August 23, 2008 - August 16, 2008
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The Bin Laden
. Sometimes the other shoe doesn't drop before something
else does. Case in point: a second hanging question about Osama bin
Laden that plumped softly to the floor between the lines of this
in Monday's Washington
Seemingly untroubled by the worldwide
search for Osama bin Laden and his allies, al Qaeda maintains a
state-of-the-art multimedia production facility [as-Sahab] that is
pumping out increasingly sophisticated audiotapes and videotapes at a
rate of two or three a week....
Ben Venzke, chief executive officer of IntelCenter, said the amount of
computing power required for the fast turnaround is considerable, and
that the group appears to be using the latest widely available
off-the-shelf hardware and software.
"They are right on the cutting edge of the adoption of new
technologies," he said. "They grab hold of the new stuff as soon as it
becomes available and start using it."
He said the latest bin Laden video was made available in five different
versions, ranging from high-definition to a special format called 3GP
that can be downloaded to mobile devices....
Al qaida has swift, efficient, "cutting edge" video production
facilities? Interesting. Then why was the most recent bin Laden video
so, uh, cheesy? (see it all here
I don't mean just cheesy looking, but fundamentally cheesy in terms of
its being immediately convincing that bin Laden had delivered a live video
performance. That's the first shoe that dropped a couple weeks ago.
People who are
with cutting edge video production were instantly suspicious. For
example, Neal Krawetz of Hactor Factor, an expert on digital image
forensics, studied the video in detail and reported
in detail: (emphases added)
At roughly a minute and a half into the
video there is a splice; bin Laden shifts from looking at the camera to
looking down in less than 1/25th of a second. At 13:13 there is a
second, less obvious splice. In all, Krawetz says there are at least
six splices in the video. Of these,
there are only two live bin Laden segments, the rest of the video
composed of still images. The first live section opens the video
and ends at 1:56. The second section begins at 12:29 and continues
until 14:01. The two live sections appear to be from different
recordings "because the desk is closer to the camera in the second
Then there are the audio edits. Krawetz says "the new audio has no
accompanying 'live' video and consists of multiple audio recordings." References to current events are made only
during the still frame sections and after splices within the audio
track. And there are so many splices that I cannot help but
wonder if someone spliced words and phrases together. I also cannot rule out a vocal imitator
during the frozen-frame audio. The only way to prove that the
audio is really bin Laden is to see him talking in the video," Krawetz
The obvious rebuttal to Krawetz's implications is that clumsy edits and
awkwardly interpolated freeze frames might be proof of nothing but
crude technology. One imagines the hand-held camera, the outdated
editing console gradually succumbing to mould... and, well, that's the
best they could do under trying circumstances. But apparently that's
not right. They have all the slick techno stuff a body could want.
Which brings us back to the first hanging question: Why were the
producers unable to provide incontrovertible proof that bin Laden was
very much alive on the date the video was produced? If you're going to
show videotape of bin Laden talking in the first place, surely the most
elementary goal of the whole production would be to show him speaking
the current, up-to-the-minute content live. Yet they do it only in
freeze-frame. Is that a remarkable coincidence or a smoking gun?
Yet, we have been assured by the usual vaguely described "intelligence
sources" that after studying the video, the experts have concluded bin
Initially, I reconciled the discrepancy between Krawertz's analysis and
the affirmations of U.S. intelligence sources by assuming that
voiceprint technology probably proved what mere video analysis could
not: that the voice on the tape was definitely bin Laden's. Call it the
effect. We've been
conditioned to accept that computer-based voice recognition technology
can make precise identifications. We've seen it done by Grissom and his
On the other hand, we've also seen all the CSI shows blow up
low-resolution 7-Eleven surveillance photos to the point where it's
possible the read the gate number on the airline ticket poking out of
the perp's pocket. Which is nonsense.
