Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Don Imus & Duke Sex Scandals: Yet Another Case Of Misplaced Neptunian Priorities

The Don Imus & Duke Sex Scandals: Yet Another Case Of Misplaced Neptunian Priorities

10:08 PM 04/14/2007 Sat

Two major events occured within the past week that made all the headlines, though not with equal measure - one was the "Nappy Headed Ho's" controversey, sparked by shock-jock Don Imus, when on Apr 4 2007, he referred to the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team in what many considered to be derogatory terms. The other event of course, being the official closing of the so-called "Duke Lacrosse Sex Scandal"; the three White male students, falsely accused of rape by a Black stripper, were exonerated. One event, many suggests, reveals a strain of racism and sexism still extant in our Society, while at the same time, the other event reveals a truth at least as, if not as jarring as the former one - that there is a great deal of Hypocrisy to go around. In any event, the past week's events have Neptune's stamp all over it.

Both events give clear witness to the Sign of our Times - the ongoing Saturn-Neptune opposition of 2006-2007. As astrologers, it's our job to put the celestial Signs into context, to make meaning of it all, both to ourselves, and to those whom we serve.

The Mundane Overview
Mundane astrologers are always on the lookout for major aspect patterns forming in the skies, of the Outer Planets of Western Astrology - not only those occuring between Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, but so too those including Jupiter and Saturn. The resultant patterns not only reflect govermental and financial policy, but also shifts in social relations and trends - which, more often than not, have huge sway on the aforementioned political and economic policy making.

Every 36 years or so, the planets Saturn and Neptune form an opposition to each other; this relationship suggests a "confrontation" between what is prudent and what is the ideal; what is do-able, and what is not. Generally, it is not the best time for public policy making, because the planet that represents sound judgment and reason, Saturn, is "clouded" by the idealistic dreams that Neptune wants to impose on the earthly plane.

We can take this further by noting that Neptune, according to Liz Greene's excellent book The Astrological Neptune, represents not only "The Great Mother" but also all "outside" groups - those who are kept on the margins of Society for whatever reason. Neptune is unabashedly a Feminine Planet and influence, and its "confrontation" with Saturn suggests strongly, that there is a battle of sorts taking place between men and women in Society.

The current Saturn-Neptune opposition took place for the first time, on Aug 31 2006 at 5.53AM EDT at Washington DC; Placidus 28 Leo 25. This map shows the opposition falling into the 6-12 House axis, with Saturn conjunct Venus, another planet representing Women, in the 12th, opposed Neptune in the 6th. With both Venus and Saturn in Leo, we can clearly see that issues surrounding Women in their role in the workplace and/or positions of leadership will become a key issue for the duration of said opposition, and indeed, in the months since partile we have seen the first Woman Speaker of the US House of Representatives, among other things. Leo is also classically considered the Sign of Sports and Showmanship, and here we can see the Rutgers Women's Team being involved as well - being treated, or being perceived as such, badly by one who has some degree of power and influence, Don Imus.

However, it must be pointed out that the 12th House is one of Self-Undoing; and with Neptune pressing the 12th through its opposition, there is the danger of "aggreived groups" looking for a reason to be offended. Neptune is the planet of self-deception, as well as irresponsibility, the refusal to own up to one's own failings and shortcomings, the denial one lives in due to not wanting to confront one's own demons. These ideas have been heard more and more in the days since Imus' ouster, and the settling of the Duke case. This article will attempt to flesh all these issues out, using the charts of the players involved, all the while keeping our "overview" in mind.
The I-Man
Don Imus was born, according to Wikipedia, on Jul 23 1940 in Riverside CA. No birth time as yet is known for the "I-Man" but his Solarscope gives us all the info we need - with Mercury in Cancer and Rx, disposed of by a Piscean Moon, we can clearly see Imus' penchant for emotionally-based, off-color remarks; Mercury in triple conjunction with the Leo Sun and Pluto accounts for his longtime success as an on-air personality. The aforementioned Pisces Moon, in possible opposition to Neptune, also reflects Imus' well known stuggles with drug and alcohol addiction - and - if the recent events are any indication - could suggest an early morning birthtime for Imus. At the time of his "Nappy Headed Ho's" remark, transit Pluto was opposed his Venus, while transit Uranus was conjunct his Moon(!) - both planets clearly representing women. Additionally, we see that he has, applying right now, SA Uranus=Sun (and will be exact Nov 2007) - a time of abrupt endings and new starts for sure.

