Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Personal Hot Tub Time Machine: Newsweek Magazine's the State of Black America in 1999

Do you ever marvel at how folks in the past envisioned the future? In the 1960s we thought that in the 1990s there would be flying cars a la The Jetsons. In the 1980s we thought that the 21st century would be radically different with Blade Runner like urban sprawl and dystopia the norm where everyone spoke some version of Japanese. We got some things right (the rise of 3rd world mega cities) and a great deal wrong (Japan's lost decade; the rise and fall and rise again of the U.S.; Ipod's; the Internet, and the fall of the Soviet Union).

What of the state of Black America? I would never have guessed that we would see a Black President--never mind one named Barack Hussein Obama--in my lifetime. But as we reach for the future, many of our concerns, hopes, and dreams seem to remain a changing same. For example, I was reading Newsweek online and in the sidebar of most viewed stories was "The Good News About Black America." Given this economy my curiosity was piqued. Funny, I read about a page or so before realizing that this story was written in 1999...more than ten years ago. For a moment, I had my own personal hot tub time machine.

Give it a look. What has changed? And what perhaps never will? I do wonder, what will the State of Black America be in the year 2020?

The Good News About Black America

It's The Best Time Ever To Be Black In America. Crime Is Down; Jobs And Income Are Up. White Kids Choose African-Americans As Their Heroes. But Not Everyone's Celebrating.

by Ellis Cose

It was a stunning vision of racial equality, manifested in a simple yet stirring mantra: "I have a dream." Though Martin Luther King Jr.'s cherished utopia has not arrived, it seems considerably less remote than it did in August 1963 when, from the Washington Mall, King challenged America to make his dream come true. African-Americans are no longer relegated, as he lamented, to "a lonely island of poverty" in the midst of plenty. By a wide array of measures, now is a great time--the best time ever--to be black in America.

Black employment and home ownership are up. Murders and other violent crimes are down. Reading and math proficiency are climbing. Out-of-wedlock births are at their lowest rate in four decades. Fewer blacks are on welfare than at any point in recent memory. More are in college than at any point in history. And the percentage of black families living below the poverty line is the lowest it has been since the Census Bureau began keeping separate black poverty statistics in 1967. Even for some of the most persistently unfortunate--uneducated black men between 16 and 24--jobs are opening up, according to a just-released study of hard-luck cases in 322 urban areas by researchers at Harvard University and the College of William and Mary.

More and more blacks have entered the realm of the privileged and have offices in (or tantalizingly near to) the corridors of corporate and political power. Some control multimillion-dollar budgets and reside in luxurious gated communities. They are, by any criteria, living large--walking testaments to the transformative power, to the possibility, of America.

"I really think there is a new phenomenon out there," says Eddie Williams, head of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the nation's premier think tank on blacks and politics. According to the center, the number of black elected officials has nearly sextupled since 1970, and now stands at roughly 9,000. In a poll late last year by the Joint Center, blacks were more likely than whites--for the first time in the history of this survey--to say they were better off financially than in the previous year (51 percent compared with 31.5 percent). A new NEWSWEEK Poll confirms that the finding is not a fluke. Seventy-one percent of blacks (compared with 59 percent of whites) told NEWSWEEK's pollsters that they expected their family incomes to rise during the next 10 years. Fifty-seven percent of blacks (compared with 48 percent of whites) foresaw better job opportunities ahead. As Los Angeles gangbanger turned music entrepreneur Darrin Butler, 28, sums it up, "From where I'm sitting, everything is looking bright."

This sunniness is reflected in the country's popular imagination, which freely celebrates the appeal and accomplishments of African-Americans. Michael Jordan, Lauryn Hill, Colin Powell--pick your icon; if you are touched at all by American culture your idol is likely to be black. There have always been black successes and superstar achievers, but never before has black been quite so beautiful to so many admirers of every hue. "When did you ever think you would see black men as the heroes of white children?" asks Bobby William Austin, head of the Village Foundation, an Alexandria, Va.-based nonprofit that runs programs for young black men.

Today's upswing in black fortune is unfolding in a singular context, against the backdrop of a superheated economy that has been booming since April 1991. That expansion, the longest ever in a time of peace, has been a boon to Americans of every race. It would be a mistake, however, to credit the economy alone for the sense of hope sprouting in many black communities. Even as the strong economy has made bigger dreams possible, a strong resurgence of black self-confidence and self-determination has made their realization more probable. Indeed, blacks polled by NEWSWEEK credited black churches (46 percent) and black self-help (41 percent) for the upturn in black conditions. It would also be a mistake to assume that today's good times have brought good tidings to all blacks. They have not. More black men than ever languish in prisons. Black academic achievement stills lags that of whites. And suicides among young black men have risen sharply, reflecting a deep "sense of hopelessness," says Jewelle Taylor Gibbs, a psychologist and University of California, Berkeley, professor. And fear is pervasive that an economic downturn--or the legal-political assault on affirmative action--could wipe out blacks' tenuous gains.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Zardoz Speaks! Let's Have an Intervention: The Soul of Brother Cobb and The Noble Race Neutrality of American Conservatives

Thus the great Cobb is one part Wizard of Oz and two parts Zardoz.

I promised myself when I started this blog that I wouldn't involve myself in petty tete-a-tete's with fellow bloggers, trolls, or otherwise (semi)well-intentioned folk. I have found a loophole. If I am called out by name in a post I feel an obligation to respond. I know that it is a virtual version of the dozens, but it strikes me as generally uncivil unless done with the best of intentions. Hopefully, this is the last time I will have to engage in such a dialogue on this site as it stands against the best of what we should be doing.

For those of you in the know, Black Conservative blogger Cobb is quite a forceful presence on the sites in which he chooses to comment. Cobb is often impenetrable, a bit willful, unwilling to engage those points of view with which he disagrees, and a bit anti-intellectual (books that are outside of his political comfort zone are a no no it seems). In total, Cobb is a master of deflection and is thus hard to engage. For example, see his spirited defense of the Constitution as a race neutral document even though it explicitly mentions slavery several times. The brother doesn't quit and I give him love for that. In fact, I would probably enjoy a drink (or three with him) in the real world. But Cobb remains an object lesson in what I don't understand about Black Conservatives: how can they consistently apologize for the silliness, bigotry, and inconsistency of their fellow ideologues?

Specifically, how can Black Conservatives repeatedly excuse the racism and the white racial resentment that is at the core of contemporary American Conservatism? From the Tea Parties, to the Southern Strategy, to the politics of racial divisiveness that are the bread and butter of the Right's identity politics, Black Conservatives seem to always find a way to give their white brethren a pass. And they wonder why most reasonable Black folk don't give them the time of day.

Rather than get upset and frustrated in trying to dialogue with Brother Cobb alone, let's work together to compile a list of books, resources, insights, evidence, links, etc. to help me out. Let's do it with love. Better yet, let's break down the illogic, inconsistencies, and obfuscations that are present in Cobb's response to his and my dialogue about race and Conservative thought.

