Rice, Sterling, TMZ and Remembering Kent State

Sep 09 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

One of the current thoughts in the twittersphere is that everytime you show the video of Janay Rice you are making her relive the incident. That you give power to the abuse. That publicizing it is voyeurism. That it was as bad as looking at the invasive naked pix that were stolen and posted.

Then this tweet got me thinking:

(h/t drugmonkey)

It made something nebulous in my head coalesce about this situation. Yup, if not for TMZ and twitter, Ray Rice would likely still be a Raven. Donald Sterling would still be doing and saying whatever occurred in his executive-function-less brain. There is a power here, for good and for bad, and yes we've all seen the examples of both.

I was going to add to that list "that Ferguson would  not be a place we know or a source of change".  And that got me thinking about the late 60's/early 70s.

In 1970 Young Potnia was starting high school. I absorbed the newspapers and Newsweek magazine and was taking a computer class with a machine that was as big as a car and a little less powerful than the chip in a greeting card that flashes a red light when you push the clown's nose.

When the students got shot at Kent State (5/4/1970) there was no twitter or internet. But the country erupted. This picture was everywhere. It affected me profoundly.

220px-Kent_State_massacre

 

I look at this picture, and I am back to being a teenager and filled with horror. [Brief Aside:  I was at Kent State over this past summer and visited the memorial. It is moving. And worth seeing.]

The youth of the  country mobilized, without twitter and the internet. From Wikipedia:

Shortly after the shootings took place, the Urban Institute conducted a national study that concluded the Kent State shooting was the single factor causing the only nationwide student strike in U.S. history; over 4 million students protested and over 900 American colleges and universities closed during the student strikes. 

There are many, including Nixon's advisors, who believe that Kent State was the prelude to the end. That his paranoia and response led to Watergate, the end of the Vietnam War, and most of all, the use of -gate as a suffix of getting caught at bad things.

It has been pointed out that Kent State happened because it was white kids, and that when black people get shot no one cares. It is my hope that what happened in Ferguson, given that we've got twitter and the internet, will prompt more change in America.  I really don't believe we are so jaded that none of this matters. We've got enough outrage to go around. And remember, everything is a mixed bag. Even TMZ.

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