Posted on The Root today. This hurt me more than it hurt them.
Congrats CNN, on your “swagga” segment FAIL. We all know that mainstream news can be stiff by nature and necessity, but that’s a reality that exists because, more often than not, attempts to be ‘hip’ and relevant tend to fall flat on their face. It’s pretty clear by his on camera demeanor that correspondent T.J. Holmes was talking about this by the watercooler one day and a producer walking by thought it’d be a *great* segment idea. So, F-minus to T.J. for not putting the kibosh on this trainwreck.
And Kyra Phillips? Michelle Bachmann cringe-worthy. In fact, I think I resent it much less coming from Bachmann because at least she was making a horrible attempt to fall in line with Michael Steele’s delusions of attracting the hip-hop vote. What’s the excuse in ATL? Yes; FLOTUS and POTUS have exchanged victory pounds. Yes; POTUS and FLOTUS are both black and do things that much of black America can identify with. But no; it’s not alright to approach the aforementioned facts as if they are doing a jig for your amusement.
Posted this today on The Root
ESQUIRE’s Stephen Marche has written a hilarious piece detailing the end of the “douchebag” era:
The departure of W., that backslapping, nickname-calling, know-nothing M.B.A. failure, is the cue for… the expense-account-abusing, bottle-service-ordering, Ayn Rand-quoting embarrassments of the American banking sector: Your relevance is dwindling, your presence no longer required. [W]e are seeing the return of a classic American type, the tough son of a bitch…
While Marche worked himself into a lather over prototypical tough SOB Emmanuel and this reinvigorated American masculine aesthetic, two things struck me. Firstly, I couldn’t help but smirk at Marche’s sentiment, which is premature if not flat-out wrong. As a son of Eli, let me tell you without equivocation: Douchebags will outlive the roaches. They lack the self-awareness to be anything other than what they are and that ensures their survival.
Secondly, I couldn’t help but wonder if Marche’s sentiment stretched to the conversation of torture and the mounting criticisms being leveled at President Obama. Unless I’m mistaken, the Obama’s non-prosecution of CIA agents—whose criminal tactics have been well-outlined by Andrew Sullivan at THE ATLANTIC—is textbook tough guy: allowing hatchet men and their ilk to do the dirty work, and not saying boo about it. Douchebags, of course, herald the hatcheteering, but for both, the approach is the same. So I guess these guys have something in common after all, huh?
And get knocked down like one. The other day on THE ROOT, Jimi Izrael posted a piece on the problem of Somali pirates. Jimi’s under the impression that the United States has placed itself in more of a predicament by using force to neutralize the hostage situation.
We have effectively made a bad situation worse, where our freighters will not only be targets, but somebody is going to be trying to collect blood and a pound of flesh in the name of their fallen countrymen who, after all, weren’t hobby-pirates: those dudes were trying to survive.
I say, given the situation, the US didn’t make anything worse; they merely brought a bad situation to a foreseeable comclusion. While I appreciate the realities that individual who live inside and outside the law face, the said reality of the latter does not keep them immune from reprisal. Were there more peaceful ways to resolve the situation? Probably, but let us recall that these armed men, in an attempt to hijack goods, took a hostage and set the tone for violence. Was the United States wrong for responding in kind? I don’t think so. Will other pirates make good on their promise of vengeance? Probably, though I wouldn’t recommend it. At this point, they should be aware that such acts will only make the Navy call its jump-out boys.
In the game of piracy, I feel like the Somalis are exhibiting terrible sportsmanship. Whether you’re jacking for food or for Fendi, the practice is dangerous and doing so is an assumption of risk. Sometimes, you get the goods and sometimes a SEAL sniper puts his shoe in you. You don’t like it? Find another hustle.
Sometimes, I forget to post things here/ have no idea things I post on The Root are up. Here’s something from four days ago. Word to the homie Dayo for making the following hooker with a heart of gold respectable.
According to Dawn Teo over at HUFFINGTON POST, Arizona State University does not think President Obama, one of its 2009 commencement speakers, is worthy of an honorary degree. The university’s Media Relations Director Sharon Keeler said the selection process for honorary degrees is conducted on an independent basis and that the selection committee was not convinced the president had the goods to be honored. Keeler said such degrees were “for an achievement of eminence.”
