Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Prurient Stimulus

People with brains have already weighed in, from Robert Reich to crazy Wall Street barbarian Jim Cramer and a whole lot of others. This voodoo-supply side joke of a stimulus package will not jump start a damn thing. The greed, the skewed markets and structural bent-headedness of both our and the global economy in this new century are to blame. You think big business is going to "invest in new jobs?" Ha! You think there's any demand out there to match this supply-side orgy? You think there's any domestic money investing in anything at home while the dollar is a joke abroad? Nigga please. The whole country's for sale to the Red Chinese and the Emir of Dubai, yet all Fox News wants to harp on is Hugo Chavez using his oil money to get in on the yard sale.
Most troubling though, is what I overheard whilst waiting on dinner at TGIFridays for my imprompty birthday dinner. Yes, Fridays, home of flair and huge portions. How the mighty have fallen! Anyway, a baggie trousered brother, hair tight under a wave cap, toothpick firmly clenched, obscenities and ghetto patios flying despite the presence of children, was also there with his lady-love for a meal. His girlfriend was finely appointed in a business suit and spoke the Queen's English--how low have sistahs stooped just to find a man? I overheard him tell her he was gonna take his money "f'om George Bush" and buy himself some new rims. She said she was gonna pay off some bills but that's all the stimulating she was gonna do. Then she said she was thinking about getting a more gas- and emission-wise car. He said no. He said people would laugh, and he promised to help her keep up the payments one whatever windshield-tinted monstrosity they drove in on.
There is your stimulus. Stimulating? No. Itching more accurately. Oozing. Prurient. Time for a whole lot of Cortisone.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Greatest works of American Fiction

Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemmingway, Hurston, Baldwin, Wright, Vonnegut, Mailer, Sallinger, Twain, Cooper, Hawthorne, Maggie Fuller, Tom Wolfe, Alice Walker, more...

...and The Wire? A TV show?! Better than the Sopranos, they say? Five seasons as Five Volumes of possibly the best work of contemporary American fiction to date? So says The Atlantic, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, The LA Times, Tom Shales, Stanley Crouch, hell-- even goddamn BET. Uh Huh...BET. That must've been Hudlin's Harvard folks slippin' that one by the 106th & Park crew.
So what's your take? Yeah, it ain't the favorite of the Dancing with The Stars/American Idol fans, or the Wal mart afficionados or Soulja Boy listeners/Keyshia Cole addicts or NASCAR dads...but these are the folk who don't even know of "Janie" or "Gatsby" or "Holden Caulfied," so screw 'em...

The Wire as literary fiction. Yes, the Sopranos was compelling television. But this is more. Tom Wolfe meets Donald Goines. It should thus be enshrined. Think about it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obama Fight Song

I first heard Otha Turner's "Shimmy She Wobble" in the dazzling film Gangs of New York (Daniel Day-Lewis far outshone Leo DiCaprio). The fife and drums got more flava than that crap they play for the tourists down in Colonial Williamsburg; more patriotic than the nonsense on Rush Limbaugh's website. Makes me want to jump up and fight. Win? Hopefully. But the fight's the thing. For as Satan said in Paradise Lost, "And what is else not to be overcome?" Go Barack. Go!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Karibu biting the dust...

Perhaps another wake up call (but do we rise? Too many of us are still listening to Hillary's siren song). Karibu is likely the biggest stand-alone African American owned and operated bookstore in North America. A legitimate chain. Independent. The bulwark against Barnes & Noble, Borders and gulp...Wal Mart. It was a model for black small business. Here, two young brothers literally do what Mr. White Man says and pull themselves up by bootstraps and build something. No, not a bunch of insipid incense carts that also sell Farakhan quotations. Real stores. Big inventories. Vendor to some of the huge general book events in Baltimore and the Nation's Capital. But now, closing. Sad, evil thing that's happening.

