Monday, January 11, 2010

on facebook, no one can hear you scream ('specially if you’re running for governor)

Due to personal circumstance entailing potential conflict and so forth, we have kept our lip buttoned regarding Yates High School’s 170-35 victory over the Lee High School basketball team, despite the almost overwhelming temptation to weigh in with some predictable het-up outrage. (And besides: Who cares what we think about it? Or what you think about it, for that matter.) However, as Houston’s handsomest and strongest blogger (so voted 4 years running in the annual Slampo’s Place “Best Of Houston” competition), we are duty-bound to call your attention to some recent postings on the Facebook page of our own ex-alcalde and gubernatorial hopeful-turned-U.S. Senate candidate-turned-back-to-gubernatorial candidate. (Why Bill White is wasting time on Facebook when he should be out getting on TV while clearing brush with a chainsaw is a question we shall not address here; however, we must acknowledge that White’s online noodlings are mildly interesting––in one he relates that he’s reading state budget papers while watching a Band of Brothers rerun on HBO*, a perhaps too-honest admission of an attention deficit–– and are not something you’d catch many other, if any, candidates for high statewide office doing, if only because they appear to have been written in a spirit of spontaneity, or at least as much in the spirit of spontanety as the public expression of a politician’s normally tightly edited thoughts can get.**)

The posting to which we direct your attention went up on Saturday afternoon, when White, who must fancy himself as a sort of grey eminence or mayor emeritus or some such for Houston, wrote:
Much talk re Yates/Lee basketball score, 170-35. Some students work hard in Yates' great BB program. Lee's a champ on another scoreboard: college entrance up, 25% to over 40% in 5 yrs.; city's fastest growing AP program; "school within a school" with flexible hours, for those who must work; 100 plus mentors; a health clinic; and much more, for a big school with students who speak over 40 languages at home.
Now that’s a nice sentiment, expressed without great drama or fanfare as a keep-your-chin-up pat-on-the-back for Lee (and one we understand was much appreciated in the school’s community). Not the sort of thing you’d imagine anyone objecting to, or that would create any controversy at all. But in politics, there apparently is no such thing as an innocuous statement, no matter how mild and/or heartfelt, and so not long after White’s shout-out to Lee came one Jeanine Robertson, who responded:
Not understanding how someone running for office can only highlight Yates BB program and overshadow their success by praising Lee. This school is located in a poor area of town, therefore, my question is why can't these kids have the option of a flexible schedule so that they can work and assist their families as well? Instead of putting Yates down because they won a game against Lee, how about making all Texas schools equal so that all kids in the state have the same opportunities. The staff at Yates is doing an awesome job with what they have available.
A Nathan Jones added his two cents:
This statement is dumb and coming from someone who put his face between Dr.King and President Obama you didnt leave a mark in history in no way Im a proud Yates grad and we offer more than athletics ..we learned common sense and how to be successful people in this world!!! So u lost my vote and support!!
... as did David Anthony Wakat:
Yates is a great bb program let them boys play.
Then came Nia Billy, addressing Nathan Jones and sticking up for White by rewriting the ex-mayor's personal history***:
Nathan ... I think you took the comment the wrong way. I think that Bill White is a little biased because he went to Lee. Hopefully you won't truly support the other candidates cuz they TRULLY mean harm!
The unexpected blowback set off a string of faintly hilarious name-dropping rejoinders by White, seeking understanding and/or exculpation:
My comment wasn't against Yates, which has made strides academically. I know two of Yates senior players and they will be productive citizens. I've also attended ceremonies recognizing Yates' many honor students. My point: innovative academic programs should be a source of renown and pride. I was last at Lee with Bill and Melinda Gates, who wanted to see a model high school. That is worth a highlight film.
To one commenter below, I don't choose sides between these schools. I have been on Yates campus many times for many reasons, including basketball. Can't we acknowledge Lee without criticizing Yates?
I encourage readers to go to my post earlier today about Lee. Those are facts worth knowing. To some who think praising Lee shows lack of respect for Yates and its team: I logged many hours in the stands. My son started on the same Houston Hoops team with some Yates players. When I took Dkembe to the Yates gym a few years ago to watch, he told the players: keep your eye on the academics.
That was it for Saturday, but White was back at it again early Sunday, at 5:21 a.m. to be exact (up and at ‘em!), wading even deeper into controversy with a declarative sentence that’s sure to catch the attention of GOP opposition researchers:
It is nice to be reading the paper by a fire this cold Sunday am.

Addendum: Things Bill White Has Learned Thus Far from His Facebook Page, Although He Probably Already Knew Them:

1 Many Texans have difficulty with basic reading comprehension.
2. Some Texans have difficulty spelling words such as “truly.”
3. Some Texans have difficulty with proper subject-verb agreement.
4. No good deed goes unpunished.

*Personally, we'd go with Band of Brothers.
**For instance, we're pretty sure that merely drawing breath is not a spontaneous act for Kay Bailey Hutchison.
***White grew up in San Antonio, where he may have attended a school called "Robert E. Lee," if there is one so named in San Antonio––we believe there are Lee High Schools about every 100 or so miles in Texas––but the one in Houston would have required him to undertake a very long daily commute.


Robert Boyd said...

Since no one has said it, I will. This was a great post.

Slampo said...

Thank you, sirrah.