Just how good is voice recognition technology? I'm obviously an amateur
and can't say for sure, but here's an interesting discourse
on the state of the technology and its acceptance in courts of law
In 1979, an influential report from
the National Research Council slowed the acceptance of> voiceprint
specialists as experts. The report determined that voiceprint analysis,
while accurate under ideal laboratory conditions, was not reliable enough for courts to depend
on the technology when a recording was made under "real-world"
conditions, where voice signals are degraded by problems like
poor recording quality, background noise, and telephone transmission.
Occasional battles over voiceprints have continued to surface during
the past 20 years, but most law
enforcement agencies have stopped trying to> get them into court. In the 1990s,
the Supreme Court tightened the standards for admitting scientific
evidence in federal court, further reducing the motivation to use the
technology. The voiceprint's demise as
a valuable forensic tool has resulted in a broader decline in the
interest in voice identification techniques generally. To many
judges and lawyers involved in the criminal justice system, including
leading experts on scientific evidence, voice identification has
been equated with voiceprints and voiceprints are too unreliable.
I also found an online
designed to help attorneys and technicians obtain the
maximum possible leverage from a technology that is far less accepted
"Now law enforcement primarily uses the
aural spectrographic method, which means we listen to the tape first and then
do the spectrograph. The American College of Forensic Examiners,
which now controls who gets certified, has taken the position that the
only way to do this is the aural spectrographic method. You have
to actually listen to the tape, not just look at the graph."
Certain precautions are observed during trials that provide clear
context for the evidence and that work to ensure that all such
testimony is properly understood. Juries are allowed to see the voiceprint
and hear the tape recordings. The other side scrutinizes
the expert's qualifications and the machine's quality. In the
end, the jury is generally instructed
to assign whatever weight they want to the evidence. That
means that a lot will depend on the experience and demeanor of the
voiceprint expert. To be convincing he or she needs proper
The author of the article clearly believes that voiceprints have value
and can be persuasive, but why the need for an exhaustive "how to"
section on submitting and presenting voiceprint evidence (which is the
subject of the rest of the article)? Because voices, and therefore
voiceprints, are dynamic, variable, and therefore subject, always, to
The intelligence sources which blandly inform us that the latest bin
Laden video does prove him alive are guessing. How many sons does bin
Laden have who might be able to speak for him on an audio recording?
Now we have two more interesting questions. Since there must be doubt
to some degree about whether the September 2007 bin Laden video is an
authentic presentation of bin Laden himself, why has so little doubt
been expressed by official sources? Who is helped by confusion on this
It doesn't seem to be al qaida that benefits. The same Washington Times
piece that lauded al qaida's technical expertise also provides a dismal
report card on al qaida's propaganda effectiveness in the muslim
communities where it is recruiting terrorists:
Ironically, however, there is evidence
that Muslim audiences are tuning out the al Qaeda propaganda even as
the quality and frequency of the offerings increase...
Karen Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public
affairs, noted in an opinion article this month that support for al
Qaeda has tumbled in Pakistan to just 34 percent, compared with more
than 75 percent five years ago.
Recent polling has shown a similar trend in Iraq and Afghanistan, where
more than 90 percent of respondents reported unfavorable views of al
Qaeda and of bin Laden himself, Mrs. Hughes wrote.
Violence of the sort used by al Qaeda is considered a violation of the
principles of Islam by 88 percent in Egypt, 65 percent in Indonesia and
66 percent in Morocco, according to polling by WorldPublicOpinion.org,
Mrs. Hughes said.
Did you get that the source for this evidence is Karen Hughes of the
Bush administration? Are you sure? Good. I would hate to mislead you.
But despite the article's assurances elsewhere that al qaida videos are
aimed at a primarily western audience, thus accounting for their
ineffectiveness in the muslim world, does it really make sense that al
qaida videos are not also conceived of as recruiting tools in the
western countries where they want volunteers to organize their own
autonomous terrorist cells? And when you're recruiting for an
organization that was conceived and brought to prominence through the
force of a single charismatic leader, wouldn't you do everything in
your power to refute, decisively, rumors that that charismatic leader
Of course you would. So why didn't they? If he really is alive, they're
fools not to demonstrate this fact to the whole world.
