Friday, July 18, 2008
Iron Man made me feel like a kid again.
The Incredible Hulk made me feel like a teenager.
The Dark Knight makes me feel like an adult.
Christopher Nolan's, Batman the Dark Knight is not a superhero movie. After seeing this film, and preparing to see it again this weekend, I felt pity for those fanboys and fangirls who dressed up for the Dark Knight because their camp, levity, and joy would not be validated by the sheer weight of what they were about to witness.
Again, don't make the mistake of believing that the Dark Knight is a superhero movie because it is not. I love superheroes, the mythos, the characterizations, the transparent morality:
However wrong, some have christened the Dark Knight as the greatest superhero movie ever made, the Empire Strikes Back of comic to film translations. Yes, the genre is a close match. Yes, there are "heroes" and "villains"--and notice how I bracket those categories. Yes, there are fantastic (if not wholly believable) devices. Yes, there is a "message." But, the Dark Knight transcends its genre in a key way. Not once, not for a moment, not for an instance, does this film have a moment where it self-consciously winks at you. Kayfabe (wrestling and carnival speak for the illusion of truth) is never broken. Consider: in Superman you knew you were watching a, if not THE superhero movie, a retelling of the Jesus story from the Bible. In the X-Men films, there is a self-conscious attention to the mythos of the X-Men (Colossus metalling up; Wolverine and the Weapon X program at Alkaline lake; the Dark Phoenix, Juggernaut repeating a line from Youtube fame; the Legacy Virus, Omega Red; and Project Wide Awake). To the credit of these films, the core audience (those folks like me, like you, that go to a midnight showing as a right and ritual), are rewarded immeasurably by engaging with these films as celluloid versions of their favorite comic books and as works of popular culture which are self-aware of their status as modern mythologies.
Batman does not wink at you. The Joker does not wink at you. Harvey Dent does not wink at you. The Dark Knight does not wink at you. There are moments of sheer delight and pleasure in seeing Frank Miller's iconic characterization of the Batman brought to fruition, but the events on the screen seem utterly real because the drama and action are not self-aware. Simply, this is a crime epic which happens to feature some larger than life characters who after the trials and tribulations they endure, save for one, are made much more human, flawed, and immeasurably more vulnerable.
I will spare you the basics of the plot or a general X and Y and Z happened movie review. You can read some of those here, here, here, and here. In short, the Joker creates chaos, the nobility of our characters is challenged, and there is not a character relationship, psyche, or person left untouched by the Joker's actions. Some have said this movie is about terrorism and the cycle of escalation: the idea of blow back and unintended consequences that come from a naivete and/or shortsightedness of action. This reading is essentially correct. I would add one more layer: what if an enemy is able to hurt you more than you can hurt him? You may win, but you will be so hurt that you will be forced to ask, "Is it worth the cost?" (among professionals who study international relations and military science this dynamic is called "asymmetry of escalation"). What if in order to defeat your enemy, you must sacrifice your own morals and integrity? Would you torture an enemy in order to find out where a crazy person who was eager to meet their personal God hid a nuclear bomb? You would save the city, but in doing so you would betray what your society stood for. Would you kill 10 to save 1,000? Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one?
The cold calculus of these choices has real meaning for our souls when they cease to be the mere province of the abstract exercises that are the stuff of first year philosophy courses. The harsh truth of the Dark Knight, and why it works as a a film, is that none of us leaves unscathed by our choices. We are all dirtied. We are all stained. To win, you may sometimes have to lose.
There are four agents at work in the Dark Knight.
The first is the public.
We, the people, those fickle masses, the 50th percentile, the rabble--we are protected by our heroes and by those for whom service is a calling. But, the public's affection is often temporary and transient. As quickly as the masses anoint a chosen one, a protector, they are as quick to betray. The culture of celebrity creates heroes only to see them fall. These are the people for whom Batman sacrifices, hurts, and experiences loss. Although he believes in their goodness, in their potential for morality and honor, it is he who must endure their cowardice. Batman exists because it is easier for us to look away from evil than to engage it. It is easier for us to hide from crime, evil, and immorality than to challenge it (it is always someone else's problem isn't it?). It is easier to send another's child to fight in wars abroad than to volunteer either ourselves or our own children, is it not? It is always easier to shirk responsibility than it is to claim it. This is the cowardice that the Joker plays upon--the selfishness and instinct towards self-preservation that is our most basic of instincts. And it is the people and their safety which forms the mantle upon which Harvey Dent is sacrificed and broken.
The second is The Batman.
Batman is a prisoner of his own code of honor. He is the literal wall which stands against chaos and disorder. Batman is that figure--a person better than we deserve--precisely because we do not have the courage to really support him, or to truly aspire to be him. Why? Because to be Batman requires sacrifice and a willingness to sustain loss for the safety of others. To be Batman also requires a supreme confidence in one's own morality and a willingness to carry that burden, whatever the consequences for us professionally, personally, or spiritually. Batman is an anti-hero. There is no glamor in such a role, there are no accolades from an adoring public, and you live in a prison which is in many ways one of your own making. In Christopher Nolan and Frank Miller's Batman, Bruce Wayne is as much a victim of Batman, as he is of the criminals that killed his parents. Bruce Wayne could gallivant around, enjoy the flesh of any woman he desired, live a bacchanal life of pleasures to satisfy and titillate the soul and body, but he does not. Batman is not Tony Stark's Iron Man. No, and despite his problems, who wouldn't want to be Iron Man, and who if they really thought about it, would want to be Batman?
The third is The Joker.