Help me, help Brother Cobb. Let's have an intervention. Are you with me...'cause if not I may have to abandon Brother Cobb's rehab--and I think it is a worthy project with the potential to teach us all a great deal.


"No. I want you to get it all out of your system. Here. Hit me with your best shot. I sure as hell ain't gonna go look it up. See, I really don't have to care about politics. I don't have to care about being black, or well-read or moral or anything. I want to see if you can make me care. I've heard a lifetime or two of black outrage. Maybe you've got something I've never heard before."


CD. Him say:

[T]he claim is not per se that racists are attracted to conservativism--although quite clearly they are. It is that racism and racial animus are central to Conservative belief systems. A subtle but different distinction. I am more interested in how you reconcile it with your claim about an ideology as it stands apart from your claim. Could it be that conservative thought is more amenable to racism? What then do we do with black conservatives who would self identify with a philosophy that is hostile to them as a category of people? That is always the mystery to me for how folks could so proudly claim company with an ideology whose adherents and intellectual foundations have little to no use for them.

And yes we could debate the aims of Conservative politics as "sinful" or not. But that may take more space and time than is feasible.

First of all, I wonder if those of CD's persuasion bother to go tell it on the mountain, or on conservative blogs that their 'belief system' is racist. Perhaps ole Cobb is considered to have a soft spot for the old race card as explained by my betters that it's in my interest and thus the argument doesn't have to be so explicit. Well, I've read Howard Zinn too, and so I'm not particularly surprised that everybody gets to have their own version of history in this crazy mixed up society. Nevertheless we can duel and pretend to come up with a mutually satisfactory version.

I expect that at the very least that we won't be reduced to name-calling.

So here's my thing. In 1924, according to Wikipedia there were something on the order of 6 million Klan members in the United States. Six years later they were busted down to 30,000. In the 50s the White Citizens Councils had 50,000 members. Where did they all go? To the Republican Party?

The John Birch Society was dismissed as kooks by William F. Buckley when they suggested that Eisenhower was a godless commie. Why was anybody ever afraid of them?

Where are all the racists and what are they really trying to do in America? How did we get from there to here? What is an accurate rendition of the history and intent of Conservatism in Western Political Philosophy and the Conservative Movement in America and Great Britain since the Goldwater era?

More specifically, who is the standard bearer of racism in America and how does the Right deal with that person / entity? What is the fundamental interest in racism in politics? What does it accomplish? Where's the money? What is the legislation?

I think about this rather like I think of Bigfoot or the Kraken from Clash of the Titans. If it's real, then it has got to exist in an ecosystem. It has to live and breathe and eat and mate and grow. If it's carnivorous then its got to kill and leave bones behind. It had to evolve from something and it has to become something.

My belief is that there is an interest on the Left which is a species of populist identity politics that keeps alive the specter of the great racist Kraken that the Right can summon at will to devour and destroy any black man who sticks his head above a certain level. That said black men best serve the interests of the collective because a diversion from it is suicidal in one of two forms. One: There will not be enough cultural black oxygen and he will asphyxiate in whiteness. or Two. He will be castrated.

In order to sustain this grip, the Left has invented a political mythology through a class of historical revisionists who were the scion of Black Studies departments which came about largely through political activism rather than scholastic acumen. Now that we have a second generation of these real PhDs, they consider themselves invincible - well within their domain if they have tenure.

So here will be a mix of what I believe vs what CD might like me to believe in what may actually not become a case of special pleading for people of color. We'll try to get some facts and some speculations straight.

I will play a race card first. My race card begins with Leo Strauss. He is the father of all Conservatives who recognize that what the Nazis and Commies were doing in Europe was evil and wrong. Strauss was a Jew. And so let's replace 'Jew' with 'people of color' and via the work of Strauss talk about what anybody (of color) should read into history and take Conservatism seriously as an antidote to genocidal xenophobia.

And His Wages Were Death: White Identity Politics and a Final Thought on the Confederate History Month Controversy

Those still seeking to understand why the dispute over Virginia's "Confederate History Month" is so pointed would do well to watch this second installment of BBC's miniseries The History of Racism.

Jim Crow. Lynching. King Leopold's genocide in the Congo. Blackface. The Black and Brown freedom struggle placed in a global context. The Racial Contract. Talk about a meaty 60 minutes. Some folks love the documentary Race: The Power of Illusion. But for my dime I am becoming much more inclined towards The History of Racism.

A final thought on this Confederate History Month dust-up: Slavery and white supremacy were not "nits" in our country's history. As Roland Martin sharply pointed out on CNN, the Rebels were terrorists and traitors. Although White Southerners may not have all owned slaves, they died to support white supremacy, an ideology that paid the Johnny Rebs and the Southern poor whites who died by the hundreds of thousands a psychic wage for the privilege of their white skin.

To borrow from my favorite Johnny Cash song, during the Civil War The Man came around and his wages were death (did you know that 2 percent of the U.S. population died in that war?) . In Sherman's march to the sea and Grant's escapades The Man cut Johnny Reb and the Secesh down like wheat and piled them up like cord wood. For those 21st century dead enders and apologists for the Southern slaveocracy I must ask: was all that death and destruction worth it to protect your unique "Southern identity" and "culture?" How can their deaths be made noble and heroic when they fought to keep others in bondage?

As we enter the Age of Obama was it all worth it?

From The New York Times:

April 11, 2010

Southern Discomfort

IN 1956, nearly a century after Fort Sumter, Robert Penn Warren went on assignment for Life magazine, traveling throughout the South after the Supreme Court’s school desegregation decisions. Racism was thick, hope thin. Progress, Warren reported, was going to take a while — a long while. “History, like nature, knows no jumps,” he wrote, “except the jump backward, maybe.”

Last week, Virginia’s governor, Robert McDonnell, jumped backward when he issued a proclamation recognizing April as Confederate History Month. In it he celebrated those “who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth” and wrote of the importance of understanding “the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War.”

The governor originally chose not to mention slavery in the proclamation, saying he “focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia.” It seems to follow that, at least for Mr. McDonnell, the plight of Virginia’s slaves does not rank among the most significant aspects of the war.

Advertently or not, Mr. McDonnell is working in a long and dispiriting tradition. Efforts to rehabilitate the Southern rebellion frequently come at moments of racial and social stress, and it is revealing that Virginia’s neo-Confederates are refighting the Civil War in 2010. Whitewashing the war is one way for the right — alienated, anxious and angry about the president, health care reform and all manner of threats, mostly imaginary — to express its unease with the Age of Obama, disguising hate as heritage.

If neo-Confederates are interested in history, let’s talk history. Since Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Confederate symbols have tended to be more about white resistance to black advances than about commemoration. In the 1880s and 1890s, after fighting Reconstruction with terrorism and after the Supreme Court struck down the 1875 Civil Rights Act, states began to legalize segregation. For white supremacists, iconography of the “Lost Cause” was central to their fight; Mississippi even grafted the Confederate battle emblem onto its state flag.

But after the Supreme Court allowed segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, Jim Crow was basically secure. There was less need to rally the troops, and Confederate imagery became associated with the most extreme of the extreme: the Ku Klux Klan.