And more importantly, what contingent of the intelligence community or
the Washington establishment, including the Bush administration, finds
it preferable to perpetuate a general certainty that bin Laden is alive
when it's entirely possible that he's dead as a doornail? Here's a
final pertinent quote from the Washington Times piece:
U.S. officials are reluctant to talk in
detail about as-Sahab, perhaps because a careful monitoring of its
operations could offer the best chance of finding bin Laden.
Again, the implied certainty that he's alive. Why? It can't be just
that past rumors of bin Laden's death have been proven to be untrue and
they're afraid of still another PR hit. Mostly, the rumors haven't been
proven untrue. Not in public anyway. But even if this is their fear, it
makes no sense to declare that he is definitely alive based on the evidence of an ambiguous
when it would be equally free of consequence to say,
"We just don't know."
There's the mystery. The lamebrain Democrat default position in the War
on Terror is that we should abandon every overseas activity but hunting
down bin Laden. Keeping bin Laden more alive than dead therefore
doesn't seem to help the administration any. Does it serve the
anti-Bush crowd at the CIA? Does it serve the military? Does it serve
Or is there some much bigger game that's being played here? You tell
me. My only conclusion is, that's why this is
You have to love us.
Every movement goes through stages. First, there is the raw
creativity of rebellion. Then there's a period in which key ideas are
refined and consolidated to establish a vocabulary and grammar for what
follows. Next, a mature phase in which masterpieces employ the settled
conventions to reach extraordinary heights of accomplishment. This is
usually succeeded by a rococo phase in which style becomes more
important than substance. Finally, there is a period of disintegration,
in which all the conventions are turned on their heads and irrational
destruction of the status quo leads to a new and far different
incarnation of rejuvenated creativity.
The American civil rights movement is, and has been for a while now, in
the fifth stage. Resistance to Jim Crow laws and spontaneous challenges
to segregation in the south were the beginning. The rise of leaders
like Martin Luther King who were able to convey the trauma experienced
by black Americans to white Americans was the second stage. Landmark
legislation by federal and state governments, broadly accepted by the
American people in the wake of King's assassination, were the height of
the movement. Then came the rococo era: civil rights bureaucracies led
by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, affirmative action that overturned
the quintessential value of the King era in favor of race privilege and
political correctness. The suffocating nature of this extremity led
directly to disintegration -- the blatantly self-destructive and
reactionary expression of a slave value system that prided itself on
its violence, its anti-intellectualism, and a physical,
bauble-oriented, instant-gratification mentality so degenerate that
even its most hateful opponents couldn't have envisioned a better
argument for racial prejudice.
My hope is that gangster rap and all the permutations of it that have
invaded the general culture are merely the precursor of a new
generation of African-Americans who will mount a revolt of their own.
I've spent enough time in the Caribbean to know that
anti-intellectualism is not a black thing; it's a uniquely
black-American thing, perhaps the worst single affectation any culture
has exhibited in recorded human history. But it's a real
thing. And a tragedy. The
smartest guy I knew at Harvard -- a black graduate of Middlesex School
-- was also the loneliest; he tried to teach me chess because he
thought I could learn and be his friend. I couldn't get the chess
(never have), and over the years I have gradually come to understand
the opportunity I lost thereby. The smartest and ablest guy I knew at
the Cornell Graduate Business School was nonplussed by the prejudicial
reactions he got from Africans, not from the Americans who readily
accepted his boldness, experience, charm, and judgment. I'm pretty sure
he's rich by now, which I most assuredly am not.
