Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Healing Fountain of Richard Pryor and Renewing My Embargo Against the Word "Nigger"

Nigger is the ugliest word in the English language. In writing about the Republican Party's white supremacist fueled hatred towards Barack Obama, I had no choice but to tell the truth: the White Right views Obama as a "nigger" and it would be much more efficient if they were honest and simply said as much publicly.

Words have power. They also exact a cost. More than ten years ago, I vowed to never use that word unless I was quoting a piece of literature or said language was unavoidable. I now have to reinstate my vow and find my sobriety again.

Richard Pryor is the greatest American comedian of the modern era. His wisdom helped me to delete that word, and the ugly energy it channels, from my day-to-day vocabulary. I wish that others would do so as well. Instead, we see the common silly talk and intellectually flaccid distinctions where otherwise smart people argue trite foolishness that the word "nigger" is somehow different from "nigga".

Shorter version. The word "nigger" is an act of psychic violence and internalized white supremacy against and by black people, respectively.

Any found wisdom, personal codes of honor, or promises that you have made to yourself from which you have deviated and now need to renew?

The Fire-Eaters: The Civil War Antecedent to John Boehner's Dangerous and Racist Lawsuit Against Barack Obama

The irresponsible and anti-government saboteurs in the House of Representatives have voted to sue Barack Obama, the United States's first Black President, for the "crime" of doing his job.

John Boehner's lawsuit is one more example of pathological white supremacy in the post civil rights era, a moment and deed, that reveals how white racists are willing to destroy the Common Good, hurt the American people, and create mayhem in order to spit in the face of Barack Obama's legacy and governance.

Again, white supremacy hurts white people: the ghost of America as a perennial and forever White Republic has transformed into a demon which now possesses the White Right.

I am sharpening up my own metaphorical razor on the old leather strap. As I get the cutting tool prepared, friend of WARN, the one and only Werner Herzog's Bear, has offered up a great essay on the American historical antecedents of the horrific and dangerous lawsuit by John Boehner against Barack Obama. I will slice later; Werner has struck the first blow.

Do call me an outlier, if you so choose. The White Right is so crazy, mad, deranged, and out of control--and they have a plurality of white racists in league with them among the white American public--that the political calculus and conspiranoid thinking of the Tea Party GOP may result in a path dependent solution where they MUST vote to impeach Barack Obama.

Republicans want to depose the black nigger ape Barack Obama. I used no overstrikes in that sentence. Why? For too long, the pundit classes and the news media have been too polite in making masking the white supremacist rage and hostility which have dogged and bitten at Obama from the Republican Party.

If Boehner and his allies in the Tea Party GOP and its Fox News media hate machine would just call Obama a "nigger" in plain speech, matters would be much more simplified and efficient. Racial honesty would be a gift to American democracy.

Movement conservatives in their present guise are dishonest liars; of course, they will not own their first principles and true feelings about the United States' first Black President.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Black Body is Always a Threat: White Racial Paranoia Killed Eric Garner

I have not written about the videotaped killing of Eric Garner by the New York Police Department--and their subsequent efforts to cover up the crime--because I did not want to contribute to the online necropolis of black and brown people unjustly killed by white American racism.

I have not watched the video of Eric Garner's death. I also would not have looked in the casket of Brother Emmett Till. I make that choice not because of a fear or disgust towards the corpse. My choice is also not one driven by some high-minded claim about a disgust at the spectacular pornography of death and its relationship to the black body.

I worry that to write about the killing of Eric Garner is to give the theft of his life power over me. I know that such a claim is intellectually specious. One cannot deny the fact of gravity because they choose to not think about it.

The naked reveal: meditations on black death are mentally and spiritually exhausting.

The "racism beat" can and does kill those who walk it. White supremacy extracts a high cost.

Moreover, what else is there left to say? Yet, the deed remains a tired repetition which still needs to be performed.

Black life is cheap in America. The historical irony is, of course, that the fluctuations in the value placed on black life, and the labor output it produced, were the basis of America's economy for centuries.

