Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why the White House is Smart to Take on FOX

I don't know if this is prevalent in other cultures, I've mostly seen black folks do it as of late - but the one thing that I hate more than black republicans or extremely toothy blowjobs is a person who passionately defends an artist that they like by simply noting the size of their bank account. Let me give you an example. I'm of the firm belief that Tyler Perry's movies are cinematic poison. Even though I don't wish any physical harm on the director, for all I know he has a heart that should qualify him for Sainthood, but the gruesome things that I want to do to people who incessantly gush over his extremely shitty movies would scare the shit out of Stephen King. Stereotypical characters. Phoned in storylines. Cringeworthy dialogue. A black man in a goddamn dress. I'd really have to dedicate a blog series to accurately cite every reason I loathe the creative vision of Tyler Perry. Whenever I've expressed said disdain whether online or in every day conversions, the winning retort that I usually find myself on the business end of goes like this: "Yeah, but he's making money!!" You also get the same clumsy response when you criticize some monosyllabic rapper with a limited world view that they happen to be a fan of. Forget about the substantive gripes that you may have, from sub par lyricism to the fact that said artist happens to be a new millennium minstrel act, the fact that he/she never has to look at a price tag again is supposed to easily thwart all of your artsy fartsy critiques.

I'm only highlighting my least favorite defense of substandard artistry because Rupert Murdock reminded me of it recently when he pointed to FOX's increased ratings after he was asked about the White House taking on his News channel. Tyler Perry's vast fortune doesn't address the piss poor craftsmanship of his movies, a rapper who can pawn his platinum chain collection and singlehandedly pay for sufficient Health Care reform doesn't negate his mindnumbingly wack lyrics - and Rupert Murdoch pointing to an increase in ratings due to FOX's back and forth with the White House doesn't fundamentally answer their claim that they aren't a legitimate news channel. Besides, the White House could care less if they help FOX News get 10 Million more viewers, because their attack on FOX really isn't about FOX.

The White House doesn't have to look any further than that last Democratic Presidential Debate that ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson hosted to know how quickly right wing smears can infiltrate the mainstream media. People forget that it took both moderators 52 minutes to ask anything resembling a substantive question, most of the time was allotted to silly shit like Flagpins, Reverend Wright, and William Ayers. Stephanopoulos was basically a puppet for the right wing in that debate with Sean Hannity and Steve Malzberg pulling the proverbial strings - being that both men personally urged him to ask about William Ayers when he was on their respective shows. We also can't forget that Reverend Wright was a personal fetish of Sean Hannity's months before the mainstream media finally bowed to right wing finger wagging and started covering it, yet another example of the national discourse being sullied by the mainstream media taking its cues from FOX. Remember the Democratic Presidential Debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that Tim Russert moderated? I'm sure the White House does. That was a debate where the sorely missed Russert not only asked Obama about Reverend Wright, but didn't seem to accept a clear word like "Denounce" when grilling him on Minister Louis Farrakhan. Undoubtedly more right wing influence.

Listen, that was only a small example of how right wing meems seeped into all facets of the press during the campaign season, if you are an ardent watcher of the news like I am then you know that that sort thing happens all the time. (See Czars, "Enemies lists", "Death Panels") The White House knows this all too well. Their attack on FOX isn't about them "whining", something that many intellectually lazy writers have accused them of. Their attack on FOX isn't about garden variety pushback, they know that the bottom feeders over there will continuously call him everything from a Communist to a puppy torturer no matter how much they fight back. The White House tapping FOX News on the proverbial shoulder and asking them to "step outside" is more about shaming all the other news outlets who from this point forward proceed to regurgitate their horseshit smears as if it were legitimate news. It's an extremely smart tactic. I can totally imagine, after 6 more months of saying that FOX "isn't really a news network", some White House official sarcastically prefacing their answer to someone at CNN with, "Wow, that's a FOX News question.." Its a great way of marginalizing FOX while rhetorically wrapping legitimate news organizations on the wrists for clumsily reporting smears. This is a brilliant strategy, please keep it up.

