Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday Blackness

1. Wretched Excess post Turkey-Day musings...

Have you joined the rest of the NASCAR Dads, insipid housewives, rim-spinnin' bamma baby-mamma's, trailer tarts, Hannah Montana-addled tweens and other miscreants in line at the Malls pre-dawn? If you not, according to Dubya you are NOT a patriot. You must spend spend spend to keep our economy strong. Spend for gas to get the malls to keep Big Oil and Dick Cheney happy. Spend at lunch to keep Big Fast Food happy...on top of the greazy crap you shovelled into your mouths Thursday (and get sick to keep Big Pharma happy in the process?). And spend, of course, to keep Wall Street happy because after all, you aren't keeping our economy strong.


Thing is, when you arrive at JC Penny at 4am to buy a leather jacket of which Tim Guinn would lisp "Oh my...that is hideous!" marked down from $250 to $40, that means it's really only worth $20. Why? Because it was stitched in Indonesia. The new all-American widget-gadget-ratchet and photo-hanging and butt scratching support the troops poster you got? Well, it's made in China. When it breaks down, you have to call customer service in India. Of course, China and India and Saudi Arabia own the cheap debt that Dubya and the VP and GOP always seem to charge up on the national credit card rather than raising taxes. Assorted other nations (including ones NASCAR Dads would consider Hadji or sand-nigger) have also cashed in on the American Garage sale; I wonder who actaully now owns the paper to your 5K sq ft McMansion now (the one with no books, no true art or learning implements unless you consider X-Box with all 3 HALOs as such...and DVDs of the last WWE Smackdown extravaganza as learning implements)?


What's even worse...black folks buying into this madness. Folk who need to keep up with the Jones (and Mr. Charlies and Missy Annes) buying educational tools, laptops, SAT prep courses, tutortin, networking assistance...saving money for letters of credit or operations credit lines for entrepreneurship. Nope, not them. They're too busy hanging in their own McMansions chock full of mattresses, leather sofas, 72 inch LCD flat screens--and no other furniture. Worst: folks who can't even afford that...who live off a lead-paint blustered stairwell in the Hood or down in da dirrty, shotgun-shack style, yet seem to have a ginormous SUV or late model Lexus...or 25 years old with three kids already...and the latest baby needs a box of Pampers yet they're the caregivers, in line at 5am to buy a Wii or that pair of faux-leather, guuuuuurrrrrlll...gotta have'em...

Stop buying garbage. Stop wallowing in it. Life's too short and this nation can't afford the Annual Percentage Rate and hidden fees.


2. The Quill Awards

Yep, Lit awards on NBC?! An announced by literati Tiki Barber and Natalie Morales on that erudite and urbane "Today" show? Okay...one...ONE African American book/author was nominated. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah in the Debut Fiction category. That's it. Not even in the Romance category. And hmmm...to their credit, however, they have't Soweto-ized us into an African American Literature category. But day-um! What's this say about the work product being featured? Yet another indictment of "street lit," "sex books," "church lady fiction?" Not even Eric Jerome Dickey can fly in like Superman, braids trailing in the slip-stream, and save us? ;-) Look, in a previous post I highlighted the winners of the 2007 Hurston-Wright legacy Awards (where I presented the award in Fiction to Edward P. Jones). Is it sad that we have to keep coming back to Ed again and again? I think it is. Note also, as did my truly erudite commenter Sunrunner that few black AMERICAN writers were really in the mix this year. Sure, H-W needs to be jazzed up; it has some parochial, mom n' poppish tendencies that scream for adjustment. Fact is, however, it remains the rosetta stone for interpreting and lauding contemporary black literature, non ficiton and now poetry (to the exclusion, notice, of "commercial fiction" for the first time). And as Sunrunner elucidates, black authors can't catch a break. Are we not there? Hell yes we are, as Martha Southgate said in the NYTimes, perhaps in too much of a muted tone. Ignore us at your peril.

3. NEA Study on reading


As I sit here in my bathrobe watching the live-action version of the cartoon Ben-10 for the ninth time (it debuted Wednesday night, clever Cartoon Network!) with you-know-who & co., I am thankful that at least I'm not being subjected to the Hannah Montana Thanksgiving Marathon. Ben's turned into "Wildmutt" thanks to the DNA of the Omintrix, so that means, mercifully, the show is almost over. Then we dress and go to the Mall with the other bozos (see above) and shop and then spend a wad on "Beowulf." Anyway, I'm musing about ignoring us at society's peril...and along with this CN movie and Mall invasion, comes the peril of the latest NEA study. Percolate on this. The NEA's latest study on reading shows that once kids exit elementary school, reading literature, reading for pleasure plummets. I mean plummets like the Ravens' season. Do youreally need a study for that? Anecdotally you can see what's happening, even when you factor in reading "online" (other than Wikipedia, sports and porn). Kids aren't reading anything. It's mindless TV dramas and reality shows...a diet of mental junk food tantamount to what their parents are consuming. The implications for society? Well, it's not just the GOP and Big Anything (Oil, Retail, Food...etc.) who likes this state of affairs. And gamers, where the f**k do you think all of the themes, images, characters and flavors which fuel your product come from? Literature. Hell, even creative narrative non-fiction. Imagination fuels a free society, nothing more. Kill that, you murder freedom. You get the movie Idiocracy, which is the natural 25th Century extension of Office Space. Ponder it, if you're abel. If that sounds elitist, I apologize. I'm off to Macy's and Game Stop anyway...then back on the highway with the other shlubs. Oh and my niece is recommending the latest Carl Webber book. Being a hypocrite is fine during the holidays. I can always go back to my fighting trim after New Years, right? well...

