ARE still assholes.

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  5. Icarus said on April 7, 2016 at 9:34 am

    question for the Nallarati(?)* if I may: What is the expected/reasonable time frame for someone to issue an apology for something they did wrong?

    Assume: you didn’t kill anyone but you committed a major faux pas within a particular community, and while you are not world renown famous, you are somewhat well known within certain circles and have etch a decent career off it (think smaller scale Nancy). Also you are a busy parent with a 6 month old baby to deal with while trying to run said business.

    I don’t want to lead the witnesses but I promise to tell you where I’m going with this (if there is any interest).

    * is there an agreed upon name or designation for referring to the collective commentors here?

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  6. Jeff Borden said on April 7, 2016 at 9:40 am


    I think an apology should be offered as soon as the offender has realized they have offended said certain community, but after reasonable thought has gone into the apology. But that might apply largely to people like me, who are not fond of confrontations and would prefer to get them out of the way as soon as possible.

    There is rarely a good reason to delay a sincere “I’m sorry.”

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  7. basset said on April 7, 2016 at 9:58 am

    “Nallarati” sounds about right to me.

    Joe and several others here probably remember when this building didn’t look nearly as nice as it does now:

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  8. Bob (not Greene) said on April 7, 2016 at 10:04 am

    This is going to be really long, but in light of yesterday’s Merle Haggard musings, I wanted to pass along, for those who care, a Facebook post that one of my favorite musicians, Deke Dickerson, had to say about Merle. I think it’s pretty great and comes from someone with some first-hand insight:

    “If you’re a true believer, then you already know, but for the uninitiated, one of the last true giants of country music has left the building. Rest in Peace to the great Merle Haggard, who passed away today, on his 79th birthday. It’s hard to put into words the immense influence and style and legacy of the man who was the best selling country music artist of the 1970’s, who started recording in the early 1960’s and was still recording and touring and incredibly active up until his death. Suffice to say, Merle Haggard was one of the greatest of all time, a Country Music Hall Of Famer, a Mount Rushmore-like figure who wrote epic songs like “Mama Tried” and “Okie From Muskogee” and “White Line Fever” and “Tulare Dust” and “Ramblin’ Fever” and “Fightin’ Side Of Me” and “Workin’ Man Blues” and “If We Make It Through December” and literally a thousand others. He sang the living SHIT out of those songs, too, with the conviction that a million wannabes who followed in his footsteps have never been able to emulate. He picked guitar, he played the fiddle, he made tribute albums to his heroes, and he kept playing and singing and playing and singing. He worked like a dog, like a man possessed, and inspired more fans and musicians than almost anybody in the history of the country music genre.

    I was lucky enough to write two box set books for Bear Family Records on Merle Haggard’s Capitol Recordings from 1968-1976. I also wrote a box set book on Merle’s ex-wife and longtime harmony singer Bonnie Owens. It was because of his desire to see a good Bonnie Owens collection that he agreed to let me interview him. I wasn’t promised anything more than a cursory 15 to 30 minute phone interview, but minutes into the first phone call, we started talking about Roswell aliens and Lefty Frizzell and Emmett Miller and Bob Wills and then the floodgates were opened. I wound up interviewing Merle for a total of ten hours. He was a fascinating character, and one that gave endless great and usable quotes. He was not educated, but he was highly intelligent. I admired his ability to admit that he was wrong, and how he learned from experience. He explained to me for nearly an hour how “dumb as a rock” he was when he wrote the right-wing anthems “Okie from Muskogee” and “Fightin’ Side Of Me:”

    Merle: “I was dumb as a rock, you know, I thought that the government told us the truth, and I thought that marijuana made you walk around with your mouth open. So when you write a song from that limited understanding, and have it become a hit, I was really in a whirlwind of change in America, and in my own way of thinking. ‘Okie from Muskogee’ came off the wall, written in about ten minutes, and it came off the back side of my brain, and my heart. Because I was disturbed about young America.