The blues sensibility of black folks has made us very comfortable with death and suffering. In many ways, we are numb to it. Our numbness does not mean that we do not feel hurt, pain, suffering, or anger at how violence against the black body is a routine fixture in American culture.

America was and remains a lynching society--where black bodies were once hung from trees, burned alive, cut apart, or otherwise brutalized by blood thirsty white mobs comprised of men, women, and children, now black people are shot dead by white cops and white street vigilantes.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Potpourri of News from Comic-Con and Script Doctoring the Newly Announced Sequel(s) to Godzilla 2014

I saw some great films over the weekend.

I Origins was excellent. Although some reviewers say that the post-credits sequence hurts the film, I must disagree. I Origins is a smart, mature, science fiction film.

I also saw A Most Wanted Man. This is a good movie, one that is elevated by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance. He is so alive; and because he is so alive it was deemed that he must leave us early. A Most Wanted Man is a also a reminder that every character in a properly constructed dramatic work is there for a reason. If I were to say more than that, I would be venturing into spoiler territory. I do not want to ruin the surprises contained within A Most Wanted Man.

The lucky folks at San Diego's Comi-Con are being treated to some great events. They saw actual footage from the new Mad Max film(s), a clip from Avengers 2, were spoiled by a viewing of Hercules with its leading man Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and saw the professional wrestling legend, Sting, sit in on a panel with his (now) colleagues from the WWE.

Comic-Con also also featured an announcement about the upcoming sequel to this year's American reboot of Godzilla. IGN reports the following:
But while they had everyone’s attention, Legendary also teased Godzilla 2 -- as well as the monsters we might see in that sequel.

An old-school Monarch film clip was then shown -- that’s the group that studies and keeps tabs on the monsters in the rebooted series -- that confirmed the existence of…

King Ghidorah!

The Monarch analysis concluded that a battle is inevitable: “Let them fight.”
As readers of WARN know, I felt that Godzilla (2014) was a horrible, piss poor, (re)imagining of the Japanese kaiju King of the Monsters. I wanted to love the movie. Instead, I was disgusted by the embryo of what could have been a more than serviceable spectacle, that by its conclusion was a live action version of the 1980s Godzilla cartoon series.

If we are are lucky, horrible first films can birth acceptable sequels. I enjoy playing script doctor. In that spirit, I offer my rough outline of the next two American Godzilla films.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

At Which Point HBO's Bill Maher Channels Chauncey DeVega From Several Months Ago: Why Do Republicans Really Hate Neil deGrasse Tyson? He is an 'Uppity' Negro.

The ideas are out there floating in the ether. I do not always agree with Bill Maher's politics. I am also not above smiling and nodding when I hear him echo something on his HBO TV show that I observed several months ago.

I am transparent and honest.

Appearing on Real Time is on my bucket list. If the fates bless me, I would also love to have a to and fro with Rush Limbaugh. Borrowing from professional wrestling, I think that I could have a "good program" with either of them.

I am not suggesting that Maher is a "shark biter". What I am suggesting is that platform and profile can make less than novel ideas seem very compelling and new. The speaker effect is real.

Several thousand shares and comments later on Facebook, Alternet, and the Daily Kos, I pointed out the obvious: Neil deGrasse Tyson is hated by Tea Party GOP white conservative racist mouth breathers because he is black, a scientist, and smarter than they are. Moreover, the White Right's hatred of Neil deGrasse Tyson is a reflection of their hatred of Barack Obama, a black man who is smarter and better than the white Right-wing populist troglodytes who constitute the Tea Party GOP base.

My observation was greeted by much denial from folks elsewhere. It will be interesting to see how they now change their tune given that Maher has reinflated a balloon that I previously floated.

Alas, it is not the first time that I have been there the firstest with the mostest. I do hope that readers and friends of WARN acknowledge those moments and say, "we were talking about that on We Are Respectable Negroes months and weeks ago!"

