….. Friday The 13th ?? Thinking of Jason Voorhees in his hockey mask? Actually “March 13” should bring back even more bizarre memories ….. of 610 North Buchanan Blvd in Derm and a duffus named Nifong and one of the most disgusting blunder in the history of modern journalism. ….. Today is the 3rd Anniversary of The Duke Lacrosse Scandal.
(For this “special” commemorative edition; we are waiving our “under 1,000 word” limit.)
Where were you when you first heard the report? Was your first impulse “uh oh, those rich white boys have really screwed up bad.”?
Did you think of the 1996 movie “A Time To Kill” in which white rednecks brutalized a young black girl in a small Mississippi town. ….. (NOTE: “Jack Bauer” played one of the “rednecks”). Or, did you think of Tawana Brawley and Al Sharpton – America’s most notorious racial hoax.
In the newsroom of The News & Observer, Editor Melanie Sill and News Editor Linda Williams immediately exclaimed “Goody goody gumdrop ….. where are we going to hang the Pulitzer?”
During that crazy year following March 13, 2006, I wrote 23 columns entirely or partially about the incredible subplots of this story. Some columns were brutal condemnations of absurdities perpetrated by pathetic justice officials ….. and by an equally pathetic regional newspaper. Some columns were pure slapstick comedy as more and more clowns kept emerging from the tiny car in the middle of the center ring.
You know how it all shook out. Every piece of dirty laundry in American culture was aired. From Fresno to Pocatello to Scranton to Lubbock to Valdosta to Pensacola ….. and here at Ground Zero ….. EVERYBODY was talking about – “Duke Lacrosse”. Hell, it went freakin’ Global. From Brussels to Shanghai to CapeTown to Cairo to Rio and Auckland ….. people who had no idea where “Duke” was or what “Lacrosse” was …. were talking about “Duke Lacrosse”.
My favorite recollections ??? …. Soooo many.
My first thought in the first few hours, was “those arrogant young stoopid sumbitches DID WHAT!” But the “Tawana Option” came quickly to mind too. I shifted into “Tawana Option” the first time I saw Mike Nifong grinning on TV. A mediocre nobody living the dream of every anonymous mediocre nobody thru history. Circumstance handed him Aladdin’s Lamp and he was arubbin’ and awishin’…… (1) I wanna get elected ….. (2) I wanna be famous ….. (3) I wanna be Elected AND Famous. …… and, if I get a 4th wish, I want to touch Katie Couric’s hair.
Missus recalled my first Nifong observation ….. “Something ain’t right. That nutty squirrel is clueless.” Truer words were never spoken.
Speaking of “true words” ….. they were NEVER spoken by The News & Observer. Knees were jerking, lips were smacking and race cards shuffling from Minute One of Day One. “Where we gonna hang that Pulitzer ….. how bout in the lobby ….. Orage will want it in his office ….. maybe we can get extras and we can all have one to show off …. This is sooooo cool …. Can you believe how lucky we are girlfriend? …. Rich white boys YOU ARE GOIN’ DOWN!!!” ….. ….. then that darn pesky “truth” started coming out in spite of The N&O …… IT”S NOT FAIR !!!!! …… Three years later the aftershocks of Duke Lacrosse have left a cloud of terminal doom over The Quite Unreliable. When everyone finally realizes “you can’t believe a word you read in that paper” it makes it tough to sell newspapers. ….. yep.
Malik Zulu Shabazz & his Thugs come to Duke ….. I’ll NEVER forget this. Malik was “Obama without the funny ears”. 6’5”, Saville Row suit and struttin’ and pimpin’ to beat all. News choppers thumpin’ overhead as Malik’s phalanx of New Black Panthers / Ray Lewis wannabees in SWAT boots grimaced and postured. I was “the boots on the ground” sending live reports to 20,000,000 radio listeners. Derm’s black community had a Sapphire & Aunt Esther Lookalike Contest prior to Malik’s arrival. The winners got to play Dawn to Malik’s Tony Orlando. It was straight out of Good Times, The Jeffersons and Amos & Andy. Every over-the-top black stereotype was on-site. …… there was Lightin’, Kid Dy-no-mite, Huggy Bear, Flavor Fave, and an itty bitty little black dude claiming he was Halle Berry’s love-midget. All we needed was Tina Turner shimmyin’ on the roof of a Cadillac Eldorado belting out “Proud Mary”.
The Full Page Glamour Shot piece for Ho #1 ….. The N&O’s “Queen Latifah” Linda Williams had decreed in the first hour of the breaking story that Ho #1 would always be referred to as “honor student and single mother of two ……”. I, of course, never got that memo. In Week Two Linda orchestrated a “Meet The Victim” story that elevated Ho #1 above Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, AND Starr Jones. Who knew that a $5 psycho-Ho working a truckstop strip club in Hillsborough (1) was a Navy hero …. (2) had invented “chicken ‘n waffles” …. and (3) was the first “working girl” to wear plexi-glass stilettos with live goldfish in the heels. …. Meanwhile Ho #2 (aka The Embezzler) was hiring a press agent trying to book her lyin’ a** on Letterman.
