Monday, March 30, 2009

Killing Barack: Do wingnuts crave another Oswald?

Has anyone been privy to the source of figures indicating that the Secret Service and the FBI has registered more "serious" death threats against the President since January than W. had in 8 years? Somebody likely even has a Jack Ruby all picked out, too, for all we know.
This doesn't include drama while Barack Obama was just a candidate--which encompasses that wonderful time when the FBI blames Sarah Palin's incitement at campaign rallies for a spike in palpable assassination threats. Too bad we can't give Ted Nugent, who's also directly threatened both Barack and Hillary Clinton, a taste of his own medicine (under all those succulent, unfettered national security "tools" the Bush Adminstration bogarted post 9/11). I mean, under the nat. security standards of the last 7 years, shouldn't Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) be carted away? See what Jack and Jill Politics says.
Things are getting that out of control. Unlike with Senator Joseph McCarthy, we have no Joseph Welch, lawyer for the U.S. Army who said "Have you no shame, Senator? Have you no sense of decency?" or a REAL journalist with the balls and stature of Edward R. Murrow putting a stake in McCarthy's heart over a long forgotten US Air Force nobody named Milo Radlovich. Hey, does anyone recall the name of the black security guard to caught the Watergate burglars? No. Well that's akin to Milo. Look, Keith Olberman is no Edward R. Murrow, come on! Rachel Maddow may think she's got a male pair like Murrow...snicker...but again, no way she measures up.
If anyone has a handle on the actual figures and nature of these threats, holla. Don't hack the USDOJ site, for Godssake. Just ask Bachmann or Glenn Beck or any number of these crazies and enablers for the inside scoop...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Marvel Comics goddess, recaptured...

From an online portfolio of brother Kristopher Mosby, here's an interpretation of the old Marvel character "Her" (or Kismet, Ayesha, She Who Must be Obeyed, J'Ridia Starduster, She Whose Trail Dusts Hope); click here for background, and check out KRS's other sequential art and pulp works at Imagine FX.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Czech out this tool, the Czech Prime Minister...

EU Ministers at the G20 where already shocked by the Brazilian Prez, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva laying it down (and inside British PM Brown's ass) : "This crisis was caused by the irrational behaviour of white people with blue eyes, who before the crisis appeared to know everything and now demonstrate that they know nothing." G'head Luiz.
Now czech this out: the Czech PM, Mirek Topolanek, decided to hold it down for all white folks...and likely GOP tools here who feel The White House is the 21st century equivalent of the Reconstruction black/mulatto governments savaged in D.W. Griffith's Birth of A Nation (aka "The Clansman"...and on U.S. talk radio hehehe). Stealing from AC/DC's "Highway to Hell," he (click) pontificated that Obama's stimulus and requests for similiar action from the EU would lead to a similar stroll though the Ninth Gate.
Trouble is, Mirek--in similar US GOP fashion--was just (click) ousted as Prime Minister after a no confidence vote, and even Gordon Brown tried to downplay the statement. Ha! What was once Czechoslovakia and the rest of Eastern Europe's economy is afloat only because it's the organized crime/mail order bride/white slavery and filthy amateur porn capital of the world. All this whilst da Silva's more popular than ever. Sound familiar?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

John Hope Franklin RIP

And as I've said before so many times when folks like you pass--who is around to take your place--Mike Dyson? Oh well.
Good bye Professor. You have a lot of time on your hands in Heaven, for the dead already know the truth of the past.

Let newspapers die: Clay Shirky's Missive on Journalism

Author, teacher and Internet public intellectual Clay Shirky recently published an essay on the demise of the American newspaper, "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable." The thesis of the piece recently appeared in New York magazine; Emily Nussbaum cited it in her TV review essay on Jon Stewart "Talk Show Fatigue: Only One of Late Night's White Guys is Doing Anything Vital or New."
Shirky's nugget: "Society doesn't need newspapers. What we need is journalism."
I agree.
I would submit that what you hear on ANY radio station-outlet other than NPR, or what's on ESPN...or pundit/personality driven shows on CNN/Fox/MSNBC/CNBC ain't journalism. And yes, forget trying to find it on 95% of the blogs out there. Whether you seek wingnut news, or the succor of all things liberal or ethnic, or what to know the latest on Chris Brown and Rhianna or how to crochet. Note also--much of the demise of newspapers (along with the book publishing industry) has less to do with young people not reading than the fact that (1) the parent corporations tried to run them in robber baron fashion and (2) the parents had toxic lovers whom were financial advisors and/or major debt or equity holders in these very media companies: hedge funds, greedy commercial banks, corrupt investment banking houses like Goldman Sachs, Lehman Bros., Bear Stearns.
Your thoughts?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Treasury Toxic Asset Plan: Geithner speaks

