Monthly Archives: January 2015

Homophobic?

IMG_0066.PNG

On Sunday, while promoting his new FX show “The Comedians” at a Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour panel, Billy Crystal was asked about playing a gay role on the ABC show “Soap” in the late ’70s and how television has changed since that time.

In his response, the comedian talked about being uncomfortable with how sexualized some shows have become and, in doing so, employed a few phrases like “a little too far for my tastes” and “shove it in our face” that always trip my homophobia sensors and make me want to protest by grabbing every man in sight by whatever appendage is handiest and dragging them into a studio to stage a gay sex telethon that will be broadcast into the living rooms of every family in the world.

This led some gay Americans to ask questions about Crystal’s statements. Was some kind of further context missing? Did you have to be in the room to see his body language or hear the tone of his voice? Was he really separating his displeasure with viewing gay sex scenes from his displeasure with viewing straight sex scenes?

However, in a follow up interview with Xfinity’s tv blog, the actor addressed his earlier comments, saying in part:

First of all, I don’t understand why there would be anything offensive that I said. When it gets too far either visually…now, that world exists because it does for the hetero world, it exists, and I don’t want to see that either. But when I feel it’s a cause, when I feel it’s “You’re going to like my lifestyle,” no matter what it is, I’m going to have a problem and there were a couple of shows I went ‘I couldn’t watch that with somebody else.” That’s fine. If whoever writes it or produces it…totally get it. It’s all about personal taste.

When I read some of the criticism of Crystal’s statement, I had to wonder: is what he saying really homophobic as many pundits are claiming? I’m not sure that I agree that it is. He clearly states that sex scenes on television go too far whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. Furthermore, shows like “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder” produced by Shonda Rhimes, both of which I really enjoy (and the gay sex scenes are a major plus), unabashedly show gay sex in the same context that straight sex is often portrayed on television. Furthermore, Rhimes has explicitly admitted that she is pushing an agenda to see more equality in sex scenes on television. Crystal merely said what Rhimes herself has said, but he also said that it was too much for him. Sometimes the explicit way that straight sex is portrayed on television is too much for me, does that make me heterophobic. I don’t think it does, any more than saying the same makes Crystal homophobic.

We live in a very scary time in many ways. You can’t say this, you can’t say that, you can’t offend this group, that group. As someone who has lived in the Deep South my entire life, I’ve seen plenty of homophobia and racism. All across America, and especially in the South, what people say about race is often taken as being racist. So much of the country believes that if you are white and you have an opinion on race, then that opinion is racist. People claim that there is no such thing as “reverse” racism, but when you are the minority in your area, whether you are white or black, if the majority discriminates because of your race, it is racism. People get too easily offended and they take political correctness to the extreme. That’s offensive to me.

The thing is, we should all treat everyone as we wish to be treated. So if Billy Crystal says that sex on television, and gay sex on television in particular is not something he wants to watch, well that’s his right to have that opinion. If Billy Crystal has a sex scene on television or a movie, I don’t want to see him naked either. My opinion is that we have the right to watch what we want to watch. If that includes gay sex, or straight sex, or whatever kind of sex, then we had that right, but we also have the right to say, “Look, that’s just too much for me. I don’t think I want to watch that,” well that’s our prerogative. And if I don’t want to watch something because it has an agenda, then I don’t have to watch it.

Case in point, I will not go to the movie theater to see “Selma.” It’s not because of racial tensions or that I’m racist, but because the movie is politically bent to put forth an agenda and skew the history of that event. The makers of the movie have admitted to that and have admitted to changing certain facts because it fit their artistic vision (i.e. political agenda). As a historian, I constantly having to fight against how history is portrayed in movies because people take it as fact, when it is fiction. So for a movie about an event as important as the Selma to Montgomery March to purposefully skew those facts is abhorrent in my opinion.