Black shops dropping like flies...but why? Okay, this is a tough economy, I know. There're always gong to be business goblins re: supply, finance, control, clashes of management personalities--from Time-Warner down to the mom and pop deli. Nevertheless, we should ponder an unspoken business model question. Think about it this way: there's always a niche, under the radar. But when you're forced to push the street fiction and the more simplistic/crass chicklit/soap opera stuff and Video Vixen nonfiction--the same product as the huge chains--and there's no price break, better service, more convenience, etc., the chains will win every time. Ergo, put out a unique product and enhanced service. Yes there are large "white" indie stores barely scraping by, but that's how they do scrape by. Different selections, intelligent choices, price breaks, expert staff doing handselling. Special events. Hell, look at the tiny specialty mystery shops which stand the test of time, the comic book stores, even the antiquarian shops. I know that's easier said than done, but it's worth the effort when the alternative is shuttering these businesses, liquidating the stock and Wal-Mart-ing everything in sight. In my D.C.-Balto. area, brimming with black professionals, students, educators, military folk with an education (in other words--officers!!!)entrepreneurs, mid-level managers to corporate VPs, this state of affairs is especially troubling.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can we stop with Britney and Paris and Kim K now?

We are shoveled "news" about these sluts/whores...and yet one of the best young actors of our time slips away, and we don't why. My nephew was looking forward to The Dark Knight (Batman this Memorial Day). He was intrigued by the new Joker. Now my sister has to explain this...

Sad. RIP Heath.

Oscars--in case you care

Stock market plunge? That's just payback for the new "greed is good, let's de-regulate energt/safety/healthcare/transportation, let's sell off the USA to the highest bidders whilst declaring other folk traitors" ethos. Here's the real news (BTW, no people of color this year other than Ruby, and no 3-6 Mafia rapping on stage)--the Oscars. An eclectic mix of films. No blockbuster horseshit this year, or insipid nonsense. Of course, none of these heavy handed anti-Bush/War films either...though Sicko will likely win for Best Documentary and I have a legion of very well paid older doctors who say it should! Surprising? Not at all.
My faves: No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood (based on the book by that Michael Moore of yore, Upton Sinclair). Juno? I can do without it, though a few molester/dirty old men types I know proclaimed their worship of Ellen Page back when she was in the last X-Men flick as Kitty Pride.
Best Picture
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett , I’m Not There
Ruby Dee, American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson’s War
Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away From Her
Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose
Laura Linney, The Savages
Ellen Page, Juno
Best Actor
George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

Best Director
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Jason Reitman, Juno
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Diablo Cody, Juno
Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, and Jim Capobianco, Ratatouille
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages

Adapted Screenplay
Christopher Hampton, Atonement
Sarah Polley, Away From Her
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will be Blood

Foreign Language
Beaufort, Israel; The Counterfeiters, Austria; Katyn, Poland; Mongol, Kazakhstan12; Russia
Surf’s Up

Achievement in art direction
“American Gangster”
“Atonement” (Focus Features)
“The Golden Compass”
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
“There Will Be Blood”

Achievement in cinematography
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Musings on MLK Day

Strange, the only things that stick out are two recent stories in the Washington Post...about local DC-Maryland hap'nins. Both involve black elected officials: golden boy Mayor Adrian Fenty in our Nation's Capital, and County Executive Isiah "Ike" Leggett--first African American elected to run one of the wealthiest (and interestingly most diverse) suburban entities in the U.S.: Montgomery County, Maryland. Of course by "wealthy" I mean per capita income, education, home value, blah blah. Ike is also a law professor at Howard University, whose dean is the Hon. Kurt L. Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore. ("The Wire" comes to the academy).