Stop learning about this crap through pundits and bloggers. This is why it's a crime that newspapers are dying as it coincided with Americans getting more partisan and stupid. Here it is (click) from the source, unfiltered. There are links to other detailed Treasury docs. Study them. There'll be a quiz.
Along with the Stimulus Plan, this action, the TARP and TALF represent an opportunity for African Americans to rebuild this nation's financial, transportation/physical, commercial and health infrastructure. We were shut out of other building and expansion phases...though as slaves we provided not only the labor but the manifestation of capital and cash sources needed to create commercial enterprises, finance, etc. which grew this nation from nothing. Well, asset managers & planners, small businesses, minority banks, small credit unions, federal contractors, advisors to community planners/local govts, construction firms, hospitals, researchers, housing advocates etc.--all of color are waiting to show what we can that Mr. Charlie & Missy Anne have *ucked it up. Step aside...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Oakland Police Shooting: No Payback for Oscar Grant

Yes, we have n**gers, not black people or African Americans, but n**gers who somehow consider the murder of four cops by parolee Lovelle Mixon, age 27, after a routine traffic stop, as payback for the killing of Oscar grant by a BART (transit) officer around January 1, 2009. At the scene of death, gore, local Oak-town folk were on hand to taunt the cops and paramedics. Wonderful. The statements by officials are telling, folks. Very leftwing ex-Congressman and current Mayor Ron Dellums said, "We feel a tremendous sense of loss." Very leftwing ex-Cali Guv. and ex-Oakland mayor Jerry Brown, now Cali AG said, of the perp, "...he's a state ward, he's a state parolee, they let him out. There are hundreds of shooters walking around the East Bay. Our parole system isn't working.''

Here's the awful truth: redneck cops, Ted Nugent & Rush Limbaugh, Quisling morons like Mike Steele et al will use this tragedy as cover for justifying shooting down other Oscar Grants, or maiming innocent teens, young men...hell old places like toney Bellaire, Texas (where my cousins live well by staying out of whitefolks' way) and any number of places. And on other side are niggers (yeah, niggers) who want to claim this as payback. Who will flood the streets with protesters when cops shoot a teen, yet have nothing to say but blame someone else when these teens are murdering each other and destroying their own communities. The penultimate question--how do we throw out our own trash, without sacrificing or emperiling us all?

Friday, March 20, 2009

March Madness Marketers: what the media REALLY thinks about you...

Dumb sheep. Rednecks. Ignorant church ladies who'd even flock to Tyler Perry's version of Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments." Ignorant bammas who'd even flock to see Lil'Wayne's version of Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" soundtrack. Screeching "tweeners." Grubby texting teens. Gamers. Old farts. Old widows. "Twilight" fans. Limbaugh dittoheads. Lifetime movie female couch potato-ettes...
This is how marketers, advertisers, corporate media consultants carve us up from the more traditional demos in order to sell, to control, to spin. This makes Mad Men and the toothpaste account debates at McMahon & Tate on Bewitched seem trite. Indeed, they are part of the equation, the calculus that's brought us everything from the Iraq War to partisan gridlock to Viagra commericals to the economic meltdown (that one's ironic, eh?). This story slipped through the cracks back in November due the the election, but it's instructive, given what's been stealing my productive time along with every other red blooded American male (another demo?): the NCAA Tournament. ESPN, another carrier of the sales and hype word in which we live, and killer of the traditional analytical/expose sportswriter is the culprit. It hired Anomaly, an ad agency, for a campaign kicking off their 09 college hoops coverage.
In our new Age of Obama, of Thought is the New Cool, of Greed is NOT Good...this is what these tools came up with. Note, in our lamebrained culture, we don't have time or inclination to deliberate, and our news/analysis outlets (devoid of partisan crap or unprofessionalism) are evaporating. Which makes even the smartest folk susceptible to this trope. Now image how it sticks in the minds of the harried masses? This taken verbatim (including racial requests) from a leaked memo. Enjoy...

