Jesse Jackson is Human
At one point in my life, I thought I was going to be a weatherman. I went to Ohio University and applied to the Scripps School of Journalism so that I could get into broadcast news. Due to my pathetic grammar skills, I failed the English exam (twice) and had to transfer to the Telecommunications School to get a degree in Video Production. Who could have ever thought that if I had not failed that English test, that I might have missed out on the opportunity to hear Rev. Jesse Jackson fart.
Part of the Telecommunications experience at OU is the internship program. My internship at Lyon Video in Columbus, Ohio was an awesome experience. I got to smoke, hang out with aspiring local E List actors and pretend like the company was going to hire me on full time after graduation.
In the fall of 1992, the Presidential election was eating up all the network time. Clinton was taking on Bush and SNL was having a ball with Perot. In Columbus, Rev. Jesse Jackson was passing through town, drumming up votes for Bill. The BET network threw together a last minute Town Hall Meeting (they were very popular at the time) and Lyon Video was asked to host the event.
In Studio A, I helped to set up about 200 chairs as a small stage was constructed towards the front of the studio. An aspiring journalist practiced her questions to Mr. Jackson. This was her big chance. This was going to catapult her career through the alphabet from BET to NBC. The stage was staged. The lights were lit. The cameras were camering. People started to enter the studio.
About 40 people that is.
For some reason, Columbus couldn’t scrape together 200 people to see Jesse Jackson. It was a last minute event, but heck, even the Jameson Parker Fan Club could throw together 40 people in four hours. We removed a bunch of chairs from the studio and arranged the rest so that the studio would look full in the eye of the camera. Jesse’s people were yelling at the local Democratic Party members. It was a grand occasion.
It was a really grand occasion because someone decided that I should floor direct. The floor director wears a big headset and gets to yell “Five minutes people!” and “Thirty seconds ‘till air!” You also get to hold up five fingers and decrease them all the way down until two fingers and then you use the last finger to point. Sometimes you even get to hold cue cards. Sadly, we used a teleprompter so I wasn’t able to misspell Clinton on the cards.
Jesse came in and sat down. Jesse is a big dude. He’s tall. He’s a bit thick too.
I used the finger pointy at the host trick and we were off. The interviewer asked questions and Jesse answered them. I can’t remember what was said because I was busy listening to the banter in the booth and pointing at the different cameras. After a break the reporter took questions from audience members. At this point, I was able to saddle up next to camera one and hang out. The reporter was floating in the audience and there was no need for me to whip out my pointy finger. On stage, Jesse was showing some wear. He’d been putting in some long days and he seemed uncomfortable as he was sweating under the lights. The reporter threw a question at Jesse and he began to answer. In mid sentence he uncrossed his legs and began to re-cross them.
Now, I’m not sure how you spell it where you come from, but in Ohio, we spell a ¾ second fart with solid bi-gluteus vibration like this, “Frrrrrt.” You western folk may throw a “V” in there – “Vrrrrrt.” I hear tell southern people don’t spell the word because you can’t see a fart. They just leave empty space, “ .”
Either way, Jesse farted. Over the headset the audio guy said, “What was that?” The camera guy next to me held back 95% of a laugh. Murdock, all the way down at camera three, looked directly at me and mouthed the words, “Did he fart?” The audio guy spoke up again, “I think he just farted.” I answered in the most straight faced of whispers, “Yes he did.” The whole booth cracked up laughing. The camera guys held it together because they could hide their smirks in the viewfinders of the cameras. I was stuck out in the open and had to kneel down in the Floor Director pose #8 to regain my composure. The interview continued.
So, Rev. Jesse Jackson is human. And he’s actually more human than that.
When the event was over, the audio guy went into the green room to fetch the wireless mic off of Jesse. He came out with eyes wide and reported that when he walked into the room, Jesse had a Wendy’s chicken sandwich open in his hands. Jesse was looking down at the mayo and lettuce and tomato side and said, “Who’s been fucking with my sandwich? Somebody’s been fucking with my sandwich.” I couldn’t believe it. No way. Not a Reverend! I didn’t believe it and I’m sure he was lying.
That was until I heard Jesse respond to one of his entourage. The guy was walking Jesse towards the exit and I was following. The entourage guy informed Jesse that the Dems were hosting a party at a local hotel and they wanted him to come over. Jesse replied frankly, “I don’t want to go to any fucking party. I’m tired.” And they left.
As far as I’m concerned, Jesse is all right in my book. Heck, if he can complete the trifecta of farting, cussing and drinking PBR, he could almost be considered a native of Ohio.
So cheers for my crappy grammar. And thanks for the internship Bob Lyon. And here’s to the White Castles that Jesse ate in the car on the way to the studio. Thanks for the story.