Monday, July 21, 2008

Chauncey DeVega says: All the News that is Fit to Print? How the New York Times Helped Us Learn About a Pimp's Reading Habits

So it seems the New York Times has found some space to share the compelling story of Mr. Corey Davis aka "Magnificent," a local pimp in the New York area, and the exciting reading materials he had in his possession at the time of arrest.

Magnificent favored books included:

1. Black Wall Street
2. The Willie Lynch Letter
3. The 48 Laws of Power
4. Whore-Whoever said Whoring wasn't Easy

The other items of interest were some tacky "Afrocentric" art, special boots for "stomping" his prostitutes (he was a gorilla pimp it seems--in my worldliness I have come to know the nuances of pimp slang), and a special t-shirt that he wore during his "disciplinary" sessions which was emblazoned with the slogan "The Beatings Will Continue." Most interestingly, Magnificent also had in his possession a NAACP New York Volunteer business card. Again, as I am so fond of saying, sometimes you can't make this stuff up.

I smiled when I read this story because 1) I can imagine the writer of this "news" item smiling while playing with her metaphorical upturned mustache as she provided a little bit of voyeuristic pleasure for the readers of the New York Times; and 2) she probably delighted in pulling aside the veil and exposing for the world the exciting details of another black ign't's degenerate lifestyle.

These types of stories are heir to a great tradition of ghetto muckraking (I do hope that Editor and Publisher does a feature on this phenomenon so I can be appropriately cited for this turn of phrase) by the mainstream media--a tradition which has included stories on laws against sagging pants, features on the many criminals foiled because their pants fell down while said hoodlums were trying to escape (or here where the knucklehead was actually shot by the police), crazy, fat, black pre-teen degenerates who steal and destroy their grandma's car in a live action reenactment of Grand Theft Auto 4...and who are now in custody for beating up relatives over chicken wings:

And of course, one cannot forget the moral panic which surrounds the juking parties that are apparently all the rage at our local high schools.

But, the Time's piece does beg the question: What should a pimp read? No, seriously, what books would make him or her better in the pursuit of their life vocation?

My reading suggestions, and I will gladly add yours to the list as well, would certainly include:

1. Pimp by Iceberg Slim--THE pimp manual;
2. Freakonomics--there is no problem yet conceived which this book cannot be an aid in solving
3. The Tao of Pooh--a pimp needs balance in his or her life;
4. The DSM IV--the diagnostic manual for therapists and mental health professionals;
5. Man Sharing: Dilemma of Choice, a Radical New Way of Relating to the Men in Your Life--one needs a meta-narrative to help your "employees" understand and feel invested in the pimp-ho relationship;
6. Behind Every Strong Black Woman, There Is A Bastard Black Man: Love Sex? Randy? Punany Could be a Dangerous Ballgame!--I just liked the title;
7. The Blackwoman's Guide to Understanding the Blackman by Shaharazad Ali--frankly, if he had Willie Lynch I am really surprised that Ali's book didn't turn up as well;
8. How to Win Friends and Influence People--obvious and practical;
9. Black Players: The Secret World of Pimps--actually written by 2 white swingers in the 1970s.

The other fact of this case which caused me some confusion and consternation, was how disheveled and low rent Mr. Davis looked in his arrest photo. I know going to the lockup does wonders for one's appearance, but his slovenly way speaks volumes about the state of the game.

In the golden days, that bygone era of macking, a pimp had to come correct. Consider some of the 1970s role models:

I always wanted that suit, but my mom wouldn't let me buy it at the Good Will.


Curtis Mayfield we miss you.

Perhaps our present economic downturn has had a negative impact on the sex economy? In perusing Youtube and the Internet it seems that the self-regulating standards among pimps have certainly gone down.

Raggedy pimping in action:

A Mack who is true to the game--Now let me pimp or let me die!

Archbishop Don Magic Juan where you at?

Mr. Fillmore Slim, the wisest mack of them all, we are desperately in need of your wisdom:

Okay I couldn't resist.

