Thursday, January 31, 2008

Throwdown in Tinseltown (Debate Live Blog)

Los Angeles is like Vegas tonight.

Nothing but blood-thirsty spectators filing into the Hollywood&Highland Complex looking for a brawl. When the drama goes down in the County, you know The Message will arrive with coverage. Here we go...

(all times are Pacific)
4:57pm - First sighting of a Shepard Fairey Obama poster in the crowd.

5:01pm - Ring the bell, we are under-way. And just FYI, all the cut-a-ways to the movie stars in the audience is going to play right into the Republicans' hands. Thanks, CNN.

5:10pm - A few minutes in, and both candidates are playing very "nice." Will this be a snoozer?

5:18pm - Health care. The sexiest topic of debate.

5:24pm - Nice! First Brandy sighting of the night. No Ray J to be seen...CNN, you're killing me with these cut-a-ways.

5:29pm - Half an hour into it and there has only been one real attack. Obama attacking Hillary's Health Care plan. Doesn't look like she took the bait to attack back. At least not as vigorously as the two fought in the last debate.

5:36pm - As this debate on Health Care continues, one gets the feeling that the two candidates don't really disagree with one another on all that much. I'd argue we can move on.

5:39pm - Obama gets a big laugh by attacking the notion that the Republicans are the party of "fiscal responsibility."

5:42pm - Jason Alexander was there?! Really?! Keep it up, CNN.

5:50pm - Wow. Is it just me, or was Hillary's example of the black guy who blames immigrants for the loss of his construction jobs a blatant example of race baiting. We'll see if that comment gets any mentions on other blogs.

5:59pm - First real dust-up. Obama attacks Clinton's record on illegal immigration reform. Clinton hits back.

6:00pm - And as we go to the commercials, we see Jason Alexander and Stevie Wonder. Wonderful.

6:01pm - First commercial break. At the halfway mark, it is clear that both candidates are trying to look Presidential and are trying not to get too down-and-dirty like they did in front of the Congressional Black Caucus debate. But then again, the CBC has that affect on people...

6:03pm - We're back.

6:09pm - Congresswoman Maxine Waters, sitting next to Chelsea Clinton. She came out in support of Clinton earlier this week.

6:10pm - Celebs galore...! This is what happens when your cameraman votes GOP.

6:12pm - The generational question. Hillary flanks, and says the first female President is the definition of change. Crowd goes wild. Obama says he is bringing in a whole new generation of voters - camera cuts to the oldest woman in audience!

6:18pm - The Dynasty question. Hillary claims that no one has an advantage, no matter who they are married to. "It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and it may take a Clinton to clean up after the second Bush" gets the biggest applause of the evening. You have to rule that one for Clinton. Though it's weird they went to a commercial without giving Obama a chance to respond. Might hurt him. All's fair in war and politics.

6:24pm - On a side note, the music, graphics and angles CNN is using in the presentation of this debate feels MUCH more like an NFL game than your typical political function. The news organizations have to love this current election, because they are for-profit companies too. This is essentially a reality TV show, where the stakes are high, a lot of people watch it, and you don't even have to pay the actors and actresses (they pay you, for ads), it makes you really understand how the news has become less about being informative and more about being entertainment. But I refuse to use the word infotainment. That word is dumb.

6:27pm - Word up! Diana Ross and Hill Harper, applauding the O-Man.

6:30pm - Obama's response to the Iraq question was strong. Causing Hillary to "out" Maxine Waters as a supporter. I'm sure she will hear something from her constituents now that her endorsement has been made prime-time.

6:32pm - There have been more cut-a-ways than the Oscars. Definitely more than the Oscars. Nothing will ever beat Dave Chappelle sitting next to BET Founder Bob Johnson at the South Carolina debate. That was classic. Forget why he left Comedy Central, I want to know how he and BET/GOP Bob ended up side-by-side.

6:39pm - National Security. Obama says he's the strongest on the subject due to his opposition to the War. Clinton says she believes in the threat of force and coercive strategies in foreign relations. Not sure how that will play with the base. Also says no one could have predicted how obsessed Bush was with Iraq...really?! No one?

6:43pm - Wolf Blitzer booed! He asked if her answer meant that she was "naive" in believing President Bush's case for war. Crowd goes partisans and the boos go on longer. This is what happens when the press makes it presence known. Watch for this in the stories tomorrow.

6:45pm - Obama uses the topic to get in his point of being "right on Day One," not just "ready on Day One."

6:46pm - Man, Wolf looked wounded as he threw to the commercial.

6:47pm - Leave it to the age-old debate of "How the Hell Did We End Up in Iraq?" to get this debate poppin'. Both players played it safe going into the last fifteen minutes. Hillary is still the Queen in these debate settings, but I don't think you can rule this one as anything but a tie. And who will that help, ultimately?

6:51pm - Obama says parents have to monitor their kids. Steven Spielberg cheers! Also, Obama's daughters apparently watch American Idol.

6:53pm - The spouse question. Which makes it clear that Bill is not in the audience. Chelsea is out there with Maxine Waters. They clearly told Bill NOT to be in attendance at the biggest debate so far. Being a political animal, it must be murder to him.

