View Full Version : I was hoping...

01-17-2006, 10:21 AM
Spent a good portion of yesterday hoping that the biography channel or some other TV channel would put on.or air a bio...of MLK...as I wanted to know more about him..his life......other than the famous speech...
All I got were hours on biographies of the Kennedy clan....
Whose birthday were we supposedly celebrating yesterday? I must have missed something...

Ian McColgin
01-17-2006, 12:59 PM
Just to share a personal anecdote, I got to carry MLK's bookbags for a week on the road. I was stunned at how omniverously the man read. Two heavy bags with books of politics, history, poetry, fiction, bible studies, even a bit of science. And new books got added as books were finished.

Plus he kept notes!

Years later when I got to theology school, I mentioned to one of my buddies that an easy PhD could be got out just looking at MLK's reading lists and speeches and sermons to see just how long it took the stuff he was learning to make it into the stuff he was teaching.

By the way, I do know all about the plagerism allegations in his PhD, which came out in the early '70's when I was at theology school and incidentally taking some courses at BU School of Theology. Seperate topic. Most of us who read the accusations and checked the texts found the charge of plagerism baseless.

It was absolutely true that MLK had a wonderful ear for language and made his words echo with everything from the Authorized Version to Chrysistrom to Fosdick, to whatever. In the preaching tradition, the more educated one is about sourses, the more one recognizes . . . sorta like working the crowd and playing to the band at a different level.

Anyway, I don't see much educational TV but Mary Ellen made me watch the Golden Globes. Foxx or someone trotted out the timeless Bill Cosby gag about not to worry about Martin Luther King Junior Day as there's only two more hours where you have to be nice to black people.

TV's shining moment.

The newspapers did a better job. Community events did best.

01-17-2006, 02:54 PM
I think our local PBS station did a repeat of the "American Experience" episode on MLK.

01-17-2006, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by Ian McColgin:
plagiarism allegations .J Edgar Hoover, him of pleasant memory :rolleyes: carried on a blizzard of allegations against MLK.

as Winston Churchill said: "A lie is halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its boots on."

Hoover and his ilk still plague us.

01-17-2006, 03:44 PM
I did not start this thread to malign MLK...and didn't...I did start this thread to see if anyone could explain why every channel History/Biography...carried bios of all the Kennedys...ad nausium...I might add and not MLK....It was his birthday....
Luckily, Lincoln broke the chain last night.

I just found it curious and amazing...You would have thought it was a Kennedy clan birthday...

[ 01-17-2006, 03:45 PM: Message edited by: uncas ]

01-17-2006, 03:46 PM
"Why would anyone want to dredge up his personal peccadilloes at a time like this?" To keep people like you listening.

Interesting that you call Jay right wing. Whenever he's on Imus, I mute the sound because he's so left wing. :D

01-17-2006, 03:52 PM
"A committee of scholars at Boston University concluded yesterday that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. plagiarized portions of his doctoral dissertation, completed there in the 1950s.

BU provost Jon Westling accepted the panel's recommendation that a letter be attached to King's dissertation in the university library, noting that numerous passages lacked appropriate quotations and citations of sources. The letter was placed in the archives yesterday afternoon, a BU spokesman said."

Source: 1991 BU report, based on the work of a committee of scholars.(via Snopes)

How this reflects on his later life is up to the reader. Even the greatest of public figures will often have feet of clay. To me, that usually makes them more human and more interesting.

The only reason this most heinous of scholarly sins didn't get his thesis pulled and his degree revoked is because he's become both a secular saint and a black martyr.

01-17-2006, 03:55 PM
And the only reason Ted Kennedy was readmitted to Harvard after being booted for cheating is his family/father...

Now that we have all of this garbage outta the way...does anyone have a reason for the deludge of Kennedy bios yesterday instead of a few on MLK...?

