Tuesday, November 28, 2006


i get delirious whenever you're near...

so kramer loses his shit on stage last week, and i have blog fodder. there was a time when such putty would excite me, but alas i simply shake my head. i have only a few points regarding the matter. i'm not interested in attempting some cleverly woven story right now, so i'll try to keep this brief.

um...a short rehearsal of the facts:

lose all self control, baby i just can't steer...

1. kramer drops the n-bomb a gang of times (that's -er) after allegedly being heckled by a few niggas (that's -a) during a stand-up comedy routine.

2. kramer talks to seinfeld and david letterman via satellite on the late show. an out of sorts richards apologized.

3. 2 days later, somebody somewhere reported that richards made some anti-semitic remarks during a stand-up routine in april of 2006.

wheels get locked in place...

4. kramer hires howard rubenstein as his new publicist.

5. kramer calls up run jesse run and rev. al.

6. kramer is a guest on run jesse run's radio show, and again says "my bad."

stupid look on my face...

jesus h. christ. if i had one seat left at a dinner party i was throwing, i'd be more inclined to invite kramer than the other two; and that's despite the fact that i've never seen and episode of seinfeld. hell, i even liked rev. al's antics during the last democratic national convention.let me explain.

i've said it before that political correctness bothers me more than toothpaste in the bathroom sink. why do i despise the "pc"? because it allows michael richards to waste air time talking about he's not a racist; because i get to hear stupid ass, imprecise, unclear phrases like "racially insensitive." because someone can lose their shit, hire a new publicist, call up two self-appointed "leaders" of the race, and repeatedly say "my bad." (in other words, if one can make "racially insensitive" remarks, then one can perform penitence, begin a healing for said remarks by talking to the right people.) because said black dudes and others regard themselves as authorities on race, racism, and racial insensitivities. because one of these black dudes gets it wrong too many times for my liking. because if these niggas were really holding it down for "the race," and consequently scary to white people, they'da got shot a long time ago. (you know, like maybe someone would've shot them 50 times while sitting unarmed in a car.) because these niggas are invested in apologies for things said during "un-pc" moments. because i think these leaders are often worse for "the race" than those racially insensitive perpetrators. because if a big enough group of niggas told these niggas to shut the fuck up, maybe we could get somewhere.

it comes to (makin' a) pass...

because i would've rather kramer say nigger again, than to see and hear him say afro-american on youtube. because i think we should go back to negro, or maybe even colored. because sometimes i feel like me and my homies are the only real black people left on the planet. (you damn right i just said that shit.)

i just can't win the race...

because maybe, just maybe, this is the legacy of the civil rights movement.

and that's all i'm going to say about that.

perhaps i should actually write my dissertation.

language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation. ~toni morrison

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

how come u don't call me anymore

if u don't call me... u gotta try...

about a month ago, i called up my moms partly because i had a question but also just to let her know that her first born is still breathing. not that my mother worries. she is, in fact, an unabashed non-worrier. when other moms got up early to help their toddlers, my mom taught me self-sufficience: instead of making the kid breakfast on saturday mornings, she used to put a tupperware bowl of cereal and some milk on the bottom shelf of the fridge. so instead of having to wake her up, i could just go in there myself,"make" breakfast, and watch smurfs until she woke up. mom is not, and never has been a morning person. but i digress. anyway, i call her up and she tells me that she's in the doctor's office with my dad. word? they didn't used to do this when we were younger. hell, my mom would send me--and i was under 18, mind you-- as her representative to a few of my younger sister's appointments, and now she's chatting it up with my dad in the waiting room just minutes before he has to bend over and cough? wow. my great-grandparents used to do that shit. doctors visits are like the geriatric olympics; they're events. so i realized very quickly about my parents: those niggas are getting old. i never thought i'd see the day.

why on earth can't you just pick up the phone?

i also never thought i'd see a commercial advertising cell phones for old people. if you watch enough television--and believe me, i do--you might catch a 30-second ad for a new cell phone company service jitterbug. basically, it's what happens when a medic alert bracelet meets a flip phone. the company offers customors two options: first, there's jitterbug dial, with "yes" and "no" buttons and ginormous numbers. second, there's jitterbug one touch, which might as well be called "jitterbug i've fallen and i can't get up." the phone has three buttons, "operator," "tow," and "911." they'll set up your phone list and voice mail. they also let you prepay for the phone service for up to a year. you know how old folks like to pay shit up years in advance. something about being on a fixed income. which i never really understood. i mean, if you're on salary you're on a fixed income too, right? but whatever. i never really comprehended the ways of old people. bingo and old country buffet never really moved me. yet again, i digress. all that said, i don't think there's an aarp hook-up.

