Thursday, March 22, 2012


Remember, I'm the guy who thinks Rick Santorum didn't say "black people" in that much-discussed campaign soundbite back in January (and I still feel that way) -- but this is hitting my ears the way it's hitting the ears of Ta-Nehisi Coates:

The question at hand is whether Zimmerman muttered "fucking coons" during the 911 call minutes before he killed Trayvon Martin. Several people whom I respect--all of them black actually--don't hear it. When I listened, I heard it immediately and in this CNN account, I hear it clear as day.

Here's the CNN segment:

I suspect, though, that this is going to be the opening Fox and the other right-wing media haters have been waiting for. It's just technological mumbo-jumbo bamboozlement from the liberal media! is what we'll probably start hearing from Fox and Limbaugh and Coulter. But it seems to me that, if anything, CNN is trying to make this audio-enhancement process seem more of a matter for experts than it actually is -- audio editing software is so widespread these days that it wouldn't be very hard for a lot of people to replicate this on their own computers or phones. And I'm guessing they'd get the same result. (Mashup DJs? Remixers? Dubsteppers? Care to weigh in?) But the right-wing core audience is old enough to have collected 78s -- they're not going to believe that this isn't a high-tech lynching of an innocent armed citizen who was just fed up with crime.

They're alo not going to like the multiple repeats of the offending phrase -- cue the right-wing pundit invocations of Orwell and Two-Minutes' Hates. (Because we all know the right-wing media would never try to hit you over the head with what it sees as a smoking gun!) I think there's a bit of overkill in the CNN clip, but it almost seems like Andreson Cooper stretching out the bit to fill time, or imagining himself in Coppola's The Conversation or De Palma's Blow Out.

In any case, I think Zimmerman said it. It's a weirdly old-school slur for a guy as young as he is, but he does seem to be living in a '70s/'80s time warp as it is, so why not?


Monty said...

I'm not convinced. The syllabants certainly sound damning, but this could easily be just a false pattern of sounds. It doesn't help that that there's no voice; if these words were spoken, they were sotto voce. Instead of calling in audio experts, how about someone on human speech?

One Fly said...

It was very easy for me to hear it. He said it.

BH said...

This clip was the 1st time I'd listened to it. I'm in no doubt, myself - he said it. More to the point, one would think that the doubtless highly trained (ahem) crimebusters at the Sanford PD who supposedly reviewed the clip would have noticed it... that is, perhaps they would have, had they wanted to notice anything.

Never Ben Better said...

Another vote for yes, he said it, and with venom.

Raenelle said...

I can't hear it, but fortunately the FBI has more finely tuned equipment than my ears.

Whether he said it or not, though, this guy was creepy. Worse, the police, who are supposed to protect law-abiding citizens from stalkers, seem invested here in protecting and covering for them.

I honestly do not know how Trayvon's parents are able to stay sane through this.

M. Bouffant said...

It's a weirdly old-school slur for a guy as young as he is, but he does seem to be living in a '70s/'80s time warp as it is, so why not?

Slurs never get old school. I mean, how old is the "N-word?"

I haven't seen anyone mention what I consider to be the most damning statement on the recordings of Zimmerman, when he says "He's reaching into, or for, or he has his hand in his waistband." (Paraphrased.)

That's old school cop talk for "I shot a black guy in cold blood, but I was nervous so it's OK."

When has anyone but a police officer used the word "waistband?" Seems pretty obvious to me that Zimmerman was already setting the scene for shooting. Intent, as they say.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Zimmerman did say it and as a Police Officer, it's clear he was itching for a confrontation with Trayvon.

Also, look at the facts surrounding this murder. He admitted to following Trayvon, he sought the confrontation, he's armed with a 9mm, he ignored the order not to follow him, he did not witness Trayvon com mitt any crime prior to the confrontation and his account of being attacked doesn't fit with the little forensic evidence that exists.

Zimmerman stylized himself some vigilante justice dealer.

As for the etymology of the slur, he's down in Florida, and I hear it on the unaudited tapes.