Posted by: Rosebud | January 3, 2009

Passing Around Amusements

Don’t ask how, but my wife and I found ourselves in the African American Museum in Baltimore as part of our 16th Anniversary Date.  The very first exhibit was telling the story of James Emory Bond’s interview in1964.  Mr Bond was responding to a local news personality’s public call for solutions to the “unrest” of the civil rights struggle in Baltimore.  Mr Bond, saw the “call for solutions” on the local news program and took them seriously.  He walked down to the station (3 miles) and asked to meet with the news personality that made the “call for solutions.”  The newsman promptly sat Mr Bond and gave him an hour long interview. 

James Emory Bond
James Emory Bond

The museum has the interview playing in a loop in one of the exhibits.  My wife and I watched about half of it.  We thought it was really good, he told his story of how he was transformed from hating whites with a passion to loving them with a passion.  A very compelling message, I recommend it to anyone interested in racial reconciliation (or any other type of reconciliation for that matter).

But that’s not what really struck me.
What really struck me was how much was required of me to watch the interview.
The interview was a one camera view of Mr Bond (no switching between interviewer and interviewee) and the interview was not interrupted by commercials.  There were none of the fancy schmancy graphics we are so used to today.  And, of course, the whole thing was in black and white.
I’m like….how far have we fallen? 
Then, shorly afterward, I discovered that a friend of mine had been a member of an Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps years ago.  My first instinct? To email him a link to a drum and bugle corps YouTube clip that has been fascinating me lately. 
 That’s when the lightening struck.  I wasn’t trying to know him better and find out more about his experience.  I didn’t try to find out how he got in or share with him the emotions of the experience or how it changed him.  I was just passing over to him an amusement I found to see if it amused him also.  The move towards a YouTube-driven news media is doing exactly that.  Going from that James Emory Bond interview that required a lot of mental energy to follow.  And, for a White person in 1964, it took moral energy to sit and listen to a 75 year old retired truck driver offer his advice on how to resolve the racial unrest.  Going to a culture of people passing around amusing or even shocking video clips that only engage the left brain.  No room for intellectual analysis on a 2 minute clip!
Can you see the connection? I don’t want to have YouTube relationships where we simply share the same amusements.  I want to have hour-long uninterrupted, deep dialog relationships.  A New Years resolution perhaps, to have a life of deep relationships and not a life of simply passing around amusements.
[[UPDATE DECEMBER 2009]] Mr J. Sydney King the interviewer of James Emory Bond (who apparently won an Emmy for it) posted a comment regarding this blog.  For more information on his and the James Emory Bond story see this link


  1. Nice site

  2. It’s a good thing that it wasn’t your FIRST date.

    All that mental energy required and all.

  3. I have just received, from my son, a copy of your blog regarding the James Emory Bond video that you saw at the Reginald Lewis Museum in Baltimore.

    I am the unseen interviewer who sat down with Mr Bond to tape two or three minutes of his thoughts on the crime situation in Baltimore and ended up with more than an hour’s worth of tape. I edited that tape down to fit into an hour time slot, and Mr Bond appeared on WBAL-TV at 9 PM that same evening, in place of the regularly scheduled NBC network show. Over the course of the next 18 months or so, the program was aired, by individual television stations, in virtually every major market in the countryl .WBAL-TV provided a free copy of the tape to any station that requested one, with the stipulation that it must be shown uninterrupted and without any commercial content.

    For years, I have been seeking a proper home.for this historic and unique program. I am currently in touch with the Smithsonian Institution, which plans to open an African American Museum, on the Mall, in 2005. Also,.on the 45th anniversary of its original airing, the video will be shown at an independent K- to -12 school in Baltimore as part of Black History Month. Several other i schools may follow this lead. next year.

    I would be very interested in seeing any ressponses you receive to your posting.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed Mr Bond’s life story!

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