All of this is context for what I'm sure will be decried as hate
speech. In the space of the past few years, black people in America
have done more to perpetuate the culture of racism in this country than
at any other time in my life. Black Americans have failed utterly to
celebrate the careers of Colin Powell and Condi Rice. They have allowed
Democrats who promise everything and deliver nothing but more
dependency to brand them with racist epithets and dismiss their
achievements. They have stood still while Democrats use the crudest of
minstrel imagery to sabotage the senatorial campaign of Michael Steele
in Maryland. They do not stand up for their own military heroes in the
Marines and the U.S. Army, who died for them as well as the rest of us,
which is the very definition of principle and courage. They did not
rise to defend the Duke lacrosse players -- despite the clear parallels
with cases in their own experience that were decided based on race
first, facts second. They continue to elect and reelect disgraced,
corrupt idiots like William Jefferson and Ray Nagin, regardless of
their competence or integrity. They have consented in the minstrel
parody being enacted in Louisiana around the Jena 6. They reflexively
defend a rap culture that Louis Armstrong, one of the great artists of
human history, would have damned to hell. And they disgrace themselves
in the most personal, moral sense by defending Michael Vick -- and even
-- as if white people were offended because of their racial
prejudice rather than their love of defenseless creatures almost all of
them have known.
So I'll say what no one else will. Not EVERYTHING is about race. Some
things are about humanity. Other things are about character,
aspiration, responsibility, and morality. Equality occurs when morality
is no longer situational -- based on which of them is accusing which of
us of something we won't concede to be a crime, no matter how
unspeakable, because they
have no right to hold us
accountable. We really do
have to agree that some things are beyond the pale, beyond explaining
away in terms of demographics and past injustice.
It's not enough to have been injured in the past. That doesn't excuse
everything that happens now. I have been privileged to know black
people who have a sense of morality that would stand the test of any
time. Most of them are dead now. I hate to think what their response
would be to so-called men who wear their pants so far below their
genitals they couldn't run -- even if they wanted to -- to save another
person's life. They'd be embarrassed to hear of it. And about the dead
dogs of Michael Vick. Not to mention defending thugs as if they were --
shudder -- men.
With any luck, there will be a new phase in which African-American men
discover they want to be
It's called the American Dream. At the moment I'm more wistful than
hopeful about that.
says she enjoys the discussion. I hope she doesn't mind an interloper.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Advance Text of Bollinger's
Questions for Ahdumjihad
Why is this man smiling? Read on.
Unnamed sources inside the Columbia administration have leaked the list
of questions President Lee Bollinger will be asking the Iranian
during his controversial visit to the university this afternoon. The
be a deliberate ploy
to blunt some of the severe criticism
Bollinger has been receiving in the media. It's clear the questions are
frank, direct, and unambiguous. See for yourselves if you think they
will help restore Columbia's somewhat battered reputation.
Mr. President, you may have heard that
there's been quite a kerfuffle
about your visit here today, and the name Hitler keeps coming up in all
the press coverage. Speaking as president of this great university, I
can assure you we'd all be grateful if you could explain to us why and
how George W. Bush came to be so much like Hitler that educated persons
like ourselves can no longer tell the difference between them.
Moving on, Mr. President, there are embarrassingly large numbers of
Jews in the Columbia student body and alumni ranks. Could you please
explain to them how sick and tired the rest of us are of hearing them
whine about the so-called holocaust in Europe 50 or 80 years ago or
whenever it supposedly happened?
As you may know, Mr. President, Columbia University also has a
considerable faculty and student population that specializes in the
natural sciences. I'm sure they'd welcome it if you could summarize
recent Iranian biological research -- which has, of course, been
suppressed here in the Great Satan -- demonstrating the direct genetic
link that exists between Jews and pigs.
Speaking of pigs, could you explain to us the redevelopment plans you
have for Israel after it has been wiped off the map? I mean, how do you
clean, disinfect, and sterilize an area as large as a whole country so
that it doesn't, you know, reek permanently of smoked fish and pickels
and the baby blood they use in all their filthy rituals? Would a
technology that can accomplish such a cleanup have any application in
our great global war against climate change?
On a more humanistic note, Mr. President, could you tell us all what it
feels like -- to you personally -- when you read in the news that one
of your state-of-the-art Iranian IEDs has killed and/or dismembered a
bunch of U.S. imperialist occupiers of Iraq? The capitalist running dog
media in this country usually censor the really juicy details, so maybe
you could also give us some of the more gratifying inside specifics
that only a great world leader like yourself has access to -- the blood
and guts and gore and screaming and dying and all that....