In the aftermath of World War II, however, the rebel flag and other Confederate symbolism resurfaced as the civil rights movement spread. In 1948, supporters of Strom Thurmond’s pro-segregation Dixiecrat ticket waved the battle flag at campaign stops.

Then came the school-integration rulings of the 1950s. Georgia changed its flag to include the battle emblem in 1956, and South Carolina hoisted the colors over its Capitol in 1962 as part of its centennial celebrations of the war.

As the sesquicentennial of Fort Sumter approaches in 2011, the enduring problem for neo-Confederates endures: anyone who seeks an Edenic Southern past in which the war was principally about states’ rights and not slavery is searching in vain, for the Confederacy and slavery are inextricably and forever linked.

That has not, however, stopped Lost Causers who supported Mr. McDonnell’s proclamation from trying to recast the war in more respectable terms. They would like what Lincoln called our “fiery trial” to be seen in a political, not a moral, light. If the slaves are erased from the picture, then what took place between Sumter and Appomattox is not about the fate of human chattel, or a battle between good and evil. It is, instead, more of an ancestral skirmish in the Reagan revolution, a contest between big and small government.

We cannot allow the story of the emancipation of a people and the expiation of America’s original sin to become fodder for conservative politicians playing to their right-wing base. That, to say the very least, is a jump backward we do not need.

Jon Meacham, the editor of Newsweek, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for biography for “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Final Hours of the Church of James Brown Are Here--Come Yee Unwashed Masses and Confess Before the Permed One Returns to the Funky Heavens

The Church of James Brown and the altar of the Permed One are still here for your confessions. But, come tomorrow at noon our revival will end and the most high elected soon announced (i.e. those folks who have won the prizes so generously donated by the Hachette book group).

Come and kneel at the hem of The Most Funky One's cloak and be cleansed of all of your sins!

Once more in our sacred words:

"Oh most amazing James Brown, greatest of all negroes, I offer you my lies and secret shames. All these years I have yearned to share those things which I have pretended to like and adore in the name of being authentically Black. I cast my words into the wind so that you can take our secrets and make these shames unintelligible as you sing them for all time in your unique and spirited language."

Sunday Afternoon (Not) So Funny: Pat Buchanan Defends Confederate History Month

Lest you think I pick exclusively on bigoted old white men.

I offer little comment on Buchanan's predictable defense of Confederate history month. As the often told joke goes: how did Pat Buchanan's uncle break his neck? He fell out of a tower at Auschwitz. Easily importable back to the lost causers who support the "noble" cause of Secession and forward to their 21st century defenders.

In his own words--and what a perfectly ironic title for a column I must add:

The New Intolerance
by Pat Buchanan

"This was a recognition of American terrorists."

That is CNN's Roland Martin's summary judgment of the 258,000 men and boys who fell fighting for the Confederacy in a war that cost as many American lives as World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq combined.

Martin reflects the hysteria that seized Obamaville on hearing that Gov. Bob McDonnell had declared Confederate History Month in the Old Dominion. Virginia leads the nation in Civil War battlefields.

So loud was the howling that in 24 hours McDonnell had backpedaled and issued an apology that he had not mentioned slavery.

Unfortunately, the governor missed a teaching moment -- at the outset of the 150th anniversary of America's bloodiest war.

Slavery was indeed evil, but it existed in the Americas a century before the oldest of our founding fathers was even born. Five of our first seven presidents were slaveholders.

But Virginia did not secede in defense of slavery. Indeed, when Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated, March 4, 1861, Virginia was still in the Union. Only South Carolina, Georgia and the five Gulf states had seceded and created the Confederate States of America.

At the firing on Fort Sumter, April 12-13, 1865, the first shots of the Civil War, Virginia was still inside the Union. Indeed, there were more slave states in the Union than in the Confederacy. But, on April 15, Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 volunteers from the state militias to march south and crush the new Confederacy.

Two days later, April 17, Virginia seceded rather than provide soldiers or militia to participate in a war on their brethren. North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas followed Virginia out over the same issue. They would not be a party to a war on their kinfolk.

Slavery was not the cause of this war. Secession was -- that and Lincoln's determination to drown the nation in blood if necessary to make the Union whole again.

Nor did Lincoln ever deny it.

In his first inaugural, Lincoln sought to appease the states that had seceded by endorsing a constitutional amendment to make slavery permanent in the 15 states where it then existed. He even offered to help the Southern states run down fugitive slaves.

In 1862, Lincoln wrote Horace Greeley that if he could restore the Union without freeing one slave he would do it. The Emancipation Proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863, freed only those slaves Lincoln had no power to free -- those still under Confederate rule. As for slaves in the Union states of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, they remained the property of their owners.

As for "terrorists," no army fought more honorably than Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Few deny that.

The great terrorist in that war was William Tecumseh Sherman, who violated all the known rules of war by looting, burning and pillaging on his infamous March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah. Sherman would later be given command of the war against the Plains Indians and advocate extermination of the Sioux.

"The only good Indian is a dead Indian" is attributed both to Sherman and Gen. Phil Sheridan, who burned the Shenandoah and carried out Sherman's ruthless policy against the Indians. Both have statues and circles named for them in Washington, D.C.

If Martin thinks Sherman a hero, he might study what happened to the slave women of Columbia, S.C., when "Uncle Billy's" boys in blue arrived to burn the city.

What of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, at whose request McDonnell issued his proclamation? What racist deeds have they perpetrated of late?

They tend the graves of Confederate dead and place flags on Memorial Day. They contributed to the restoration of the home of Jefferson Davis, damaged by Hurricane Katrina. They publish the Confederate Veteran, a magazine that relates stories of the ancestors they love to remember. They join environmentalists in fighting to preserve Civil War battlefields. They do re-enactments of Civil War battles with men and boys whose ancestors fought for the Union. And they defend the monuments to their ancestors and the flag under which they fought.

Why are they vilified?

Because they are Southern white Christian men -- none of whom defends slavery, but all of whom are defiantly proud of the South, its ancient faith and their forefathers who fell in the Lost Cause.

Undeniably, the Civil War ended in the abolition of slavery and restoration of the Union. But the Southern states believed they had the same right to rid themselves of a government to which they no longer felt allegiance as did Washington, Jefferson and Madison, all slave-owners, who could no longer give loyalty to the king of England.

Consider closely this latest skirmish in a culture war that may yet make an end to any idea of nationhood, and you will see whence the real hate is coming. It is not from Gov. McDonnell or the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Afternoon Funny--How Much is the Soul of Lloyd Marcus, Tea Party Slave Catcher Worth? About 18 Dollars Per Book

Please watch this video. States Rights as inalienable under The Constitution? Martin Luther King? The March on Selma? And more people of color in the Tea Party anthem video than have ever appeared at one of their rallies. Truly delusional these Tea Baggers are.

We do live in amazing times. Who would have thought that you would live to see an Oreo write a book and a coconut (or banana depending on your preference) endorse it? I may have to check for historical precedence (as noted clown Dinesh D'Souza may have endorsed Clarence Thomas' autobiography), but either way post-racial America is still a great place to live in.

