How the media talked about a dead teenager, fifty years ago last month:
The shooting occurred at 9:20 A.M. outside a six-story white brick apartment house at 215 East 76th Street, opposite the Senator Robert F. Wagner Junior High School, where summer school classes were in progress
The dead boy was James Powell, a student at the school, who lived at 1686 Randall Avenue, the Bronx. The police said the youth had been shot twice, in the right hand and in the abdomen, by Lieut. Thomas Gilligan of Brooklyn's 14th Division.
The trouble began when Patrick Lynch, superintendent of the building at 215 East 76th Street, sprayed water on [...]
Despite his status as a former Nickelodeon star and 10-year "Saturday Night Live" veteran, Kenan Thompson has never been one to grab news headlines, so it was surprising when he spoke up about SNL’s lack of black female cast members. Unlike Jay Pharoah’s more incendiary call for SNL to "pay attention" to the issue a few weeks prior, Thompson's contribution to the debate was sparse and seemingly reluctant, and his remark that the show "never finds [black women] that are ready" in auditions… did not go over well.
The few times Kenan does make the rounds on the internet, though, I always notice a bigger problem: Those backlashers, [...]
July 26th brought news items reporting two separate incidents of curious holiday gastronomy. First, tourists in the Paracel Islands posted pictures of a meal of Tridacna gigas—endangered giant clams. At the same time, vacationers in Greece snapped photos of themselves hoisting an extraordinarily rare "hexapus," only the second ever recorded, just before killing it and frying it in a nearby pub. Yet only one of these stories was largely used as evidence to feed an expansive and growing set of opinions about an entire nationality and culture.
Of all China's frighteningly fast advances, international travel is, in light of history, maybe its most stunning. Two decades [...]
I'm sorry for vandalizing your schoolhouse.
This happened in 1985, when I was a freshman at Red Bank Regional High School. Red Bank Regional as you know, draws from the towns of Shrewsbury, Red Bank, Union Beach and Little Silver, where I lived. It was fall, not too long after school had started, and we kids from different towns were still getting to know each other. I was on the soccer team with a guy named Scott who lived right across the street from the Shrewsbury elementary school. Scott's mom went out a lot, and his red-walled kitchen became a place where groups of 14 year olds would gather to [...]
You know I love me some cultural studies wonkery. And yet sometimes it goes a bit off the rails! The incredibly esteemed Joseph Massad, of Columbia, may maintain a tricky position against the creation of "the homosexual" as a class in the "Arab world" (quite complicated backstory here, but, for a less nuanced take, "gayness as identity is Western and therefore colonialist, so we shouldn't support people there who choose to identify as gay even when they are, you know, getting murdered by state actors"), but his work overall is brilliant.
But also he is now revealed as the least fun TV critic OF ALL TIME, as [...]
"Many locals will flee," said the newspaper beforehand. "Some business owners blamed the police tactics for a precipitous drop in crowds and income this weekend," said the newspaper afterward. That's right: white people fled in droves in the face of the arrival of some 200,000 black people for Urban Beach Weekend in Miami Beach—and so the non-beach-side downtown was a ghost town. Like the far end of Lincoln Road Mall, with nobody on the street (and parking everywhere!).