6:56pm - "It's a lonely job in the Oval Office." Did she just say that? Is it me, or how many stand-up comedians are going to have a field day with that one.

6:58pm - They are asked if the two combined are a dream ticket. Crowd goes nuts. You get the sense the candidates, less so. Both danced around yes-no. Hillary is plugging her website (damn, maybe she IS black).

7pm - It's over. Not sure how this will get spun, but it seemed pretty bloodless to me. Not sure it changed any minds. But at least we got to see all the stars we didn't get to see at the Golden Globes...thanks, Wolf.

Hulk Laff

Someone has compiled ALL the reasons David Banner ever morphed into the Hulk on the late 70s-early 80s TV show.

If you remember the show at all, the list is hilarious.

WAYS TO MAKE DAVID BANNER ANGRY

A Deep Sadness

ABC News reports that army suicides are up 20 percent.

To Wit:

The total of 121 suicides last year, if all are confirmed, would be more than double the 52 reported in 2001, before the Sept. 11 attacks prompted the Bush administration to launch its counter-terror war. The toll was 87 by 2005 and 102 in 2006.

I have LOTS of family in the military (Air Force, Navy & Army Reserves). I can't begin to imagine what seeing the horrors of war does to a person's psyche.

And I have no idea why our country continues to treat vets like shit.

---

ps - in anticipation of some negative comments. I think America does a great job with on the field medical services and post-traumatic medical surgery or other physical treatments.

But that's only the beginning. I think our commitment to the long-term psychological and financial needs of those who've served is a sick joke.

damn.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

LOL is the new Fake

We all chat online and text message, but I've become increasingly suspicious of the short-hand.

Frankly, every time people write "LOL" are they really "laughing out loud"?

I. THINK. NOT.

I think LOL has two purposes:

A. To placate your friends. To show a response to something they wrote when you don't care.

Like if they write you about some wacky mis-adventure, but you're really not paying attention cuz you're downloading images from SexyVassarGirls.com...you just look up and type "lol". It's dismissive. And mean.


Sexy.

Plus now they really think that story about getting interrogated at the Cleveland airport was funny.

B. The other purpose of LOL is to say something mean/angry and get away with it. This is usually followed by what I call the "pre-emptive lol".
  1. "Why didn't you tell me you broke my iPod. Lol?"
  2. "It's cool you slept with my underage cousin. LOL"
  3. "You're adopted. lol...no really, you're adopted...sorry to tell you over iChat...(awkward...hmmm)...but LOL."
  4. "I hate your guts! lol!"
LOL is watered down and useless. It's like how "bitch" or "nigger" used to carry a sting...now you hear them like...

"why is my supervisor tripping today? he called me a bitch nigger. really annoyed at that."

The only time someone is really laughing at what you wrote is when they write "ROFL".

ROFL is the real LOL. It means something. It's coveted and has power.

Now, since I'm all about solutions, we need some new short hand and I propose the following.
  1. CHC: "Chuckling at your witty insight"
  2. NPA: "Not paying attention...downloading porn"
  3. TWS: "That was just stupid, take a five minute break, get some fresh air."
  4. LJBU: "Let's just break up, I like you, but having to chat online every day while you temp at Supercuts' corporate offices is killing me."
  5. BORED: "You're boring me."
Let's put LOL to rest...and don't get me started on those damn happy faces.


"I hate your guts, j/k. lawl."

---

ps - any other ideas for new short-hand?

Give McCain His War

McCain is the likely GOP nominee.

Drudge links to a poll showing him easily defeating either Obama and Clinton in the general election.

We know polls don't mean much, but if I were the dems I'd use it as a call to action.

They need to shove the war down his throat. Americans don't want this war. McCain wants it to keep going.

To Wit:



The dems have largely avoided the war in discussions up to now but after super Tuesday that needs to change. They need to hammer it home at every stop.

They need to shove this war down his throat.

He, a person who knows the horror of war, should know better. He should be the most vociferous opponent of meaningless death and destruction. He is more of the same, more war, more death.

"A vote for McCain is a vote for war."

If they can't put that thought into the national consciousness...they deserve to lose.

Plus the economy is tanking...won't hurt to bring up McCain's support for Bush's failed economy.

The war. The economy. Nothing else.

And avoid talk of personality, personal history, integrity, gay marriage, flag-burning, "which Stylistics album is the best"...all those meaningless talking points that get people to vote against their own self-interest.

---

ps - the fishy thing about McCain is that he was DONE last December...then news outlets said he was low of funds, low in the polls and tanking.

Then, in late December he got an endorsement from Joe Lieberman. Media outlets reported it as a huge development. A big deal, then, magically...

...it WAS a big deal and he was rising in the polls. Is a Lieberman endorsement that big a deal? The same Lieberman who let Cheney walk all over him in the 2000 debates and lost the Democratic nomination in Connecticut?

Fishy.

What the hell caused his spike in the polls?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's In His Eyes

He's totally reading off a card.



One day...I wanna see a politician just do a long speech off the cuff.

That. Would. Rock.

Why Does The Media Want Brittney Spears Dead?

I don't like her music. I try and change the channel when she's on.

I also feel offended at the way the media is treating this poor kid.

