Konch at 16. A publication for the rest of us.
by Ishmael Reed
Konch began as a print magazine in 1990 and went online in 1998. Konch continues to publish those voices that are ignored by the American media, which abandoned their goal of diversifying their ranks by the year 2000- a goal set by the late Robert Maynard. Unlike the mainstream writers who spend two hour lunches hobnobbing with those whom they cover, the contributors to Konch are volunteers.
Take a look at Konch’s French correspondents on the cover of this winter issue. Do they look like the kind of people who would call those in power by their first names? Party with them? Play golf with them? Just about ask for their autographs when interviewing them like Wolf Blitzer, who acted like a prosecutor when asking Harry Belafonte why he called President Bush a ”terrorist”? I guess Blitzer hasn’t seen the aftermath of the razing of Faluja.
Though the American media isn’t officially state sponsored, there’s very little difference between those in countries where the media are state sponsored and CNN, MSNBC, PBS, or NPR etc. all of which today to power. At the other end of the spectrum are progressive publications which omit the points-of-views of African-Americans, Hispanics, Native-Americans and Asian-Americans unless they are their tepid mind doubles. The Nation magazine is whiter than Fox News founded by the man, Roger Ailes, who recycled the 19th Century confederate campaign strategy of warning of black rapists, in his Willie Horton campaign. Fox news has a number of black correspondents. The Nation, under Katrina Vanden Heuvel, a progressive, has one.
The media’s idea of the left in this country is the New Republic magazine. In a debate with Rich Lowry of the Irish American National Review carried on C-Span, 2/2/06, Ryan Lizza, New Republic’s Senior Editor apologized for Cindy Sheehan’s wearing an anti Bush T-shirt at The President’s 2006 State of the Union address. People of Color promoted by the corporate media are the Manhattan Institute’s John McWhorter, the black front man for the Eugenics movement (he agreed with William Bennett that aborting black babies would diminish the crime rate); Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria, who believes that there should be a domestic spy agency, or Rick Sanchez, a right wing Cuban-American who has a job with CNN. He said that blacks aren’t being hired in New Orleans because they don’t live there anymore. Nothing about the importation of Aztec Americans who work for low wages and under threats. He was echoed by an acceptable syndicated Chicano who wrote an article insulting to New Orleans’ blacks. It was called “The Black Vs. Brown Thing.” The author, Ruben Navarrette Jr., apparently would deny Mexico’s African heritage, something that he didn’t learn at Harvard.What Sanchez and Navarrette don’t realize is that the average white racist can’t distinguish them from Mexican immigrants and they could very well be found in the wrong place one night, ensnared in a vigilante round up and deported even though they are citizens. It’s happened before.
I can just see Navarrette pleading as he’s being dumped into the back of a confederate flag waving pick up truck, “but there must be some mistake. I went to Harvard!”
Though the floods occurred in New Orleans because of an inept Army Corps of Engineers, or the blundering Office of Homeland Security, CNN’s Miles 0’Brien blamed the whole thing on the black mayor of New Orleans, not surprising because under the management of John Klein CNN has become like the show ”Cops”. It’s attempting to raise its ratings by parading mug shots of black men all day. Klein must have gotten the idea of using People-Of-Color to promote his product as a way of faking out critics from Karl Rove, The President’s brain. The Secretary of State is a black woman, the lawyers who are justifying torture and wire-tapping over the objections of dissenting white justice department lawyers and even the far right former Atty. General Ashcroft, are Vietnamese, Chinese Americans and an Chicano Atty. General. CNN’s devotion to white nationalism was revealed when Kyra Phillips (CNN’s lead Bimbo) told golfer, Chris De Marco, “You’re our Master’s champion” after he had been defeated by Tiger Woods. 0’ Brien said nothing about the connection of global warming to the Katrina disaster, and he’s supposed to be their science editor.
In the fall issue of Konch we presented articles by African-American writers on the Katrina disaster. Though Kalamu Ya Salaam was able to find over one hundred African American writers, The New York Times chose two white writers to write about Katrina, one of whom doesn’t even live there anymore.
While the same old pundits- middle aged - Four- Seasons type wealthy white men- were chosen to comment on 9/11, we published over forty writers from the United States and the Middle East. In this issue Wajahat Ali, author of “The Domestic Crusaders” takes on Showtime’s abominable anti-Muslim thing “Sleeper Cell”. It’s producers are the kind who gave us “The Wire” written by George Pelacano, who, during an appearance on a KPFA Pacifica radio show promoted the same stereotypes about blacks that have been circulating since the 1880s. People like him get to vent his contempt for blacks and get paid for it. Yet, when it came to ”Sleeper Cell” the black American informant was the hero. For bashing Muslims, blacks get to be heroic (the loyal slave) just as Fareed Zakaria gets brownie points when he bashes Muslims and Ruben Navarrette Jr, and Rick Sanchez when they bash blacks. We can expect more Muslim vs. African-American “divide” promoted by the media in order to generate income. We saw this in how the local media in Northern California sensationalized the invasion of Muslim owned liquor stores by African-American Muslims. Sam Hamod calls for cooler heads to prevail. The producers of “Sleeping Cell” are the kind of people who produced “Crash”, a movie whose hero is a Mark Furhman type cop. They nominated a pimp movie with black actors for an Oscar, while the American army is pimping women all over the world. Plus, I don’t know why some goofy Hip Hoppers like the pimp style. African American pimps have to peddle their human wares outdoors in the cold, while other groups use massage parlors and make more money at it. When will blacks decide that they’re not good at crime. Been here since 1619 and not one Martha Stewart or Ken Lay.
With a large audience whose appetite for viewing black people as ridiculous, it’s nothing short of a miracle that the late August Wilson was able to get his black characters to Broadway; our magazine carries Nazhira Preister’s moving tribute to the late author. While the reaction to Muslim African-American, etc. culture by the media owners, their bimbos, Joe Barbies and People-of-Color stand-ins, the reaction of the punditry to the riots in France was also predicable.
Typical was the Times’ columnist David Brooks, a man who thinks like Klan leader David Duke but has a more sophisticated writing style He blamed the riots on gangsta rap. Not surprising since he blames all of the United States’ social problems on blacks. He is the closet Klansman who said that Bush won in states with “high white fertility rates. People who wanted to get away from vulgarity.” That “vulgarity” doesn’t include those who do crank I suppose. Joe Klein, who came to the attention of CBS by bashing black people so much that FAIR, For Accuracy In Reporting called him a “white militant.” He said that Bush won because of Janet Jackson’s exposing her breast and Whoopie Goldberg’s making a double entendre with Bush’s name. Both Klein and Brooks are blacoholics. Somebody should devise a twelve step recovery program for it. The unenlightened white males with blacoholic problems also dominate our Academic life, and are insistent on keeping our students in the dark ages when it comes to presenting them with a global education. They gave Melba Boyd a hard time at Wayne State.
While the American media, progressive, mainstream, corporate and alternative literary magazines, book reviews, etc. continue to publish writers and poets from the same background and values Konch will continue publishing writers from the world over who address the important issues of our time. We will continue to publish poets who have something to say. In this issue we have Danny Romero, Samin Nosrat, Chriss Warren and Brynn Saito.
Konch is a publication for the rest of us.