I want to set the record straight about why I am passionate about a controversial issue that often leads to criticism and questions.
Last night on “The Scoot Show,” I talked briefly about the controversy over comments made by 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver. During Media Day in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Tuesday, Culliver was asked if there were any gay players on the 49ers team by comedian Artie Lange. Culliver said, “We ain’t got no gay people on the team. They gotta get outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff.” When asked if a gay player should keep his orientation a secret, Culliver said that gay players should not come out of the closet until 10 years after they play in the NFL!
Yesterday, the 49ers immediately issued a statement denouncing those comments and stated that the organization does not tolerate discrimination on any level. Late yesterday, Culliver issued a statement apologizing for the comments and said it wasn’t until he saw what he said in writing that he realized how ugly and hurtful his comments were. Today, Culliver appeared very remorseful and said he barely slept last night.
That was a story from Super Bowl week in New Orleans that was getting a lot of attention and on my show I talk about things people are talking and thinking about. In the past few years one of the big controversies in the news has been the battle over same-sex marriage.
After talking about Culliver’s comments last night, I received a text on the air from a listener who wanted to know if I was gay, since I often talk about gay issues. When I talk about gay-related issues, it is because those are issues in the news sparked by individuals or groups with agendas on both sides. I do not look for reasons to talk about “gay issues.”
Not that it should matter, but I am not gay and by saying that I am NOT insulting gays and lesbians. To quote Lady Gaga, “Baby, I was born this way,” and I assume you were also born with your sexual orientation.
So, if I support same-sex marriage, why ask if I’m gay? In all the times I have received similar texts from listeners it did not occur to me how ridiculous that question is – until last night! I constantly denounce racism. Some people don’t know what I look like – why am I not asked if I am black? I support President Obama’s plan for a moratorium on deporting many illegal immigrants – a plan many Republicans are now behind. Why am I never asked if I’m Hispanic? I support the 2nd Amendment – but I’m never asked if I’m a gun collector or a hunter. I oppose discrimination against the building of Mosques in America – why am I not asked if I’m Muslim?
The one thing I try not to be is hypocritical. I’m consistent on most issues. It’s obvious that I oppose discrimination against individuals and groups, even though I may not be able to personally relate to specific victims of discrimination.
If a supporter of the 2nd Amendment doesn’t want the government to control legal behavior concerning guns, then how could that same person support the government intervening in the private sex life of two consenting adults? And, if a gay person wants the government out of their life, then they should support a law-abiding citizen’s right to own a gun.
It may appear as if I have nothing to personally gain from my support of gay marriage or my denouncement of discrimination against blacks, Hispanics or Muslims, but I have a lot to gain – as do you. We should all strive to live in a nation where there is no accepted discrimination of individuals or groups - even if we don’t understand the behavior, habits and rituals of others. Anything short of achieving that goal defies the very principles of the United States of America!
During Super Bowl Week in New Orleans, the conversation continues about how to prevent injuries in the NFL. The union representing NFL players has given a $100 million grant to Harvard University to study how to limit the long-term damage to players from injuries.
As the talk about making the NFL safer for players escalates, prayers are going out for Caleb Moore, a 25-year-old professional snowmobiler, who remains in critical condition in a Colorado hospital following a crash last Thursday during the snowmobile freestyle competition at the Winter X Games in Aspen.
Caleb Moore was performing a Superman Indian Air Backflip that he had pulled off successfully many times, when he landed short on the flip and his 450-pound snowmobile landed on top of him as he slid down the ramp. At first it was believed Moore suffered only a concussion, but emergency surgery revealed that he also had brain and heart trauma. Moore’s grandfather said, “Caleb is not doing good at all.” Charles Moore continued, “It’s almost certain he’s not going to make it.”
Whether it is the violent nature of the NFL or the possibility of crashes at the Winter X Games, there will always be an inherit danger in most sports. In fact, it is the inherit danger that makes sports so compelling to watch.
We should all support any measures taken to reduce serious injuries in sports, but we should not be so naïve as to think we can somehow remove the element of danger from sports. When highly-conditioned 200 lb.+ athletes collide at top speed, there will never be a guarantee that a serious injury might not occur. As snowmobilers, snowboarders and skiers continue to gain altitude as they launch off of jumps, there will always be the possibility of serious injuries.
After the tragic shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the call for new gun control laws has been accompanied with an unrealistic idea – we must act to ensure that this never happens again! The truth is that as long as humans are imperfect beings the possibility of danger will forever be part of the equation of life.
Studies can lead to reducing danger, but never eliminate the inherit danger in sports - and in life.
The media treatment of the two quarterbacks in Super Bowl 47 reveals a lot about America. San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick is a hot new phenomenon in the NFL with sex appeal, an outgoing personality and tattoos! Ravens QB Joe Flacco, who has led the Ravens to last three AFC Championship games, is dull (according to Flacco’s dad), but quietly and precisely wins games. Yet the media give the newcomer, Kaepernick, what might be considered a disproportionate amount of attention.
As I watched what I would describe as a somewhat ‘uncomfortable’ Joe Flacco answering questions from his perch on the podium at Super Bowl Media Day in the Superdome today, I was again reminded that with all the criticism there is of the “bad boys” of sports, we love them!
As the 49ers continued to win and became one of the teams that could make it to the Super Bowl this year, the media focus on their young, unorthodox QB Colin Kaepernick intensified. There was criticism of Kaepernick’s tattoos, which cover both arms. For many, it is inappropriate and detrimental to the game to have a QB with visible tattoos. Younger generations of players continue to define the NFL. There was a time when long hair flowing out of helmets would have been considered heresy in a league where players wore crew cuts and reflected a clean-cut generation. This is not your grandfather’s NFL! “The times they are a changing’” - and so is the NFL.
I have been paying attention Joe Flacco’s performance this season and the obvious lack of media attention. In many ways, Flacco’s personality reminds me of Drew Brees. But Brees is not only one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, but his rise to NFL stardom coincided with a beloved American city’s incredible comeback story after the devastation of Katrina. Locally, and also nationally, fans developed an emotional bond with Brees. I am not directly comparing Flacco to Brees on the field, but Flacco has been one of the top performing QBs in the NFL and has the top passer rating in post-season play this year. Last year, Drew Brees was #1.
I often talk about the reality that news is entertainment. If that’s the case, then sports is certainly entertainment. Bizarre behavior, an edgy look, a flamboyant dance in the end zone are all the things that propel athletes into a brighter media spotlight.
Dennis Rodman, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and in his day, Bears QB Jim McMahon were all examples of the “bad boys” of sports. While all were very talented in the game, it was clearly their persona off the field that made them all media giants. I am not suggesting that we don’t recognize athletes who are gifted, but the difference in the media spotlight on Flacco and Kaepernick at Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans exemplifies America’s infatuation with flamboyant athletes.
Today at Media Day, Joe Flacco said he doesn’t care if people “like me or don’t like me.” If we win the Super Bowl we’ll have the trophy to hold up. We may pay more attention to the bizarre individuals in our society, but we should always pay attention and respect those in sports, and in life, who quietly do their jobs with great precision.
The only way to be a credible talk show host is to express honest opinions regardless of reaction. The amount of hypocrisy coming from many popular talk show hosts indicates more respect for divisive sensationalism and ratings than for honesty.
With nothing to lose, I continue to strive toward adhering to my honest opinions rather than reduce myself to the level of talk show prostitute.
Today, some prominent Republican senators joined Democrats for a press conference to announce the blueprint for a compromise on undocumented immigrants in America. This compromise on immigration is the result of the continuing autopsy on the Republican Party following the loss to President Obama in November. The loss was shocking because the republican candidate lost at a time when the incumbent was running for reelection during a down economy, when unemployment was high and his major accomplishment was an unpopular heath care reform plan.
As I witness the loud call for post-mortem changes in the Republican Party, I can’t help but think that the party is now reading my blogs and listening to some of the shows I did before the election. I expressed opinions about the mistakes the Republican Party was making during the campaign when it came to immigration, abortion-rape and same-sex marriage and how focusing on social issues and the elite in America were out of step with mainstream America. My opinions, which are now being expressed by prominent republicans, were criticized by many conservative listeners. If “The Scoot Show” was so out-of-step with America, why then is there now an echo of changes expressed before the election?
