Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Skip the Impaler

Way back in the recesses of deep time, my thesis advisor knew Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. -- that's how I found out he was called "Skip" before there was anything like wikipedia to warehouse data such as that -- and he made overtures to me to apply to study with "Skip." Looking back, I'm glad I was too stupid to take my advisor up on that, because it turns out that Skip Gates is a Terrifying Angry Black Man who probably would have killed me:

Police arrived at Gates’s Ware Street home near Harvard Square at 12:44 p.m. to question him. [Gates] was booked for disorderly conduct after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior,” according to a police report. Gates accused the investigating officer of being a racist and told him he had "no idea who he was messing with,'' the report said.
To those who claim to detect a whiff of racism in this arrest, I challenge you to step back and consult your common sense: is this really so uncommon?

I seem to recall reading somewhere that Laurence Tribe spends more time in the Cambridge drunk tank than out of it (the local police call him "Otis"); that Stephen J. Gould, in his day, had a dish in the Cambridge PD's jail named after him; and that Amartya Sen begins every Thursday night with a poker game at his house but almost always ends it with throwing a punch, if not a broken bottle, at a cop.

And don't even get me started on the faculty at MIT! Chomsky and Pinker can't stay out of the backs of police cruisers. And Pinker is now where? Harvard, of course.

It's a goddamn war zone, that side of the Charles River. There's nothing race-related to it. Nothing at all.

Anyway, I'm glad the authorities finally made their way to Skip Gates before any more bodies went unaccounted for.

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