    “See, I was easing into my thirties, at that time, so I was pretty much out of here as far as the young people were concerned, and they were young kids that I was irritated with, and they were doing things that I thought were un-American. Well, it wasn’t un-American, they were smarter than me! Kids are always smarter than the old folks….they see through our bigotry, and our hypocrisy. And I had a great lesson in life to learn, that they were already aware of. I believe history has proven them right. The Vietnam War was a hoax, the reason we went to war was a lie…maybe communism was a threat, but that wasn’t why we were there.

    “What went on in the evolution of America and the evolution of Merle Haggard is not what people would have expected.” (Merle Haggard interview by Deke Dickerson, 2007)

    I was really impressed at how much Merle had achieved, in the rigid music business system that preferred to market an artist in terms of saleable product, singles and albums of same sounding pop-based music, one right after the other. Merle was able to pick projects (and convince Capitol to release them) that had little commercial appeal except for the fact that Merle Haggard would be doing them–a tribute to Jimmie Rodgers; a tribute to Bob Wills (both done at a time when nobody remembered or cared about Rodgers or Wills); a double album of gospel music, recorded on location in rural churches and homeless shelters; live albums recorded in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Philadelphia and New Orleans; instrumental albums by his excellent band, The Strangers….it was overwhelming then, and it still is today, examining it all in retrospect. How did he achieve SO much in that amount of time? It boggles the mind.

    I’ll always be grateful for the time that Merle gave me, and I know that at any given time, he had a thousand other people vying for his attention. It was a life that had to be exhausting. He lived it to the fullest and brought the real, honest Merle Haggard to the people every single time. There was no other Merle Haggard, it was just the way he was, and that’s one of the big reasons why people loved him. He was absolutely 100% genuine, no bullshit, and they just don’t make country music stars like that anymore.

    I saw Merle recently at what might have been his last show (can anyone confirm this?), back in February at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills. It was an odd audience mix of rich folks, entertainment industry assholes, rednecks, alternative rockers, aging hippies and hipsters. The minute that Merle hit the stage, despite his frail voice, the entire room was in the palm of his hand. Grown men kept yelling at the top of their lungs, “WE LOVE YOU MERLE!” It was, simply, to be in the presence of greatness. It wasn’t the greatest Merle Haggard performance he ever gave, but he gave all he had, sang his famous songs and walked off stage, as he did, without an encore. The audience, myself included, felt grateful to be seeing something that we all knew we probably wouldn’t be seeing many more times. Nobody there knew the end would be coming so damn fast.

    RIP Merle Haggard. There’s a big hole in my heart and a gaping chasm in the chest of country music today.”

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  9. Deborah said on April 7, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Suzanne, Cruz scares me too, but I try to keep in mind that he will not be our next president even if he gets the nomination. The scary part is the future of Ted Cruz, what havoc will he spread beyond this election cycle?

    Icarus, I’m interested but I have no advice for you, because I don’t have a clue in such matters.

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  10. alex said on April 7, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Icarus, I was contemplating my own similar dilemma just this morning. Back in December, one of my best friends passed away and even though I went out and bought a sympathy card, I didn’t get around to sending it to his partner. I had wanted to write a more lengthy piece of correspondence talking about old times and memories and just how much the friendship had meant to me.

    I suppose it’s not too late to do it, it’s just a matter of making the time and trying to make it not all about me.

    So you’ve piqued my curiosity. Do tell.

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  11. Kirk said on April 7, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Very nice Merle comment @8.

    I had the good fortune to see him three times, two of them at the Ohio State Fair. And believe me, it takes a lot to get me on the grounds of that zoo.

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  12. Joe k said on April 7, 2016 at 10:30 am

    It is a amazing building, and I remeber when it was a dump, but it’s beautiful
    Now and if you like cars or Art Deco it’s a must see.
    Pilot Joe

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  13. Julie Robinson said on April 7, 2016 at 10:41 am

    It’s never too late to apologize or send a sympathy card, but if you’re thinking it’s too late, hop to it. I appreciated late sympathy cards a lot, because I almost couldn’t absorb all the ones that came right after Dad died. And of course, grieving doesn’t end after a week or two, but sometimes people don’t want to talk about it anymore, so a card is a good catalyst. Following it with a phone call is even better.

