27 May 2007

Blaxsploitation 2K7

The whole Don Imus thing a few weeks ago was awful on so many levels. We all know what he said and we all know that it was senseless, thoughtless and frankly, mean spirited.
But personally, I didn't get all up in arms over it. It was a stupid, stupid, stupid thing to say - it wasn't funny, it wasn't important, it was just the mindless rantings of a old guy that always looks to me like he just fell off a horse and got dragged for three or four miles.
I didn't get too bothered by what he said because my personal gripe with the degradation of American Black women starts with the Hip Hop industry, more specifically The Rap industry. No where else in the world do you find men of a particular race degrading the women of the same race in the sheer volume, nature and overall magnitude. The vast majority of Black rappers with any type of media exposure love to fill their music videos with the most beautiful women of color imaginable. Sadly, these women are usually the half naked, bouncing, jiggling, wiggling, sexually starved playthings of the rapper and his Boyz. Oh, and lets not forget usually the rappers are called their women B*tches, Hoes, Tricks and any number of other shameless things.
My gripe with the degradation of American Black women then goes to advertising, television and movies where Black women are usually portrayed as loud, angry, out of shape, finger snappin', neck poppin', single-moms. Okay - not ALL roles on TV fit this mold - but do this survey I do sometimes... Get a pad and a pen, draw a vertical line down the middle of the page and write a "B" at the top of one side and write "W/O" at the top of the other side. Then divide your two columns with another vertical line and write "F/S" on the left most side of each of the new columns and then write "L/C" on the right most side of each new line.
The letters stand for:
B (Black)
W/O (White / Other)
F/S (Fat / Slim)
L/C (Loud / Calm)
Now, just watch about an hour of commercial television and put a check mark under the corresponding column as you see women in commercials. That's all I have to say about that, the marks will speak for themselves.
But, what sent me to my blog at 2:30 in the morning when I should be asleep and dreaming about fast cars or beautiful women, is the fact that I was up and I happened to come across a show called "Charm School" on VH1 - you know, the other music video channel that doesn't show music videos anymore. I've passed by this show once or twice before because I've heard people talking about it and it kinda' left me dumbfounded. In a nutshell, there are 13 young women who were rejects from another awful VH1 show called "Flava of Love" that are brought together under the watchful eye of the comedienne / actress Mo'Nique. Mo' Noque's goal in all of this is to teach these young women how to become young ladies with "Charm" and good manners.
This show is really an exploitative joke. There are 8 Black women in the cast, a few White women and Filipino woman. This is one of those elimination shows and I think there are about 6 young Black women left. What truly bothers me about this show, from what I saw tonight and what I've seen in a prior episode is that helping these women grow and mature seems to be the last thing that Mo' Nique, the producers and VH1 have in mind. All they seem to want to do is put women with anger management issues, trust and honesty issues and little to no self esteem in situations that bring out the worst in them. Periodically, after an intense argument, cursing out or fist fight, the women trudge into this "office" where Mo'Nique is sitting and acting as if she's running a multi-million dollar company and they whine and moan to her. She says something odd and off the wall that is supposed to be motherly and wise and all is good again. Then, 20 minutes later she kicks off the young woman that actually seemed to be getting smarter and wiser.
I think the sole purpose of this show is to keep the loud mouthed finger poppers that are gonna' keep the most drama going onscreen. Nobody at VH1 gives a damn about these women that honestly need some help when it comes to social grace. These women serve as nothing more than tick drivers. They drive the Nielsen ratings ticks up ever-so-slightly for VH1. And yet again, the American Black woman is undeservedly shined on by a dim light.

16 May 2007

Why do you spell Czar with a "C"?

So, we have ourselves a new WAR CZAR in the Bush administration. YAY!

I couldn't help but wonder, as I heard this announcement yesterday, if this new CZAR, a chap named Douglas Lute... that's Lt. General Douglas Lute - to you and I, would be as effective as the DRUG CZARs that past presidents have appointed. We sure did get that drug thing licked, didn't we?

I also wondered what kind of man Doug Lute was. He certainly has to be brave of heart and stiff of lip, to be handed a job that will undoubtedly come with a bulls-eye the size of a manhole cover to wear on his back. I mean, as George Bush's illegal war continues to kill hundreds of US soldiers, and Marines, along with almost countless Iraqi Shi'a and Sunni civilians - someone is going to have to catch THE BLAME. Frankly, I think Bush got tired of hearing what a complete and utter debacle he's gotten our nation into, so he's now appointed a front man to deflect the criticism.

Enter, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute.