Finally, Mr. President, I'm sure you know how committed we all are here
to ending the century of oppression which has been perpetrated by the
United States on the rest of the world. Please tell us what we can do
-- each and every one of us -- to support you in your efforts to reduce
this country to rubble in the shortest possible time.
Oh, and one more thing. Tell Columbia's student and alumni Jews what
they can do...
Thank you, Mr. President. I know my
questions have been challenging and
sometimes unpleasant, but please believe me when I tell you how much we
all admire you and hope for your success in every endeavor.
Our sources tell us President Bollinger is also open to other
questions, if anyone cares to submit them.
McNabb and Westbrook: Dressed to kill but joined at the hip.
The world of NFL football was quite the comedy yesterday.
Perhaps most amazingly, the day's events provided Keith
with an opportunity to be right about something. He
declared -- in the pity assignment he's been given on NBC's Sunday
Night Football broadcast -- that "the Worst Person in the NFL" this
week is the man or woman who picked out yesterday's blue and yellow
nightmare of a retro uniform for the Philadelphia Eagles. What can we
say? He was absolutely correct, which ended a streak of 0-for-8 years
or so. That's more than you can say about all the experts and pundits
who opined about the Eagles and their fans before, during, and after
their game with the Detroit Lions.
The wizards of Fox's weekly pre-game circus -- Terry, Howie, Jimmy,
and, uh, Frank -- all picked Detroit to win the game, and Terry
Bradshaw also threw in a lecture to Donovan McNabb advising him to shut
up and play football or get ready to be benched.
Then came the blowout: 42 Eagle points in the first half, 56 in the
game, 500+ yards of offense, 4 touchdown passes, zero interceptions,
and 8 sacks by the Eagle defense.
Of course, this didn't much change the views of the experts and
pundits. Bradshaw not only refused to eat crow; he repeated his lecture
to McNabb in the post game recap, conceding only that McNabb had bought
himself another week.
In the NBC Sunday night game between the Cowboys and the Bears (excuse
me, the Vaqueros
and the Osos
in honor of the NFL's "Let's
Pander to Hispanics" month), Al Michaels made multiple snide references
to McNabb's PR troubles of the past week. In fact, his final words
before signing off were addressed to McNabb, inviting him to look at
Chicago during the next seven days to see what criticism of a
quarterback really looks like.
Of course, all the frowning on McNabb didn't stop any of the parties
involved from also slamming Philadelphia fans, who are repeatedly
singled out as the most obnoxious and unforgiving in the NFL. The
sportscasters don't see any contradiction. McNabb is a spoiled whiner,
and Eagles fans are nevertheless ungrateful louts who wouldn't know a
good deal if it hit them in the face. It's kind of like being able to
piss on your cake and throw it up, too.
The print press is equally quick to stomp on Philadelphia. My favorite
of today's post-game reportage is Tom Monkovic of The
New York Times
, who transforms McNabb's ill-timed HBO interview
into an indictment of both the team and the whole city. He builds
on the foundation of this funny quote from The
to suggest that it's actually accurate reporting:
PHILADELPHIA — Frustrated with the
Eagles’ last-second 16-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday,
and with quarterback Donovan McNabb’s failure to single-handedly score
three touchdowns, prevent two of his teammates from muffing punts, or
block any of Green Bay’s field goals, thousands of Philadelphia fans
demanded that McNabb win an NFL championship for Philadelphia sometime
within the next three weeks.
It's a great line. Thing is, Philadelphia fans would be the first to
laugh and they'd laugh the hardest of anybody. Everybody else would
somehow miss the joke because they're busy turning it into something
Consider the absurdities:
TV sportscasters were dissing Eagles
fans for greeting McNabb with some boos among the cheers yesterday
while they were broadcasting a Giants-Redskins game and a Bears-Cowboys
game in which the home fans were booing their teams in the first and
The fearless pundits and experts were criticizing McNabb for answering
a direct question put to him a month ago, but they never mentioned the
name of Michael Vick or the possible impacts his scandal might have had
on black NFL players generally, let alone on black NFL quarterbacks.