Teo was skeptical, considering the President’s body of work—including, cough, cough, being president—but went on to describe the committee and selection process:
Not one person out of six university officials even *considered* the sitting POTUS who was also a law prof, author, and community activist? Word? George W. Bush has a stack of ‘em. And as Earl Ofari Hutchinson points out, even Kermit the Frog has an honorary degree. Excuse me while I get my Kanye on: Arizona doesn’t care about black people (who aren’t Shaquille O’Neal or Jack Johnson). Let’s not forget that MLK Day dust-up in 1990 (a proposition which John McCain initially opposed, by the by.) If it does care, it is currently allowing its state institution of higher learning to give a completely different impression.
So, according to a now-loyal leader,”Ryan Kesten”, author of the Georgetown newspaper April Fool’s Day parody does not exist. He is but a figment of some clever college journalist’s imagination, conjured to stir up controversy as though he were kin to Brian Kesten, a student controversial on the campus for his proposed diversity initiatives. The article, it would seem, was meant to be a direct parody of him. One lump for me for not having that factual information squared away before soapboxing, one lump for a parody fail given the visibility of prestigious college’s newspapers and publications and the visibility of the person being parodied.
Something I learned in my YDN days is this: people beyond the confines of the campus read school newspapers. Why? Not sure to be perfectly honest, but it happens and that fundamentally changes the nature of content, particularly satirical content. What was once an inside joke just becomes a joke and when cast in that light, the joke in question, especially one with touchy content has to pass muster or you have journalists and headliner writer alike raising their eyebrows. Personally, I dealt with this the other day at The Root, So I know of which I speak. In that instance, I knew thought the satire was abundantly clear, but to some people it wasn’t and I’m fairly certain Cam’ron is more well-known than Brian Kesten. So again, my lumps I take, but with conditions.
As I discussed with my man AJ the other day, the problem that often arises with controversial humor in college publications is two-fold. On one side, the offended parties are often entirely too sensitive and don’t appreciate satire and on the other, the collegiate jokester often executes satire poorly (and in remembering that, a good rule of thumb is to generally ignore ANYTHING written in a college publication intended to be humorous and controversial.)
Peace to my Hoya dunnie who put me on.
I fancy myself a satirist in many regards and thus attempted to view Ryan Westen’s April Fool’s Day piece in the Georgetown University newspaper through that lens. Sometimes, Black folks get unnecessarily salty and since I try to stay low sodium when possible, decided to go to the tape:
These days, things are much more peaceful her on the Hilltop. Only One thing’s missing: We don’t have enough good old vanilla-chocolate swirl interracial f******.
On the comedic level, not the most chuckle-inducing string of words, but he’s obviously attempting to employ satire here to get a rise out of people. Real Talk Moment #1: In this day and age, the average college (white) guy doesn’t have the stones to put such a thing about black and white sexual relationships in the school newspaper in that explicit a way. He might have gone to town on another race of people in this fashion, but if I he was really trying to pop off about Black folks, he’d have: A) done it in a more back-handed and plausibly deniable way B) been explicit in private or C) punched up an even more explicit version for some blog under a nom de plume. Let’s get back to the tape:
Nothing is more beautiful than adding a few drops of Georgetown’s milk into some dark chocolate Cocoa Puffs. Think about it: Halle Berry, Naomi Campbell, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey — all the results of some good old-fashioned biracial f****** and sexy pieces of a** to boot.
Satirical fail, Ryan. The vanilla-chocolate swirl imagery grabs the attention well enough, but continuing with it is overkill. I might have gone with a Barack Obama reference because you can always rally with “Miscegenation: It does a country good” and cover your bases. But milk and cereal? Black folks see that less-than-veiled imagery for what it is: White men sweating over possibly non-consenting Black women, pumping them full of ejaculant, which is the only scenario supported in this “satire” since Westen didn’t bother to explicitly mention one in which chocolate milk gets added to a quivering bowl of Kix.