Honestly, I feel for the guy. He's probably a fine man and a steadfast soldier. And probably the kind of man that could not refuse his commander-in-chief when called upon to step in harms way.

To me though, this new WAR CZAR, just shows again, that our great nation is being lead by a man that I would trust to boil an egg for me. It is down right criminal how George Bush has gotten away with the deaths of 100,000's of men, women and children in this unneeded, unjustified, unprovoked, unethical, underestimated and unthoughtout Iraqi war.

Thanks to Dubba'ya, I now have a whole series of words that raise my blood pressure!
  • Insurgent
  • Iraq
  • Car bomb
  • Terrorism
  • Republican
  • Baghdad
  • Triangle of Death
  • Condolezza
  • Cheney
  • Bush
  • Bush
  • Bush
  • Bush
  • Bush
  • Bush
  • and my ultimate pressure word - "SURGE"

I would have added CZAR, but the day is still young.

Surge, however, is my key pressure word lately, because it is the biggest joke this year when it comes to the war. Bush has this great strategy to put down the insurgency - JUST PILE MORE OF OUR FINE AMERICAN MEN AND WOMEN INTO THIS STEAMING CAULDRON AND THEY'LL STOP THE INSURGENTS. This is his STRATEGY! Give these bloodthirsty, angry, bitter, suicidal monsters even more of our troops to kill. Sure, we're gonna' take our share of insurgents with us, but still - more American families are going to be getting visits by grim faced military officials driving dark Government sedans.

My little advice to Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute - keep that upper lip stiff, be honest as possible, do all you can do to get our men and women the hell out of Iraq, and never ever - ever - hesitate to point the blame for this war and its inevitable failure, right square where it belongs - at the White House, and our commander-in-chief, George W. Bush.

07 May 2007

You were doin' 55 in a 54...

I read the other day that the US Department of Justice recently released a study showing that Blacks are more often told to step out of their vehicles during traffic stops and more often searched, threatened with force or subjected to force than Hispanics and Whites.
This gave me a nice little laugh as I flipped a few pages in the Washinton Post and read the latest installment of "Pearls Before Swine" in the comics section.
After I plugged in a half dozen numbers on the Sudoku, I came back to the DOJ article. My first question was, "Who in the heck are they releasing this information too?" As a Black person, I already knew this. I was actually stunned that someone spent the money and the time to study this. I just thought it was a universal fact that was known throughout the land. Sure, that sounds a bit cavalier I guess, but to me it's like saying, NEWSFLASH - It's going to be hot in July. Hardly worth a yawn, here on the east coast of the states.
As a read through this article, I couldn't help but think back on the lump in my throat I had in LA one night a few weeks after the '92 riots. I was in California visiting a friend of mine and driving a rental car by myself. I got lost and was trying to catch a street name that might get me someplace near where I was supposed to be. I was in a rather rough part of town and I was driving kinda' slowly as I read the signs. Suddenly the night sky lit up blue and red behind me. Two police cars appeared from nowhere with sirens blasting and lights flashing. I was suddenly, oddly - in fear of my well being. I was worried that maybe they thought I was doing something illegal, I just - in my heart - was afraid that I was going to be pulled over, roughed up and locked down in the city of Angels. Partly because the riots were still raw on everybody's nerves, partly because I was in a bad sports car, partly because I was driving slow, but mostly because I was Black, male, and young.
That was then. But, even today with 40 just over the horizon, I still get an uneasy feeling when I see a Crown Victoria in my rear-view mirror. It's even worse when my kids are riding with me. To my credit, I'm a farily safe driver and I've only been pulled over a few times in the last 8 or 9 years, and only one of those was for speeding. And, to the police officers credit - none of them asked me to get out of my vehicle and all of them were pleasant and professional.
All that aside, the threat, the subtle threat of coming across that one cop - at the wrong place at the wrong time with just the right amount of fear and the right sized chip on his shoulder, is very real. I always know that it can happen. I'm Black. I'm a man. I'm a pretty "Big Dude" [as my buddies call me] and I'm intelligent. All I need is for that one, jerk cop to step to me incorrectly, and then I become a statistic. And, I'm not alone. All Blacks - especially MEN, face this same possibility every time we get behind the wheel. Driving within the speed limit and using your turn signals is no gaurentee that a drive will be event free. All we need is a cop that dosen't respect what his badge stands for and a simple moment of opportunity. All we need is that one bad apple to cross our path and we become a statistic.
So, to the Department of Justice. Thanks for telling us what most of us already knew. Now, tell us what you are going to do about it.