Stop Crying Wolf

Exclamation!I saw a guy on Twitter the other night call someone a racist for – get this – criticizing Bill Cosby, saying, basically, that he (Cosby) should be in prison. What bugged me most about the exchange wasn’t the guy defending Cosby – after all, he hasn’t been convicted of anything – he just looks pretty damned guilty. What bugged me was, the knee-jerk of crying racism when it isn’t there.

Listen, racism exists. No doubt about it. But, so does rape. And, whenever someone makes a false rape claim, it hurts real victims. The ones who aren’t believed at first, or perhaps ever. And, I think it works the same with false cries of racism.

Know what? I’m blind. But, I consider myself lucky. I plan to run for office someday. Maybe just local office. Maybe something most people will never notice. Or, maybe not. Who knows? Thing is, though, one thing I’m not gonna have to worry about is how I view people. Know why? Because I don’t see people when I meet them. If you’re a blazing hot woman, know what? I never have to worry about you telling me to look at your eyes. Nope, doesn’t matter how built you are. If I meet a black guy, I don’t have to worry about instant perception based on skin color. If I meet a Hispanic businesswoman, I don’t have to worry about any notion that I’m judging her based on her guessed-at immigration status. Because to me? I’m not seeing people. I’m hearing personalities. And, judging someone based on their personality? Doesn’t get you in trouble by knee-jerking fools who want to cry “Racist!” or “Sexist!” or “Homophobe!” Because the knee-jerkers know full well what they’re doing. Once you label someone a racist, you can’t unring that bell. Once you make that accusation, you’re always going to get traction with people who want to dislike you and believe everything negative said about you – true or false – because too many people put their agenda, or political party, or self-interests ahead of everything else. Me? I don’t care. I’m pretty middle-of-the-road. I’m for the death penalty, and I’m pro-choice. I’m for both – border security, and anti-censorship. I’m for gay marriage and cutting everybody’s taxes. Yes, even the rich. Everyone means just that to me. And someday, I’ll bring that message to a campaign. Because that’s how I live and I’m brutally honest about it.

So, to those who cry wolf whenever their feelings get hurt or whenever someone of a certain race or ethnicity or gender gets criticized (especially for something like rape), stop it. Just stop it. You wanna argue an issue, great, that’s awesome. You want to throw a label out there that has no basis in fact just to sling mud? Then you’re worthless. You’re the kind of person who takes the low road because it’s the only way you can score points, and that’s just flat out dishonest. If your lies, and those of others like you, were viewed as harshly as people falsely accused of being racists? World’d be a far better place.

**********

Currently listening to: “Spellbound” by Siouxsie and the Banshees

Dotted Line

Basic illo of mock contractThat’s where I signed all right, just last week. For the past couple of months, I’ve been working with a guy out in California on his new venture, an entertainment website I heard about online. He was looking for editorial help, so I sent my resume. The next day, he called me, we talked about me coming on board, and so started my tenure with the publication. While I’m not at liberty to reveal much at present, interviews we’ve conducted have been done with folks like Robert Trujillo and Blues Traveler, and we’ve got several more scheduled. We’ve also been putting together a killer “Hot List”of artists (not just musicians) you should be paying attention to, or at least know about.

So, I trusted this guy enough to put in some serious hours without anything in writing. He’d promised me a contract when we started having phone meetings, but I hadn’t gotten it yet. Then again, I like the project and hadn’t pressed him about it, either.

Well, this past week in my INBOX, there it was. Full up legal paperwork ready to print & sign. And so, while I’m still pitching screenplays and writing new stories and scripts, I’ve got a non-freelance payin’ gig for the first time since losing my eyesight. Not sure when we’ll be launching officially, but right now? It’s fun just being along for the ride. This is tough ground to carve out a niche in, but this guy is a lot like me. He believes in it, so he’s put the dough aside to make it happen. His attitude alone convinced me to take the gig, and I’m having a blast with the work. Plus – never hurts to add to your resume. As soon as we’re ready to go, I’ll be beating the drum about it, no worries there. And no, while some who know about the gig have asked, it will not prevent me from pumping out new stuff. Just like freelance assignments, it may slow me up now and then, but the projects I’m currently tied to and stories I’ve mentioned? They’ll all be coming out when they’re ready, same as before. Hope you’ll wanna check out the site when it’s up & running, we’ve had a good time putting it together content-wise, that’s for damn sure.
***********

Currently listening to “Damaged” by Assemblage 23

Holy Miniseries, Batman?

