Monday, February 26, 2007

Four Books to Look For

As another trite, commercial and trope-filled Black History Month wanes, here are some voices bearing a big, long listen:

First is Friends and Lovers in Black and White, debut novel by Altomease Rucker Kennedy, prominent D.C. attorney who chronicles the life of a young black girl at an exclusive all-white women's college in the 1960s. Bittersweet and insightful with none of the triteness and trope I relate above. In short, something new for black folks. Speaking of insightful, Princeton man Obery Hendricks, Jr., Professor of Religion at New York Theological Seminary and one of our best philosophers, gives us The Politics of Jesus. Obery is a genius. This is a must read for all of you Faith-based social money grubbing, Jaquar-driving, suburban mega complex building mega-preachers out there who seem to think Dick Cheney or Fox News are friends of black folks. Obery is the author of The Living Water. And speaking of genius, my boy Mat Johnson, author of Drop and Hunting in Harlem; Professor of English at Bard College up in the great white north gives us a harrowing account of the first black slave revolt in America: in Manhattan, not the South, circa 1741. The Great Negro Plot takes the track of creative non-fiction invented by Truman Capote in In Cold Blood, and thus brings this event and the players to living blood and sinew. William Styron is smiling from the grave. Finally, check out William Frederick Cooper's new novel There's Always a Reason. Unless you've been living under a log or too snobby (I should talk!) to review the barrage of BlackExpressions mailers, William has arrived. This isn't the usual insipid black soap opera being marketed as a novel; this dude pours an entire heart's-worth, plus a few extra ventricles, into his work. The pay-off can be seen here in Reason. To William, "passion" isn't a mere punchline or gimmick and you owe yourself a look.

Enjoy and learn, before Fiddy Cent and C-Murder publish any more "novellas," and see my previous recommendations this month, including new works by Jonathan Luckett and Cora Daniels.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Cheney, Dick

So Dick Cheney won't "take back" his barb at Speaker Pelosi, basically saying Nancy's an al Qaida fellow traveller, blah blah. Well, I have to go with the right wingers on this, at least in form and not content.'re a tough Lil' It-lee chick from Bawlermer, baby...stop acting like a typical Democrat bee-yotch, whining about an apology. Dick Cheney has the political bent and interpersonal skills of the dude formerly known as Annakin Skywalker, so don't hold your breath, hon. He bends his finger at the GOP and wheezes, "I find your lack of faith disturbing," and they jump. Yeah it's as douchebaggish as Trent Lott crowing about how he uses Jefferson Davis' desk. Jefferson Davis is by far the biggest traitor in US History, and he and his fellow crackers' little temper tantrum from 1861-1865 caused more death and destruction than anything in Osama bin Laden's wildest dreams--including the assassination of an American President, and heinous war crimes that made Mi Lai or Abu Ghraib look like weekend beer parties that got too loud. But biggie, right?

So Nancy, don't whine, demand retractions, bray about "fairness" ; you're better off doing an imitation of Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada. Might remind him of his cold bitch of a wife and chill him out. Then ask him if his daughter actually is carrying Ellen Degeneres' love child, and why can't these folks be cast out and damned for all times? All Dick & the Empire understand is a wave of X-wings firing proton torpedoes. I just want to see Barack Calrissian fly the Millenium Falcon. Condi can be the female Jar Jar Binks...


I was a kid and I saw this guy for the first time. He was pretty much a kid himself, out there on the court at the Baltimore Civic Center, teaching Earl the Pearl, Jack Marin, the Big E and Wes somethin'. The Bullets--the BALTIMORE Bullets--eventually beat the Celtics that night, but man, that was cool...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Big-Ass wisdom...

