Category: Trading Places

Willliam Shockley – The Father of Rock and Roll

 

In the weeks leading up to the midterms, there was a lot of noise. One comment from Michael Cohen got lost in that din. Cohen said that our soon-to-be ex-president said that, “Blacks won’t vote for me because they are too stupid.”

Trump’s comment would make headlines in any other administration. But between the Blue Wave, Honduran Caravan and the Mueller Probe, and encouraged by a new-found tolerance for official idiocy, it was apparently not “fake-news” worthy for the 24 hour cable news cycle.  So, here it is now, sandwiched between MLK and Black History, with time to ponder this latest utterance in the spirit of William Shockley.

William Shockley was a physicist, and a very good one. Good enough to invent the transistor, making him one of the true pioneers  of Silicon Valley.  Good enough to win himself a Nobel prize.

As a brilliant  physicist, Shockley was a lousy social scientist. The newly minted Nobel laureate opined that African Americans were genetically challenged in the IQ department. Not only had he gone outside his intellectual lane, but he crossed over into the dubious path of genetic determination based on race.   Shockley even suggested that people with IQs of less than 100 undergo voluntary sterilization.   In other words, Eugenics, a preoccupation of the Nazis. The premise is that when the future of humanity is at stake, this bozo wanted to cull the herd for survival.

It’s not only dumb; it’s  ironic. Here’s why. The transistor made portable radios possible. In the 50s and 60s, teens listened to these  proto-IPhones held to their ears.  They even listened under the covers once their parents told them to go to sleep. And they listened to Rock and Roll. Parents worried about this Devil’s Music sexualizing their kids.  Horrors!

Now, Rock and Roll had an enormous effect on bridging the racial divide. White teenagers listened, to this new kind of music; first, on race records made by black musicians and then by white musicians who copied them. The fact is there really is no black or white Rock and Roll; only a sensuous beat that could not be stopped. Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino and Little Richard were part of the same community. Pretty soon, the music was popular all over America, facilitating blacks and whites to cast aside some of their stereotypes and truly appreciate the music regardless of race. Long live Rock!

Over time, the music fundamentally changed the cultural landscape. Fans thought that if black people can write, arrange, perform and market music that reached into people’s souls, maybe blacks weren’t stupid after all. Jazz and classical  musicians of unquestioned sophistication underscored this message.

Shockley tried to make the case for racial bifurcation. In fact, the transistor did so more to bring black and white Americans together than any of his nutty ideas kept them apart.  This is what scientists call the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Randolph and Mortimer Sit This One Out



Paramount Pictures 
The infamous Duke Brothers of the eponymous Philadelphia commodities firm will not be endorsing Republican nominee Donald Trump, according to a press release issued by the firm and read aloud this morning by Curtis Biddle Rittenhouse IV, the firm spokesperson.  “Mr. Randolph and Mr. Mortimer have decided that they do not like the cut of Mr. Trump’s jib.  In fact, they wonder if he even has a jib.  Accordingly,” the release continued, “the firm of Duke & Duke cannot in good conscience support or endorse Mr. Trump.”  In responding to a follow-up question, Mr. Rittenhouse  was unable to recall when either of the Dukes last had done anything in good conscience.  “They seem to be quite serious about this, however.  They were refining their announcement over brandies.”
The Dukes decided that a Trump Presidency would be “déclassé.  Furthermore, Mr. Trump presents a threat to the survival of the Republic, perhaps a greater one than we do ourselves.”  The Dukes, who shorted the subprime mortgage market “quite by accident,” according to Mr. Mortimer’s memoir, were able to recoup a portion of their catastrophic losses from the Frozen Orange Juice Hoax of 1982, working their way up from rock bottom due to the charity of a visiting African Prince. “Damned lucky, that,” Mr. Mortimer was quoted at the time.  They were able to parlay the small sum of $10,000.00 into a portfolio estimated at $850 million, considerably less than their original stake but enough to pay up their dues at the Union League.
The Dukes had been unaware of the Trump candidacy, or of Trump himself, until a Biddle nephew informed them that the Harvard Republicans had spit the bit. Mr. Randolph, stumbling into the press conference while looking for the men’s room, joined in briefly. “Chip Biddle, Grace’s boy, is working in the firm this summer,” he said in reference to Charles Rittenhouse Biddle II. “Well now, he let slip that their little campus club had had a serious talk about this Trump fellow.  They don’t like him one bit. A Wharton man, it turns out.” Trump is a graduate of Philadelphia’s Wharton School but does not hold its prestigious M.B.A.  “It wouldn’t have changed a thing,” Mr. Randolph added. Only 10% of Harvard GOPs are supporting Trump.  The Dukes are paired off with the 90% who have decided not to vote for either party.
“We’d asked Mitt to give it another try but he thought we were just chatting him up. Then we had lunch with that nice Grover Norquist.  He suggested that we become familiar with this Fiscal Cliff fellow, but we declined.  We don’t know the family.”
© The Revolted Colonies 2016

  

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