And yes, I used my option to deploy dated (yet powerful) language to describe Mr. Marcus...I prefer Uncle Tom to Oreo, but the latter is so underused as of late and I have taken it as my personal duty to keep such beautiful phrasing alive.

I was being nice by the way, I could have called him a human lawn jockey and vessel for the mental ejaculate and smegma that are the racist fantasies of White knuckledraggers (and I could have described Malkin as a she-beast crone who practices one part yellow face charade and subservient geisha fantasy foot washing laundry queen for the neo-Right wing crowd...I truly can't stand her, for any person who defends Japanese internment, never mind that she herself is Asian-American, is below reproach in my book).

As I have said once more, if you want to get rich in America become a black garbage pail kid conservative--a totem or fetish for White Conservatives and others who are ideologically hostile to the interests of Black people. Rinse. Wash. Repeat. Don't forget that you get extra points per appearance if you use buzzwords or phrases such as "black people are on the Democrats' plantation," are "brainwashed," or don't know how to be anything but "victims."

For your inspection:


$18.00 (includes shipping)

Lloyd Marcus, (black) Unhyphenated American, Tea Party Spokesperson and Troubadour, releases his much anticipated book; Confessions of a Black Conservative: How the Left has shattered the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black America.

Mr. Marcus travels extensively singing his originals, American Tea Party Anthem and Twenty Ten, Vote Them Out to thousands in audiences across America. At each event Marcus receives raucous applause for his signature statement, “I am NOT an African American, I am Lloyd Marcus, AMERICAN”.

Lloyd Marcus believes America is the greatest land of opportunity on the planet for all who simply choose to Go For It! It is Mr. Marcus’ wish that this book will contribute to opening the eyes of his fellow black Americans who have been deceived for so many years by liberal leaders committed to keeping them on the victim-hood plantation of Liberalism.

Lloyd Marcus, international singer/songwriter/entertainer/columnist/artist tells in his new book, through his own personal stories which chronicles the virtues of Conservatism in common sense easy to understand non political terms, why Conservatism is best for all Americans.

Foreword of this book is by the highly respected and notable Michelle Malkin and was released by Higher Standard Publishers at CPAC 2010 in Washington DC and is available through www.LloydMarcus.com

About the Author: Lloyd Marcus was born in the ghetto of East Baltimore and by the young age of 9 recognized the entitlements from government birthed resentment and hostilities. Fortunately, Lloyd Marcus’ dad rose above and as a responsible father, brought his family out of the ghetto and raised Mr. Marcus and his siblings into fine responsible Americans relying on their education and faith in the American Way.

Lloyd Marcus resides in Deltona Florida with his wife as President of the Deltona Arts & Historical Center. He travels with the Tea Party Express and appears at conservative events expressing his belief that Conservatism is best for All Americans. He is available to speak at events promoting Conservatism.

Mr. Marcus’ American Tea Party Anthem, the rally song of the Tea Party Movement is available on the American Tea Party full cd/album of 12 great conservative Take Back America patriotic upbeat songs.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday Afternoon Funny: Lloyd Marcus Black Conservative Tea Party Slave Catcher Eats Bratwurst and Makes White Folk Happy

No he really did. Apparently, Lloyd also ate his first fried pickle and it was mighty nice.

They gave him hugs. They kissed his neck. They fed him bratwurst. And the tea baggers loved him. Lloyd Marcus truly is a magical fetish--that like most black conservatives--who washes away the sins of his white masters. In another era I swear house negroes like Marcus would have been sad that slavery ended and would have willingly traveled down to Texas to "reenlist" as bondsmen just so they could be abused by white folks again. Now, he is just content to be a living lawn jockey and walking prop for the tea party neo-John Birchers. Sad but funny...and nonetheless true.

In his own words, from Lloyd Marcus's site on Breitbart.com:

Racist Hate Mail Attacks Tea Party Express; MSM Sticks to 'Narrative'

I am Lloyd Marcus, black singer/songwriter of the American Tea Party Anthem traveling nationally on the Tea Party Express III tour. While riding on the bus to our first rally of the day in Davenport, Iowa, I opened the following email from a lady named Hallie Kempt.

Ms Kempt’s subject line read, “YOU ARE STILL A NIGGER”. Here is the text of her email. The capital letters are all hers:



I have saved Ms. Kempt’s email for documentation.

Ms Kempt is a product of the democrat’s and liberal mainstream media’s relentless attempts to portray the Tea Party movement as racist. I guarantee you that this ignorant, vicious woman has never attended a tea party. Her email is typical of the intolerance and hate I receive from the left in response to my columns and my participation in the Tea Party movement. The left hates minorities who do not view themselves as victims and love their country.

LloydMarcus &TPX Patriot640x480

At southern state rallies, countless white moms and grandmothers have approached me and said, “Mr. Marcus thank you for all you are doing for our country. May I hug your neck?” Big burly white men give me hearty handshakes in thanks for my efforts while they fight back tears. This is not the behavior of angry racist mobsters. The folks who attend these tea parties are not racist. They are great Americans fearful of the tyrannical Obama administration and his plan to bypass our Constitution to, in his own words, “fundamentally transform America.”

At our Madison, Wisc. rally it was cold and rainy. Still, we had a very good crowd. Local patriot meat packers made fresh Bratwurst for our Tea Party Express team the day before our rally. They cooked the bratwurst on the grill for us. Delicious!

LloydMarcus & TPXIII Lady Patriot_640x480

Apparently, we Americans will fry anything. In Brookfield, Wisc., I ate my first fried pickle. Yes, you heard me, fried pickle. Very good. Another memorable experience while traveling on Tea Party Express tour III. Time to do laundry. Three rallies tomorrow. Talk to y’all soon.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It was Just an Inconvenient Fact: Slavery Omitted from Virginia's Confederate History Month

Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. [Applause.] This, our new Government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It is so even amongst us.

--Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy

Damn those minor inconveniences of history!

Question: who the hell longs for The Confederacy? Why do these folks clamor for The Lost Cause and Redemption? The South lost--or did it? Who still believes that state's rights is somehow inseparable from the chattel enslavement of black people in this country? Are there folks, dead-enders in my mind, who really believe that The Confederacy was something to celebrate?

Apparently, Governor Robert McDonnel does. He has proclaimed April as "Confederate History Month" in order to honor how citizens of the state fought so bravely to protect their homes and communities. Interestingly, no mention of slavery appears in his proclamation. This whitewashing of slavery out of Virginia history may seem like an outlier, an interesting news piece that does not tell us anything about politics at large. But it is not. Rather, it is a central example of the political vision that is the core of the Palin, Right-wing Tea Party populism.

The struggle over history and historical memory has been central to American politics. Are we a country of small towns or cities? Were the framers saints or were they flawed men? Is white supremacy central to American history or peripheral to it? Just what is the American Dream? Is America an Empire? Or is she a benevolent power that only does good in the world?