This is why I love this big m-f's candor, analysis, straight-up balls. In an age where blacks dominate many sports, we still have few black coaches, managers, trainers, owners. But the real travesty? You can count the number of trained professional black sports journalists out there on your fingers and toes. Worse, we are not cultivating huge crops of keen young black minds in English and Journalism departments of colleges and universities. That fact makes dudes like Michael Wilbon and Steven Smith deans of American sportswriting; I actually look forward to Bryant Gumbel's closing op-eds and interviews on HBO's Real Sports, and I used to hate Bryant Gumbel! Y'all can take these comments as hateration on the three guys I've named if you wish. hahahaha. But notice I didn't say these men aren't trained, experienced pros or bad writers. In a perfect parallel anti-matter universe, however, they'd just be garden-variety average sports reporters at the Daily Bumfuck. Indeed, when you look at the extant universe of white sportswriters/reporters, once you cancel-out the hacks, sychophants & fools, you might have a galaxy almost as small as what the bruthuhs have now! Well, in any parallel universe or dimension, Jason Whitlock is our HL Mencken, and God bless him...

Regard, the wages of thugdom, hoedom, greed and hypocrisy in his article "Mayhem Main Event and NBA All-Star Weekend"

Monday, February 19, 2007

What they're really thinking

Forget bald-headed freaks like Brittany (you know the sick redneck chick hsaved her head as a pub stunt, no doubt fueled by Anna Nicole getting all the ink lately). You want to know what teenage white chicks really think about the rest of us? Check it out:

"I have respect for all races, but I'm very glad that I was born white. As a woman, it's the best race to be. Especially if you want to become an actress, like I do. If I wasn't white, then the next thing I would wanna be is Asian because a lot of men like Asian girls because they think they're docile and subservient and sweet which I don't really think is true because I once met this Asian girl at summer camp one time and she was a real bitch. If I couldn't be white and I also couldn't be Asian, then my third choice would be African-American because I've always wanted to be a gospel singer and also, black men are more forgiving if your ass gets big. Except I'd definitely want light skin and Caucasian features like Vanessa Williams or Halle Berry. And finally, you know, no offense or anything but my very last choice would be Arab. There's a lot of resentment in this country toward the Middle East and there's a lot of stereotypes floating around which I don't think are true because in the short amount of time I've known this Arab girl, she hasn't tried to bomb anybody and she currently smells okay to me."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Even Thugs Need Love!!!

Can anyone tell me who are the guys in the left photo?

Yep, the "Scottsboro" Boys. Who were they? Shame on you if you don't know. What is the photo on the right? Thug Matrimony, of course, coming in April. And "in time for Black History Month" as the press materials sqawk, TM II has already gotten the author a 6-figure deal. I'm jealous!!! I better just retire my damn pen...
But to paraphrase Morgan Freeman in the movie Seven (when he's in the library doing research and the brothers are playing Bid Whist): "A whole world of books all around you and you n&*gahs are reading this garbage?" If you didn't demand this, they wouldn't print it. Demand better.
Thoughts, anyone? Feel free to spit on me and call me an elitist, or a hater. I mean, why else would I point these out these little ditties?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Post-Valentine Pre-Mardi Gras Blues

Lawd, with snow school closings (bogus!), Tim Hardaway, bammas in SC being typical and endorsing Hillary over Obama, ice under my car that I need a chisel to remove (thanks to the Salvadoran dudes who shoveled it around me when I braved the snow the previous night and shovelled a path for our handicapped neighbor!), Black History Month's sort of petered out, too. It's sad that the only thing to see is a Brit flick, Amazing Grace, about William Wilberforce and the fight to abolish the slave trade...inspired the hymn as well...and what do we have? Friggin' Norbit!!!. And yeah my muse is on Paxil, I owe an essay to Callaloo and can't get motivated...I need Mardi Gras bad!!! Ahh, shit. I think the right wingers are feeling my malaise, too. I mean, with NASCAR starting to look like the NBA and NFL (especially Tank Johnson and the whole Cincinnati Bengals team...whacha gonna say about that, Rush and Bill O.?), Pat Buchanan-Joe Scarborough and a bunch of GOP types telling the Retard-in-Chief that not only is he wrong now in Iraq, the Taliban is coming back in Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan, where there really was a tie to 9-11...and what about our "allies" the Pakistanis?). Oh and there's much love in North Korea thanks to our other "friends," the Red Chinese. The Man really can't do without the Chinese. Hey, otherwise where would who we outsource all of our semi-skilled labor go? (okay, Mexico) Or what's life without a trade deficit, more pollution, oil consumption! I bet we helped them lobby for the Olympics. And now you got another dude spilling the beans...not "Scooter" but "Dusty," former CIA clown and favor-seller for the Administration...oops and another soon to be felon in my old division of the Justice Department, ENRD, an associate attorney general who had to clean out her desk for cozying to other unsavory types (why does it not surprise me that it's somebody she was supposed to regulate?). Jeeeeeeezzzz