    When you apologize, you may find it’s a huge relief to the other person, or that they are already past it and maybe don’t even remember the issue. Either way it will be a huge relief to you and soul-cleansing. Best wishes in this.

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  14. Icarus said on April 7, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Gia Alvarez, an apparently somewhat blogger and running coach, has been banned from running the Boston Marathon and any other BAA events for life.

    She did two no-nos in the racing world. 1) she let someone else use her bib entry into a marathon. 2) she used that person’s time to qualify for the next Boston Marathon.

    The first is more of a misdemeanor as bib exchange is particularly common in larger marathons because of high price entry fees and the inability to recover those costs if withdrawal is needed for injury, health or family reasons.

    The second is felony territory and she is being absolutely crucified in the comments of the below links and Runner site message boards.

    links which also contain a link to her blog and apology which came 3 days after posting about her mistake.

    main stream story

    Blogger who writes about this stuff

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  15. Bob (not Greene) said on April 7, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Icarus, I agree with Brian. You apologize when you realize the mistake has been made. Don’t offer excuses, be honest and try to find out if there’s anything you can do to make it right. And then you simply have to try to move on. There will be some people who will never forgive you, and you have to live with that. But time has a way of healing as well — as long as the apology was prompt and sincere. No one’s perfect; I think most people realize that.

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  16. Peter said on April 7, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Icarus, I’m pretty slow on the uptake, so I apologize if I got this wrong, but if you’re the person who turned in the runner, you don’t need to apologize, nor do you need to agonize over it.

    Regardless of the circumstances, you’re not supposed to race under someone else’s name. That’s like taking an ACT exam for someone else.

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  17. Icarus said on April 7, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Peter, nope not me. I was initially curious about who the anonymous tip was, thinking it was a rival or wronged person from her past.

    The closest I’ve ever come to BQing was a 3:29 in 2006 (fifteen minutes over the time I needed at that age). My speed and endurance has diminished much since then but an old man can still dream, right?

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  18. Dorothy said on April 7, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Jolene yesterday you referenced an American Masters program on PBS about Merle. Did you by any chance see the recent one about Loretta Lynn? I recorded it and watched it yesterday. I loved every minute of it – and I laughed out loud at a few things. Like what she said to a young server at the White House about the biscuit he was putting on a plate near her. My favorite part was seeing her on stage with Sissy Spacek, and the times they were together talking about the movie. Sissy slipped right into Loretta’s voice so easily and, well, it was just my favorite thing I saw all week. It’s a dubious accomplishment but Coal Miner’s Daughter was the first movie I ever taped on our new VCR back in 1983.

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  19. basset said on April 7, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    the Loretta show was brilliant, I mentioned it here a few weeks back. Will look for the one on Merle.

    Joe, we have been to the ACD building, were short on time though and been wanting to come back, also see the other museums nearby.

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  20. nancy said on April 7, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Icarus, did you — or any other runners out there — read the New Yorker story a few years back about the marathon cheater? Too long to summarize here, but it’s a fascinating look at what must be a very conflicted man. Read if you haven’t, and if the link doesn’t go to the full text, let me know.

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  21. Icarus said on April 7, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I read and remember that story very well Nancy.

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  22. Suzanne said on April 7, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    I’ve never run in a marathon. (Heck, I don’t even run to the mailbox) I Remember a few years ago when someone, maybe two people, died while running the Chicago marathon in unusually warm weather for that time of year. I read the comments on a few of the news articles and realized I was naive. I was surprised how much blowback commenters who asked why the runners just didn’t quit when it became obvious they were overheating and in great physical danger. So I guess this runner being banned forever shows me again my naïveté.

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  23. Sherri said on April 7, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    As soon as you realize you’ve wronged someone, apologize. I’m sorry, I won’t do it again, can I do anything to atone.

