(I wrote the bulk of this Sunday morning but let it breath for a day before posting. I thought of the relative value of working behind the scenes to get traction on this, or just letting it go completely. Beyond my reaction, let’s keep in mind that there are about 2,000 people who either saw what I saw or saw it otherwise; I would prefer the kids to self-edit over being forced by an arbitrary authority, censorship. Consistent with my copious writings about Sean Berry — and the Gunn graffiti hate crime hoax — its probably better to do too little than too much).
Jerry from Terry’s Aquinas Sunday crowd asked me about my cap: OBEY. I said that Shepherd Fairey is the Warhol of his generation, made a poster for Obama that was cartoon like with a pithy maxim, that none of us could recall just then, and that if he had ever heard of Andre the Giant, that there was also a set of stickers or posters or wheat-pasted messages that said first “obey the giant” and then simply “obey” and that “obey” in the context of my wardrobe probably translates to “dissent” more than “obey” in the way that “cool” can mean “hot’. And this was after trying to explain to the group that I was about to write an essay complaining about how the Palo Alto rooters sang “The Star Spangled Banner” that it did so in an exclusive and not inclusive way, that it was a taunt, and that in arguably was a dishonor and disgrace and not an act of Americanism or Patriotism. Words be tricky. The last thing I want is for the VWF crowd to attack me for attacking the flag. I was also going to go into a riff about how Huck Finn loves Jim even though he calls him “nigger”. Huck thinks he is going to hell for breaking the law, because the law of the land, at the time said Jim was not actually a person, but like I said, Huck thought Jim not just a person but a friend. okeh?*
One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain. (repeat; okeh I and I will: One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain) Bob Marley, “Trenchtown Rock”, circa 1970
Paly, #5 in CCS, beat Gunn, #23 in CCS, 70-51 behind Kevin Mullin’s 21, but that’s almost beside the points.
iv. Woody Guthrie has a lyric about when you get to the sign that says “no trespassing” there is often a verso that does not say that at all. We use that side.
v. These colors don’t run, a bumper sticker slogan about Old Glory, by Betsy Ross.
Run and Gun I think was invented or at least perfected by Bo Kimble and Hank Gathers, at Loyola Marymount circa 1990. In this context, and I will probably delete this from finished version, “these colors don’t run and gun” means that if you are 18 or 17 and want to use our national anthem and our flag as a taunt, against your neighbor, you better at least have read about periods of our history where power used race and class to repress the people, and why that is considered by most of us, today “un-american” (or “neo-Nazi”). I want to make sure the civics teachers at Paly know what they are or aren’t teaching. I am not asking for an intervention, I just want to make sure, for my share of the tax dollar, that these kids realize what they are saying, or how some of us hear it.
This is definitely the whitest slash winningest Paly team in years, that’s firsure. St. Francis is equally white, and probably even stronger! And J. Anthony Lukas, not necessarily writing about Danny Ainge, Larry Bird, John Havlicek and Kevin McHale, described race and class in Boston ingeniously, then 12 years later took his own life. Matt Bowling meanwhile, in 2012 said that in 1924, Palo Alto said “no” to the Ku Klux Klan here, although in 1951, Chief Howard A. Zink “struck out against” — meaning counter-attacked persons responsible for painting in red letters “KKK” at 398 Sheridan Avenue here, the Jerusalem Baptist Church. Chief Dennis Burns meanwhile, or in October, 2014, asked me whether it was the known White Supremacist J_ W_ of nearby Woodside who I call “the drunken German guy” who baited me along anti-Semitic lines at a candidates forum, W_ who Greg Betts, of Community Services Divison, said was disrupting cultural events at Lucie Stern center in recent years. Did J_ W_ suggest that Paly kids use the flag and anthem to taunt Brandynn Williams and dem?
*”hope” — that is the message of the Shepherd Fairey Obama poster.
adendum: in my head at least I re-wrote an article about the three Gunn students, Keplinger Kincheloe and Kramer who put their initials in 50-foot white paint on the side of Spangenberg Auditorium in fall, 1978 and then tried to convince the Blacks Students Union and members thereof – their schoolmates — that they were just making a joke and were forming a different “KKK”. Hundreds of us gathered at brunch in the Bat Cave just out of earshot, watching the body language get increasingly intense; soon enough, chaos and violence. Nobody intervened for a while. Teachers and staff eventually separated the ten or so fights, each pitting black versus white. I can almost recall the name of the guy whose jaw was broken. And of course the three boys live on in infamy. I doubt the Paly kids realize that they are the heirs to this.