sometimes it feels like i'm gonna die...

as people continue to live longer, and the baby boomers continue to get older, i imagine jitterbug and similar services are just a few of the "mature person" friendly products we'll see advertised. it's ironic in a way-- this whole technology for old people bit. technological "advancements" seem to make more things disposable, only cool and useful until the next thing comes out. and we, with our post-modern selves (or is it post-post?), seemingly have no angst about it.

this wedding of the new and fleeting with the old and apparently long-lasting is an interesting one. understanding that the young'ns tend to drive advertising, i wonder what kinds of marketing shifts we'll see as a large portion of our population--and, perhaps the architects and purveyors of certain cultural bastions and institutions that still stand prominently--gets older. in the mid-90s, i remember seeing the construction of plenty of swanky retirement homes in my native fort wheezy. conversations with my mother have vacillated between my parents' inthenotsodistant future retirement to north carolina, and her inability to work the mp3 player my dad bought her. (did i mention that my mom ain't even 50? and no, she ain't 49, either.) how will these bedfellows coexist? happily? acrimoniously? somewhere in between?

either way, i hope they get some better commercials. selling shit to old people doesn't have to be so corny.

just one lousy dime, baby. why cant u call me sometime?

anyway, if granny called and told you that though she loved her tin of peanut brittle last year, even efferdent can secure her dentures long enough to enjoy it, i imagine getting the brothers, sisters, and cousins to chip in and get her a year's worth of jitterbug service ain't such a bad alternative.

of course, you know that means you'll have to call more often, right?

the idea of ringback tones for the hard of hearing scares me.

this entry sucked. sorry.

language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation. ~toni morrison

Monday, November 13, 2006

dirty mind

there's something about u, baby...

so the donkeys win (back) the house and senate, and liberals throughout the country not only breathe a jubilant sigh of joy and relief (maybe my fellow americans aren't as dumb as initially thought), but perhaps muster up enough momentum and hope to propel them to do a lil blue state boogie during the 2008 election. maybe they take the white house back. and though i doubt it, maybe they give it a vagina; maybe they paint it black, or at least a nice shade of mulatto.

now, some will say the democratic, "in your face, dubya," last tuesday stemmed directly from the liberals finally garnering enough chutzpah to sock it to the playground bully otherwise known as rumsfeld, rove, and co. others will suggest that said elephants had fucked up so badly in iraq, that a political shift was inevitable. (hey, man, when your lover treats you badly enough, any nigga will start to look attractive.) then, there are those who submit that what got our dear asses over the hump were the scandals that broke as the election got nearer.

it happens all the time...

oh my how life imitates art. let's digress, shall we?

briefly: george schuyler is my nigga. perhaps the most prolific black journalist of the early 20th century, once upon a time, poor georgie wrote a book called, black no more; it's prolly one of my faves. generally regarded as a scathing satire of the harlem renaissance, the book also serves as a commentary on race-obsessed americans, and how enamored we are with discriminating on the basis of skin color.

here's a synopsis: a young black doctor returns to the united states with what he believes is the solution to the race problem. dr. junius crookman has come up with a procedure that will whiten a black person's skin in less than 24 hours. no niggas equals no race problem, right? the novel's protagonist, max disher, a young harlemite, is fortunate enough to receive one of the first treatments. disher gets white, and head to atlanta, hoping to find and smite (is that a correct use of the word?) a white woman who'd spurned him at a club on new year's eve.

as black people flock to the treatment and white people everywhere lose their minds, the hero disher gets involved in resuscitating the knights of nordica, a white supremacist organization. the shit hits the fan. race organizations (including spoofs of the naacp and marcus garvey's unia) lose members, race men and women go broke, etc., etc.

all of this occurs as the presidential election gets closer. the republicans, the party in power, have done nothing; while the democrats, backed by the knights of nordica and some mighty impressive white virginia pedigree, do their best to scare white folks. to further buttress their efforts, the democrats fund a genealogical study to prove who really has white ancestry, and hope to use the results as evidence enough to find "whitened blacks" and disenfranchise them. however, the data indicates that no one can confidently claim not having at least one black branch on the family tree, and the leaders of the democratic party (including disher) are forced to flee once the public receives news of their african american ancestry.

the republicans retain the white house, and after the election, dr. crookman reveals that whitened blacks are in fact whiter than whites. as such, the country becomes "mulatto minded," former race leaders are restored to their pre-black no more positions--this time by fighting for the rights of those who are too white-- tanning lotions and processes become in vogue, and overall the racial order is restored.

whenever i'm around you, baby...

