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December 14, 2005

Tookie's Celebrity


A reader sent me this image from an article in yesterday’s Salon (The Execution of Stanley Tookie Williams  – link).  The reader wonders:

Is Snoop promoting himself using a convicted man, or is Tookie trying to save himself by using Snoop? Or both? Is this some kind of nexus of whoredom?

The BAG wonders whether this comment is “on the money,” overwhelmingly cynical or something of both. 

Certainly, many issues and interests converge here.  This is a social justice story evoking the intractable problem of poverty and violence affecting so many black males.  Obviously, it’s a death penalty story.  The episode was also celebrity laden — and primed for ratings. (Notice the title of this December 1st MSNBC article : Stars rally around Stanley Tookie Williams: Snoop, Jamie Foxx and others hope Schwarzenegger will stay execution.)

But, let’s consider the picture.  Do conflicting agendas ultimately diminish what, at the “top” or manifest level, seems like a felt and touching image?  Is there any argument that there isn’t also a “middle” layer involving an intentional act by Snoop Dogg to frame a persuasive argument for the cameras.  And finally, going by my reader, could you also suppose a “bottom” layer in which Snoop himself is an object of endorsement?

How do you parse it?

(Image: Unattributed.  December 13, 2005.  Home page.)

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