    If you’re asking when should somebody else apologize for what they’ve done, unfortunately, not your call. You can choose how you wish to relate to that person in the future because of the non-apology, but you don’t get to dictate when, how, or whether they apologize, because they might not feel they wronged anyone. That’s their choice and their business.

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  24. Jakash said on April 7, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Re: Bob (nG)’s #8 comment, and how Haggard learned from experience, somebody posted this in the comments for his NYT obituary.

    “In a 2010 Rolling Stone Interview he had this to say after meeting President and First Lady Obama:

    ‘It’s really almost criminal what they do with our President. There seems to be no shame or anything. They call him all kinds of names all day long, saying he’s doing certain things that he’s not. It’s just a big old political game that I don’t want to be part of. There are people spending their lives putting him down. I’m sure some of it’s true and some of it’s not.

    I was very surprised to find the man very humble and he had a nice handshake. His wife was very cordial to the guests and especially me. They made a special effort to make me feel welcome. It was not at all the way the media described him to be.'”

    That depends on which “media” one has been following, it would seem, but it was still nice for him to say that.

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  25. Connie said on April 7, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    OK reporter folk, I just got interviewed by a Detroit Free Press reporter. Topic: new uses for old golf courses (my current library building). Watch for it in the Sunday Free Press.

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  26. Sue said on April 7, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I work with several marathoners. Last time they did one it resulted in missed work for two of them as they dealt with injuries. Diarrhea was a problem too.
    How can this be considered healthy?

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  27. Jakash said on April 7, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I don’t believe many here were watching “The People V O.J. Simpson” on FX, or at least they didn’t mention it here, but it really was excellent, with some brilliant performances. James Poniewozik, in today’s NYT, points out how that trial relates to the America of today.

    “By giving us the trial, not the murder, the series was able to show in the end how every single person involved could feel he had done the right thing. And that — the notion of one nation, in parallel universes — is not history, it’s current events.”

    “When two sides disagree with each other, that’s a conflict. When two sides can’t even comprehend each other, as in the Simpson case, that’s a crisis.”

    Two sides (at least) not comprehending each other certainly seems to me to be at the heart of the political nightmare we’re currently experiencing.

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  28. Jakash said on April 7, 2016 at 1:58 pm


    Having run a couple back in the day, (including one where the “misdemeanor” mentioned by Icarus may or may not have been committed, ahem), I’d say that the consensus is that running a marathon, per se, ISN’T actually a very health-minded activity. But many use it as a goal to motivate themselves to do a bunch of training that they wouldn’t otherwise do. And up to a certain point, that training IS healthy for them. Realistically, off the top of my head and open to being shouted down, I’d say running much more than a 10 K is superfluous and the more you add the more you get into the “likely to injure oneself” “unhealthy” territory, especially if you’re a first-timer or aren’t being careful. But, the marathon has become such a “thing” that folks want to be able to say they did it.

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  29. Joe k said on April 7, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Being a marathoner, 12 of them, 3:47 pr, I can’t really find fault with her giving not selling her bib to a friend, although if something would happen during the race the medical info could be wrong along with a I.D being needed in case she would expire on the course, however the thing that got her in Dutch was using the time her friend ran to gain entry into the next Boston, you don’t qualify, you don’t run, deal with it, go out and run a qualifier and get yourself back in, I have had a lot of people ask me if I wanted to or ever have run Boston, can honestly say it’s not on my list and I don’t think I could qualify now at 58 plus I run for pleasure and health and have never ran for prestige, that being said if any one here would like to sponcer me, the Kaui marathon is in December and I would be proud to wear a n.n.c singlet.
    Pilot Joe

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  30. Connie said on April 7, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    I watched the last episode of The People V O.J. Simpson last night. I was very impressed with how this show looked at that trial. And the actors truly were their characters. Who would have thought that David Schwimmer would be a perfect Robert Kardashian?

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  31. alex said on April 7, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    “By giving us the trial, not the murder, the series was able to show in the end how every single person involved could feel he had done the right thing. And that — the notion of one nation, in parallel universes — is not history, it’s current events.”