The Joker is freedom through chaos. The Joker never lies. The Joker is a truth teller. The Joker is so powerful precisely because of the sincerity of his beliefs. There is something compelling about a raison d'etre that is so wonderfully sufficient: I do because I can, I exist because I do, I am free of your society's rules because I make my own. The Joker is free. He has no ends on his behavior except those boundaries which he chooses to place on himself. The Joker wins in the Dark Knight because in order to defeat him you have to defeat yourself. The Joker is ultimately triumphant because he makes sense: Why would you choose to die for a society, for people who lack the basic personal integrity and courage to do the right thing? To give you, the Batman, the respect you deserve and have earned? The Joker wins in the Dark Knight because he is consistent, unrelenting and so insane that there is a profound clarity in his meaning and purpose. As we see in the Dark Knight, the Joker, this self-imagined and self-created figure, is sane in his insanity.
The fourth is Harvey Dent.
Harvey Dent is the victim of the public, the Joker, and of Batman. Harvey lived to serve, but in his nobility he was forced to sacrifice all that mattered to him. Harvey Dent, in his appeal to chance--the coin he flipped to make choices--never had to worry about chance because he was his own person. That is the tragedy of Two Face. He was so noble, so desirous of being the White Knight, he could not escape unscarred. The irony, is that like all good people he was punished for doing the right thing. How many of us have done the right thing only to end up the only one that suffered? How many of us have made an intervention, spoke truth to power, only to suffer because of it? How many of us have been righteous in our indignation and deeds and have been made to lose, to hurt, to suffer by those less good, less righteous than we are? And adding insult to injury, who were made to suffer only because it was expedient? This is the quintessential Harvey Dent: a good man made to suffer. And ultimately, it is Harvey Dent who is both simultaneously freed and destroyed by the cathartic freedom of chaos offered by the Joker.
The Batman, the Joker, and Harvey Dent are messiah like anti-heroes. The Batman is a messiah figure because he believes he can bear any burden and through which be an Jungian outlet, a dark knight, for the public's fears and anxieties. Bruce Wayne is solely capable and able to carry upon his shoulders a horrible burden that no one else is able or willing to endure. The Joker is a messiah figure because of his sincerity in belief and action. The Joker sincerely believes in the liberatory power of chaos, of violence, of living outside of the rules imposed by "civil" society. The Joker will free us. Harvey Dent is a messiah because he believes he can save us. Harvey is the bright light, the incorruptible and unflappable defender of the public. These men are all narcissists precisely because to be a savior requires a sincere belief in your own wisdom above that of others. Two of these men, Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent are devastated by the choices that their narcissism when combined with their nobility demand of them. In the end, it is the Joker who stands triumphant because even in the last moments of the Dark Knight, the Joker's narcissism makes him immune to defeat. He has outsmarted Batman. He has bested him. He has dirtied him. The Joker knows he has won because of a final truth which he delights in uttering--the Batman needs him as much as he needs Batman, and the truth is that they, the Batman and the Joker, are not so different after all.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Heath Ledger's performance. There is a subtle, yet iconic moment in the Dark Knight, where the Joker, driving away in a police car after a triumphant escape sticks his head out of the driver side window like an innocent dog out for a ride with his family. This moment of bliss contrasts so wonderfully with the dark madness he channels during the rest of the Dark Knight--do you want to see me make a pencil disappear?--that Heath's Joker is now THE Joker.
They said Heath Ledger stayed in his room, isolating himself in order to prepare himself for this role. In the end, we are watching the Joker, a character so unhinged that we are simultaneously fascinated yet repulsed. We cannot turn away even as we fear what Heath's Joker may do next. For this ghetto nerd, that is the ultimate complement. Heath Ledger, wherever he may be, should be proud of his creation, and if the Fates or the Gods are smiling he deserves an Oscar nomination, if not award, for this singular, triumphant creation.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Chauncey DeVega says--A Question in Response to the Obama-New Yorker Hysteria: Is Our Skin So Thin? Are We Not Stronger Than This?
"If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?"
To be consistently funny is the most difficult of tasks. Satire, perhaps more so.
I would imagine that the New Yorker's audience probably understood the magazine's attempt at satire. It is clear that those outside of the club did not. Simply, I am of the opinion that it fails as satire because there is nothing witty, ironic, particularly insightful, or funny about it (especially when compared against the high standard established by the smart and sharp cartoons that have previously graced the publication's cover).
Here, the central failing is that the cartoon states the obvious, i.e. that there are many people who believe that Obama is a Muslim terrorist and a fifth columnist, and that his wife is a fire-breathing, white people hating, black Nationalist. Okay, I got you. But, where is the payoff? I for one would have liked to see a cover with the same basic image, but instead modifying it by adding Michelle Malkin and Bill O'Reilly donning full body suits to imitate the Obamas, and perhaps McCain peering through the window with lascivious peeperesque glee in his eyes. Now, that would be a cover! But perhaps that cover would be better suited for Mad Magazine or Heavy Metal than the almighty, New Yorker.
Frankly, I have never been a particular fan of the New Yorker because it is too smart and self-consciously intellectual for its own good. Proof in point, their film critic disliked the movie Iron Man (how could you? Do you not have a soul and a heart?) and they have given Batman: the Dark Knight a negative review as well (how joyless they are):
Come on people, sometimes you just have to enjoy life. In my opinion, those cosmopolitan folk at the New Yorker just take themselves a bit too seriously is all. It doesn't upset me, it doesn't throw me into fits, I simply don't "get" the publication's hyper inflated sense of its own gravitas.
Not surprisingly, the brouhaha over the New Yorker's "offensive" cover was a conversation I was not too keen on participating in. It seemed over discussed, much ado about nothing, and while I understand how some could be upset, I felt that the energy being expended over a distracting sideshow could be better spent elsewhere: the housing crisis, on helping the unemployed, on finding a solution to the indebtedness of our country to multinational banks and foreign governments, or on staving off the impending Recession/Depression.