Cover to Villain & HeroAtlanta, couple of blocks from the Omni hotel, where we’re staying. Think it’s 1992, but maybe ’91. Me and Joe Linsner, the guy I was working with at the time, are waiting in a restaurant for a table, and the place is packed. Of course it is. It’s the Diamond Sales Seminar or whatever they called it, and the whole town is full of comic book people. Store owners, publishers, sales reps, business partners, supplies retailers – you name it, everyone is there. Along with a host of creators.

So, we’re starved, it’s been a long day, and we were sick of fast food. We wind up talking to some folks from DC comics, and the hostess tells us we’re looking at another 35 minutes or so, unless.

“Would you mind being seated together?”

I didn’t mind. Joe didn’t mind. The DC crew was in the same boat-starving and not terribly interested in continuing to forage. So, we get seated, order some drinks, start talking shop, and have a general good time.

Now, keep in mind, I was never a big comic book reader. Creepy and EERIE? Sure. House of Mystery? Chamber of Chills? You Will Believe In GHOSTS? That was my thing.  But, much of the conversation at dinner is superhero talk, which I was still enjoying, but mostly listening to. At one point, Vince (I believe it was Vince Letterio, but it’s been forever, so if I’m wrong, chalk it up to that) says, “You’re awful quiet.” (Which of course, I rarely am, and we’d met before, so he knew it.) I mentioned that whatever book they’d been talking wasn’t my thing. So he says, “C’mon-like you wouldn’t want to write a Batman miniseries.”

And, truth was, I couldn’t have cared less. I didn’t read Batman, I didn’t think the movies out at the time were very good, and while DC money would’ve been nice, only one thing made the possibility appealing, and I told him so.

“Only way I’d write a Batman mini is if I could add a villain to the rogues gallery.”

Huh??? That was the reaction. Vince, the woman and guy – think his name might’ve been Dave – couldn’t imagine why that would be my lone requirement. (I probably said ‘Demand’, but even I wasn’t that much of a hard-ass.) So, I explained:

“Batman never kills anyone of consequence. Sure, the Penguin’s always losing henchmen and the Joker’s goons are cannon fodder, but why would I want to try and tell a different version of the same story? Plus, unless you throw in a stranger, why would anyone ever set up shop in Gotham? Batman lives there for chrissakes! He’s always thwarting villains’ plans. Why not go be a bad guy in Aspen, or Dallas?”

Well, that gets things rolling. And sure enough, that subject carries through all the way to dessert, which Joe and I bail on. But Vince mentions to me before I split, something along the lines of, “You oughta stop by the booth and run that by so-and-so tomorrow.”

But I never did. Not that I wouldn’t have followed through should someone in charge been willing to give me the shot. The DC credit alone would have helped me further hype my comic, which was, at the time, Cry for Dawn. But I had tunnel-vision. I only wanted to focus on making Cry for Dawn bigger. Banking more Cry for Dawn stories. Finding artists good enough to stand alongside Joe between the covers. So I never tested those waters. What I did do, though, because guest appearances were becoming hot in crossovers and inter-publisher partnerships, was come up with my bad guy. And so, the seed for what would eventually become the Villain & Hero ashcan – released in 1993 – was planted.

This past week, I’ve been cleaning out my garage and locating a lot of old books. Stuff that goes back to 1989 and the genesis of Cry for Dawn, short stories that were originally slated for the book but never made it in because the title couldn’t stay on schedule, etc. And I thought, “You know, I could rework the Villain & Hero short story to bring it up to date, but pretty much leave it as it was otherwise.” I dunno if I’ll do anything with the character(s) beyond that, but you never know. I still have a lot of friends in comics, doing stuff here and there. Would I want to do another comic? A horror comic? No question. A superhero comic?

Probably not. But, and there’s always a but, isn’t there? I’d sure consider guesting somewhere. Maybe not DC (or maybe DC, though I have no clue if I still know anyone over there), but somewhere. Why not? I’d be happy to throw a villain at just about anybody if they’d let me wreak the kind of havoc I like without too much hand-wringing over who dies and how.