It seems that the latest trend in the game is "internet pimping." Apparently, it isn't too hard to find damaged, vulnerable, and stupid folk and proceed to pimp them online. MySpace is great isn't it?

I don't admire pimps, but I do find them interesting. As part of my life mantra, I sincerely try to take knowledge gleamed from whatever sources I may come upon, and put it to good use. For example, one of my favorite life lessons came from Ice-T, when he explained how all of us, each and everyone one of us, as long as we are working for someone else in any capacity at all, is really a ho and would gain great peace through an acknowledgment of that uncomfortable fact:

Speaking truth to power again Mr. Ice-T as you effortlessly channel Karl Marx--and adding insult to injury your bed mate is that white queen Coco--some guys have all the luck it seems. Although that young ign't Souljah boy mocked Ice-T as an "old man," the brother is really onto something in his analysis of the relationship between globalization, labor and Capital. While the New York Times wants to focus on raggedy pimps, they should really use their esteemed platform to focus on the abuse we are all suffering at the goon hands of the biggest macks of them all, a rogues gallery which would include such pimps as:

1. The credit card industry

2. Dick Cheney and his war profiteering

3. Disaster Capitalism, which we are all, not just the 3rd world, victimized by:

4. Bush and the Bin Laden's--yes, I went there because these folks with their lock on most of the world's consciousness are running a serious game on everyone:

5. Crooked home mortgage companies:

6. The "Defense Industry"--several trillion dollars in the last few years alone, now that is a hard working pimp:

7. Prosperity, mega church leading black preachers:

We need to fight back against these most heinous of macks. We respectable negroes need to pimp slap the pimps:

And we should steadily work towards a return to a kinder, gentler time when Gary Coleman was the only pimp we really had to worry about:

Never forget: it is always Pimps Up! Ho's Down!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's Sexy Time with Barack Obama-Hot, Sweaty, and Pheromone Filled Like A Small Studio Apartment in the Middle of the Summer Without Inscents or A/C!

Sometimes you have to laugh, smile, giggle, or feel a bit creepy because someone effortlessly captures your deepest and darkest secrets--not mine of course! I mean those Obamaholics who also dream, yes, literally dream about Barack Obama, have man crushes on him, and feel like they are "saved" by his magical presence.

From the Nation Magazine's great piece, "The Shadow of his Smile," which should really be called, "Why Voters Want to have the Bro'Bama Put Them in the... buck/chicken wing/reverse cowgirl/wear me out on the Liberator sex pillow/practice inter-racial bipartisanship/place lingam deeply in yoni/pluck the bird/put her in the pile driver/do the helicopter/scissors/or T-Square." He is so sexy isn't he?

Despite the Atlah church's rantings that Barack Obama is a man whore of sorts (aka mangina--random fact: did you know I was once a mangina for Halloween? Praise the maker, for the bliss that evening rivaled that of the Song of Solomon), I guess Obama Girl was courageously ahead of the curve with her public declarations of love for Bro'Bama.

Here are some choice excerpts:

"He wasn't yet a candidate. He was Frank Sinatra, so cool he's hot, a centrifugal force commanding attention so ruthlessly that it appeared effortless, reducing everyone around him to a sidekick, and the girls in the front rows to jelly."

"There is something old about the new man, as well, though, or, rather, something of a romantic update on an old model. Not JFK. Obama resembles him only in his projected nonchalance. JFK's libido was like the Strategic Air Command, on permanent alert, meaning he'd spot a woman out the window, in a park, on a street and take her against the wall, while Jackie took to the White House trampoline. Barack and Michelle Obama channel some of the style of the current early-'60s revival--sleeveless sheaths and chunky pearls, Ocean's 11 and Mad Men--without the alienation. America, they say, you can be cool and sexy again, "back!" and swinging, but secure this time."

"When he leaned into Michelle as she wrapped her arms around him from behind after the New Hampshire loss, when she cradles his face in her expressive hands while kissing him, with every dap and nuzzle and palpable vibe between them, "you see love onstage," said Harriette Cole of Ebony, the first in a long line of popular magazines to certify the two as a "hot couple."