MALE. Our guy for Duke UNIVERSITY is a smart, with it, young WHITE male. He's handsome. He's from money. He is, in short, the kind of guy, everyone can't stand. He is the kind of guy everyone wants to be.
FEMALE. She's a Southern bell. She is the counterpoint to Duke. Being young and pretty everyone wants to be around her. She's charming. Not a dingbat, she's sharp.
MALE. Straight out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog, Texas is a young man's man. He is the kind of guy that could field dress a deer and then take you to the debutante ball in 20. Polite, farm boy. He's good at everything. Except call centering.
MALE. Kansas is straight off the farm. However, he takes great pains to point out that Kansas is very cosmopolitan, as witnessed by their record, their burgeoning tech industry, and their hybrid corns (bonus: modified by fish genes!)
MALE. Connecticut is all things Connecticut. He's a little bit older. He's a little bit thicker around the waist. He's WHITE. He's also competitive. Very. Waspy, blue blood.
MALE. Oklahoma is awesome and he thinks everything is awesome. He's very enthusiastic about all things call center and all things life and he wants to share this contagious enthusiasm with everyone he meets. Wide-eyed, as naive as they come.
MALE. Louisville is very true to place. He's short. He's HISPANIC. And one day he hopes to carry on in proud Louisville tradition and race thoroughbreds.
FEMALE. Tennessee is orange crazy. The ice tray in her orange fridge, that freezes the water she dyes orange, is that orange. The party girl cowboy hat she wears is a white and orange zebra print. The tattoo on her lower back is Pantone 3 for that Tennessee orange. The only thing that's not orange is her dog, which is the mascot Smokey. Did we mention she's crazy? A slutty girl who would hang out at the cowgirl hall of fame.
MALE. Child prodigy. 14-year-old. Or open to an 18-year-old who looks 14. Aeronautical engineering. Wiz kid. Think McLovin from Superbad.
MALE. Villanova is the poor man's Duke — he's not quite as handsome, he's not quite as rich, he's not quite as dapper. After 2 or 3 beers though, who cares? As he's friendly enough.
MALE He's an ASIAN kid who is in to all things Notre Dame, ridiculously so. Oh, and he's always fighting. Every time we encounter him he always has some words or another, be it the faint traces of a black eye, or a scab or whatever. He epitomizes the fightin' Irish.
FEMALE. Pittsburgh is a tomboy. She obviously grew up in the neighborhood and isn't going to take any guff from anyone and she'll wallop you in the eye with a crowbar if you suggest different. So don't. Think Tina Fey type.
MALE. Jewish kid from Long Island that is loving the college experience. It has opened up a world he never knew existed. All you can eat buffets in the cafeteria — who knew? To Syracuse, everything is a party.
FEMALE. Georgetown, a 4.36 GPA who's lived in 9 world-class cities, but all the time in her sister's shadow (her GPA is 4.37). She's sort of the female Duke, except most people like her. Think Reese Witherspoon.
MALE. No one knows what Gonzaga looks like because no one knows where to find him. He is still stuck in the grunge look, reckless, in from the wild. Flannel look. Chews tobacco. Guy that would go to school in the Pacific Northwest.
FEMALE. Marquette, on a scale of 1-10, she's a six. A B-, C in every category you can define a person by. Her defining characteristic is you don't really remember her. You're not breaking your arm to get to her, but you're not chewing it off to get away. She does have a winning personality though. Midwest, sweet girl.
MALE. Blue collar to the core. Michigan State is one tough kid that grew up by putting a few down. That's just Michigan State's way. Big beefy kid.
MALE. What can we say about Memphis? He's a southern BLACK kid, really culinary and polite. He's artistic, and draws comic books really well.
MALE. He plays lacrosse. A dude. Low key. Mid Atlantic, wears baseball hats and chinos.
MALE. He looks like Jim Tressle (head coach of Ohio State football) in the dress code. Red sweater vest. Always. Doesn't care for swearing either — of course we never really test this out as they are commercial advertisements and no one swears in them, but it's true nevertheless. A Republican.
MALE. African-American. Young Obama. Think Toofer-the straight-laced, Harvard grad writer from 30 Rock (Keith Powell)
FEMALE. She's a fun loving girl, Oklahoma born and bred. Decided not to travel out of State so she should be closer to home. She's a flirt. She's a hot chick.
MALE. True to the region, Texas A&M is one tough dude. He's not big physically, but he is imposing. He's an ROTC kid and his 100-yard stare lets you know it.
MALE & FEMALE. Baylor is not one people but two. It's a couple. In fact, we're not even sure which one goes to Baylor. We only know they are madly in love. Their world is each other, which is really sweet or really sickening, depending. Think Sheri Oteri and Will Farrell as the cheerleaders.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AIG as Allegory