The New York Times with their piece on why comedians are afraid to make fun of Obama (all that messy race stuff), and (quite surprisingly) Gary Kamiya at Salon.com, both hit the nail on the head: Are we so sensitive that every poke, tickle, or unpleasant dig must be met by cries of offense and with clarions of bloody murder? Moreover, why do we have an expectation that popular culture, political humor, or satire more generally, should be "offense free?" That it should be easy? Or that popular culture should always make us feel good or validated?
Maybe I am an old soul, or perhaps I am hardened a bit, but aren't we--we meaning people of color generally, and my black people in particular, a bit tougher than this? And I will be generous and add liberals and progressives to this list as well--at least the old school Lefties who had courage and true grit--can we not laugh at ourselves? Must all art, humor, or popular culture be politically correct?
Consider for a moment: Black Americans have fought off the chains of slavery, struggled for the full rights and fruits of citizenship, improved American democracy for all peoples, fought in every war and conflict, never backed down from white supremacy, struggled to educate ourselves and our children when the State said "No," formed maroon colonies to resist the regime of slavery, and generally have done pretty damn well for ourselves (and yes, we have much more to improve), but a cartoon, a failed bit of satire, is the source of consternation and angst? How would our honored ancestors feel about that? Are we not stronger and tougher than what the New Yorker hysteria suggests?
Perhaps we respectable negroes need to make an intervention? Maybe we need to correct the historical myopia embodied in the New Yorker hysteria by providing examples of some truly racist and vile popular culture? Why not...
Exhibit One: A Little Old School Minstrelsy
Exhibit Two: Speaks for Itself
Exhibit Three: Oh Those were Good Times, weren't They?
Exhibit Four: Cartoons are Fun and Harmless, aren't They?
Exhibit Five: A Powerful Film that is Wholly Under Appreciated
Exhibit Six: Get Me Some Fried Chicken!
I feel dirty. These images are truly ugly, ugly spiritually, foul in their energy, and cruel because of the political work and power they embody and encourage.
How about the following challenge: Is this segment from Mad TV's, My Black Momma smart satire or is it crude "racism?" Is it hurtful? Mean? Unfunny? Or is it brilliant? Is there such as thing as "positive" or "empowering" racist satire? Or are they mutually exclusive? And no, I won't give away my answer.
Folks had better toughen up a bit because as this race continues, and if Obama wins, he, like any other president will be fair game--and rightfully so. Because to treat Obama just like any other candidate, to muck rake, to attack him, to swift boat him not because he is black, but because he is running for the position of President, the most powerful person on Earth, would be a true step towards racial equality.
Yes, some of the attacks will be tasteless. Yes, some of the criticism will be motivated by racism. Yes, some of it will hurt. But you know, I really think that we should thank the fates that while these images and their legacy are still with us, looming in our political and social subconscious, that we live in a moment of hopeful possibilities. Or perhaps, I, we, dare to dream too much?
Monday, July 14, 2008
From: Chauncey DeVega, field operative
Re: Operation Blackout's Success with Principal Targets Jesse Jackson and Bernie Mack
It has been several months since my initial reports on Operation Crabs in a Barrel and the Obama-Wright Affair. As outlined in my earlier recommendations, the Wright doppelganger has been under close surveillance. Also, in my efforts to determine how to best contain the threat posed by Reverend Wright, I have consulted with our experts in the psychic warfare division (their particular brand of "science" has always made me a bit nervous, and these most recent encounters are no exception). Ultimately, these meetings gave birth to Operation Blackout.
Operation Blackout's principal goal is to push undecided and swing voters to the Obama camp through the application of covert means such as the use of remote mind-control and personality conditioning, as well as the deployment of agent provocateurs within the McCain camp and at Fox News (by example, our cultivation of Geraldine Ferraro and Bill Clinton worked wonderfully, and Agent 69's seduction of both targets was rewarded with a commendation and promotion).
Our intelligence division correctly identified the dynamics of Obama's weakness among "hard working white voters" some time ago and we have been scrambling to find a solution. McCain's closing of the gap with Obama in several polls is further evidence that we must initiate more radical plans if we are to ensure an Obama victory. Unfortunately, some in the white working class may be beyond either the reach of normal political appeals to material self interest, or to the wisdom of voting for Obama as a function of common sense.
Several months ago, we became aware that a sleeper cell of Greater Opposition Party (GOP) agents had been activated in Flag City. This area has long been a hotbed of GOP activity and we have kept it under close scrutiny (in fact, Flag City was originally one of the "model communities" that Cobra's elite Crimson Guard had infiltrated in the mid 1980s) . As is typical GOP standard operating procedure, they chose to hide their control over the city in plain sight--the same way the Soviets used to operate with their command and control centers during the Cold War--and even went so far as to have their contacts at the Washington Post write a feature story about Flag City's residents.
Even when allowing for ideologically rooted ambivalence towards Barack Obama, the levels of anti-Obama animus among Flag City residents was shockingly high. Following through on my concerns, I pursued an intuition and inserted a small team into the hills surrounding Flag City to begin a more intensive surveillance campaign. I also requisitioned one of the new Reaper drones from an ally in Air Force Intelligence. This drone was put on alert and began signals intelligence over Flag City. On my orders, this drone was equipped with a high band electromagnetic energy spectrum analyzer. As expected, the drone detected anomalous readings from within Flag City. My worst fears were confirmed: the GOP was in fact controlling the residents of Flag City with a Brainwave Scanner.
