Exegesis of a Facebook Status War

Note: the following is a note from my Facebook page. I'm reproducing it here just in case Facebook decides to take it down or whatnot.

And now (8/10/09) I'm removing the name (even though the idiot was happy to use his own name when posting this trash) because it's showing up on the first page of a Google search of his name plus his town, and there's no point in hurting his business. And maybe the nimrod will move on. ***sigh***

Some of you may be wondering about the flamewar that just happened on my most recent Facebook status. I thought all of you deserved an explanation for it.

So here I was, minding my own business. Most of the time I'm on my Twitter account, @boloboffin, where it's been a great night watching C-Span, doing this and that. Michelle Bachmann was on the House floor after the Obama press conference, and she's always good for a laugh. So nice night, overall.

And @Atrios, the blogger behind Eschaton, tweets that he's never been arrested trying to enter his house. He's referring, of course, to the Harvard professor who forgot his key in Cambridge, managed to get into his house, and then got arrested by the cops.

I realize I can't quite tweet that, because I've never owned a house to call mine. I've always rented, but I am NOTORIOUS for leaving my keys behind. And in my many attempts to enter my residence or my car, I have never, ever suffered the same fate as Henry Louis Gates.

And I am apt to get mouthy.

So I tweet this message:

Joseph Nobles has never owned a house to be arrested trying to enter
23 minutes ago · Comment · LikeUnlike · via Selective Twitter · follow @boloboffin
And as you can see, I also used the Selective Twitter application here at Facebook to update my Facebook status as well. I don't usually do that, because I resist displaying my political side here. And for those of you saying, "He's resisting? Dude's always being political!", well, yes, I truly am holding back. I kid you not.

Well, five minutes later, the following pops up as a comment.
Alex Jones
I have found that giving cops lip transcends all racial and gender barriers.
18 minutes ago · Delete
Now I don't know Alex Jones (fake name) from Adam. He's a friend of a friend, and we were commenting together on that friend's page, and we Friended through Facebook for whatever reason and life progressed.

And I realize that my status has popped up on his feed. That's out of my control, I guess. I don't know that I've ever seen a status of his pop up on mine, though. I don't know how that algorithm works here at Facebook - it's a mystery to me how some will pop up and some won't. People I'm actually interested in here about skate on by at times. Ah, well.

And I suppose that what I've written might be confusing. Perhaps this person doesn't realize that my opinions are quite, quite liberal and that I support Mr. Gates completely in this matter.

And, like I say, I try to keep my politics out of people's faces here. If people want it, well, I'm happy to provide it - like I say, I Twitter and have even been known to blog at Bolo Boffin. And then if I do post at somebody's Facebook page, it's going to be family who have to put up with me even if I hack them off.

Because the way I figure it, Facebook is an unusual creature, but people should understand that your profile is your space. You don't go onto someone's space and hack them off intentionally. I am reminded of a friend of mine here in Dallas who I teased about a recent tattoo he'd added. Personally I like tattoos (thought I don't have one) and I like this guy a lot. But he took it wrong, deleted the comments, and let me know really quick that he didn't appreciate it, whereupon I hastened to apologize and let him know my true feelings on the subject. And he was right to do what he did. I was insulting him in his space as he saw it. We got that straightened out because I understood why he felt the way he did.

So I thought, "I'll make it clear which side of the issue I come down on. Alex will certainly see that he's being invasive. And we'll see what happens from there."
Joseph Nobles
I've found that showing cops my ID w/ correct address generally establishes my right to be in my domicile
13 minutes ago · Delete

Alex Jones
It's just when you show them your id while yelling...Is it because I'm a white man? Who are you? Get the hell out of my house...the white man has had it with the rousting...what is your name? I will own you...you whitey hater.
11 minutes ago · Delete
Mr. Jones' description of the events surrounding Prof. Gates' arrest are factually inaccurate. Gates did give the officer a little lip, but then did show his ID with correct address. At this point it is clear to the officer that Prof. Gates is in his house, that there was no breaking and entering.