A few weeks ago, Sterling Publishing released the hardcover of Becoming American: The African American Journey. (click title to buy), penned by Scholar in Residence and Director of the Schomburg Library Howard Dodson. Don't the timeline formatting fool you. This is not a typical "Black History Month Special"...the latest iteration of the high school project timeline. Dodson delivers an interactive, ever-expanding web of linkages rather than a straight unbroken line, weaving art, literature, war, politics and social/economic upheaval into a comprehensive chronicle. How else can one sum up a people, as metaphor for a nation, in 144 pages, encompassing five centuries?
Barack Obama is not at the end of any continuum; he's merely at the newest, dew-dripping edge of the intricate web. There's no special adulatory chapter or insert. The web grows.
And so what's the weft and weave at the end of Dodson's web, where Obama spins a new paradigm? Knocking Iraq, world climate and world suffering off the evening news is the AIG morass. In our non-reading, blog news as real news shallow world, we tend to measure history in terms of hot button big name crisises. Naturally this applies to measuring presidents. FDR not with the Depression by World War Two, George W. with 9/11.
A lesson from Becoming American might be that the true measure of a people and a nation--thus the President--might be the response to these non-mythic crisises. Anyone can be hero or scum in the face of the Abyss. It takes true leadership and vision to met a little nugget of that Abyss. So consider it this way:
Not JFK and Cuban Missile Crisis, but JFK and James Meredith entering the U. of Mississippi, or George Wallace barring the doors at 'Bama, or the assaults on Freedom Riders.
Not Harry Truman and Korea, but Harry Truman and the 1952 Steel strike.
Not George Washington forming a our first government under the Constitution, but George Washington responding to the Whiskey Rebellion.
Not Reagan and the Cold War, but Reagan and the Air Traffic Controller Strike.
Not W. and 9/11 or even Hurricane Katrina, rather, W. and his first proclaimation against stem cell research.
And not Abe Lincoln and Ft. Sumter, but Abe Lincoln and the struggle for the Emancipation Proclaimation.
And so Barack Obama faces the same "smaller" yet vicious chimera embodied in the AIG bonus controversy. Small potatoes, relatively. But that's the danger in chimeras. True he tried to do this through channels, honor the ways of the past course of dealing despite his pledge of change. The result? Perhaps he should have pulled Eric Holder off the bench at timeout sooner. What U.S. District Judge wants to be put on the spot by no less than the Attorney General himself, armed with theories both banal and novel (I suggested a qui tam related cause myself) in support of injunctions stopping these bonuses? All this pending Congressional action, such that it is.
Or perhaps he should have immediately emulated previous battles with mini monsters. Harry Truman unilaterally jumping against both fatcats and unions to stop the steel strike. A geriatric George Washington literally mounting his horse as literal Commander in Chief to tell folks look, we have a government, you have to pay taxes and you will follow the law. Teddy Roosevelt taking a hodgepodge of untried or even inapplicable antitrust laws to go after Robber Barons (Rockefeller and JP Morgan would have proud of banks, wall Street, Big Oil, Big Pharma etc...up till this Fall). And Teddy stepped in, uninvited, to halt the "little" 1905 war between Russia and Japan. History grows from this little war. Russia begins its short dive to decay and revolution; Japan becomes a modern empire and begins its long march to imperialism, ending forty years later in the radioactive ashes of Hiroshima. JFK sets the federal government finally in the service of civil rights. And Lincoln decided he needs to somehow memorialize the end of slavery.
Little monsters--chimera--can hold a presidency hostage and taint it for posterity. Many people, riding a populist rage, don't like the way Obama has dealt with this one. Nevertheless, the message to arrogant money powerfolk is clear, and they are scared. Still, we don't yet know if AIG presages Obama as a golden, dew-glittering strand of silk in the web, or a dead knot. Either way, Howard Dodson's interconnected vision of history ravels and grows, ceaseless. We begin our sixth century in America. The journey's propeled and impelled by little, inglorious battles akin to the one Obama fights now. They made us who we are, as this one will make him.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