Anyways, Ike inked a letter of intent with a group wishing to develop the last bit of rotting storefront in Downtown Silver Spring not occupied by some national chain restaurant or retailer fulla flair. They want to make it into a music hall showcasing cutting edge acts, from reggae to rock. 2000 seats. Originally, the legendary Birchmere would cross the Potomac and claim the space. That fell through. Now it's Live Nation: The Fillmore becomes my neighbor and guess what--I couldn't be happier, at least with the concept. Trouble is, Live Nation wants all these gimmees: the usual ones corporations demand from cash-strapped local governments and these governments usually cough them up. Yeah there's always some quid pro quo working in the other direction, some feather in the leader's cap,some goodies the leader can dangle. Got nothing to do with the Commonweal, or the project. Just self-aggrandizement. See, e.g., The Washington Nationals Stadium, infra. Live Nation's giveback in return for taxpayer spent on the venue is a whole bunch of cash that Ike gets to designate to community groups of his choosing. Hmmm. Now along comes the EQUALLY legendary 9:30 Club and says hey, we'll build this live music venue ourselves. FREE: No taxpayer cash. And we're local. No,says Ike. I mean, I made this deal with Live Nation; I want to direct the give-back goodies. And County Council, don't you dare put me through the same ringer the DC Council put former Mayor and douchebag in charge Anthony Williams! Don't you dare. This is good for Silver Spring! And Live Nation might even allow your kids (or your own fawning NIMBYs or community singers) up on stage with Jill Scott or Matchbox 20!

Adrian Fenty was one of the city's most vocal opponent of the Nationals' stadium deal. His issues ran the gamut, from the labor agreements to the cost to the pandering directed at a fanbase that couldn't care less about D.C. (e.g. Virginia suburb and exurb types, and law/lobbying firm buying up skyboxes to entertain Red Chinese and Saudi "businessmen"). Now, I'm not clear what Anthony Williams got as a the give-back for foisting this literal and allegorical white elephant on the city; because of his policies, not even he could afford to buy a home in the District. Then again, Fenty hasn't done much to reverse this, and the stadium's almost done. That's prologue. The real story is the aftermath of the murder of four black girls by their crazy ass mother in Southeast DC. The Post reported that Fenty fired a bunch of social workers over this. Nevermind that the real culpable party is the mom--a crackhead scumbag who shuffledthese kids about after popping them out. The community and family, not government, is our first line of defense in this. I don't think that's right wing, or anti-nanny state (I love nanny states...I could move to Denmark). No, it's common sense, just like advocating Depro Provera as the fix isn't Nazi. It's ony Goddamn thing that will work!!! But the Mayor goes and blames these folks, then apparently arrives to give the rest a peptalk and "we gotta do better" speech. He's heckled. He gets a tude. He's heckled more. This accompanied other sourball acts by other public employees. I'm betting that that folks who care enough to say, "hold up" are the ones who care about they work they do--not the usual dumb spooks sitting around collecting a check, or the bloated supervisor corps in social services and DC Public Schools. But hey, even they have a hedge--their most needy "customers" are ignorant, ghettofab, crazy, violent, so there's the catch-22. Even schools with gold gilded hallways and taught by MIT and Princeton profs would be jacked up given the populations they serve, and even the toughest yet most angelic social worker can't anticipate the evil, drug-addled mind of a pyschopath who's tubes should have been tied from jump (and the men who impregnated her needed to have their peckers twisted).

Yet the Mayor, ever stalwart and self-important, gets a tude after dumping on them.

Here's a dispatch from Martin...and I'll toss in Malcolm, too: IT AIN'T ABOUT YOU, IKE, ADRIAN. IT AIN'T ABOUT YOUR SPONSORS, BE THEY DEVELOPERS OR NIMBY TYPES OR LOUD MOUTH PASTORS OR GENTRIFYING YUPPIES OR BIG BOX STORES. IT'S ABOUT THE COMMOMWEAL. IT'S ABOUT GOVERNMENT, NOT MACHINE POLITICS OR SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. IT'S ABOUT THE PUBLIC GOOD. AND OFTEN IT'S ABOUT INSPIRING THE PUBLIC ITSELF TO LIVE AS CARING, GOOD CITIZENS AND NOT SELFISH ANIMALS. Sometimes that means NOT pandering to folk on the one hand, or alienating the conscientious soldiers you need to fight the war on the other. Yeah, something about these stories, coming as they did around this holiday, stuck in my craw. Maybe I can cough it up in time to cheer MLK and tell these brothers hey, you, too, can do better.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cloverfield? Day-um!

