March 12 – Volume 13, No 3
1. Look, I don’t hate Tim Tebow or think he’s the anti-Christ or anything. He’s a fine enough fellow I suppose. Yes, it’s true that I have a general contempt for people who wear their religion on their sleeves as Tebow does. But by all indications Tebow at least practices what he preaches – which is far different from most of the religious zealots I’ve encountered in my life. And in a world where so many people don’t seem to be guided by any larger principles or moral belief system whatsoever, it is refreshing to see someone in the public eye valuing something. So overall, I have no qualms with Tebow personally. What has driven me crazy during this latest fad; that is sure to go the way of the Pet Rock, Chia Pets, Frohawks and Cabbage-Patch Kids, is the larger-than-life hero that the media has made Tebow out to be. I hate much of what Tebow, and others of his ilk, represent. First, I have little tolerance for people receiving accolades that they haven’t earned. And Tebow is being given the superstar treatment without having accomplished a whole bunch on the professional level. By just about any measure, he’s a disaster as an NFL QB. He has a remarkably weak arm and is about as accurate with his throws as Sean Hannity is with the truth. And yet he receives more press than anyone in the NFL. Secondly, I oppose everything that’s over-hyped whether it be the talents of Beyonce, her husband or their baby, the heroism of the New York City Police Department or American Idol. Moreover, Tebow encapsulates my antipathy for the small-minded thinking that frequently is the product of organized religion as many sheep have attributed Tebow’s success to divine intervention. His limited success has been the product of some dumb ass defensive schemes and poor tackling, but an estimated 43 percent of people actually believe that God himself intervenes in the games. Just unbelievable. But I suppose that such nonsensical notions aren’t that surprising from a lot that believes in far-fetched notions like virgin births, resurrections and talking snakes.
2. One of the reasons that I chose sociology as my field of study in pursuit of my doctorate is that I wanted to upset conventional wisdoms, which are often long on convention and convenience but low on actual wisdom. No conventional wisdom has vexed me over the years than the adulation of the quarterback in modern American life. Make no mistake, you need a good QB to win. But the most important components are a strong offensive and defensive line. It matters not how good your quarterback is if he’s getting knocked on his ass all day. It’s hard to throw from that position. Moreover, if you’re a QB who is supported by a poor defense, you almost have to be perfect. During the regular season these types of teams can score enough points to cover up some of these deficiencies. But they often are exposed in the playoffs as there just aren’t many games you’re going to win 45-42. Your defense doesn’t have to be totally impregnable by any means, but you gotta be able to stop somebody. The best evidence of this is the Peyton-Manning era Indianapolis Colts. Routinely they’d start a season 13, 14 and 0. But in spite of their jaw-dropping success in the regular season, Peyton & the Colts have only one Super Bowl to show for it. The Giants have a good quarterback, but the best QB’s this season were Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Each team had defensive questions all season long that were ultimately exposed in the post season. All of this will of course be forgotten next fall of course when team’s fortunes will be explained almost exclusively by looking at the quarterback play. There are 22 people on the field at all times. It’d be nice if so-called experts looked at all of them every now and again.
3. Sunny days. Oceans, lakes, rivers. Head in the morning. Big games. A good steak. Classic hip-hop. Mapquest. Women’s thighs, legs and toes. Going to Greektown after leaving the clubs. Old episodes of Tom & Jerry. The Colbert Report. The House picnic. Guinness and la. Grandparents. Good literature. NBA League Pass. Laws that ban smoking in public places. Massages. Glazed donuts. Ken Burns’ documentaries. Caller ID. Bubble-wrap.
4. Does anyone just drive anymore, or do you have to be on the phone all the damn time? At least have the human decency to get your distracted ass out of the fast lane. Fucking moron.
5. Both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio are incredibly lame in deciding not to fight this year. Not only do they owe it to their sport, which is losing more and more fans to dumb shit like ultimate fighting that appeal to a public with rapidly decreasing attention spans. But more significantly, it’s hard to understand how each of their competitive spirits doesn’t make them feel compelled to step into the arena when each fighter is towards the end of their prime. Nobody wants to see you niggas fight when you’re in your 40s.