Well, there is a light. First, Simon & Schuster has announced that my boy Jonathan Luckett's new novel The Forever Game will be published this August. Second, I just read probably the first prose anthology of short stories by "mixed race" or "multiracial" authors, appropriately titled Mixed, and edited by Chandra Prasad. Not limited to black-white biracial folks; it establishes a new Diaspora of many, many faces and mixtures! The Introduction by Alice Walker's daughter, Rebecca Walker, herself an author and journalist in her own right, is instuctive though oddly inapt. She says the "trope of the tragic mulatto" is dead, true. She says it's bizarre and even counter-productive that now it's "hip to be mixed." Just check out Hollywood, and folks like Vin Diesel or Devon Aoki who get roles because they are "exotic" looking, but also because they often downplay their "colored" half when it's clear Vin's a brotha and Devon is Asian. But then Ms. Walker goes on to survey the pathos in many of the stories in the collection. I saw people expressing a new ethos, a new side of folk we see everyday. I didn't see that much pathos, so I guess she subconsciously still thinks the tragic mulatto is alive and well?

Check out Mixed, works by Jon Luckett, and "Amazing Grace" (with Youssa D'Noir as 18th Century black author Olaudah Equiano. It will get you through to March...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

"If you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you're with."
--Richie Havens

BTW, I stand corrected--you can indeed pre-order Ghettonation by Cora Daniels (see 2/9/07 Post).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bullitt vs. Shaft

If you don't know who either are, then you don't belong in this debate. So, who wins? Fist fight, gun-fight, detective/deductive/critical thinking skills, lovemaking skills (I know Shaft's got an edge here, but hey, Bullitt boned Jackie Bisset back when Jackie Bisset was finer than any of these skinny vacuous white actresses we got today, including Angelina). Driving? it's Steve (Frank Bullitt). Come contest there! Leather-wearing, it's Richard Roundtree. Other than that, tell me thoughts, you tough hombres and bad m-fs out there!!! It's likely raining/snowing/sleeting/windy (or bloody, if you're in Utah or Philly) wherever you are and you're bored, so leave a comment!!!

Disclosure: Shaft is one of my favorite films, but Steve McQueen is my favorite actor as you know. Bullitt is among his best, though I prefer the nuanced stuff in The Sand Pebbles and Papillon.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Whistling Dixie...and other things

Amazing how things do turn around. A Bush die-hard, anti-gay marriage evangelical pastor bones a dude in sauna, and then gets "cured" of his "ailment"and is hetero again! Now this! Remember all of the redneck DJs on the these "America First" country stations who attacked the Dixie Chicks? Recall the rancor on the Country Music Awards from blond gorillas like Toby Keith or cracker-hoes like Reba McIntire (and let's not forget the ire Tim McGraw drew when he declared that he and lovely Faith were in fact Democrats and supported the Chicks' right to free expression) and the lovely exposition of all things ugly that bubbles beneath the SUV and American idol veneer of our republic? Chick CDs were burned. It matched the stupidity of renaming French Fries "freedown fries." Hey last time I checked, there'd be no USA with the effete frogs, but that's for anoher post...

Well, last night the Chicks shined. You gotta love Natalie Manes channeling Bart Simpson..."Heh-Heh." You know, I'm not a fan (other than that song "Goodbye Earl"),but these chicks showed some balls, and I love it when folks show some balls to The Man. Especially when aimed at The Man's foolish proxies: rednecks.