Dear Fanboys and girls:

Go see this movie. Mrs. Nat Turner and I went to see this and it freaked us the Hell out. New Yorkers--it will bring back memories of 9-11 and the blackout. But sometimes we need a controlled, fun scare to put things in perspective. For instance, the monster and his/her/its "mites" (spoiler there re: the mites) gets pretty far up Manhattan because our military is busy paying bribes to militias in Baghdad. Oh well. Still cool to see Abrams tanks rolling down Lexington Avenue as the monster gets in Manhattan's ass. Maybe Giuliani can use the footage for a campaign commercial.

Speaking of monsters, check out Publishers Weekly, 12/31/07. Listing the dozens of books that won critical, reader and peer awards in 07, major and minor, how many were by black authors? More specifically--how many were by black American authors? Count on half of one hand. Travesty...travesty that there's a bloc of us who refuse to aspire for more, as writers, readers, agents, publishers. Oh let's not forget the publishing houses. Then again, I think the monster took a big squat on midtown so at least in JJ Abrams's world we can start all over again. Thanks, Clove. If you come down to DC, I'll point out the places to flatten.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What James Fenimore Cooper taught me...

What's he got to do with Obama? Pull up a chair and I'll tell you...

Before there was Eric Jerome Dickey or "Superhead" the Video Vixen or Relentless Aaron or TD Jakes, black boys who aspired to write dared take their nourishment from Baldwin, or Douglass, or Fitzgerald, or Margaret Fuller...or Zora...or a man named James Fenimore Cooper. When I was 12 my grandfather bought me a copy of The Last of the Mohicans, one the great works of American literature. Great movies from it, too, from 1933 (with Bruce Cabot painted up to play an Indian) to the Daniel Day-Lewis version. But what's always been constant is one scene, where the French and Indians are demanding the surrender of Ft. William-Henry, on Lake George in upstate New York, and the British commander Col. Munro (father of the characters Cora and Alice) must relent when he hears that General Webb will not march to his aide. [Note to all dumbasses out there who don't know a damn thing: This is set over twenty years before the American Revolution; for you DC folk "Braddock Road" in Fairfax County got its name during this war, where Gen. Braddock built a road from Alexandria, Va. to near Pittsburgh (called Ft. Duquesne back then, "Doo-kane" and there the French and redskins jacked him up; the Brits eventually won the war and hence it's called Pittsburgh]. He has hundreds of civilian settlers inside the fort, plus Mohawk braves and their families allied to the British (with the Huron and Iroquoise allied to the French, under the mean bastard Magua). He looks to his underlings and says, "I never thought I would live to see the day when a British officer is afraid to support another. Gentleman that day is here." Stuck with me--this man's belief system, and as it turns out, his very life, turns on someone's idea of slick cynical bullshit.

Well, I never thought I'd live to see the day when Democrats, when white soccer moms, when supposedly "liberal" folk from union officials to intellectuals and Hollywood cash taps, would purposely and purposefully attack a viable, vibrant black presidential candidate. Ok, I mean the Democratic party of the last 50 years, not the one which murdered the nation in 1861, or gave us Jim Crow and terror for decades after that. Ok...let me rephrase it...never thought I'd seethe day when other black "leaders" would do such a thing. I can see Gloria Steinham exalting the cult of white middle class womenhood over the journey of African Americans--but Andrew Young? Or Bob Johnson? The latter's big feat was making a billion dollars off of rump shaking and ignorance. So Joseph P. Kennedy made it on booze and bought respectability and his son the White House. Yeah, but Ol' Joe never forgot he was Irish, and it drove him to achieve. He also, as warped as it was, had a broader vision for this nation, and his sons. What does Bob Johnson have? Return on investment, BobCats, 106th and Park, and Sheila's alimony. Please Bob--your arse-kissing of the Clintons is matched only by those of other "established" black politicos, Black Caucus members, pastors who haven't entirely been bought off or bamboozled by right wing Christian Republicans, assorted celebrities. They remora on a shark. They are like minor feudal barons taking handouts and glory from the King (and Queen). I could go on about how Bill (and Hill) weren't good for black folks, as many decree. Compared to daddy Bush or retarded Dubya or evil Dick Cheney? Yeah. But it's like comparing Hitler to Stalin. Who's worse? Who cares if the point of origin's different--the convergence is still the same: your ass. As I've said to fools around here who still think Marion Barry should be canonized and his rolling papers worshipped in a reliquary--what blackfolk did he "help" or elevate or "empower?" Answer: his cronies and his cronies' cronies...and anyone they happened to be sleeping with at the time!

