Monthly Archives: March 2008

Jay Smooth on the Tupac Story Clusterfuck.

The ‘Why’ is Epic.

David Simon

I got to ask David Simon a question!

The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism hosted a talk with David Simon, creator of The Wire, which all journalists agree is the best show ever. Despite this past season in the newsroom. I braved rush hour traffic in Connecticut to go.

You should know now that I have an incredible, inexplicable crush on David Simon. I know I’ve been harsh in my reviews of some season 5 episodes on this blog. The thing is, I’ve been looking forward to his examination of newsrooms since G.D. started telling me about the show a few months ago. I haven’t been a Wire fan for very long, but when I fell, I fell hard. It’s mostly an intellectual crush, but it’s a crush, nonetheless. That’s probably why I didn’t like the newspaper storyline; my expectations were pretty high. Watching the show this season I felt the same way I’d feel if I saw George Clooney that I (don’t really) know and love in a Michael Bay movie. More…

How Many Innocent People Are in America’s Prisons?

Scalia says the number is small enough to be acceptable, but Adam Liptak of the New York Times said it’s almost impossible to really know. More…

And a…Pot…in Every Pot.

Barney Frank wants to introduce legislation that decriminalize medical marijuana use.

We won’t go on a rant about the country’s misbegotten drug policy, but there’s no way this gains any traction in the House. Or is there?

Late Pass: LeBron and Gisele on the Cover of Vogue.

Stacia and I disagree on the hullabaloo surrounding the cover for this month’s cover of Vogue.

She gets the King Kong undertones and said it’s not a battle she cares to get all up in arms about; I think the cover and the fallout encapsulates the kind of thoughtlessness about racial imagery that are endemic to so many media outlets (someone in an editorial board meeting could have assumed that this would get under people’s skin, even if they didn’t personally didn’t see the big deal).

What say you?

Tupac Hopes Heaven Got a Fact-Checker.

In yet another instance of fraudulent (and/or negligent) journalism, LA Times reporter Chuck Philips and Deputy Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin have been forced to recant claims made in an article on March 17 that implicated associates of Sean “Diddy” Combs’ in the 1994 shooting death of Tupac Shakur. Philips claimed the newspaper had obtained FBI records stating as much:

Now, newly discovered information, including interviews with people who were at the studio that night, lends credence to Shakur’s insistence that associates of rap impresario Sean “Diddy” Combs were behind the assault. Their alleged motives: to punish Shakur for disrespecting them and rejecting their business overtures and, not incidentally, to curry favor with Combs.

The information focuses on two New York hip-hop figures — talent manager James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond and promoter James Sabatino, who is now in prison for unrelated crimes.

FBI records obtained recently by The Times say that a confidential informant told authorities in 2002 that Rosemond and Sabatino “set up the rapper Tupac Shakur to get shot at Quad Studios.” The informant said Sabatino had told him that Shakur “had to be dealt with.”

The records — summaries of FBI interviews with the informant conducted in July and December 2002 — provide details of how Shakur was lured to the studio and ambushed. Others with knowledge of the incident corroborated the informant’s account in interviews with The Times and gave additional details.


Can Perry Parry Harsher Criticism?

Tyler Perry’s fifth big screen effort and fourth adaptation from one of his stage plays, Meet the Browns, opened Friday. We didn’t comment on it when the trailer debuted—and that was intentional. I’ll explain why in a minute.

First, I have a confession to make: Not counting Meet the Browns, I’ve seen every Tyler Perry film at least twice. That’s right. Four Tyler Perry films. Multiple viewings. Me. You read right. I wasn’t coerced, either. I saw them of my own volition — though, admittedly, none of the viewings were alone. For me, watching a Tyler Perry film is a community exercise. It’s a social pastime. It gives me occasion to exaggeratedly gasp and cover my mouth as someone gets choked at a dinner table or clap and rock in my seat when Idris Elba stomps the drug man with “A Change is Gonna Come” as the score. And at any given moment, I can glance to the left or right and catch my mother or grandmother doing the same.

I enjoy watching Tyler Perry films. I ignore Madea and roll my eyes really hard at the speeches the male love interests deliver to the leading ladies. I loudly complain about Shemar Moore’s bad cornrow wig or Boris Kodjoe’s bad acting. I admire Kimberly Elise’s ability to turn pablum into profundity. I crack wise about the overwrought score in every.single.flick.

But when the trailer for Meet the Browns surfaced a couple of months ago, I knew before the first fifteen seconds had passed that this would be the Tyler Perry film where I drew the line.