Being ‘conservative’ means opposing change, but change is the basis of everything and change among a population is inevitable. It’s worth exposing the motive for change. Republicans now seem open to changes in America’s immigration policy that are similar to the changes proposed by President Obama. Those changes were vehemently denounced by conservatives. If the motive for change is for the purpose of securing more votes from the Hispanic community, then democrats could point out that the Republican Party is changing, not because it believes it is the right and humane thing to do, but for the business of getting votes.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) told a crowd at a republican retreat in North Carolina recently that, “We need to stop being the stupid party!” Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour agreed.
As long as the Republican Party is driven by a far-right ideology and the continues to have the image of favoritism toward the elite, the party will be out-of-touch with mainstream America and struggle to gain victories during the mid-term elections in 2014 and struggle to win the White House in 2016.
And if I’m wrong, why are many prominent republicans now agreeing with observations I made before the presidential election? For those who thought that I should not be expressing opinions that differed from the majority of the population in a ‘red’ state – I remind you that Rush Limbaugh started his conservative talk show in a ‘blue’ state.
Mardi Gras parades roll through New Orleans this weekend as the countdown to Super Bowl 2013 begins! New Orleans is an exciting city on any weekend, but from now through Mardi Gras Day, Tuesday, February 12th, this city will be the nexus of the party universe!
As individual events, the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras transform our city into a media mecca, but this year with Super Bowl Week surrounded by Mardi Gras festivities, New Orleans is about the step into one of the brightest national spotlights in history.
With all the attention and expectations, the pressure is on and New Orleans is not only ready for it, but we will once again rise to the challenge of promoting our city as one of America’s most outstanding cities. New Orleans is like the team that gets to the championship game and having won championship games in the past, we will win this championship, too. We have the right players, the right coaching and the right fans to demonstrate why New Orleans is the envy of America!
Imagine watching the Super Bowl and the Mardi Gras activities from another city. Wouldn’t you want to be here? Well, we are here! Even if you don’t have tickets to the Super Bowl or any of the official parties and even though parking is an issue, you should come downtown and experience all the physical signs that the nation is watching us.
It continues to amaze me that many people in the suburbs and near-by areas make a concerted effort to never come into the city. When I think of how many people travel across the country and even around the world to visit New Orleans every year, why would some people not take the time and effort to come to New Orleans from just outside of the city?
New Orleans has its problems and we can never stop addressing those problems, but this is one of the world’s most unique cities. The history, architecture, food and the people create an atmosphere that cannot be reduced to words – it must be ‘experienced’.
This moment in 2013 when the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras line up together is akin to those special astronomical moments when the planets align. And certain alignments of the planets are known to affect the Universe. Right now, New Orleans is the center of the Universe. So let’s get this party started!
The Pentagon has dropped its policy of excluding women from combat. If a woman meets the standards for a combat role, what justification would there be to prevent her from being in combat? The only thing I can think of is sexism.
Considering the advancement in equality of the over the decades, why has it taken so long for the United States to open combat roles to women? In his books “He: the Study of Masculine Psychology” and “She: the Study of Feminine Psychology” psychologist Robert Johnson argued that regardless of the evolution and socialization of humans, we will always intrinsically be male and female. His belief is that we can never completely shed ourselves of our natural masculine and feminine instincts.
The masculine instinct to ‘protect’ women is innate. It is not simply the manifestation of a male-dominated society. Rather, our male-dominated society is the result of the masculine instinct. Over time, humans have learned to adjust certain instincts to better fit the social and practical evolution of our species.
The idea of shielding women in the military from combat roles is inspired by a basic human instinct. However, as our civilization advances we gain the practical understanding that some instincts are no longer needed for the survival of our species.
There is no question that many women are mentally and physically more fit for combat roles than many men. In the context of society today, the exclusion of women from such roles is unfair and detrimental to the evolution of our species.
Though I have just presented the case for accepting women in combat roles in the military, I do think that there is nothing wrong with accepting the reality that men and women are different and we should be allowed to respect the need for all-male and all-female bonding, like a football team or a women’s organization.
Men who reject the changes that result from equal competition in the military or in the business world may be reacting to a threat they feel from women. We should all want the best person for the combat role to be in that honorable position of protecting our nation and our freedoms – whether male or female.
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, the ruling that declared abortion legal in America based on an individual’s right to privacy. The battle to end legal abortion has, so far, failed.
A new survey shows that a majority of Americans do not think Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Why has the pro-life movement failed? Is it because the idea of ‘right to privacy’ is so important in America that someone can agree with that basic right, but not always agree with the actions resulting from that right? Can a person be pro-choice and against abortion?