Friday, October 16, 2009

How an unrepentant Asshole would improve VH1 Hip Hop Honors

When it comes my history of relationships, being an asshole hasn't exactly served me well - I'm single, 36, childless, and the only chicks who want to fuck me are either nuttier than squirrel shit or have vaginas so weathered that they resemble your grandfather's extremely weathered catchers mitt. When you are an insufferable prick, meeting new people often turns disastrous. Just last week I was chatting up a woman at a bar, a rather standard conversation where a solitary sexual advance was nowhere to be found - so you can imagine my disgust when the young lady said, "I hope you're not hitting on me, I'd never date a black guy!" In which I responded, "You are a chubby white woman, without black men you have no viable options!" I've lost a lot of friends because of my tactless nature: Literally hogtying a friend who refused to go to rehab - punching a wedding DJ who had the audacity to play "The Electric Slide" - telling a gay guy that my friend wanted to blow him, only to underline the fact that my boy was already sucking dick every time he tongue kissed his cheating wife - bringing a bottle of Jack Daniels to the "1 year Sobriety Party" that my friend threw for his father - getting a drunken blowjob by a friend's mom at her birthday party and justifying it by saying "You're adopted, I would never had done that if it was your blood mother! I'm not an animal, Geez!" Real asshole shit that I regret.

But when it comes to Hip Hop I have no regrets concerning behavior that I'm sure most sane people would probably find utterly reprehensible. Just look at me as a portly, alcoholic superhero who uses his powers for good and not evil - belligerently calling out all the bullshit in Hip Hop for the betterment of the Culture as a whole. For the sake of the culture that I hold dear, I've nonchalantly thrown CD's out of my car for distance no matter how much my passenger paid for or loved said banality. I've eagerly wanted to meet MC's with third grade vocabulary levels just so I could tell them how much they sucked to their faces. I couldn't tell you how many times I've left monosyllabic rappers with platinum encrusted smiles hanging as I turned my back on them while posing in my toughest B-Boy stance. Friends of mine stopped asking me to critique their music because more times that not I barraged them with armchair micromanagement: "Why did you say that there?" - "That simile didn't make any fucking sense!" - "Who's singing that chorus? It sounds like a chicken getting strangled, or two goats fucking" - "You should really go solo, the other guys in your group can't rap for shit". Yes, I can be a steaming pile of shit when I want to be, but its for the good of Hip Hop. Sincerely.

That said, even though I thought that the good folks over at VH1 did a serviceable enough job with this years Hip Hop Honors - they'd agree that there is always room for improvement. Even though my advice for improving Hip Hop Honors programs will be in the form of sarcasm and overall assholery, just know that its coming from an extremely good place.

No More Tracy Morgan: I loved Tracy Morgan when he was "Hustleman" on "Martin". Even though my pride as a black man wants me to resist any character that perpetuates the "Crazy black man" stereotype, he is great on "30 Rock". But left up to his own devices, when a team of writers aren't carefully crafting every syllables that exits his mandible, Mr. Morgan is painfully unfunny. You would have thought that VH1 learned their lesson when Tracy Morgan hosted Hip Hop Honors last year: Cringeworthy skits that seemed to go on forever and even irritate the extras that were in them, a standup routine that reminded me that I found my father's wake more chuckleworthy. The mere fact that VH1 had him back this year either means that VH1 is tone-deaf comically, or they always get Tracy Morgan on the cheap. For Christs sakes VH1, if you can't find someone who loves Hip Hop and has the comedy chops to host an award show - at least get a quality actor who loves Hip Hop to simply play the damn thing straight. (See: Mekhi Phifer, Michael Rapaport, etc)

Have the Roots Play the entire show: The Roots are the hardest working men in show business. Between their nightly gig on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon", playing their own gigs, and constantly creating new music - I'm sure those gentlemen barely get a moment to themselves. That's why its important for VH1 to lock them down a year in advance. I mean, I like "Onyx" well enough, not their biggest fan - but to hear Gym Class Heroes damn near make "Slam" unrecognizable was blasphemous at best. Again, book the Roots for the whole goddamn show.

No more washed up Rockers: Regardless of what race you are, you always knew that it suddenly became uncool to like a Hip Hop song the moment your local white Top 40 radio station got a hold of it. The opposite seems to be true when it comes to the Hip Hop aficionados who put on these shows, because they apparently are the last ones to know when a rock artist needs to be sent to the proverbial glue factory. Kid Rock? Really? Gym Class Heroes are so 2006, and I didn't like their ass then.(Disclaimer: Outside of Zack de la Rocha, I never gave 2 shits for the Rap/Rock genre) The mere fact that they would recruit such milquetoast "rockers" to pay tribute to Hip Hop stars of years past is rather condescending to the many of us who love that real rock shit. Its sort of like being racially profiled by your own people. I grew up on Bad Brains, don't fuck with me.

