January 15th, 2004

The Reverend King & "Professor Brad"

I worked from home this morning, spending the time here reviewing Linda's PPD for the next ITIM release. At 10:30 Robert and I left the house, dropped my car off at the Quizno's at Mission Valley, and then he dropped me off in front of the building that houses Stewart Theater.

I was one of the few white people in the audience to hear the Reverend Bernice King speak. As I looked around the auditorium before it started, I spotted Joye, and moved over to sit with her. We caught up, and it was great to see her.

My reaction to Ms. King's speech was fairly ambivalent.

On the positive:

There's no doubt she's a great orator -- well-spoken, spoke about "heart matters," and had that ability as a preacher to motivate people to a frenzied "Amen."

I loved her idea of "living your life on purpose," and with regards to knowing that purpose, "when you know what to do, then what you go through" matters so little, and "your time here is not about the duration, but about the donation."

On the negative:

I was disappointed that the first thing she talked about was all of the stuff she (they'd) be selling after her speech at the table where she'd be signing books. I found it particularly condescending that we were being told this "because there are a lot of people writing books about the King family, but we want you to get accurate stories, from the people who were closest to him." (She was also touting one of her brother's books.)

I didn't think her "frame of reference" was very "inclusive" or "celebrated diversity." There was too much of a "Christian arrogance" (and I'm a Christian) for my taste.

For instance, she talked about God as "the origin" of everything we do -- as if it were fact instead of her belief. I would have preferred she acknowledged, that for her, God is "the origin," but for others it may be some other deity, which is no more right or wrong than her belief that it's God.

I found it just a little hypocritical to speak from a "God-center," again without acknowledging that that was for her, especially when she did acknowledge that there is a great diversity of religion in the world, and we should respect each other.

I found it ironic that she berated the media so much, specifically television, yet made a big deal before starting her speech about requiring all of the media microphones to be removed from the podium. The irony lies in saying "there's nothing good, or worthwhile on TV anymore," while denying to let them fully cover something completely worthwhile.

She made several comments about the reality TV shows, like "what have we come to?" As a person who doesn't own a television because there's so much crap on (and that was way before reality TV started), I wanted to say, "And before realty TV shows there was good stuff on?" My point being that a better observation would have been that TV, in general, is crap, reality TV shows aside.

Overall, though, definitely time well spent. I'm glad I attended. I didn't leave the place "transformed" as the introduction (both the program and the person who introduced her) promised, and she herself hoped, but that wasn't because she wasn't a good, motivating speaker. I'm already "living my life on purpose," and participating in (on a daily basis with people I come into contact with, and in the way I live my life), a "civil rights movement" that she didn't even acknowledge, except perhaps implicitly, in the group "race, ethnicity, or culture" reference, though I'm not sure she was including GLBT folks in the "culture" group.

I got to work in time to run the two-hour e-meeting with the Irvine folks. Afterward, I had a brief meeting with Linda about her PPD, and then left for class.

The parking situation at State at 4:00 in the afternoon is quite different than at 7:30PM. I had to park in "the deck," which I hadn't anticipated, and it was not exactly close to Poe Hall. I ended up 5 minutes late to class.

I'm going to love this class! I was immediately taken by the instructor. He's so enthusiastic, interesting, but more important, interested. It's a small class, in fact right now, a little too small. We need to have just a couple more folks in it in order for the class to be taught. I so hope we're able to get a couple more.

There's a diverse set of students (five of us) in the class right now, which is such a good size. "Professor Brad" is very interested in tailoring the class to exploit that diversity by offering alternative assignments that align with our work and interests, and to allow us to publish if that's what we'd like to do. That appeals to me very much.

Class dismissed at about 6:00 (instead of 7). I stopped by Burger King for dinner, and then by the grocery store on the way home. Once home, I intended to work on the TCW minutes for January's meeting, but took a nap instead. I woke up at 11:30, and blogged.