So I won’t be going to see “Selma.” Does that make me a racist? No, it doesn’t, and neither does Billy Crystal saying that he thinks sex on television goes to far when asked about his previous role playing a gay man on television nearly forty years ago and how it compares to gay roles today. We have our opinions and we have the right to voice those opinions. We also have a right to call bullshit when someone takes our words out of context because something we said hurt their over sensitive ideas of the need to be political correct 100 percent of the time.


Distractions

IMG_9709-0.JPG

Last night, I watched the State of the Union address. Some of it I found quite interesting, but most of it was merely political nonsense. Most of the SOTU is merely political posturing. It would be nice if Congress would sit their quietly and listen instead of clapping and not clapping to make a political statement every five words, then we could listen and the President could finish. Interruptions aggravate me and I get bored. My students often love to interrupt me in hopes of getting me off subject, or to cause me to lose my train of thought, resulting in what they think will be less work for them. They never have caught on that it ends up being more work for them, not less work, but back to the SOTU. I did like Obama’s idea of free community college education. It should expand the need for more college teaching jobs, which would be good for me and hopefully get me out of teaching high school and back to teaching college. The thing is, with a Republican Congress, I don’t think it will pass. Republicans seem to be allergic to the word “free.” And I know, it won’t actually be free (I just taught in economics the idea of TINSTAAFL–There is no such thing as a free lunch). The American people will have to be taxed more, and we all know that if Republicans raise taxes it will be on the lower and middle class and not the upper income levels, where I think there should at least be less loopholes if not higher taxes for those who can afford them.

However, the SOTU address was not the major distraction of the night. I’m not for sure what came up in the SOTU, but something started me googling a topic. Oh, I remeber what it was, they showed Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and I thought how ancient she looks, which made me wonder just how old she actually is, so I googled it. That lead to me researching Sandra Day O’Connor and other Supreme Court Justices, including Hugo Black from Alabama. Research and learning is one of my favorite things. Even as a kid, I used to go pull an encyclopedia off the bookshelf to look something up, and as I was trying to find one thing, I’d see numerous other things I wanted to read about, so I’d mark those with a finger. I’d read the one I’d started out to read then read the others. Before I knew it, I’d looked at a dozen or more articles in that volume of the encyclopedia and then I’d have some other interest that I wanted to look up, so I’d put that encyclopedia volume up and get down another. This could go on for an hour or so until I got tired.

Now with the internet, I can begin searching for something and open numerous tabs in my browser and then read each one. Often there is a hyperlink or two that I also want to check out, so I open a few more tabs. It’s a lot easier than getting down another volume of the encyclopedia, but it traps me in a vicious cycle of never ending curiosity and research. Eventually, I exhaust myself or I just can’t absorb any more information at that time, so I close my browser. But like last night, this can last not just and hour but three or four hours.

The biggest problem is that sometimes I get so carried away in reading different things, that I forget what my original plan was for the evening. Last night, I’d planned on answering about a half a dozen emails that need to be replied to and writing a blog post for today, but then I realized that it was almost 11 pm and I needed to get some sleep. So the email replies and the blog post I’d originally planned will have to wait until tonight when I will have the time to write them. Since I will have limited internet access tonight (I’m staying with my grandmother, long story but she asked and since she’s my last grandparent, I could hardly say no), I will hopefully get those emails replied to and be able to write the post I’d originally intended for today.


Whitman’s Twenty-Eight Young Men

IMG_0027.JPG

Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore,
Twenty-eight young men and all so friendly;
Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome.
She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank,
She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window.
Which of the young men does she like the best?
Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.
Where are you off to, lady? for I see you,
You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room.
Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth bather,
The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them.
The beards of the young men glisten’d with wet, it ran from their long hair,
Little streams pass’d all over their bodies.
An unseen hand also pass’d over their bodies,
It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs.
The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the sun,
they do not ask who seizes fast to them,
They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bending arch,
They do not think whom they souse with spray.

Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, sec 11 in Leaves of Grass bk ii (1855)

In 1887, Renoir painted the “Large Bathers,” and in 1885 Eakins painted the “Swimming Hole.” There is a good deal connecting these paintings. Both present swimmers in full nudity, testing the prudery of the day (though in a context that was acceptable on the margins). Both have a frank eroticism which could easily have provoked scandal. But then there are also important differences, and among them the fact that Eakins painted men and Renoir women. There is also a sort of national sense of aesthetics. Renoir’s work is undeniably French, and Eakins’s is a masterwork of the American realist school. But Eakins work is more interesting to me. It’s carefully composed but it hopes to be a glimpse of an everyday outing to a favorite swimming hole. It’s drawn, like much of Eakins’s painting, from photographic masters.

It’s popular today to talk about Eakins and his work (and this one more than others) as homoerotic. That may well be. But not necessarily. It follows an obsession that Eakins had with the human body and its movement throughout his life; nearly all of Eakins works are in some way a study of the body, and his most famous works, the two clinic paintings, are studies of studies of the human body. He aspires to show it gracefully and naturally. And he also aims to provoke. He detests the prudishness of the Victorian age; its obsession with tightly fitting and uncomfortable clothing and its sense of shame over the human body. “Eakins was a deep student of life, and with a great love he studied humanity frankly,” said his friend Robert Henri. “He was not afraid of what his study revealed to him.” His entire life was marked by controversy surrounding this point, and students who worked with him noted his preference for nudity—he posed for them and they posed for him. In this painting he presents himself in the right foreground in an almost voyeuristic pose.

Eakins’s ideas about the human body find an interesting parallel in the poetry of Walt Whitman, and indeed, they may have been acquired from Whitman, at least to a degree. This attachment to Whitman survives from the records of Eakins’s students—they called themselves “the Whitmans.” Eakins admired Walt Whitman tremendously. He painted Whitman’s portrait and developed a rapport with the poet, and Whitman appreciated Eakins extraordinary vision–calling on him to speak at a testimonial dinner and then remembering that Eakins did his speaking through a medium other than words. Eakins was particularly taken by the Song of Myself. The painting “The Swimming Hole” seems unmistakably inspired by the passage quoted above from it, and Eakins himself, referring to it as one of “his Whitmans,” would support this reading. It’s a remarkable example of a poem realized in oil and canvas.

This article was originally published in Harper’s Magazine and written by Scott Horton. I was inspired to use this poem because it was mentioned in the book I am currently reading, Skylar M Cates’ The Only Guy. There is a scene where one man observes another swimming in the lake and watches for a minute while he contemplates joining him. It’s a beautiful scene and the character begins to quote this poem as he looks on at the other man. I can’t wait to review The Only Guy for my readers.


MCM: Jonathan Groff

IMG_9988.JPG

Last weekend, we received a free preview weekend of HBO and Starz. Usually during the free preview weekends, they never show anything really great, but the second season of the HBO show ‘Looking’ premiered last Sunday, so I had the good fortune of getting to see a marathon of the first season of ‘Looking.’ If you’re not familiar with the show, ‘Looking’ offers up the unfiltered experiences of three close friends living — and loving — in modern-day San Francisco. Friendship may bind them, but each is at a markedly different point in his journey: Patrick (Jonathan Groff) is the 29-year-old video game designer getting back into the dating world in the wake of his ex’s engagement; aspiring artist Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez), 31, is questioning the idea of monogamy amid a move to domesticate with his boyfriend; and the group’s oldest member — longtime waiter Dom (Murray Bartlett), 39 — is facing middle age with romantic and professional dreams still unfulfilled.

The trio’s stories intertwine and unspool dramatically as they search for happiness and intimacy in an age of unparalleled choices — and rights — for gay men. Also important to the ‘Looking’ mix is the progressive, unpredictable, sexually open culture of the Bay Area, with real San Francisco locations serving as a backdrop for the group’s lives. Rounding out the ‘Looking’ world are a bevy of dynamic gay men including Kevin (Russell Tovey), Lynn (Scott Bakula), and Richie (Raul Castillo), as well as a wide-range of supporting characters like Dom’s roommate Doris (Lauren Weedman), Agustín’s boyfriend Frank (O.T. Fagbenle), and Patrick’s co-worker Owen (Andrew Law).