[ 01-17-2006, 03:57 PM: Message edited by: uncas ]

01-17-2006, 03:56 PM
Speaking of nausea and vomiting, whatever happened to Rush? :D

Ian McColgin
01-17-2006, 04:07 PM
I’m recalling the debate over King’s plaugerism as about two decades earlier than some of the real public explosions of the ‘90’s. If you google, you can find lots of rants. More carefully, Clayborn Carson approached this problem in his musings “Editing Martin Luther King, Jr.:Political and Scholarly Issues” findable at: http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/additional_resources/articles/palimp.htm

I do not think the folk at the King Papers Project quite share my idea of tracking his reading lists and his talks. They certainly do not get it as to how a preacher cribs and crafts a sermon – always remembering King was a preacher first, last and always.

As Woody Guthrie said of another song writer, “He just steals from me, but I steal from everyone.”

Most scholars would much prefer seriously more competent footnoting, but it’s important to understand how King’s mind essentially owned almost everything he ever read and if phrases seem to be lifted from myriad sources, how they were shaped into sentences and paragraphs was King’s crowning intellectual and spiritual glory.

From Carson:

“Even as we became more and more aware of the extent to which King relied upon the words of others, we also came to the somewhat paradoxical conclusion that King's academic writings-and certainly his later writings and speeches as a public figure-were reliable expressions of his public persona. Writings that were flawed by plagiaries were nevertheless revealing in that they expressed views that were consistent internally and over time. This consistency helps to explain why King's professors and later readers of his papers did not notice the extensive textual appropriations. We also suggested that the compositional practices that raised ethical issues during King's graduate-school days were closely related to the positive qualities that later made him an influential public figure. Rather than youthful lapses in judgment, King's appropriations reflected a deeply ingrained attitude regarding the use of erudite language to achieve personal and social ends. Our findings suggest that, once he entered public life, Kinles theological training became an asset, distinguishing him from other black leaders and providing him with intellectual resources that enhanced his ability to influence white middleclass public opinion. We concluded:

“Even his ability to appropriate texts to express his opinions was a benefit as he drafted public statements that would not require citations. His characteristic compositional method contributed to the rhetorical skills that became widely admired when King was called unexpectedly to national leadership. His appropriations of major scholarly texts satisfied his teachers and advanced his personal ambitions; his use of political, philosophical, and literary texts-particularly those expressing the nation's democratic ideas-inspired and mobilized many Americans, thereby advancing the cause of social justice. His use, as a student and as a leader, of hegemonic or canonized cultural materials enabled him to create a transracial identity that served his own needs and those of African Americans.”

Alan D. Hyde
01-17-2006, 04:08 PM
King was a quick-witted conversationalist and expressed himself well. I had some talks with him, and with Ralph Abernathy in my late teens. Abernathy had a BIG diamond ring; both wore well-tailored black suits, and had big black cars.

King WAS well-read--- he'd read some of the existentialist stuff that impressed me then, but he'd also read Aldous Huxley, and liked "the means are the ends in the making." He also knew his history--- we talked about Up From Slavery and Frederick Douglass' autobiography.

I grew up with three ministers in the (extended) family as a boy, and King could cite Bible chapter & verse along with the best of them. He liked Isaiah 1:18...


01-17-2006, 04:08 PM
OKAY I've been hijacked...take it away boys....

01-17-2006, 04:52 PM
MLK Day is affirmative action for holidays.

Ian McColgin
01-17-2006, 05:07 PM
Uncas's point about TV is spot on. I just roamed about the TV Guide and found almost nothing about Martin. The Hitler, I mean Hysterical, no [slap me] History Channel really did play the Kennedy's for 6 repititious hours versus only 3 for MLK - Curse of Power versus Conspiracies of MLK assassination. Didn't do the meaning of anyone any good there, but that's the HC.

The real celebration was carried on in churches, town roads, and the usual collection of high school essays reprinted in the local paper.

Some of which, by the way, were very good.

TV can't do this sort of content too well anyway and should not over air the times, like "Eyes on the Prize" when they get it right.

01-17-2006, 05:09 PM
Thanks Ian for responding to my thread....
And of course, the only real reason I got a TV and cable was for the history channel..An expensive 32.00 a month for....for.... :rolleyes:
Today...Hitler reigns.....granted in B&W...

Peter Malcolm Jardine
01-17-2006, 08:23 PM
Martin Luther King was a great member of humanity. His vision was one the world could learn from, not just one nation.