Monday, June 06, 2005

Where are Fisk's Ghost Stories?

Years ago, when I moved to North Carolina, within the first month I was there, I was hearing all kinds of gossip about Strom Thurmond having a black daughter. I had not heard this before I moved to North Carolina, but I assumed that, with as wide-spread as the knowledge of this daughter seemed to be, that it was one of those things that was common knowledge that I, being a rural Midwesterner, had just missed out on. So, it was shocking, but not nearly as shocking as when it hit the national news a couple of years ago. If so many people in North Carolina already knew about this, how the hell was it news? Yes, dear reader, your Aunt B. is still sometimes rather naive. It never occurred to me that it mattered that I was only hearing this from black people, never crossed my mind that something could be so widely known and yet completely unknown. This is exactly one of the most insidious ways that racism still shapes our culture--whose gossip is spread, whose stories are told, whose intuition is given credence. Anyway, I didn't mean to start what is supposed to be just a wondering post on such a serious note. I was just thinking that, if I'm going to be bumming around Nashville for a week, and if I love ghost stories, that I could combine my love of both and go look for Nashville ghosts. Well, anyone who's been on Fisk's campus knows its exactly the kind of place you'd expect to have ghost stories. There are a lot of old buildings, a lot of kids away from home for the first time, a lot of history. There should be a ghost story or two, just like there is for Belmont. But I can't find anything on the internet, whereas, of course, you can for Belmont. Ooo, this is good. Now my vacation has a driving force.


Blogger Peggasus said...

Well, I'm not sure I would attribute the lack of widespread knowledge about Thurmond's love child to racism or to being rural or whatever, but rather to media bias. I would rather suggest that it manifests itself differently depending on where in the country you are located, and to what the reigning political point of view happens to be. You know, whether the media bias is Republcan or Democrat or, if you live in Oregon, in which case your party would be the Totally Anti-Governmental Conspiracy.

For example, it's been kind of hard to find much of an anti-Democratic vein of fair reporting here in Chicagoland for the last, uh, FORTY years. Duh. But the Tribune is not so much of a Republican mouthpiece as it used to be. I think they report, overall, pretty fairly on both sides. Then again, I am fully aware that what I do or do not or see is edited by people that may or may not have an open and impartial mind.

Whether I like it or not, someone, somewhere, is still filtering what I see and when I see it. I'm not sure what my options are about that issue. Besides the pissing me off part.

But, if you come down here, I can show you an old shack that they say Al Capone hid out in.

6/06/2005 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

When we lived out by the river, one of the islands--Keg Island--was supposedly a Capone hide-out because it was in neither Illinois or Iowa. So, it has me thinking--when the hell did Capone have time to run his empire if he was always running all over the midwest to hide?

Anyway, obviously, I think you're insightfully right about everything coming to us through a filter and us not having much control over it.

But I think what we can do is point and laugh when we do notice it.

I don't know. Maybe that's a screwed up way to respond. But the problem is so huge and pervasive that ridicule seems to be the only effective tool we have.

6/06/2005 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

Ergo, The Daily Show. I have read statistics that indicate that something like 50-75% of the 18-35 (or whatever the hell their major demographic is) say that that show is their main source of news about current events. That is a HUGE amount of news-worthy influence right there, either way one looks at it.

I find this somewhat scary. I watch it too (religiously), but skeptically. I know when they're being sarcastic and facetious. My 18-year-old son does not make that distinction. These writers are wielding tremendous power over impresionable minds, and for better or for worse, all I can do at my end as a mother, is try to get my kids to keep an open mind. And I'm fairly irrerevent to begin with, and I'm still in an upward battle.

Kids are fun!!

6/06/2005 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Wow, I hadn't thought about what it might mean if you just didn't get that the Daily Show is facetious.

On the other hand, at least they're getting exposure to the news. At 18, I had very little idea what was going on in the world.

6/07/2005 03:10:00 PM  

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