Not. One. Mention.
A New York Times reporter -- from New
York, mind you -- had the nerve to look down on Philadelphia for being unfair to
one if its star athletes???!!!
Phooey. None of these clowns understands anything about the City of
Philadelphia and its relations with the Eagles and McNabb. They also
don't understand much about McNabb, who is, despite any and all
evidence to the contrary, beloved
in Philadelphia. Why? Because he's such a perfect symbol of the city
itself. I am so confident of this that I'll bet even McNabb's harshest
critics would agree with me after reading this post.
Philadelphia is a complicated place. It's an incredibly long-running
contradiction that feels deep pride in its history and a nagging
inferiority complex (which it hates in itself) due to the proximity of
New York and the superior self-promotional performance of Boston (and
Virginia-cum-DC) in portraying themselves as the birthplace of the
nation. If you did a nationwide survey, what percentage of Americans
would correctly identify Philadelphia as the birthplace of the United
States? 30 percent? 40 percent? 50 percent? It should be 100 percent.
The poll results would never come close. It's a kind of Super Bowl they
never get to win.
But in the truest sense of names, Philadelphia is
the Eagles, and the Eagles are
Philadelphia. At this deepest
level, it's not even about winning and losing. It's a matter of being
, pure and simple. The
citizens, the fans, the team are truly one in this, with no sectarian
divisions. The actuating principles are pride, the abiding need for
respect, and family. But it's family in the broad, brawling, expansive
sense, like an extended Italian family where there's bound to be lots
and frightening outbursts and then hugs
all around when the
storm inevitably passes. The City of Philadelphia will never
turn its back on this team,
no matter what. The Eagles could go 0 and 16 for a decade, and the
stands would still be full -- full of furious, booing, outraged cousins
and aunts and grandfathers and sons and mothers demanding better.
I can already hear the fans of other cities bellowing in my ear about
how their fidelity and their sense of identity with their teams are
equally strong. I understand. But they're just wrong. The New England Patriots
. Same thing. Not at all. I
lived in Boston when they were the Boston Patriots and didn't even have
a home. They played at Harvard Stadium, which was only full when a star
like Namath was on hand. The Patriots have become a great football
team, but they're just a football team. All the old AFL teams are johnny-come-latelys, and all the old NFL expansion teams,
including the Dallas Cowboys, the same. Only a handful of the oldest
NFL teams have any claim to stake in this regard, and in all but one
case their claims are flawed.
The Cleveland Browns? They should be close, but the real Cleveland
Browns are now playing in Baltimore under a fictitious coat of arms. The
Dog-Pounders are cheering for a fraud. (It's also been said that
Philadelphia has no respect for the Dog Pound because in Cleveland it's
a section; in Philadelphia it's the whole stadium.) Baltimore may love
the Browns-turned-Ravens, but the Colts of Johnny
are playing in
Indianapolis, who also love their Colts, the same way St. Louis loves
their Rams, with the fierce denial of the jilted. Who's left? Detroit?
Their loyalties are understandably more divided than Philadelphia's --
Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings -- not to mention a city that has itself
devolved into exile neighborhoods, so that those who can afford tickets live in the
suburban donut that grew up around the decaying cemetery of old
Detroit. The Steelers? Another dead city repopulated by yuppies who
cheer for a great football team which is exactly that and nothing more.
The Redskins? The nation's most transient city. How many umpteenth
generation fans at RFK every week? Count them on your fingers and toes.
