Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Overkill

When my son was an adolescent, at times he seemed to feel it was a great personal trial to be burdened with two younger sisters. They gossiped about his business, they drank the last bottle of soda. They even, occasionally, had the temerity to date his friends. Invariably, "incidents" would occur. that he felt needed parental adjudication. He would come to us, in what my husband called "high torque."...demanding reparation, revenge,or a little of both. Soon, as parents, we noticed a pattern developing. Although, he was usually "right" in these incidents...often, we ended up truly annoyed...with HIM.
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One fine day, he emerged from the basement, red-faced, clutching an opened old record album. It was so old that my daughter had assumed it was one of mine. "No," he explained. It was a "collectors" Fats Domino album (Who knew he knew about Fats Domino? ... We were more of the Chubby Checker ilk.) He had purchased it from a friend, unopened, as an "investment"... now forever denied him because his sister removed the cellophane. He wanted her grounded. He wanted her allowance. He wanted her first born child sold to compensate for his financial loss.
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We were on his side for the first five minutes, still sympathetic at ten, but after fifteen minutes my husband heatedly asked our son why this great investment was tossed on a pile in the basement? Soon after, Dad summarily banned him to his room.
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Later we went up to speak to him. We hadn't been entirely fair either. But we had diagnosed his problem. Why did someone, usually more sinned against than sinning, often find himself so unsympathetic? What was in play here?
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Overkill.
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He just didn't know when to stop. His anger, his self-righteousness, his overplayed and over-long indignation became exceedingly unattractive. He never would concede two sides to any story. He would never concede at all. So, from a position of strength , his arguments descended into the ludicrously overblown.
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Overkill.
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My son, I'm happy to say, outgrew that quality, so-o-o, I used to think it was adolescent in origin. But the Duke Lacrosse case has proved me wrong. Overkill affects all ages. This case is loaded with it.
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Today I read the Bomani Jones article for ESPN. I felt an old familiar reaction. Is it just me, or are we on overkill here? ENOUGH about the stripper party and underage drinking! Spare me one more description of this "racist" team! To paraphrase Shakespeare ( are you out there President Brodhead?) whatever happened was a grievous fault and grievously have these boys PAID for it.
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It's been a year of astounding pain for these young men. You and others like you... that have repeated the same now overblown mantra again and again... you have had your pound of flesh. The team has paid for their party in the most terrible ways. They have been slandered, and smeared, hounded, even threatened. But although the Hoax is crumbling, pundits like you... seem unable to adjust your rhetoric or your thinking. You're stuck on last Spring. STOP! For God's sake, enough about the party!
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You remind me, Bomani, of another young man and what I used to think about him:

"He just didn't know when to stop. His anger, his self-righteousness, his overplayed and over-long indignation became exceedingly unattractive. He never would concede two sides to any story. He would never concede at all. So, from a position of strength , his arguments descended into the ludicrously overblown."