The appeals to "real America" by Palin et al. as well as the "we want our America back" slogan adopted by the Tea Party brigands are signals to a particular and narrow version of American history. Not to be forgotten, the efforts by Conservatives in Texas to rewrite U.S. history textbooks are also a cousin to this phenomenon. The know-nothingness of which these examples are representative has always been present in American political and social life. Now, they are elevated to respectability by Fox News and enabled by a 24 hours news cycle that is desperate for a story...any story to fill its allotted time.

We live in an age where all opinions matter and are considered of "equal" merit. And sadly this is also a moment where willful stupidity is a virtue ("look I read the Constitution and I can interpret it at will...my opinion is at least as valid as those "arrogant" smarty pants professors and 'experts'" or "Glenn Beck reads books and I like him so he is right because I agree with him and it makes me feel good." Or alternatively, my favorite: "knowledge and facts are 'subjective' so my opinion is at least as good as yours."

Sorry, it is not.

We often treat a failing educational system and the dumbing down of our public discourse as separate problems. No, they are a symptom of a deeper rot. The idiocracy is winning. Their slogan? "My opinion is..."

The forces who win from the faux populism and advocacy offered by the Right-wing tea party brigands are the very same elements who want to see a distracted and confused public. Because of their influence on the tea parties (aided and abetted by the Right-wing media echo chamber) this public is ill-equipped to engage in a critical analysis of the structures that have contributed to their angst about America's future. Like a team of horses or mules, the tea parties are egged on by their masters to lash out at "those people" and yearn hopelessly for the return of their "real America."

The rabble are not made virtuous or right because they are in the majority--or even the plurality. There is such a thing as expert knowledge and it is to be respected and cultivated.

Sadly for some, there is a right side of history. The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history Governor McDonnel. It is best to accept that fact and to move on.

Courtesy of The Washington Post:

Gov. McDonnell's airbrushing of Virginia history

Wednesday, April 7, 2010; A16

IT WAS only in 1997, 132 years after the Civil War, that Virginia finally retired "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia" as its state song, acknowledging that the lyrics (including "this old darky's heart" and "old Massa") offended blacks, among others. Now, inexplicably, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) has issued a proclamation that blatantly airbrushes the history of Virginia, the Civil War and the United States, again raising questions about how far the Old Dominion has evolved, or not.

It's fine that Mr. McDonnell decided to proclaim April as Confederate History Month; the Confederacy is an important chapter of history that merits study and draws tourists to Virginia.

But any serious statement on the Confederacy and the Civil War would at least recognize the obvious fact -- that slavery was the major cause of the war, and that the Confederacy fought largely in defense of what it called "property," which meant the right to own slaves. Instead, Mr. McDonnell's proclamation chose to omit this, declaring instead that Virginians fought "for their homes and communities and Commonwealth." The words "slavery" and "slaves" do not appear.

Even more incendiary is the proclamation's directive that "all Virginians" must appreciate the state's "shared" history and the Confederacy's sacrifices. Surely he isn't including the 500,000 Virginia slaves who constituted more than a quarter of the state's Civil War-era population, who cheered the Union and ran away to it when they could.

As James McPherson, dean of Civil War scholars, commented on learning of Mr. McDonnell's proclamation: "I find it obnoxious, but it's extremely typical. The people that emphasize Confederate heritage and the legacy, and the importance of understanding Confederate history, want to deny that Confederate history was ultimately bound up with slavery. But that was the principal reason for secession -- that an anti-slavery party was elected to the White House. . . . And without secession, there wouldn't have been a war."

It's difficult to understand why Mr. McDonnell, who in his inaugural address paid eloquent homage to former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, the grandson of slaves, and spoke movingly of slavery's evils, would now trade in such glaring historical omissions. Charitably, we might suspect sloppy staff work; less charitably, we'd guess he is pandering to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group that lionizes the Confederacy and pressed for the proclamation. It's possible the governor thought he was being sensitive by eliminating the obnoxious glorification of the Confederacy's "cause," a word that appeared in a similar proclamation by former governor George Allen (R), whose idea of office decor ran to Confederate flags and nooses.

If Mr. McDonnell was unable to draft a historically honest statement, the best course would have been to follow the example of his direct predecessors, former Democratic governors Timothy M. Kaine and Mark L. Warner, who sidestepped the issue. After all, Virginians have studied and recognized the Civil War for generations without instructions from the governor. And as Mr. Warner said, such proclamations are too often lightning rods that exacerbate racial wounds rather than soothe them.

Monday, April 5, 2010

He's Back! Come Once More to the Church of James Brown and Confess Your Distaste for Things and Matters that All Black People are Deemed to Love

As we did last year, once more you can win some of our swag (legal stuff: only U.S. and Canadian residents--I will have some prizes for folks across the pond if they should win; and no P.O. boxes).

Courtesy of the good people at Hachette Book Group the best 3 confessionals will each receive the following 3 books (get it? 3 winners get 3 books each):

  • The autobiography FOXY by the and only Pam Grier
  • The health and wellness guide The Remedy by Supa Nova Slo
  • And Queen Latifah's book, Put on Your Crown

Oh he has come again. As I searched the darkest corners of the Internet well past my normal hour of sleep I heard a rhythmic tapping. At first I thought it was my neighbors engaged in furtive lovemaking. The rhythm became louder, more compelling, and familiar. It was then that a great light shined at me, blinding me with its power! No, it could not be. I knew that he had disappeared from his anointed crypt in the mortal world. Something told me that he walked the Earth once more. But could it be? It was not February. Black History Month had past. As my eyes adjusted I could see him. It was true! My vision was real! The Permed One had returned! James Brown, the patron Saint of our people stood before me. I bowed to him and he let me touch his magical robe. Brother James then spoke as only he could:

Go to the people and spread my word Brother Chauncey. It is not only during February that my church must exist, that negroes everywhere must be free to confess their secret shames and sins of black authenticity at all times. Once more, this is the time I have selected, this first week of April. For we have so much to share since Brother Obama has been elected. Present my word and spread it for now it is time to come together in community!

Shaken I stood forth and promised to follow through on his commandment. Once more, I bring to you the Church of James Brown and offer our space to confess your secret sins of those things respectable negroes pretend to like in the name of blackness but secretly loathe; those thoughts we keep to ourselves for fear of White folk hearing them; our secret anger and rage. Come unburden yourself my respectable negro friends and family.

In our sacred words:

"Oh most amazing James Brown, greatest of all negroes, I offer you my lies and secret shames. All these years I have yearned to share those things which I have pretended to like and adore in the name of being authentically Black. I cast my words into the wind so that you can take our secrets and make these shames unintelligible as you sing them for all time in your unique and spirited language."

As one of the elders of the Church of James Brown I shall offer myself as an example of humility and vulnerability as I send my words into the wind:

I, Chauncey DeVega, believe that Michelle Obama makes many questionable fashion choices, and has worn many an outfit that is both unflattering and unattractive.

I, Chauncey DeVega, think that the new Erykah Badu video is overrated (despite her "political" posturing, I find the video more compelling for her most wonderful booty than for any "message" she is trying to convey). And like the neo-soul "queen" Jill Scott, I am generally tired of self-important, black artists who appeal to the negro bohemian nouveau New Negro crowd.

