FIGHTIN’ WORDS

GUITAR ZERO

Lane Pittman and White Skin Privilege

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One of my favorite record club ads back in the day was from 1968: The Man Can’t Bust Our Music.

Except that he can. And he does. And sometimes he has a good reason.

It happened most recently in Neptune Beach on July Fourth. A young man, Lane Pittman, did what guitar heroes do. He pulled out his axe and shredddddded the National Anthem.

Hundreds of people crowded around. As Pittman told First Coast News, “I was so excited. I had been planning this for months and I never played the National Anthem so well.”

There’s something to be said for that. I reckon. Can you picture this guy practicing, night after night, listening to the Hendrix version from the Woodstock soundtrack? That’s how I see it going down. There is something quintessentially American about that. Specifically, the intersection of white skin privilege and callow self-indulgence.

You know what else is quintessentially American? Small town police reactions.

Apple pie, Mark McGwire, Tiger Woods, Union Carbide and Anthony Weiner all rolled up into a sucrose surprise in a fluffy pastry shell.

So American, and it got served up to Lane Pittman.

Pittman got a few notes in, and then a peace officer played Name That Tune.

“He said ‘if you want to go to jail then you will keep playing,” said Pittman in that same FCN dispatch. “And, I was, like, are you serious? He said you can’t play in the middle of the street. I said, can I move it back to the sidewalk?”

The art of getting to yes. Pittman, who looks like a cross between Randee of the Redwoods and Don’t Tase Me Bro, somehow thought he could negotiate with a police officer. Ask D’Angelo. Ask Devanta. Ask PINAC. Ask the Jax 19.

Clearly, Pittman doesn’t watch the news. Failing that, he clearly doesn’t get that his act isn’t nearly as cute as he thought it was.

He finished playing the song. Then? A fan club meeting!

“They walked me over to the patrol car. They told me I could leave my stuff because they just needed to speak with me. I got to the cop car and they told me to spread my legs and put my hands behind my back and I was, like, oh my gosh. I am getting arrested right now,” Pittman said.

Who would have thunk it? In Neptune Beach, suspects get to reenact the Rick James Superfreak album cover.

The cops say that people were spitting on police cars. And hollering. That’s not a good scene at all. They also say the issue isn’t the guitar-playing, but the street obstruction.

Now, if you’re looking for Lane Pittman to become Henry David Thoreau, you’re likely gonna be disappointed, if this quotation is any indication.

“People who know me know that I’m not that type of person to defy the law,” Pittman said.

Hold up. The fact is that we all defy the law.

56 in a 55? Defying the law. Gunning it through a yellow? Defying the law. Not having everything that can go wrong actually go wrong? Defying Murphy's Law.

When you get a warning from a cop, and persist in what you’re doing, you take a chance to defy the law.

What was this chance for, exactly? Justice for D’Angelo? He wouldn’t know D’Angelo from DiGiorno.

An banal act of bourgeois rebellion, with nothing at stake. No principle of justice is in play here. No higher cause. Just a “Look at me, Ma, I’m shredding.”

He wants the charges dropped? So did about 19 people on a local bridge in December. They obstructed a roadway also. And they had an actual reason; they wanted to call attention to what they saw as institutionalized racism.

Did they claim they weren’t defying the law? To be sure, they quibbled about how substantially they’d broken the law. But they knew they were making a larger point. One that required drastic action.

Agree with it; disagree with it. Hate it or love it, or take a middle ground. But here’s the reality. Pittman thought he could get away with making a fool of the cops because he was a middle-class white dude who clearly has gotten away with crap like that his entire life.

