Services concluded with TCM playing "A Face in the Crowd," starring Andy Griffith. (The scene to the right is from early in the film, when he dominates the screen. Note that as his star rises he becomes smaller.)
The purpose was to put a line under the incident, implying that it was all just a black thang, or a single one-liner that we all learned from. But Glenn Beck is still there, and all the rest of them. I thought The Daily Show had the best piece of all on the subject, Nancy Grace's rush to judgment on the Duke Lacrosse case, with a little of Fox's racism thrown in for good measure.
Despite the media's attempt to be a "free man in the morning" we can't let that be the case. The problem isn't one person, or even one race. The problem is the preference for heat over light, for verbal abuse over rational thought, a preference that has been endemic to the medium since it started.
And that problem doesn't really lie with the media. I know I get a lot more traffic when I make snarky judgments, when I insult people, when I am verbally abusive. This is true on all the blogs I serve. The problem is that anger and misogyny are so much fun, not just for those doing it on-air, but for the audience. The problem is that this is used by powerful people to keep powerless people down -- true in the movie, true today.
The problem is that racism and sexism and class war and violence are more entertaining than a real search for real solutions. Yesterday's news coverage felt like penance. Tomorrow preachers will be spitting hellfire again, talking heads will be spitting hellfire again, and most of us will have learned absolutely nothing. Nothing will have changed.
We're not free men in the morning, and you now know the reason why.