The passions on both sides of this issue are intense. The pro-life movement argues that even though Americans have a right to privacy, no one has a right to take another life. The challenge of the movement should be to convince America that the ‘life’ that begins at conception is protected by law.
According to the Supreme Court ruling, a fetus is not protected by the law until about the 7th month or when the fetus can live independent of the mother’s body. There is a growing effort to pass legislation that defines a fetus as a person and is therefore protected by law, but that effort has not been successful nationally. Not yet.
The pro-life movement experiences setbacks every time a politician says something ridiculous about abortion. In the election this past November, several ignorant comments were made about rape and abortion and that enhanced the image that the Republican Party does not care as much about women as Democrats. Obama won the female vote by 11% points over Romney and about 53% of the voters were women.
The debate over abortion may never end. I think the pro-life movement would gain credibility if it would focus as much attention protesting unprotected sex as it does legal abortion. If more were done to promote ‘no sex’ or ‘responsible sex’ then the abortion rate should decrease dramatically.
So why isn’t that the equal focus of the pro-life movement – because that strategy is not as dramatic and compelling to the media.
Today is Inauguration Day in America! Despite our deep political divide, this is a moment when we should all celebrate being an American. But, that’s impossible for many Americans.
Today, the world watched as we once again changed or renewed power with a peaceful transition. For all of the things that are not right about this country, an inauguration is one of the things that is right about America.
On Inauguration Day, presidents make lofty speeches with grand optimism and promise for our future. But no one should be naïve to believe that political fighting will not resume the following day. Often a good message is lost because of the messenger. For those Americans who dislike President Obama and who have bought into the hysteria that this country is on the verge of becoming a socialist nation, that our guns will be taken away and that America is shying away from its role as a dominant world leader, a good message will be blocked by a shield of contempt for the messenger – President Obama. Likewise, when President Bush gave his inaugural speech with similar ambitious goals of Americans working together to make our country even greater, that message was lost to those who believed that George W. Bush was not qualified to be our president or that he was not legally our president.
Many citizens of this country will attentively watch the “pomp and circumstance” of a Royal event in London with great respect for history, but will refuse to show the same respect for the historical inauguration of our President. I hope students in schools across this country watched the inauguration today and were also enlightened about the significance of the event.
In 1993, I did my talk show on WWL live from Washington, D.C. for the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton. At the time Clinton was elected, in our “red” state, there were predictions that President George H.W. Bush should have been re-elected and that Clinton would ruin America. The contempt for Clinton was palpable. With awareness of that contempt, I went to Washington for that Inauguration Day and quickly came to the realization that the concerns for America, as a nation, were unfounded.
As I experienced the “pomp and circumstance” of an Inauguration Day, I was blessed with the sense that even though America is a very young nation relative to the nations around the world, we were solid and strong enough and there were enough checks and balances in place so that no one sitting president could ruin our country. And I still have that feeling today.
I often talk about the hysteria of the political debate and the dire predictions of America’s fate under a particular president. We have survived and we will continue to survive, even those presidents that some Americas believe are lethal to our country.
There are too few moments when we can come together as one nation under God and see each other as Americans and not conservatives or liberals – today is one of those days.
The indictment of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin may be the last chapter in the post-Katrina era of the city, but since the writing of this final chapter is just beginning, the people of New Orleans will be forced to relive the painful memories of worst time in this city’s modern history.
Many have already made up their minds about Nagin’s guilt or innocence. While the city may have initially empathized with Mayor Nagin in the horrible aftermath of Katrina and even applauded his ‘demand’ that President Bush and the federal government get off their asses and come give the people of New Orleans they help they need, it wasn’t long before the monumental task of saving New Orleans seemed to be greater than the mayor’s ability.
Clancy Dubos, WWL-TV Political Analyst and publisher of Gambit, spoke of a moment when Nagin appeared to be overwhelmed when he leaned against a wall and said that he didn’t ‘sign up for this’. This afternoon on WWL-TV, Dubos said that’s exactly what a mayor, a governor or a president ‘signs up for’. By running for office and taking an oath of office, political leaders ‘sign up for’ anything that happens to a city, a state or our country – including hurricanes.