This bring us to the bigger issue: It’s dicey for a white guy to joke about a historically sensitive subject between the races. This isn’t pickaninny stuff; this is talking about the creation of human life and the extreme difficult and often tragic circumstances under which that creation has existed. Can it be joked about? Sure, but delighting in it in such a crude way isn’t satire; it’s little more than rapist wit. Which is an F minus.
In the future Ryan, leave the touchy Black-White subjects to Robert Downey Jr.
When a person beheads their five-year old sister, I have no interest in finding out why. As you may have seen or heard, twenty-three year old Kerby Revelus of Milton, Massachusetts fatally stabbed one of his sisters, beheaded another and wounded a third, being shot dead by police while attempting to finish his grisly work. My heart sank and my stomach turned when I read this story. Most troubling was the comment of a relative, Roni Dorvil:
“That’s not Kerby,” Dorvil said. “I wish he was alive to tell us what was wrong. Something had to happen.”
Call me insensitive, but I don’t. Be you casual observer or mourning intimate, what explanation would suffice? What discovery could a person wrap their mind around, thus leading them to a relieving, however tragic, resolution? At times, I believe that we as human beings overestimate our ability to grasp the complex and illogical. Maybe I’m a regressive, but there are times in life where I’d rather be aware of the facts, chalk their reason up to things that strain the bounds of my sanity and wrestle with those two elements for the rest of my days. In the instance of this horrific tragedy, my curiosity was not piqued in the least. Given the circumstances, to give his actions quarter via an explanation is to cloud the gruesome facts. He fatally stabbed one sister. He cut another’s head off. He attempted to murder one more.
Relative to the facts, I don’t care why Kerby Revelus did this. All things considered, I’m glad police intervention brought about the conclusion it did. Because, had he lived, we would have very likely been presented with one of two scenarios: Discovering that he was an insane sociopath or that he had a tumor that made him do it. While I don’t make light of the latter scenario nor group it with the former, the result would have likely been the same. There would have been a trial, a conviction and a sentencing in a psychiatric institute where taxpayers would have sustained Kerby Revelus’ life for thirty birthdays or more, wondering just why he attacked his sisters, beheading one the day after hers.
I can still enjoy an evening of drinking without eating. APRIL FOOL’S! Having a little extra guap in my pocket the other last night, I felt good about going to a buddy’s birthday happy hour. And a happy hour it was, as were the subsequent hours spent imbibing, conversing and setting up a couples’ dinner date with this interesting cat who’d just lost his job that day. It was after giving a far more torn down friend a piggy back ride home and briefly passing out on the floor of my apartment (at approximately 10:20 PM) that I awoke groggily and intoned the immortal words of Danny Glover’s Detective Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon:
“I’m too old for this s**t.”
Interestingly, this week’s episode of How I Met Your Mother revolved around just that same topic (and thus I’ll give credit lest I come off as what Michael Arceneaux would call a ‘swagger jacker’). It even went so far as to employ a Murtaugh List or, Things You’re Just Too Old to Do. After having watched the episode, a pal and I got to writing out our own Murtaugh List. Given our age and place in life, we only got to sixteen, many revolving around collegiate indiscretions.
On the happy hour night in question, after having transitioned from the floor to the futon, the misses, Dancing Feather, handed me the list and a pen. “Number seventeen,” she said while heading to the kitchen to fix me a breakfast burrito.
My personal Murtaugh List goes a little something like this:
- Go to Spring Fling at school without looking like a creeper
- Crash on a dorm room floor the weekend of The Game
- Eat a mixing bowl worth of cereal without consequence
- Have sleepovers on purpose
- Spend hours at a time (illegally) downloading music
- Do keg stands
- Drink Dubra or other assorted horrible discount liquor
- Play Edward 40 Hands
- Have corn rows
- Go to a public pool by myself
- Ask my parents for money for an unnecessary purchase
- Drink without eating
Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I won’t do any of the above again—besides the corn rows. Those are OUT—but that I should probably be a little better than that. Le sigh.
Now it your turn. RT, share, forward, fax, smoke signal this around because this list could get interesting. The only rule is you need to specify your age bracket. I want to know:
What’s on your Murtaugh List?