I’ll letcha know how it goes. Pam’s gonna be scanning the originals into the computer and spitting me out a file to start workin’ on. I’ve already reached out to an artist I think would do a good job bringing the key character to life

Maybe even death. We’ll see.

 

* * * * * * * * * *

Currently listening to: “Enchanted” by Stevie Nicks

What Lies Beneath & Behind

Lots of prints and posters.

Lots of prints and posters.

For the past couple of days, Billy and I have been clearing out the garage (well, half of it at least), because Pam wants to park her new car in there. As well, was trying to find something I thought I had laying around because my nephews have been talking about San Diego Comic Con, asking me about people I’ve met, done panels with, interviewed or worked with (some of whom they’ve heard of now). Well, talk about a convergence of events.

Being in the comics biz as long as I have, you wind up accumulating quite a collection, especially when you work with a lot of people. Plus, early on, you start to get a feel for whose stuff might be valuable down the road. So, you wind up with stuff like a whole run of the original FAUST series, copies of The Crow and Deadworld, art prints and portfolios by some of your friends or favorite artists, etc.

When we moved from Miami, I remember filling up the moving truck (several times), but it was getting down to the wire. We were forced to make an extra trip we didn’t want to. And so, when we got here, a lot of stuff just got stacked and packed wherever it fit. Today, moving through a wall full of boxes with Billy, he started running through a list of stuff I thought we’d sold off right after I went blind and lost my day job. I mean, stuff I thought was gone almost 15 years ago. Boxes of first print comics. Art prints Pam and I had invested in. Bernie Wrightson originals. Cry for Dawn stuff that I couldn’t even find a listing for on eBay, even though I know all three of us – Linsner, Horan and I – all got a stack. I guess either those guys never sold theirs either, or it’s been so long they just don’t show up anywhere online.

Loads of books and comics.

Loads of books and comics.

So, when Pam gets home, we’re going to start cataloging this stuff, and then selling it. And I mean all of it.  How much are we talking about? I’d say, conservatively, well over a hundred grand worth of collectibles. And, I’m not talking the retail price we had on things, either. I’m talking the wholesale value if I was going to list through Diamond. And, a lot of it’ll be reasonably priced, too. Yeah, I know, one of the titles I looked up today some clown is charging ten bucks a copy for. Pffft. That jackass is probably sitting on hundreds of ’em, so why he’d bend you over for one is beyond me, but oh well, screwing fans is something he’s known for. We’re probably gonna put those up for a couple bucks each and price shipping accordingly for what you order, no more. Everything, with the exception of some Cry for Dawns that are marked as such, is a first printing. Mint condition. Some Kevin Taylor ltd ed art prints. Jim O’Barr prints I bought a couple of when I did an interview with him for a GEC show back in the day. Universal Monsters goodies. I mean, some really, really cool stuff.

Universal Monsters Collectible Figures

Collectible Figures

Keep checking back. It isn’t like we’re going to just throw it all up at once, it’s gonna take a while just to get it all sorted out. But there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t turn up on eBay every day, trust me. I have a couple of different Google alerts set up on my own name, so pretty much every time someone lists comics and stuff, I know about it. My VHS copies of the Cry for Dawn documentary? Probably gonna get moved now that they’ve turned up. I mean, I do have different priorities these days.

Room to park the car so it won’t get destroyed by the sun? That’s one of ’em.
***************
Currently listening to: “All I Want Is You”, Live version, by U2

The Angle On the Bill Cosby Story the Media Doesn’t Want to Touch

Picture of Bill Cosby sporting a suit and sunglassesOne of the things that gets me about the whole Cosby story is how no one’s actually talking about what kind of guy he must be to have done the things he’s been accused of. If allegations are proven true (possibly by his own words), Cosby, who’s been famous for decades and was at the pinnacle of his career, was worth well over a hundred mil plus. He was an attractive, intelligent, classy, mega-famous multi-talented funnyman. Basically? He could have had just about any woman he wanted. And, if one didn’t want him? He could have another one just like her without much effort. Considering the price of wining and dining a woman, getting her back to his room and knocking her out with quaaludes isn’t cheap per se, think about it. For about the same price, he could have hired stunning escorts of the highest caliber, who would have done anything to be on his call-back list. And, since money was no object, add this to the mix. Dozens of women have come forward now. What about those who haven’t? How many times did he take this risk, instead of just hiring pros? Even back then, a rape allegation would have had serious consequences, especially for a high-profile black entertainer. A scandal involving a paid escort, though? That hasn’t been terribly big news in Hollywood, uh, ever.