6. Wish they still had fights like this. If you’re a fan of sport, watch this fight in its entirety. It’s totally fucking amazing.
7. The cost of education is out of control. It even costs tuition nowadays to get into a decent preschool. Pricing people out of quality education during these times is akin to pricing people out of access to clean water, making this life-dependent product a privilege only for the rich. Rich people who probably have more than enough water in the first place.
8. One things for sure, these years go by quick. If there are things that you always wanted to do, make steps to get them done. Next time you’ll blink you’ll be 50 and will have 50,000 more excuses not to go back and get your masters degree, or learn how to play the trumpet, or go see the slave castles in Ghana. Blink one more time and….
9. The president is spot-on in calling for taxes to be raised on the most wealthy Americans who have gotten over financially like no one’s business over the past three decades. However, even raising their taxes won’t come close to solving the nation’s deficit problems. The reality is that all of our income taxes need to be raised in order to reduce the considerable gap between government spending and revenue. That’s not a politically popular message but it’s an accurate portrayal of a reality that we’ll have to face up to sooner or later.
10. Amazing how unprofessional black professionals are. The talented tenth were supposed to be the vanguard that lead the black community, but we get our degrees and lofty corporate positions and behave as niggardly as ever towards one another. Crabs in a bucket continue to work brilliantly as we cut each other off at the knees in hopes of being one of the perceived chosen-few negroes.
11. Speaking of chosen-few negroes. The enthusiasm that was revved up leading up to the release of Red Tails was dope and I’m glad that it exceeded box office expectations. But we need to get off this tip of feeling grateful to Hollywood for telling our stories. Hollywood ain’t never gone do that for us, and they’re not equipped to do so. There are enough black power players in Hollywood these days where we should have a much stronger independent film industry than we do. And black consumers have to show more support for films that don’t have millions of dollars of marketing behind them like Red Tails did. George Lucas was my man long before he worked tirelessly to raise money to get this film made. I live my life by the lessons taught in Star Wars, after all. But this contribution, notwithstanding, if black America is counting on the likes of George Lucas to be our advocate, we’re in trouble.
12. I hope that people of color are paying attention to what’s being done to voting rights in America, especially if you live in the South. Mandates requiring an ID to vote is a continuance of a long tradition of strategies designed to prevent blacks from participating in the democratic process as these laws in South Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas, and Mississippi is said to discourage millions of African-Americans from voting after their record turnout in 2008. This should be getting a lot more media attention and should be generating a lot more outrage than it is.
13. That being said. Why do so many of you niggas not have an ID? I understand that a lot of cats are making every attempt to stay outside the radar of law enforcement, and state-based identification might make that more difficult to do. But not having an ID also greater ensures that such individuals will remain trapped in the streets. You can’t get a job, you can’t get any form of housing in your name, and can’t get a bank account without some form of photo identification. And that’s just scratching the surface in exploring the many ways that having a lack of identification prevents you from participating in public life. Get your ID with your girl’s address on there, or some other bogus locale, but you need to get some ID, dog.
14. If you are complaining about the poor quality of rap music today, I feel bad for you son because there is a lot of dope music out there if your lazy ass makes efforts to seek it out and stop relying on Clear Channel to tell you lames what hip-hop is. Thanks to cats such as Kendrick Lamar, Blu, Big Kritt, Currensy, The Kid Daytona, All Natural, Mikkey Halstead, Sean Price, Jay Electronica, Tanya Morgan, People Under The Stairs, Giant Panda, The Procussions, The Cool Kids, Skyzoo, Consequence, Asheru, J-Live and Cunninglynguists, the underground is blazing like never before.