This is totally random, but whenever I see the name "Harriette" I think of "Harriet Tubman": that would make for a hell of a visual, wouldn't it?

Maybe the root of the hostility between Hillary and Obama was sexual? Although Bill was "the first Black president," maybe Hillary yearned for 1/2 of the real thing?

As a nation we best be careful or else the television show Cheaters will begin featuring relationships destroyed by Obama's irrepressible and magnetic sex appeal:

One more?

Grrrr she is a cougar:

Bro'bama you be a home wrecker who is gonna go and make folks put on some Teddy P!

Note to self: I need to buy a pair of white pants to wear during the epic wine, erotic massage, and cheese--only Asiago by the way because my ladies deserve the best--foreplay sessions that occur before I let the ladies go for a ride on space mountain.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chauncey DeVega's World of Ghetto Nerds: Batman The Dark Knight Reviewed

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, 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

Chauncey DeVega says: Operation Blackout and Jesse Jackson's Anti-Obama Outburst Explained

To: The Council of Negro Elders, Midwest Division
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.


Chauncey DeVega

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].

Just When We Start Hip Hop Week Jesse Jackson Goes and Does Something Stupid

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

A Hipster Hip Hop Timeline

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about hipster rap artists and hipsters’ influence on hip hop music. I’ll admit, I’ve been very critical of hipsters, but I want to make amends. So, to kick off Hip Hop week here at We Are Respectable Negroes, I am giving hipsters a chance to contribute to the important project of constructing hip hop’s meaning—as we Social Scientists know, all meaning is tenuous, and just because hip hop is a new pursuit to hipsters, doesn’t mean that their views on the music aren’t valid. I’ve asked several of my hipster friends (though none of these people would ever refer to themselves as “hipsters”) to collaborate on a timeline of the most important events in hip hop. Their Hip Hop Timeline follows:


Lil Wayne Born


Nothing of consequence happens


NWA brings a new level of authenticity and danger to rap, and pisses off white parents;

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


Beastie Boys drop Paul’s Boutique; hip hop officially becomes art music


Vanilla Ice exhibits the depths of inauthentic white rap


Nothing of consequence happens


Wu Tang begins to make cool music, t shirts


Nothing of consequence happens


DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing raises the Beasties’ bar and becomes the first example of hip hop as “true” art music; hip hop production now respectable in indie rock circles


Nothing of consequence happens


Eminem immediately becomes the greatest rap lyricist ever: he is the first rapper to be ironic, funny, and self-deprecating, and he acknowledges that poor whites are just as marginalized and oppressed as their black counterparts;

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.

Wu Tang falls off: their fans are all suburban wiggers and old “keep it real” types

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


Missy Elliott breaks through hip hop’s glass ceiling with her electronic beats, girl-power lyrics, colorful videos, robust figure, and lack of a Y chromosome.

Buzz builds around 50 Cent, a NY rapper who embodies primal black aggression and sexuality; plus, he was really shot 9 times. How authentic!


Eminem’s music becomes stale when he starts to hang around with 50 Cent and pretends to be all “gangsta;” Plus, he won an Oscar and white suburban teens love him a little too much.

Caushun, the first openly gay rapper, starts getting national publicity


Mashups, an entirely new thing in which vocals from song are placed over the music of a song from an entirely different genre, are all the rage

Def Jux, Anticon become too white and corny; not in touch with what’s going on with real people


Outkast falls off: their songs start showing up on Kidzbop records

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

Lil Wayne drops The Carter, which is really fucking great!

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


Advances in Cool Edit Pro and FruityLoops empower anyone to DJ and make hip hop music!

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


fratboys, white indie rock critics, teenage high school dropouts, and Lil Wayne agree: Lil Wayne is the greatest rapper alive

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


Lupe Fiasco strikes a blow against true school hip hop fascists who think that fans need to have knowledge of a “canon” of songs that came out prior to 2000.