Cosby, though, while many of the women have been described as attractive, wasn’t just going after perfect 10s, so it doesn’t appear that this was solely about having to have women so gorgeous the average man would see them as being untouchable. And, he wasn’t just interested in having sex. If the allegations are true, he was into luring unsuspecting women to his room and raping them while they were unconscious or semi-conscious. Huh??? So much for the most eloquent of black leaders in modern-day America. Could turn out he’s no better than Andrew Luster. Perhaps just as sick, if not sicker. And, one can only wonder-if what’s been said about him is true.was it all a front all those years? Was Dr. Huxtable hiding a hideously reprehensible fetish behind the persona of the most beloved father in television?

The media doesn’t want to touch that part of it, though. Right now, it’s all a lot of, “This is so hard to believe, and yet he did admit in that deposition.” But that doesn’t even scratch the surface. If he’s admitting to that and paid off some of his accusers to keep this quiet? That would mean he was into raping women who not only couldn’t consent, in all likelihood they couldn’t even move. This wasn’t about pure beauty or the most unattainable celebrities. This was about luring, drugging and raping women who couldn’t have done much beside lay there. At what point are members of the media going to start exploring that side of this sordid story? That Cliff Huxtable had a thing for doing stuff to women as if they were corpses?

When is someone going to address the 400 lb gorilla in the corner that’s the question: Did Bill Cosby do things these women had to be unconscious for? Things that no one just looking to sleep with someone famous would consider doing? Come on-does anyone think Bill Cosby is so terrible in the sack he needed his partners unconscious? Because when you think about strangers hooking up for a one-night stand, what comes to mind is basic sex. Missionary, oral, stuff like that. If the women are telling the truth, though, Cosby needed them unconscious for some reason.

Andrew Luster was viewed as one sick individual. Right now, Cosby is laying low while his tarnished reputation unravels before the nation’s eyes. What happens when someone finally has the courage to ask: “Why would he need that?” I know if I were a journalist, I wouldn’t ignore that part of it, no matter how much people want to remember the 77 year old comedian as he was in Himself, or the man handing out messages to black youth in the asides on Fat Albert.

No Way…

Was there really a meeting between the person Joe considers the top celebrity in the world right now and the Sight Unseen Pictures team? Yup, it happened. Here’s the blog that explains how it all went down.

Read: Just So Happens… at the Sight Unseen Pictures blog.

You guys like playing victim, don’t you?

Racist. Sexist. Misogynist. Can’t go a day, it seems, without seeing some negative IST word trending on Twitter or being thrown around on Facebook. And, I barely do anything but post to FB so if your latest isn’t on page 1 where I find my announcements? I didn’t see it.

Couple years ago in an online forum, I got into a discussion about some failures of the current President. Someone challenged me to name them. I did. One that I threw out: Closing Gitmo. First executive order, never did it, despite having the majority in both houses. The response?

You’re a racist.

For years, I would hear from time-to-time, “You what?! You work in porn?! That’s sexist!” This, despite getting e-mail and snail mail submissions all the time from women showing off-naked-to see if they could get into the mags I worked on. Know what never happened when I was working in the adult biz? No guy ever came up to me and said: “You ran a boy-girl shoot? That’s sexist!” In fact, the same women I tended to meet who found pictorials of nude women sexist, couldn’t seem to figure out how to accuse me of sexism if there was a man involved.

I got a nasty note from someone who’d seen a comment of mine which referred to the old Wheaties box. You know, the one from way back, with Bruce Jenner busting through the tape with his arms raised. The criticism? “That’s Caitlyn Jenner-not Bruce!”