It has been several years since we last came upon one of these horrific devices. As a reminder, the original devices were limited to targeting a very small area, and were ideally used for controlling only one person at a time. The energy readings from the device we detected in Flag City were orders of magnitude greater than those emitted by the comparatively simple models in use some decades ago. As per standing orders (whenever a grade one threat is encountered standing order 101 allows us to circumvent the Posse Comitatas Act and deploy our forces on U.S. soil) I deployed our troops with the following mission: 1) to seize the device with a minimal loss of life, and 2) remain unseen and unidentified by the residents of Flag City.
A small group was inserted into the town where it was supplemented by some former members of Task Force 145 (Delta commandos and Seal Team 6 mostly, with some operators from 1st Recon in the mix as well) who have joined our cause. The strike team formed a perimeter around the main science building of the local university, forced entry, and applied non-lethal force to subdue the human security in the area. Our team did encounter a surprise upon breaching the control room for the Brainwave Scanner: Battle Android Troopers (BATS) were defending the device. Fortunately, the team had deployed with a targeted EMP device and were able to deactivate the BATS without damaging the Brainwave Scanner).
Note: upon reading the after action report I was reminded of our early struggles against those damn machines and how they make those robots from the Terminator films look like children's toys.
The presence of both the BATS and the Brainwave Scanner pointed to the presence of one obvious foe, Dr. Mindbender:
We believed that Dr. Mindbender was "off the grid." True, he had recently worked with Roger Ailes at Fox News and was a long time confidante and adviser to Karl Rove, but after the Iraq debacle it was thought that Mindbender had decided to ply his craft overseas. Luck was with us again, as Mindbender was seized while attempting to leave town via speedboat and he was immediately secreted away to one of our safe houses.
Mindbender is a treasure trove of knowledge regarding mind control, interrogation techniques, psychic operations, and the occult (his father and grandfather were key members of Hitler's Thule society and were indispensable to the Nazi's efforts to obtain the Spear of Destiny). It was at this point that I made the faithful decision to move forward with a plan to deploy the Brainwave Scanner in order to influence key opinion leaders, targets of opportunity, and any others who could be used for our cause.
Personal Note: this decision has caused me no small amount of anxiety and doubt. Yes, there is a precedent for working with a war criminal for the greater good (our use of Nazi scientists to develop the space program following World War 2 comes to mind), but I still hope that we are making the right choice. Our plan will certainly raise some eyebrows when in the far future its full dimensions come to light (as is common to all of our missions, Operation Blackout's records will be sealed for 100 years). I am a firm believer in our democracy, but from time to time it must be helped along. I know I both speak for the agents under my command, as well as reflect your leadership, when I state that it is this common faith in our cause which empowers us to make these types of difficult decisions.
Operation Blackout began with several small tests of concept and operation which proved immediately successful (the singer in Denver who substituted the Black National Anthem for the Star Spangled Banner was our first target). Rather than attempt to influence the public in mass through a direct application of the Brainwave Scanner, a rather clumsy tactic in my opinion, I developed a counter-intuitive strategy with a high level of plausible deniability.
For phase one, I developed a list of targets according to the following criteria: What persons could be turned against Obama, and through their actions draw white voters towards Obama's camp? Accordingly, this application of the truism "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," involves provoking blacks (and others) that many in the the white public have extreme dislike for into attacking Obama. Phase Two will involve the conditioning of prominent conservatives, individuals who should by all measures be against Obama, into eventually supporting his candidacy for president. The sum effect of Operation Blackout will be a net gain for Obama in the presidential campaign.
Operation Blackout's first targets include(d)
1. Jesse Jackson
2. Bernie Mack
Both of these targets followed their programming. Jesse Jackson was programmed to express a desire to "cut Obama's nuts off" for "talking down to Black people." Although, he was not programmed to do so, Jesse Jackson may have used even stronger language to describe Obama (we are still analyzing the tapes). Mindbender believes that this second outburst, if it did in fact occur, was a result of the Brainwave Scanner freeing Jackson to state opinions that he may in fact deeply hold. In total, we believe that the Jackson-Fox event is pushing whites towards Obama--Fox News's decision to censor the interview hints that the GOP agents at Fox may also be mindful of this effect.
Bernie Mack's conditioning resulted in his using off color language during a comedy routine he performed at an Obama campaign dinner. Although this could have potentially embarrassed Obama, the plan worked as outlined with Obama playfully chastising Mack at the event and earning more praise from the public and mainstream media.
Future targets for phase one include:
1. Al Sharpton
2. Louis Farrakhan
3. Marion Berry
4. Charles Barkley
5. Harry Belafonte
6. Sheila Jackson Lee
7. Carol Moseley Braun
I will continue to update you on Operation Blackout as it develops. We are still in the process of developing a target list for phase two. If you have any suggestions for persons or groups that should be added to the target file, please forward them to my secure email. We are also open to expanding the target list to include "progressives." Per procedure, you will be updated should the plan encounter either unexpected difficulties or surprising successes as we continue to shape the battlefield prior to the Democratic and Republican conventions.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, Obama's Nuts, and Jesse's Pain: An Exclusive Interview with Jesse Jackson
We Are Respectable Negroes News Network (WARNNN): Hello, Reverend Jackson, we appreciate your agreeing to this exclusive interview.
Jesse Jackson (JJ): Yes, thank you, it is a pleasure to be here.
WARNNN: You have been at the center of a whirlwind these last few days following your comments on Fox News where you stated that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama should "stop talking down to Black people," and that you want to "cut his nuts off." Can you please share with our readers the context of these comments? Why would you say such a thing? And how have you been feeling these last few days following the incident?
