As a young boy growing up in Washington Heights, I, thanks to my surroundings, had a wide range of musical tastes. I learned to love classical on my own. My brothers got me into everything from the Beatles to Elvis Costello. My friends inducted me into b-boy culture. And MTV was where I learned of Madness.
Their videos opened a new world to me, far away from my barrio. London! Pork pie hats! Ska rhythms! It was awesome.
And, as if I couldn’t love them enough, when I started watching real football, and fell in love with Chelsea FC, I learned that Suggs, their frontman, is a devoted Blue. So, for tonight’s night owl chat, some Madness.
Yesterday, Jorge Ramos of Univision was unceremoniously escorted out of a Donald Trump press conference by one of the Hair’s goons, for daring to ask a question “out of turn”. Trump told Mr. Ramos to “sit down”, and then to “go back to Univision”. (I guess even The Hair wasn’t prepared to say “go back to Mexico, you wetback.”) Our brave press corps… did nothing. Journalists of conscience would have gotten up en masse and walked out right behind Mr. Ramos. I’m old enough to remember when the good and the great of the major media outlets rallied around Fox News when President Obama took off the gloves with them. Imagine if Pres. Obama had done something like this at one of his campaign press conferences, or, heaven forbid, at a presidential one. Calls for his impeachment would be hurling in 72 point type on newspapers and from well-coiffed news anchors.
However, even though I was going to write at length about this contretemps, I realized that the expulsion of Mr. Ramos is not the story. It is a mere manifestation of a much darker reality.
I mocked Trump (I refuse to be polite and call him “Mr.”). I thought he was the greatest thing to happen to Democrats since Dan Quayle. And, if by some malfeasance he does manage to be the GOP nominee, he lost the general election yesterday. The image of the Latino Walter Cronkite being frog-marched out of a press availability will galvanize the Latino community like nothing else. Not because Latinos are celebrity-mongers who will rally around Mr. Ramos, but because he and his treatment represent what Latinos fear the most from the GOP. Trump just handed the Latino community the symbol it needed, in a way which even his outrageous words didn’t.
But I’m no longer mocking him. I’m taking him very seriously. Because what may have begun as a lark is no longer that. It’s obvious that Trump is taking this campaign to heart, and is in it to win. And that should give everyone a good scare.
I’m one of those odd people who thinks “Born to Run” is the greatest rock album ever made. Better than “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts’ Club Band”. Better than “Exile on Main Street.” Better even than my beloved “The Joshua Tree.” No rock album had the abandon, the joy, the sheer scale of “Born to Run”. So, on the anniversary of its release, the full Monty. Enjoy.
Specialist Mario Picone, right, watches the numbers as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. The Dow Jones industrial average has plunged more than 530 points and is in a correction amid a global sell-off sparked by fears about China’s slowing economy. Oil tumbled below $40 per barrel for the first time since the financial crisis. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The financial markets are melting down. Here’s why.
A couple of months ago, the Shanghai bourse began the Mother of all Corrections. Within a few weeks, it had lost 30% of its value.
This first go-round of market mayhem was greeted with pretty much of a yawn in Europe and the US. This was especially so after the government in Beijing stepped in to prop up the markets.
However, that propping up failed to calm the markets. Beijing decided to let the market work, and the sell-off commenced again.
Now, though, there is the added component of a fear of a major Chinese slow-down in its broader economy. To paraphrase that old saw: When China sneezes, the world catches a cold.
The fear of a significant downturn in the Chinese economy is spooking markets all over the world like a bump in the night spooks wild horses. Without knowing exactly what’s coming down the pike out of China, markets are in a panic.
I watched this video, expecting a cathartic laugh at the stupidity of white racism.
I received nothing of the kind.
What I was left with was an overwhelming sadness that in 2015 a satirical piece like this still needs to be made. Left with a sadness that for all the noted advancements since the 1950s, it seems as if we’re either stuck or regressing in race relations.
This is not how it was supposed to be. But it was also a fantasy to think that a 400-year system of racism and oppression would be lifted in a few short decades, when so many white people never acknowledged any injustice.
Watch this. You’ll laugh at first. And then the pit of your stomach will empty at the realization of the dark truth it reveals.