1976 Wheaties Box featuring Bruce Jenner

1976 Wheaties Box

Uh, no, it isn’t. And, while I have no problem referring to Caitlyn Jenner as Caitlyn/she/Ms. Jenner *now*, in the present tense, Caitlyn Jenner never competed in the Olympics. Back then, it was Bruce Jenner winning the decathlon, no one else. His own mom admitted she’s going to be calling Caitlyn Bruce for a while. And, I can’t blame her. After 88 years, might take a while to start addressing your child by a different name, no? I’m pretty sure that it took more than 15 minutes for Mrs. Leach to go from calling her son Archibald to Cary, which was the stage name Archibald Leach took when he became slightly more famous as Cary Grant. Clearly, his mom hadn’t had “Cary” in mind. And so, while I have no problem calling the newly-introduced Ms. Jenner Caitlyn, if I’m talking about a cereal box from the ’70s? Yeah, that was Bruce Jenner, not Caitlyn.

Which doesn’t make me anti-transgender. Doesn’t make me anything IST or OBIC. It makes me accurate. And, when I see people getting torched for tweeting/posting things like, “I’ll always remember him as Bruce.” it turns my stomach. As well, I don’t believe anyone should be punished for sentiments like that. I spent decades seeing Bruce Jenner at sporting events. Cashing in on his post-Olympics success. Commentating at track and field events. On the Wheaties box. Heard him interviewed more times than I would’ve imagined possible the past couple of years because of his time on the Kardashians reality show. And, for all those years, he was Bruce. He was a he. So now, in a week or two, the whole planet is supposed to forget Bruce ever existed, not refer to Caitlyn as the former-Bruce Jenner, and <<gasp!>> never, not once, even inadvertently or accidentally refer to Caitlyn as “him” lest they be labeled a bigot, or anti-trans, or somethingaphobic? Really?

Sick of people (and I’m not including Jenner in this, I’m speaking more about the folks who fly into a rage about anything they smell a hint of ISM or OBIA about-attacking folks who really don’t owe you a damned thing. The person who got in a huff because I correctly denoted that it was Bruce on the front of my Wheaties box growing up? I told to go pound sand. I made a post on FB today referring to that incident, requesting that if anyone following me felt the same, to please send their own message so I could unfriend them because I don’t mind doing the work. What I do mind is being mislabeled. Guess what? When Obama won, my Dad was in realty. I rooted hard for the Prez to succeed. I rooted hard for a quick economic turnaround so my Dad could sell more properties. But a couple of years later, when I criticized him for his failure to do the very first thing he promised to do-and made a big deal of in a photo op Day 1 in office – suddenly, I had become a racist. Total BS, of course, but that’s what these mouth-breathing knee-jerkers cry. Because they love to play the victim. “You work at a place where they publish photos of nude women – you must be a sexist!” Oh yeah, dumb-ass? Why? Did I force her to send me nude test shots, then track her down and make her strip for a photographer against her will? No? Then was it because I was the one okaying the checks for $500 (or more) for 4 hours worth of work on her schedule and at her convenience? Tell me, which part of that was actually sexist to you?

Victim-victim-victim. That’s all these people want to know. Victimhood. Don’t agree with the PC Police? You’re a hater. You need to be forced to apologize on TV. You need to resign. You need to be fired from your job. You need to be boycotted. Not famous enough on your own or a public figure? Well, then, you need to be ostracized and condemned with the most bitter vitriol possible.

Y’know, like Bruce Jenner’s-oops, I mean Caitlyn Jenner’s-mother. Right, fellowhood-of-victims?

The Box

Back in the ’60s, (I’m not exactly sure of the year, but my Mom probably remembers), she bought my Dad a treasure chest jewelry box. Why, no one’s quite sure, as my Dad wasn’t very big on jewelry and truth be told, they hadn’t been married long and they didn’t have much between ’em. As I recall, Dad had a watch, his wedding band, a couple of tie tacks and a recently-gotten pair of cufflinks. But, I guess Mom saw an opportunity to get him something cool, so he could keep it all in one place.

That box was pretty common back then. The kind of thing you could get at Gertz. Or Stern’s. Or at A&S or Gimbels. (Getting the picture? This thing outlasted all those department stores and a number of others.) You would see them on display in store windows, with spiffy rings and baubles jewelers and other shopkeepers were hawking.