Jonathan Groff who portrays Patrick is so incredibly hot, sexy, and talented. I really love his character, and if it wasn’t for Groff, I’m not for sure I’d even really like the show that much. I did like Murray Bartlett’s character Dom, but Frankie J. Alvarez’s character Agustín just left me cold. Overall, I enjoyed the show, and I hope I will get to see the second season.


Endurance

IMG_9334.JPG

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer man is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

For all of us, life has rich joys. There’s no question about that. God has filled the world with goodness and we enjoy that. In fact, the world even stops to pause at a time of thanksgiving to recognize that there is joy and goodness all around. We experience good and fulfilling relationships, good and fulfilling experiences, satisfying sights and sounds and smells and tastes, adventure, exhilarating things, love, refreshment, peace. Life has its riches. It has its joys.

As LGBT Christians and Christians who support LGBT Christians within the community of Christ, we are often persecuted most by other Christians. All believers will face affliction for their beliefs but LGBT Christians often face adversity from within for wanting to be included. A friend of mine was trying to find a church that he could feel comfortable and a part of the congregation. He wasn’t raised with a denominational background, and thus does not have the same connection I do to a particular church. The first church he attended in his new town were very welcoming until he told them he was gay, then they treated him like a pariah and seemed not to be able to get rid of him fast enough. The next week he tried another church that was more accepting, but he still did not feel as comfortable as he should because too many Christians reject the LGBT community regardless of our faith.

Job said, “Man is born unto trouble.” Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” James wrote, “We fall into various trials.” None of us would question the fact that life can bring disappointment, discontent, pain, grief, loss, disasters of all kinds. It is filled with unexpected turns, unanticipated events, dread, sometimes debilitating and painful experiences. That’s life. And the longer you live it and the wider your experience is and the more people you connect with, the more potential there is for pain and difficulty.

Being able basically to cope with this is everybody’s goal. The world is filled with people trying to adjust to the pain, trying to deal with life without total collapse, break down, burn out, hopelessness, fear, apathy or just giving up. And all of that really is a matter of learning how to endure. And that’s our key word of this post because the passage in front of us gives us the secrets to endurance…the secrets to endurance.

These adversities though are “preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (and beyond description). We should not be looking at “the things that are seen” (all the bad around us) but “to the things that are unseen,” which is the place that Jesus is preparing for us (John14:2-3). This earth is “transient” or passing away but Jesus promises a room in the mansions of heaven that we do not yet see. If we embrace these verses then we will not “lose heart.” Paul wants his readers to pursue a godly way of life, though it is hindered by trials and afflictions.

Sometimes we may think that our suffering is unique and belongs only to us. The truth is that others have gone through, is going through and will go through similar adversities. There is always someone who can identify with it. And we can identify with Paul because he learned how to endure it. His suffering by any human measure was severe, far beyond anything that we would experience in terms of the cost of discipleship. And because his suffering was so severe he becomes for us the best example because if he can endure the most suffering, we can certainly endure the least. Those people who get depressed and burn out, who become fearful and apathetic or indifferent, who quit, and whose despair reaches such a point that they’re debilitated can to learn something from Paul.

As I work through my studies of biblical passages, I’m usually reminded of certain hymns. Today’s message is no exception. To endure, we must have faith. First John 5:4 says “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith.” It is faith that allows us to endure the trials and tribulations of life and to looked toward the eternal hereafter. Faith is our victory, just as the song says:

Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.


Moment of Zen: Coffee

2015/01/img_0230.jpg

2015/01/img_0229.jpg

2015/01/img_0231.jpg

I’d have coffee with any one of these guys any day.