It's interesting to note the strong and obvious Neptune-stamp on Don Imus' birthdate. Hmm.

The Hip Hop Connection
It wasn't long before the mention of the word "hip hop" was put together with Imus' comments; among others, Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer suggested that the genesis of the "ho's" remark by Imus is to be found in the supposedly all-pervasive sexist lyrics heard on hip hop songs. This caused Gangsta Rap fixture Snoop Dogg to jump to Hip Hop's defense, in a recent interview:

"It's a completely different scenario," said Snoop, barking over the phone from a hotel room in L.A. "[Rappers] are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We're talking about ho's that's in the 'hood that ain't doing sh--, that's trying to get a n---a for his money. These are two separate things. First of all, we ain't no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC [the cable network home to Imus] going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them mutha-----as say we in the same league as him."

Snoop's comments, however crude, speak to a powerful truth - and one that I myself have tried to articulate to my colleagues. Hip Hop, even its more harder edged Gangsta Rap variants, has never indicted all Women everywhere as "Bitches and Ho's", but rather, rappers were talking about specific people in their world. Morevover, rappers with a more refined sound and image - like Kanye' West - also made the case, that all women ain't "sugar and spice, and everything nice". One of his biggest hits on his 2nd album, Late Registration, was the song Goldigger; never once did he use the phrase "Bitches and Ho's", but the intent was the same as Snoop's comments above. I find it interesting that while Kanye's other songs, such as Jesus Walks and Diamonds Are Forever are popular topics for Oprah Winfrey, Goldigger never seems to get the same kind of critical acclaim & focus.

Snoop Dogg, aka Calvin Broadus, was born on Oct 20 1971 6.20AM PDT in Long Beach CA; Placidus 00 Tau 49, NDB. He has Mercury Peregrine (Tyl) and at the Sun/Moon midpoint, most appropriate for a rapper; Venus rules the Asc (artistic inclinations) and is at the Jupiter/Uranus midpoint. Along with Pluto=AP, this accounts for his fame and popularity, despite his occasional clashes with the law. At present, he seems to be in a bit of hot water again for drug possession.
Note that Snoop was born on a Saturn-Neptune opposition!-this time occuring in the Gemini-Sagittarius axis, a pair of Signs that without doubt, correlate to "rappin' and rhymin'". Hmm.

The National View
The horoscope of the USA I favor is the so-called "Sibly" option, which is based on a 5.10PM LMT clocktime on the date of Jul 4 1776 in Philadelphia PA; the resultant Asc, using Placidus Houses, is 12 Sag 19. This map clearly shows the prominent role that Freedom of Speech plays in our national psyche, culture and life. With Sagittarius on the Asc and its ruler exalted, such freedoms are considered sancrosanct, especially at times when we disagree with stated views or in some way find them offensive. Although the Saturn-Neptune opposition doesn't aspect any particular planet (hard aspects I mean), it does fall into the 2-8 House axis - the Houses associated with National Values and Norms. Over the course of the week there has been much talk of a "coarsening of the culture" with regard to Imus' remarks, and its real or percevied ties to hip hop music, etc. Keep in mind, that the Imus flap is just another in what seems to be a long line of such statements uttered in public - Mel Gibson, Isiah Washington, Keith Richards and more, have made similiar if not worse remarks in the time since the first partile of the 2006 Saturn-Neptune opposition.

Turning now to the Solar Arcs, we see that SA Moon=Jupiter/Pluto, exact later this Fall (Sep) and applying now; the Moon, of course, represents women, in this case not only the Rutgers Women's Team, but so too the seemingly increasing chorus of women from other sectors of American life, rising up in righteous indignation to both Imus' comments in particular, and to what they see as sexism on the part of rappers in particular. Hmm.

Two Americas
But, while all this is happening, another debate is slowly starting to emerge; many in White America are beginning to openly question the selective standards that are apparent in the Black community - why hold Imus to a higher standard, when you have so many in the hood who speak that way all the time? And what of the many, many real problems of Family breakdown, fratricide, high crime/incarceration, etc. - when are the "leaders" of the Black community going to start to call it's own people on the carpet?