RIP Ron Silver; Pray for Natasha Richardson

Ron Silver was one of my favorite "sort of" bad guy character actor. His range was better portrayed in the theatre rather than onscreen or TV. Life imitated art during his run as political evil turd "Bruno Gianelli" on The West Wing; by 2005 he, like Bruno, made the transformation from stereotypical "New York Jew liberal" (as they say in what's left of the Red States) to GOP wingnut pundit on similarly reverse-evolved Roger Simon's Pajamas Media. Irony. But that was Ron. He played the sinister dude who could become your devoted friend, or the straight talker who ends up f***ing you in the ass. Irony as a life & professional yardstick. RIP Ron. I'm glad the lights on Broadway dimmed in his honor tonight (amid the St. Paddys' green glow from tourist drinkers at McSorley's, unfortunately).
Natasha Richardson is the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave. The Redgraves (Vanessa, Lynn, their father and his before that) are one of the most amazing theatrical/film acting families in history. Natasha is among the better actresses on either side of the Pond. She had a skiing accident in Canada...she was on a gentle beginner's slope yet got jacked up. No details. Someone decided to fly her to NYC. Sounds crazy. Severe brain damage and she's flown to NYC? WTF?! She may be brain-dead and NYC was the best place for the family to fly in and say good bye? This woman is class act...despite the photo! (her husband, now by her bedside, is actor Liam Neeson) Hard to find in this bullshit mess of Seth Rogen and Blake Lively types that is Hollywood...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bracketology. NCAA Obession begins...

Yeah, the bracket above's hard to read, so just click on it to view the teams. But if you're a true fan, you already know. My poor Hoyas are doubtless bound for the NIT with Princeton. My dad said back in the day the NIT was the "ish." Not now. So behold the Big Dance--a Frankenstein's Monster like the BCS. I would say a team like Cornell, representing our beloved Ivy League, offers the only true student athletes in a money orgy that has nothing whatsoever to do with collegiant, amateur sport & honor. But it's CORNELL, and per my neighbor who's a former U.S. Ambassador to Japan and bleeds orange & black, Cornell's about as Ivy League as Kelly Ripa. LOL
Glad to see the Terps in. Poor Gary Willians, though. Big choke potential versus Cal and we in Merry-land can't live with more Terrapin choking. How many times can we turn wistfully to Len Bias? In that vein, why the f--k are Duke and UNC playing in Greensboro? Come on...the battle's epic on it's own without having to manufacture drama for the ratings. Send them to Boise. Oh well, I'm trying to get up to Philly for some first round games. As for Detroit, it needs the help. God knows, it needs the help. Hopefully Kwame Kilpatrick will stay away till the hypefest's done...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why some Asian & South Asians dump on Blackfolks

The war stories, the grumblings, the stereotypes are legion and legend, from Korean store owners aiming judgmental, haughty eyes at patrons, to Japanese collectors of old Jim Crow memorabilia, Chinese grad students questioning your intelligence, to that rude immigrant Indian or Pakistani doctor who won't return your sick gran-mama's calls. Like I said, legion and legend. Largely myth and reverse Archie Bunkerism or perhaps hypersensitivity on our part. But...sorry...they're often grounded in some unpleasant facts. Ask Beyonce how much L'Oreal paid her to keep her mouth shut about them lightening her skin, bone-straightening her hair for their ads to Middle America.

And sooooo...consider this upcoming BBC report ( here ) THE INCREDIBLE WHITENESS OF BEING IN ASIA, on the booming skin lightening cosmetics/plastic surgery industry in Asia and South Asia. Yep, from India to Indonesia, to Sapporo and Seoul and Shanghai and to Bobby Jindal (hahaha): folks wanna look like Hugh Jackman (who ironically has two biracial kids) and Nicole Kidman. Yep, you heard me. Producer and blogger Philip Martin reports: "The desire for whiter skin is nothing new. But as Asia's middle class has expanded, and with greatly raised incomes, so too has the demand for whitening skin care products." Check out Philip's blog here. You can also catch him on Huffington Post.

Comments? Observations? There's nothing so creepy as a Malaysian millionaire or Chinese factory boss's wife with surgically altered blue eyes. No wonder African Americans aren't often on their radar unless someone's bootlegging a Jay-Z CD, or has a c-note on a Cavaliers-Lakers game (or needs Kobi for a Kobe beef commercial. Mony talks).

Nat's part "coolie" by the way. If you're from T n T or Jamaica, holla...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Baby Names: Will the Economy mean a return to normal names?