My main question: can you get thru two or three years at Paly and not realize that using “Star-Spangled Banner” and Old Glory as taunts gets you compared to: Lester Maddox, David Duke and Daniel Burros?
The leading scorer of the game was not Kevin Mullin of Paly but Alex Gil-Fernandez, with 21: our neighbor, and nephew of Javier and Jessie Gil. He is USA, fellas. He is All-Palo Alto. Maybe that’s his new nickname: Al Palo Alto. I’d even flash to Al-Palo Alto. Here is the scoring line as printed in the Merc although there is some wisdom in not fixating on the names per se:
Gill, 21; Agustin, 2; Davis, 4; Russell, 10; Lee, 2; D.Lee, 14; Dorhard, 1;
Dorward, 6; Rojahn, 19; Grandy, 8; Bicknell, 6; Mullin, 17; Dees, 6; Hull, 4; Svirsky, 5. BTW, same paper reports that Bellarmine beat St. Francis, I spotlight above, 37-36.
My riff about Wendell McKines is that in Jeremy Lin’s last home game, the Paly rooters were in a frenzy as the team routed Richmond, and I thought it remarkable that the visitors’ best player was disqualified for swearing while the home team used at least two arguably ineligible players. I thought: these kids are going to have a strange sense of entitlement.
and1: I don’t get to it here, not by a mile, but this is in consideration of my interest in “Adventures of Huck Finn” which is subject of a new promising book by Andrew Levy, on my list.
Here is PAW version of this:
Palo Alto celebrated its Senior Night with seniors Johnny Rojahn, Kevin Mullin, Alex Dees and Corey Bicknell combining for 48 points in a 71-54 nonleague win over visiting Gunn on Saturday night.
The Vikings improved to 17-4 while the Titans dropped to 14-3.
Rojahn had a solid all-around game with 19 points, six rebounds and five assists while Mullin added 17 points and seven assists after tying his career high with 35 points on Friday night in a win over Los Altos. Bicknell and Dees combined for 12 points while the Vikings made 52 percent of their field goals (26 of 50). Paly drained 11 three-pointers with Rojahn sizzling with a 5-for-7 effort from long range.
Gunn junior Alex Gil-Fernandez tallied a game-high 21 points.
Allegedly fans in Lodi, California used “U.S.A.!” to taunt an opposing player based on his apparent ethnicity, as he stood at the free throw line. Which reminds me that a Pinewood girls player, maybe even their famous star, made chicken cackle noise as Gunn shot charity stripers Tuesday. And more to the point, Lynbrook rooters made monkey-noises briefly when a black Gunn player was subbed in, a few weeks back. His friends quickly cautioned him. It actually seemed like Gunn, at home Tuesday retaliated with similar bad-sportsmanship for a moment. But I think the idea of using a flag or a national anthem to divide not unite is a new development, as far as I’ve seen. We think we’ve come a long way since Dick Allen of the Phils in the Little Rock in 1963, the Jim Crow era.
vi: The Sixth Man part: Tom Dubois, a City Council member, I sat with, who says he coached AAU level kids on both side Saturday, said I should drop it and I replied in kind that maybe a remedy would be to raise a fund and fly out the Mingus Band to teach kids at both schools “Fables of Faubus” a 1957 song about the racist governor of Alabama who would not follow the Supreme Court and integrate University of Alabama. As perhaps a step in that direction, I posted (something about Mullin, elsewhere and) at the Paly press website:
What’s the deal with the “U.S.A! U.S.A!” cheer? You kids sound like Orval Faubus.
The flag and anthem are there to unite us, not divide us. Nice work!
In 1981, when a Gunn team I played on, okay I sat the bench, played St. Ignatius of San Francisco, for the CCS championship, at Maples Pavillion, Paly actually sent its band to join our band and fight, musically, the invaders from the North. It’s really hard to imagine Gunn and Paly kids working together on anything these days. Why is the rivalry now so bitter?
But the jingoism is pretty tacky. Don’t they teach history? (And Mr. Bloom is actually my Terman and Gunn schoolmate, Eric Bloom).
Gunn class of 1982
Plastic Alto blog
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