Flashbacks, April 14, 2006

By EDITROIAL  |  April 12, 2006

“On the Mass Ave sidewalk, with teachers picketing and cars slowing and cops keeping the peace, a half dozen guys created a spontaneous strike ensemble. Then somebody started singing ‘Aa-yoh! Aa-yoh!’, and the crowd joined in. Another group sang, ‘Yaaa-ya-ya-ya-ya.’ A guy with sunglasses started boogying. Another guy was recording this teachers-are-in-a-jam session. The group banged so long, your arms started to hurt. When the teachers strike at Berklee, they let the music do the talking.”

Season'sgreetings | 25 years ago | April 14, 1981 | Alan Lupo wrote of the dreaded springtime assignment.

“Write about spring, he thought to himself. That’s always a dependable fall-back position from which to launch a newspaper column. It’s a tradition is what it is, to write about the comings and goings of one season or another. Boring, yes, but traditional.

“The rural papers run these stories because their writers know the farmers are big weather buffs and because the writers are generally bored out of their socks anyway. The big-city papers do it because their writers are frustrated poets or because their editors are at a total loss for something with which to fill space. The new suburban papers do it because they want their readers to believe that they’re living out in the country.

“Reporters wait in dread for the first bird that is colored something other than totally gray to appear in an editor’s yard. When an editor mutters that it’s time to write about the demise of one season and the arrival of another, whole newsrooms empty out. Guys who have been sitting half-inebriated or immobilized for five or six months are gone like the wind. Herds of reporters rush past the editor’s desk and some mumble excuses....

“One reason reporters leave daily newspapers for weekly newspapers such as this one is that editors of the latter are less likely to hand out such unrewarding assignments as Groundhog Day, the George Washington Birthday Sale, the birth of some slimy animal at the zoo, or the arrival of spring.”

Terror tactics | 30 years ago | April 13, 1976 | Brenda Payton described the scene of a hate crime that broke out in City Hall Plaza.

“ ‘The one moment during the attack when I was really aware that it was happening to me was when I saw that guy coming at me with the flag,’ said Theodore Landsmark, the black attorney attacked by a group of high school students protesting busing in City Hall Plaza, in an interview with the Phoenix. ‘I couldn’t see that it was an American flag, but I knew it was a flag on a staff. At that moment everything fused and I said to myself, “This fucker is real.” It was the first opportunity I had to really feel fear.’

“It was this image, of a well-dressed black man being assaulted with an American flag on the steps of City Hall in Boston, ‘where it all began,’ that made Monday’s incident dramatic. The symbolism was so obvious that if it had been in a movie critics would have accused the director of being heavy-handed.

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