I know there are much more tragic stories in places like Watts, Tijuana and Baghdad. But I still have compassion for a woman whose descent into oblivion is being cheered and exacerbated.

Jesus.

This morning Fox is reporting that Brit was photographed sitting barefoot and crying.


"Are you not entertained!"

Who exactly does that help? I read gossip sites, thus supporting their content and their ad revenue...so am I part of the problem?

Look, I know this woman makes an interesting story in self-destruction, I know she was privileged and made some bad choices but you gotta be pretty sick to enjoy her self-destruction. Isn't this enough already?

Even if you feel like it's all her fault...I mean, damn. There's nothing "good" about this.

This is gonna end really bad.

Obama The Giant (Shepard Fairey Weighs In)


Artist Shepard Fairey made his name by plastering the face of Andre the Giant all over the world with the word "OBEY" underneath it.

His approach spawned many imitators and emulators, but now Shepard is using his approach to support Barack Obama.

In the past, Shepard worked like a graffiti artist, putting his artwork up on utility poles, under bridges, on the sides of buildings, without anyone's permission.

In this case, however, he is reportedly getting approval from the property owners before applying the paste.

I'm sure Barack wouldn't have it any other way.

This is pretty cool stuff though. Sort of like Warhol when he did the soup cans. It's great to feel like you're part of a dynamic, generational shift.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Are Suge-less Streets Good For Compton?

If you missed the memo, the "War on Suge" continues.

Marion "Suge" Knight found himself the target of Compton officials' efforts to rid their city of criminals. City leaders have gone as far as to map out a "Suge Free" zone of several blocks, where, if Mr. Knight were to appear, he could be arrested for a misdemeanor.


"I am an upstanding citizen, dammit."

To be fair to Suge, he's not the only person Compton's political elite are going after. Members of the Mob Piru are the ones meant to be rooted out of the community, with whom Knight is allegedly associated.

Putting aside the obvious civil liberty issues that will arise, this is a bad look for the CPT. Why, you might ask? Well, think about it. Chances are you didn't know that the city's largest employer was the manufacturing sector and it's undergoing revitalization with the help of a nifty senior center.

Being an urban planner, I understand the importance of "branding place." And when I think Compton, I don't think senior centers. I think this...

"Welcome to Compton, bitches."

So instead of banishing Knight and his associates, the city fathers should embrace them and work to build the New Compton on their community's solid contributions to gangsta rap. I envision it as sort of a thuggish Colonial Williamsburg. I know kids all throughout the world would want to come and see the streets where "100 Miles N' Runnin'" and "Express Yourself" were shot. How about the basketball courts The Game hooped on before going to Washington State, flunking out, and coming back to sell rocks? I'm sure there are numerous other attractions that could be included on the tour.

So to whoever is running Compton's economic development office, please urge city council to give up this unnecessary persecution of Suge. Seize the opportunity to capitalize on your community's notoriety by harnessing the potential of your gangster image and turning it into a tourist destination with Knight as a main draw. Screw Sunset Blvd. Take us to Central Avenue. I see a financial windfall.

I'm sure one of the Hub City's greatest former residents would agree...

A young "G-Dub" Bush cruising the CPT streets, circa 1949.

Any other thoughts?

Allow Me To Introduce Myself...

Jacarl here.

Long-time poster, first-time blogger.

I'd like to thank both Bashir and Diallo for thinking enough of my comments to offer me a slot on what had become my favorite site that I didn't write for.

A little bit about me...

Originally from southern shore of Lake Superior in Michigan (Yoopers, stand up!), I moved out to D.C. after grad school. Having written for my undergraduate student publication about hip-hop, as well as some now defunct Web sites and publications, I slid into a gig blogging about the District's musical goings-on.

On The Message, look for me to do a little music commentary but since I do live in the Nation's Capital, something political might pop up.

So with that, on with the posts.

The Never Wacks

Why is it that a few artists have completely avoided a "wack" phase?

To Wit:



Erykah Badu, Daniel Day Lewis, The Coen Brothers, Radiohead, Michel Gondry, Jeffrey Wright...

They don't have media saturation. You rarely ever see them in gossip blogs, or on TMZ. They fall blissfully off your radar.


This is the best album I "bought" last year. Hands down.

They let themselves breathe.

Then they emerge from the woodwork you're like:

"Yeah, I forgot, I like everything you've done."


"I've been in the lab. You?"

I'm not saying their work is always great. But while other artists have highs and lows...

..their work is never wack.

---

ps - D'Angelo would have been the KING of this list. But ain't nobody seen him. Where is that guy? Two amazing albums, some amazing live stuff...then...?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy Monday!

I love this pic Craig sent me.



Should we try a little "Caption This Photo"?

Reminds me of something...

Bill Clinton is Michael Jordan

Remember when Jordan came back?

Now I know what you're thinking...but I don't even just mean when he came back with the wizards. Trust me, I'm from Chicago, even when he came back to the bulls in 95 we were like:

"nooo...you retired with 3 rings...don't ruin it." (Then they went 72 -10 in 96 and we had to STFU.)

But THEN Jordan came back with the Wizards. And while all Jordan fans loved him, we felt a little that he was tarnishing his greatness with late career mediocrity. The final image of his scoring on Utah in a pose for the ages...arm raised, frozen in time, a victor...


