& ull; When journalists go bad: Transporting liquor from out of state into Zion is a third-degree felony (Utah Code 32A-12-201, look it up). Thank God for the United Nations, then, which nabs any bastard caught in the act of “public incitement to commit genocide.” Last week, according to Reuters, two Rwandan journalists were sentenced to life in prison for using the media to egg on Hutus in their 1994 mass slaughter of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis. Don’t recall this tragic event? Back then most of us were glued to the O.J. trial. Ferdinand Nahimana, who founded a radio station known as RTLM, used his station to tell fellow Hutus “the graves are not yet full,” according to the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal. Nahimana, said a UN judge, “caused the deaths of thousands of civilians without a firearm.” Editor Hassan Ngeze used his newspaper, Kangura, as a similar tool of anti-Tutsis propaganda, according to the court.
& ull; How not to run a PR campaign for your controversial film: Mel Gibson doesn’t know when to quit. Jewish leaders have worried out loud that his yet to be released film, The Passion of Christ, vilifies Jews as responsible for Jesus’ death. Then The New York Times Magazine quoted Gibson’s father Hutton, a staunchly conservative Roman Catholic, as saying that the Holocaust never occurred. Most recently, Gibson took his movie to the Rev. Billy Graham for a private screening. After clearing away tears of emotion, Graham praised the work, telling The Associated Press it was a “moving presentation of Jesus’ death and resurrection.” The film must have been some sight, since it’s doubtful Graham understood a word of the script. Gibson required that his actors speak in authentic Latin and Aramaic, and it’s doubtful if the film will even be subtitled upon release. More crucially, it was revealed last year that Graham, in a private 1972 conversation with President Richard Nixon, let slip that he had little love for the Jewish people. “This [Jewish media] stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain,” Graham said, “ ... they’re the ones putting out the pornographic stuff.” Graham apologized after the taped comments surfaced.
& ull; Bad Rap: Never mind that he hasn’t made a decent movie since Malcolm X, Spike Lee deserves all this month’s credit for having the guts to tell a Brown University audience that the current crop of hip-hop artists constitutes an irresponsible, dangerous lot. The problem’s deeper than that. Gangsta rap is dangerously boring. Recall the day when hip-hop was more exciting than a year of birthdays, more cutting-edge than a kettle of piranhas, and everyone awaited the next Public Enemy album. Here’s a top-five hip-hop album list: 1. Three Feet High and Rising, De La Soul (1989) 2. Straight Out the Jungle, the Jungle Brothers (1989) 3. Paid in Full, Eric B & Rakim (1987) 4. And Now, the Legacy Begins, Dream Warriors (1991) 5. Best hip-hop song of all time? Has to be Mos Def’s “Umi Says”! Ben Fultonbfulton@slweekly.com