I also hope that folks recognize the value in We Are Respectable Negroes and support the site during our fundraisers (and other times) when so able or inclined.

In addition, I also hope that the friends and supporters of our endeavor here on We Are Respectable Negroes make sure to correct those people they encounter both online and in "the real world", who want to trumpet the "novel ideas" which you read here first.

Please forgive me my necessary moments of self-promotion and self-indulgence. I am only human.

This is a Shaka Zulu moment: the dots are connecting.

We are approaching phase two here on WARN.

I hope that your weekend will be restful. As is our habit and new tradition, do you have any news items, discoveries, or related issues of private or public concern which you would like to share?

I will start off with a request. Now that I have a found Ipod to fill, I have been adding more southern rock into the rotation. One of the deficits in my musical education involves moving beyond the soundtrack to the great movie The Devil Rejects 2, in order to find some other gems that I was afraid to indulge during my coming of age Public Enemy hip hop black nationalist phase.

Any song suggestions?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Right-Wing Media Echo Chamber and the "Science" of Speaking in Tongues

I recently had the good fortune to speak with Box Brown, author of the new graphic novel Andre the Giant: Life and Legend. I am busy editing that episode for the podcast series here on WARN. I think that you will enjoy it.

Our conversation reinforced my love of professional wrestling. Some hobbies are passed down from parent to child; I would like to thank my father and grandmother for introducing me to the magic that is the action within the squared circle.

[And on professional wrestling, did anyone else see Paul Heyman's amazing promo for his client Brock Lesnar's match at this year's SummerSlam? Grantland has a great piece on the genius of Heyman's promo--complete with annotations--and how he is now a first ballot hall of fame inductee in the pantheon of great professional wrestling managers. Heyman is approaching Bobby Heenan's level of skill; who would have thought such an achievement would be possible?] 

The Republican Party and its public are a cult. I have said this many times here on WARN, at Alternet, and elsewhere. I am not just "cutting a promo". I try to write and speak in a precise, direct, and forceful manner.

Given how Tea Party GOP propagandists such as Ted Cruz, Glenn Beck, and others are continuing to lie about Obama's policy on Israel, immigration, and are rewriting American history textbooks, it is useful to revisit how movement conservatism is the functional equivalent of a religious cult.

American politics is broken because the Tea Party GOP has created an alternate reality. This is very worrisome: if a culture cannot agree on basic facts about the nature of the world then mayhem and chaos will result.

Because American movement conservatism is now a religious cult, it exhibits the following traits.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Pachyderm John Holmes? My New Happiness Pill. I Think This Scientist Likes Elephant Penises a Bit Too Much

I do think that the female scientist in the above video is a bit too excited by her handling a massive elephant cock kaboom stick yard arm penis. Her male partner, assuming she has one, is either very lucky and likely blessed with great endowments or in a whole lot of trouble from his inability to follow up on the visual stimulation provided to his paramour by a massive elephant penis.

Elephants are non-human people. They--along with the dignified and graceful sea cow--are one of my favorite animals. Elephants have politics, language, culture, and are self-aware. Elephants also have a problem with ign't wayward male youth in their communities--which they deal with quite effectively.

[I have always dreamed that Bill Cosby could one day lead an army of elephants through some of the United States' inner city communities and clean out the ign't infestation via some serious mentoring and teaching of appropriate rules for manhood...along with some butt kicking as needed.]

Elephants will stop to look at themselves in a mirror. They also use paint to adorn themselves and each other in order to change their appearance. I would like to believe that our elephant friends are capable of vanity. As such, I smile and laugh at the thought of a bull elephant posing in the mirror and saying to himself "yup, I am packing".

I believe that humanity is united by a collective subconscious. Jungian psychoanalytical frameworks are also very compelling to my understanding and vision of the world. We, if we so choose and are able (biology and brain structure varies from person to person), do feel each other's pain.