"Nothing will ever ruin this!"

...was crowded with images of him huffing and puffing down the court in DC, overweight small forward (forward?!?), yelling at (lazy ass!) Kwame Brown and missing a dunk in the all star game (ugh, gut punch.)


"My knees...my damn knees!"

Similarly, Bill Clinton is tarnishing his greatness with late career mediocrity.

The final image of his high sixties approval rating even on the day of his impeachment, balanced budget and scion to the world that America picks smart and capable leaders...


"I know this won't work but my legacy is secure...so what the hell."

...is crowded with images of him yelling at a young and energetic guy who represents EVERYTHING the Democratic party should be, lying about Obama's record and scolding reporters in casinos...while "overhearing" people suppress the vote.


"The media's not asking the tough questions: Does Obama just DO cocaine...or does he also SELL it...to schoolchildren."

Even worse, some are beginning to question if his career was even all that great. I heard a commentator on NPR suggest that the economic boom in the Clinton years had nothing to do with his policies (he claimed it was money not being used for a Cold War added to Silicon Valleys tax coffer enriching tech-boom.)

See? Bill Clinton is tarnishing his greatness with late career mediocrity.

He's the damn former President. He should be on the stump passionately explaining Hillary's plans for America and why they're the best. He's supposed to represent all Americans. I wrote it once and I'll write it again...he's supposed to be above this shit.

But, then again, ain't this how great people are?

Once a person achieves greatness...they believe their own hype. They go too long. The play three seasons past their ability to compete at that level, fueled by the miles and miles of text praising their talents.


"If I sink this you have to go ruin your legacy."

---

ps - Barry O dismounted into a twisting half pipe...



...and stuck the landing.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Take This Job And Shove It!

"My generation never understood working for the man."
- Common

As we mosey into the weekend I just wanted to send a shout out to everyone who hates their job.

I've noticed the strangest trend among my peers. Namely, we HATE having a day job.

It's crazy. No matter how much money we make we can't fathom the thought of going to the same place EVERY DAY for 40 years.

It's like everyone born between 1968 and 1982 has HATRED for the person who dared give them a steady job.


"Don't let this smile fool you, I'd like to kill everyone in accounting."

Why is that?

Our parents worked hard so we could get good jobs.

And, then, we got good jobs. So why are we so unhappy? Most of us make enough money to pay the bills and save a little; do a little traveling.

Yet the VAST MAJORITY of my peers would rather be doing something else.

You have no idea how many of my (doctor, lawyer, accountant, junior executive, account manager, Popeyes Chicken Night Manager) friends have called me like:

"So what's it like out in Cali? I've been interested in doing some entertainment stuff. You know, on the side".

Word?

I just don't get it.

Shouldn't our generation be happy to finally have a part of the American Dream. White picket fence, 2.5 car garage, 2.2 kids, mistress, latent alcoholism...you know, what this country told us we should strive toward?


"What do we want? The ability to file expense reports. When do we want it? Now!"

Shouldn't we be happier?

Some good-hearted corporation gave us an office, and a desk, sometimes even an assistant, a water cooler, a parking space, the right to wear a tie EVERY DAY, Office Secret Santa...

...But NOOOOO...we'd rather write that novel we've had brewing in the back of our heads about a secret society of Spanish Moors who started the Black Panthers.

(I'd read that)

I have friends who wanna quit, give up the 5 series and start an independent music label.

Is it because Kanye just looks like he's having too much fun...while you have to re-do those spread sheets?


"How did getting all those 'A's turn out? Call me in St. Tropez."

Granted I did witness a few people in college who had creative energy suppress it and go corporate for the sure financial gain. But I get contacted by friends who never had a creative bone in their body getting at me like:

"Sunday night is time to relax, have a beer...and be depressed I gotta go to that FU*KING JOB AGAIN!"

Is working for the man that bad?

Petty office politics that soul-crushing?

Is somebody having a case of the Mondays?

---

ps - I haven't had a real day job since 2000. I ain't never going back. Corporate America requires too much smilin' for my taste.



California, Leading the Nation In Wild Sh*t Since We Elected Arnold

From the state that:
  1. Ended affirmative action.
  2. Elected Arnold Schwarzenegger Governor
  3. Catches fire every summer
  4. Watched Rodney King get his ass beat and thought..."totally justified".
  5. Turned OJ Simpson from a jovial athlete and fine comedic talent to a cold-blooded symbol of America's Racial tension.
We introduce:

Medical Marijuana Vending Machines.

Enjoy Responsibly.


"I had ze most super-delegates."

---

ps - is there ANY legitimate reason this drug is still illegal? I mean, GOD, the money we spend enforcing weed laws could SOOOO go toward schools and drug education/treatment for addicts. Just a thought.

John McCain Is Brilliant

I don't know why many on the right are attacking John McCain but if I was in his camp I'd be giddy about it.

Rush Limbaugh claims to dislike him greatly.

Could McCain ask for a bigger gift?

Poll after poll show Americans want a Democrat in the White House.

But what about a Republican who other Republicans "hate"?

