Sunday, December 8, 2013

ESPN gifts us with free Nelson Mandela


So, are you sick of hearing The Special's  Klassic hit on corporate T.V. yet?

"Think Progress" has just posted this much-needed corrective to all the insti-hagiography's being produced by mainstream media's busy little worker bees...

When Nelson died, Ana was watching American ESPN. I listened in and I couldn't believe how they were treating Mandela: like a saint!

Now don't get me wrong: the first time I was arrested, it was for building a shanty town on the Wisconsin Capitol's lawn, protesting the state's investments in South Africa.  The Special's "Free Nelson Mandela" was the first song on my killer Anti-Apartheid cassette tape mix.

I literally jumped for joy the day Mandela got elected and felt that my political efforts had - in a very tiny way - aided in putting the man in the presidential seat, where he belonged. It felt like I was a teeny part of a very hard fought and necessary victory. I remember dancing down Avenida Paulista that day!

But even in those times, when I listened to Caron Wheeler and Claudia Fontaine begging us to free Nelson Mandela, I mentally added "...with every 40 dollar purchase" to the end of the chorus.

Nelson was a freedom fighter, a rebel, a guerrilha and - yes - a terrorist. For the world's best cause, but that is indeed what he was. He didn't convince South Africa to change through being a great guy in prison: he helped build a movement that FORCED the end of apartheid, using bloodshed, if necessary. And, even so, it took almost a half century to do it.

Nelson was also a complex man and, like any other human being, full of fail.

Now, it just so happens that I agree with every thing that Mandela believed that's on this list, but good luck seeing any of this coming out in the wave of pre-chewed corporate-built life retrospectives that are currrently inundating us.

So to see these dumb jock commentators hauling Mandella up as a candidate for post-modern sainthood really brough up some complex feelings for me. These were the guys who, back in the day, didn't give  wet rat's ass about apartheid and, if they thought of Manela at all, probably pigeon-holed him as a commie agitator and dangerous man ( which he was) who was justly imprisoned (which he wasn't).

Listening to ESPN's blow-dried beauties blathering on about the South Africa of the 1980s and calling it fascist - on coprorate T.V. , no less - made me shake my head. Now that Nelson is good and dead, corporate media can safely turn him into another saintly black sufferer-for-justice, a man with no teeth and no balls.

The ESPN documentary on Nelson even had  Morgan Freeman doing the voice over, ferchrissakes. I mean, talk about your complete "Magical Negro" package....

Cracker, please.

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