Looking At Ourselves

IMG_0009.JPG

From about Thanksgiving until the first few weeks of January is a time when I often reflect on my life. My birthday is at the end of November, so it always makes me reflect on another year and my life as whole up until now, and December and January are the end and beginning of the year, so I tend to look back on the past year and look toward the year to come. But it also goes beyond looking at myself as an individual, but how I fit into society at large.

As members of the LGBT community, so many of us for so long have been taught to be ashamed of who we are because we do not fit the predominant image and standard profile of acceptable persons. We have been taught to look at ourselves through lenses that are not able to see clearly our true beauty and essence as citizens in society, as people of God and as children of the greater universe. When we look at ourselves we must try as best we can to see everything that’s there, but this is sometimes hard to do without a real desire to take a hard look and to see what’s really there; to view ourselves clearly, squarely and freely. The beauty and goodness of what we see sometimes gives way to the not so beautiful things that we see, say and do and we must cast aside all fear in taking that honest look if we are to grow into a greater awareness of who we really are and what we can ultimately become as genuine persons of promise and value.

So each day that we rise to meet the morning, we must look at ourselves in the mirror and proceed to make the necessary physical makeovers that will present us “flawless” to the outside world. Sometimes we undervalue what we see because of what we have been taught to look for and how we have been taught to look at it. But the truth is we must come to terms with the person that we see in the mirror each morning. We must acknowledge what we see through our own eyes. We may not always like what we see looking back at us, and sometimes we can change it, sometimes we can’t. The fact is, we should change what we can, and accept that which we cannot change. We can’t always be perfect.

It doesn’t help much when our friends point out what we did wrong. If we’re so scared of hearing from ourselves that we made a mistake, just imagine how much we hate hearing it from someone else. And our friends know this: the answer to “Does this outfit make me look fat?” is not supposed to be “Yes.” We may joke about our friends’ foibles behind their back, but we rarely do so to their face. Even at work, a lot of effort goes into making sure employees are insulated from their superior’s most negative assessments. This is what we’re taught: make five compliments for every criticism, sandwich negative feedback with positive feedback on each side, the most important thing is to keep up someone’s self-esteem. We also have to work on our own self-esteem.

In moments of great emotional stress, we revert to our worst habits: we dig in and fight harder. The real trick is not to get better at fighting—it’s to get better at stopping ourselves: at taking a deep breath, calming down, and letting our better natures take over from our worst instincts. Even if seeing ourselves objectively is the best option, all our natural instincts all point the other direction. Not only do we try hard to avoid bad news about ourselves, we tend to exaggerate the good news.

Looking at ourselves objectively isn’t easy. But it’s essential if we ever want to get better. And if we don’t do it, we leave ourselves open to con artists and ethical compromisers who prey on our desire to believe we’re perfect.

I have a confession. I really didn’t know what to write about today, but I loved the picture at the top of this post. Doesn’t he have the cutest ass? So, I came up with a post to fit the picture. I do think it’s a decent post, and I hope you do as well.


A Glamorous Beginning

IMG_0008.JPG

Often times, I read books because friends suggestion them. I have one particular reading buddy who I love to discuss books with. He and I both are Amy Lane fans, but occasionally, I come across a book that draws me in because if the title or author, even sometimes the cover art. I don’t want to say which of those three drew me to this book, but for those who happen to know me personally, I bet you can guess. When I saw The Guy from Galmour by Skylar M Cates, I knew this was a M/M romance I had to read. And, I am so glad that I did. The Guy from Glamour is part of Cates’s “The Guy Series,” which I’m eagerly starting the second book in the series today.

Description: Anthony Carrino loves his big, gregarious Italian-American family, even if his sisters are interfering, and his dad, the local sheriff, knows everything going on in town. He’s happy as a middle school guidance counselor. Despite helping kids and their parents fix their problems, Anthony can’t manage to get his own love life right. If only everyone would stop calling him the “nice” guy.