24 comments on this story | Add your comment
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Jordon1227

This writing is so bad that it is offensive. Your editor needs to be fired. Here's ?!?! How does here own anything?! Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

Jacksonville904

Wow...you should be absolutely ashamed of yourself for writing this trash. You sit behind your keyboard and bang out this nonsense that does nothing but stir the ugly pot of racism and hate, and to what end? Do you feel better now that you've slandered Lane? You call this "An banal act of bourgeois rebellion, with nothing at stake. No principle of justice is in play here," which first off, isn't even grammatically correct, and second off is absolutely misinterpreting the situation. You want to talk "banal" ? This entire article is banal. Lane was told he could play on the sidewalk, and he did, and then was arrested for it. I HATE abuse of power by police officers just as much as anyone; it came at the expense of a life in D'Angelo's situation, and at the expense of a senseless arrest in Lane's situation. Why take your anger out on Lane by writing this article that attacks his looks, his reasoning, and his protesting this arrest? The excessive use of police power will only be reeled back by working together to bring light to instances like this. Stop it with the name calling and "white privilege" already, please! It's unnecessary and counterproductive. Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

evilspacefish

This story is utter nonsense. I literally just now made an account to let you know that this article is pure and absolute sewage. Your publication actually hired this guy? My 8yr. old can formulate better sentence structures. Also, while we're on the subject, using big words doesn't show your vast wealth of intelligent writing when your grammar is terrible and your examples shoot off in every direction like a pre-pubecent teenage boy's willy on a lonely night with Skinimax on.

Keep your garbage story to yourself next, twit. Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

webbar

I once thought folioweekly was a respected publication now after reading this I can clearly see I was completely wrong. It is sad to see writers who know nothing about the person or what truly happen insert their option. As a writer you should do more research before you write about something you CLEARLY know nothing about, and secondly, adding race to the mix (White Skin Privilege) just to get more hit on your story. Low, very low, even for this poor excuse for a publication. Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

NanaSusannah

This article is ridiculous....This is not a race issue.....why would you try and stir up trouble by making it one! This area of Neptune Beach is ALWAYS crowded with bikes, skateboards, a few golf carts, etc......during holiday events. A young man played a Patriotic song on his guitar for the 4th of July and ends up getting arrested. Yes, there was a crowd.....there always is a crowd out there during holidays. Take your writing to another place if you are going to race bait. Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

Jessehanson

Like everyone else said, this article is just as racist as any other racial generalization. As an independent journalist and personal friend of Lane Pittman, I am the most qualified person to roast this article on the grounds that it's ignorant and inaccurate.

Lane was asked to move to the sidewalk where one of the officers gave him permission to continue. You know how I know? Because Lane is a great guy.

In school he volunteered with teachers and faculty and was probably one of the most trusted teenagers at fletcher.

He's a member of his church band where he regularly attends service.

He is a talented musician in a family of also great and talented musicians.

He is a member of Jax pack and a member of this community.

He coaches highschool lacrosse and volleyball.

He doesn't drink or smoke but I guess one bad thing about lane is he's not a vegan.

All said and done, I appreciate the thought that went into this article but I consider it a personal insult and 2 steps backward towards equality. Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

youknowyourewrong

What a talent. You managed to find a way to make something else about race. Way to go. That is so amazingly helpful. Anything we can do to put more hate, spite and ignorance in between races to push them further apart. Maybe we should implement white non-white roadways first. Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

JasonWright

There is an irony in the photo used. Jimmy Hendrix was pasted in. Jimmy was pretty much a big part of the Hippie and love movement. You need a dose of that.

Guitar zero? How insulting. You are a bully, and a racist one at that.

