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Editor's Note: Heating up February
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This past Saturday night, before I was laid low by the same vicious little bug that everyone else seems to have caught, I checked out the Watt Prophets performance at the Lucas Theatre.

While the Prophets were great, the real stars were the young people of Mercer Middle School and AWOL poetry group, who have been working with the Prophets during their two-week residency in town.

The Mercer crew, in particular, blew the audience away with their energy, presence and truth-telling. Each member took their turn at the mic, delivering highly personalized spoken word pieces -- some quite long, others pithy and biting -- as well as a few musical numbers. Their show culminated with a step-show style display of mass physical percussion and dance moves that had the crowd going nuts.

In all, the entire evening was an amazing testament to the ongoing vitality of the arts in Savannah’s African-American community.

The show was of course part of the kickoff weekend of this year’s Black Heritage Festival. Personally I’ve always had mixed feelings about the whole concept of Black History Month.

Obviously any focus on black history is a good thing. But why jam this vitally important aspect of American life into just one month -- the shortest, coldest month at that? (I say this as someone who celebrates a birthday during this otherwise bleak time of year.)

My take is that black history is American history, and American history is black history. Our children should be taught all of it with equal emphasis throughout the year.

The strength of America is in our proverbial melting pot. Any attempt to separate the ingredients loses the flavor. But that’s just one cook’s opinion.


This is the week to take part in Savannah Country Day’s ambitious “Creating a Sustainable Future” series of events around town.

This Friday night is a free screening of Al Gore’s Oscar-nominated film An Inconvenient Truth at the Country Day campus. Summer Teal Simpson’s take is on page 8.

Saturday morning begins a half-day session with environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., sustainable building architect Bob Berkebile and organic winemaker Pat Dolan.

This is truly one of the most awesome events to happen in Savannah in a very long time. I’ve heard through the grapevine that some of the usual suspects here in town -- the “squelchers,” as Richard Florida terms them -- have been somewhat negative about this event. If so, it’s a shame.

What better way to stick it to the squelchers than by coming out and supporting these events?


It’s rare that we run full-page opinion columns, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to publish Nic Sheff’s compelling -- and somewhat unusual -- take on the Iraq War. Read it beginning on page 12.


In the interest of full disclosure I wanted to tell you I was recently appointed to a three-year volunteer term on the city’s Cultural Affairs Commission.

A lot of mainstream media people will blow a gasket when they read this. I still run into old-school newspaper types who insist that journalists shouldn’t even vote, which has got to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

I’ve always maintained that we in the media should be citizens first and journalists second. To this day I have yet to meet a single non-journalist who disagrees with this assessment. It seems richly self-evident, a true no-brainer, to me.

While it’s commonplace in Savannah for media executives to take leadership roles in community organizations -- witness WTOC General Manager Bill Cathcart’s chairmanship of the local Chamber of Commerce or former Morning News publisher Frank Anderson’s long stint presiding over the United Way board -- it is unusual for editors and reporters to become involved in boards and commissions such as this one.

So before applying I thought long and hard about whether it would be perceived as a conflict of interest. In the end I came to the conclusion that it would not, based on the following:

1) I’ll be representing myself and not Connect Savannah. I was active in the local arts community long before I became editor here, and it’s from that stance that I will approach the position.

2) The position won’t conflict with my job here since, like the Commission itelf, one of Connect Savannah’s core missions is to promote and support local artists and cultural events. This newspaper has always been a friend to local cultural groups and has never adopted an adversarial role.

3) The Commission already has an extensive conflict-of-interest policy in place and is serious about enforcing it.

Anyway, that’s enough of that and I won’t bring it up anymore. I didn’t want anyone to think it was some kind of secret. Thanks to Mayor Johnson and City Council for approving the appointment.


That’s all for this week. Let’s hope by the next column this nasty germ will have run its course. But it’s always safe to e-mail me at