15. Happy March 4th.
16. There has been much discussion by the political pundits on how negative the tone of the Republican presidential campaign has been and how toxic it all is to the democratic process. And to them I say, “grow a sack, man. And get over yourselves.” Look, politics is a contact sport and “negative” ads are far too successful for politicians to stop doing them anytime soon. Why waste everybody’s time talking about this stuff every four years? Moreover, not only are these kind of ads fair game, they’re an important part of the political discussion. The masses need as much information about the candidates as possible, and it’s up to the public figure under attack in the ads to do a good job of framing who she is. On some levels, how a candidate deals with these inevitable attacks reveals something about the kind of leader they’ll be. John Kerry, for example, could have done himself a lot of favors if he would have tried to fight back at least a little bit when he got swift boated in 2004. Kerry could have produced his own “negative” ads that pointed out how Bush made every effort to avoid military combat during the Vietnam war. The out-of-touch punditry may have said that Kerry’s defense of his badly assaulted character was negative, but they couldn’t have said that the ad wasn’t true. What is out of bounds and unscrupulous are untruthful and misleading ads. But if something is accurate about someone’s record, that’s fair game. And when something in an ad isn’t true, the media would be better served to report on any factual inaccuracies rather than recycling the discussion over how negative the politics of Washington have gotten.
17. You people really need to get off your damn phones and drive. At least have good enough sense to get your bitch ass in the fuckin passing lane.
18. What’s up with the zeitgeist where no one can admit mistakes these days? Whatever happen to “my bad?” We’re human, we’re fallible. Yep even me, as hard as I know that is for some of you to believe. Yet despite our considerable human frailties, it seems more and more rare to find people who are willing to take any level of accountability for wrong they may bring on to others. Can this be life?
19. With each day I feel more and more convinced that the Bulls can’t win a title with Carlos Boozer as their starting power forward. If they can’t get it done this year, they should cut ties this summer, even at the risk of eating some salary. That or make him the highest paid 6th man in the league.
20. Even though you often displayed blatant disrespect and open contempt for hip-hop music, it is with humble sincerity that I wish for Don Cornelius to rest in peace.
21. Being a writer in an era where few enjoy reading is a masochistic existence.
22. The Giants won the Super Bowl after going 9-7. My Cowboys had their punk asses down and out for the count, staring 6-7 in the face with less than 5 minutes to go. The St. Louis Cardinals slept walk through months of the season and only got into the playoffs because of an epic choke from the Atlanta Braves. UConn won the NCAA title after not even being able to go better than 9-9 in their own conference. Why even bother with the regular season anymore?
23. People like Snoop Dogg and other young people supporting Ron Paul need to look at his full record. It’s all well and good that he supports legalizing marijuana and prostitution, and wants to eliminate the federal income tax. But none of this comes close to outweighing all the other negative aspects of his platform that most sensible people would oppose including his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that made it unlawful to discriminate in public facilities. Paul also wants to abolish the department of education, is in favor of providing privacy protections for sexual predators and he wants to eliminate federal environmental regulations. Weed would need to be legal to keep your sanity in the kind of society that Ron Paul would have us live in.
24. It’s all well and good that so many union workers are coming out to try and fight “right to work” laws in states like Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. However, much of the damage has been done as these white, working class Reagan democrats have supported politicians for a generation that have done all they can to kill their jobs in an effort to protect the interests of the one percent. To quote a wise man, I don’t get mad when chicken come home to roost, I usually get glad. And the white working class’ chickens are roosting all over these days.
25. Now that Phonte and 9th Wonder are touring together again, they need to bring in Rapper Big Pooh and make another studio album. And not no reunited Brand Nubian or New Edition type shit, but something they really put their soul into. In their own words Litte Brother cheated hip-hop by not sharing creative space in recent years. Never to late to make up for lost time.
