Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reparations: Give us what they had...


These days, it isn't often one hears WBAI hosts or their carefully selected guests speak frankly on a subject, especially when it comes to politics and race. Air time had become a nearly unthreatened tenure for those who played the game right, but a management/Foundation vacuum is shifting the focus. We now see air time becoming a tentative allowance for some, its "ownership" predicated upon their obedience to either of two equally misguided management forces: The Reimers strain, which has neither esthetic sense nor principle, and whose only objective is to preserve the GM's job; and the Murillio strain, which readily sacrifices talent for anything that coddles the Latin American interests of the iPD and furthers racial segregation.

Of course, both motives are anathema to the original mission given Pacifica by founder Lewis Hill; both repel the respect and support WBAI once had, and neither could survive six months without the shameless marketing of questionable products and services aired with agonizing frequency through hour-long, circle jerks of infomercials. Whether a host/producer keeps his airtime relies less on broadcasting skill and substance than on his/her adherence to the station's increasingly in-doctrinaire talking points. A few years back, a handful of opportunists set the stage for a new WBAI, one that placed the interest of its staff over that of the listeners. As new GMs and PDs took the reins, the objective vacillated somewhat, but the intellect was on a steady downward course and black discussion turned to black rhetoric. Like Kenyan airport art and dashikis made in China, WBAI was not the real thing... not the real anything.

With the arrival of Mario Murillo (i.e. the man who came to dinner), hope was once again ignited, but his agenda soon became clear as he picked up on the festering racism and went to town with it. Lightweights like Haskins and Kathy Davis were jubilant—the station at which they had spent so much time churning out crap, was coming down to their level and they felt a sense of belonging. This was "community radio," and the community was black. Well, there were those Latinos... they had not always gotten along with the American blacks, but the opportunists needed them, so they dubbed them "brown" and kneaded a Crayola ball of Hex codes 000000 and B4674D (with a dash of A5694F thrown in) to come up with the generic "black and brown" population to target. What they did not consider in their equation was the fact that complexion and intellect are not one and the same, so they ended up with an audience that sure enough was dark of hue, but ignorant, too. In other words, the listeners these bozos chased away were people of all colors—including their own.


If you listened to last weekend's Reparations circus, you know what I am talking about. What you heard was yet another attempt to accomplish what a Jamaican named Marcus Garvey failed to about a hundred years ago. He made a big show out of it, complete with 19th century costumes, parades, and an old, barely seaworthy tub that was to return black Americans to the continent of their ancestors. The KKK loved the idea and even had a meeting with Garvey in Atlanta, but there was about the whole thing a veneer of flimflam. 

That's also the aura given off by this latest attempt, which was done in partnership with WBAI. We heard Jesse Jackson—an early opportunist and current has-been—give a passionate but shallow keynote speech that fairly dripped with hypocrisy. Daddy's words about black pride has a hollow ring when one thinks of how he has conducted himself and that greed ported his son from the U.S. Congress to a jail term. The Reparation show featured several other speakers, some of whom were disciples of the late John Henrik Clark, who rewrote black history to suit his own fantasies and become "legendary" among people in need of idols. On WBAI's side of the microphone, we heard Dred Scott Keyes and Bernard White, two not so upstanding characters, the latter having cost the station a great deal of money when he initiated a frivolous lawsuit.

With the sorry condition of WBAI and the Reparation farce in mind, I found it refreshing when Malachy McCourt last week reacted against Amy Goodman's deification of Maya Angelou and gave sincere praise to a lady who has done more to make us all proud than all those opportunists put together. See if you agree: 




15 comments:

  1. Malachy speaks no malarky. He is really one of the few jewels in the rotting crown of WBAI. I'm really surprised Murillo(?) brought him back. He is of the same generation as Fass, but he has accomplished far more. However, Fass gets the publicity, sadly. I'll take mcCourt any day over Fass or 90% of the nit wits at WBAI.

    SDL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Malachy was a gem during my days at WBAI. He did to do much on-air work, I think he was too busy running his Irish pub, but he was fiercely devoted to the station. I recall that he had a big bowl or glass on his bar to collect contributions to the station.

      Malachy McCourt was always genuine—Bob mostly made a pretense of it.

      Delete
  2. Malachy McCourt can be brilliant and engaging. He also can be immature, annoying, a pain in the ass and is always a dry drunk.

    KGT

    ReplyDelete
  3. Malachy is, quite simply, and quite truly, in the finest sense, a prince among men.

