… about the egregious Al Sharpton, whom I will not dignify with the title of reverend, first because there is no record of the fat, illiterate, race-baiting rabble-rouser ever having attended a seminary of any sort, and secondly because … oh, good lord, just look at those old pictures of him from the 1970s and 80s; jheri-curled, velour track suit and gold pendant the size of a man-hole cover. People, trust me when I tell you that I require a smidge more dignity from those who hold churchly office in any denomination, a standard from which Al Sharpton fell so far that he would need a bucket-truck with a three-story-tall extension even to get close.
Yes, in the interests of keeping abreast of news events in the pre-internet days, your Dear Author bought or subscribed to a great many print publications, to the point where on days when bulk mail came in to the military post office, I practically had to use a crow-bar to extract them all from my post-box. One of the regular reads – gotten from the Stars & Stripes bookstore, since I didn’t particularly feel the need for a subscription – was The Village Voice. So – yes, I had heard of the unsavory Mr. Sharpton some years before he burst upon the wider world outside of New York with the Tawana Brawley affair in the late 1980s.
Subsequently, I wondered why the wretched little man seemed to be legally untouchable, even in spite of being ordered to pay out in the case of the Pagones defamation suit. The Crown Heights riots, the Freddy’s Fashion Mart fire – all of that had Al Sharpton’s smeary fingerprints all over them … and yet … he seemed to talk away always, unscathed by any meaningful payback. Falsely shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater and setting off a panic which kills people – that would be actionable, surely?
And yet, nothing ever happened to the so-called reverend; he appeared to thrive as a particularly scummy and public race-baiter – and indeed, even to recent times, ascending to a presumably well-paid position at a major broadcast television channel. Which again – this really gives one cause for wonder, seeing as that the egregious Sharpton, who appears to have lost some weight and refined his sartorial taste – has gone vaulting up into higher and higher levels of visibility and social authority. Still – why?
Part of the answer, according to this story, courtesy of the Daily Mail, is that Al Sharpton was an FBI snitch. (Why again, are so many stories of this kind appear on a publication like the Daily Mail, which seems to have semi-literate high school students write their headlines, cut-lines and badly re-write stories lifted from other places? Well, at least they do, which is more than what can be said of our very own dear national media.) And if you believe he volunteered to be a snitch with regard to the FBI investigating two prominent Mafia families out of the goodness of his heart and as a fine upstanding citizen with a deep concern for the welfare of his community … then bless your heart and I have some fine Nevada swampland that I’d like to sell you. I’ll throw in a small bridge in Brooklyn, just because I am a good upright citizen myself.
No, Al got leaned on by the Fibbies, and I hope I live long enough to read in the headlines exactly what they held over his head and threatened to charge him with to ensure his cooperation. I’ll break out a $20 bottle of champagne or maybe a fine Fredericksburg Winery Fredericksburg and Northern vintage red Zinfandel and drink a toast. Al was a valued informant, and therefore Teflon in his subsequent career. Interesting also that it is revealed now – and I also wonder if there is some FBI agent a couple of weeks from retiring with a good pension who decided to square things by slipping the word to The Smoking Gun. Discuss.