    Puhleeze. OJ’s defense team knew they had done a good job for their client, perhaps, but they also knew damned well that justice hadn’t been served.

    As for the parallel universes, I was shocked at the number of nutters in mine who earnestly believed in his innocence.

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  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    As the closest thing to a religious conservative you’re all likely to hear from, I have to point out, with the major caveat that I’m not supporting Cruz, have no intention of supporting Cruz, and am baffled by the question as to whom I can support this year (and yes, a more than mildly insincere vote for Bernie is possible, but I’m skeptical of his making it to the final), that I am bothered by something Pierce does.

    I get the new normal, and I’m really not that bothered by the closing reference to god that Charles Pierce makes being put in lower case. I get it, I see it more often, it’s part of my Windows phone autocorrect protocols, and if you think talk of god is the same as talking about a goat or a ghost, then lower case is stylebook correct.

    But it’s the press to make it absolute, and re-casting the Steve King quote (a man I find smelly if not odious) as saying he prayed “hoping that god would (etc.)” I think it’s on one level a mistake, and on another, the kind of thing that the Kings and Cruzes use to whip up anxiety among the theologically unnerved and easily excitable. Steve King was referring in his quote to “God.” You may disagree with what he thinks he’s doing when he bows his head, whether or not he moves his lips while doing so, but he is addressing someone whom he has a strong conception of as a person.

    Why? Why push to de-cap the quote? Was it just the new norm being sloppily applied? Was it done out of a malicious sense of glee, knowing how it makes people from Rep. King to Rev. Jeff here flinch? “Because we can…” To which I know some will tell me “hey, dude, payback’s a bitch, ain’t it?”

    Anyhow, yanking back on my journalistic hat, I just think it’s a mistake. A provocation, perhaps, as is his last line, but that’s his to make. In the quote, I would raise an objection.

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  33. MichaelG said on April 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I haven’t seen the recreation of the O.J. Simpson trial and don’t intend to watch it. I did see much of the original cast presentation 20 years ago and wasn’t impressed with the judge or the prosecution.

    I’ll go with the apologize immediately folks. The longer you wait the harder it gets. See Alex @ #10.

    I can sort of see passing a bib on to another person if one is unable to run but it’s a lot tougher to justify if it means falsely qualifying somebody. I mean what’s the difference between giving your bib to somebody else who has not qualified so they can run and using somebody’s qualifying time so you can run? Seems to be pretty much the same thing. How much money does an entry cost anyway?

    I hadn’t heard of Gia Alvarez or this incident before today. So she’s a coach, has a blog and enjoys or enjoyed some prominence in running circles? All the more reason for the scorn and the ban. Someone like her should know better and especially present better. Hard to work up much pity for her. This is like “Fuck Sportsmanship”, everybody else does it, why not me? Good example for a coach.

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  34. Scout said on April 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Both Cruz and Trump scare me for different reasons, and neither of them has the temperment to be the #1 ambassador for America for the next 4-8 years. I am hoping that a large portion of traditionally GOP voters will sit this election out because they agree.

    Icarus, in my experience, a sincere apology won’t always fix things, but it will create peace around the situation for the person apologizing. The apologee (made up word) then has the choice to accept and foster healing or to continue to harbor hard feelings. For those who cannot forgive, maybe one day there will be the realization that a grudge only corrodes the container in which it is held.

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  35. Jakash said on April 7, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    “…they also knew damned well that justice hadn’t been served.”

    I was certainly as disappointed and disgusted with the outcome of the OJ trial as you evidently were, Alex, but did you read the linked piece, by any chance?