McCain's assets:
  1. The Republican old guard "hate" him.
  2. He's not Hillary Clinton
  3. He has a fairly decent likability including lauded appearances on The Daily Show.
  4. He was just endorsed by the New York Times. Ordinarily a bad thing for Republicans, but in the era of Republican hatred...
Curiouser and curiouser.

---

ps - Call me cynical. But I don't believe for a minute that the Republicans hate him. McCain has toed the line on all of Bushes policies and wants to be in Iraq for 100 years.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...There's a reason he's a Republican.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hitler Loves America's Team

My Brother sent this to me.



HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS!

This Is Brilliant: Hillary's Election



(Thanks, Mike.)

America's Mayor is from "The D!"

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has long been one of my favorite politicians.

He has panache, je ne sais quoi and a certain savoir-faire.


Be honest...don't you EXPECT the mayor of Detroit to look like this?

I've followed his career for the past few years...mainly because I just don't know how this guy got elected...then RE-elected.

He beat out this dude a few years ago: Freeman Hendrix


BO-ring!

Hendrix was your typical run-of-the-mill honest Michigan son hoping for change in a city ravaged by poverty.

LOSER! Hendrix doesn't look like he's ever made it rain. He don't ball out of control. Not one Steve Harvey suit.

I met Kwame in LA a few years back at a GM, celebrities in cars thingy I went to. That dude fills up a room.

Check him in this video...it's exactly as I remember him.


I was like, wow...he's f@*king mayor of a MAJOR US city?

He makes me feel like ANYTHING is possible.

Why do I bring all this up?

Well...according to the Detroit Free Press, Mayor Kilpatrick lied under oath about sex.

hmmm...let me rephrase that.

He pulled a Clinton.

He was working it out with his chief of "staff" Christine Beatty.


"I heard your stupid pun, B...NOT. FUNNY."

They got caught because of two reasons:

1) Text Messages.

Yup. The phone company saves them. (sucks, right?) And they can be used as part of discovery documents in a legal trial.

To Wit:

I'm madly in love with you," Kilpatrick wrote on Oct. 3, 2002.

"I hope you feel that way for a long time," Beatty answered. "In case you haven't noticed, I am madly in love with you, too!"

Other texts contain sexual content, like this exchange on April 8, 2003:

Beatty: "And, did you miss me, sexually?"

Kilpatrick: "Hell yeah! You couldn't tell. I want some more. "

(pure poetry)


2) The other reason they got caught was that Kilpatrick's body guard was subpoenaed and admitted under oath he saw them making sweet, sweet, Detroit love.

His body guard told. Just like Michael Vick's boys told on him for killing innocent animals and TI's boys told on him for arranging illegal purchase of high powered weaponry. Black man can't break the law despite every indication the consequences he suffers will be greater than most and he'll fall farther than most...damn.

When will we learn?

STOP SNITCHIN'!

--

ps - I HATE the Pistons...and have since they used to give Scottie Pippen migraines. That is all.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

An Open Apology To People Who I Thought Were a Different Race Than They Are

Guys,

Race doesn't matter.

Though it's fun to make fun of. Still, I was wrong about you all.

To Jessica Lucas


Damn...I thought you was Indian. My Bad.


To Wentworth Miller


Damn...I thought you was Chechnyan. My Bad

To Kristen Kreuk


Damn...I thought you was just really, really light-skinded. My Bad.


To Soledad O'Brien


Damn...I thought you was Puerto Rican and Irish. My Bad.


To Jessica Alba


Damn...I thought you was Dominican. My bad


To Derek Jeter


Damn...I thought you was Dominican too...(New York? Hello?) My bad.


To Rosario Dawson


Damn...I have no idea what race you are, so I was calling you Turkish and Zimbabwean...my bad.


To Former President Clinton


Damn...I thought you were the first "black" President. My bad.

No Fun in Showbusiness?

Maybe it's me, but it doesn't seem like anyone in the Entertainment biz is having any fun. Not in music, and now, not in TV either.

I blame media consolidation. When big companies bought up all the little ones, starting in the late 70s, it changed things. Permanently.

So instead of thousands of record labels, now-a-days you have about five. Instead of hundreds of movie and TV studios, now-a-days you effectively have six.

And what's the long-term effect? Hard to say. But it seems like no one is having any fun or making much money anymore, except for the biggest players.

We know about the record industry's woes, but check out this announcement by NBC:

NBC ANNOUNCES "NO MORE PILOT EPISODES"


As owner of a small record label, I'd love to hear Craig Bowers' voice on this topic.

To Coon or Not To Coon

I was talking to a buddy the other day about how much I worshiped the TV show Martin the first couple of seasons.

RE-ENACTMENT

Me: I worshiped the show for the first couple of seasons.

Buddy: Yeah, even though Martin was cooning it up on every episode.

END RE-ENACTMENT

This shook me.

I have NEVER thought of Martin that way. A coon? I love the dude. I memorized his stand up routine You So Crazy (actually me and about 3 other guys from Harvard watched it every day the summer of 95). I found his comedy deeply black. Deeply true. Deeply young and "us".


"Love you guys...BFF?"

I mean who the F*%K was "buddy" to call Martin a coon?!

A "coon" is a derogatory term. It refers to someone whose taken up "minstrel" antics. We use it to mean over-the-top buffoonery, playing up black stereotypes in from a white audience...