Top Boys Names, 2008
1. Aidan 2. Jayden
3. Jacob 4. Michael 5. Ethan 6. Caden 7. James 8. Caleb 9. Andrew 10. Matthew
11. Ryan 12. Joshua 13. Avery 14. Grayson 15. Riley 16. Jordan 17. Peyton 18. Christopher 19. Daniel 20. William 21. John 22. Alexander 23. Dylan 24. Logan 25. Nicholas 26. Zachary 27. Anthony 28. Aaron 29. Hayden 30. Cameron
31. Bailey 32. David 33. Brooklyn 34. Elijah 35. Taylor 36. Connor 37. Brayden 38. Noah 39. Tyler 40. Joseph 41. Micah 42. Robert 43. Benjamin 44. Jackson 45. Kendall 46. Jack 47. Gavin 48. Luke 49. Tristan 50. Brandon

Top Girls Names, 2008
1. Isabella 2. Ava 3. Emily 4. Elizabeth 5. Abigail 6. Madison 7. Emma 8. Addison
9. Madeline 10. Olivia 11. Chloe 12. Hannah 13. Sarah 14. Sophia 15. Avery 16. Riley 17. Jessica 18. Hailey 19. Ashley 20. Samantha 21. Makayla 22. Arianna 23. Mia 24. Mackenzie 25. Nicole 26. Dylan 27. Logan 28. Aaliyah 29. Zoe 30. Alyssa 31. Ella
32. Rachel 33. Brianna 34. Kaylee 35. Hayden 36. Michelle 37. Lauren 38. Jennifer
39. Leah 40. Bailey 41. Brooklyn 42. Allison 43. Isabel 44. Teagan 45. Alexis
46. Taylor 47. Amanda 48. Layla 49. Rebecca 50. Megan
These names clearly aren't endemic to the Hood, nor would you hear even the Spanish equivalent of many of them spoken in some communities. They aren't African or Arabic or Anglofications of Hindu names containing 30 vowels. Suffice to say that many of these names are the province of 20 to 30-thirtysomething (or even 40) year old white yuppies (and rednecks, Sarah Palin types). Where they go, we in other ethnic groups often follow, especially when we congratulate ourselves over our education, careers and choice of neighborhoods. There are more "Taylors," "Averys" and "Chloes" and "Connors" in the Duluth, Ga. Chapter of Jack and Jill than in College Park, Ga., no doubt. Subconsciously we use many of these names as self-indulgence of sorts: names which evoke or convey a weird melange of quasi-class, pseudo-hip, hollow whimsy and historically-challenged vintage tastes. In other words, perfect for a bubble economy, a bubble world. Self-importance, self-righteousness, as positive character traits? Yep, that was America, pre-2008.
Note some golden oldies. Though I'm sure many of the "James" and "Williams" are named for daddies and grandaddies. My name's a perrenial fav. (Talk about self-importance/self-righteousness. I didn't say I was perfect or without sin, folks!) And isn't it reassuring to meet a little girl named "Jennifer" or "Jessica?" Of course, 75 years ago you hardly met a baby with that name, but there were plenty of "Mildreds." Where are the Faiths and Hopes? Watch out for 09, I say. Interestingly, it seems white people are subject to the same phonetic lock (see all those "Ay-den" names), as us folks with our (sound it out) "Kwa-on" or "Shay-kwan" or "Nee-kwa" fetishes. Indeed, I've even seen white kids sporting inappropriate apostrophes and accents in their names...and the kids were the scions of the white upper class, not from Ted Nugent double-wide world/Wassila Alaska, or first generation Romanian immigrants. E.g. "T'rel" (sounds Vulcan or Klingon!) or "Britneé." Must be an L.A. or Orange County thing? Nevertheless, it is nice to hear girls' names inspired from the women of the Bible: "Leah," "Rachel," "Rebecca." Sarah's in that phony quasi-classy category, sorry...
As evidenced by the utter derangement of the Right Wing/many whitesfolks, unequalled since their forebearers declared war on the American flag following the inauguration of another fella from Illinois in 1861, it appears we're too fragmented and crazy to get it together and grunt, sweat, bleed to fix this nation. I'm praying one indication of progress will be the rise of old fashioned baby names...old fashioned as in eschewing the rank bastardization of ethnic names, or hip-/vanity monikers or emulation of insane celebrities. Maybe we'll even see children amed after real heroes rather than HEROES on NBC. We saw that during the Depression and WWII. I'm Hope-ful. LOL I'm also Christopher, which, standing the test of both decades and coolness, has got to be the best damn boy name out there, good times or bad...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Chris "Breezy" Brown: My Young Hero

