Monday, June 21, 2010

Homophobic? Anti-Christian?--"Pause," Boondocks Season 3 Episode Reviewed

As the old saying goes, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." After tonight's Boondocks, I know that this episode will be attacked as being either "homophobic" or "anti-Christian"...and both sides will most certainly unite in mutual condemnation of Aaron McGruder's latest salvo across the bow of the Black Superpublic.

My two cents: "Pause" was great.

Shameless self-promotion: See our latest poll on the right sidebar (hopefully this one won't break just as it is getting good).

In tonight's episode, McGruder took on two sacred cows among some in the black community. He exposed Tyler Perry's coonery. And then he had the shear unmitigated gall to own the collective foolishness of the Black Church with its corporate, prosperity ministry nonsense. As folks who follow this site know, one I do not "get" the Black church; two I don't get the religiously minded; and three I do so believe that religion is all in all an opiate of the masses--equally so, both for the ghetto ign't underclasses and the bourgeois negro strivers alike.

In keeping with my earlier post on the Boondocks, here are some observations and Easter Eggs for us to commiserate on (modestly offered because the MacGuffins were pretty obvious in this episode).

1. As some have observed, where do you find the freaks on Sunday? I will let that pregnant question stand alone. And of course (not ever in my experience), I have heard about more freaky deaky hot sex make the angels blush Song of Solomon stories from guys who hooked up with "pious" church girls than from any other discrete cohort. I myself have drunk from these want to be near virgins' waters. Yes, I must tell you they are deep, ambrosia filled, and wondrous.

2. Broken toys: McGruder's wink at the porn star turned Tyler Perry devotee is on point.

3. How many of you know folks who pray for anything at any time? Is this disrespectful of "God?" I must ask: Isn't God pretty busy managing the universe? Or do interns handle these petty requests, i.e. the "please God, may my McDonald's order be correct?" or "Praise God, may I win the Superbowl and make even more money that I do not need!"

4. Tyler Perry's induction of grandpa at the mansion into his twisted sex cult is a clear wink to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

5. Likewise, the Tyler Perry zombie cult member's mention of Kool Aid is a signal to Jim Jones and the Guyana tragedy.

6. Is Aaron McGruder a fan of Richard Dawkin and Chris Hitchens? I think he is. Never forget that religion ruins all things.

7. This episode took multiple digs at hip hop and "urban" culture's homophobia/homosocial/often homosexual underpinnings. All of them damn sharp, deep, and painful.

8. Likewise, the homophobic rhetoric of many in the Black Church was put on blast. Funny, because we know that many men, men who are often in leadership positions in the church, are in fact gay or bisexual. Talk about hypocrisy.

9. To point: The cup overfloweth with references to "D.L." culture. Beware the eyes!

10. In my opinion, Pause's best barbs were at the near perfect script of professional black woman in peril because of the lack of available, good, black men. McGruder in his dig at Perry got in references to Diary of a Tired Black Man and Beyonce's new age classic Obsessed (trust, one day it will be on TNT) ...

11. McGruder's point that in the Black Church we have folks who are false prophets making false profits. Riddle me that. And Now introducing the "rent money dance." A broke clock--here being Pastor Manning--is right twice a day:

12. Tom's support of Tyler Perry's mission is, at least to my eyes, a damned powerful lampooning of how folks who should know better support coonery and foolishness in Black popular culture because of the soft bigotry of low expectations. In short, the black privileged classes know better. But, in an effort to appear "authentic" these same folk embrace foolishness.

13. Tyler Perry's character receiving inspiration from a "White" Jesus. Deep.

Do tell, what other themes, symbols, or metaphors were present in this latest McGruder masterpiece? Ultimately, are the masses that embrace Tyler Perry really this stupid?


Stephen Kearse said...

I thought it was really clever how McGruder had Perry put a sweater on Jesus. Churches often lavishly adorn images of Jesus, which means they totally misunderstand who Jesus was. Basically, Jesus is commodified.

Anonymous said...

That preacher guy really hates women. I see his overall point, but man, that's gotta be the most misogynistic thing I've heard in a long while.

Bash said...

