1989, Ginsberg and Corso – The Conversation Continues – 3

Yusef Hawkins (1973-1989), murder victim in the racially-charged murder case, from 1989, the Bensonhurst Murder Case

Bensonhurst and Central Park incidents. 

Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, 1989 (sic) in conversation – continuing from here

GC:  The..  So (what do you think about..  speaking about that) about this Bensonhurst thing, and all that, and all the Park.. Park.. that Central Park thing. You wanna know what I think about the Bensonhurst thing? – and I’m Italian, I know Italians, you see – If you read about these kids, they’re not educated. They want to right away go into business, be a truck-driver or something, rather than go to school and learn. So you’re dealing with these kind of Italians – “Yeah, man, yeah” (Gregory mimics, putting on oafish tone of voice), that kind of thing, you know, you’re talking dumb, dumb.  I hate that. That’s sad.  Those kids are gonna learn in prison, man, they’re gonna get wise. Then they’ll know what life’s about. Too bad they didn’t know when they were young. That’s when they should know, and have a good life, right?

[Editorial note – Here is the contemporaneous account, as it appeared in the New York Times, (and here is their report of a memorial gathering some twenty years later). The thirty-year anniversary  (Yusuf is not forgotten!, the crime is not forgotten!) took place, August 23, this year.
Storm Over Brooklyn, Muta’Ali’s award-winning documentary, covering the events, has been bought up by HBO and is expected to be broadcast in the coming months. He speaks eloquently about the film and the implications of Yusuf’s murder, in advance of the HBO showing, here – and also here]

GC: Who are the other ones?, oh yeah, the kids who jumped the girl in Central Park.

[Editorial note – significantly, “the kids” did not “jump the girl” in Central Park (tho’, given the blanket media coverage, Gregory wouldn’t have known, and can hardly be expected to have known, that at the time). They were falsely accused and jailed. More than a decade later, an inmate, Matias Reyes, came forward and confessed that he alone was responsible for the crime. All of the “Central Park Five” (as they had come to be known) had, in 2002, their convictions overturned and a judge subsequently approved, in 2014, a historic $41 million, later $44 million, settlement

Ken Burns (and Sarah Burns and David McMahon’s) 2012 documentary, The Central Park Five” went a long way to spotlighting and keeping a focus on the scandalous injustice of the case.

Considerable publicity has come since, as a result of Ava DuVernay‘s 2019 four-part Netflix docudrama, When They See Us

See for example here and here, here,  here and here,  here and here  (and that’s just a brief sampling)  – a cautionary tale of injustice indeed!]

The Central Park Five case – a time-line

Donald J Trump’s response to the Central Park case, May 1 1989, taking out a full-page ad in the newspaper – “Bring Back The Death Penalty..”!

AG: The “wilding”

GC: The wilding? I could see that, a bunch of kids hangin’ around. and, gee, it’s the way they feel, the way the whites are, “yeah, lets go and play with the honkies.

AG: Yeah.

GC: They didn’t kill anybody. But.. it’s still outrageous, you know, it’s outrageous. And she, I think she said, “while there were children playing with me”, right?

AG:  Yeah, right.

GC: That’s sad.

2019 – Fox News, 2017 – “I think they get a lot of that out of television”

AG: So where do we get that? I think they get a lot of that out of television.

GC: Television indeed.

AG: Okay, So now why is it that there’s also this campaign to censor television that has very little to have to do with violence and the kind of nastiness and anxiety production that television does, and it’s mostly just love-sex that they want to censor?

GC: Well, who’s television?, again..

AG: Yeah.

GC:   I mean, .. the.. look at it, the powers that be, the people behind it, they’d be generally very snobbish kind of people.

AG: General Electric, General Electric [Editorial note – NBC – written long before the rise of Fox News. GE subsequently divested. In 2011 Comcast acquired a 51 percent stake of NBC Universal from GE, two years later Comcast bought the remaining shares]

GC: Those are very snobby don’t you think?

AG:  Well, actually, I don’t look at television very much. I look at television maybe twenty minutes a week. I have this great set at home, with a VCR, and, finally, when I turn it on, it’s just.. just too noisy, and too full of sirens and cops and…  The most objectionable features of the American politics always are made to sound royal and mighty there.

(Allen at this point stops the interview – “But I think what they (Interview magazine) want in an interview, they want anecdotes, they don’t want our theoretical (discussion) ..GC: Well, it’s alright, they can cut this bullshit if they want.  Alright lets speak of anecdotes if they want anecdotes.  I think it’s important what’s gonna happen in this life anyway, man)

to be continued

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