Dean Pierce doesn’t do relationships. A tough-minded military man, he is dedicated to his job as a Night Stalker, flying Chinook helicopters and not speaking much to anybody. He certainly doesn’t want to deal with a mess of emotions. But when tragedy strikes, Dean finds his hands full with his troubled niece, her irresistible guidance counselor, and a meddlesome family, which includes a rather large puppy.

The story of Dean and Anthony warmed my heart. There were a few places where the book was predictable, I’ve read enough Amy Lane to now always expect the worse to happen, but Cates has a gentler way of dealing with the angst. Sometimes she draws it out and it tugs at your heart strings, and sometimes your breath is taken away, but your confidence is quickly restored. The Guy from Glamour has a variety of twists and turns, but you can’t help from falling in love with the loquacious Anthony or the stolid and silent Dean, mostly because we get to read Dean’s thoughts and know that he’s just not used to expressing himself.

The book is also about a small town romance. I’ve lived in small towns all my life, and whereas, I haven’t yet found the love of my life, I do enjoy reading about those who do. I enjoy books that make me feel good, and this book made me feel great. I listened to it as an audiobook, as I often do on my drive to and from school, and the narration by Matt Baca was phenomenal. I had no trouble keeping up with who was who, which some readers are not as good at conveying. Also, usually I am content with listening only when I’m in the car, but I found myself continuing to listen once I got home and even listening some before I went to sleep at night.

The Guy from Glamour was a hit in my book. I loved it, and I can’t wait to read more from Skylar M Cates, who by the way, sounds like my kind of woman. In her author’s bio, she is described as a woman who “…loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day.” Now that’s my kind of day!


Long Johns

IMG_9972.JPG

Last week when Alabama broke numerous records for all time lows, silvereagle commented
“Cold here also. 20 right now. Glad I am inside. Wear those longjohns. Wonder where they got that name? Was John really long? What if his name had been Dick? Lol”. So I thought I might find the answer. How did long johns get their name?

Long johns were first introduced into England in the seventeenth century but only become popular as sleepwear in the 18th century. The manufacturing foundations of long johns may lie in Derbyshire, England, at John Smedley’s Lea Mills, located in Matlock. The company has a 225-year heritage and is said to have created the garment, reputedly named after a famous boxer who fought in long underwear.

IMG_0004.JPGThe setting: a smoke-filled room with a boxing ring in Boston, Massachusetts around 1879.

The bell announced round three. Two antagonists rose from opposing corners, carefully calculating their next moves. Big John Sullivan, also called “The Boston Strong Boy,” made the first move: a blazing uppercut blow from the left. His deceived opponent fell hard, eyelids wavering.

Big John swaggered over his fallen victim, bragging, “I can lick anybody, anywhere, anytime.”

Modesty may not have been Big John’s forté, as John became known not only for his fighting style but for the mark he left upon the world of fashion. Unlike other fighters of his time, Big John wore one-piece thermals in the ring, otherwise known as the Union suit.

As his notoriety grew, John’s wardrobe took on the identity of the man, himself. Thus creating “long johns” as the character’s article of choice to wear.

In 2004, Michael Quinion, a British etymologist and writer, first postulated that the “john” in the item of apparel may be a reference to Sullivan, who wore the above mentioned union suit in the ring. This explanation, however, is uncertain and the word’s origin is ultimately unknown.

A less colorful explanation comes from Stanfield’s of Canada. An adjustable two-piece design is credited to Canadian Frank Stanfield, a native of Truro, Nova Scotia, who patented his design on 7 December 1915. In 1898, Stanfield and his brother John had developed a product called Stanfield’s Unshrinkable Underwear for Stanfield’s, their garment manufacturing company. Frank Stanfield may have given it the nickname long johns after his brother.