Before I opine on Watchmen, Hall & Oates, the new federal budget and poet/writer Paule Marshall's new memoir, I figured I'd add my 2 cents--finally--on that sweet lil country boy from Tappahanock, Va.
The Smoking Gun has the affidavit in support of the search warrant on Breezy's Verizon mobile phone account and all affects appurtenant to his abode. The affiant detective is a brother, by the way.
Of course, the people who support Breezy, or who say what did my lil West Indian princess Ms. Fenty do to "provoke" him, won't read the affidavit. Admittedly, cop affidavits aren't meant to be drawn in the suspect's favor. But that's not important. What is important is that Chris is my hero. Yes, I said it. Many times I wished people would not forgive my trespasses, but exault them. Give me a pass. Support me because there are "other considerations" like politics, sex, money, record sales, image, face/rep. So many boys in Tappahanock (this ain't Northern Va., friends) would like to be Breezy. I'm no bamma but I do. Be a performer, dancer, singer, rapper. Or maybe play ball like another of the Old Dominion's native sons--Mike Vick. Expend a little blood on the field, on stage and get paid. Employ or fund my family, my friends (who admittedly don't need it either, but it would be funny to have an entourage of bourgie blacks and Princeton whiteboys! Appear in public with my wife, but them cheat like a mug. Have my Jewish attorneys and asset managers pay into my bitch fund, in case abortions go awry or aren't effectuated as promised. And like Ms. Fenty, Mrs. Nat will stand by me, for often are their own worst enemies, regardless of education, age. My wife's father is deceased, but if he was alive and I beat his daughter and she told him...well, I'd just have my lawyers buy him off, or threaten him, or just shut him down asserting "hearsay" in court. Sure these fool cops who besmirch our young men, our entertainers, will try to get an equally racist judge to admit his statements to impeach his daughter should she lie on understate what happened on the stand or in a statement. But hey, all in the game.
And it's the game that counts. I mean, the odds of becoming the new Breezy or Lil Wayne are worse than trying to be the new Eric Holder. But where's the game in that? There's role model enough in the White House for our children, sure. But no game. Morever, Breezy's such a sweet boy; he's no dirrty South thug clown. A record label's PR dream. Melts even the middle aged chicks, eh, with that smile. The aw shucks mixed with the teen swag and sex. I wish I'd had that at 20. No, I just studied, tried a decnet imitation of cool, did okay with girls. But it was no moveable feast. Had I been my hero, had my parents acted like bammas and provided such a wonderfully dysfunctional example, I would have had groaning branches of low-hanging female fruit to pluck, bite. Smart girls, too. Jack and Jill doctor's daughters. Foot in the ass or a dollar in their purses and they'd stay true to me. All in the game.
Read the affidavit, accordingly, and give a hurrah for my hero.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Tavis Smiley: Sympathy for the Devil