JJ: Well, first of all, I would like to apologize for my comments. I did not mean any harm. They were indeed mean-spirited, untimely, and a mistake. You know, we are all deeply flawed creatures and no man or woman is above admitting guilt. Only God is perfect, and I know I am not. Second, what I meant to actually say was that faith based initiatives are not an adequate solution to the structural problems of inter-generational poverty, white supremacy, and racism--factors which still explain the problems in the black community...I would really like Barack to focus more on those issues. I have been a supporter of Barack for many years. I know him and his wife and children. I actually care a great deal for him as a person and perhaps I stepped over the line because of how close we are.
WARNNN: Some have wondered if your comments directed at Obama are rooted in some type of bitterness or anger towards Obama's success as a presidential candidate? Are you "hating" on Barack at all? Is this some type of "player hating" on the part of the old guard Civil Rights leadership towards younger black politicians?
JJ: No, no, no. No player hating here! Let the waters fall from the mountaintop as we celebrate Obama's success. This has been a long struggle and Obama is part of a legacy that goes through me, Shirley Chisholm, A. Phillip Randolph, Malcolm X, and of course Dr. King and all the other black freedom fighters who worked to make American democracy the fulfillment of a prophetic vision.
WARNNN: Back to your comments about Barack Obama's testicles. Don't you think your comments were tasteless? And why his "nuts?" Wouldn't you have been one of the first voices to clamor for the public censoring of a white politician if he wanted to castrate a leading black public official?
JJ: Now, we know context matters. If a white politician wanted to castrate a black man there is a whole historical legacy of slavery and lynching there, and he or she would know better than to make such an allusion. I am not a hypocrite, this is a deeply personal issue for me and I am really saddened by everything [begins sobbing].
WARNNN: Are you okay Reverend Jackson? Why are you crying?
JJ: This is so hard you know? I have held the movement on my shoulders for so long. I was there with Martin. You have seen the picture right? I felt like when I held Martin as he laid dying that the mantle was passed to me [still sobbing].
WARNNN: Please tell us more.
JJ: I, just, I am exhausted is all. I have fought against white supremacy for so long. So many marches and struggles. So much loss and pain. I have had this burden for so long and I am just spent. And you know? I have never told anyone this, through all of my efforts to help black folk I have begun to see that we are our own worst enemies. There I said it...back in the 1990s when I said that I was scared when I saw a young black man walking towards me, I really meant it.
WARNNN: Are you serious Reverend? Would you like a break?
JJ: No, no, please don't stop me.
WARNNN: Okay. So you hate black people? Then why have you worked for so long to help the black community.
JJ: It isn't that at all. I love black people, I just have come to realize that I have internalized white racism. I have to make a confession because it is through bearing ourselves that we are made strong in the eyes of God, I have been in therapy for several years. And my comments about Barack were a result of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.
WARNNN: We are familiar with PTSS, but please explain it to our readers.
JJ: You see slavery and its after effects have damaged black people in a profound way. Jim Crow, segregation, racial violence, Ronald Reagan, Hurricane Katrina, we are damaged by all of this hate and this hurt was never dealt with. Like many others I have internalized this pain. And this psychosis has made me fixate on what I believe is the greatest threat against our people: the black man's nuts.
WARNNN: Jesse, are you saying that you want to get rid of black men's "nuts" in order to save the black community from itself?
JJ: Yes, think about it. White people are afraid of our sexual potency, the life energy in our nuts. When I said that I was afraid of the brothers on the street that is what I was afraid of--the energy in their nuts. Plus, think about it, all the social dysfunction and chaos among the black poor, lots of it is caused by these young brothers being cum droppers. They just go around making babies and laying with women. They can't help it because it's their nuts that is behind all of this madness.
WARNNN: What about your behavior? Your affairs? The love children that you have with your mistresses? Is that because of your out of control testicles? Do your chocolate, salty balls rule your life?
JJ: Yes, now you understand. I don't want to cut off just Obama's nuts. I want to cut mine off as well. Even Bill Cosby, he has baby mama drama too--the most upright among us can't resist the urges in our nuts. If we cut them off we will be better as a people. R. Kelly, our most gifted artist, he was almost brought down by his nuts. And my weaknesses for the flesh have caused me so much pain [sobbing again].
JJ: The ways I have been made fun of. Did you know that people have made Christmas cards with my likeness which mocked the control that my nuts have over my life? Hell, someone even made a poster for a gay phone sex line that featured my image and the slogan for Operation Push. It just hurts so much. I am so weak, I just want to cut them off.
WARNNN: But then, how will we reproduce?
JJ: We will figure it out. Did you ever see that beautiful queen Alexyss Tylor on youtube? She talks a lot about the life force in our nuts. She understands what I am talking about:
And I feel so ugly inside and out. During all this mess, I had the occasion to look in a mirror and I realized just how unattractive I really am.
WARNNN: You do bare a striking resemblance to a character from the Star Wars films, the one who was flying the Millennium Falcon with Lando in Return of the Jedi:
JJ: I know I do, his name is Nien Numb. I have been getting hate mail for years with his picture attached to them.
WRNNN: Any closing thoughts? Are you getting help for your Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome Reverend Jackson?
JJ: Yes, I am. It is a long road to healing. I just hate my nuts and want them removed because they have caused me so much pain. I just had a moment of weakness--the doctors call it transference--where I put my pain onto Barack is all. I don't want to cut his nuts off, I really just want to cut off my own. I am so sorry, I am just so very confused. Please forgive me [sobbing].
Remember when the OJ chase interrupted the NBA playoffs? In an eerily reminiscent fashion, it seems that Jesse Jackson wants to cut Obama's nuts off. In the darkest recesses of our minds we couldn't have imagined this wonderful news gem. Accordingly, we are quite reluctantly forced to preempt hip hop week. Rest assured, we will return to it shortly. But, coming up later today, we will have an exclusive interview with Jesse Jackson in which Jesse discusses his comments towards Obama, and reveals to the world his shocking, long held, and deep feelings towards Obama's testicles.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Public Enemy move into the realm of sonic genius due to their innovative approach to dissonance; piss off even more white parents with their militant, anti-white politics
MF Doom releases Operation: Doomsday, a creative masterwork blending 80s easy listening R& B, monster movies, and cartoons. And he does it all while donning a metal mask as part of his character’s back story. He’s essentially doing ghetto performance art!
