Friday, June 25, 2010

Why Democrats Fail: Obscure Movie Reference for the weekend

Democrats. Sappy bleeding hearts or cold-blood, naive technocrats? Nah! Too dependent on, on the words of Roland Martin, "getting Pookie off the couch" for votes? Hardly. Forget the usual moronic conventions. It all comes down to philosophy.

One of Robert Downey Jr's early star vehicles (which thus lead to his personal implosion) was an biopic of Charlie Chaplin called, well Chaplin. There's a scene where he's musing about politics and morality with fellow screen pioneer Douglas Fairbanks (with whom Chaplin and Lilian Gish found United Artists film company), played by Kevin Kline.

Chaplin says to Fairbanks: "America...this is a wonderful, country and full of so much potential, Doug...underneath such ugliness."

Fairbanks replies: "You're wrong, Charlie. America's a great country now, on the surface. It's just that there are truly ugly, evil things underneath that we can't expose."

If you approach this nation's body and soul like Chaplin in this scene you'll fail. Democrats tend to organize the world this way. Republicans--not the mass of clowns or demagogues but ones in control, think like Fairbanks--and such orientation makes manipulating people and issues easier to manipulate. This isn't mere abstract thought versus realism/pragmatism. Nothing that facile. There are legions of pragmatic Democrats. This is, rather, about bedrock views.
Your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Obama Initiative & Black Fatherhood: yeah, it's about Values. De-valuation, that is

Check my comments on the Alyona Show on Russian TV and come back. Note her pressing me for the facile answer. Note my responses, and even the hint about the departure from Bush/Cheney era philosophy...or even what underlay the current Obama Initiative launched Monday, my reference to "Fences," or fellow Princetonian Rev. Joshua DuBois's pronouncements from the White House Office of Faith Based Programs...

...and here's your answer. It is about values. Not poor ones, ghetto ones, non-white middle class ones (though class enters into it). It's about being de-valued. That is (and watch my fingers in the segment) the intersection of structural oppression (racism, economics, education) and behavior that begets culture. When you are devalued--real or perceived--often the only way you can present yourself as worthy is by having a lot of women...girls, often. Getting them pregnant. bathing yourself in the silly, cartoonish superficiality of quasi-wealth (rims to skids to a 72 inch flatscreen with PS3 in a 500 sq. foot dingy apartment). Or getting pregnant if you're female. And if youYou aren't Michelle Obama--or even Elizabeth Hasselbeck on the View or the girl going to UVA on a field hockey scholarship--how you fill out jeans and blouse or how loud you can be even at age 12, might be all you got to show the world you matter.

Guess what? That's universal, spanning races, ethnicities, world-wide. What would the Palin family be without shady background sponsors pushing them all the way from Wasilla? Answer? Just watch Jerry Springer or Maury. In communities or sub-society's Where there's a history of poverty, isolation from the mainstream, parochial thought/ignorance, lack of opportunity or mind expanding education (for girls and boys) you have this issue. It's just that we have more history and structural buffeting as the basis than most in America. We have a bigger percentage of those living on the fringe, in almost an underground society. So the effects are more acute.

You can't say that on TV. No time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Angelina Jolie as Cleopatra?! Hollywood...and White Audiences...don't change

Read Talia White's column in MSNBC's The Grio (and check my columns as well, fanboys & girls) then come back here.

Didn't the BBC do an investigation (in conjunction with Discovery) showing that through bone and DNA analysis (on her little sister Arsinoe--pronounced R-SIN-OH-WAY, and depicted in art with major plaited black braids of her own hair) this woman was more African than Ptolemy/Greek?

Note to you history-challenged jerks: Alexander the Great first severed Egypt from the Persian Empire (modern day Iran)...hence we have Alexandria. When he died, one of his best buds, the general Ptolemy, took Egypt as his little prize and made Alexandria his capital (and a repository of ancient art & technology while white folks were painting themselves with bull dung). Hence from that moment till the destruction of the dynasty by the Romans under Augustus, all Pharoahs were at least part Greek. That part diminished to a trickle. And far from being an exotic courtesan [which one would think would thus drive tools in Hollywood to pick someone who's maybe a Latina or with a "Middle Eastern/South Asian look" because that's the "type" cineplex suburban Americans expect] Cleo even as a teenager spoke 4 languages, was a mathmetician, poetess/comedienne and studied diplomacy from materials in the Great Library. She was a more a nerdy chick with a nice sex drive and a lot of ambition, not a scheming ho. But alas, most of that scheming involved killing a lot of folks, and it changed the course of Rome's, thus our, history...

Two years ago, archeologists found the body of Arsinoe (whom she had assassins kill once her old lover Julius Caesar died) and did the forensics. It works the same why as when they do a work up on your sibling, or parents' bodies to determine who/what the heck you are. And unless a Viking had an affair with Cleo's momma, the results and anecdotal/historical Roman (i.e. Plutarch) and Egyptian accounts should be conclusive.

But that don't bother Hollywood none. Somebody has to market to Red State morons...and go with brand names to ensure some semblence of a box office take. But that, interestingly, isn't the most cynical aspect to this. Like Liz Taylor et al...isn't Angelina...or Halle or any other black actress mentioned...too OLD? When Cleo met Caesar she was 16. She died at age 30, maybe? The closest to a decent and accurate rendering was HBO's Rome (more a precusor to Starz's Spartacus: Blood & Sand than 300). The chick still had a little too much Avril Lavigne in her, but also it was clear there was some sistah as well.

So let's stop the bullsh^t. I hear white people whining about Don Glover trying to be cast as Spider Man/Peter Parker, or huffing "Then let Spike Lee make the movie." That's not the point. The point is that Hollywood, as a weird carnie mirror to our society, has been doing the opposite to people of color for decades...indeed, since D.W. Griffith delighted audiences in 1915 by having white actors smeared on blackface to play the treacherous, rapacious, presumptuous, arrogant, not-knowing-their-place mulattoes of Birth of A Nation. Damn, those adjectives sound like Obama, don't it, Rand and Sarah? Guess we should get Fred Armisen in the film version?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Abby Sunderland: such is the world we've wrought

Reality show. Showbiz parent. Sponsor deadlines. Teen wanting fame in our "Twilight" generation. Cash money baby. Such is the media today. Such is the world we've made.

Now, on to Joran Van der Sloot...or Albert Haynesworth of the Redskins?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Alvin Greene: the Stealth Willie Horton or Racial Cypher?

Demint can win with out this nonsense. But then again, so thought Nixon in 72, and he still sat back whilst Liddy and a bunch of Cubans broke into the Watergate. What's the truth here?
Then again, there was Sgt. Watter's cautionary tale from A Soldier's Story...recall his reminescence about World War One and "Moonshine, King of the Monkeys?"

Check out the Washington Post's first efforts at investigating this circus...

Wednesday, June 02, 2010