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


Lil Wayne drops The Carter III, which instantly becomes the greatest rap album ever

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

Chauncey DeVega's Trip to the African Caribbean Festival of Life-A Photo Travelog

I like to share my exciting and spirited adventures with all who will listen: respectable negroes, white allies, and anyone else with too much time on their hands. This past weekend I had the joy of renewing my life--and eating some good grilled chicken at my neighborhood's local celebration of black people (don't worry, I am very careful and won't be getting salmonella because I go around and do a food hygiene inspection before I decide which eatery to bless with my presence). These festivals are always exciting because they represent a great cross section of the community...and I get to play anthropologist for a day while I do some people watching. Plus, for one day we can actually pretend to get along as a community, as opposed to the other 364 days of the year (including Christmas), when we treat each other like crap.

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

This lingerie was all the rage at the festival. I really like the man girdle because I could easily imagine myself wearing it under my samurai robe. It would be give my profile that little bit of extra help that I need in order to seduce Rosario Dawson. Now, all I need is a codpiece to complete my outfit when I next go courting. I also like the one piece corset on the right--it is hard to make out in the picture, but it is form fitting (or "contouring" as the bigger ladies like to say) and crotchless. I do love anything crotchless. But, you have to be careful of getting irritated on the seams of the peek-a-boo hole (I just made that phrase up) during your frantic and feverish love making.

Exhibit Number Four: It is Thelma from Good Times

No, not on the right, but right here (witty word play huh?):

Thelma was looking really good as she signed her new book. I do hope that Thelma signed a fair deal which pays her adequate residuals--fingers crossed. Too bad she didn't marry the heir to the chicken fortune. Yes, he was a bit older than her, but the brother could have gotten Thelma and her family out of the projects. And, Thelma should have gone to that all white college preparatory school. She could have networked, gained social capital, and reached back to help the community. Thelma was always selfish.

Exhibit Number Five: Guns, Money and the Bible?

This was a popular bit of art for sale at the festival. I studied and reflected on the image for a great deal of time. What does it mean? What are its semiotics? Do we need to choose between God and guns and money? Or is it a false choice? Are they mutually exclusive? Is this part of a new movement in the black aesthetic? A nouveau, street gangster art sensibility? More importantly will they stock photos and prints from this genre in my local Borders bookstore near the ghetto literature?

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!

I am feeling really affirmed right now. Notice how the muscular thighs of our two nubians are intertwined. Also, the powerful buttocks and steel embrace. We cannot be stopped once we unite as a people. Plus, we are betrothed as king and queen by a heart shaped lock! Yes, black man and black woman strip naked in an erotic embrace of black love. We should not be afraid to affirm each other against Hip hop and its foul depictions of black humanity!

Exhibit Number Eight: Black Man and Black Woman We are Carved from Each Other

Yes! Yes! Yes! This is what I am talking about. Again, notice the form and dignity of the black man and black woman. More importantly, it isn't just Venus and Serena Williams whom are built like Amazonian goddesses (and from me that is a complement as I would blissfully surrender to either or both, preferably both to be honest, in a day, or week, or month, of Caligula inspired decadence) . I digress. Black man do you see how you are created by your queen? Do you understand how you are beholden to her? Black woman, do you see the black king's mighty hammer? Do you understand how he is going to use that hammer to free the community? Do you understand how his hammer is also a source of pleasure? Its vibrations and poundings shaking you to your foundations? Fulfilling you as a woman? Damn, let me calm down a second and drink a Snapple...

Exhibit Number Nine: The White Man won't Let Us have Our Day

The white racist power structure is always monitoring the black community, and it knows no bounds in its disrespect of the black man and black woman. No, we can't even have one day free from their watchful eyes. In fact, the African-Caribbean festival was under siege all day long. I actually watched two of "Chicago's Finest" try to get a discount on a beef kabob from one of the vendors! Well, he was actually Asian, but that doesn't matter. No Justice! No Peace! And notice the ultimate affront--and you have to pay close attention because white supremacy is subliminal in its trickery--what type of ice cream are they eating? Not chocolate. Oh no! The occupying army's stormtroopers are actually daring to eat VANILLA ice cream while in the middle of our maroon colony! These enforcers are actually consuming whiteness in front of us. Will the indignities inflicted on us as a people never end?

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.