Jay-Z declares himself the greatest rapper alive; draws parallels between the corner drug dealer and the corporate maven; transcends the ghetto niche with witty lyrics and pop beats.
Outkast channels Funkadelic and broadens hip hop’s palette: they’re from the South, one of them dresses funny, they experiment with electronic music
Record labels Def Jux, Anticon move hip hop out of the ghetto, expanding boundaries by making cerebral hip hop that’s more like indie rock in its approach
Buzz builds around 50 Cent, a NY rapper who embodies primal black aggression and sexuality; plus, he was really shot 9 times. How authentic!
Caushun, the first openly gay rapper, starts getting national publicity
Def Jux, Anticon become too white and corny; not in touch with what’s going on with real people
For the first time in hip hop’s history, Kanye West presents a complex black persona--no longer do rappers have to be either thugs or preachy conscious artists.
Critics in the know realize that Camron and Dipset are Dadaist geniuses.
Dangermouse hits the postmodern critical jackpot by blending the music from The Beatles’ White Album with the vocals from Jay Z’s Black Album to make The Grey Album
Wu Tang is back! Well, Ghostface is, at least
Common is the antichrist: he dresses strangely and panders to a pseudo-intellectual, racially insecure fan base
The Streets, MIA, Dizzee Rascal wow music fans. The UK is the future of hip hop
MF Doom, Dangermouse become corporate shills and drop a shitty album for Cartoon Network
Lil Wayne, The Clipse deliver the 2 greatest mixtapes ever (of the 3 we’ve heard)
Lil Wayne drops The Carter II, which instantly becomes the greatest rap album ever
UGK puts Texas rap on the map
Several great rappers emerge from New Orleans, Miami, Houston, Memphis. The American South is the new UK!
It’s officially OK for white people to say “nigga” as long as they’re ironic and not really racist
With Kingdom Come, Jay-Z abandons the “realness” of the hood and becomes an elitist corporate shill. He starts to suck
By declaring hip hop dead, Nas snatches the hip hop antichrist mantle from Common
A record number of black people (5) show up to the Pitchfork Music Festival. They are cordial and honor most people’s requests to take pictures with them.
The Cool Kids bring a fresh, retro approach to a stagnant hip hop landscape
Unfortunately, Caushun revealed to be a hoax
Race, gender, region, skill, access to equipment no longer barriers to rap success; knowledge of rap no longer a barrier to writing hip hop music criticism. Hip hop finally becomes the embodiment of the democratic ideal!
Monday, July 7, 2008
So rather than look at these professional pictures of the day from our local big city fancy paper (lies and propaganda! all of it!), please join me on my journey as I bring you only those facts which are fit to tell.
Exhibit Number One: All that Ails the Captive Black Nation in America can be Cured at the African Caribbean Festival:
The black community is afflicted, literally and symbolically by gas, bloating, constipation, and stress. If we all had a communal drink of this wonder elixir our problems would be fixed tomorrow and we would be happy, healthy, and wise.
Exhibit Number Two: Obama! Obama! Obama!..T Shirts for Sale
I do hope Obama gets some residuals because his face is everywhere and is on everything. The festival was a great example of "politics as popular culture" because in every badly sung bit of music there was an Obama mention. For example: Badly sung Caribbean fake Patois Lyric (insert Obama) Badly sung Caribbean fake Patois Lyric (insert Obama) Man jumps around stage like Buju Banton or Shabba Ranks circa 1994 (insert Obama) (insert blast horn/air raid siren noise) repeat indefinitely. And by the way, the Chi-lites performed and they looked like a wax museum brought to life--except the wax statues continued to age while they were in the museum.
The stakes are high folks. I actually risked my safety to bring you this photo as the vendor confronted me about "stealing his intellectual property," and that "I should buy a T Shirt rather than documenting my day." I didn't have the heart to tell him that he was selling bootlegged, counterfeit T-Shirts himself...he was old and angry, so in the interest of peace I simply moved along.
Exhibit Number Three: It is Sexy Time
Exhibit Number Four: It is Thelma from Good Times
Exhibit Number Five: Guns, Money and the Bible?
Exhibit Number Six: The Queen Mother of the World
This is more like it. Did you know the black woman, a woman in Africa, was the first modern human--the queen mother of all? Did you know that the black woman is a queen? Did you know the first person to ever have a thought was a black person? I bet you didn't? Why? Because hip hop has poisoned your mind through its negative depictions of black women. As a corrective, I suggest you go to the African Caribbean festival (or your local AfroCentric bookstore, flea market, or Marshall's department store) and heal your mind and body by purchasing, studying and reflecting on the spiritual uplift provided by "positive" black artwork.
Exhibit Number Seven: Black Man and Black Woman We are Bonded to Each Other!
Exhibit Number Eight: Black Man and Black Woman We are Carved from Each Other
Exhibit Number Nine: The White Man won't Let Us have Our Day
Blacktown. net please empower me against this assault:
Regardless of the way the day ended, it was still wonderful to be out and about with my people. It was a wonderful day of multicultural fun (Gordon do you get the hint?). I feel rejuvenated in my blackness and I am now ready to struggle on.