One day humanity will be very much more united, as it has been trending that way for a long time. But things like this only make things harder. Smoke something and watch some Carl Sagan. Try not to look at his whiteness if you can. He was just a smart human being with good ideas. Martin Luther King as well. Why don't you read something of his? This kind of thing is shameful. Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

SherryPerez0409

Folio needs to fire this writer and demote the editor to office sanitation engineer!!! This is offensive , inaccurate, and just flat out BAD WRITING! As a transplant to Jax I've read and enjoyed Folio for nearly 9 years and never have I encountered an article this tasteless or poorly written.... Wow Folio. Very disappointed Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

Dmkaja

After reading the ramblings of this writer, I have determined that I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and deficate a better story. I made an account just to post this. Reading this article by this "writer" has made me seriously question the people who are in charge of this publication. Or should I say rag? After spending the five minutes reading this nonsense, I feel that the only way I can balance the fact that I wasted the time and will never get it back, is to write a comment to let them know. AG Gancarski, you owe me five minutes of my life back. Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

CaptainBlake

Ploop! Way to go, Folio! Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

frankiem

How does AG know Lane ignored the cops? Was he there? Of course he wasn't. He just blindly reports whatever Angela Corey & her goons spoon feed him. I wouldn't be surprised if he donated to her re-election campaign. After all AG did unsuccessfully lobby to get a PR job with his football hero Lenny Curry. He might as well join the FBC & become Don Redman's apprentice.

I don't care if it's Jimi Hendrix out there playing on the sidewalk-- is that really grounds for arresting somebody regardless of color? Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

Jyoung

Wow. I registered just to comment on this and I don't even live in Jax anymore, but after seeing this pop up in various friends Facebook feeds I had to read this. This was by far one of the most poorly written storied I've ever read. As a soon to be graduating, and middle aged college student, trust me, I've read some incoherent garbage from 18-22 year olds. This article would have been returned to the student as nonsensical garbage. This is rife with unprofessional and informal grammar, syntax and verbiage. Poor writing and sentence structure aside, the 'angle' of this story makes no sense. The comparisons used by this author are thin, AT BEST. This is a 9th grade english paper hiding under the veil of journalism, parading behind a sensationalist headline that only seeks to stir up controversy by piggybacking off of contemporary, hot-button issues. As someone whose dissertation is on racial inequalities, social systems and "white supremacy and entitlement", I would be the first to jump in and dissect and defend/deny if this were such a case. This article is grabbing at straws. The only story here is this. "Drunk guy plays guitar in street, ignores cops, gets in trouble." Get rid of this guy folio. Friday, July 17, 2015|Report this

Dmkaja

I just re-read this story to give the umm "writer" a second chance, and I picked up on some things I missed on the first read. It's clearly obvious that he is a good writer, if you stack him against a class of remedial six graders who are struggling to pass the standardized writing tests. I take that back. At least one of them could write a story that flows better, actually makes sense, and doesn't try to take a subject and force racism in it. Every once in a while those kids come up with some pretty good stuff. But I'm willing to wager that one of those remedial kids have a better shot of writing for the Washington Post than this clown. But keep up the good work Folio, and continue to employ an embarrassment like this writer. After all, what am I going to use to housebreak my puppy if you decide to stop publishing your thought provoking articles? Still waiting on those five minutes, oh wait ten minutes now AG, of my life back.

Saturday, July 18, 2015|Report this

TheMWGeddes

This Opinion piece should have been scrapped. I understand trying to gain readers, maybe there haven't been that many contributions lately. What ever the excuse I a)hope this writer wasn't paid for this drivel, and b) I hope Lane gets his charges dropped.

While I respect the protestors' position and why they blocked 95N even MLK knew better than to block traffic on a major highway. Saturday, July 18, 2015|Report this

JeremyMichaelHobbs

This article is the most offensive thing I've ever read in a (semi) professional publication. Not the subject necessarily (though that is misguided at best), but the quality of writing is atrocious and your editor should be tarred and feathered for ever letting this move past their desk. Saturday, July 18, 2015|Report this

Millertime

This article makes me want to throw every folio i see on the streets in the garbage. What an ignorant and rediculous piece of writing. Saturday, July 18, 2015|Report this

