Crucial Minutia
it's the little things...
Theo GangiTheo Gangi attended Goucher College, and is a recent graduate of Columbia's MFA writing program. His first novel, Bang, Bang, will be published by Kensington Books in November 2007. He writes the National Pastimes column, which appears on Fridays.
Theo Gangi
National Pastimes: We Have Nothing to Fear
4 Comments | posted April 20th, 2007 at 09:45 am by Theo Gangi

There was a practical reason for the second amendment. We were a citizens militia without a standing army, without a warrior class. Now it makes purchasing an automatic handgun with a hair-trigger and a 16 round clip as easy as ordering a sandwich.

The only purpose for such a weapon is to kill a mass of people as quickly as possible. These weapons are designed for the military and police, not duck hunting. Yet we sell them to children if they have a drivers license. Our most powerful political party defends this policy. And they’re adults. Virgina lawmakers should be charged with 33 counts of reckless endangerment.

And who profits? The same weapons manufacturers who are rolling in money since we invaded Iraq. Haliburton’s stock price has tripled since 2003. Their CEO made 100 million dollars last year. Are our politicians in the pocket of the defense industry? No. Our politicians are the defense industry. A person going from the state department, to being CEO of a defense contractor, and back into the vice presidency, defines the legal principle of a ‘conflict of interest’. The same man who wages war cannot be the same man who profits from one.

The majority of this country has been bulldozed by a powerful few for too long. They believe they are bigger than the constitution, bigger than the people, and bigger than the Geneva conventions, which call a war of aggression a war crime. Let me paraphrase the late Don Imus– our current leaders are war criminals.

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Theo Gangi
National Pastimes: Just Leave the College Kids Alone.
7 Comments | posted April 13th, 2007 at 09:08 am by Theo Gangi

Isn’t there a war somewhere? I mean one not between activists and a week-old comment?

I would like to stop talking about Imus. The problem with that is, I watch the news. Unless I quit, it’s the Imus-Rutgers-a-thon.

There is something about this comment that will not go away. My father mentioned that the Rutgers girls’ team press conference is what put the final nail in the Imus coffin. People saw who was attacked, and how undeserving they were. Race issues jump a hypersensitive notch when dealing with college kids. Look at how the media/public condemned the Duke Lacrosse players on hearsay.

The media frenzy at Rutgers took my back to an incident I was involved in back in college.

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Theo Gangi
National Pastimes: The Criminalization of Racism
3 Comments | posted April 10th, 2007 at 11:02 am by Theo Gangi

“It happens to be Mr. Imus. But behind Mr. Imus it’s all of us.” –Rutgers Coach Vicki Stringer.

Not again. E Tu, Imus

I’m not going to get in line to take shots at Imus. The repugnant idiocy of his comment is self-explanatory. Whether or not he should be fired is another issue.

Unlike Mel Gibson and Michael Richards, Imus has done a ton of good with his celebrity. He championed Harold Ford Jr.’s run to be the first black senator of Tennessee. He regularly promotes a line of green safe cleaning products and a ranch for kids with cancer. Politicians go on his show to expose issues neglected by the media. Unlike Mel Gibson, his slur came in the midst of a comedy act. Unlike Michael Richards, Imus wasn’t in a primal rage.

So who wants Imus canned? Many rightly outraged black leaders. Also the same man who wants to charge the cops in the tragic Shawn Bell shooting with premeditated murder. It’s not that Al Sharpton invents issues. It’s that his hellfire approach terrifies white people, and does nothing to address the racism behind their revelatory gaffs.

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Theo Gangi
National Pastimes: A Racial Conversation About Nothing
4 Comments | posted March 30th, 2007 at 12:21 am by Theo Gangi

Conversation about race today is about nothing. It belongs on Seinfeld.

The sitcom has an interesting history regarding race. Even at the height of its popularity, its ethnocentricity and racism was widely overlooked. Minorities who appeared on the show were hypersensitive rants impossible not to offend. The writers were smart enough to recognize this, and played to it in a brilliant episode where George, in order to prove that he isn’t racist, tries to make friends with every black person he sees.

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Theo Gangi
National Pastimes: Political Theater
1 Comment | posted March 23rd, 2007 at 06:09 pm by Theo Gangi

The problem with Hollywood’s recent Historical action flicks is the marginal interest in history. At the top of the box office last weekend, 300, based on a Frank Miller comic book, tells the story of a famous Spartan last stand. What’s troublesome is that the movie surgically removes the strategic reason for this sacrifice—to save the lives of the 6,000 other Greek soldiers who would’ve been slaughtered. Why this fact is left out isn’t exactly clear, but it is disconcerting that somehow it’s easier for an audience to swallow a sacrifice for a vague, undefined ideology than for a strategic purpose.

It reeks of Bush logic. The Spartan king goes off to war while the Greek people are either too corrupt or too stupid to know it’s time to fight. This king represents only 300 of his constituency, the way our president only represents 30%. This king kills the Persian diplomat for suggesting a negotiation. Why mention that the Greeks destroyed an important Persian temple just years before? No, these ‘ambassadors’ are people of color coming for our freedom. Can’t talk, gotta kill ‘em. Git ‘er done. But most shameful, the movie pretends the 300 Spartans didn’t go to war with 6,000 other Greeks because then they would’ve looked like pussies. The filmakers also removed the Spartan’s body armor. I’m surprised they didn’t remove the spears and shields as well, and go into battle swinging their genitals.

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