What brilliant left bloggers like Field and Greenwald have been saying about left ideology and policy is unsettling. Obama, many on the left argue, is pandering to the right with a series of public policy positions over the last couple of weeks. The assertion that Obama is strategically moving to the right or the center has gone largely unchallenged in the mainstream media. No big surprise there. That few in the popular blogosphere (which is said to foster a higher level of political discourse) have challenged the supposed “Obama is moving to the center” truism is more serious—it highlights one of the major problems with self-identified “liberals”: they are driven by uncritical attachment to ideological orthodoxy, so, in effect, they are not considerably different from the conservatives they loathe.
Just to be clear: I agree that Obama is trying to preemptively combat the right’s ridiculous charges that he’s a radical liberal. These left critics have every right to call out Obama on matters of principle and consistency. What’s bothering me is that they take for granted that Obama’s recent policy positions are undeniably right-leaning (or at least antithetical to progressive causes).
I’m willing to admit that the left has some inherent base principles—respect for legitimate difference; advocacy for the relatively disadvantaged, for instance. However, aside from supporting gay legal rights, there is no major current policy position that characterizes left principles. All others—pro-affirmative action measures, pro-choice policies, pacifism—don’t cut it. My problem with the Obama-as-ideological-turncoat meme is that Obama’s recent policy positions don’t actually undermine any fundamental left principles. I don’t think his positions are conservative; I think they’re practical. Big difference.
Let’s have a look at some of these positions over which Obama’s taking heat from the left:
1.) On Father’s Day, Obama blasted “cum droppers” who fail to take responsibility for their children. And what do negroes do? Run him down for criticizing black men in earshot of white folks. “He’s become Cosby.” Shit, I hope so! Everybody with sense (including Dyson) knows that The Cos’ was right. Yet, many on the left are content to let people claim personal responsibility and fatherhood as conservative values (but only in public), while the majority of kids in the most vulnerable neighborhoods languish without fathers. No wonder “liberal” is such a dirty word.
2.) After years of support for gun control laws, Obama recently stated that the recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision overturning D.C.’s ban on handguns would “provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country” and suggested that he had always backed the individual rights view of gun ownership. That’s all fine with me, but I wonder how many of the liberals condemning him (well, the black ones anyway) valorize the Panthers and the Deacons for Defense?
3.) While we’re on the subject of the Supreme Court and 5-4 decisions, Obama disagreed with their recent 5-4 decision that a State nay not impose the death penalty for child rapists (and, more broadly, for criminals whose victims did not die). So, Obama supports the death penalty for child rapists? What a callous monster!
4.) Obama declares that he would like to reform and expand Bush’s program to send government funds to religious charities and is catching hell from the left. I am certainly no fan of the erosion of the separation of church and state, but segments of this country are seriously fucked up. There are areas within our borders that resemble mini failed states, and given our spending habits, government cannot fix this mess by itself. I don’t even fuck with religion, but that sounds practical to me, especially since he’s against these faith-based programs discriminating based on creed.
5.) Obama panders to AIPAC, gives his full support to Israel, and talks tough toward Iran, and all of a sudden, he’s a spineless neocon. Uh, how many prominent politicians in the U.S., progressive or otherwise, fail to publicly profess full support for Israel?
6.) Obama gives a speech on his patriotism, and he’s a Reaganite. Hey, I don’t understand any form of collectivist ideology, especially those of the flag-waving variety, but why should Obama be criticized for holding these Mr. Smith goes to Washington ideals? Didn’t the whole flag pin nonsense reveal that Obama’s was a more critical brand of patriotism?
7.) Obama states that he may need to “refine” his policy on Iraq, and the response to this non-story is swift. Is he backtracking? Is he pandering? Will he keep us in Iraq as long as McCain would? Whatever. Don’t we rail against Bush for his stubborn refusal to change his policies in light of new information?
8.) Obama supports the FISA compromise. In all fairness, the left is correct to criticize Obama for this position. No good can come from expansive government spying Greenwald has done great work on Democrat's FISA capitulation.
Again, it’s healthy to criticize Obama’s recent positions; it’s troubling, though, to take away his progressive card for taking these particular positions. By ostracizing anyone who doesn’t toe the ideological line, I fear that those on the left are conceding that the mark of progressive thought is not critical thinking—challenging the status quo, and seeking to overturn unjust traditional power relations—but simply being against conservatives.
That is called groupthink.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
It seems that there are some self-hating black folks who are actively organizing against Obama (I emphasize the "active" because I really don't care if you are self-hating, stay in your house, and mind your own business). I also don't believe in either orthodoxy tests for "blackness," or in arbitrarily kicking people out of the "tribe" so to speak because they neither sufficiently nor correctly perform "blackness." However, black Republicans and their decision to support a party which clearly doesn't have the interests of their community at heart has always vexed me (except if you are rich, in which case it would make sense to this respectable negro--black utility heuristic aside--to vote your pocketbook).
With that having been said, I would not deem black Republicans to be any more or less "black" than I would kente cloth wearing, spoken word, all day pontificating, conspiracy theory possessed, Border's bookstore chess-playing, former black Panthers. In my opinion, I have found these distinctions and conversations to be both unproductive and purely normative. For me, the question has always been: Do you love your people? Do you believe in justice? And how are you working toward that end? We can fight about the details, but ultimately, I care more about the end goal, than how we get there.
However, some black conservatives work so feverishly in the service of ingratiating themselves to "White Folk" at the expense of justice, common sense, and decency that they must be called out. Random thought: isn't it funny how these sycophants often don't realize that the very white folks whose butts these lapdogs are kissing, actually don't respect them as people?
To that point, it seems that the National Black Republican Association (a.k.a. Uncle Toms Against Obama) is running a series of advertisements where they attack the presumed Democratic presidential nominee. Some choice excerpts from the Washington Post:
Here's a sample of what you might hear on your radio: "Bitter is what Obama called blacks and whites who love God. Racist is what Obama called his white grandmother who raised him and made sacrifices so Obama could get a good education and become a millionaire," says the narrator one of the spots.