Ktalantis

You have this story all wrong. He literally followed what the cop said and moved to the sidewalk. You cannot be mad because a whole crowd of AMERICANS decided to crowd around him and support him with the national anthem. Get over it. He didn't do anything wrong. America is the land of the FREE and yet everyone is trying to shut that down by pulling race cards/saying any and every one is breaking the law when that isn't the case. Focus on more important things than one guy playing the NATIONAL ANTHEM OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ON THE 4TH OF JULY (our Independance Day) Saturday, July 18, 2015|Report this

Ktalantis

I honestly can't believe this writer didn't take into account that Lane cleared up everything that happened, along with multiple people that were at the scene of the"crime". I was not there, but you better believe I would have been singing our national anthem with as much enthusiasm that Lane was playing it with. NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT RACE. #ALLLIVESMATTER Saturday, July 18, 2015|Report this

Stupidkid386

I'm just gonna echo what these genuine people above me have already done...this is the worst peice of work by a actual professional that I have ever had the displeasure of reading...it only makes me think that they might even go home at night and feel good about the "job" they just did..pulling race into it??!!seriously?...did he say or do anything remotely offensive or degrading toward the black race?....I mean look at the kid!!?? Read his back story, he teaches youth and plays in a CHURCH BAND....your right though, he has been getting away with crap like this his whole life and somebody needed to put a stop to it...because getting lied to by the police and then getting arrested wasn't enough...you needed to call him a entitled white boy who has had everything handed to him and throw dirt on his name....sounds like reverse racism to me?? Sunday, July 19, 2015|Report this

Atlas0108

This is hands down the single worst peice of "journalism" I've ever read. I can't believe folio actually used this. Gancarski villainizes Lane for his actions, but never provides a reason why, or does any research on his actions or his character. He asked the officer if he was allowed to play the national anthem on the sidewalk. The officer said yes, Lane continued. This piece is fundamentally wrong in just about every sentence. The level of this writer's ignorance is astounding. Leave it to a guilty white guy to make something that had absolutely nothing to do with race, and article about white privilege. The sad fact is: the morons at folio that published this are gonna look at the SEO stats for this article and say "Wow! Look how many page views and comments we got!" Probably without realizing that by using this idiot's work, they've gone from a news publishing organization, to something that represents North Florida's version of buzzfeed. Sunday, July 19, 2015|Report this

imfedup12

AG Gancarski...Do you still have a job today? Normally media writes trash to sell papers...your paper is free of charge. So I guess advertisers make it or break it...Lets just see what happens now because I am sure a lot of those dollars come from middle-class white dudes!!! Monday, July 20, 2015|Report this

Littlelady007

this article underwhelmed me for so many reasons. I am so tired of white privilege nonsense. White privilege is as rare as a unicorn dude. Matter of fact, the closest thing to white privilege I have seen in almost 40 years was when my boss hired his son to take over the business Oh wait. that wasn't White Privilege. That was nepotism....legal nepotism.

If you dislike the culture here and think we need to be live like other countries such as Africa where slavery is still alive and well, then please refrain from the corruption of this nation and flee as quickly as possible to the greater one. Perhaps you wish to live in a wondrous land where women are sold as sexual toys and men buy children as pets.

Maybe you feel as if the privilege given to caucasians gives them more rights to scholarships and educational advantages. Interesting enough, I found one case of a white scholarship - and it was heavily condemned. Maybe whites get their own channel on the television, their own reward ceremony, or even are the reason for MEBE/WEBE...

Bottom line. Get off your elitist butt and stop yammering about something that literally does not exist in the majority of this great country.I am proud to say I am white. I am proud to say my kids re white. I refuse to allow a bigot make them feel ashamed of their skin. Yes, you sir, are a bigot. As for me and mine, we will continue to see people as people - not color or creed.

by the way ..he ROCKED that anthem. Thursday, August 6, 2015|Report this

Justthefacts

Fact,You made this story about Race with your "white skin privilege"comment! Americans of ALL skin are done with the racial undertones, on the news and in articles! Fed up with this totally!! Good day and good bye to ever reading from this site again. Friday, March 3, 2017|Report this

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