Sunday, March 18, 2007


I haven't written much about the inimitable Wally Hall, the alleged editor of the sports page for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in some time. Actually, I haven't written too much about anything lately due to the pressing duties of the day job. BTW...I deny the vicious allegation posted on our sister station Strangepup that I have been slacking. I've just been busy.

Anyway, today's topic in Wally's column concerns the University of Arkansas needing to hire a "big time" coach "if Stan Heath leaves" i.e. gets fired, as some are predicting. In his column, Wally rehashes the story on how Heath got hired at Fayetteville after only one year's worth of head coaching experience at Kent State (which actually goes by Kent now as i understand it). Then his column gets interesting, although as it always seems to work with Wally, it is for all of the wrong reasons. The law of unintended consequences is always enforced over at the Democrat-Gazette sports page.

Wally goes on to write: " Heath came in with his pleasant smile and correct English and expectations were high..."

"Pleasant smile and correct English?"

Early in what promises to be an interminable political campaign for the Presidency, Sen. Joseph Biden angered many black people when he referred to Sen. Barack Obama as "clean and articulate." Some black people took offense at this remark, saying that white people only refer to intelligent black people as "articulate" as if being well-spoken were the special province of white people only.

It is one thing to comment on Stan Heath's considerable reputation for class and civility as he stands out in that regard in a profession full of egomaniacs and martinets. It is quite another to refer to a black person's "correct English."

I will give Wally the benefit of the doubt. I don't think he's a racist. But he has a tendency to make much of "positive" character traits of black people he admires while demonizing the ones he doesn't like. Guys he likes are referred to as 'well dressed" or "polite" or " a yes-sir and no-sir kid." He doesn't write about white people in that fashion or at least he doesn't to the extent he uses such terminology about black people. And I think he mainly does it to pander to a certain constituency out there for whom these are still "hot button" issues. Which may be reprehensible but it doesn't make him a racist.

I think the point Wally was trying to make in his typically mangled way is he thinks that Heath was mainly smoke and mirrors and was just not cut out for the job. Or maybe Wally finds "correct English" to be a character flaw. "Correct English" is certainly nothing that he has ever employed consistently in his columns. But you would think a red flag would have gone up over there when that sentence came across somebody's desk given the furor over Joe Biden's remarks about Barack Obama.

No, I don't think Wally is a racist. He's just inarticulate.

No, I

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