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by Diepiriye Kuku

6 Oct 2009

The video beating and subsequent murder of Derrion Albert is incredibly disturbing. In surfing for the video, I stumbled upon a very young girl who left her response to seeing the raw footage, and reading what she called ‘racist’ comments left on the web about Albert’s death, as well as direct racist comments (“monkey”) towards her—a child.

YouTube user sepulturantera posts the comment:

and btw if you wanna know what killed him, its the countless other useless niggers that watched the other apes with the boards…

“What if that were you, or your son, or daughter,” the young girl asks in her posting, then counts to five, giving viewers the chance to get rid of their racism. YouTube is much more apt at protecting music industry copyrights than protecting children from cyber-terror. This girl is young, and it hurts my heart that she has to learn about this aspect of our society. No, we cannot just count to five and expect to rid our society of racism, no more than we can erase our commitment to violence. Our society’s tolerance for youth violence is already incredible, but sitting here surfing the net, it’s just sad to realize what youth today are exposed to at home. And yet it’s great that the net exposes this murder—perhaps these youth will be the ones to finally create change.

Jozen Cummings’ article “The Beating of Derrion Albert Is Must-See TV”, on TheRoot.com was a common sense reminder:

So let the video of Derrion Albert’s life-ending beating get as many views as the video of Kanye West jumping on stage in the middle of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech (as I write this, this one currently has 1,959,026 views). Let #derrionalbert be a trending topic on Twitter and make sure it stays there as long as #musicmonday or #jayz. Blog about Derrion Albert like you would your own relationship woes, remix the video of his beating by layering it over Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” to drive the weight of Albert’s loss home, or get a camera, record your own thoughts about this horrific tragedy, and in the words of YouTube, “broadcast yourself.” But most importantly, watch the video. It hurts, it’s disgusting, but it might be the first step we need to avoid seeing a sequel anytime soon.

Folks tend to forget that we’re always about moving forward, and must therefore always re-frame our pain and anguish into something that sparks us into action, and fuels efforts for change. Like Jozen Cummings’, “I [too] winced when I saw the wooden railroad plank being smacked against Derrion Albert’s head.” Yet, do we worship death, or life? Do we simply mourn, or shake things up to refocus ourselves on life?

Photo: Nadashia Thomas, 6, a cousin of Derrion Albert, holds a sign beside a poster of Derrion Albert at Fenger High School in Chicago, Sept. 28, 2009. A vigil for Derrion Albert was planned outside of Fenger High School. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Photo: Nadashia Thomas, 6, a cousin of
Derrion Albert, holds a sign beside
a poster of Derrion Albert at Fenger
High School in Chicago, Sept. 28, 2009.
A vigil for Derrion Albert was planned
outside of Fenger High School.
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Our society relies so heavily on martyrs, and even invents a menagerie of superheroes to descend upon us as our saviors. Yet, I believe that we could earnestly use the net to spread the message of change so that fewer and fewer of us have to be sacrificed in order for folks to get the message. What happened to Emmett Till had been happenin’! What happened to King—both the good Rev. Dr. and Rodney—had been happenin’! And even Homer Plessy stood, or sat rather, for what was already a probable cause to abandon racism: the trouble with reinforcing ‘race’ (because sometimes we can hardly tell white from Black, so therefore race cannot matter).

But, alas, “they keep on sayin’: Go slow” And we go slow, too; we all seem to sit and stew until somebody—literally someone places their body on the line—gets arrested, beaten, mutilated and/or shot. We are a society that has even preferred placing kids on the front lines of our massive discomfort over race can class, and potentially crossing the boundaries of those rigid social lines. Even the multi-culturalism celebrated in schools tends to fizzle out over time, another myth betrayed by the web: Take a look at old high school pictures of integrated schools, versus the parties and families in which we live now, where we’ve gone back to Black and white, rich and poor. Our social lines are as rigidly divided along class as before the Civil War, and as racially segregated as we were after the Second World War, thanks to suburban sprawl, leading to these concentrations of chronic poverty where the Derrion Alberts live and die. No wonder that our films and media are, too, more retro than Technicolor.

Now that marching and mass movement of people as forms of protest are out, and the age of video coupled with the web is upon us, what us gon’ do! This been happenin’, so what us gon’ do? Wonder what lynching would have looked like on a Nokia!?!

by Tyler Gould

6 Oct 2009

John Darnielle and crew stopped by the Colbert Report last night, where he handled Colbert’s grilling with aplomb and performed “Psalms 40:2” (bafflingly pronounced “40 and 2” by Colbert. And he claims to be Catholic!) from the upcoming album, The Life of the World to Come.

 

by Tyler Gould

6 Oct 2009

Seventeen years ago this week: The Jesus Lizard released Liar on Touch & Go. Today, a Steve Albini and Bob Weston remaster came out, along with remasters of Down, Goat, Head, and Pure. Below is the official video for “Puss”, with a few other assorted videos from Liar after the jump.

“Puss”

by Tyler Gould

6 Oct 2009

The consequences of death are given no thought in most video games, where, even in the most open-ended games, the player’s role is that of an iterator, mechanically moving the plot from one position to another, engaging the game by turning pages and being allowed access to new experiences. The threat of death creates the illusion of challenge, though in modern games it simply results in a restart at the most recent checkpoint.

In You Only Live Once, death is the point, as are grief and liability, and had me laughing both at the game and myself, in that it never occurred to me, after all the platforms I’ve jumped short of, that Mario may have broken his neck as he hit the ground.

by Tyler Gould

6 Oct 2009

The fingerpicked guitar on “Bowling Green” winds and and ambles behind Alela and Alina’s harmony, the sounds all comfortably settling into each other in their version of the classic folk song. “Wish I was in Bowling Green sitting in a chair / one arm ‘round my old guitar, the other one ‘round my dear”, she sings, but the matter-of-fact quality of her voice makes her ruminations fond rather than desperate, contented in the thought of a happier place in the world. The Alela and Alina EP came out today.

Alela Diane feat. Alina Hardin
Bowling Green [MP3]
     

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