The invasion of Gaza, the shootdown of the Malaysian airliner in the Ukraine and the subsequent horrible treatment of the deceased's families, immigrant children sleeping in cages at the U.S. border, as well as a broken economy and a sick American political system where the Republicans are cruel and wicked to all but the moneybaggers and financiers, can be draining and depressing.

In those moments, I use one of my personal happiness pills to bring about an instant smile. The clip of the female scientist who is oh so fascinated by a huge elephant penis is now in the permanent rotation along with the "Lamont Goes Karate" episode of Sanford and Son, the bathroom stall "writing on the wall" scene from the great movie Bubba Ho-Tep, The Three Stooges pie fight, any interactions with Bigfoot and Beetlejuice on the Howard Stern show, and this video of a woman's pet raccoon making a mess of her clothes in the closet.

What are some of your personal happiness pills?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Racial and Moral Hypocrisy of The Wall Street Journal's Essay 'Hamas's Civilian Death Strategy'

Israel's butchery and campaign of mass punishment against the people of Gaza continues.

Israel has now started using flechette rounds, white phosphorous, and DIME munitions, against the civilians in Gaza. The American people's tax dollars are subsidizing wanton cruelty. And again, when the retaliation and blowback comes, the ignorant and the stupid will say, "why do they hate us so much!" American politicians, complicit agents in a civic culture where the masses have been made into asses, will reply, "they hate our values and way of life!"

To tell the truth--that America subsidizes Israel and her meanness, and that American made and supplied helicopters, artillery, planes, and other armaments deal out death to the civilians in Gaza and the other occupied territories--would mean the end of one's political career. Truth is almost always punished. Thus, there are few of us who practice parrhesia as a life mantra. Most will retreat from Socrates's virtuous death.

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal's Thane Rosenbaum suggested that the civilian population in Gaza is complicit with their own misery.

He has indicted a whole population as "terrorists" and an existential threat to Israel.

Thus, the rules of war do not apply, because by definition there are no innocents or children in Gaza: the rank-and-file denizens of Gaza share responsibility for the actions of their political leaders.

Consequently, Israel's total war strategy is made valid by the objectification and dehumanization of a whole population.

Salon's Matt Bruenig has done an excellent job highlighting the hypocrisy of American war hawk jingoistic conservatives who were aghast and enraged when the same logic was used by Osama bin Laden and those others who "defended" his attacks on September 11, 2001:
When people — whether bin Laden, Rosenbaum, Churchill, or others — defend slaughtering civilians, they rarely intend to apply their arguments universally. Do you imagine, for instance, that Rosenbaum thinks that it would be legitimate to bomb his house, killing him and his family, because he is a loyal of the American government that fought an unjust war of aggression in Iraq? I suspect not. Do you imagine that he thinks Israeli civilians are legitimate targets of war because they continue to vote for the parties that they do? Again, one suspects not. 
People who push the Rosenbaum-Laden argument do not seek to make a serious plea for a new category of quasi-combatant that it is legitimate to brutalize in war. Few if any people are willing to take any such argument to its logical and grisly conclusion. Instead, they seek simply to provide one-off cover to specific instances of civilian killings that they want to justify for other reasons. The “those civilians deserve it” point almost always comes unsheathed as a desperation move when the side you are deeply loyal to has done the indefensible.
Bruenig is essentially correct. American exceptionalism deems that the lives of Americans are more valuable than the lives of any other people. Moreover, American Exceptionalism means that all of the United States' actions abroad and at home are noble, righteous, and good. Rules of moral, ethical, or philosophical consistency are upended by American Exceptionalism and nationalism.

The argument made by "Hamas's Civilian Death Strategy" is supported by a scaffold of problematic assumptions about personhood, culture, and race that will be familiar to anyone who has reflected on, studied, or through lived experience, had to navigate the American and global color line.

Rosenbaum's logic is also an example of the white racial frame applied on an international scale.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Israel's Butchery in Gaza, Bought and Paid for by the American People: A Question. Is Israel an Apartheid State?