Enough about music. Here's more of my Monday bitching and moaning: 1. Gates. This guy was supposed to be a fresh breath in the Pentagon and Cabinet. The dude's a cypher. Iran helping Iraqi insurgents? That would be tantamount to Catholics in the Republic of Ireland shipping arms to Orangemen in Northern Ireland 30 years ago. Get out of the the country. Invade pakistan instead. 2. Snow and ice. In DC, we have many immigrants from sunny climes. They cannot drive in winter weather. Period. Call me Archie Bunker but it is true. Couple that with suburban housewives who drive their mega SUVs and vans as if they really are busting though a snowdrift in Wyoming as they pull a load of longhorn steers--yet they are merely on their way to the mall. Gee whiz, it's amazing how the SUV in commercials never seems to reflect what it's actually being used for. And Lord, no one ever tells Mrs. Gated Community that these things brake just like cars in snow and ice. Now you know why I dread winter in Washington. 3. Ignorant white people. I know, that's one's a throwaway, and see my post of 2/9/07 below on the elevation of all things GHETTO as a counterpoint, and possibly, if I may play Devil's Advocate, a cause. But hey, let's start with Aussie PM John Howard attacking Barak Obama. What a douchebag--he looks like the dickheaded dad in "Muriel's Wedding." Or Dick Cheney's younger brother? Yeah, Australia has a whole 1,400 troops (no combat) in Iraq. As the for some other douchebags, moist and dripping, check this out:

In Savannah this past weekend, artist/photographer Cedric Smith, who's work was introduced by Valerie Dillon at the Dillon Gallery in Cheslea, W. 25th Street and will have a massive show in April, was taking a break from another exhibition. Wearing horn rimmed glasses and an argyle sweater, he entered a toney stationery store,browsed, then entered a typical, posh "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" Savannah antique shop. The antique shop owner seemed very nervous;the woman took a call, made a call, then excused herself, leaving Cedric alone and perplexed. As he was about to leave, ten SWAT officers rushed him, assault sub-machine guns ready to riddle himwith 10mm rounds if he didn't hit the floor. Cedric hit the floor.

You know the rest of the story. A black man who bore no physical resemblance to Cedric at all (and who was wearing a long ragged coat, rather than an argyle sweater) had been robbing some establishments nearby. The man suposedly hid a sawed-off shot gun under that coat. Well, through his agent and the local gallery owner, Cedric is seeking apologies from Savannah PD's jarheads. But mostly, he wants an explanation from the stationery store owner and the antique proprietor. Apparently they were the ones who called the cops. Now, Savannah prides itself on the same urbane, artsy, southern-patrician "we're above that sort of thing" that its sister city Charleston, or places like bucolic Charlottesville or Asheville, also claim. Okey-dokey. The owners refuse to talk to him. He doesn't want to kick their asses. He just wants an explanation. He should talk to Natalie Manes. Success is the best revenge...then go back and slap the shit out of those crackers.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Ghettofab revealed and reviled?

Some food for thought, as we battle the forces of Mordor (the GOP, Fox News, Anne Coulter). Hard to fight a war with an ablatross around your neck, and that albatross is this worship of all things ghetto.

Regard Ghettonation by Cora Daniels, author of Black Power, Inc.:

"We live in a society where shows like Pimp My Ride top cable ratings, babymama has become a family term, pimp and ho Halloween costumes are sold in toddler sizes on the internet, and even Martha Stewart proudly boasts to television viewers that she 'can get ghetto when she needs to.'"

So what is your opinion? Leave a comment. You know where I stand on this. The punishment of Mrs. Stalker Astronaut should be to pilot a shuttle into space, with a cargo of Curtis "Fiddy Cent" Jackson, Prof. Dyson (unless he stops this love of all things thug), half of College Park, GA and everyone in Diddy's family (I'll raise the twins). Not enough fuel for re-entry, of course. Just kidding...

More descriptions of the book:

With Ghettonation, acclaimed journalist and author, Cora Daniels, takes on
one of the most explosive issues in our country today in this thoughtful
critique of America's embrace of a ghetto persona that is demeaning to women,
devalues education, celebrates the worst African American stereotypes, and
contributes to the destruction of civil peace. Her investigation exposes the
central role of corporate America in exploiting the idea of ghettoness as a hip
cultural idiom, despite its disturbing ramifications, as a means of making
money. She showcases Black rappers raised in privileged families who have taken
on the ghetto persona and sold millions of albums, and not so Black celebrities
such as Paris Hilton, who have adopted ghetto attitudes and styles in pursuit of
attention and notoriety. She also gets personal, exploring her own relationship
to ghetto and the ways in which she is both part and outside the Ghettonation.