I hope you outgrow it too.
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That said, let's address the "racial epithets." I abhor them in every instance. I abhor them here. I really abhorred them eleven months ago. But after media distortion, and prevaricating pundits, an outright LYING district attorney, hidden DNA results, Gottlieb's magic notes, and on and on and on ... I find myself asking some questions. Besides our "haven't had sex for a week", "new-to-dancing," troubled, self medicated, drinking stripper with "a long psychological history"...who else is there to verify anything BUT the "white cotton shirt" remark? Who else? I'm waiting. (And excuse me, there is NO record of previous racial incidents. NONE. Stop insinuating that there is.)
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While we wait, let's talk about the "white cotton shirt "exchange.Kim Roberts said that the one or two comments in question were provoked by a vile racist comment of her own. (You left THAT detail out, didn't you?) So you have a sorry incident of poor behavior by two individuals: Kim and a unidentified player.
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That retort was NOT made by Reade or Collin or Dave, the three falsely accused currently in Durham's collective legal clutches. But, Bomani, some of you seem to want these three boys..the ones you have in hand... to pay SOME significant price for it. And you seem to like the idea that the whole team be branded for life as part of a "racist" group...for this one nasty exchange ,one Spring night, in their youth. Do you suggest then, in the same spirit, that all Nifong's ADA's pay professionally for his transgressions: be branded as part of a group of" corrupt prosecutors" and shunned? " Or the entire English Dept at Duke be called "racist" in turn for their then-colleague Houston Baker's racist remarks in a letter last Spring? Shall we all make lists of who must be ruined for what?
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If racist comments were made by anyone, it was wrong.
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I think we said that eleven months ago.
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And ten months ago.
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And last week.
We agree. We disapprove. Alrighty then.. it's one VERIFIED exchange.
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PLEASE STOP NOW.
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But you say, maybe there were MORE remarks.
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What other credible "proof" exists of other remarks? ( "credible" being the key word here? ) Who told you that? Who are you trusting? America's most infamous D.A., the integrity-challenged, notorious Mike Nifong? And his "source" was? Oh, yes...Crystal Gayle Mangum: a troubled woman whose story changes substantially in every telling! What would give HER word any standing or credence above 47 other witnesses (48 if you count Kim)? Only the fervent DESIRE of some of you to have confirmation of something YOU WANT to have happened. That's it!
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It feels good to believe it. You want these them to be guilty of SOMETHING so much.
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Because although you don't know THESE boys, you think you know.... "boys like that."
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Once that was called prejudice. What's it called today?
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This "bad behavior" is all you have now. You clutch it to your bosom and wave it in our face to distract from the true hideousness of this Hoax. Racial epithets are the fall-back position of the "Something must have happened crowd." But..where's the proof? Every substantial lie uncovered to date has come from Crystal, Nifong or their enablers. Yet, you want to harp on these same themes, beat on them, demand apologies, demand trials, demand denunciations, demand God knows what! Bomani, you and those with your mindset, have so overplayed your hand. You are the very definition of "overkill."
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Are you going to counter..."But one of them lied about their names to hire the strippers." Oh, give it up and go to your room. I said SUBSTANTIAL lies. If there were racist remarks, they were deplorable. I don't approve. . . I don't approve of parties with strippers either. Or women who work as strippers. Or using a taxi as a lethal weapon. Or pole dancing, lap dancing, trysts with strangers in motels. I don't approve of modeling lingerie for your "driver" or trolling motels while your little children are cared for by others. I don't approve of conceiving children whose Daddy you can't identify.
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I don't approve of calling such a woman a "goddess," a "sister survivor," or a "queen." I don't approve of lying about rape to get out of jail free. Or lying about rape to win an election. Or lying about evidence to cover other lies. I don't approve of folks who use a tragedy like this to build an audience, sell newspapers, push an agenda, get funding, or maybe a better gig for themselves. I don't approve of folks who make the most far-fetched excuses for "their side," and ignore actual evidence that supports the other. I don't approve of reporters who insinuate, Bonami, what they can NOT prove.
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There is no record of racial incidents by this team.
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So I ask you...when will it be enough? And when will you and your colleagues show the slightest bit of shame for your own sorry role in this travesty. The inaccuracies, the innuendos, the truly shoddy, unsubstantiated, biased reporting?
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And what about YOU? Has there never been a regretful moment, a hurtful remark, a mote in your own eye? NONE? NEVER? I watched the other night while a woman...who condemned the teams' "treatment of women" last Spring, humiliated a young waitress who had no recourse other than to endure her. Her own "treatment of women," rolling once so righteously from her lips... might need some tweaking as well. Of course, she...like some of you...might never see any similarity. You embrace the larger themes, talk the talk, and live as you wish. Bonami, what qualifies YOU to cast the first stone?
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You are losing whatever validity or sympathy you once had. You are so dismayed that the Hoax is imploding, that you have to re-run your tired mantra again and again. You do yourself or your causes no favor. Considering what the boys and their families have endured, and the terrible behavior of many in the media, just like YOU, you'd think you'd show some compassion, some restraint, some shame of your own, for the egregious media rush to judgment. The "quality of mercy" enhances him that gives and him that takes. Pomposity is a real put-off.
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So let's say this one last time.
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Sorry about the party. Truly sorry about the "cotton shirt" comment.
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But that's all you have. These are good kids.
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And they've suffered enough.
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Your hatred of them is obscene.
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You're on overkill.
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It is time to move on.
Joan Foster

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW! Great post.