It's about what's right. It's about history. If the Clintons had shared a meal with Karl Rove and gave him Bob Johnson's email address, I'd not be surprised. Sure as Bob tried to set up a Citbank IRA with a couple hundred mil in it before things went corrupt and sour over there, the Clintons would do such a thing. Again, they hired Dick Morris, right? Ask yourself why almost every wingnut blogger, most of the jackasses who call themselves journalists on Fox News, and even Pat Buchanan have stuck up for Hillary--once the antiChrist, the "Cloverfield" monster--in the last two weeks and have stood back with glee during this nonsense?

The true villian of The Last of The Mohicans was not Magua. He was what hate and circumstance made him, like Snoop, or Omar or even the kingpin Marlo on The Wire. No, like the villian was General de Montcalm, who used him cynically as his thug and murderer. Jus like in The Wire the villians are the cynical, corroupt politicians, or the Carlyle Group or Murdoch-like assholes who are destroying the Baltimore Sun (in real life and on the show...they to whom patriotism is a punchline at yacht parties and something to sell to the Wal mart masses as they sell our nation to the Chinese). Barack Obama represents a counterpoint to this, even though he and Hillary aren't that far apart on some matters of policy. It is all about concept, approach, who's people get to profit. Would the French treat the Indians any better or rape North America any less savagely if they'd won the French and Indian War? No. Obama doesn't have any "people." His shadow constituency is, ironically, like John Edwards' and even Huckabee's...hell even McCain's to an extent. Us. Regular people. And with Obama, there's a subset of "Us" who've bled and labored too long to see nonsense like what the Clintons have pulled, or what assholes like Bob Johnson have said, ruin a dream. Dreams count. Back in the day, dreams made freedom, skyscrapers, rockets to the moon. Now what the fuck do we have? Do dreams make overdevelopment and two hour commutes on the Beltway and global warming? Hell no.

There was a threat to the older order back, way back in the day, however. They were called the Populists. They were going de-rail the traditional power base trains of the both the Democratic and Republican Parties. So what happened? Race-baiting in the south. Scaring folk with images of equality and rape of white women. In the midwest--distraction over silver and gold standard and crop prices. Int he cities, fights over immigration, Catholic versus protestant. In the end the movement failed and was co-opted by the ineffective candidacy of Democrat William Jennings Bryan. And our "modern" way of life was born. Well, welcome to the new Gilded Age.

I was once a John McCain fan, a John McCain campaign worker. That was back when dude truly was disgusted by Bush-Cheney and what they represent. Now I have a new champion. He ain't perfect, and neithersure as hell was John. He actually is specific about what he wants to do. Community, Civility, Prosperity, Equality and respect for the rule of law at home and abroad. Simple. Things the Clintons or their bookends, the Bush-ites, only pay lip service to when the cameras roll. That was a message in The Last of the Mohicans--renewal and hope in a time of crisis and blood and despair.
So I urge you to reject Hillary's cynical appeals--both the conscious and subconcious prongs. And I hope I do live to see the day when someone who truly represents me and not the bastard who laid me off, who foreclosed on my house, who led me to wars of profit and cynical policy, who custs my pension, who tells me cheap Chinese money is better than raising taxes on folk 3 times richer than me, who cuts my health benefits, who develops new dick-hardening medicines whilst children die...when that person becomes president of this country. My country. Oh, and I pray he/she will look a little like me. Like us. Who bled from out chains in fetid coffles while patriots wrote paeons to mother liberty. Yeah, us Bob, Andy and the rest of you magnificent turds. Us...
...oh, and just three more days to "Cloverfield."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Funnies: My People...My People....