These are highly legitimate questions, and to have any hope of assessing them astrologically, we now turn to the chart that represents "Black America"

American Slavery Aug 30 1619 10.15AM LMT Jamestown VA; Placidus 4 Sco 21 Penfield

Please note that in this chart, again we see Neptune ("the victim") highly emphasized - it's right on the cusp of the 12th House, and opposed Jupiter in the 6th and Rx. Planets that are very close to the cusp of a House - I use a three degree rule - I consider to be "in" that House, as if tossing their hat into the room, because they seem to have a noticable effect on said House.

Moreover, I've found that Planets who occupy their own natural Houses tend to "speak louder" than when placed in other Houses in the chart. So, in this case, a "12th House" Neptune will really embody all that we've come to expect of the Watery Planet - lots of emotion, artistic expression, martyrdom, suffering, compassion and so on. And, with Neptune ruling the 5th House of Children and Sexual Mores, with it ruling the Jail and Drugs, with it ruling Self-Undoing/Destruction, we can see astrologically that the Black community has a very hard time being as "real" with itself as it is with those outside the group so to speak.

Note that the Saturn-Neptune opposition falls in square to the Moon/Pluto-Mars opposition in the Black America chart, highlighting the "Bitches and Ho's" tensions along relationship and marital lines in Black life. It's no accident that African Americans have a harder go of it when it comes to such matters, for a whole host of reasons, and without question, finding their origins in Slavery, the enforced keeping apart of families and intentional breaking up of couples. Neptune reveals as much as it conceals, and perhaps the aforementioned opposition and subsequent Imus controversey, will finally get Black folks talking about what really ails its society.

The Jesse Jackson Factor
Although the Rev. Al Sharpton was the point man in the Imus flap, Jesse Jackson still remains as the symbol of the last vestiges of the Civil Rights Era. Born Oct 8 1941 at 2.15PM EST in Greensboro SC (Placidus 25 Cap 57, Rodden), Jackson's chart does reflect a kind of unwillingness to change - note the triple conjunction of the Moon, Saturn and Uranus all in Taurus in the 4th, with a Capricorn Asc! When comparing his chart to that of the USA, we can see why so many in White America views him as an opportunistic race hustler - the USA's Moon is square to Jackson's Taurus Moon, Saturn and Uranus; the USA's Mars is conjunct Jackson's Jupiter (both having ties to the 5th House, hmm); the USA's Saturn is conjunct Jackson's Sun and opposed his Mars; and the USA's Pluto is conjunct Jackson's Asc, while the former's Mercury is conjunct the latter's Dsc. In years gone by, Jackson was indeed an important player in the fight for Civil Rights, but in more recent years his tenure has been marred by personal scandal, most notably the siring of a child outside his marriage, and the taking of funds designated for his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition to finance the child's mother. Note that in his chart, Jupiter is in Gemini in the 5th, with 5th ruler Mercury in Scorpio and in tight square to Pluto in Leo in the 7th; Venus in Scorpio is in the 10th and in opposition to the Taurus cluster in the 4th. And if one listens carefully, it's not only White Americans beginning to murmer about Jackson - they are being joined by younger African Americans, who have no memory whatsoever of the Civil Rights Era. If you compare the Saturn-Neptune opposition to Jackson's chart, it's hard to miss the axis SQUARING JACKSON'S MC-IC AXIS.

In light of this, and of the Duke Scandal coming to an end, it's hard to see this event not reflecting Jackson's Swan Song.

Women Of All Colors, Unite!
By this time next week, the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team will have appeared on Oprah, where they will give their side of the story, how they were demeaned and dissed, by an aging White broadcastor, given the social greenlight by nefarious rappers in the hood. The Soccer-Mom demographic that Winfrey caters to will nod approvingly in agreement with the positions and statements made and uttered, and another round of calls for censure and rebuke will be called down on the rappers' heads. Although the National Organization of Women hasn't, to my knowledge, taken an offical stance on the Imus incident, their foundation chart is interesting to consider here, since it claims to represent the interests of all women everywhere:

NOW Jun 30 1966 12PM EDT Washington DC; Placidus 22 Vir 57

Now, consider the area in regard - note that Neptune rules the 7th in this chart, holding Saturn in Pisces therein, and note that the current Saturn-Neptune opposition is square to this Neptune position! Also, note that transit Pluto is square to the NOW Saturn; among other things, these images suggest that, while in the short term the Imus firing and other actions taken against "enemies" will feelgood, in the end it will end up doing more harm than good, due to public backlash and charges that NOW and other feminist groups failed to address the blatant abuse of the law on the part of Crystal Gale Mangum, the stripper who falsely accused the three White male students of rape last year. It will be very interesting, now that Imus has been fired, and the Duke students have been found innocent, what, if anything, NOW, Oprah and other feminists of whatever stripe, will do or say, about that situation. Hmm.

No one defends the comments made by Don Imus - but whether you like them or not, there are millions of people accross the USA who DO. Imus wouldn've been there for as long if he weren't making MSNBC and CBS money, lots of it, to the tune of some $50 million USD per annum. Not only that, but Imus has a Constitutional right to make offensive remarks (and here is one of the RARE instances that I will agree with Rosie O'Donnell) - that's the way our system works, and that's the price we all pay for it - because Freedom ain't Free. The right to freedom of speech isn't something that's there in case we like something but rather, it's there ESPECIALLY in cases when we don't - and we don't fight ideas we don't like by calling boycotts and forcing folks outta their jobs. We fight those ideas with ideas of our own - we debate, we get our own shows, we write our own blogs. THAT'S the American Way, and, as Greene and others have said regarding Saturn-Neptune combos, they're indicative of Socialist/Communist policies, NEITHER of which represents American ideals. They are repressive, even in their more benign forms, like Political Correctness.

That said, what Imus said regarding the female ballers had a ring of truth to it - they DID look a bit rough; several of the players had tats running up and down their arms looking like the female versions of gang-bangers, not necessarily what most would consider very feminine. For years, Women have lobbied for government to give them a fair chance at Sports competition, well now they got it - and as far as the Rutgers team goes, they lost. Bigtime - by over ten points to Tennesee, a primarily WHITE team. While everyone got lost in the shuffle the Imus' comments created, we lost sight of another very important date in History - this week marks the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's entry into Major League Baseball, forever breaking the color barrier that kept deserving players out. Robinson, along with Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Dick Allen and even Roberto Clemente, dealt with DAILY indignities, slights and out and out death threats, both on the diamond and in the locker room, that makes what the Rutgers team is currently dealing with look silly in comparison. The real lesson for these ladies, now that they're in the world of Atheletics, is that Life ain't always Fair, that atheletes, fans and pundits alike talk plenty of smack, and that Success cures all ails. If they really want to shut folks like Imus up, they don't need 30 minute press conferences or appearances on Oprah to share their feelings, they simply need to WIN. That's what Robinson, Clemente, Allen, Mays and Aaron did. "Man-up", ladies!

As for everyone's favorite rhetorical whipping boy, Hip Hop, I'll say this - I don't think it was an accident in the least that the very women who howled and moaned about being talked about in such a way looked more like the proverbial hoodrats than cultured ladies; I don't find it an accident that at the same time all this happened, all the charges were dropped against three men who's lives were far and away more damaged than anything any of the Rutgers team experienced, FALSELY accused by a woman I might add; and I don't find it an accident that all of this occurs on the heels of one woman who's entire life was geared toward using what she had, to get what she wanted - Anna Nicole Smith. Everyone knows that she was a Ho - and I reserve my First Amendment Right to say as much. The real reason why Hip Hop music continues to be a big seller isn't because it preaches hate towards Women, or any of the other umpteen things it's charged with, but because it speaks a Truth to Power that so many of us want to ignore, sweep under a rug, forget about. When it comes to Women, there are, like anyone or anything else in life, the good, the bad and the ugly - and the rappers are talking about the latter two. Nothing more, nothing less - and if Women really want to change the tenor and tone of Hip Hop, they can start with Lil Kim, Trina, Foxy Brown, Karrine "Superhead" Steffans and Carmen Bryan.

I'm waiting to see if the "Duke Three" will get their day on Oprah, or at least a kind mention (and apology) from the Feminists. But I won't hold my breath.



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