26. I was listening to Ice Cube’s 1992 album, The Predator, a couple of weeks back and was blown away by how cutting-edge Cube’s lyrics were on an album that I had listened to literally hundreds, and possibly thousands of times. Cube spared no vitriol in documenting institutionalized racism and America’s blatant hypocrisy that wasn’t hard to illuminate just months after the Rodney King verdict. This made it all the more painful for me to watch a few days later when Cube was asked by Dan LeBetard about racism in America. After hemming and hawing for several moments, Cube finally said that racism was like a stench in the air that might touch you, adding that sometimes people look for it. He was hypothetical in addressing whether or not he had experienced racism directly. Cube made racism sound like a freak of nature, as opposed to the diabolically, systemically-calculated tool that it is. To be fair, Cube wasn’t on the show to talk about race relations. He was there to promote a comedy starring Jonah Hill – who is actually more hip-hop than Ice Cube at this stage of the game. But still, there’s no way in hell that 1992 Ice Cube would pass on any opportunity to tell America about itself. Or if I can borrow a sample from NWA’s classic Gangsta, Gangsta, “he’ll just call you a low life motherfucka and talk about yo funky ways.” Cube is seasoned enough where he could have communicated his sincere feelings about racism in America in a way that wouldn’t upset his corporate sponsors, in a way that wouldn’t have further detached him from his legacy as ghetto revolutionary. But Cube certainly shouldn’t be singled out like Jenny McCarthy. It seems that I have to accept as a fact of life that the militant heroes of my youth evolve into bourgie, suburban safe-niggas. In their latest works, two of my all-time favorites, reinforced musically what Cube communicated (or didn’t communicate) on Dan LeBetard’s show. Absent on both Common and the Roots latest LP’s was the hunger, the edge, the provocative tone that had made me fans of each in the first place. I don’t want the Roots to be stressed out about being dropped from their label, or Common performing before 40 people in some North Side club. I want these cats to get stupid paid. They’ve made great art and have made immeasurable contributions to hip-hop culture. They have earned every penny they have, and then some. Still, it seems that the absence of financial struggle softens the hard edges that draws many of us into the hip-hop music. This can’t be life.
27. Ask S.V, it’s all bullshit.
28. I’m glad that it’s been a mild winter throughout most of the United States but the absence of four, distinct seasons is not normal & natural. Non-scientific, superstitious morons tried to dismiss global warming last winter because of the blizzards that covered most of the country last February. In actuality that bolstered the case more. Because it’s not normal or natural either for a snow storm to cover damn near an entire fuckin’ continent. I mean it was lightning during the blizzard in Chi Town last February. Lightning, b.
29. Look, I know that the Republican presidential candidates; and even some in the Obama Administration, want me to be afraid of Iran but I just can’t force myself to be scared. Sorry. And I tried really hard to be scared too. But it’s not in Iran’s rational interest to launch an attack on America. Israel perhaps, but then Israel has done enough saber rattling to suggest that they are well prepared for such an attack and wouldn’t need their big brother to jump in and end things. Again.
30. TV network executives’ desire to avoid any controversy from its Super Bowl halftime show is a dilemma with an easy solution. Don’t have a fuckin’ halftime show. I mean, honestly, since when did the game itself stop being enough? There are more than enough hardcore football fans in America where the NFL doesn’t need to pander to the casual fan by ushering out tired acts like Madonna and 15-minute-of-famers like LMFAO.
31. For the past three years all I heard from the political punditry was how President Obama’s re-election prospects were dim. Especially after the Republicans regained control of Congress in 2010. These fears, flamed most heavily by supporters of the president, were grounded in the state of the economy and the slow pace of recovery. Historically, there was much reason to be alarmed. But everything about Obama’s election and his presidency has broken the mold, making many previous historical parallels irrelevant. The media missed this lesson during the 2008 campaign. 2008 saw a lot of democratic gains in the senate and house, but this was done on Obama’s coattails. People weren’t overly enthusiastic about the democratic message. Democrats in state-wide races across the country benefited from having the president at the top of the ticket. Obama, and not the democratic party, attracted record numbers of democratic voters to the polls. But those college kids and blacks stayed home in 2010. They’ll be back though in 2012. I knew this going in when all the pundits swore that the sky was falling. But this is even more true as it becomes more clear who the Republicans are going to send forth to face him. Polls from coast to coast had Obama losing an election opposite a fictional, faceless candidate. Or someone who fit the profile but hadn’t been nationally vetted like Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie. The choice between whomever the Republicans nominate and the President will be stark. By November it will be clear that the Republican candidate is almost as unacceptable as their previous nominee and his running mate. It won’t be smooth sailing for Obama between now and November. The economy will surely experience some twists and turns, and any actual economic growth won’t be nearly enough to fully lift America to its feet. Obama will make some political missteps and there will be some fake 2-day crisis over the long, hot summer. But after the dust settles, I not only fully expect an Obama win, but a fairly comfortable victory quite frankly. Irregardless of all the talk show hand-wringing.