That box was a fixture on my Dad’s dresser for as long as I could remember. Inside? Well, most of its contents never moved. Oh, sure, his wedding ring and watch went in and out of the same compartments, but otherwise? If he got a watch (as he did from the bank one year), it would find a spot in the bottom compartment. Cufflinks sort of went out of vogue. He had an American flag tie tack I remember him wearing a couple of times, but tie tacks and tie bars? They didn’t stay trendy long beyond the ’80s.

Old Subway Token

Old Subway Token

In the bottom compartment, I remember Dad having some mementos. A ticket to see the ’69 Mets. Ticket stubs for the reopening of Yankee Stadium after the big renovation in (if I remember right) the mid-1970s. A stub from the Rangers vs. Russians game from the 1975 matchup at Madison Square Garden against Red Army One. A subway token with the punched out Y. Oh, and of course, extra ChapSticks. He always had extra ChapSticks in there. We used to joke over the years about what we wanted when my parents passed. We’d be sitting around in the lanai after Mom and Dad moved to Florida, having a holiday dinner, talking about “dividing up the inheritance.” Dad would usually mention it after someone questioned what Mom had paid for a particular Christmas decoration, and so it would go. Who’d get the coffee can filled with pennies he and Mom had used for card nights over at my Aunt and Uncle’s? Who’d get the collection of silver dollars
still stored in a glass jar from back in the mid-’60s.Who’d get the Monet?

Me? I wanted the box. That was it. Even now when we joke around, I tell my Mom not to leave anything but bills. I don’t need anything, I don’t want anything. Neither does my sister. Nothing more than her to have fun while she’s still here and not to worry about leaving anything behind.

Old Jewelry Box

This vintage jewelry box is just like my Dad’s.

 

The box? By the 1980s, you could find them for $5 at flea markets. They’d become kitsch. So many were made, I believe, that despite the cool design that had made it iconic, it wasn’t enough to impress anyone any more. But even back then, I didn’t have much jewelry or wear much. A herringbone chain with a hockey mask charm on it from my Aunt Rae. Dad’s old signet ring. A pocket watch I bought, hell, I can’t even remember where. Didn’t matter, though. Someday? I’d get the box. And then it would grace my dresser, as it had Dad’s. I wasn’t in any rush.

Fast forward to 2012. Dad passed away. Like zombies, we went through getting done what needed to be done. Arrangements. His cremation. His blowout memorial service at Pine Lakes. Relatives in town. Going through his closet. Donations. And so on. It wasn’t until a couple of months later that my Mom started bringing up what me and my sis, and the grandkids, might want. And, she went through a laundry-list of things. None of which any of us really wanted to cover just then. Plus, it wasn’t like we needed to go through his stuff. It was Mom’s, after all. Besides pictures and maybe things of sentimental value???

So, I mentioned the box. Now, remember. I’m blind. Haven’t seen the thing, at the time, in probably 15 years, 10 of which were due to sightlessness. Which was when I found out.

“What? His jewelry box? That thing’s gone. It’s been gone for years.”

Gone? I couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t understand it, is more like it. Why? What had happened? Had it finally fallen apart after 50 or so years in service?

Nope. Apparently, no one ever thought I was serious about it.

Sometime either right before my parents moved down to FL, or right after, it got donated. Goodwill or Kiwanis or Salvation Army is my guess.  Last Christmas, I asked Pam to go on eBay and find me one. I mean, these things were mass-produced. They were never very expensive. I was sure she could find one someone was getting rid of for a couple of bucks.

Pictured, is what my sister finally located online. And, it’s the box all right, albeit a little bigger model. Right down to the side chains, the little embellishments, and the metal hasp. Same interior lift-out tray, same compartments, pretty much the same everything. Wasn’t $5 bucks, either, but I guess maybe I’m not the only sentimental fool out there trying to track down 50 year old kitsch for reasons beyond nostalgia.

Wish I’d known at the time Dad was going to get rid of the original. He’d have given it to me in a heartbeat if he’d known I was serious about wanting it. As for the contents? Maybe I might see if Mom still has some ticket stubs around. She doesn’t get rid of much. She’s already given me one of his watches, and one of my nephews another.