First, some thoughts on his book: Tonight, he's wrapping up his talk at the Pratt Library in Baltimore. I'm sure the sum and substance is the same as what I heard at Georgetown, on the stage of the august, amazing Riggs Library there in Healy Hall. there was a reception before the talk on the third book in Tavis's "Convenant" Trilogy. I and faculty colleagues attended, though it was sponsored by one of Tavis's bankrollers--health insurer/HMO UnitedHealthcare. Wells Fargo, which used it's TARP bailout cash to pay for goodies including all of Wachovia is another major sponsor. ExxonMobil, yet another. Keep that in mind in case you buy Accountable and read Tavis's railing against the banks, Big Healthcare/Pharma, Big Oil. But carefully. It's not a screed against these villians. Much slicker than that. Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Hold the people we elect accountable to keep these monsters in check. And I, Tavis Smiley, will be your instrument. His job is to make Barack Obama a better president. Like all prophets do with politicians, so says Tavis. Frederick Douglass made Abraham Lincoln. Martyr Dr. King pushing first black mayor Carl Stokes of Cleveland...and LBJ. Clever, eh? Not really. But he doesn't have to be, given his fanbase. And he is their prophet. Supposedly...
Now, I took copius notes. Only about 30 students bothered to show. The rest were us as invited guests, ringers ushered in by UnitedHealth. I could flip you my ersatz transcript but why bother? You to recall that I have never been a Kool Aid drinking Obamaholic. That said, I was glad I knew how to swim, for I could have drowned in a tsunami of ego. Listening and reading between the lines, parsing his examples, metaphors, analogies--I simply couldn't escape this impression. He is utterly oblivious to the real reason why folks were mad at him when he carried water for Bill and Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. He's not even honest with himself as to why he dissed barack and michelle.'s not about them, he says. It's about civility and differences of opinion, and he's always taken the high road. He's taken the high road with Tom Joyner, someone else he "loves." He feels Barack appropriated this whole notion of accountability from him, of course. And on the even of the Denver convention he phoned Barack and said "Don't let them steal your soul. Don't sell out." As if Barack asked for the advice? And that should give you a hint about what's going on in Tavis's dome. I recall a conversation I had with an ex-boyfriend of my wife's after we'd gotten engaged. He wanted to get the last word in as well, and it was some pseudo-deep advice, platitudes patronizing. And I'm sure it made him feel good. Powerful. Not relevant. Powerful. I won the prize, but I had to be made sensitive to his power. Yet in a subdued way. Not loud, or outlandish. As a prophet would. Quoting scripture and all...
Tavis is our version of Rush Limbaugh. Just more dangerous. Whoa--more dangerous than Rush? Rush's self-importance, ego, viciousness wraps an inner core of irreverance. As if he truly doesn't believe half of what he says, and his laughing at us all as he cashes his checks. Tavis rocks like a true believer. Understated. Confident. Passionate. Like St. Paul--wearing a tobacco company or Exxon logo on his toga.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Politico: Yo, we all dawgs, trust!

I'm still noodling over Nia-Malika Henderson's piece in Politico. Read and digest, including the video from the article:

"Dog whistle" politics? Talking black, and with swag? Now I know those particular angle in the piece can be misused or slapped with a facile direction, regardless of Henderson's thoughtful treatment.

What's your impression?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Cartoonist George Herriman...and my Wife?

Cartoonist George Herriman created one of the first true comic strips published in major daily newspapers in the early 20th Century. I would say he's the father of sequential art storytelling, from Will Eisner to the folks who toil for Vertigo/DC, Marvel, etc. today.

Now, the video below is the most recent iteration of "Krazy Kat & Ignatz." It was from the 1950s-Bugs Bunny vintage animated cartoon, featuring my favorite mouse Ignatz (me of course) and the ultra lovish Krazy Kat--who reminds me of you-know-who. Yes, Mrs. Nat...

FYI, Herriman was born in New Orleans in 1880; later he emigrated to L.A. as Jim Crow begain to swallow up even the privileged gens de colour. Make no mistake, fanboys & girls...this fellow--the father of American comics--was a light-skinned black man, and Krazy, Offisah Pup and Ignatz were based on black folk he knew [though recent scholarship pushes the notion of Ignatz and Krazy in an interracial tryst]. Herriman "passed" whenever around the country, meeting fans, meeting publishers, agents, newspapermen (like William Randolph Hearst, who assumed Herriman was "Sephardic" owing to his kinky-wavy air. Hmmm...). Then he'd quietly visit his own folk. There is evidence--alluded to by authors like Ishamel Reed--that his wife knew he was a brother...and that she, too may have been caramel rather than pink-toe, on the down low.
Frankly I don't judge Herriman too harshly. Post-Reconstruction (the late 19th Century) through the 1920s were possibly the worst time to be an African American other than the thirty years prior to the Civil War (not that the previous 200-odd years before that were a picnic, but things leading up to the war were particularly dicey, thanks to, well, reaction to the real Nat Turner). If Herriman had jumped bad, his work would have been quashed at best, his ass quashed at worst.
And here's another notion you might chew on: almost a generation before Mickey and Minne and Pluto, there was Ignatz and Krazy. Couple with that: Walt Disney's early work appears to have "borrowed" Herriman's artistic style. One of the first animated cartoons ever produced for the cinema was in 1913--the same year as "Birth of A Nation"...featuring my gurl Krazy. Krazy was already an established comic strip character by then--over 10 years before Disney supposedly made history with Mickey's movie debut in "Steamboat Willy." So it's not just American sequential art which owes something to this brother. Next time you go to Orlando or Anaheim or spend your cash on yet another Snow White DVD or spring for Lion King ticks on Broadway, think about George Herriman as well!
Anyhow...this how me and Mrs. Nat hooked up, below. Those of you who know us personally feel free to snicker. I was thin as Ignatz back in the day...