I, Chauncey DeVega, am tired of racism chasers who find offense and a white boogie man behind every corner. Quite frankly, I don't care if black people were told to leave Walmart over the public announcement system, or if another raggedy often badly behaving negro was tasered by the cops while acting the fool. I am quite frankly exhausted.

Come my friends and unburden yourself!

***We are in day 2 of our revival and the church is slowly filling up. Are there are children who want to proclaim their faith in the Church of James Brown before the Permed One must go on to help other souls tomorrow? Come now and put forth your sins onto the wind!***

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Evening Easter Funny: Behold the Children that Do Not Know the Difference Between a Potato and a Tomato

Hat tip to Keep it Trill on this one. And yes, I am happy that none of the kids were black.

I just couldn't resist...any reason whatsoever to post the most wondrous thing in the whole of these known Earths. Fat babies!

The polyglot, post-racial democracy that is the Maury Povich show knows no boundaries of greatness:

We truly are a society too sick to survive.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Saturday Afternoon Funnies: Diversity Training and Why Jesus Hates Klingons

Remember, it is okay to shake hands with Sikh men. Don't assume that Puerto Ricans playing dominoes are up to no good. Treat respectable negroes with respect, and treat the ign'ts with disdain (that isn't in the CPD training video but should be).

For all of you Christian folk who happen to be ghetto nerds, here is some guidance for you on faith, Jesus, and the Klingon Empire:

It is such a beautiful day outside and I am going to enjoy it. But, we need to be careful of those perverts, flashers, and pedophiles who are lurking in wait at every corner and in every bush for Spring is their season after a long Winter of discontent (damn! how can you not like Oscar Wilde wordplay such as that?)

Remember, get street smart!

Is Glenn Beck Perfectly Possessed?

Especially important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon. We may ask what is relevant but anything beyond that is dangerous. He is a liar. The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don't listen to him. Remember that - do not listen.
--Father Merrin, The Exorcist

I don't know if Glenn Beck is more dangerous to himself or to those Troglodytes who would actually appear on his TV show and seek counsel before a national audience.

We have talked about him extensively. His theatrics are the stuff of legend. The power he has over the know-nothings is legendary. It is a given that folks who have followed this site know that I am not religious (in fact, I am quite transparent in sharing that I do not understand what psychologists have labeled "the religious mind"). Nevertheless, I believe that the universe we inhabit is both mysterious and full of the unknown. Thus, I am open to explanations for events that some would reject out of hand.

Why? because any technology sufficiently advanced will be mistaken for magic. Let that marinate for a second.

I am a ghetto nerd, a walking compendium of esoteric knowledge. In studying Beck and referencing my personal library of forbidden knowledge (trust Behold a Pale Horse and The International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders remain go to volumes in these trying times), I have to ask myself if he is perfectly possessed? Has Beck sold his soul to some entity in order to gain power over the Palin Crowd, Right wing Populist set? Given his troubled origins, does he not fit the profile of a weak soul that would be vulnerable to temptation?

Am I kidding? Am I serious? And does it matter?

Random factoid and confession: I had the good fortune of meeting the Jesuit priest who was mentored in Seminary by the elder official that was involved in the real event which The Exorcist is based upon. The two of them became close friends and shared many confidences. After developing a friendship with "Father Merrin's" student, I asked him about the movie and how accurate it was. He explained it was total hogwash and referred me to some books about the real case. I asked him about demonic possession and if the child in the actual case was inhabited by a demonic force. He smiled and gave me an answer that helped to solidify my respect for the Jesuits as men of God and philosophy.

"There was an other Earthly presence involved, but that does not mean it was a demon," he told me. "The multiverse is complicated and maybe it was something from another dimension, but that does not mean that it was what we would understand to be an evil spirit." Talk about a chill coming over the room.

Listen to the late great Father Malachi Martin, former exorcist for the Vatican, discussing demonic possession, and ask yourself: Does Glenn Beck not fit the profile of a person perfectly possessed? Should we fear him? Or should we pity him?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

David "The Undercover Brother" Mills, Noted Screenplay Writer and Journalist has Passed Away

"You come at the King you best not miss." Rest in peace David.

You were a true Renaissance Man--writer, journalist, scholar (even if you were modest about your work), and all around creative type. Funny, it wasn't until a few months ago that I realized that The Undercover Blackman...one of the first popular blogs to give us some love...was your project. Now it all makes sense. You were cool people, and although it is little comfort in their grief, I do hope your family finds some solace in the great body of work you have left behind for us all.

David Mills, Emmy-winning screenwriter, dead at 48

David  Mills

David Mills (left) is shown in this Sun file photo from April 2000 with actress Khandi Alexander, and writer David Simon as they stand outside at the premier of the HBO television movie "The Corner" at the Senator Theatre.

David Mills, a University of Maryland graduate and Emmy-award-winning screenwriter for his work on "The Corner," collapsed on the set of HBO's "Treme" Tuesday and died in a New Orleans Hospital, according to series creator David Simon. He was 48 years old. The cause of death was a brain aneurysm.

Mills was working as a writer on the new HBO series from Simon and Eric Overmyer, which is set to debut April 11. He was a long-time friend of Simon's since their college days on the University of Maryland student newspaper, The Diamondback. Mills collborated with Simon on scripts for the NBC series, "Homicide: Life on the Street" and HBO's "The Corner."

The duo went from being newspaper reporters -- Simon at The Baltimore Sun and Mills at The Washington Post -- to near-instant success as two of the best screenwriters working in network crime drama. Their work on "The Corner," won an Emmy for best writing for a TV mini-series in 2000.

Mills went on to join Steven Bochco's writing staff at "NYPD Blue." He also wrote for the NBC medical drama "ER." In 2003, he created and served as executive producer for the short-lived NBC crime drama, "Kingpin," the saga of a Mexican drug operation.

While the writing was again top-notch Mills, the series failed to attract an audience right out of the box, and was cancelled after six episodes. It was Mills' bad luck to be working in network TV rather than pay cable, where the series would have surely found an audience had it been given a chance to grow.

While he lived in Los Angeles, Mills spent a lot of time in the Baltimore and Washington area because of his involvement on "The Corner," "Homicide" and "The Wire." In the 1990s, he appeared several times as a guest on what is now WYPR-FM, Baltimore's public radio station.

Sheri Parks and I interviewed Mills at length on our weekly "Media Matters" show that aired on what was then WJHU, and he was one of the the most illuminating conversationalists I have ever encountered. While the conversation always started with TV screenwriting, it invariably tracked into some of his interests and passions -- George Clinton and the Funkadelics and race and politics. The enthusiam and joy that Mills brought to such topics were contagious.

Sitting in a radio studio listening to Mills talk about his work was an intellectual high to be savored. I wondered as I wrote a preview last week about the pilot for "Treme" how much Mills had to do with the music. It was the finest use of music I have ever heard in a TV series.

Mills wrote about those topics on his blog, "Undercover Black Man." His autobiographical information at that site was vintage Mills in its economy and firm sense of professional identity.

"I used to write for newspapers," he said. "Now I write for TV shows."

