joejackson_twitter

Weekly Review 7/5/13

“Say it ain’t so Joe, ailment clinic in 140 characters or less.”\n\nHistory as a Western scholarly discipline naturally followed the dissemination of books as the intellectual medium, within which historians, over the course of hundreds of pages, grappled with and cited older written sources totaling thousands of pages, lending insight into bygone eras where change, readers were told, occurred over decades, centuries, or millennia.\n\nWell, times have changed.  In a Guardian editorial this week titled “The digital age is changing us completely,” Jonathan Freedland quotes a political scientist who observed via Twitter shortly after actor James Gandolfini’s death “Twitter reduces the famous-person-mourning cycle from days to hours.”  And another intellectual notes “Reading is a cognitive, mental, emotional action, and today it is under pressure from all this speed of the internet and the whole digital world.” And that people have become “happily, even giddily, governed by the values of utility, speed, efficiency and convenience.”\n\nHow does history remain relevant in this age of multitudinous ephemera?  It can start by making an effort.\n\nHe’s been at it for the entire baseball season, but this week it was called to my attention that Shoeless Joe Jackson (.356 lifetime batting average, banned from baseball in 1920, died in 1951) is on Twitter.\n\nArchivist Peter Alter and some DePaul students (Matt D’Agostino, Carly Faison, Kelly McHugh, Josh Messer, and Ryan Niederman ) working out of Chicago History Museum are the folks behind Shoeless Joe’s twenty-first century persona.   They have consulted many of the documents that are part of the museum’s 1919 Black Sox collection to determine what Jackson might have to say about his past and baseball in the present.\n\nMany of those documents—including some terrific photos and transcripts from the 1921 criminal trial—are posted on Joe’s Tumblr page as part of an ongoing story that will run through this year’s World Series.\n\n

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\nChicago Sport and Society has been keeping up with the trial of George Zimmerman, who stands accused of murdering Trayvon Martin—the African American young man who was wearing a hoodie walking around a Florida gated community when Zimmerman shot and killed him.  This act of violence suggests the insidious ways that racism still permeates American culture.  Responses to the incident in the mainstream media (looking at you, Geraldo Rivera) have reflected a long history of putting the onus on black men to conform to the cultural standards of white society if they are to enjoy its full benefits; and when black men fail to do so it serves to justify whatever ill-fate befalls them.\n\nThat’s why Michael Denzel Smith calls George Zimmerman’s day in court “Black Manhood on Trial.”   And this week, John Wilmes sent me a link to a March 2012 post by Beckley Mason on Hoopspeak.com reminding us that black manhood already has been tried by the NBA and found guilty of alienating white audiences; NBA players have been sentenced to a dress code since 2005.  The responsibility, as always, was on African American men to conform.  As Mason writes: “When the league’s dress code was put in place, it wasn’t so that Brad Miller wouldn’t wear a hoodie to a press conference, it was so that Allen Iverson would put on a blazer.\”\n

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\nBen Joravsky has been having some fun at Rahm Emanuel’s expense after the mayor said on live radio following the Blackhawks championship victory last week: \”Bobby Hull is looking down on this team with great admiration.\”\n\nBobby Hull, of course, is alive.  This was confirmed via cellphone a short while later.\n\nThis proves that our mayor likes spending taxpayer money on sports arenas a lot more than he likes sports, which makes him the exact opposite of me.  I guess that’s why I didn’t vote for him.\n

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\nSpeaking of the Blackhawks, Steve Bogira ponders “Are the Blackhawks Chicago’s team?” on the Bleader blog and makes some pointed observations about the class, race, and geographical dynamics that define hockey culture and Blackhawks fandom in Chicago and its suburbs.\n

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\nEver wonder why a nation like Brazil would spend billions and billions and billions on hosting “mega-events” like the Olympics and the World Cup?   Travis Waldron explains the flawed rationale in this article posted in Think Progress’ shiny new Sports section.\n

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\nFinally, this Onion headline is for anyone who, like me, has some familiarity with New England sports fans.\n\n 

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