The $1,000,000 house on a Long Island golf course ….. While duffus Nifong was tampering with DNA samples in collusion with a crooked lab in Burlington ….. The N&O’s priority was to dispatch reporters to Long Island to verify just “how rich” those “white boys” might be. “A $1,000,000 house on a Long Island golf course” was the above-the-fold headline that told the world which side The N&O was pulling for. Maybe I’ll spray paint it on the N&O building when the paper shuts down in a few months.
“Bunny Hole Entertainment” ….. when I learned the name of the escort service the “rich white boys” had called to order the “the honor student and the Embezzler” I knew there was a patron saint for Internet Legends. I posted Bunny Hole Entertainment’s URL on BobLeeSays and it melted down within three hours. I confess I’ve seen 1-2 porn sites while surfing for column inspiration. Bunny Hole was as raunchy as they get. …. “honor student and single mother of two” ….. riiiight!
“…. the essence of FIVE different men in her nether regions” ….. This YEE HAA line in the rape exam report was better than anything I could make up. None of the “five essences” matched any of the “RWBs” at the party (duh!) …… “The honor student ….. of two” gave the term “working girl” a whole new meaning. ….. Three years later – FIVE is still the record for “different essences in one nether region” at that Derm ER. A somewhat naïve friend of mine at The N&O provided the caption for this chapter …… “BobLee, I really thought that exotic dancers just danced exotically ….”
“He took his guitar and left ….” ….. When Derm County deputies came to confiscate Nitwit Nifong’s law license, his wife met them at the door with this classic line. I imagined the once obscure mediocre nobody, his grandiose dreams gone awry (duh!), sitting on the banks of the Eno River strummin’ “Froggy Went Acourtin” and pretending he was sniffin’ Nancy Grace’s bicycle seat.
The Gang of 88 …… Aaaahhh, what a lovable bunch of academic scamps they were. Yours truly had a memorable dialogue with “the Gang’s” ad hoc leader – a Lesbo Lib named Cathy Davidson. The N&O (another duh!) gave Cathy a 1,000 words to screed her hate for “men” ….. “white men” ….. “rich white men” ….. “rich white men who play Lacrosse” ….. and, of course, “rich white men who play Lacrosse and vote Republican”. …… I just had to meet anyone with that much bile boilin’ in her veins. We had several nice conversations. I challenged her to a contest of “which of us has been called the most obscene names by readers who hate us”. I won with my collection from that first column I wrote on Carter Finley’s F-Bomb Alley. I keep those literary gems in a lead-lined box buried in our back yard. Nothing will grow over the spot where they are buried …… “very toxic”.
The Comedy in all this will forever be The Village Idiot – Nifong. If Larry, Moe & Curly ever need a 4th stooge he’s sittin’ in Derm still arubbin’ that lamp.
The Tragedy was a corporate entity with its own printing press. Driven by the twin demons of professional vanity and intense ideological bigotry, The News & Observer blatantly committed “Hate Crimes” against “rich white boys” that rank with any perpetrated by any Grand Dragon in a bed sheet, or by any boy with a can of spray paint ….. Since March 2006, The N&O has been in a financial death spiral. JUSTICE is being served..
Where are they now? ….. Mike Pressler is coaching small college lacrosse ….. the “rich white boys” are still “rich” and “white” but now young men and getting on with their lives. …… Duke Prez “Throw’em Under The Bus” Broadhead is still Prez at Duke but minus many millions in hush money …..
Mike Nifong sits around in his ratty bathrobe waiting for Charlie Rose to call ….. Melanie Sill was “josephined” to Sacramento where what’s left of her ever-dwindling staff at The Bee take delight asking to see “that Pulitzer you were going to get for Duke Lacrosse”….. Bunny Hole closed up shop ….. Ho #2 auditioned to be a Solid Gold Dancer for Randy Parton’s Ho-Down Revue in Roanoke Rapids. She’s waitin’ for call-backs.
Ho #1 is now “honor student and single mother of THREE”. Her book sold seven copies. She gives away copies to “Johns” if they pay in cash and don’t knock out her teeth. …… Linda Williams is still Queen Latifah at The N&O but another round of “turn in your ID and clear out your cubicle” is coming up next week. She has “diversity job security” but when it finally gets down to just her, Bojangles Barry and Orage Quarles all bets are off. ……
Malik Shabazz hopes to play Calypso Louie Farrakan if Oliver Stone ever does a movie on Louie. ….. Gang of 88er Cathy Davidson is marketing castration knives on HSN ….. the itty bitty little black dude claiming to be Halle Berry’s love-midget works weekends as a lawn jockey at Courageous Lizzie Edwards’ Secluded Compound outside Chapel Hill. ……
Oh ….. that tuition check that Jesse Jackson said he was sending to Ho #1 ….. it has not arrived YET.
Who was the “dream team” lawyer
with the goatee and seersucker suit?
Coincidentally ….. that UNC Hate Crime Committee will give its recommendations to Erskine & The UNC BOG in two weeks. BobLee was able to sneak a peak at it. Surprise ….. “rich white boys” are NOT a protected category.