His last post at "Undercover Black Man," carried the headline "'Treme' is less than two weeks away."

"And... TV critics are starting to weigh in" he wrote. "The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik dug the first episode."

I "dug" almost every television thing that David Mills ever did.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Moral Panic of the Week: Japanese Rape Games--I Guess Those Grass Eating Boys May Not Be A Solution to the Black Woman's Dating Dilemma After All...

Lord, if the ign'ts learn how to program computer games we will be in trouble for sure. But then again, at least they will have a marketable skill.

I guess our solution of pairing up Black Women with Asian men (Japanese brothers in particular) may not be an ideal solution to the supposed shortage of "good black men." As always we respectable negroes have been ahead of the curve. What do I hear? A bird? A plane? No...it is time for a We Are Respectable Negroes Flashback!

Yes...that was an awkward turn of phrase, but hell they can't all be gems.

Gordon Gartrelle Dreams Up a Foreign Exchange Program: Grass-Eating Boys for Baby Boys

Slate recently ran a piece about soushoku danshi or “grass-eating boys,” the Japanese men who are rejecting sex, materialist consumption, and competitive careers, all of which defined the popular image of Japanese manhood in the ‘80s. Grass-eating boys are not only viewed as undesirable by many Japanese women; these beta males are blamed for contributing to Japan’s dwindling birthrate and slumping economy.

The piece continues,

[grass-eating boys are] often close to their mothers and have female friends, but they're in no rush to get married themselves, according to Maki Fukasawa, the Japanese editor and columnist who coined the term in NB Online in 2006
Why do these guys seem so familiar?

I’ve got it! They’re like baby boys, the hopeless man-children who are considered unsuitable partners for black women and who have long been blamed for hindering the black underclass. Let’s give this comparison a more thorough treatment:

As is clear from this scientific approach, grass-eating boys and baby boys are surprisingly similar, with the exception of their dispositions toward sex.

Let’s conduct a little thought experiment: What would happen if we switched the two populations, i.e., sent our black baby boys to Japan and brought the grass-eating boys to the U.S. to live among black folks? Since this is simply an exercise in thought, we could disregard the many practical obstacles (apparently, grass-eating boys don’t like to travel outside of Japan, and baby boys would need clearance from their parole officers to leave the States).

So let’s say black baby boys go to Japan:

1. Japanese women would get their hypermasculine alpha males.

2. Japan’s birthrates would soar (we all know how fertile these baby boys are)

3. The Japanese economy is boosted by the increased consumption of goods (just think about the amount baby boys would spend on shoes alone).

4. Baby boys would get to have fun with unfulfilled Japanese women.

5. America would shed a largely unproductive population.

6. There would probably a spike in Japanese crime rates and fatherless children.

This last one is troublesome, but the benefits would outweigh the drawbacks.

Now let’s imagine the grass-eating boys coming to the U.S., where they would encounter a wealth of single professional black women. Nothing would happen because these black women and grass-eating boys wouldn’t date each other.

First of all, we would have to pretend that professional black women are as open to dating non-black men as they claim to be (in tones that make their interracial dating sound like either an ultimatum to black men or a consolation prize).

Grass-eating boys have the same major flaws as baby boys, namely limited career ambitions and indifference to marriage. Sistas have been there, done that. And while it's probably not a big deal that grass-eating boys won’t buy nice things, it’s definitely a problem that they aren’t really about sex. Stereotypes aside, a meh attitude toward laying pipe simply won't fly with sistas, despite how much they lament black men's supposed oversexedness.

Damn, even in a thought experiment sistas can’t win .

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Racism is a Mental Illness: Barack Obama, Rapist of Freedom and the Statue of Liberty

When I saw this cartoon, I shook my head. If there ever was an example of a simultaneously "neutral" and "provocative" editorial cartoon that stinks of racism then this is it.

Rape allusions? Check. Allusions to the myth of the black rapist? Check. Intentional provocation? (and denial...check out the comments section on the site that posted it) Check. Denial of racist intentions while all the while wallowing in racial provocation? Double check.

What has become more and more evident in the response of the mainstream media to the Tea Party brigands, as well as to the racially infused animus against Obama on the Right, is that Conservatives have won the Language Wars in this country. Quite smartly, the Right-wing made "Liberal" into a dirty word in the 1980s. Offered up "new-speak" such as "reverse racism." They, with the help of the Right-wing propaganda machine, have redefined "Progressives" as "fascists." And of course, the Right co-opted the language of colorblindness to serve a radically conservative agenda that reinforces the status quo of white privilege and white power. In the height of their absurdity, if one is to believe the logic of the Right-wing echo chamber, in the Age of Obama it is white men who are now victims of Jim Crow 2.0.

In total, these views embody an understanding of reality that is more than dumb. Quite frankly, it is both pitiable and stupid. Nevertheless, this bubble is comforting and intoxicating for those who live within it.

The coup de grace to this genius play on the part of the Right-wing in the Language Wars was the introduction of the concept, "the race card." Now, any discussion of racial inequality is itself racist. Those who call out obvious racism--see the Tea Party and their behavior as of late--are in fact "racists." If one is to pursue this logic, I am in fact a racist for daring to interrogate the ugliness and racial invective present in the Obama as Rapist of Liberty Cartoon.

I have given up trying to understand those Conservatives who defend the Tea Baggers, who are unwillingly to denounce the bigots in their midst, or play the game of deflection and reversal ("well maybe there were a few bad apples in the bunch, but you libs are the real racists for calling it out!" or my favorite "prove that John Lewis was called a nigger! Prove it! You are just trying to discredit us! We Tea Baggers are the real victims of racism in this country!").

In total, the mental gymnastics that many Conservatives have resorted to in defense of the Tea Parties is a sign of a deep psychopathology.

Racism is their illness. It comes in many forms and varieties, but racism is nonetheless a sickness of the mind and of the soul. To understand their illness we must categorize and study it. In the genealogy of white racism there are the deniers; those who just don't see people of color as equals (we are quite literally invisible to many of them); those who are angry and resentful; those who traffic in the soft-bigotry of low expectations; and the willfully ignorant. The Right-wing populists and their enablers (with their know-nothing ethos) have members that are sick in all of these ways. In total, the idea of a Black man in the White House sickens them on an existential, psychological, and spiritual level. For Black Conservatives who defend the Tea Baggers, their sickness is a profound one that is one part racial Stockholm syndrome enabled by a deeply internalized white racism.

Do not commit the common error in reasoning that this is "just about "race." No. Those who are sick with racism make poor choices generally--and are willingly to sacrifice the common good politically, socially, economically for all Americans--as a function of their illness.

A suggestion: listen to noted psychologist Dr. Na'im Akbar and reflect on the protests, language, and vitriol of the Tea Party, Palin brigades. Tell me, do his observations on the nature of white racism not fit their behavior perfectly?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

We Hate the Government But Want More Government Jobs: Are The Tea Party People Dumb? or Are They Just Really Stupid?