10 comments:

Lisa said...

America is getting dumber and America is for sale. Okay, I can get with that!

Anonymous said...

"Idiocracy" is already on it's way, literally. Ghetto people, Hispanics, white trash, other types of morons, mouth-breathers, right wing Christian jarhead fools and mirror-opposite of them--insane tree huggers...are all getting pregnant at age 23 and keep pumping them out.

lance williams, sr said...

Memoirs of a Boy Soldier gets the double thumbs up, so what are you complaining about?

Also, why don't you have a post on Scot McClellan selling out Dubya and Darth?

Snowman said...

Shame on you. Black Friday's our biggest day, believe it or not. "Normal" people (by you definition) flock to the bookstore precisely to flee the crowds in the mall; we have spillover from the other shops in Annapolis and o course although it was cold, it was also clear and blue. People came to the bars and pubs to kibbutz over the Navy game, etc.

Hope the balance of your weekend is restful.

Lola Gets said...

Well, I had to go to Target cause I needed laundry detergent. Im sorry. But, I am keeping busy by reading your second Bivens book as well as that collection of short horror stories youre in! I feel so smart!
lol
L

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I'm out of the country and missed the post Thanksgiving craziness. Liz in Los Angeles had a great post on this very subject. She is boycotting Black Friday.

It is weird to be here in Italy and see maybe two ads at the most for holiday shopping. Most of the Christmas decorations aren't even up yet. I read over 130 millions Americans went shopping yesterday. That is sick. How many of us vote again?

That is good news e: Mr. Beah's nomination. He is a very talent brother.

I can't even comment on the NEA study, it's too depressing.

Christopher Chambers said...

Apparently, the news is not so good: many folks did the zombie/sheep/consumer crawl b/c they did NOT have as much money. In other words, they invaded the stores b/c they HAD to, not b/c they WANTED to. Check reputable (i.e., not Fox) news sources for the juicy quotes. Indeed, clothes and gadgets for kids were strong b/c of the perception that the toys were poisoned by the Chinese. LOL.

At least Wii sales are up. You have to get off your ass for that one.

Regarding the NEA study, we hyave no one to blame but ourselves, either as parents or enablers of dumbasses who are.

Pebbles Flintstone said...

Chris,
I did not participate in "Black Friday" wholly (I did go to the movies). I did not rush out at 4AM to get a good deal on a pair of fleece slippers or buy some other piece of insipid crap that someone may not need. I spent quality time with family, and if I bought anything at all it was at Borders. By all accounts we don't have the money to spend this year due to rising gas prices, falling home prices, the subprime debacle and the credit crunch (watch Suze Orman people!!) It makes me sick that I start seeing Christmas decorations in October. We need to keep that money in our pockets, spend wisely and stop consuming so much crap! NPR recently did a series on Marketplace Money called "Consumed" and it really opened my eyes up to the fact that we are really wasting our precious resources here at home and globally.

As for the NEA study, we should have seen that one coming. Please, please, please read to your children, make them turn off the television and put down the video game controller. Balance is what is needed if we want to avoid Idiocracy.

Cluizel said...

Ugh...I spent Friday at home with family finishing off leftovers. I am one of those odd females that HATES shopping...so the idea of being out there with a bunch of crazies at insane hours is not appealing...

LaJane Galt said...

Soooo, they're not reading, nor are they playing outside...

Carl Weber, hmmmm I'm not familiar with his work.


*googles C-a-r-l.....*

Early 21st century Nigglature in the vein of Oscah Wild & Ja'ne Austen w/ a little magic realism thrown in!!!

The Bishop may be a man of God, but he's still a man who needs a woman. Trouble is, T.K. is just as na├»ve as any other man when it comes to women—especially slick-ass, bible-toting, man-hungry church women. That's why Charlene has planned a way to hang around in spirit—to make sure her replacement is a good one.

First in line is Marlene, the mother of T.K.'s illegitimate daughter, Tanisha. Then there's Monique Johnson, First Lady of Plastic Surgery and Implants. The only thing real about Monique is how much she wants T.K. Next is Savannah Dickens, the church's attractive new choir soloist, who's also the daughter of a prominent church elder. And last but not least is Charlene's good friend, Sister Lisa Mae Johnson, widow of Pastor Lee Jones.