    “They were — in ways she apparently didn’t and maybe couldn’t see — arguing two entirely different ideas of justice, one individual and one collective. Hers, of course, was: O. J. murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald L. Goldman and should be punished. His — delivered within the courtroom and without — was that justice was about the fairness of a system (the Los Angeles Police Department) toward a community (African-Americans). ‘Your decision has a major implication both in this courtroom and outside it,’ he told the jury. ‘Maybe you are the right people at the right time to say, “No more.”‘

    They weren’t arguing two sides of a question. They were presenting the jury a choice of two questions: ‘Is O. J. guilty?’ versus ‘Are you going to stand up to racist cops?’ The two lawyers — and the black and white audiences reacting to the verdict in the split-screened archival video — might as well have been in different dimensions.”

    I don’t happen to believe that OJ’s trial was the proper forum for addressing the issue that Cochran was concerned with. And the idea that O. J. was treated by the cops and the judicial system just like some random African-American guy is ludicrous. But the show did a good job of demonstrating Cochran’s interest in using this trial for a larger purpose.

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  36. Brandon said on April 7, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Everybody who’s running for President:

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  37. brian stouder said on April 7, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    I’ve only seen one scintilla of the OJ miniseries (clips on the regular news shows) – and this IS poly-anna of me, but let me just say that I think (from this distance, anyway!) the case is a tremendous example of why a juries of citizens (and not tribunals or summary judgements from the bench) are indispensable to a free country.

    Regardless what I think of OJ or the lawyers (et al), I respect the OJ jury and the job they did, 100%, period.

    Aside from that, this news really was a downer – and Chloe (our 11 year old) and I will be talking about this tonight, I think –

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  38. alex said on April 7, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Got it, Jakash. No, I hadn’t read the link.

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  39. basset said on April 7, 2016 at 4:40 pm

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  40. Sherri said on April 7, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I remember the OJ trial. I see no reason to relive it. I understand the reactions to it on both sides, but no matter how well-acted or well-written, the thought of watching the show just makes me tired.

    As a much more liberal religious member of the nn.c collective, I agree with Jeff(tmmo) that it seems wrong to recast the Steve King quote with a lower case g. I think Steve King and Ted Cruz are terrible, odious men, and it’s fair to point out the discrepancies between what they proclaim about their belief and how they act, but I don’t think it’s fair to denigrate someone’s belief, which is what making God in that instance god does.

    Finally, one appeal to both Sanders and Clinton supporters. When you fill out your ballot, don’t stop at the top. There was a state Supreme Court race on the ballot in Wisconsin, and 15% of Sanders supporters along with 4% of Clinton supporters either didn’t vote in the race or voted for the conservative (it’s a nonpartisan race, but there were clear differences between the candidates). Supreme Court races may be boring, but they’re really important; Bradley, the candidate who won, has ties to Walker. Were the Supreme Court in Wisconsin not so conservative, might some of Walker’s excesses been contained?

    Remember those state and local races. That’s where revolution happens. That’s where the ultra-right wing made their revolution, by taking over those places people don’t pay attention to, from school boards to local party to committees to judges and state legislatures.

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  41. brian stouder said on April 7, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Amen, Sherri!

    (said the silly fellow who has attended practically all the school board meetings for the past 5 or 6 years!)

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  42. Deborah said on April 7, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Mapplethorpe and Merle are among those people who passed me by. I had certainly heard of them but they weren’t on my radar, I must have been involved in other things (like raising a kid or something)? Same with Bowie as I said here before, it’s disconcerting when I realize I wasn’t paying attention. I’m sure there are plenty of other talented people out there that I’m ignorant about as well.

    What I remember about the OJ trial the most was how clueless many of us were to the other side of the story. Some guy at work brought a TV in to the office so we could watch the reading of the jury’s verdict. My work colleagues and I (all white) were stunned that it was “not guilty”. But then later in the evening I was working overtime and I noticed that none of the cleaning crew had shown up, they were mostly African American and that’s when I realized there was another perspective to the case. It was like a lightbulb went on in my head, just another example of a white person (me) not understanding any other way of thinking about it, or that there was even any other possible opinion.

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  43. Jolene said on April 7, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Just finished watching President Obama in a Q&A with law students at the University of Chicago. Of course, he was there to highlight the appointment of Merrick Garland and the GOP’s failure to act on the nomination, but the exchange covered a broad range of legal and political issues. Made me feel once again how sad I will be to have him leave office, especially when compared to some of the possible replacements. The session will be replayed on CSPAN tonight, and is also online.

