Thursday, December 14, 2006

dear mr. man

what's the matter with the world today?

as 2006 ends, i think a lot about the upcoming year, and what we all have to look forward to: more resolutions to break, closing in on the end of the world, finding out who will succeed 3-6 mafia as academy award winners for best song, etc. etc. i guess i also look forward to hearing about which govenor, senator, [insert other random statesmen here] will declare candidacy for the presidency of the united states. more specifically, maybe barack obama will tell us whether or not he'll run (jesse! run) for president.

things have got to get better

i was heading to my homegirl, maegs' house last friday when i heard a radio piece on "obamamania." stuck in chicago traffic, i listened to the segment on npr's all things considered, and i gotta admit, it's pretty tempting to get excited about illinoize's junior senator from chi city. now, i'm not one to get all crunk in the whip--unless, of course, lil wayne is on the dial--but hearing the brief profile on obama made me wonder: could this dude actually become president?
during the rest of my ride to the southside, i thought about that shit, deeply contemplated (well, maybe not so deeply) the possibility of an obama presidency. (by the way, if i catch the muthafucka who fucked up my whip sunday afternoon, i promise you my pacifism will be compromised.) obama for president? word? what is this that i'm feeling? (the audacity of) hope?

listen, i think it's pretty obvious that i'm a jaded ass muthafucka. so even though i rolled along the kennedy kinda thinking it was possible that enough white people would vote for this dude, at the end of the day, i'm like no. but still, i wanna say a couple of things about all of this.

show me what the leaders say

if obama believed the hype, decided to declare candidacy and didn't win the nomination or the entire race, the whole "it's because he's black," argument wouldn't really hold water. a very simple and obvious counterargument would be that obama has very little experience. now, that could be a good thing. i hear voting for and against bills and stuff gets complicated, and that can be troublesome when trying to run a presidential campaign. i'm sure senator kerry knows this. so, outside of obama maybe fucking a white girl while at harvard, his record can be deemed pretty squeaky clean. regarding the lack of experience, some may say, "well, jfk didn't have much either." halfway intelligent debaters could easily counter that with the fact that jfk was elected senator of massachusetts in 1952; he ran for president in 1960. and before that, he served in the us house of representatives for six years. do the math. additionally, he had a daddy named joe. very succinctly: though a political rock star, obama simply doesn't have the resume.

maybe we should write a letter

a plausible outcome? (rrrr, mike, and i all agree) a gore/obama ticket. if the democrats are gonna win anything, they're gonna need a southerner to counter that yankee. if you don't believe me, go ask lyndon baines johnson.

but i'm not really interested in all that. in fact, in my recent thinking about obama, his inexperience hardly registers on my radar. rather, i'm mostly curious about the theoretical possiblity of obama as president. what are the ramifications of that? would it be one helluva giant step for the race? no, i don't think so... i got a reason for this.

but first...

said dear mr. man, we just don't understand

1. what's in a name? now, some may say that obama is a little too close to osama. yeah, i get that. when i first saw the obama placards in and around chicago i was like, "who is this dude?" yet at the same time, the name could work for him because it doesn't immediately signify some niggafied ancestry. i mean, if one could find an american who has yet to hear about senator obama, and mention his name, i doubt he or she would think he was black. now jesse jackson? that's nig all day, baby.

and now...

2. (and this is my main point.) i think there's a helluva lot to be said about the fact that obama's father, though black, was no american negro. i think that plays a significant role in the way white americans view him. call me a cynic, but i'm not so sure that if obama was an african american (as opposed to being an african[hyphen] american--that's my way of delineating [the progeny of] immigrants from american born), he'd receive the same reception. it seems to me that white folks regard immigrants quite differently than they do african americans, so the fact that obama's father was a kenyan student studying in hawaii is much different from homeboy being a recipient of a scholarship from the united negro college fund. now true, white folks may hate those who have chosen to come to this country. but when it comes to those native sons and daughters whose ancestors were sold or kidnapped, and got a one-way ticket on the transatlantic cruise line? they really hate them. so, in a sense, it doesn't matter whether or not obama lives his life/considers himself an african (no hypen) american. though his wife is from the southside of chicago, though he may very well have been/will be pulled over for driving while black, though he may be a member of a black church, i think there's a curious logic working in the psyches of white americans who might vote for obama (emphasis on might) or at least deem him an acceptable candidate: his daddy was an immigrant, and that makes him different than the others. and i know, just like every other "respectable" black person in american knows: white acceptance is all about being the exception to the rule. the status quo remains in tact. which leads me to a conclusion that both rrrr and i agreed upon during breakfast: there may very well be a person of color elected as president of the united states in my lifetime, but a nig? hell no. in other, more polite terms: in my/our (who knows, rrrr, but that on the lower frequencies i speak for you?) humble opinion, it is highly doubtful that a descendant of slaves will ever be elected as the head of this here us of a.

we ain't that affirmative about your actions until people get paid.

that does not mean, however, that i'd automatically lament and seriously criticize if obama was elected president. it would be fatuous to argue that the only way black people are gonna get anywhere is if a black person--that is, an african american--is running this country. condi rice and clarence uncle thomas are both evidence to the contrary. i'm simply curious about the mania. such excitement for a black man is usually reserved for an athlete... or a lynchee (is that a word?).

i'm sick of exceptions. i'm ready for new rules.

in other news: when/how does an african-american become an african american?

section 1 - the 14th amendment says "no state shall deprive anyperson of life liberty, or property, without due process of law. " mr. man, we want 2 end this letter with 3 words: we tired a-y'all.

more barack: here

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

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

sexy mf

u seem perplexed i haven't taken you yet...

