It’s barely noon here out here on the Left Coast, and already my Krazy Kup overfloweth. A (very) few highlights:
• What is it with liberals and Hollywood types and blackface? Now the NBC hit “30 Rock” is memory-holing four episodes that featured white characters in blackface:
Four episodes of 30 Rock, including two featuring Jane Krakowski’s Jenna character in blackface, are being removed from subscription streaming services Hulu and Amazon Prime and have also been made unavailable for sale on purchase platforms such as iTunes and Google Play. The episodes, which will no longer air on traditional TV either, were pulled at the request of NBCUniversal executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. A source tells Vulture the four episodes, some of which have already vanished, should be gone by the end of this week.
But wait, there’s more!
Writing for The New York Times, Professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner – a gender studies professor at Linfield College, Oregon – sharply criticises the scene where Mary Poppins joins Dick Van Dyke’s chimneysweep Bert to dance on a rooftop. The pair both get covered in soot as the dance number “Step in Time” is performed.
Pollack-Pelzner says that, while the scene may be comic, the author of the Mary Poppins books, PL Travers, often associated chimney sweeps’ blackened faces with racial caricatures.
Wait till Prof. Pollack-Pelzner discovers what auto mechanics look like after they’ve worked under a car for a couple hours. Nooses will be the least of NASCAR’s worries.
But this is not the only loose noose panic of the last week. Out in Oakland, a series of nooses were spotted at Lake Merritt Park, and set off a full-scale hate crime crusade. That is, until the black person who put them up for exercise purposes several months ago stepped forward:
OAKLAND — Oakland’s mayor said five ropes found hanging from trees in a city park are nooses and racially-charged symbols of terror but a resident said they are merely exercise equipment that he put up there months ago.
Mayor Libby Schaaf said Wedesday that a hate crime investigation was under way after a social media post identified a noose at the city’s popular Lake Merritt. Police said they searched the area on Tuesday and found five ropes attached to trees. . .
Victor Sengbe, who is black, told KGO-TV that the ropes were part of a rigging that he and his friends used as part of a larger swing system. He also shared video of the swing in use.
“Out of the dozen and hundreds and thousands of people that walked by, no one has thought that it looked anywhere close to a noose. Folks have used it for exercise. It was really a fun addition to the park that we tried to create,” Sengbe said.
“It’s unfortunate that a genuine gesture of just wanting to have a good time got misinterpreted into something so heinous,” he told the station.
Of course, Oakland’s politicians can’t back down:
[Oakland Mayor Libby] Schaaf said officials must “start with the assumption that these are hate crimes.” However, the mayor and Nicholas Williams, the city’s director of parks recreation, also said it didn’t matter whether the ropes were meant to send a racist message.
“Intentions don’t matter when it comes to terrorizing the public,” Schaaf said. “It is incumbent on all of us to know the actual history of racial violence, of terrorism, that a noose represents and that we as a city must remove these terrorizing symbols from the public view.”
“The symbolism of the rope hanging in the tree is malicious regardless of intent. It’s evil, and it symbolizes hatred,” Williams said.
Pretty clear what the end point is going to be: tying any rope into a loop, no matter whether for use in rigging a sail on a boat or making a garage roll-up door pull, must be banned and never taught by the Boy Scouts or anyone else ever again.
By the way, is relevant that Oakland’s mayor is white?
• By far the craziest story of the day comes from John and Scott’s backyard in Minneapolis, where the New York Times has a story about a neighborhood that decided to open itself up to the homeless, and further resolved not to call the police in the event of any trouble. And you’ll never guess what happened next! You have to read it, not to believe it. For those of you without access to the Times, here are a few highlights from this long feature:
After the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, Ms. Albers, who is white, and many of her progressive neighbors have vowed to avoid calling law enforcement into their community. Doing so, they believed, would add to the pain that black residents of Minneapolis were feeling and could put them in danger.
Already, that commitment is being challenged. Two weeks ago, dozens of multicolored tents appeared in the neighborhood park. They were brought by homeless people who were displaced during the unrest that gripped the city. The multiracial group of roughly 300 new residents seems to grow larger and more entrenched every day. They do laundry, listen to music and strategize about how to find permanent housing. Some are hampered by mental illness, addiction or both.
Their presence has drawn heavy car traffic into the neighborhood, some from drug dealers. At least two residents have overdosed in the encampment and had to be taken away in ambulances.
I’ll bet this is just great for property values and home sales in the neighborhood. More:
In the city where the movement began, residents are not surprised that it is being taken especially seriously in Powderhorn Park, just blocks from Mr. Floyd’s deadly encounter with the police. For decades, the community has been a refuge for scrappy working-class activists with far-left politics. The biggest day of the year, locals often boast, is the May Day parade celebrating laborers. . .
But many in the neighborhood, who were already beleaguered from the financial stresses of the coronavirus, now say they are eager for the campers to move on to stable housing away from the park.
“I’m not being judgmental,” said Carrie Nightshade, 44, who explained that she no longer felt comfortable letting her children, 12 and 9, play in the park by themselves. “It’s not personal. It’s just not safe.”
That sounds pretty judgmental to me.
Angelina Roslik burst into tears, explaining that she had spent the past four years fleeing unstable housing conditions and was struggling more than she cared to admit with the chaos the camp had brought into the neighborhood. Linnea Borden said she had stopped walking her dog through the park because she was tired of being catcalled. . .
The impulse many white Powderhorn Park residents have to seek help from community groups rather than from the police is being felt in neighborhoods across the country. But some are finding the commitment hard to stand by when faced with the complex realities of life.
“Faced with the complex realities of life.” You have permission to laugh out loud now.
But the last story in the article sounds ripped right from the pages of a Tom Wolfe novel:
Mitchell Erickson’s fingers began dialing 911 last week before he had a chance to even consider alternatives, when two black teenagers who looked to be 15, at most, cornered him outside his home a block away from the park.
One of the boys pointed a gun at Mr. Erickson’s chest, demanding his car keys.
Flustered, Mr. Erickson handed over a set, but it turned out to be house keys. The teenagers got frustrated and ran off, then stole a different car down the street.
Mr. Erickson said later that he would not cooperate with prosecutors in a case against the boys. After the altercation, he realized that if there was anything he wanted, it was to offer them help. But he still felt it had been right to call the authorities because there was a gun involved.
Two days after an initial conversation, his position had evolved. “Been thinking more about it,” he wrote in a text message. “I regret calling the police. It was my instinct but I wish it hadn’t been. I put those boys in danger of death by calling the cops.”
• Regular reminder: It has now been 30 days since the death of George Floyd, and Yale University still hasn’t got round to changing its name. How long, Yale, how long? #CancelYale