(But, wait...umm...shit...that's kind of what Martin was doing. Like, if I'm being REALLY honest about it.)

NO SELF-RESPECTING BLACK COMIC WANTS TO BE KNOWN FOR THIS!


Cooning means you have no integrity or racial pride. It means you're willing to exploit what's considered worst about your people, and embrace horrid and false stereotypes...for financial gain.

The video below has been edited with some stupid stuff on it...but it's a great scene from A Soldier's Story in which Adolph Cesar describes "dealing with" a coon.

A scene most of us...TOTALLY get.


(by the way Adolph Ceasar...totally underrated actor, just a killer on screen.)

But was what Martin did every week really cooning? Or was Martin just doing great physical comedy in the tradition of I Love Lucy?

I mean...THIS is great physical comedy.


You can't tell me otherwise.

But is that really what makes a coon? Where is the line between "cooning" and physical comedy? Is cooning even bad (YES)? Are we saying that whenever a black person does physical comedy it's automatically cooning?

I mean, to be brutally honest, I consider all the following films kind of "coon-ish" due to their over-the-top portrayals...

"Makes every black person die a little inside."


"Made in the 21st century...no seriously."


"What the hell happened to this franchise?"

...and yet....

There is NOTHING like being able to do excellent physical comedy.

I was troubled about Martin.

Sure he'd made some bad movies. But his show felt good...like watching one of my boys from Chicago clown around in our high school in the cafeteria. It felt un-foreign. It felt authentically over the top, imbued with this budding thing called a "hip hop sensibility". It grew from House Party which shared similar themes and was very accurate to many of our lives in high school and the friends who made us laugh.

I spent a lot of time thinking about this. And, while probably not that comforting, I had an answer that let me sleep at night.

I came up with the following:

1. if the comedy is written by a black person for a black audience;

AND

2. if the comedy is done without "dialect" (ie "ghetto/country" accents)

...then it can be as physical as it wants without being cooning.

Yeah, I know, what a long, labored, inadequate and utterly unsatisfying answer.


"You hear dat long, labored, inadequate and utterly unsatisfying answer."

Still, Martin fails by both those metrics.

Even Chappelle fails by those metrics...and no one would DARE call him a "Coon". (Would they?)

I mean a coon is "The Other", it ain't us. It ain't "down" it's fake...No one is more "down" than Chappelle...and yet...

Chappelle cited his one foray into Minstrel antics (the infamous Pixie Sketch) as the straw that broke the camel's back.

He saw a white crew member laughing at it (wouldn't it be awesome to interview that guy) and lost his sense of where the comedy was coming from...and where it was directed toward. His work lost its moral center. At least in his own mind.


"I was in black face making a white person laugh. It was time to go."

But I saw that Pixie sketch. It was BRILLIANT social commentary. (good luck finding it online). ..and yet...something scarred Dave viscerally.

Maybe he was cooning? Maybe Martin was too? Maybe I just looked past it because it was funny?

Maybe...it's not cooning if it's funny?

Maybe it doesn't matter one damn bit?

Shit...I'm still unsure about this.

Any ideas?

---

ps - By the way if you wanna know what Harvard was like, it's like my post. You just ask (or get asked) thousands of questions all day. And don't answer any adequately or get any good answers. Just more questions...over and over, all day.

Wack right?

Oh, and it costs a fortune.


"Ve Ri Tas = Pay up, beeyotch."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Should I Go See Juno? Atonement?

NOTHING about these flicks makes me wanna see them.

(except Juno director Jason Reitman who killed it with Thank You For Smoking.)

Juno looks like cutesy suburbanites dealing with major issues in quirky ways. Plus lots of hugging and realizations.

You know...lot's of heart. But from a suburban perspective. With thinly veiled hipster iconography.


"Hey, let's do quirky sentimental things together."

And Atonement just looks long and boring. With long boring talking about long boring people who cry...long and boringly. In period costumes.

And I think somebody gets shot? Maybe? I dunno. Or screams about their love over their shoulder while being pulled away by the authorities...probably, right?


"I know you love me...but do you love me boringly?"

Despite the Academy award noms...I should really spend that $14 (Arclight Cinemas, best theatre on the planet) on tickets on some Popeye's Chicken instead...right? Like a couple of days worth?

Who's with me?

---

ps - And whattup with movies about women who don't consider abortion?

I don't wanna turn this into a pro/anti abortion discussion. (PLEASE GOD NO!!!).

But since when do:

1) well off, well educated suburban white families (Juno) of a daughter too young to raise a child on her own;

or

2) extremely ambitious hollywood types who aren't religious and JUST FINALLY got their big break (Knocked Up) in a super competitive and superficial industry;

not even CONSIDER an abortion?

I just think that goes against reality. It goes against what we know to be the case in the vast majority of those situations. And makes the movie harder for me to appreciate.

Support Cloverfield!

Just Kidding.

I found the movie overrated and a poor rip off of The Blair Witch Project...as alien invasion movies go, I found it lacking in every metric.

Still and all it has moments of PURE COMEDY.

Case in point:

The VERY FIRST TIME you really see a black character in the movie...HE'S STEALING A TELEVISION.

God Bless you, Hollywood.