The recent events in Gaza are disgusting.

Watching Bill Maher's panelists support Israel's fiendish behavior towards the Palestinian people on Friday's edition of Real Time made me feel dirty. Am I alone in that sensation?

Dream booking: wouldn't it be great if Norman Finkelstein was invited to be a panelist on Maher's show. Talk about a hell of a show.

Americans, because of a failed educational system and a corporate media, are not forced to ask hard questions about foreign policy and their complicity with the deeds and actions which the United States makes in their name. 

Consequently, when blowback occurs they sit around like ignorant children who are surprised that Santa Clause isn't real and that mommy and daddy actually had sex in order to bring them into existence. Sorry kids, babies do not come out of mommy's belly button.

Israel's butchery in Gaza is bought and paid for by the American people. The Israelis are "mowing the lawn" in Gaza. And please do take note of the old habit wherein how language is used to reduce people to objects in order to legitimate their murder and abuse.

[The Israeli government extracts a high price when its citizens are killed. What is the exchange rate? Is it one thousand Palestinians for 1 Israeli? Higher? Lower?]

I wonder, in the post Hobby Lobby, neoliberal, Age of A La Carte Citizenship, can I cite my deeply held "religious" beliefs and deduct the portion of my tax dollars that support Israel's militarism (which actually undermines American national security)?

I believe that Israel--historically along with Australia and the United States--is an Apartheid society. Apparently, this is a provocative claim in some circles. The great Desmond Tutu agrees with me; I count myself in good company.

What are your thoughts on Israel's status as an Apartheid regime? And what do you make of the recent events in Gaza?

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Potpourri of Political Ugliness and Fantasies: Of Ancient Aliens, "Illegal" Immigrant Children in California, White Nativists, Know-Nothings, White Supremacists, the Fictive Viking Origins of America, and Fox News Hate Talkers

I do hope you have a nice and safe weekend. As is our habit, do treat this as a semi-open thread to discuss and share news items or other topics which you think would be of interest to the readers and friends of WARN.

I have been thinking a great deal about the potpourri of ugliness which has been directed at the "illegal alien" children and refugees in Murrieta, California (and elsewhere) by the Right-wing hate machine.

Some random (but related) thoughts:

1. I wonder how the White Right and its allies and sycophants would respond if it was white children who were sent on a hellish journey to the United States in order to escape rape, murder, sex slavery, and other torments? The Tea Party GOP nativists the love iconography and slogans of "real America" and its nationalist mythologies. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island implore America to:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

I guess such platitudes and commandments do not apply to black and brown people.

2. Black and brown children are not allowed the luxury of childhood. Adultification is the rule for people of color in the United States. Whiteness is innocence, safety, security, and obligatory empathy. For example, if a white child is in crisis the world is expected to stop. The suffering of black and brown children is expected, thus the world keeps on turning.

3. Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has done yeoman's work calling out the overt lie by Right-wing professional sewer dweller Jim Hoft that refugee children from Latin America will be housed in a "resort". Unfortunately, the White Right's clumsy grey and black propaganda works despite being exposed as a set of lies and distortions because their public is indifferent to the world of facts. Movement conservatism, the white racial frame, white supremacy and authoritarianism are powerful intoxicants--they are political meth.

4. Friend of WARN, Werner Herzog's Bear also has a great piece on today's White nativists and Know-Nothings in the Tea Party GOP. Do check it out if you are so inclined.

5. The Fox News echo chamber and overt white supremacists both live in a world of fictions, delusions, and conspiranoid thinking. Conservatism is a cult-like religion; overt white supremacists have a high place in their temple. Both traffic in made up fantasies about "Christian America" and its historical origins.

When I survey the White Right's websites and other media I want to laugh at the bizarre alternate reality which they have constructed for their jihadists and zealots. I choose not to laugh because the Right-wing noise machine is killing people and poisoning the United States's political culture.

Reality is to movement conservatives as the History Channel is to ancient aliens.