Motorist? Rodney King

I have held my tongue long enough. In the early 90’s as Los Angeles was plunged into chaos, it struck me as odd that the media always referred to the victim of the police brutality that ultimately led to the LA riots, as motorist Rodney King. Ok. So the incident with the LAPD occurred after a car chase. So highlight that as the story breaks to orient the reader or listener to the incident in question. Fine.

But months later as one of the countries biggest cities is ablaze in racial discord and titanic civil disorder, is it still a salient point that Rodney King was a motorist? For wasn’t our Rodney so much more? Would anyone then or now be confused by mention of simply, the beating of Rodney King? Who? Oh, you mean motorist Rodney King. Why didn’t you say so?

You may say to me, “But let it go, it is done.” Is it?

“More than 15 years after the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King…”

15 years later? So he drove a car. So what? Must he forever be Motorist Rodney King? Why not popcorn-enthusiast Rodney King? Microwave-oven-user Rodney King? Nike-wearer? Petter-of-dogs Rodney King?

There is something so mindless and dippy about journalists just thoughtlessly repeating the same meaningless moniker. Over and over:

“LOS ANGELES — Rodney King, the black motorist…”
“African-American motorist who while videotape…”
“…the beating of black motorist Rodney King caused outrage…”
“…notorious beating of black motorist Rodney King…”
“Motorist Rodney King Implores: Can We All Get Along?”
“…falsified reports to cover up the beating of motorist Rodney G. King.”

I think it cuts to the heart of what is wrong with much of the media in this country: they repeat what they hear or are told without reflection.

Rodney King was unlucky. Not so much for being beaten to a pulp by our heroes in blue, but for being immortalized as a unidimensional icon: a motorist. Like an insect in amber, the world’s view of him is fixed forever.

What if other famous victims of violence shared the same fate? Being forever associated with the activity in which they happened to be engaged when attacked. Why not Catholic-Irish-American-Motorist John F. Kennedy? Could we have Black-Balcony-Visitor Martin Luther King, Jr? Or Theater-Goer Abraham Lincoln? How about Former-Penis-Owner John Wayne Bobbitt?

I think it’s time to release Rodney King from his typecast persona. Like the actors ruined forever by their signature roles–Gary Burghoff, Ron Palillo–he deserves another chance.

Just some thoughts from erstwhile-womb-dweller Dr. Nostrum

Advertisements
Published in: on December 1, 2006 at 3:37 pm  Comments (3)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://travelingmedicineshow.wordpress.com/2006/12/01/motorist-rodney-king/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ben Harper – Like A King
    Well Martin’s dream has become Rodney’s worst nightmare.
    Can’t walk the streets, to them we are fair game,
    our lives don’t mean a thing.
    Like a King, like a King, like a King.
    Rodney King, Rodney King, Rodney King.
    Like a king, like a King, like a King.

    How I wish you could help us Dr. King.

    Make sure it’s filmed, shown on national T.V.
    They’ll have no mercy.
    A legal lynch mob like the days strung up from the tree.
    The L.A.P.D.

    Like a King, like a King, like a King.
    Rodney King, Rodney King, Rodney King.
    Like a King, like a King, like a King.

    How I wish you could help us Dr. King.

    So if you catch yourself thinking it has changed for the best you better second guess cause Martin’s dream has become Rodney’s worst nightmare.

    Refrain
    Chorus

    When we will look to the past, look to the past to learn?

    I wish…
    Refrain
    Chorus

    Bye, bye we must go to see the King.

    Bye, bye we must go to face the King.

  2. Recent blog-reader IcedMocha wonders why the media don’t take time to reflect on more important matters, e.g., does motorist Rodney King like sundried tomatoes?

  3. IcedMocha, I salute you. Why indeed? And what about O.J.’s take on pesto? Does he love it or want to stab it? Would Lynndie England enjoy some tequila cookies? Pause, think, relax, clench, and release. YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT SHE WOULD! These are the issues of the day. Ignored. Often and lamentably ignored. Well, we toil and do our bit. Cheers to us, Dr. Nostrum


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: