Saturday, March 17, 2012

Donnie Don't

I'm probably going to regret this.

This site is a fan of Donovan Lewis.  Like the sound, like the content, like the attitude.  Like the race talk with the other hosts -- funny, respectful, hits the right notes.  I hope I don't sound patronnizing, but it has occurred to me that Donnie and the BaD team interact with one another in exactly the right way in this time of delicate racial sensibilities.  When he gets friends and family on the air -- some memorable segments, great radio, funny, and educational to those of us who spend too much time on the honkish frontier.

Some commenters have opined that he talks too much, beats things into the ground, takes over segments.  Just never got that impression. 

But my jaw dropped today as I hit the Philco in the Conestoga, waiting eagerly for Race Week, when Donnie and Cash (I think it was Cash, anyway -- I don't listen to Norm enough to have Mike's sound emblazoned into the living tissue, and I think I heard that Mike was in Las Vegas) discussed Earvin "Magic" Johnson's two decades of good health after his announcement that he was HIV-positive.  Thankfully, he never developed AIDS, and has remained in good health ever since through administration of the ever-improving "cocktails" to fight the disease. 

(Folks, please:  Let's not get into the controversy of whether "HIV causes AIDS."  I'm pretty familiar with that controversy, stoked most prominently in the 1990's by Cary Mullis, the Nobel prize-winning biochemist who invented polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology.  The biology remains somewhat controversial, and certainly the AIDS pandemic never took hold in the US as predicted, but there doesn't seem to be much legitimate controversy about the connection between the virus and AIDS.)

I remember that announcement well.  During the Bulls-Lakers 1991 Championship Series, I recorded a parody for WLUP in Chicago ("Got a Black Magic Johnson") that got some good airplay.  A few months later, Magic made his announcement.

It is Donovan's opinion that Magic Johnson was never, has never been, HIV-positive.

He believes that, at age 32, Johnson was approached by the NBA and other powers-that-be offering him -- I'm not sure what -- to falsely represent that he was HIV-positive, end his playing career (mostly, for awhile anyway) and to become a powerful voice in HIV/AIDS education, which he has been in the years since. 

His evidence:  No one of the many women with whom he had sex in the years prior has ever come forward to claim that Johnson (who, I guess it is reputed, never took Mike Rhyner's advice on appropriating sheathing practices) infected them.  Nor his wife (Cookie).

I had never heard this theory before, and wondered whether it was some kind of underground conspiracy theory that never got much pub.  My research hasn't been exhaustive (Google), but I only found one reference to anyone else publicly expressing that thought:   In 2008, a couple of radio talkers at KTLK in Minneapolis, Chris Baker and Langdon Perry, expressed the view that Magic "faked AIDS."  They didn't express their reason for thinking this, not coherently anyway, and seemed puzzled at what his motivation might have been.  (They were obviously puzzled about other things, expressing the thought that Johnson was "the only cured AIDS guy ever.")

Magic strongly rebuked them, and the station "regretted" the remarks and ran a series of HIV/AIDS public service ads in penance.

So -- wow, Donnie.

Now, I didn't hear what came before this, so perhaps I need some context here.  But it didn't sound to me like he was kidding.  He was pretty adamant about it. I would be grateful if anyone else heard this and heard it differently.  And let me say this:  If I've got Donovan wrong here based on what got broadcast, I'll apologize and take this post down.

Interesting to see whether Donovan's remarks will cause a stir.  I'm imagining that Cat is on the phone to The (Incomparable) UnTicket right now.

Donovan -- still love you, man, and you've got some stones.  But hokey smokes, Bullwinkle, hope you're wearing your asbestos boxers. 

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OK, Confessors:  You're a civil bunch, this is a site for respectful comment, and let's keep it that way.  It's a delicate subject, and while if you want to take a shot at Donovan you can do it here, I'll cordially invite you to keep it in the ballpark. 

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22 comments:

Michael said...

Donovan has mentioned this absurd conspiracy theory of his before (at least twice) with Bob and Dan, who both obviously have rejected it outright. So, I'm not sure he's getting much flack for it since it's been out there for awhile now. I haven't been able to stand Donovan for awhile now. No one immediately runs an awful joke into the ground faster than him. He tries too hard. Back when he first mentioned this theory of his was when I officially was out on the guy.

The Plainsman said...

Michael (this is not Sweet Grubes), thanks for enhancing my BaD education. Although this makes the story less sensational than I thought it might be, it also makes it more interesting. Why, I wonder, would two knucklehead right-wing talk radio hosts gets savaged for this in 2008, and even noticed by Magic himself, while apparently no one has taken note of Donovan's much more detailed critique? It may be that no one takes Donovan seriously, but I suspect it has more to do with not taking a sports-talk radio station seriously on non-sports topics. But I dunno.

I thought I might find that Donovan's theory had some currency in the black community, but that's not popping up, either. So it's just an idiosyncratic Donnie theory, I guess.

Maybe he should start hanging out with Michael Lombardi.

Shaggy said...

No, it's definitely a topic in the Community. I did find it funny that you were treading so lightly when Donnie's theory has been discussed ad nauseum over the last 6 months or so on the Ticket. I believe it first popped up when BaD did their show from Nice Look barbershop. But they've been discussing it a lot since the 30 for 30 on The Announcement aired in the last couple of weeks.

The Plainsman said...

Thanks also to Shaggy. I'm always glad to be corrected.

Also sorry that I missed what strikes me as a pretty extrarordinary story. Obviously, the other shows have steered clear of this particular current-events foray.

The Plainsman said...

By the way -- did The UnTicket ever post any of the BaD audio on this topic?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog and many of the fine comments posted by listeners and even board-ops and producers. But sometimes I wonder about your competence to meaningfully blog about The Ticket. I say competence because you seem to be a rather recent-ish listener -maybe three to five years tops?- that isn't able to listen really all that much. Some of the stuff you have to be clued in on or corrected about appears to point in this direction. I'm not saying you should stop blogging. As I said at the top, I enjoy your blog. But, if you're going to make this blog all that it could be, perhaps you might find the time to either listen more or find a long time P1 to fill in the missing historical gaps. This isn't meant to be antagonistic. I'm only throwing out a suggestion. But you did just lose a listener. Just kidding.

Shaggy said...

Unticket:

http://www.theunticket.com/bad-radio-barbershop-conspiracy-theories-magic-johnsons-aids/

The Plainsman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Plainsman said...

Anonymous, you are not wrong, and thank you for the kind words in which your criticism is wreathed.

The facts are:

I started listening in July 2004 when I moved to the area.

I started this blog on June 30, 2009, 420 posts ago. I didn't have any buddies to talk to about The Ticket, so I thought I'd just start talking to the ether and see who talked back. You know who the first one was, my first commenter ever? Grubes.

I seldom listen to Norm or BaD, but over the years have caught enough of each to have the occasionally STD.

I listen to The Musers about three hours a day, and The Hardline probably between two and three.
I catch weekend programming irregularly, but probably more than Norm or BaD.

I am listening less, not because I don't like it but because of other demands on my time.

I would love to know more Ticket history, and I've learned a ton from Confessors, bless them.

I would love to make fewer errors and provide better context for my listening reports, but, as you note, I am not a Ticket expert. I console myself with the thought that there are probably lots of readers who don't know Ticket history, either, and learn along with me when I get corrected.

While I have enjoyed doing the site and watching the hits grow (still growing), I have a job and I do another blog under my real name, both of which are calling for more of my time.

And you may have noticed more Open Threads and turning comments into posts. It's lazy but it's all I have time to do, and, as I recently Confessed, a lot of my topic backlog is getting stale. When I hear something interesting, it tends to go right up into a post, hang the context.

So your comment is timely, as I try to decide what to do with this site. I keep hoping that some Jamie Newburg of The Ticket will come along and do a definitive blog that really has the necessary knowledge to be a true fan site, I can reveal my identity (believe me, it won't be shocking) and shut this site down, and I can sit back and comment at my leisure.

But I've grown quite fond of our hardy band of Confessor commenters, and I'd feel terrible if I thought I'd be letting them down by heading off to some new frontier. So I keep at it, ragged and ill-informed though it may be.

So -- I may be a speed typist and overly chatty, but at heart I'm pretty much just a Ticket listener with no special qualification (or "competence," as you correctly put it) as a Ticket authority.

So, while I truly appreciate your suggestions (and especially their very polite tone), I have scheduled, let's see . . . zero improvements to this site for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

I thank you for your candid response to my comment. It does seem that you are conflicted: You're at a crossroads as to what to do with your site, yet later claim that you will keep on keeping on as the site is constituted. Whatever the case is, I'll still check in on a daily basis.

ap said...

Wow, Shaggy, I honestly don't even remember posting that...Thanks for the dig!

Donny has brought this conspiracy theory to air two or three times before on BaD Radio. It's certainly not worthy of Cattt trying to bury it though.

I realize that this is far from a credible source, but this rumor has actually made it into popular culture. I refer you to South Park Season 12, Episode 1 (http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/163974/are-you-hiv-positive). As I try to load the link, I get a giant "Terence and Philip" banner telling me that the video is not available in Canada, so I hope the video works.