as i observed both sides of this gay ass debate on homosexuality, civil unions, etc. i was constantly reminded of schuyler, and what he taught us in his brief yet hilarious book. the premise that racial discrimination is so bad that black people would jump at the idea of whitening their skin for a mere fifty dollars initially seems far-fetched. yet it occured to me that certain forms of christianity can in some way be viewed as its own black no more treatment. as more pillars of the most conservative and homophobic sects of the christian church are outed everyday, the work of gss is even more profound: those who seem the most aristocratic (i'm using the word loosely, incorrectly here) in their stances not only have their own skeletons (known or not), but also the most to lose. i can't help but draw comparisons between the race problem schuyler characterized, and the gay debate. a brief, albeit corny attempt at literary analysis here: junius crookman... initials j.c. well, jesus christ, i think i've just made a connection. eureka! if you're black, you come to junius crookman. if you're gay, well, come to jesus.

i get a dirty mind...

let us not be misled. these various scandals with the gay starring as freakydeaky spectacle by no means aid "the cause." what's most troubling about these high profile news stories is the connotation of homosexuality within them. i think one should take a moment to pause before holding up the latest blurb on the ticker tape as an example of those conservatives being hypocrites concerning this whole "gay problem." though elected a democrat, former new jersey governor, jim mcgreevey announced his homosexuality just before news of corruption in his administration broke nationally. after checking himself into rehab, mark foley allowed his lawyer to speak on his behalf, saying that the former representative was molested by a clergyman; he added that mark foley was gay. and finally, drugs seasoned ted haggard's own lil gay sexcapades.

in such contexts, homosexuality is (yet again) linked to deviance, criminality, depravity, and secrets. though moments like these may serve as the perfect time to point out agregious contradictions, i am troubled by the idea of also taking these instances as an opportunity to promote an agenda that would allow for some sort of gay equality, or whatever you want to call it. i resist the idea that shame regarding one's sexuality played an integral role in the kind of deviance that we see in these scandals to the extent that we should hold these public figures up as poster boys for "what happens when..." though such exposes may be sufficient to change which rich white dude we send to dc, i seriously doubt they do anything to change public opinion. thus, witch hunts that seek to discredit conservative christians and politicians by outting them, by seizing any opportunity to catch these cats in seedy and compromising situations all for the sake of gay rights seem to aid no one but the hunters, and feed our hunger for hoopla and scandal... jesus couldn't help mark foley, maybe a little public embarrassment (and some shock treatment) will. doubt it.

schuyler once said that the negro was nothing but a "lampblacked anglo-saxon." though i don't entirely agree with my homeboy here, i see part of his point. it seems to me that certain efforts to garner gay rights have gone the route of proving, "hey, we're just like you." but what are the stakes of this approach? what kinds of things does one lose? will homosexuality eventually be regarded as a niche market that advertisers attempt to access through logo? hasn't it already?

if schuyler's black no more and morrison's paradise teach us anything, it's that even in a situation where discrimination has apparently been removed, people who have been conditioned to discriminate will find ways to do so, and those people who are seemingly the voices, the leaders of both sides of the issue will do nearly anything to preserve the very inequality they claim to be for or against-- all in the name of self-preservation.

there must be some alternative, something that doesn't rely on outing senators and ministers, something that doesn't forsake certain viable cultural nuggets for the sake of seeming just like the joneses. though one may find a perfect model for protest and civil disobedience by examining those fighting the problem of the 20th century, there surely has yet to be a model solution. all i know is: outing a muthafucka passing for white is about as effective as outing a nigga passing for straight.

if you got the time, i'll give you some money...

that said, schuyler shows us that in the end, old regime or new regime, the same suckas benefit: knights of nordica leaders escape to mexico with the loot, and those seemingly on the otherside of the argument--the race men and women in the novel's case-- make out just as well by collecting membership money from the oppressed, and philanthropic offerings from sympathizers and apologists.

is jim mcgreevey still on his book tour?

god don't like ugly.

language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation. ~toni morrison

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

all the critics love u in new york

u can dance if u want 2...

if asked, i will argue that the centerpiece of this entry is those (self-)proclaimed multi-talented folk. but really, it's just another excuse for me to talk about more niggas who get on my nerves.

let me briefly digress: i enjoy watching television when i'm not sober. ironically, i feel a bit more lucid during those moments of insobriety, and less of a vegetable. i'd like to say that i'm more eloquent when articulating my theories and dissatisfaction about those niggas on my idiot box, but i know that'd just be my inebriated arrogance rearing its ugly head.

that said, last week i watched some music videos for the first time in a while. after catching that nigga baby get his neck tattooed in his video, "stunting like my daddy," featuring lil wayne (i like that dude), i caught some sleepy brown joint featuring pharrell... which was followed by some shit by janet jackson and nelly... which was followed by chi-city's lupe fiasco and jill scott... which was followed by not so lucid ruminations...