The charges against Nagin are serious and if convicted, Nagin could spend a long time in prison. The indictments include Nagin using the mayor’s office to bribe some people who were doing business with the city. According to the indictments, Nagin and his granite company received tens of thousands of dollars and inventory in exchange for city contracts.
This is the first time in history that a New Orleans mayor has been indicted on these charges, which makes this a historic, but very unfortunate moment for the city. And as we approach the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, the eyes of the nation are already focused on New Orleans. Anything that happens during this period of high visibility will be amplified because of the national stage upon which this city now sits.
Nagin is innocent until proven guilty and we must remember that fact. It may be unfair, but it’s human nature to initially judge a person by the charges against them. Common sense might tell you that the U.S. Attorney’s office would not have come forward with the indictments unless there was certainty of conviction, but we have all seen cases that seemed like a ‘slam-dunk’ for the prosecution that ended with an acquittal.
When elected officials or former elected officials are charged with using their office and power for personal gain, we all experience a collective state of nausea. We are sickened by what appears to be narcissist leaders who essential steal from the peasants as they sit on their mighty thrones.
But let’s remember that the very office that has investigated the activities of former Mayor Ray Nagin has also faced its own disgrace. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten resigned following an investigation of inappropriate activity in his office and the final verdict may still be out. Officially, Letten resigned to open a new chapter in his life, but questions remain. All of this puts us, the citizens, in a position of wondering - who can we trust.
This is a moment for all of us to challenge ourselves to resist the temptation of illegally benefiting through a position of power at the expense of those with little or no power. Would you be able to resist large amounts of money given to you secretly?
Greed is powerful and inspires some to ignore what is morally right. As a husband and a father, Ray Nagin has not only jeopardized his image and career, but also the credibility of his wife and sons. As parents we hopefully consider our families whenever we are tempted in the Garden of Evil!
It has now been revealed that Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o’s dead girlfriend never existed. It all seems so confusing. Was Te’o the victim of a cruel hoax as he has said publicly, or was he somehow involved in perpetrating the hoax? And then the big question – why? I’m confused because I have yet to figure out who would benefit from the story of a star football player’s girlfriend who died from leukemia, but never existed.
This story quickly became a national phenomenon. As we hear more about this bizarre story we find ourselves perplexed and wondering why it happened and what was the motive.
Here’s what we’ve heard:
Manti Te’o talked about Lennay Kekua, who he said he met online and how much she meant to him.
Te’o’s father said that she had visited his son in Hawaii and he expected that the two would get married.
It was announced that Lennay died from leukemia, either hours before, soon after or days after his grandmother died. Why wouldn’t he remember the date the person he referred to as the “love” of his life died?
Te’o released a statement saying that he was the target of “what was apparentlysomeone’s sick joke and constant lies” and that this has all been “painful andhumiliating.”
Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick held a press conference last night and said that Te’o never actually met Lennay and that their relationship with only via the Internet and the phone. Notre Dame Officials hired a private investigator to look into the matter.
In October, a month after Lennay allegedly died, Sports Illustrated wrote that Te’o had a nightly ritual of falling asleep on the phone while talking to her and when he woke up his phone showed an 8-hour call between the two.
Teammates and friends describe Manti Te’o and a very trusting person.
That is what was known at the time of writing this blog, but the nature of this story leads me to believe that more will be coming out.
I find myself believing Manti Te’o one moment and then realizing that there are a few inconsistencies that make me think he must have been involved. But then I’m back the big question – why???
In my life, I have been the victim of girls/women who have pretended to like me, but I learned they were not sincere. I know what that feels like and it does happen. And I’m sure there are women who can talk about how a guy has done that to them, too.
I also think about how easy it is to use the Internet to deceive people in many ways, including emotionally, for their own amusement. Even if Te’o was involved, this story serves to remind us that much of what we see and read online is not true.
Through the years we have all come to respect the written word from newspapers, magazines and books, but the Internet offers a medium that invites reckless words and ideas. As a talk show host, I hear many callers support their arguments with information they found on the Internet and since it fits what they want to believe they present the information as ‘gospel’.
The Internet allows you to be your own editor and false facts and ridiculous theories are presented and accepted as the truth. And then I hear, “But I saw a video on YouTube!” It no longer takes a professional to produce any kind of video that can be uploaded to YouTube as an accurate video display of real life.