I'm sure the Clinton Campaign--which seems to have Karl Rove on the payroll (and why not? These are the Clintons after all)--will superimpose Obama's face in this. But hey, I'm a Whopper fan, too...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Gibbs & Toes

It was a freakishly warm 73 degrees in the Nation's Capital today. More fresh water spilling from the Greenland glaciers and Antarctic ice sheets...but that's all liberal hoakum anyway, right Fox News? The unworldiness of the sun and swoon truly fixed in my brain at the occurence of two events today: the re-appearance of flip-flops, and the resignation of Redskins coach Joe "Holy Ghost" Gibbs.

To the feet: first, I am NOT a Quentin Tarantino-level foot fetishist. yeah, I love the wamr weather and I love to shrimp, but I am not obessed with all things pedal. Second, as you fanboys and girls know, I teach at Georgetown and today all the lil' Hoyas and Hoya-ettes were crawling out of cabs or Mom's soon-to-be gas guzzled out of existence Toyota Tundras. Spring semester starts Wednesday. Well, on-campus the flop-flops, the shower sandals, the genuine and knock-off Birkies all materialized, like those first buds of dogwood in March. OK, so maybe I do notice piggies--on females of course. Nat Turner is straight (unlike my namesake in the William Styron book, giving handjobs to fellow bondsmen in between killing whitey and seeing the Angel Gabriel in the cumulus clouds). Most of these piggies are on younger chicks but a few in my age group shod themselves with the open toe to greet the sunshine. Most of these piggies haven't seen pumice or pedicure since before Halloween, however, so it was a bit like barefoot Dawn of the Dead. Same with the dudes: in the Leavey Center, whilst getting my personal pizza and Coke my superhero nose noted that the cheese wasn't coming from the Pizza Hut ovens...

That said, when did the flip-flop (mostly for girls) and sandals in general become de rigeur for college students and the whole damn American public? Is it a function of what Washingtonian Tim Gunn calls the "slobification of America?" When I was a tot, flip-flops were for surfers and the Viet Cong. Sandals were sort of silly things you only saw in horrendous old Polariods of backyard BBQs and family Reunions. Men hardly everwore them...African American wore them only if they also wore dashikis or some such other 70s attire...and even in my family which is half-West Indian and on Jamaica all you really saw on males were those sandals that looked like sawed-off bedroom slippers!
In college in the warm weather the preppies wore Topsiders and Bass Weejuns. I guess it was around the late 80s when things started to change. Was it the Teva invasion? Please, tell me?
I have nothing but sandals in my closet, and if you'd have asked me when I was 19 that I would, I would have laughed and said, "What, did I become a fag by age 40?" [I was crass back then]. I have two vintage pairs of Birkenstocks upon which I STILL get compliments--from dudes!!! I have flip-flops. I get pedicures. Pedicures! Two a year, but that's more than most men got in a lifetime. My wife has one pair of flip flops but says the demand for pedicures monthly in the summer has dented her wallet. My 8 and 10 year old nieces and my wife's 19 and 24 year old nieces have about 30 pairs of flop flops among them and get pedicures all the damn time!
Now, a few feet on campus did look OK. Young women these days seem to keep their toes painted even if their hair and make-up are jacked. And indeed some Georgetown students do spend Christmas in Palm Beach, or Harbour Island Bahamas, or Maui and thus have the blush to go along with the pampered feet. But's 70 degrees but it's still January. Keep your UGG boots on!
At the Hoya bookstore, checking to see how much students gripe about the cost of my texts, I ran into a student taking one of my classes and yeah, she had on the uniform of jeans, a mini tee and a scarf wrapped around her neck. Now, she's an "older" grad student but still part of their generation, not mine. After a battery I'm not a freak precusory putting at ease statements I asked her why people wear these things, even in January. The answer shocked me. Oh yeah, there was the notion of comfort, convenience, etc.--but then came the graveman, the thesis, the gist: "They seem to embody I'm not all into myself or stuffy, and I'm comfortable with others." Hmmm. VERY interesting. Comments?