---

I love reading the snarky New York crowd at Gawker tear into the film. Good times.

An Open Letter To Amy Winehouse

Dear Amy,

How's it goin'? Good? Awesome...shuttup and listen.

You need to stop with all the drugs and partying and self-destruction. At your current clip you won't make it to Valentine's Day. I'm not telling you this because I'm worried about your health. I don't care about that.

I'm only asking you from a historical perspective.

Simply put, you haven't put out nearly enough hot albums to self-destruct so badly. I mean, damn, you started going down hill WAY before Back To Black was even a commercial success. You ever heard of waiting?


"This is all we got so far."

Brittney Spears had many years of hits (including time as a kid celeb on the Disney circuit), Lindsey Lohan same deal. Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Keith Moon, Chris Farley, John Belushi, Tony Thompson from Hi-Five...they paid their dues! They had years and years in the spotlight before they flamed out. They did it right.

No...They EARNED the right to flame out.

But you? Got that first royalty check and went straight to the crack house.



Crack? Really?

I mean, damn, you need to have at least two failed marriages, three to four hit albums, a couple of bad movies, have fired your management and found a new label, started a band, had a failed tv show, almost died in a helicopter accident, rebounded with a hit album from a sound track...any of this getting through?

Shoot, even Lauryn Hill had a hit movie (Sister Act II) The Score and Mis-Education before she morphed into Lauryn the psycho neo-soul clown monster.


"It's funny how money change the Ringling Brothers"

Amy, I loved your album. Listened to it for a week after I bought it. Was amazed at so rich and unique a voice talent being in wide release. Looked forward to your next work. But if you kill yourself before EARNING THE RIGHT to self-destruct...that's just wack.

---

ps - guys, don't you think if the overwhelming level of media/TMZ/internet scrutiny was around during the sixties half the artists who were good then would have been dead. I mean, If you had a camera following Keith Moon EVERYWHERE in France while the Stones recorded Exile on Main Street...you think they would have finished that record?

Maybe we should just let Amy get this shit out of her system.

ps 2 - my favorite young flame out of all time is Bradley Nowell from Sublime. Dude could sing his ass off (did a killer Stevie Wonder meets Steve Winwood), the band gelled perfectly on their self-titled work and I expected them to do some serious genre-bending over the next few decades.

Then he died of a heroin overdose.


"Way to go, dude."

If Hillary Wins...

If Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, and after last night's spicy debate I think she gave herself an edge among democrats, I will vote for her.

(last night, I think she showed that she has tons of issues, but that we're familiar with them, and that Obama has issues you never even heard of...so what's it gonna be?)

I didn't want to vote for her. I don't like her politics. I'm much more conservative fiscally (like Obama) and much less a believer that the government should be involved in social programs (like Obama) and much more interested in diplomacy than dropping bombs (like Obama).

But I will vote for her.

She WILL lose.

But I will vote for her.

If you're a democrat, you should vote for her too.

Why?

As Diallo reminded me recently...

...It's all about the Supreme Court & The Economy.

She won't further bankrupt America and further stack the court with young fresh conservatives who will issue rulings our grandchildren will have to deal with.

So I'll vote for her, and legacy, and for Team Clinton that only needs us 'til they don't.

(If John McCain promises to balance the budget...this might change.)


"Oh, Hi Bashir...welcome to the dark side."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Thirty Five Years...so?

Writing in the New York Times Nicholas Kristoff smacks down the ideas that experience in national politics leads to success as a President.

To Wit:

Mrs. Clinton’s strength is her mastery of the details of domestic and foreign policy, unrivaled among the candidates; she speaks fluently about what to do in Pakistan, Iraq, Darfur. Mr. Obama’s strength is his vision and charisma and the possibility that his election would heal divisions at home and around the world. John Edwards’s strength is his common touch and his leadership among the candidates in establishing detailed positions on health care, poverty and foreign aid.

Those are the meaningful distinctions in the Democratic field, not Mrs. Clinton’s spurious claim to “35 years of experience.” The Democrats with the greatest Washington expertise — Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson — have already been driven from the race. And the presidential candidate left standing with the greatest experience by far is Mr. McCain; if Mrs. Clinton believes that’s the criterion for selecting the next president, she might consider backing him.



...but we all knew that, right?

---

ps - I am looking for a way to celebrate MLK day. I don't have a day job to take off from. I was thinking of dedicating an hour to watching his old speeches online, donating some money to a charity...etc.

But is there something communal I can do? Something we can do? Some kind of group event? Any ides?

What a Leader Looks Like



Whether he wins or not, we are witnessing history.

But I sure hope America chooses this guy.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New Poll

The New Poll is up.

Don't forget, you can ALWAYS change your vote over the course of the week.

---

ps - If Hillary wins South Carolina, John McCain is our new President. Bet on it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The "Nothing To Lose" Fight

While I'm a huge sports fanatic, I'm not really a boxing enthusiast. Still I'm fairly excited about Roy Jones Jr. vs. Felix Trinidad.

The boxing world is still looking for that great fight between two titans (Ali/Frazier, Hearns/Leonard) of similar skill that would be a round by round nail-biter. Hasn't happened in forever. (Tyson was unbeatable, then easily beatable...but there was no one he equally battled year after year.)