Anonymous said...

The Ed Asner interview on the Musers this morning was ugly. What a bitter and narrow sounding man. And shame on Gordon for stoking Asner's well-known political HSOs. While I understand a little bit of prodding (it doesn't take much where Asner is concerned), I think Gordon was gratuitous. Especially in mocking the Bush Library by saying it will be stocked with Dr. Seuss books. I'm no fan of Bush, but I do know what hunting for deer with a laser guided missile is when I see it. Shame on you, Gordon. You could've went about your need to be accepted by Asner in a less ugly way. Kudos to George and Craig for staying away from Gordon's crap.

Dude said...

Sometimes it is fun to kick a bad conspiracy around.

P1 Steven said...

I am in full support of Donny's wild ass theories...

BootRallyAnotherFifthOfSoCo said...

That's the thing about Gordo and his sense of humor that I dislike: his having to demean and belittle others in order to be "funny." The Ticket Mouse and whatnot, greatness. And the over the top Jerry caricature, greatness. The rest, not so much. I agree with Anon. Shame on you this morning Gordo.

Anonymous said...

Sensitive much? That Asner interview was greatness and he and Gordon played along well.

You young folks probably don't understand Asner. That's the way he always acts.

Anonymous said...

@The last Anon:

"Sensitive enough." What a powerful argument. I think I understand Asner perfectly well. My comment says as much. My issue is not one of sensitivity, but rather one of substance and form on Gordon's part. I've no qualm with what Asner says. It's his right. What I believe on such matters is irrelevant. However, when I see Gordon purposely stoke the fires at someone else's expense, I think it's wrong. And I don't care if it's GWB. If he would have stuck with the "what do you think about conservatives" line, I'd be fine with it. Moreover, if I think Asner came off as bitter, I've every right to voice my opinion. Just like you do in saying you thought the interview was greatness. It's a highly subjective thing, and no one is going to "win." But to accuse others of X,Y, or Z because you don't like their opinion(s) is unfair. One could easily turn your accusation against yourself.

This is a forum to vent about such things. So please save the Dallas Morning News and Dallas Observer combox crud for those sites. Again, it's not about sensitivity; it's about civility. Much to the surprise of many these days, there is a marked difference. And since you imply that you're an older person, you of all people ought to know.

ap said...

What did we all think of the interview with "The Shat?" - I found myself wishing that the Junes had been able to participate instead of it being a Gordo-on-Bill telephone deal.

Anonymous said...

Funny, when I first turned it on, I kept thinking to myself "who is this self important, narcissistic ass?" Then I realized it was the Shat Man. I still can't believe he's 80. I too wish it was more than a Gordo phoner. I'm getting a bit burned out on the Gordo interview. Especially when he either tries to imitate the old SNL Chris Farley bit or does the frantic "where are you?" bit after the guest hangs up. Like some of the other commenters, I'm also growing tired of Gordo's overall bit. Then again, I could listen to fake Jerry and some of his other characters until the end of time.

Josh's broken groin said...

Plainsmen, seems missed the best part of the Donnie and Cash show it seems. I thought that when Donnie was talking about beginning his tenure at the little one was riveting. Also, Donnie Do mixes with other hosts/talent better than anyone. It was great to hear him, Cash, Gordo and Danny mix Saturday.

I think the Magic AIDS talk is big in the community, rather laughable to most but a talking point at the barber shop.

I'm a D1P1, and take no offense of your questiones/questioning of certain aspects of the Little one.

Stay Hard Brutha!

Tangent said...

Plainsman-- I'm a little late to the party on this but "Got a black Magic Johnson" was you??? I was a WLUP P1 back in the day. Remember that like it was yesterday. I loved it.
When I left Chicago for Dallas in 1994 I figured I'd never hear any good radio again. Ha. Little did I know what a treat was waiting for me at the little Ticket. Thanks for stirring up great memories from the heyday of Chicago talk radio! Thank you!

The Plainsman said...

Yeah, Tangent, that was me. I wrote it and performed it. I usually performed under a band name, Lower Wacker Overdrive. I had about 20 Wacky Weenies under that band name and my own real name on the Brandmeier show on WLUP from 1986 to 1991; you'd probably remember some of them if you heard them -- a couple of Ashley Knight and Lisa Dominique intros, one called "Get on the Phone to Johnny," and "Burning Down the Loop" got played a fair amount.

Thanks for checking in -- that was a Golden Age of Chicago radio, especially the Loop, with Johnny B, Kevin Matthews, Steve & Garry. Glad you enjoyed the tune!