From flip-flops to stable boots, can Joe Gibbs be any more out of touch with the carnival monster pro football has become? Not just the players, but the business. This is the era of vapid white pretty boys like Brady, thugs like Pacman, and owners like Dan Snyder. If Gibbs weren't a wingnut Christian and thus dependent on the Jews to trigger events leading to rapture of he and Mike Huckabee and Janet Parschall et al, he'd have nothing to do with someone like Napoleon Danny. His coming was heralded even by George W. Bush, and you see the irony that the years of hidnsight entails. Now he's kaput, accepting the usual consultant position that only middle aged white men seem to get when they are canned or can themselves, and Little Lord Fauntleroy's free to rip-off and rape the fans without an icon like Gibbs as a foil. Of course, who needs a foil? The average cracker from Spottsylvania who comes up for the tailgates in Landover whilst cursing the Section 8 negroes beyond the fence is getting raped by Bushism, and gellfully takes it. Why should that change now vis. the Redskins? Gibbs is likely relieved. Now he can go back to a town that truly revels in his suburban hayseed/urban redneck "Let's pray on it" persona--Charlotte (don't let the skyscrapers and Bob Johnson fool you, folks...)

Who will the Skins hire should Greg Williams not prove to be a decent stop-gap? Danny might go after Bill Cowher, but Cowher's better suited for my Ravens. Jimmy Johnson? Yeah you heard it. This is the era where American Gladiator is the NUMBER ONE rated TV show so while whe intelligent folk watch The Wire, so why not? We are, after all--especially among the young--a bunch of folk who'll break out the flip-flops in January. Smell the cheese?

LSU...Book Biz Blues...And The Wire...

The Wire, Season 5, Episode 51 summary: "The Bigger the lie, the more they believe." -- Bunk Summary Directed by: Joe Chappelle Story by: David Simon & Ed BurnsTeleplay by: David Simon from
"As McNulty and the detail continue staking out Marlo's crew (without any support from the brass), recently promoted Sergeant Carver is welcomed by a cauldron of discontent from officers coping with unpaid overtime. Though he wants to keep his campaign promise to lower crime, Mayor Carcetti is strapped by his commitment to schools, and faces some tough choices. Col Cedric Daniels is forced to reallocate his resources, retaining Freamon and Sydnor for the Clay Davis probe. The Republican US Attorney refuses to help the city unless Clay Davis' case goes federal. Meanwhile, City Editor Haynes and the staff of a local newspaper are reeling from corporate cutbacks and emphasis on "tabloid fluff" and punditry, losing key personnel from both the metro and international divisions. Still, with the help of reporters Gutierrez, Price and Templeton, Haynes is able to break a front-page story that links a politician to a co-op drug dealer. Proposition Joe, Marlo, Fatface Rick others meet in a hotel conference room to discuss divvying up drug frontiers across East Baltimore's county line due to the march of gentrification."
That's pretty sterile but, hey, it'll catch you up. Fight the good fight. Yet despair, for tomorrow, I speak on the joke that is the so-called African American book "market." Take at look at the mega bestsellers, the critics' choices, the major literary awards (and I'll carve out nice niche for my thesis in the Hurston/Wright Awards, trust me) and you won't see "us." Not even Zane or Eric Jerome Dickey, nada. Why is that? Blame the publishing houses, the black folks (dwindling number that there is) therein? Blame the authors? Blame the black book reading audience? Blame the public's tastes in general? Hey, it's analogous to what's wrong with black folks in general, from the immersion in all things ghetto and bamma, in choosing sucking on the Clinton tit over the hard work of putting the Obama vision into practice, of choosing Michael Eric Dyson over Stanley Crouch. In the 21st Century, "selling out"'s meaning has morphed from Uncle Tomism to something utterly worse, utterly more insidious. Ask Jay-Z and Diddy...
Oh, and LSU--who the heck cares?!!! You had my opinion of the whole BCS orgy and you fanboys voted overwhelmingly that the present system sucks and serves only greed. We can have a playoff system that still puts money in TV network and big school pockets and allows theseschools to recruit illiterates and quasi convicts, okay?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Wire is on HBO on Demand