Concept: Cognitive Dissonance

In 1957, Leon Festinger published a theory of cognitive dissonance, which has changed the way psychologists look at decision-making and behavior.[1] At its heart, cognitive dissonance theory is rather simple. It begins with the idea of cognitions. Cognitions are simply bits of knowledge. They can pertain to any variety of thoughts, values, facts, or emotions. For instance, the fact that I like ice cream is a cognition. So is the fact that I am a man. People have countless cognitions in their heads.

Most cognitions have nothing to do with each other. For instance, the two cognitions mentioned before (that I am a man and that I like ice cream) are unrelated. Some cognitions, however, are related. For instance, perhaps I have a sweet tooth and I like ice cream. These cognitions are "consonant," meaning that they are related and that one follows from the other. They go together, so to speak.

However, sometimes we have cognitions that are related, but do not follow from one another. In fact, they may be opposites. For instance, perhaps I like ice cream, but I am also trying to lose weight. These two thoughts are problematic -- if I eat ice cream, then I may gain weight, and if I really want to lose weight then I cannot eat ice cream. These types of cognitions are referred to as "dissonant."

The basic idea behind cognitive dissonance theory is that people do not like to have dissonant cognitions. In fact, many people argue that the desire to have consonant cognitions is as strong as our basic desires for food and shelter. As a result, when someone does experience two or more dissonant cognitions (or conflicting thoughts), they will attempt to do away with the dissonance.


The masses are indeed asses.

This week has yielded a bushel (or two) of research on the political ecology of the Tea Party, Republicans. Not surprisingly, they have minimal knowledge of actual government policies, are ill informed on the issues which they ostensibly care about, are immersed in the Fox News, Right-wing echo chamber, and simultaneously want "the government out of their lives" while also wanting the government to improve their lives.

Question: Are the Tea Party members A) Dumb or B) Stupid

In helping you to reach a conclusion, I offer this piece from the Washington Monthly which nicely sums up the less than cogent thinking of the typical Tea Bagger:

UNAWARE OF THE CONTRADICTION.... There's an old joke that goes something like this: my neighbor went to public schools before joining the military. He went to college on the G.I. Bill, bought his first home through the FHA, and received his health care through the V.A. and Medicare. He now receives Social Security.

He's a conservative because he wants to get the government off his back.

I mention the joke because a surprising number of right-wing activists don't seem to appreciate the humor. We talked the other day, for example, about a radical libertarian activist who encourages his allies to throw bricks through the windows of Democratic offices to protest the Affordable Care Act. He hates government involvement in the lives of citizens -- but his main income is taxpayer-financed disability checks sent to him every month by the federal government.

This is not uncommon. The NYT reports today on some of the well-intention folks who've been caught up in the Tea Party nonsense. Take Tom Grimes, for example.

In the last year, he has organized a local group and a statewide coalition, and even started a "bus czar" Web site to marshal protesters to Washington on short notice. This month, he mobilized 200 other Tea Party activists to go to the local office of the same congressman to protest what he sees as the government's takeover of health care. [...]

"If you quit giving people that stuff, they would figure out how to do it on their own," Mr. Grimes said.

When Grimes lost his job 15 months ago, one of his first steps was contacting his congressman about available programs that might give him access to government health care. He receives Social Security, and is considering a job opening at the Census Bureau. But in the meantime, Grimes has filled the back seat of his Mercury Grand Marquis with literature decrying government aid to struggling Americans.

The same article noted the efforts of Diana Reimer, considered a "star" right-wing activist in her efforts against government programs, a campaign she describes as her "mission." Reimer, of course, currently enjoys Social Security and the socialized medicine that comes with Medicare.

The cognitive dissonance is rather remarkable. They perceive the government as the source of their economic distress -- which itself doesn't make sense -- and then rely on the government to give them a hand, all the while demanding that the government do less to give people a hand. Their reflexive hatred for public programs is so irrational, they don't even see the contradiction.

"After a year of angry debate," the Times article noted, "emotion outweighs fact."

That's no doubt true. But that doesn't change the fact that we're talking about a reasonably large group of people who are deeply, tragically misguided.

This is important to the extent that there are still some who believe the political mainstream should do more to listen to the Tea Party crowd and take its hysterical cries seriously. But how can credible people take nonsense seriously and hope to come up with a meaningful result? How can policymakers actually address substantive challenges while following the advice of angry mobs who reject reason and evidence?

The bottom line seem inescapable: too many Tea Party activists have no idea what they're talking about. Their sincerity notwithstanding, this is a confused group of misled people.

Everybody Has a Price! The Wonderful Joys of Political Incorrectness with WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase

I am all set for Wrestlemania tomorrow. As per my tradition, I am watching the hall of fame induction and I was reminded of just how great the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase was both as a worker and on the mic. In watching his speech and video package DiBiase reminded me of just how inconvenient life is. Some of us--not me--try to live according to some mantra of "political correctness"--those things not politically orthodox are not worthy of pleasure, joy, smiles, embrace, or laughter and smiles. Supposedly, politics trumps pleasure. Being the hedonist that I am, Chauncey DeVega can't/is incapable of/and has never lived according to that rule. Nope. Aint' gonna happen.

Life is about ambiguity. DiBiase's gimmick as the rich, racist, million dollar man with a black house slave named Virgil who famously bought Sapphire (Dusty Rhodes' special Negress) is not politically correct. It never can be. But you know what? It was damn fun to watch. And the pleasure was no less sweet.

Some great moments.

Ruining a child's day and kicking away his basketball:

Buying a slave:

Going shopping with a slave to buy the million dollar belt:

Congrats Mr. DiBiase. You deserved it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Afternoon Funny: Let Us Pray With Pastor Manning Against the "Anti-Christ and Son of Satan" Barack Obama

You can pray for anything. I used to pray to God that I would get a remote control airplane from the Sears Wishbook. I worked really hard at it: "Oh Lord, God in heaven, will you please grant me the remote control airplane--or helicopter if one of the coolest airplanes in the Sears Wishbook is out of stock as that too would be acceptable--as I would be closer to you as I fly in the heavens and my parents would be made proud by my gifts of aeronautical skill."

Guess what? I didn't get the plane at Christmas. But you know what, God of things small and large has granted me health, laughs at me when I deserve it, saved my life on more than one occasion, loves me, got me Nintendo for Christmas (with Excitebike) when I was 11 and my dad was almost laid off from work, put my wisdom on the History Channel, and has allowed me to have sex with more than one Sikh woman--and yes, it was all you envious souls imagined it to be. Ultimately, God has been pretty damn cool to this simple respectable negro.

Trust, how many black men can say they went to pleasure town with a Sikh sister? 2 or 3--and one of them is me.

Crom, JC, the Most High, Yahweh, The Force, The Blessed Exchequer of The Great Material Continuum, Buddha, Allah, the grand life force, and the free hand of the market will hear this stupidity and laugh.

But be careful Pastor Manning as you just might get what you wish for...and who knows, maybe prayer is a two way street where respectable negroes everywhere are wishing you ironic, sad, and tragic misfortunes? Hell, if my prayer is heard you will find yourself awake tomorrow with a hot curling iron in your tuckus!

But God is likely not that cruel. Or is he?