Its Pre-taped for a reason: Maybe I'm too much of a snob, but I always find it highly offensive when some artist paying tribute to an honoree horrible flubs lines during their performance. I hate to armchair MC here, but out of respect for the musical act being honored and just for ooverall professionalism sake - as soon as VH1 called me I'd be feverishly studying the lyrics I was set to perform like it was a fucking SAT exam. I know mistakes happen, but there really is no excuse for butchering classic Hip Hop lyrics like I've seen done at pretty much every Hip Hop Honor program. (KRS, you are a legend, but you should be ashamed. You couldn't get "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" right? Really?) Anyway, to combat that, all VH1 has to do whenever someone mangles a verse that most of us can recite backwards is simply have everyone start over. Its not like its live, the crowd can act like its the first time they've heard it. Its not hard.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Helping America become post racial, one brutal beating at a time: Episode Three

Even though my dating history is a sordid one, mostly a dismal collection of brief sexual encounters where being an emotional cripple with a bed that becomes a proverbial ejector seat as soon as I ejaculate halts any possible prospective relationships - it would make perfect sense that my favorite "girlfriend" just happened to be a therapist. The level of catharsis you feel when dating a mental health professional is unparalleled. I mean, outside of admitting that you have dismembered bodies of miscellaneous strippers buried in your backyard, you can pretty much unload some of your deepest and darkest secrets without them so much as batting an eye - something I usually did post coitus by the way. My penchant for penetrating low self esteem having women in church buildings almost provoked shrugs from her. Pushing a wheelchair bound man into traffic? Her beautiful stare was unchanged. Headbutting a clergy member, getting a handjob from a girlfriend's mother at a wedding, tossing a rather lippy midget on to a bar roof, pushing an entire book shelf on someone at a public library, threatening to publicly waterboard an old man who snaked my parking spot. Incidents that would usually repulse most people were met with indifference from a head shrinker who was desensitized from all the certifiable shit smearing psychopaths she had previously treated. Sure, I knew that she was probably using me as her personal take home assignment, but I fully embraced it. Shit, it wasn't the first time I fucked my therapist.

Between all the deviant sex and my unsuccessful attempts to score some prescription medication from her, she did uncover something about me that had never crossed my mind before. She concluded, because of my father's verbal bullying that I was constantly on the business end of, that many of my physical altercations that I had been a part of over the years were a direct result of me trying to right that particular wrong. I never thought about it before, but a large percentage of the throatchops that I have mercilessly administered to some asshole's larynx were indeed born out of me sticking up for someone. I'm sure if I was still with her she'd come to the same conclusion about my violent defenses of President Obama as well.

I mean, this may anger all the pseudo-militants out there that I'm constantly coming in contact with: Armchair revolutionaries who spend their time viewing President Obama as an "Uncle Tom" simply because of his job title or because he isn't spreading the teachings of Marcus Garvey. Ridiculous child-like giggle provokers who naively view him serving Americans as a whole as an affront to the Black Community. The same intellectual knuckle-draggers who incessantly try to push "The Obama Deception" on me as it was a motherfucking "Watchtower", fake ass "Michael" from "Good Times" wannabees, feverishly masturbate to Dead Prez records on your own goddamn time. With the racism directed at the President in the form of blatant disrespect. Racism in the form of citizenship questions. Racism in the form of assassination dogwhistles. Racism in the form of daily manufactured outrage. Please get this through your kufi's, I'll have the President's back way before I'll ever have yours. Shit, even if I wasn't a supporter of his policies I still may have his back based on all the bigots that are out to get him.

"Don't spray me bro!": When you live around as many knuckle dragging savages as I do, drooling lunatics with racial attitudes so backwards that you are certain that they were recently thawed out from their cryogenically frozen state that they've been in since 1944 - a common occurrence is getting extremely dirty looks from fellow motorists simply because an Obama sticker is on your bumper. Seriously, you would have thought I had a ringing endorsement of necrophilia on my car, or puppy torture. Usually I respond to such hostile grimaces with utter civility: The one finger salute, screaming "What the fuck are you looking at you goddamn Hillbilly?!", or threatening to beat them within an inch of an amnesiac state. So when a young couple in their early 20's decided to flash me the icegrill from stoplight to stoplight, I didn't find anything strange in what I felt was pretty much par for the course. But the constant pulling up beside me? Tailgating? - I'm constantly amazed how threatened some white people are by possibly the least threatening black man that has ever existed. Anyway, when I ran into rush hour traffic, the young couple found themselves behind yours truly. You know that feeling you get when something is about to happen, like a fight is about to break out at a club or Mary J Blige is about to give an interview where she doesn't depress the shit out of you. Well something was in the air, and my instincts proved to be right as I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw the young couple carefully exiting their car and approaching mine.