32. Two years in a row, Chrysler had the best commercial on Super Bowl Sunday, although overall this year’s commercials were remarkably wack. Even the one featuring my man Ferris Bueller didn’t pack the punch that it could have. And it needed to be shot in Chicago.
33. Life is full of cruel irony that all too often makes this world of ours feel like a horribly unjust place. Few have felt the brunt of this injustice more than former South African president, and Nobel Prize winner, Nelson Mandela. After spending the prime years of his life in prison from 1962 to 1990, cruel irony would have taken the 71-year-old Mandela from us long before the world was done with men of his substantial character. But ever the fighter, it has been wonderful to see Mandela get to enjoy what is now 22 years of freedom. Now 93, with no visible signs of slowing down, it will be exciting to see if Mandela will surpass his total years held in captivity.
34. People can call the president a hypocrite all they want for deciding to use a Super-Pac to bolster his re-election prospects. This represents the president’s second about-face regarding campaign finance as Obama also declined public funding in the 2008 campaign. Morality is all well and good, but politics is primarily about winning elections. And it would just be plain stupid for him to lose an election while Romney’s rich friends throw millions of dollars at him. This is a fucked up game that allows our nation’s politicians to be bought and sold like cheap whores, but this is the game that the Supreme Court said they have to play. You weekend warriors can be mad that the rules of engagement have made it where you can’t tackle someone by their face mask like Dick Butkus may have done, but only a fool concedes defeat on the gridiron by failing to adapt. The president may be many things, but a fool isn’t one of them.
35. People talk about Magic, Michael, Larry, Bill Russell, Kobe or Wilt Chamberlain being among the greats to ever play the game. But more attention needs to be given to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and not just because he has the unquestioned best name in sports. Recently, a classic NBA game was on TV where Jabbar was dominating the 4th quarter of a tight playoff game circa 1984. Time and again Magic fed him to great effect. Kareem was 37 at the time. The next year, at age 38 he won the Finals MVP. At an advanced age, he was still a top 10 NBA player. Few of the all-time greats can make that claim. None were able to contribute to championship level teams into their 40s. We should appreciate Kareem more.
36. Anyone who believes that Common put out a record dissing Drake to boost his record sales knows very, very, very little about Common and his history. And even less about the hip-hop culture that Common was speaking on behalf of when he released his song “Sweet.” I seemed to be the only person in the world, upon first hearing the song several months ago, who didn’t think it was about Drake. After all, damn near every rapper is singing these days. The song could have very easily be interpreted as a shot against Wale, B.O.B., Kid Cudi, Pharrell, Lil Wayne, Kanye, Andre 3000 and a thousand other crooners. It’s harder to find a rapper who ain’t singing these days than one who is because once again the music industry has defined the box that artists can fit into now. Hip-hop culture has always been about individuality so Common’s critique was working from the premise of dissing unoriginal rappers, not Drake specifically. Again, those who didn’t just listen to Common for the first time know first hand that Common has no problem whatsoever calling out rappers by name like his famous slaughtering of Ice Cube during the height of the East-West beef or calling the Cash Money Millionaires the “Cash Money Hoes” on “Nag Champa”. What’s even more ridiculous is the notion that Common is using Drake to bolster his own career. Common is over 20 years in the game now. His albums routinely go gold and platinum, his concerts sell out all over the world, he has been featured in numerous films and TV shows, he has authored a book. This is a dude who performed at the White House last year. Drake may possibly have more ringtones than Common, but to argue that Drake has had a more successful career is just idiotic. Common certainly isn’t in Jay-Z or Puffy’s tax bracket by any stretch, but I’m certain that he is more financially stable than Drake – a rapper, I mean a singer, I mean an entertainer- who has been on the scene for about 5 minutes. As far as the battle itself, there’s no real competition in that regard. This is like the Bulls playing the top-ranked junior college basketball team. But don’t take my word for it, be your own judge.
37. Not sure if I mentioned it, but you people really need to get off your damn phones and drive. At least have good enough sense to get your bitch ass in the fuckin passing lane.