i guess janet jackson's lastest album, 20 y/o, hasn't done that well. despite a relatively decent debut at number two on the pop charts, after that she sold barely enough for j.d. to stand on during those red carpet photo ops. woe is ms. jackson if you're nasty. that's two in a row for her. (did anyone buy damita jo? i imagine either one of those albums would make great stocking stuffers for the gay boy in your life.) i can't say i'm surprised. damita jo's fate was sealed sometime around february 2, 2004, just after white america was shocked and awed at the site of a thirty-something pierced black nipple peaking through a hole of some s&m looking costume. i don't know if tivo sales went up afterward, but i'm pretty sure justin is doing ok. i've never seen someone pullout their whitestraightmale membership card faster than my beloved jt. with a deebo-looking sponsor like timbaland, though, he was able to maintain his street cred, and bring sexy back just/in time for the holidays. but i digress.

anyway, blame it on jt bailing. blame it on the teat. whatever, ms. jackson's career has yet to bounce up like ground ball. and that makes me kind of sad. a gay boy in the making, back in '86 i wanted to be janet--so much that i tried to perform that whole "pleasure principle" chair trick in the basement of my house. (here's a tip: when attempting to do this "trick," do not use a folding chair.) even when her big bro got all weird on me, janet was there. control...rhythm nation 1814... allat. i fucked with it. and even though that song "all for you" got on my nerves, i appreciated it as proof of her longevity. i mean, i guess it's hard out here for a pimp. but it's just as hard out there for an aging pop star.

i got wet dreams comin' out of my ears...

think about it. there's a gang of damito jo descendents running around today. and, it's as if some of jackson's spawns are a stronger strain. they dance better. their weaves are more impressive. hell, some of them can even sing! competition is thicker than a black girl's thighs. and considering the record sales of miss jackson if you're nasty, she's not surviving the pressure, seemingly unable to withstand lingering public backlash from nipplegate, and the generally subpar material her boyfriend has her "singing."

her old friend justin might suggest she bring sexy back. that seemed to work for her in the late 90s. ms. rhodes doesn't buy jackson's sexy act, though; she says her sexuality is fabricated and hardly believable. i think that's a pretty pithy statement. yet at the same time i want to quip, "well, whose isn't?" besides, if you're gonna be sexy, you have to up the ante. allowing your boyfriend/husband/whoever to cover your nipples while you pose for rolling stone ain't hardly gonna cut it these days. noooosir. i'ma need you to do something slightly incestuous. you know, like kiss one of your clones on stage at an awards show.

we need to talk about two things...

which brings me to my next point. now, i know their careers aren't exactly analogous--i think madge has done a better job of evolving musically--but i think janet and madonna are relatively comparable. though madonna is about a decade older, their careers span relatively the same timeframe. both native midwesterners (madonna: bay city, mi just outside of detroit; janet: gary, in just outside of chicago) made their musical debuts in 1982; and both received relatively mild success--though madonna's first single was a dance hit. madonna's second album made her a superstar, while jackson's 1986 release--her third album-- made her a household name. both were married to men from famous families (sean penn, james debarge); both marriages apparently ended due to some form of abuse by the husband. both have dabbled in acting. both have transformed their images at several pivotal moments. etc. etc.

yet madonna's career has seemingly been able to withstand several controversies (you know, sex books and shit), while janet's took a turn for the worse after one. now granted, showing the world your nipple during the super bowl is really major. like, really major. yet two years seems like quite a long time for something to linger in our amnesiac american memory. why, then, has the sensationalism of janet jackson's celebrity seemed to linger longer than that of, say, madonna's?

maybe janet fell off because, unlike madonna, she's not on the pulse. sure, the gay boys love her, but has she capitalized on that the way she could've? maybe she could rectify that by kissing a chick. she doesn't have to truly like girls, but just play like it on tv. perhaps it's that jackson has not successfully coopted certain aspects of black/gay/male culture in a way that made the public feel that she'd invented something new. i dunno. (oh, please don't be misled. i kinda dig madonna. this entry, in fact, isn't really about her. i'm just really curious. trying to figure it all out, i guess...)

i want to suggest that there's simply not a space for janet. whenever i venture over to radio stations other than npr, i'm reminded of just how constricted the music business feels right now. everything sounds the same. all of the radio stations are owned by one big corporation. one must go elsewhere to find something fresh and new. but janet jackson sings some pretty safe, middle of the road pop music. so that doesn't explain it.

guard your folks, and get your daughter...

then, i'm reminded of my good friend star jones. (i miss her. really, i do.) maybe jackson fell out of favor with the public because she wasn't completely honest. we all know how much trouble our public figures can get in when they don't tell the truth. so perhaps that whole, "i gained weight for a film role blahblahblah," didn't help matters; nor did not being super truthful about how she lost it. then i'm led to thoughts like: maybe somebody should say something more about the super bowl. no, not about the nipple, but the fact that it was a southern white boy who took part in the wardrobe mishap, thereby again exposing another truth about the legacy of slavery live and onstage... both fates seem the same. he jumps in the cesspool, but comes out smelling like a rose, while she, well, she has shit on her face. which leads me to: maybe no one gives a damn about a black chick unless she's breeding. but i guess thinking that way just brings me back to where i started: a black woman's body. of course, i'm sure a bunch of smart people said this two years ago. i was just led to this because i wanted to write about janet jackson.

this ain't about the body, it's about the mind...

anyway, fabricated sexuality or no, i kinda miss janet. not as much as i miss whitney, but i miss her nonetheless. i ain't saying i'ma learn her choreography like i used to back in the day, but it'd be nice to see her with another hit. (wasn't the video for "alright" the shit? cab calloway!?!?)

maybe she should adopt an african baby. i hear it's all the rage.

by the way, how many black chicks could go from alleged whore to humanitarian? just wondering...

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