The new Salon’s peculiar professors, tumbling out of Graceland: Let’s agree that we won’t explore this topic indefinitely. That said, we thought it was worth taking one more look at the new Salon’s peculiar professorial class.
Today, Professor Palumbo-Liu is back at the new Salon. He offers a piece about police killings in the United States as opposed to police killings in other developed nations.
As always, the comparative statistics are striking. Also striking is the way the professor begins his report:
PROFESSOR PALUMBO-LIU (8/4/15): Not having a license plate on your vehicle, changing lanes to make way for a police cruiser, casually walking in the middle of the street: Apparently each of these actions has started a chain of events that has ended up with someone being killed by a police officer. And that someone has, in each of these cases, been black.We’re puzzled. In his opening paragraph, is the professor saying that Sandra Bland “ended up being killed by a police officer?”
When I heard about the killing of Samuel DuBose, the first thing that came to my mind was, “That is the absolute worst instance.” But immediately after that I thought, “Well, I thought the same when Trayvon Martin was killed by a ‘security’ officer.” In actuality, to say “that’s the worst” implies a trajectory of ever-increasing evil. But the reality is that things have always been horrible in this country with regard to the casual killing of blacks.
That’s certainly the way it seems. He describes three examples in that paragraph. The first of them seems to be Samuel DuBose. The last seems to be Michael Brown.
“Changing lanes to make way for a police cruiser?” That would seem to be Sandra Bland.
Our very high number of police killings cries out for analysis. So does our very high number of non-police killings, even in an era when homicide rates have gone down from their earlier peaks.
That said, has someone determined that the late Sandra Bland “ended up being killed by a police officer?” That seems to be what the professor is saying, although it isn’t true at this time in any conventional sense.
Professors say the darnedest things at the new Salon! Indeed, they say the darnedest things there on an almost daily basis. And Palumbo-Liu isn’t just any professor. As Salon notes again today, he’s the Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor at Stanford University, a high-ranking institution.
Just this once, we’ll be honest. We never bought into the idea that We The Liberals were the uniquely smart and honest people, while They The Conservatives were uniquely ditto-headed. But if we hadn’t seen the rise of the liberal professors at the new Salon—and, to a lesser extent, on MSNBC and CNN—we really wouldn’t have believed that so many such people exist.
For whatever reason, we always flash, at times like this, to the gloomy, surprisingly downbeat ending to Paul Simon’s Graceland album from 1986.
“These are the days of miracle and wonder,” Simon says in the album’s first cut, expressing his dominant theme of global outreach and global connection.
At the end of the album’s final cut, he’s expressing the gloomier supporting theme of interpersonal failure and personal isolation. “It was the myth of fingerprints. That’s why we must learn to live alone,” he says as the album ends.
We’re routinely amazed by the new Salon’s professorial class. It we hadn’t been able to see their work, we’d never have dreamed, for even a minute, that such a thing could exist.
That was her mother: Yesterday, a neighborhood electrical failure forced us to Baltimore’s Penn Station for happy hour.
We thought about That Was Your Mother, the song in which Simon, reminiscing about the end of his marriage, tells his 9-year-old son about the first time he saw the boy’s mother.
Last year, we saw a male in-law tell the story of the first time he met his wife, a close relative of ours. Their 8-year-old daughter was at the table as he told his enthusiastic tale. She tried very hard to take it in stride, but you could see that her ears were ten times their normal size.
It’s good to let children hear stories like that. It’s also good to tell the truth about the public events which are occurring around us.
Not the metaphorical truth; not the tribal version of truth. We refer to telling the truth as the familiar old term is most widely understood.
“Catch a little bit of those Cajun girls dancin’ the zydeco?” We don’t like everything about Simon’s lyrics to That Was Your Mother. But we like the fact that he didn’t disguise the pleasure of simple attraction.
We admire his bow to Clifton Chenier, described as the “king of the bayou.”