We don’t know whether Manti Te’o was the innocent victim of a hurtful hoax or if he was for some unknown reason involved in the hoax. But since this kind of deception on the Internet is a real possibility, maybe the first lesson we learn from this is that we should not believe everything we see or read online.
Audiences have some responsibility to accept entertainment as just that – entertainment.
If it’s against the law to falsely shout “Fire!” in a crowded place for fear of causing panic, it should also be illegal to shout “Gun control!”
Gun purchases skyrocketed immediately following the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and brisk gun sales continue. Why? Following high-profile public shootings there is instant propaganda about the government preparing to take guns away from every American. Yet, in all the years I have been on the radio and through all the episodes when some Americans promoted the idea that the government was ‘coming to get your guns’, there has never been any successful government-backed initiative to take guns away from Americans.
At his news conference Monday, President Obama spoke about the fear that is perpetrated about losing Second Amendment rights and he reassured Americans that responsible gun owners have “nothing to worry about.”
The President, along with many Democrats and Republicans are now supporting serious talks about new measures that could be seen as a way to curb gun violence. Obama and others have talked about closing loopholes in purchasing guns without a background check at gun shows, restoring an assault weapons ban and limiting the size of magazines.
Why should anyone with a criminal record be allowed to go to a gun show and purchase a gun without a background check? Under the assault weapons ban that was in effect for 10 years and expired in 2009, responsible gun owners did not lose their Second Amendment rights. And if any gun owner is truly interested in owning guns for sport, protection or as collectibles, why would there be a need for a magazine that allows an individual to fire off a vast number of rounds in an instant?
Congressman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is planning to introduce legislation that would stop the granting of legal immunity for gun manufacturers and dealers. If we hold auto manufacturers and the producers of other products libel for the products they produce, then how could there be any argument opposing the same treatment for gun manufacturers and dealers?
All of the aforementioned come changes in gun ownership fall under the heading of “Gun Control,” but none of them include the idea that the government is coming to ‘get your guns’. Opposition to any change in the rules concerning responsible gun ownership discredits all those who respect the Second Amendment.
The truth is – not everyone should own a gun. In the news locally, a 48-year-old man was arrested Friday afternoon for shooting a man in his car on Terry Parkway on the West Bank following a road rage incident. I’m sure that guy would have been quick to call a radio talk show and defend his Second Amendment rights. With every right comes responsibility – and that goes for ALL gun owners in America.
Think about who benefits every time hysterical propaganda is spread about Americans losing their right to own a gun – gun manufacturers, gun retailers and the NRA. They all want your money.
When I lived in Denver and occasionally drove to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I would pass a curious site. Once off I-25 heading to Santa Fe, in the middle of total isolation on a two-lane highway, I would pass an NRA compound. Directly across the street from the compound was an airstrip and a private jet. NRA members are paying for executives to lead a lavish lifestyle. Why wouldn’t the NRA want to promote the fear that Americans are about to lose their right to own guns?
I wonder if the NRA, gun manufacturers and gun retailers care as much about the Second Amendment as they do their profits!
If you didn’t know about the role Osama bin Laden played in the course of our recent history, then much of the new movie “Zero Dark Thirty” would be very boring. The movie covered the years the United States tracked bin Laden as investigators finally put together information that led a few in the CIA to believe they finally knew his location. But as an audience member, investing in the build-up to the raid is worth every moment!
The recreation of the raid to kill bin Laden is riveting and I felt somewhat exhausted after the raid was over! The movie was profound and at the end I was reminded how proud we all should be to be Americans.
There has been controversy leading up to the release of “Zero Dark Thirty.” The original release was set for close to the presidential election in November. Nationwide release was Friday, January 11, 2013. Many were critical of a movie about a positive high point in Obama’s first term being released shortly before the election. The release of the movie was delayed. For the purpose of Oscar eligibility the movie was released in select cities before the end of 2012. Nationwide release was Friday, January 11, 2013.
Senator John McCain (R – AZ) and others have been critical of the torture scenes and Congressman Pete King (R – NY) and others have criticized the Obama Administration for allegedly sharing classified information with the producers of the movie.
The killing of Osama bin Laden has been a major accomplishment of the Obama Administration.