u don't have to keep the beat, they'll still think it's neat...

ok. pharrell really isn't that good of a rapper or singer. neither is nelly. (or kanye west, or...) so as i sat there listening to this nigga croon on the sleepy brown track, the thought occurred: not only is this nigga singing, but he has "perfected" his own style, and he expects me to take him seriously. now don't get me wrong, i fucked with "frontin'." i really dug that shit. but i dug it for two reasons: 1) i thought it was a really impressive record that was obviously heavily influenced by the wonderful work of michael peter pan jackson. 2) i bought the idea that pharrell was singing in a falsetto to pay homage to the gloved one. i thought his singing efforts were sort of a novelty, nothing to be taken to seriously. you know, that we were supposed to recognize that this nigga was a producer tryna sing.

apparently, i thought wrong. next thing i know, this nigga isn't just producing the tracks, he's singing hooks and verses. like, people are calling up pharrell and asking him to do this? word?

oh, there's a line of rappers who took themselves quite seriously after winning their episode of the reality tv show, celebrity karaoke. ja rule wails, "what would i do without my babaaaay," and suddenly this shit is spreading like mono at a kissing booth; rappers with rudimentary rhymes all of a sudden think they're old blues eyes. and we--if i may once again employ my dear mrs. robinson's slang--are letting these niggas make it.

as i sat there mouth agape at this realization, i decided that from that point onward i would no longer eat this atole like it was some sugary, buttery grits. perhaps my activism alone could quell this whole rapper/singer/actor/poet bullshit. what happens if we don't? well, let history teach us: nelly and kelly win a grammy, and a few years later that nigga teams up with miss jackson if you're nasty. apparently, she and j.d. thought no one other than the saint lunatic could ressurect a career that had lost more air than a pierced nipple. really? c'mon, now. that nigga can't pronounce his -er/-ar suffixes correctly, let alone sing.

u can wear what you want 2, it doesn't matter...

this brings me to my next/central point, which isn't, surprisingly, that jill scott writes really bad poetry. see, i understand the desire to be multi-faceted, multi-talented. shit. some essentialists would suggest that it's in our blood. the nigga benjamin banneker was a clockmaker, mathematician, astronomer, and some other stuff. but let's be real, here. just because you sang a bar or two in a song that went number one doesn't mean you're good at it. i had a hole in one at putt-putt once. i did not try to sign up for the lpga. i understand my limitations. and niggas out there need to, too.

yet i understand the temptation of believing your own hype. the public continues to eat this shit up like it's good or something. ashanti will continue to provide us with deeply moving stanzas if niggas keep buying her book. take myspace, por ejemplo. i've never seen more masturbation over modicums of mediocrity (check that alliteration, playa) in my wholeentirelife: oh, [insert random myspace screenname here], your blog really touched me/spoke to me/said exactly what i wish i could say. say word? nigga, please. it takes more than a season of def poetry jam and a visit to thesaurus.com to cop eloquence. get over yourself, nigga. that shit wasn't profound. (well, if it was profound anything it was profoundly uninteresting and wack.) your black ass works at the post office for a reason. oh my how i digress.

there's a point in the alleged hateration: we can do better. we can expect better. so why don't we? then, maybe our brains would stop rotting, and we could recognize, cultivate, and support folk who provide incredible art. i know i'm making a value judgement here. but it seems like no one else is, so why not me?

u could cut off all your hair, it doesn't matter...

i'm merely perplexed by the idol worship that compels these niggas to proffer to the public such wackness in a variety of forms. it's not enough that alicia keys suggest that black couples love like ike and tina; she wants to provide that shit in poetic form, too. and each time her book is sold, we're advocating that bullshit. please understand: i fully support self-expression, and i'm not saying that people should just stick to what they're good at and/or what they know. hell, i really suck at bowling, but i think it's loads of fun, so i play an occasional game. i just can't get down with adulation that inspires hubris and (more) second-rate artistic output, while we continue to ignore or claim that we just "can't get into" people who have really honed and paid respect to the craft that chose them. the less than average dissonance of the former has deafened us to the point that we can't even hear the latter. and that's pretty sad.

call me a hater, whatever. i'ma muhfuckin' tastemaker--albeit my own. keep nibbling on chips ahoy for dessert. i'ma get into this baked alaska.

perhaps this is all an aesthetic i've yet learned to appreciate.

whatever, man. them niggas is wack. (ebonics intended.)

it's time 4 a new direction, it's time for jazz 2 die. 4th day of november, we need a purple high...

language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation. ~toni morrison