Anonymous said...

What more can be said? You have put it all forward in a masterful way. Thank you, Joan.

Anonymous said...

Joan - You're a great essayist. You said something that I didn't know was bothering me. I'm so tired of the LAX team being held accountable for drinking and hiring strippers and the stripper not being held accountable for drinking and stripping. Furhter, the stripper is the adult mother of children. Enough.

Anonymous said...

Again, Joan, you say it all. When will it end????

bill anderson said...

Excellent, Joan!

There are a lot of people who should "go to their room." Nifong and his people should go to their room -- in the crowbar motel! And Bomani Jones needs to stay in his room permanently.

bill anderson said...

Let me add that the "cotton shirt" comment came right from some of Chris Rock's shtick. In other words, they were repeating what a black man has used for humor.

Indeed, this "racial slurs" bit is too much. Listen to a typical rap "song" if you want to hear the glorification of rape, mysogny, murder, and, yes, racial slurs.

Anonymous said...

And really, if using a "racial epithet" was a crime, most of us would have wound up in jail at some time or another. This entire argument is just disengenuous

Anonymous said...

And both Kim also stated the racist remark did not come from the 3 indicted young men. Reade and Colin did not host the party. All they did was show up at a party their team was having. There is no evidence that the 3 indicted young men were even drinking. The taxi cab driver said they were not drunk, obnoxious, anxious. Just hungry and in a good mood as any college student is on the weekend. So what is the crime these boys committed? They can not be responsible for what other people said. The entire world knows no such attack occurred. So what is the crime, why are charges still pending?

Anonymous said...

WOW!! Joan. I wish I could dish it out like that. Remind me not to get in an argument with you.
-QuadDog

Anonymous said...

If you hire someone to come to your house and do work legally - say, a plumber or a painter - and they show up drunk, work for 2 mintues, lock themselves in the bathroom, then leave and take your money, what are you supposed to say to them?

Referencing the origin of a cotton shirt is mild.

There was a theft that occured at that party. The strippers stole from the boys.

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me who Joan is?
(Besides FABULOUS!!!)

Anonymous said...

Terrific. You are dead on. thanks!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!

You made me remember the fights my kids had and (smacks my head here) what you describe is EXACTLY correct.

Your incredible, you should give Whameena (sp) lessons in critical thinking and communication of ideas.


Kethra

Anonymous said...

Joan, you're wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I wrote to Jones yesterday after I read his article. Have not heard back yet. I didn't know he was black when I read the article. Now it all makes sense.
I have asked this question before- has anyone looked into the prior histories of the G88? I am sure at least one of them smoked pot, had a few beers beers while underage, etc.
Funny how Jones does not think stripping and "performing" for a living is a little shady. No problems there!
Enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Joan, you said it best.

Jones, you said it worst.

Anonymous said...

Terrific writing and analysis. You wrote it all. Thanks, but these clowns won't listen. Our only hope is they are tearing their own tin foil.

Anonymous said...

Just goggled this Jones guy - see that picture? Look at the eyes. Only in America would he have a forum. Gteat Post.

gs said...

Send Jones picture, in the coat to PETA.
That will teach him.

Anonymous said...

...as he backs up the PETA-ism fans.