Me? I’ve already gotten a head start. You can’t go wrong having an extra ChapStick sittin’ around.
* * * * * * * * * *
Currently listening to: “Under the Milky Way Tonight” by The Church

From the big time to hard time

Is there any athlete dumber than Aaron Hernandez? In case you don’t
recognize the name, Hernandez was a Pro-Bowl caliber NFL player who signed a
$40 million (yes, you read that right, $40 million) dollar contract just
under three years ago with the current Super Bowl champion New England
Patriots. Unfortunately for Hernandez, however, he couldn’t leave the thug
life behind, and just got convicted of first degree murder. While I’ll skip
the “He’s going from tight end to wide receiver” jokes, here’s some thoughts
on this latest development.

First, it’s nice to see Hernandez get the long-term deal he deserved.at
Walpole.

A $40 million contract to play ball on Sundays. A good looking wife. A new
kid. Guy went from having the life, to having the life-without.

I hope the next balls Hernandez catches are from a hardcase at Cedar
Junction named Big Rodney.

As writer Greg Bedard points out, on a good Sunday, Hernandez will probably
be able to hear the crowd at Gillette from the yard at Cedar Junction.

When the cellblock doors slam, I imagine at Lights Out, ol’ Aaron will be
rethinking some of the play calls he made off the field.

The Longest Yard will never be amusing again for Hernandez after that
verdict came down.

Hernandez goes from a guy who, on an average day, couldn’t fit his wallet in
his pocket, to a guy who may soon be able to fit a regulation football in
his prison wallet.

When the guy standing behind him yells “Go deep!” it isn’t gonna be anything
remotely like when Tom Brady did it.

And finally, while his stardom may protect him for a while, I can only hope
that a bunch of bad-ass Pats diehards behind the walls who blame Hernandez
for hurting the team prior to their latest Super Bowl, turn this lowlife
into a shiv magnet.

I’d Be Embarrassed

I don’t know what college is like these days, but despite being a couple
decades removed from the experience, I can’t bring myself to believe that
the same institutions that were around when I was at Fordham have so totally
fallen to pieces that students have become such cowards they’re *so* afraid
of a movie screening that they wanted to ban it.

I remember when I looked forward to going to college for the promised
“exchange of ideas.” To be immersed in an environment where you were taught
to question everything, and to have the courage to stand up with a notion
that wasn’t mainstream, and put it forth. To enter the debate (no matter
what it was), if you had an opinion you believed was worth sharing.

That kids today are too freaked out to allow American Sniper to be shown on
campus makes me embarrassed *for* them. Is this what we’ve become? We’re
raising kids so frail that they can’t tolerate a movie they’re not keen on
seeing? That they can’t spend that time on the quad or at a local haunt or
at an off-campus theatre or the mall or.heck, y’know.studying?

Listen, if you’re so unhinged by a film, go into your crappy bathroom, take
a good long look in the mirror, and admit out loud: “I’m no different than
those people who want Harry Potter banned from school libraries.” Go on, do
it. Because, when it comes right down to it? That’s the truth. You’re no
better than the types of fundamentalists people point at and make fun of for
being unwilling to tolerate a different view. You’re no different than the
folks who didn’t want Brokeback Mountain to play at their local theatre; no
different than the preacher who wanted to burn Qurans; no different than the
Westboro Baptist Church fanatics and those like them, who believe that books
featuring gays or sinners or messages questioning their philosophy are the
work of the devil. C’mon, step into line. You belong right next to ’em.

It’s a movie. You don’t like the protagonist or the subject matter? So what?
You don’t like war and snipers? Too bad. You don’t want your campus to be a
place where creative expression is encouraged? Well then, go home. Because
clearly, you’re unfit to take up space at a college like Univ of Michigan,
and your spot should be held for someone more open-minded. For those of you
pausing for a moment to consider your rationale for wanting the film banned?
Grow up. Don’t like fraternities? Don’t pledge. Don’t like religion? Don’t
go to church. Don’t like the editorial slant of your local newspaper?
Subscribe to a different one online. Don’t like a movie? Go play on your
iPad or find something else to do for a couple of hours. Don’t prevent those
who *do* want to experience the film from doing so because of your issues
with it.*that’s* free expression. That’s being open. That’s being tolerant.
And, most important?

That’s *not* being a coward.