And Gates began to ask for his name and badge number.

Which the officer refused to provide. And Gates followed the officer as he left the house. He found the officer outside with other police officers, and demanded the man's badge number and name again.

And THAT is when he was arrested for being disorderly.

If he had been white, people like Alex Jones would have been outraged. Gates was in HIS house. Gates was asking a police officer for his name and badge number, something to which he was entitled.

But fine outstanding white Southern gentlemen from Birmingham, Alabama like Alex Jones see things a little differently when African-American men get mouthy. That will never do.

And as you can see, Alex clearly doesn't care that he's soiling my wall with his filth.
Joseph Nobles
I fucking dare you to produce a link with that transcript. The man was in his house, you ignorant cracker.
9 minutes ago · Delete

Alex Jones
Well, I might have resorted to some hyperbole :-)
8 minutes ago · Delete

Alex Jones
And yes, I did see him on Black in America 2 and he did establish that there was some exchange.
7 minutes ago · Delete
To tell the truth, that surprised me at the time. I didn't think, "Alex's a happy troll: he's gotten his reaction and he's bathing in it." I thought, "Oh, wait, maybe my anger's misplaced. Maybe he'll turn out to be reasonable and we'll get this straightened out." Because, after all, there was an exchange. Perhaps Alex will check into this, see that his take was a little off, apologize to me, I'll apologize to him, and we'll both be the better for it.

So I tried to figure out the next thing to say, and as I did, I began to figure out how I knew Alex Jones (I didn't), who he was (some director in Birmingham), who was our connection (a dear sweet friend, oh, I apologize to you for this, please don't get caught in the middle), etc. And finding out he had no idea who I was cinched it for me. Alex Jones was an idiot troll. I was right the first time.

So getting back to my profile, I find this:
Alex Jones

That may be true, but Gates broke two cardinal rules for success while Black in America (something Soledad O’Brien may not have time to cover in this month’s CNN special). Rule Number One: Don’t get angry. Rule Number Two: Don’t get angry when police are present. Case in point: The BOSTON GLOBE reported that the “normally-mild-mannered professor” become irate when, according to the police report, an officer suggested he come outside of his home to discuss the dispute. “Ya, I'll speak with your mama outside,” Gates allegedly said. When police asked for identification, the report says the professor became visibly upset and asked, “Why, because I'm a black man in America?''
4 minutes ago · Delete

Alex Jones
Point, Set, Match
3 minutes ago · Delete
I had asked rather rudely for Mr. Jones to provide a transcript showing his version of events to be basically correct. This is what he linked to.

Feel free to read it. I recommend the link highly. But as you can see, it does not confirm his version of events at all. In fact, Mr. Jones' link to this is quite cynically done. You see, The Root is an African-American webpage explaining exactly why Gates was arrested: he lost his cool, something African-Americans are not allowed to do with police officers, not even if they are just home from a long trip, feeling sick, and having to deal with a lost key. Henry Louis Gates lost his cool, and, bam, the handcuffs went on. The article is bitterly deriding the reasons for the arrest.

But Mr. Jones linked to this article because he exults in this bitterness. He's happy to know that the unspoken rules are still in place for African-Americans in America. Even with Barack Obama in the White House - no, especially because of Barack Obama, it is good for fine upstanding white Southern gentlemen from Birmingham, Alabama to discover that an African-American Harvard professor can still be arrested for getting angry with a police officer who refused to give his name and badge number, that this "uppity" black man can be arrested on the porch of his own house for such an offense.
Joseph Nobles
Oh, so you're a fucking LYING ignorant cracker. Welcome to my Block list, asshole.
2 minutes ago · Delete
And he's the only person on my Block list. Perhaps this note will net me a few more. That's fine. People more in sympathy with Mr. Jones' demonic frolicking can block me as well. Good riddance to them.

And... soapbox dismount.