Friday, September 14

Most Hated: Part 4 -

How good was Dr Phil's
presentation of this story?

I'd say it was only so-so. Dr Phil is a psychologist who became a Television Agony Aunt. His staff prepares and gives him his poker hand for the show, which he plays out as best as he can.

I was disappointed that in his role as a psychologist, he missed a legitimate issue which should be explored in this case: it's not whether Zimmerman should have exited his vehicle that is the crucial question; it is, rather, whether the father of the young victim should have walked away from his son, leaving the teenager to his own devices.

The father in this case seems like a bit of a rolling stone. There is nothing wrong with having more than one maternal figures in a child's life. In my own personal life, I had three aunts who supplemented my mother's efforts at raising me, and I do not feel that was to my detriment. But it was the father who had custody of the teenager that night. And a juvenile is not considered responsible for making adult decisions.

Where was Tracy Martin when his son really needed him? Does Tracy Martin have any regrets about his decision to leave the children alone that night. If he could do it all over again, would Tracy Martin make the same choice? Unfortunately, we do not often have the opportunity for do-overs in Life. Has Tracy Martin learned anything from this tragedy? And, if so, what has he learned?

This afternoon, I understand, Dr Phil will present another show on the case. I'll try to catch it if I can, though I am not a fan of this practice. After a while, my patience tends to wear thin. And I don't like to get obsessed with any one case. Dr Phil's Staff maintains a discussion forum, also, for those who wish to express their reactions.

I don't expect to win any popularity contests by writing this. I am quite confident that Dr Phil already knows he has viewers who watch with a critical eye. If we can agree on anything, let's agree to support giving Due Process a chance.

Blog when you can!


Most Hated: Part 3 -

What did I think about Mr and Mrs Osterman?

I respect their Freedom of Speech. TV Talk Shows depend to a large extent on guests plugging their new movies or books. But, regardless of anything they may have said, I did not appreciate being shown photos of Trayvon Martin at eleven years old or photos of him which appeared to be flagrantly manipulated.

This started out as what appeared at first to be a simple shooting, but the victim's father quickly got lawyered up, and the lawyer jumped into his advocacy role in a rush while making some very wrong guesstimates about what had happened. For example, it may have seemed like a White on Black Crime initially, but later turned out that the shooter is not a Caucasian; he is a mestizo or mixed-race Latino. The lawyer guesstimated that the underlying root cause of the shooting was Racism. Wrong again.

Then, the "aboutness" of this story started slipsliding away. Instead of Racism, it slowly emerged that the teenager was lacking adult supervision and was left to make his own juvenile choices.

If only teenager Trayvon Martin had never left that condo, he would certainly still be alive today. If only his father had sternly instructed him not to leave little Chad alone and not to go outside. But his father was busy somewhere else and was not there to instruct Trayvon. Perhaps, that decision to leave Trayvon behind will haunt his father for the rest of his life. Or perhaps not.

Continued . . .


Most Hated: Part 2 -

Instead of exploring this issue . . .

Dr Phil attempted to Define Deviancy Downwards. Isn't  the normative standard among the Black population to dump their kids somewhere and walk away from them? No, it isn't. Most of my longtime African-American friends came out of strong Baptist home environments. They represent a very large chunk of the Black population. They maintain more normative standards of parenting and child rearing.

By the traditional normative standards of a very large percentage of the African-American population and by virtue of some common sense, Trayvon was on that evening a "wayward youth in need of adult supervision." While the situation may not rise to a legalistic level, most adults should be able to recognize what has happened to the discussion of this case.

What is the predominant concern of the mainstream African-American family? Among my Black friends over the course of many years, one topic that often arises among African-American women is the thought:

Am I being too overly protective of my son
in light of the potential perils that may await him?

Youngsters need to learn to make choices and decisions; they learn from their mistakes, but the cost of my son making a poor choice may be too dear.

