Regis Francis Xavier Philbin, elfin television presenter and former sidekick of Rat Packer Joey Bishop, exited the closed set of our world on July 24th at the tender age of 88. Regis was unique in that he was genuinely beloved by a broad range of people, and was an ebullient, welcome presence on the small screen for literally decades.
I am now in the unique position of confessing that in 1996, I secretly attempted to form a cult around him.
In the media, context means fame, misfortune, or both.
By 2017, I will have resided in Atlanta, capitol and most populous city of Georgia, for fifteen years. Over 50% of our residents are black. It’s not a part of the country you’d live in if you dislike black people. And as a white person, I’ve been fortunate enough to interact with and observe black people on a daily basis, and compare it with how they are represented in the media and online.
I racked my white brain, the same kind of brain that built bridges and put men on the moon, to get a handle on the disparity I saw. I called upon my ancestry as an Italian immigrant to help me understand the terrible sins at the heart of it. I now know why anyone who identifies as black would be mad. Continue reading →