Neither Jones nor Trinidad is in the spotlight right now...but I think that's exactly why it could be a great fight.

They got nothing to lose.

It's one of those rare moments in sports where the stakes aren't even financial, but personal. Neither man is considered the best boxer of his generation or the best pound for pound fighter today. (That used to be Jones, but now it's unquestionably Floyd Mayweather Jr.)

I think this match is about two guys, who want at least one more great victory. Neither need the money. But both want, badly, a career defining victory.

Trinidad's (42 - 2) last great fight was against Oscar "marketing genius and an okay boxer with a great chin" De La Hoya has been searching for that defining moment in the ring that would make him popular the world over...

"It's not too late for me to be famous."

...while Jones (51 - 4) used to dance and clobber his victims, always looking at the ref to stop the one sided-slaughters he dished out 'til he was beaten badly by Antonio "the black guy from Rocky Balboa" Tarver. He hasn't had a good fight since.


"Have you seen these belts?"

Both guys have had a few years to chill, think about their mistakes and get hungry. Further, both guys have had moment of pure brilliance in the ring.

Should be one helluva fight.

---

ps - Roy Jones probably fights dogs in his spare time. But, as boxing is not America's sport...nobody gives a damn.

Friday Poll Watch: Common's Best Album

CNN and FoxNews just called it...

Like Water for Chocolate
 is leading the pack as our first poll comes to a close.


I KNEW IT!

Diallo and I have an internal battle about which is his best, he firmly in Resurrection camp. But the people have spoken.

"Bashir won, Diallo...let it go."

I suspect that Be with its more commercial beats by Kanye siphoned of some Resurrection votes due to some of our younger readers.

It was a hard fought contest, but in the end, J-Dilla's beats, Civil Rights era thematics that meet Oakland Black Power Soul and an uncensored flow put "Like Water" ahead of the pack.

Give it another listen at work today.

---

ps - if the vote totals change by the end of the day I'm calling shenanigans.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why We Have To Keep Our Parents AWAY From The Internet (Vol. 4080)

My dad sends me, like, six thousand emails a day warning about viruses, bank fraud and other naughty things that go on in the internet.

Seriously, he's like, spamming me.

But that's my Pop. God love him. (aka I can't "block sender", though some days...)

Here's dad's latest forwarded warning.

"Subject: Crank that Souljia boy "Super man" real meaning


Just FYI for those of you who have young children or work with the youth. I was actually listening to the TJMS when Bro. Kirk Franklin was talking about this. It was almost as if he (a grown man) had trouble actually trying to put into word the meaning as not to be "as offensive" as it really is.

It is a must that we pay close attention to what our young are listening to, watching and being influenced by.

I wanted to pass this information on, I didn't know if anyone else was as behind on things as I was. Thanks to Tom Joyner's show this morning with Kirk Franklin I was enlightened. Kirk Franklin said he did not let his children listen to the song Souljah boy because of the words and the meaning of Superman. With that information I needed to find out exactly what superman meant other then the super hero. I google searched Urban dictionary and put the word in and this is what I discovered:

Superman is when a guy cums/ejaculates on a girl's back and puts a sheet on her back. When she wakes in the morning and stands up, the sheet is stuck to her back (like a cape) , you have officially supermanned that hoe. Watch Me crank dat Souljah boy now superman dat hoe. My mouth is still hung open with shock - I had no idea.

It pays to know what the kids are listening to and singing. ******Thats why I enjoy kids listening to disney (hannah montana, cheetah girls, jonas brothers, high school musical soundtrack) and i tend to sing along. ....call us white but they not singing about the before mentioned.

Here is the link to the urban dictionary should you need to look up other slangs.... www.urbandicitonary.com"


"Damn, Mr. Salahuddin found me out."

Am I the only one whose parents do this?

I'm Still A Fan, Mr. Cruise

Defamer is kicking Tom Cruise's ass right now.

It's mostly Tom's fault, having been subject to a steady stream of ugly scrutiny since he got rid of his long-time publicist and made that ill-fated appearance on Oprah.

The Scientology video Defamer is showing chills one to the bone.

And yet...

...what the hell does any of that have to do with acting?

I mean, damn, Tom is still 100% badass when the cameras are on.

To Wit:

Collateral


I'm probably a raging hypocrite for this, but I'll be damned if it matters to me what his personal beliefs are.

He's crazy?

I don't think so. Those are just his religious beliefs. I don't agree with them. But I'm not judging him for it either.

And again. Even if he was crazy...who gives a damn? The work is good.

"But, Bashir...the more I learn about him, the less I can believe him as an actor. Every revelation makes it harder to appreciate his work."

Really?

I still enjoy the work of all these people:


(Bit of a puncher)


(Racist idiot)


(Hyper-Racist, Holocaust-denying idiot)


(Pederast)


(Orson Scott Card, Writer Ender's Game, Right Wing Freak)

I just wouldn't want to be around them.

Maybe I'm just numb, having had high hopes about certain celebs, then meeting them and being totally discouraged, and saddended by who they are as a person.

(Remind me to tell you my Lisa Kudrow story.)

---

ps - Another awesome scene of Tom's, from Magnolia.