"Obama's mentor for 20-years was Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who said innocent Americans deserved to die on September 11th," says the voiceover in another.In reading the article, I felt like I had stepped through the looking glass. Maybe, I said to myself, I am in alternate reality of sorts? A reality that is profoundly different from my own, where the arguments offered by the National Black Republican Association actually makes sense?
Hmmmm....that's it. I am displaced in time and space: I have fallen down the rabbit hole!
It seems in my confusion, that I may need to seek out truth seekers to guide me on my journey: Fortunately, I think I may have found one in Mr. HK Edgerton:
Are there any other mentors, personal gurus who can me find the Right path back to the light? Is there anyone--Larry Elder can you hear my pleas?--anyone at all, who is able to help this profoundly confused, respectable negro? Maybe I need to go to the source, to embark upon a quest to find the holy grail: a Rosetta stone that will help me understand the alternate reality in which the National Black Republicans reside?
Luckily, I think I may have found it:
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Hopefully, Mr. Horn has a legal defense fund we can contribute to--just kidding, or am I?
Here is the Horn story and the link to one of our first blog posts which is to this day (at least by our humble standards) one of our most popular posts. Given that we have grown a bit in our readership over the last few months, a flashback seems both timely, and appropriate.
HOUSTON, Texas (AP) -- A Texas man who shot and killed two men he suspected of burglarizing his neighbor's home was cleared in the shootings Monday by a grand jury.
Joe Horn shot and killed two men last November after he saw them crawl out a neighbor's window.
Joe Horn, 61, shot the two men in November after he saw them crawling out the windows of a neighbor's house in the Houston suburb of Pasadena.
Horn called 911 and told the dispatcher he had a shotgun and was going to kill the men. The dispatcher pleaded with him not to go outside, but Horn confronted the men with a 12-gauge shotgun and shot both in the back.
"The message we're trying to send today is the criminal justice system works," Harris County District Attorney Kenneth Magidson said.
Horn's attorney, Tom Lambright, has said his client believed the two men had broken into his neighbor's home and that he shot them only when they came into his yard and threatened him.
The two Horn suspected of committing burglary, Hernando Riascos Torres, 38, and Diego Ortiz, 30, were unemployed illegal immigrants from Colombia. Torres was deported to Colombia in 1999 after a 1994 cocaine-related conviction.
The episode touched off protests from civil rights activists who said the shooting was racially motivated and that Horn took the law into his own hands. Horn's supporters defended his actions, saying he was protecting himself and being a good neighbor to a homeowner who was out of town.
- KHOU: Local coverage
"I understand the concerns of some in the community regarding Mr. Horn's conduct," Magidson said. "The use of deadly force is carefully limited in Texas law to certain circumstances ... In this case, however, the grand jury concluded that Mr. Horn's use of deadly force did not rise to a criminal offense."
Lambright did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment from The Associated Press.
Texas law allows people to use deadly force to protect themselves if it is reasonable to believe they are in mortal danger. In limited circumstances, people also can use deadly force to protect a neighbor's property; for example, if a homeowner asks a neighbor to watch over his property while he's out of town.
It's not clear whether the neighbor whose home was burglarized asked Horn to watch over his house.
This is gonna be a long one...
A few months back, a story circulated regarding a drug called, "jenkem." Apparently, this "new" drug, a product of Africa of course--where those poor natives do nothing but fight famine, suffer under genocide, live in failed States, and huff shit--consists of human feces and urine in a bong. Here, the "user" would take a "hit" by inhaling the noxious fumes generated by this ungodly concoction:
2. .09: the New Black Panthers make their appearance. Doesn't their leadership look like something out of Reverend Slick's, "Jive Soul Bro' Video?"
3. .11: "You are a disgrace to your race, get a job"--white symbolic racism in action
4. 1:02: "U.S.A., U.S.A."--Uhh ohh, the "White Power," oops I mean "U.S.A." chants have begun. Frankly, I prefer the honesty of Seig Heil and those honest skinhead types who advertise their bigotry and don't hide behind slogans of "equality" or "freedom"
5. 1:17 to 3:07: motorcycle's revving their engines and more U.S.A. chants--You know motorcycles scare off black radicals. Note to any white racists reading this post: motorcycles are more effective than water when it comes to scaring away black people.
6. 3:56-7:40: More U.S.A. chants
7. 8;37-8:51: More rebel yells, motorcycles revving, and The New Black Panthers beat a hasty retreat
Member of Cobra
Code Name: Revolution
Real Name: Ty Jackson
Bio: Recruited from the legendary rap group Public Enemy's cadre of elite bodyguards, The S1W's, Revolution is an expert in political theater and all manner of clowning and cooning. Although only 5 feet tall, Revolution has spent time in the Army National Guard where he received a dishonorable discharge for drug use and insubordination. Revolution, later went to prison where he was recruited by Cobra. Following his formal training on Cobra Island, Revolution was tasked with corrupting black radical organizations. As a member of the "Ebony Guards," Revolution worked in parallel with The Crimson Guard. While the latter was tasked with infiltrating suburban communities, corporations, and industry, the Ebony Guards were tasked with urban "renewal" and ghetto "pacification."
Weapon specialties: Saturday night specials; zip guns; Molotov cocktails; spoken word poetry; bad fashion; revolutionary fury; instant recall of conspiracy theories; and knowledge of self.
Postscript: Now, I would of course be Snake-Eyes, Zora would be Scarlett, but Gordon who would you be? Maybe Doc, or perhaps Alpine?