The most interesting part of my research (to me at least) into the name long johns was that I actually knew who John L. Sullivan was. I used to live less than five miles from the site of Sullivan’s most famous fight. You see, at the corner of Richburg Road and Sullivan-Kilrain Road in rural Mississippi there’s a monument that honors the last bare-knuckle boxing fight, famously known as the Sullivan-Kilrain fight. When I took the back roads to school, which I often did to avoid the worst of traffic, I regularly passed by this monument. The fight is 125-years-old and happened on July 8, 1889. The prize fight was between Jake Kilrain and John L. Sullivan.

On the 125th anniversary, WJTV News in Jackson, Mississippi, did a story about the Sullivan-Kilrain fight. Harold Hartfield, who’s grandfather witnessed the fight said “A lot of the people that was here for the fight actually came on special trains out of New Orleans to witness the fight.” They came from New Orleans on a train track that runs alongside Highway 11 because the governor of Louisiana forbid the fight in his state. However, a large number of influential politicians and businessmen (including, if memory serves me correctly, the mayor of New Orleans) wanted the fight to happen, so they decided to find a new place outside Louisiana’s borders. Bare-knuckled fighting was banned in most southern states, so they had to meet in rural Mississippi at this secret location near the train tracks out of New Orleans.

This being July in South Mississippi, the temperature got up to 106 degrees and the fight went 75 rounds and lasted two hours and 16 minutes. There is no doubt that the heat and humidity were oppressive, especially since the fight took place in late morning as the day began to heat up.

During these fights, a round ended when someone hit the ground and did not depend on a time limit. At the end of the 75 rounds, the assistants for Kilrain took him back to his corner and the doctor said he should not go back in the ring. The doctor feared that Sullivan would kill him if it went on longer. So Kilrain threw in the sponge, which is the same as throwing in the towel.

But since this was a bare-fisted prize fight and was illegal, there was a price to pay to the law. Both fighters left Mississippi for the Northeast but were brought back for trial in the Circuit Court of Marion County, Mississippi. They were both found guilty. Sullivan paid a $500 fine. Kilrain served a two month jail sentence. He served on the farm of Charles Rich where the fight had taken place.

IMG_0005.JPG


Passers-by

IMG_8915.JPG

Passers-by
By Carl Sandburg

Passers-by,
Out of your many faces
Flash memories to me
Now at the day end
Away from the sidewalks
Where your shoe soles traveled
And your voices rose and blent
To form the city’s afternoon roar
Hindering an old silence.

Passers-by,
I remember lean ones among you,
Throats in the clutch of a hope,
Lips written over with strivings,
Mouths that kiss only for love,
Records of great wishes slept with,
Held long
And prayed and toiled for:

Yes,
Written on
Your mouths
And your throats
I read them
When you passed by.

Carl Sandburg (January, 1878 – July, 1967) was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his poetry and another for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois to Swedish immigrants. At the age of thirteen he left school and began driving a milk wagon. He subsequently became a bricklayer and a farm laborer on the wheat plains of Kansas. After an interval spent at Lombard College in Galesburg, he became a hotel servant in Denver, then a coal-heaver in Omaha. He began his writing career as a journalist for the Chicago Daily News. Later he wrote poetry, history, biography, novels, children’s literature, and film reviews. Sandburg also collected and edited books of ballads and folklore. He spent most of his life in the Midwest before moving to North Carolina. He once said, “All politicians should have three hats – one to throw into the ring, one to talk through, and one to pull rabbits out of if elected.” He also believed that, “Ordering a man to write a poem is like commanding a pregnant woman to give birth to a red-headed child.”

Carl Sandburg published Chicago Poems in 1916, as an ode to a city. It’s a clear eyed and unapologetic love letter: where you tell your true-love you love them not in spite of their imperfections but because of them. This was Sandburg’s first volume of poetry, written in the years just after 1912 when he moved to Chicago. “Passers-by” is one of the poems from this collection.

In some ways, Sandburg’s writing was before its time–more like the social realism you associate with the later 1920s and 1930s–think Grant Wood’s American Gothic, think Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother. This was a time when industry, agriculture, and the worker were the heroes of popular art.