Anonymous said...

just like with racism in general, you white people have decided you are tired of hearing about racist actions and misbehavior and therefore other people should just stop talking about it. well too bad; we are going to call you, bush and the lax team and anyone else on their racist bs! the team behaved deplorably that night. There was more than one exchange of racial epithets(bissey said so) and they told the girls to sodomize themselves and then the alleged assault, etc and then the vile email you all have bent over backwards to pretend is normal rather than sexually sadistic. the cotton shirt comment was not mild; the person saying it was trying to reduce the girls to the slavery time level and by that I mean he was alluding to the fact that slaves could not speak out againist mistreatment. That was a particularly vile taunt and anyone who says otherwise is in some major league denial about white racism and how racist that crap is.As far as overkill, the only overkill being used is by the defense and the families of the duke 3.

Anonymous said...

"just like with racism in general, you white people have decided you are tired of hearing about racist actions and misbehavior and therefore other people should just stop talking about it. well too bad; we are going to call you, bush and the lax team and anyone else on their racist bs!"
Now it is President Bush TOO!!! Kayne West is that you??!!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW! Write about "overkill" and 5:56 jumps on the flypaper and proves the point.

Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Wow.5:56 AM is the best parody since Swift wrote about eating Irish infants.(er-it can't be serious ,can it?)

Guy Fox said...

Brilliant post. It reminded me of my childhood with my brother, and the fights that would invariably result. Many years later (and hundreds of miles apart), we're good friends now. :) Again, brilliant.

Anonymous said...

5:56 No, you people can talk, shout, publish whatever you want. I have no interest in closing you down. Like others. I am not listening any more. The black community and the liberal left showed its true colors by not calling for justice. Had the evidence been there, most whites would have called for justice no matter the color of the accused or accuser. In the words of Rhett Butler "Frankly my dear, I don't give a d***. Here in Vegas, we have gone through an NBA All Star fan weekend. What an experience.

Anonymous said...

"just like with racism in general, you white people have decided you are tired of hearing about racist actions and misbehavior and therefore other people should just stop talking about it. well too bad; we are going to call you, bush and the lax team and anyone else on their racist bs! the team behaved deplorably that night. There was more than one exchange of racial epithets(bissey said so) and they told the girls to sodomize themselves and then the alleged assault, etc and then the vile email you all have bent over backwards to pretend is normal rather than sexually sadistic. the cotton shirt comment was not mild; the person saying it was trying to reduce the girls to the slavery time level and by that I mean he was alluding to the fact that slaves could not speak out againist mistreatment. That was a particularly vile taunt and anyone who says otherwise is in some major league denial about white racism and how racist that crap is.As far as overkill, the only overkill being used is by the defense and the families of the duke 3."

Houston Baker is that you?

Remember the report prepared by James Coleman? After an investigation he concluded the team were responsible student athletes. He's a black law professor at Duke. Devon Sherwood said the team had no history of racist behavior. He is a black member of the lacrosse team.

How about listening to those who have firsthand knowledge and evidence as opposed to speculation?

The racists are Houston Baker, Mark Anthony Neal, Karla Holloway, Wahneema Lubiano, and their ilk.

Once the rape charges fell apart the detractors needed another reason to chastise the players.

The bottom line is that these charges are false. I can only hope that those who are busy casting stones are never falsely accused.

Joan Foster has written an excellent piece that puts the racial aspect of the case into perpective. Thank you for that Joan.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I can only hope that those who are busy casting stones are never fasely accused.

Anonymous said...

. . . yooou white people? My goodness. . . you people need to calm down . . . somewhat.

Anonymous said...

Bissey said he heard the Grandpa remark. He never claimed to hear another. He also said that Kin was driving off when the remark was made - probably did not hear it. You will have to buy gangsta rap and hip-hop to hear the good racial comment made on blacks. BTW, why do black women put up with this trash>

Anonymous said...

JOAN FOSTER IS a fucking sexist bitch. It really angers me to have to read your humiliation of your son. So your daughters had the run of the house and could do whatever they wanted, while your son had to be on very best behavior or be banished to his room. Would you be so blatent about banishing a daughter to her room? Report on that, babe. Or was a precious daughter never banished? It should have been obvious that the sealed record was not to be opened. The unsealing was an attack.

Brian said...

Joan, looks like your son (2:01) really hasn't gotten over it.