I loved the episode, he was dead-on with the light-skinned shirtless formula. "I'm dark-skinned and bald-headed and hate Jesus," hilarious. He was also on the money with the black church's insistence on interjecting white Jesus in to just about everything. This was alluded to in the Hurricane Katrina episode in season two.

I'm glad he touched on the homoeroticism of the church and hip-hop. It's rampant in both areas. You're absolutely right, many visible leaders in black churches are gay, or at the very least, "bi-sexual" (same as being gay). Perhaps many of these people were raised by single, gossiping, loud women who were heavily involved in the church? That's for another day.

I had one reservation: the secret society/cult angle. I understand and appreciate it, but for the Worldstar Hip-Hop generation of younger people this only fuels the whole "Illuminati, Jay-Z and Rihanna worship the devil" thing they are so caught up in. (Seriously, I have friends who are teachers who say their kids argue and talk about who's in the Illuminati and who worships the devil. I've heard this conversation on a college campus as well *sigh).

The masses are more ignorant/unconcious than stupid. There's a difference, imo. We need to be entertained. I'm not a Christian, but I've been at Christian services and funerals that turned into nothing short of a religious spectacle/revival/WTF-a-thon. It's sad because I know preachers who are against performing services with all the theatrics, but they are afraid of being labeled "boring" and losing members.

I don't mind Tyler Perry or his movies (I've never watched a whole play). I think he's talented and could do a little more with that talent, but he's found his lane and that's cool. There are worse things that are affecting our race. He's giving jobs and casting black actors (even if they happen to be light-skinted-ed).

I found Spike Lee's criticism to be a little hypocritical, and perhaps, jealous to a point. He did his fair share of cooning with "She's Gotta Have It", "Girl 6", and "She Hate Me". Those all portrayed black people in fairly negative and stereotypical lights, it's just nobody saw them because they were pieces of isht, for the most part. I'm not a huge Spike fan though, so maybe my opinion is a little skewed.

btw, interesting Pastor Manning clip, although he's a goddamn idiot he raised some good points.

RiPPa said...

Did you catch the fat black woman holding a bucket of fried chicken a la 'Precious'? Did you catch how he rightfully played them as being desperate and one step away from having sex with God?

I thought that was extremely powerful in that it captured the psychosis attached to the minds of the everyday black woman. Watching that dig in prticular brought up the following question for the single women of the black church:

If Jesus came to you and asked for some pussy would you give it to him? Or would you assume it to be yet another trick of the Devil? Plainly speaking, would you fuck Jesus?

Hmmm, I think I'm on to something.

chaunceydevega said...

@Stephen--That was a good observation. Jesus is reduced to a product and is whatever folks want him to they crooked black preachers or Conservatives for example.

@Anon--Pastor Manning pulls no punches.

@Bash--It is sad--and I am a believer in what many would consider to be "conspiracy" theories--that so many young folks are investing energy in researching the conspiracies of Jay Z and hip hop as opposed to the real structural troubles facing their lives.

@Rippa--That was a great one. Poor Precious self medicating herself. There are so many. On the would they have sex with Jesus, I think they would do whatever their preacher told them to do. Many are that weak and lemming-like following their "leaders" off a cliff.

gordon gartrelle said...

This episode was fire.

I'm loving this season.

Anonymous said...

Tyler Perry is the only thing wrong with the new Star Trek movie.

MilesEllison said...

The best Boondocks episode ever. It's about time somebody tore into Tyler Perry and his hypocritical brain dead audience.

Honestly, if you are a sentient human being, particularly a black sentient human being, you should have a problem with Tyler Perry's work. He's a 21st century Stephen Fetchit with half the talent and considerably less of an excuse.

Bash said...

^^I wouldn't go that far, and to say he doesn't have a lot of talent is a bit of stretch. Are some of his characters (particularly Mr. Brown) sort of buffoonish? Yes. But he does attempt to portray a message, so to say he's a strictly Step 'N' Fetchit type of entertainer is a little far.

OhCrapIHaveACrushOnSarahPalin said...

Can't wait to see it!

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Chauncey, I heard about your great post from another blogger yesterday. I watched the episode this morning and read your review, which asked for other things we saw in the show. Mine were too long for a comment so them out here:

Boondocks Social Commentary: Making Pacts With Racism & Sistas Expected To Act Like Trannies

Dylan B. said...