Bang the gongs. You don't have to wait till Sunday for the premier episode of THE BEST DRAMA EVER ON TV. If you have digital cable, check The Wire, Season 5, on demand. This year, the final season, the focus is on the media. Shrinking newsrooms, more tabloid TV, politics...oh yeah, and the streets. Enough escapist bull. Go treat yourself and learn something before Hillary Clinton and Rupert Murdoch turn us all into lobotomy victims. Dancing with the Stars for Super Bowl halftime's still not out of the range of possibility, you morons!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

" I could give a f*#k!"

This erudite quote wafted from the mouth of a Bronx transplant in a "Giant" supermarket here in the Washington, D.C, area. Indeed, I think she...yes, a she...speaks (however indelicately) for a lot of us, regardless of race, political party, etc. who do not live in that overwhelmingly older, whiter, blander state of Iowa. I will diss Iowa because I do not receive farm/corn subsidy handouts from Uncle Sam, nor do I owe the place any allegiance for being plucked from the Hood or Dirty South to play football or hoops for the Hawkeyes. I don't have friends at the Des Moines Register.
Don't look for the Dems and GOP and state legislatures to grow some common sense and testicles and rationalize this insane primary and caucus circus scheduling debacle. It will only get worse. I'll not joan on New Hampshire, the so-called Granite state (even though Vermont produces more). My wife and I went to Meredith, the lakes, the "notches" and mountains for our wedding anniversary. You see, my blood runs tepid knowing that...THE FATE OF THE HUMAN RACE IS BEING DECIDED BY SMALL GROUP OF HAYSEEDS AND HOUSEWIVES WITH NAMES LIKE "DEWAYNE AND TRIXI YODER."
God Help Us. So to take you mind off of this hellish vision, I offer this: Two works by true women of power (sorry Hillary). You've seen the first before. That Mean Old Yesterday by NJ-based essayist Stacey Patton. This isn't for the weak-hearted. It is a frank and stark indictment of the foster care system vis. black folks (and I don't mean how it discriminates...I mean how black foster parents are too often demons from another sort of hell). Stacey crafts this autobiography by intervweaving as allegory applicable observations and vignettes from the slavery, black history. This is NOT "Antwan Fisher" warmed over. This is fresh and biting the January wind off the plains...gulp...Iowa...

And then we come to the new novel from one of the grand-dames whose work inspired me to write in the first place. Of Blood and Sorrow, by Valerie Wilson Wesley. This is the latest "Tamara Hayle Mystery" and no, it's NOT dumbed down for the street fiction/hip hop fangirl. I know Valerie and she would have none of that, despite the "pressures of the market." The title comes from the Langston Hughes verse turned into a mere shibboleth by our present leaders, pastors, entertainers. You must buy this book and see how real genre fiction is crafted for your head and heart. Oh yeah, and to see what's up with Tamara and Basil Dupre...

So once you shed a tear or a cheer for Barack or Mitt or the Mean Queen or that Christian Taliban clown Mike Huckabee (and you know some ignorant black churchfolks will vote for that fool), go online and order/pre-order this books...or do it from this blog. For unlike politics, you ask for better, and I give it to you.