Only two contenders, really. Chicago and New York. Of these, New York
is easily disposed of. Sports in New York -- all sports in New York --
is more a function of media coverage than anything else. Too many words
and images overwhelm fundamental truths. New Yorkers drive their teams
away (Dodgers, baseball Giants), they can be manipulated into dividing
their loyalties and creating brand new ones (Jets, Mets). They have
more hunger for sensational stories about their teams than they have
regard for the teams themselves (Yankees, football Giants). They are
fundamentally inhospitable: the New York Giants play in New Jersey, and
they are booed and derided even more than they think the Eagles are.
Which leaves only Da Bearz. I won't make a case against them. It's
close. It really is. But here's my personal opinion. Philadelphia is
older and more used to symbols that are alive in the heart. The Liberty
Bell. Valley Forge. Independence Hall. William Penn's hat deterring
for many generations the rise of skyscrapers. The past living on so
concretely into the present. And so, I submit, also the Eagles.
How does Donovan McNabb fit into this picture as a symbol and adopted
member of the family? He is the greatest black quarterback who has ever
played in the NFL. You could look it up. He has demonstrated the
ability to be a pure and deadly passer, to win championships, to
overcome injuries and setbacks, to survive in the league as a superstar
for a decade (or will, come next fall). He is therefore, like
Philadelphia, a first, a milestone in his own right. And just like
Philadelphia, he has always struggled to receive the respect that
should be automatically due him. A first round draft choice, a good
citizen with a lovely wife and parents and no personal scandals, a
hardworking and usually charming but complex and sometimes
contradictory figure, who is for these reasons just like the city he
plays for. He has doubts, insecurities, and odd quirks, he frequently
feels unloved and misunderstood, yet it is impossible to travel
anywhere in the whole Delaware Valley without seeing the Number 5
McNabb jersey -- in green, white, black, pink, and now yellow and neon
blue -- on toddlers, grandmas, dudes, chicks, accountants, and
stevedores of every possible ethnic origin.
These are the same people who voted him the greatest Eagle quarterback
in the team's 75-year history, a result announced Sunday at the same
game he began to a smattering of boos mixed with a great many more
He has mixed feelings. The family understands that. The family also
doesn't want him to mouth off to total strangers about it. We have
enough problems getting any respect as it is. And I'm sure that's
exactly how the McNabb family feel about any disagreements they
have internally. But we'll get
over it. Like all insecure people (and cities) Donovan thinks that if
everyone doesn't love him all the time, maybe nobody loved him ever.
Like the Italians of South Philly, he sounds off about such feelings
when he has them. That doesn't mean he's going to quit being dutiful
and hard-working and loyal himself. It just hurts, you know? Like when
some shallow uppity city like New York trashes a whole other city
because they happened to overhear a private argument.
Regardless of what the boos sound like, Donovan McNabb has as long as
he needs in this city to play out his destiny. He's always had that.
Philadelphians don't need to hear more than a few lines about his
childhood experiences of racism to get it. Everybody else in
Philadelphia has his own tale of woe to tell, and they'll scowl and
carp at Donovan's right up to the moment when they see the next glimpse
of that heart and that smile which they will never cease to recognize
as their own.
All the other cities don't have this deep down, rough-hewn, well, love.
The constant trashing of Philadelphia fans is actually a kind of envy.
Unlike Terry Bradshaw, Donovan McNabb will not be alone when he is
inducted into the Football Hall of Fame. In this city, once an Eagle,
always an Eagle. Jaworski, Cunningham, Garcia, and so many others are
family, regardless of what other uniforms they wore and regardless of
how much they got booed. Period.
(Yes, there will be Philadelphians present even when T.O. goes into the
Hall of Fame. You can see his jersey when you hit the road, too.)
In Philly, your own mother can boo you. She loves you enough to know
you can do better. How else do you think those frozen, starving sons of
the American Revolution stormed out of Valley Forge to beat the British
at Trenton? They were so afraid they'd fail, humiliated and scorned,
that they forced themselves to do the impossible.
Eagles 56. Lions 21. All the rest of you can go suck eggs.
But if anyone suggests wearing those retro uniforms again, there's
going to be a fight. Yelling. Name-calling. Booing. The works.