That was the best Boondocks episode out of season three. Did you notice how the big woman was talking to Robert about she been working with Winston Jerome for 10 years. I think they were talking about Cassie and Lavan Davis. Aaron McGruder is really tearing Tyler Perry a new one on this (no Homo).lol.

..Also the ending was funny too.

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Kaila said...

Typical black people--always hating on other's success instead of making your own. Tyler Perry is not a coon, thats ridiculous. He employs the majority of black actors in Hollywood! He has his own production studio! He might be gay, but he at least makes positive movies that set good examples for our people. We as black people need to be uplifted and fed more positive images and Brother Perry does that! I really enjoy the messages in his movies and plays. The negativity of so-called 'uppity negroes' like the writer are what keep our race down, the negativity and the pessimism. I for one will say Bravo Mr. Perry, keep doing what you're doing!

gordon gartrelle said...

Typical black people--always hating on other's success instead of making your own.

The "hater defense" is complete nonsense--it's meant to silence criticism.

Tyler Perry is not a coon, thats ridiculous.

Mammy, coon, take your pick. The fact is he is embodying a tradition of black bufoonery that is centuries old.

He employs the majority of black actors in Hollywood! He has his own production studio!

So? That's great for him, but that doesn't make his art any better. White producers have always employed black actors for stereotypical roles. Do you suggest we stop criticizing white Hollywood producers because they're employing black people in criminal, jezebel, coon roles? If thug rappers started owning the means of their music production, would you speak positively about their product?

He might be gay, but he at least makes positive movies that set good examples for our people.

We don't care about him being gay (though we wish he'd come out of the closet and stop pandering to the homophobic churchgoers). How are broad stereotypes about black people and the notion that career women are faulty unless they put their men first positive? These are retrograde social values.

I'm all for positivity, but not at the expense of artistic quality. Perry's work isn't even good enough to be mediocre; it's utter garbage with no redeeming value.

Kaila said...

I'd rather my kids watch "Meet the Browns" than "The First 48" and see blacks killing each other. Why can't people just admit Tyler Perry's brilliance? He's come a long way and is giving good, positive work to black actors and setting a great example for black people everywhere. I don't understand you elitist black liberals. Where's the love?

Kaila said...

It's obvious the author of this piece and the other bloggers on this site harbor some sort of negativity or deep seeded hatred for Tyler Perry, thus your opinions seem quite biased.

MilesEllison said...

If the choices are "The First 48" or "Meet the Browns", that is a truly sad state of affairs.

Making a lot of money, having your own studio, and employing black actors doesn't make you brilliant if all those things are the by-product of perpetuating 19th century coonery. Black control of minstrel-level images doesn't make the images any less racist.

Lincoln Perry was the highest paid black actor of his era. Largely because he was willing to perpetuate racist stereotypes. Interesting how early black film pioneers like Oscar Micheaux, who actually tried to portray black people has human beings, were never compensated to nearly that degree.

Anonymous said...

What I've noticed about Tyler Perry is that his productions are unique in that they are the only flicks backed and promoted by mainstream Hollywood that happen to star an all black cast. (I could be wrong on this one, so correct me if I am)

That would be like if Hollywood refused to release a movie with an all white cast unless it was written, produced and starred Larry the Cable Guy.

With that said, there's nothing wrong with a light hearted movie like the ones Tyler Perry puts out. But if it's the only thing that's out there on the market, then that's a problem.

I can understand why some people have grown to despise the man.


C.L. Jones said...

@Kaila - Not all of us believe Perry is brilliant. I don't think he is brilliant at all. His work lacks creativity and originality. He is not a good writer. If you think he is brilliant, keep supporting him, but that doesn't mean the opinions of others still don't stand.

Luis said...

I'm not black -- I'm biracial Hispanic/white -- so I might miss a few things, but I think you saw everything I saw in that episode. More, actually, because I missed the PRECIOUS reference. "Pause" was beyond vicious, and I loved every second of it. I wish there were someone like McGruder for Hispanics, or, hell, for white people. I don't think we've found him, or her, yet.

New to the blog -- I like it quite a bit and hope you'll keep on keepin' on.

ejaz14357 said...

I wish there were someone like McGruder for Hispanics, or, hell, for white people. I don't think we've found him, or her, yet.