After seeing the movie I get the sense that the criticism and controversy about this movie are politically motivated. The interrogation (torture) scenes in the beginning of the movie are very intense, but there is a humane aspect of the process that finally leads to getting viable information from the detainee. It’s important to note that some critics say the torture scenes are done with “dramatic license,” and that there’s no evidence that torture actually led to usable information in the real-life hunt for bin Laden.
Hollywood is often criticized for its “liberal agenda,” but in “Zero Dark Thirty” Hollywood did not take advantage of an obvious opportunity to tout the killing of Osama bin Laden as a major accomplishment of President Obama. With the exception of actual news video of Obama in one brief scene, the movie does not focus on President and any role he played as Commander-in-Chief.
The movie did show a very humane side of the American SEAL Team that killed bin Laden - how accurate those scenes are may be debated. In the movie, our soldiers took great care to avoid hurting the children in the compound. I do have one question that I have not heard answered. According to the movie there was at least one military dog on the raid. Did the dog make it back?
The use of hand-held cameras and the visual tone of the film projected the feeling that you were watching a documentary. The use of actual news video and audio further shed a realistic light on the movie. While “Zero Dark Thirty” is “based on first-hand accounts of actual events, I think we can all be certain that it may not be completely accurate. There is always criticism of movies that are based on fact but do not always follow the facts precisely.
There is precedent for movie-makers to take ‘creative license’ with history. As movie-goers, we should never go to a movie and expect a history lesson. Are we so lazy that we can’t take the time to read and check on actual history? Do you think those who produce movies have a responsibility to deliver actual history? We go to movies to be entertained and history consistently provides compelling story lines for entertainment. It should never be the responsibility of movie-makers to educate us – their responsibility is to entertain us!
If the hunt for, and the raid to kill, Osama bin Laden is interesting to you, then go see “Zero Dark Thirty.” But remember: it’s a movie, not a history lesson. And make sure you go to the bathroom or get a snack before the raid begins – you don’t want to miss a moment of it!
PORTLAND, OREGON: As I sit at breakfast in Portland this morning, I couldn’t decide if this is like being in another country or if living in New Orleans is like living in another country! Since I lived here and did a talk radio show here for two years, I was surprised that I felt like I was in a foreign place – and not in a negative way.
Portland is different. The attitudes, the styles and the physical surroundings are as distant from New Orleans as the miles that separate the two cities. This trip has reminded me that we live in a country on a planet that offers wonderful visual and cultural diversity.
It’s natural to compare a place where you have lived with the place where you currently live, but the instinctive comparisons have led me a comforting conclusion. There is a type of courtesy among wait staff and hourly employees in this part of the country that is admirable. However, I instantly think of the unique style of courtesy we have in New Orleans. Only in New Orleans do you hear from an unfamiliar waitress say, “What can I get you, baby?” or “Are you doing alright honey?”
There are always things we can learn from other parts of the country and I have always promoted the idea that just because we do something one way in New Orleans is not mean it’s the best way.
I consider myself blessed because I am from the incredible city of New Orleans, but I have had the opportunity to live and work in many great cities around this amazing country we live in. From Seattle I moved to Portland and spent about four years in the Pacific Northwest. This is a beautiful part of America. (At the end of this blog there is a picture of me at Multnomah Falls, which is about 30 mins. outside of Portland in the Cascades and a picture of where I am writing this blog – in a restaurant that is built like a log cabin!) But I remember when I was living here I would see scenes on TV or in movies of the bayou, the cypress trees in the swamp and the French Quarter and miss the natural and historic beauty of my home – New Orleans!
Experiencing different parts of the country reminds us that America is a wonderfully diverse country, both geographically and emotionally. I love the perspective of this land that God has blessed me with.
Later this month, my son and his girlfriend will be coming to New Orleans and it will be her first trip to the city. We have been talking about all the unique things about New Orleans and I love bragging about my city. We all enjoy being in the company of those who are experiencing New Orleans for the first time!
It has been great to visit my son and one of the places that was my home for a brief part of my radio career, but even as I sit here in this beautiful part of America, I am thinking about my apartment in downtown New Orleans – the view, the location, the people and the historic beauty. I also think about how the sensation of living in New Orleans cannot always be reduced to words – it is something that must be experienced!
While I can appreciate many different parts of this country, I repeat the words I learned as a kid watching “The Wizard of Oz” – “There’s no place like home!” I’ll be back on the air Wednesday night!