    Re Merle Haggard on Obama, there’s a nice quote from Merle about Obama’s election in this LA Times piece. He was glad that Obama was elected even before meeting him at the White House.

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  44. Sherri said on April 7, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    The Obama administration is not breaking up the banks, but it is working to shrink banking, which is more important:

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  45. alex said on April 7, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    It should be noted that the Wisconsin Supreme Court is where a right-wing male justice was accused of physically attacking a liberal female justice during a heated argument in her chambers a few years ago. And the newly elected justice appears to be a member of his boys’ club.

    I understood at the time of the OJ verdict that the black community was giving a big (and well deserved) “fuck you” to the justice system, and I even empathized with the catharsis to some extent, but I also remember having some ugly arguments with white people who were just plain stupid and had been seduced by conspiracy theories about OJ having been railroaded in the first place. I was also taken aback at the gratuitous nastiness on black radio directed at OJ’s “man-stealing white trophy wife” getting her “just deserts.” All in all it was a pretty unsettling time. Not long after that I remember Chicago radio veteran Richard Steele questioning singer Angela Bofil’s “loyalty” to the black community during an interview because of the fact that she was married to a white man. Bofil, whose parents were Afro-Caribbeans, handled herself quite gracefully and explained that she wasn’t raised in a culture divided by racial animus and it would never have occurred to her that it was anyone’s business whom she married.

    I had no desire to see a dramatization of the OJ fiasco. Living through it was more than enough. It should also have awakened complacent white society to “post-racial” reality twenty years before Ferguson and Trayvon and Tamir Rice.

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  46. David C. said on April 7, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    On the question of marathon running and health, it’s not always the best, especially with age. This is from the cycling world, but I’m sure it applies. Lennard Zinn was a top notch cyclist who nearly died from an arrhythmia caused from over training over many years. It sounds like if you ran marathons when young, you extend you life. If you don’t cut back as you age, you could be asking for trouble. Before I read this, my cycling goal was to ride 90 miles around Lake Winnebago. Now I do one metric century (100 km) a summer and a training peak of no more than 75 miles a week. At 56 years old, that seems like enough.

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  47. alex said on April 7, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    And for your listening pleasure, Angela Bofil. Looking back, I’m startled at the airbrushed album cover that makes her look like a blow-up doll. She came from a family of musicians and this is her own signature jazz composition, quite prodigious. It was launched accompanied by a bunch of R&B hits written for her that were intended to land her in the Top 40, and did.

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  48. Jakash said on April 7, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    I think I agree with you, Jeff (tmmo). Journalistically (though my credentials begin and end with visiting this and Steinberg’s blog!), I think that the big G should have been capitalized as part of the quote. That being said, “if you think talk of god is the same as talking about a goat or a ghost” is misstating the case, methinks. I assume that, for Pierce, talk of the Judeo-Christian God seems equivalent to talk of Apollo or Juno, Ra or Baal. Those have long been relegated to non-capitalization, of course. A significant difference, in this case, it would seem, is that so many people in power are around to speak of their God, and deserve the courtesy of being taken seriously, whereas one is not likely to get a quote from an ancient Egyptian or Roman Emperor in Congress… Apologies if that’s too cheeky.

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  49. Jakash said on April 7, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    I well understand the attitude expressed by the good folks here who had no interest in seeing the O. J. case dramatized. I really didn’t think I did either, and assumed it would be too aggravating to go through again. But we’d watched “Fargo” on FX last year, and every third promo was for the upcoming O. J. series. So, we were suckered into watching the first episode. We thought it was so good that we got hooked and just kept on watching. If an acting Emmy, or a few, aren’t forthcoming, I’ll be surprised. And the timeliness of the topic of race with regard to the justice system was certainly noteworthy.