Because the only beating I do on a female involves premature ejaculatory pelvic thrusts, I grabbed the pepper spray that I purchased for my mother and proceeded to the back of my car where I found the both them attempting to take my Obama sticker off of my car. To sell the altercation to curious onlookers, I screamed with an Academy Award winning panic "What in the world are you doing to my car?" - before mercilessly spraying the shit out of what I perceived to be raging rednecks. As they both writhed around in anguish, invoking the name of our heavenly father, pleading for help - I realized that I'd be a perfect Abu Ghraib guard because I simply didn't give two shits about the excruciating pain that they were in. Immediately a cop showed up and I, along with some of the onlookers that I performed for, told the cop exactly what happened. I even topped off my acting tour de force by nervously exclaiming, "Sir, I was scared for my life! I saw those two approaching my car and I didn't know what to do. I just want to go home and hug my children!" Everything turned out fine and the cop let me go, but I had the sneaking feeling that he didn't believe me - and I'm sure the wink that I gave him before I entered my car didn't ease his suspicions any either.

My Thoughts on "Zombieland"

When you're are a latchkey kid you have an inordinate amount of time on your hands. Either my countless hours home alone were spent rifling through my father's closet looking for some dated pornography where the actresses had bushy Afros in two locations, dancing to my old man's blues albums with the grace of two drunk monkeys fucking, or watching every Zombie themed movie that I could get my chubby little hands on. Something about the forced camaraderie brought on by the scores of meandering undead wanting to chow down on your entrails has always intrigued me. The sheer paranoia that sets in every time one of the uninfected gets one solitary moment of peace. For the sake of not becoming a walking cadaver that sporadically lets out inaudible moans, complete strangers from all walks of life are forced to trust one another. But most of all, I've always been drawn to the shitloads of creatively brutal ways one could dispatch nasty apocalyptic feeders. As a kid with an imagination rivaling the amount of alone time that I had after school, Zombie movies were right up my alley - and ever since then I've been crafting the perfect Zombie movie in my head. Sure, I've been mentally editing said flick for at least 30 years, but these particular components have remained the same: Non stop gratuitous violence, the right amount of campy-ness, and an inordinate amount of obscure Hip Hop references thrown in for good measure(If I was a film maker I always assumed that that would be my trademark)

So you can just imagine my excitement when "Zombieland" came out. I mean, I knew there wouldn't be a Hip Hop reference to be found, but it definitely seemed to be a movie that winked at you while mercilessly bashing Zombie skulls in. Was this indeed the movie that I've been making in my head since the Reagan administration? Well, Yes and No. There is indeed a good amount of comedy mixed in with a tale about lone survivors of a post apocalyptic world banning together. Tongue is securely planted in cheek as our heroes put holes through ornery flesh eaters while searching for other uninfected people. Woody Harrelson once again proved that he's a master at, well, playing himself. Jessie Eisenberg's "quirky guy" shtick worked masterfully for a character who meticulously created a list of steps on staying alive.(Lets just hope that he's never in a movie with Michael Cera, because audiences everywhere would overdose in nervousness) Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin didn't exactly blow my skirt up, but they did a serviceable enough job playing sisters killing and conning their way to safety. Overall I liked the movie. The camp was there and the violence was there, my only beef with the movie is that there wasn't enough of either one. At a brisk 80 minutes, they should have cut some dialogue and concentrated on satisfying my blood lust while being a complete dick about it - or simply making the thing at least a half hour longer. Maybe "Shawn of the Dead" spoiled me? Or maybe its just impossible to compete with a movie that I've been making in my head for the better part of three decades.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Conservatives love reminding me of my dead father

This may be sound a bit hyperbolic, but I can't control the exact feeling that I had when I saw these right wingers applaud the news of Chicago losing its Olympic bid. Yesterday when I saw this video, along with the scores of utterly reprehensible conservatives doing proverbial endzone dances because they perceived the failed bid as an Obama loss - I immediately thought about a story that my father told me that breaks my heart every time I think about it. The three times that I saw my father cry had nothing to do with a joyous occasion, a tearjerker of a movie, not even the cancer that took his life. Salty tears flowed down my old man's trademark beard stubbled face every time he struggled to tell a painful story about returning to his Navy ship to find his shipmates literally celebrating the death of John F Kennedy. Living through Jim Crow South Carolina, seeing people he knew personally hung until their necks snapped, horrors of that magnitude paled in comparison after he came face to face with inherent evil that day on the Naval Fighting Ship that he called home for most of the year.

I'm not saying that the conservatives who celebrated Chicago losing its Olympic bid yesterday wish death on our President, or that they would openly celebrate his untimely passing if that were to happen. But the unadulterated hate for Obama that I witnessed yesterday, his Presidency thus far for that matter, too frequently reminds me of my father's emotional Kryptonite. That's all.