    ~ 'indigo'

    ReplyDelete
  4. Malachy sounds like a typical guilt-ridden white. He, quite rightly, speaks ill of the over-praised and under-talented Maya A. but while out on that limb he looks down and gets a little dizzy. Flustered by the truth he's speaking and afraid of the consequences -- being called RACIST -- he quickly plucks Billie H. out of the air to reassure his audience that he does indeed like some black people. Somewhat like "Some of my favorite singers are..." "And, how about that strange fruit people?" It's pathetic.

    rj


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, RJ, but I think you have that all wrong. Malachy has no reason to be guilt-ridden, he simply speaks his mind. I know how that is and how some people are quick to misinterpret it. I think they make it their own problem when they find honesty that hard to take. WBAI went overboard with Billie recently, especially with "Strange Fruit," which fit right into their racist rhetoric du jour.

      When someone declares that some of his/her favorite singers are black, I would take that as an indication of good ears, not racism. :)

      Delete
    2. Chris, of course Malachy -- like other white people -- "has no reason to be guilt ridden". But there has to be a reason that he jumped so quickly from criticizing Maya A. to gushing about BIllie H. It was a non-sequitur to say the least. If he had been criticizing Martin Scorsese's films, would he have felt the need to then quickly praise...say..FF Coppola? Of course not. C'mon you get what I'm getting at. I'm sick of seeing/hearing that kind of crap from spineless whites.

      And, as to someone declaring that "some of his/her favorite singers are black...indication of good ears"...what a silly blanket statement. Wouldn't it matter *who* the black singer is? Ever heard Kanye West?

      rj

      Delete
    3. Malachy deplored the unwarranted elevation of a pedestrian media favorite by Amy Goodman. I have shared his low opinion of Angelou for many years, even before she played an African in a series called Roots.

      I think Malachy's bringing up Billie as a contrast is perfectly natural. Were he so afraid of sounding racist, he would not have spoken his mind about Angelou, especially not in the studio of a station that spews low-level ghetto propaganda throughout each week.

      I guess you didn't notice the smiley at the end of my last sentence.

      Delete
    4. Hey Chris -- hope you didn't misunderstand me and think I was referencing you in my "spineless" comment. This will be my last comment on this subject ---

      The question is: why did Malachy need "a contrast" to Maya A.? Why couldn't he have made his criticism and let it sit? And, if he did need a positive "contrast", why bring up another black? I could be wrong, but I think I know why.

      Yeah, I guess it was "brave" of him to criticize Maya A. in the heart of radio village ghetto-land but why didn't he attack her banality? Her bad poetry? So, he doesn't like her because she was mean to him -- boo hoo.

      Okay, enough from me. Keep up the great work, Chris :) -- that's a smiley there fella.

      rj

      Delete
    5. OK, rj. We don't have a problem. :)

      Delete
    6. I think Malachy was simply making a contrast between someone he considers to have negligible talent and someone he considers to have great talent. Anything beyond that is over-analysis. Malachy says what he feels with a "Fuck you" attitude, which is one of the things I like about him.

      I happen to think in the same way of the over-rated Rudy Ray Moore and his lousy "comedy." There were far better black comedians out there, like "Kingfish" Tim Moore and "Buckwheat" Billie Thomas. >:P

      SDL
      .

      Delete
  5. rj,

    I have to confess that I do the same thing.

    I do it not only when I’m talking about blacks, but also if I’m talking about a woman like Hillary Clinton (I hope she gets the plague, but would definitely vote for Cynthia McKinney or Jill Stein), Israel (Jewish South Africa. Nathan Yahoo should be hanged. But I love Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein), or Islam (The Prophet was a vile pedophile; 90% of the fools are misogynistic fundamentalist psychopaths. But the Sunnis are OK. And Ibrahim Gonzalez was one of the best people in the world).

    In this loony world of political correctness, I don’t want people to think me a bigot, and I don’t want hurt the feelings of folks I like—so it’s kind of a reflexive, anticipatory defense mechanism.

    Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice, and Colin Powell are war criminals and should be tried and imprisoned, but I would vote for Glen Ford (of BAR) for President or King of the world.

    Really.

    Don’t like parenthesis-colon smiles.

    TPM

    ReplyDelete
  6. It must be sad being Bob Fass these days, once a paragon of NY area alternative radio, now long abandoned by those whom you counted as listeners. Your greatest topic of conversation is announcing the six or seven stations that carry your show to about as many listeners. Now all you can do is play disc jockey for three hours, like a college radio DJ because even the loneliest of shut-ins doesn’t want to call into your show. Even with a successful art house and film festival documentary about your life, no one wants to listen to you. Revitalize or retire already.

    SDL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are reading my mind as I listen to Stagnation Unnameable.

      Delete