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  50. Sue said on April 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Probably too local for most, but this is so sad:

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  51. Sue said on April 7, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Sherri, here’s an analysis of the WI Supreme Court election you might find interesting:

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  52. Suzanne said on April 7, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    OH, wow! I have some Haeger pottery! Sad to hear the place is closing up.

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  53. Mark P. said on April 7, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    I think running is just like most things — it can be taken to excess. For me, running a marathon was fun (40 years ago). I would do one today if my knee joints hadn’t turned to sacks of rocks. I had to give up running about 15 years ago, but I still dream about running. In my dreams, it’s effortless, like floating down the road.

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  54. Sherri said on April 7, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks, Sue, that was interesting if depressing.

    Right-wingers figured out that judicial elections were important several cycles ago. It’s time that liberals caught up and paid attention. If you don’t trust your local traditional media, there’s probably a blogger nearby who has info about judicial candidates, or maybe your local alternative paper does. The Stranger in Seattle does a good job of interviewing and researching statewide, regional, and Seattle candidates, and is always entertaining. I always read their election guide even for the races that aren’t relevant to me, simply because it’s so much fun.

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  55. Sue said on April 7, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Suzanne, I bought a Haeger ‘stalking panther’ a few years ago but it didn’t go well with my stuff. Sleek and beautiful though – it called for a much more modern and minimalist house. So I donated it to an auction for the local wildlife sanctuary. Because I could always get another one, right? Sigh.
    Sherri, I’ve relied on blogs and alternative information since Act 10 exploded in WI, when it became obvious that Walker was going to do some real damage and the bigs weren’t interested in reporting it. The Shepherd Express in Milwaukee is a free entertainment publication and they were reporting – researching and reporting – shit about Walker in some cases years before the Journal bothered with it. The kind of number-crunching you see on Jake’s blog isn’t done too much elsewhere – he’s amazing whenever budget numbers are released.
    What is so painful about the supreme court race is that there was finally some deeper mainstream reporting on Bradley – you didn’t have to hunt for it as much – and she still won.

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 7, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Jakash – not too cheeky at all! But allow me to quote you a bit, where you note “talk of the Judeo-Christian God seems equivalent to talk of Apollo or Juno, Ra or Baal. Those have long been relegated to non-capitalization, of course.”

    Which of course you didn’t, right? The problem is that the word god in standard English is the same word as the standard referent name for the Western Christendom figure, God. If I and others like me stuck to Jehovah (or Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin…fill in the rest of the line!) the distinction would be easier. But the impulse to de-cap the use of the word god when it’s used as a proper name for God is going to keep striking sparks, I suspect. Still, my tribe shouldn’t be wasting time trying to make every use of the word applicable to the name God, but I have some church members who are wistful for when the bulletin always put Him or even Who and Whose in caps in reference to the Big Kahuna (he said cheekily), and to those people, I’m as cavalier as I’m claiming that Pierce is being.

    [hint to fill-in challenge: “Go placidly amidst…”]

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  57. MichaelG said on April 7, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    Well, Jeff, I left the church years and years ago. I guess I could be called an agnostic although I don’t like to be labeled. Like the man said, “It’s not that I believe in God, it’s that I’m afraid there may be a God”. Maybe. Anyway, after years of being non-religious, I’m still uncomfortable at seeing the word not capitalized. So, non-believer as I am, I have to say that I would prefer to see “God” capitalized.

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  58. Jakash said on April 8, 2016 at 12:39 am

    That’s a fine point, Jeff (tmmo). (Thankfully, you’ve never capitalized “the mild-mannered one”, though I still err in leaving out the hyphen…)

    Of course, what I was referring to is that when referencing any of those ancient folks as “gods”, “god” is not capitalized. As you note, the problem in talking about the Judeo-Christian God is in conflating the “job description” with the name. Perhaps even Pierce would capitalize Yahweh or Jehovah, as they are clearly names. Personally, I have to agree with Michael G., above, though. Whatever my problems with religion these days, which are many, I’d capitalize God in the instance that you originally pointed out and most others. You win! : )

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