If I am too overly protective of him, he won't be able to learn from his experiences in making choices.

Over a long period of time, I have sat in on countless discussions about this topic, sometimes lasting until the wee hours. It is an often painful topic.

The Trayvon Martin situation deviates from the above mainstream template in one notable way:

It was the father, Tracy Martin, who was the custodial parent that night, not a maternal figure.

I honestly cannot imagine any Black mother I've known simply dumping their son in a strange place and then just walking away from him, leaving the kid to his own devices. To begin with, there is a long list of social signals such mothers are concerned about, trying to avoid taboo signals in order to avoid anticipated trouble or misinterpretation and emphasizing more positive social signals. Yet, even under the best of circumstances, a mobile phone device could be misapprehended as a weapon.

Happily, on that ill-fated evening, little Chad who was left behind all alone, did not stick his finger into an electric socket or drown the hamsters in the toilet bowl.

Unfortunately, the outcome for the teenager Trayvon was not so felicitous.

Continued . . .


Dr Phil's Most Hated Man -

Credit the Dr Phil Staff for coming up with a fresh angle to the Trayvon Martin Shooting Case: the substitution of the teenager's longtime stepmother, Alicia Stanley, for his birth mother who has been much featured in the Media heretofore.

Unfortunately, this substitution could give viewers who haven't been following the case closely the impression that Trayvon was with his stepmother before he ventured outside to buy some refreshments. He was not.

Moreover, this figures into a trope which has been circulating about this situation. Dr Phil referred to this trope when he exclaimed that Trayvon went out for some candy and came home dead. Similarly, it has been frequently repeated that Trayvon was where he was supposed to be when the tragedy occurred. Sadly, this is not the case at all.

Many former Latch Key Kids can tell you that when they came home from school, they were responsible for supervising their younger siblings in the absence of their parental figures.

Keeping in mind that Trayvon Martin is not on trial here, he was a juvenile who cannot be held responsible for making choices about adult matters. His custodial parent was responsible for dumping the teenager in a strange place and then walking away from his son. Even if the father had to leave his son there, the father should have strictly instructed his son to stay in the condo and do not leave the premises, because Trayvon was left with a nine-year-old child.

When Trayvon left the condo to buy refreshments, he left the young child, Chad, unsupervised. The little boy could have stuck his finger into an electric socket or turned on the stove or put hamsters in the toilet bowl. Trayvon should have stayed in the condo that evening.

Continued . . .


Wednesday, September 12

Libyan Fanatics Claim Provocation -

The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, has been murdered, reportedly by a fringe group of militant Salafi-style religious extremists there, and Gainesville Florida Pastor Terry Jones is being blamed for promoting an anti-Moslem movie which is alleged to have caused this death as a violent reaction to film clips from it which were posted on the Internet.

The security level at U.S. diplomatic posts worldwide has been raised in response to these developments.

:: TampaBay :: - - - :: Reuters ::


Tuesday, September 11

Browsing Around -

Even more on the
Philip Marlowe Controversy . . .

with Ace Atkins commenting. I don't have a very crisp residual image in my mind of what Philip Marlowe must resemble. Bogart was always just Bogart to me; I thought Powers Boothe did a pretty good job of it.

Who or what is Philip Marlowe anyway? I think he is best summed up by the famous "Mean Streets" quote, which may define a formula or a sensibility. Certainly, I have a clearer residual image of Jim Rockford, even though I never paid much serious or active attention to each episodic story. I was hooked on his telephone answering machine messages. Yes, I was addicted to them. Each week I tuned in just to hear them.

Does Philip Marlowe deserve to live on?
If enough people want him to survive, he will.

# Jo Nesbo, the Norwegian crime
writer, comments on Anders Breivik.

# SI Rosenbaum writes about the
late comics genius, Harvey Pekar.

# Much Buzz:  Telegraph Avenue
by Michael Chabon reviewed
by Jess Walter at SFGate.