Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Snub 'O War

OK. So President Bush gave his final State of the Union address the other night which, if you like recycled speeches, wasn't too bad. He droned on about how the state of the Union is strong, reminded us about how we must continue taking the fight to the enemy, and spewed some other drivel that has come to personify the SOTU speeches over the past few years. Nothing new there.

But perhaps the highlight of the evening (or, should I say, one of the highlights) was the now infamous "Senator snub job" allegedly given to Hillary Clinton by Barack Obama. As some sources have indicated, Clinton came by to acknowledge Senior Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) after the speech; during which time Obama was photographed with his back turned away from her.

Oooooooooooooh! How riveting! I haven't heard such juicy gossip since the Flint Northern/Northwestern marching band fight back in high school.

Just in case y'all can't tell from my tone, I'm being sarcastic.

From some of the blogs and op-eds I've checked out, people are suggesting that this 'snub job' makes Obama a political hypocrite: being ostensibly committed to alleviating (if not completely tearing down) bad relationships that the U.S. has created and sustained with its enemies, while not even being able to acknowledge Hillary. Normally, I'd consider that viewpoint pretty valid. But accepting a proclamation like that at face value would be so unlike me without also considering the counter; especially in light of everything that has gone down since the start of the Democratic primaries.

First, let's consider the source of this whole story: one still shot frozen in time. CNN recently aired a segment, Campaign Killers, where former and current ad executives discuss various tactics used to attack someone politically (interesting, given how CNN themselves have been known to distort the truth. Most media folks are guilty as charged in that respect). Anyway, included in those stunts are identifying the most incriminating photos you can find; even if the act -- in larger context -- is no where near as damning. Any person with even a remote sense of celebrity runs the risk of being exposed for a split second engaging in something that completely gets distorted.

Secondly, to snub someone implies that you are casually dismissing their attempt to address you directly. As far as I can tell, Senator Clinton came by to address Senator Kennedy (which I admit was an interesting move, considering that he is now endorsing Obama). Any other acknowledgment is secondary. Addressing Clinton may have been the polite thing to do. But not addressing Clinton wasn't necessarily impolite.

Lastly, lest we forget; Clinton and Obama have been involved in a series of heated exchanges lately. Though most of the blows came vicariously from hubby Bill (who -- interestingly is used to being the one getting the blows. *snicker*), B.E.T. sell-out Bob Johnson, or Hillary's staff, it's no secret that Hill has been pulling out all the stops herself as well. So if the snub was really a snub, I welcome it. In a chamber full of enemies making fake, half-assed attempts to play nice for the cameras, I welcome a second or two of realness. If anything, my view pleasure would've been increased somewhat after watching a slugfest. I mean, for a while I was a diehard devotee to the WWE for crying out loud. This snubjob is childplay in comparison. Well, I guess you could say that it's pretty child-like anyway.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Knowing the Man

I once heard a great story that I think sums up the nature of human relations. It goes a little something like this:

Once upon a time there was a young man driving his carriage along a narrow road. The young man was an orphan who never knew his father. Still that did not deter him from being a good person. As he is driving down the road, he sees an old man coming towards him driving a carriage of his own. The old man had no son (or so he thought); but that did not deter him from being a good person as well. As the two good men meet in the middle of this narrow road, they get into an argument over which good man should move aside to let the other good man pass. In the heat of the exchange, the young man, who is quite angry at this point, picks up a rock from the side of the road and strikes the old man in his vulnerable head; killing him.

After reading this story, I suspect that you'd chalked this up to another case of road rage. You'd be correct in thinking that. Still, others may recognize this story from the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex; where Oedipus unwittingly fulfills an oracle's prophecy by murdering his long lost father.

Do you think that Oedipus would've killed, hurt, or even raised a rock to this old man if he knew it was his father?

The moral of the story: get to know the other man.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Dream turned nightmare?

There is something special about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but it’s not the stuff they write in the history books.

Many people are unaware of the reality, but Dr. King's support and popularity from the general society saw a significant decrease as he drew closer to his assassination. Don't be completely taken by all the commenorations, the furniture sales, and the commericials you see. For a while Dr. King was a far stretch from being an "American hero." In fact, it wasn't until after his death that his cause was able to acheive the type of mainstream validation prevalent in today's world. As with just about any other personality with a profound message/agenda, Dr. King was more appreciated in death than he ever was in life.

I believe that we should keep this in mind when we celebrate Dr. King’s life today.

Some are quick to point out that Dr. King was awarded a Noble Peace Prize while he was still alive. But I submit to you that he received that award in Norway, not in the deep South. Let's face facts: people simply did not like him. In fact, as he drew closer to his death, his popularity significantly diminished. His bold anti-war protests made him a target by governmental agencies. His association with Bayard Rustin drew criticism and rumors. Many fellow blacks resisted his nonviolent approach in favor of retaliation. Colleges and universities withdrew their offers to have him speak. I even heard rumors of him being involved with Rosa Parks.

Although Dr. King is now widely celebrated as a great American hero, we must never forget that he was also once seen as one the greatest threats to the American agenda.

Interestingly, though most of the assault came from bigotted right-wingers who boastfully stood in the way of black progress, MLK was quick to point out the role of liberals who were typically resistant to the flourishing of blacks in the south. He often called out liberals who were ostensibly committed to being the "moral" voice who -- when it was time to act -- did nothing and often steered clear of the awesome role of embracing blacks. This disassociation provide as much of an obstacle to black progress as the blantant racism of opponents to the Struggle.

Sadly, I can't say that things have progressed all that much. While we celebrate Dr. King's life, many of the things he stood against are allowed to live on. We still rely on the machine of war to promote our version of "right". Republicans still dismiss the plight of minorities, the poor, and the disenfranchised. Democrats still tip toe around the prevalent issues of the time, while doing little (if anything) to annihilate racism, sexism, and classism. Many sections of Black America continue to be divided, uncommitted to progress, and supportive of socially void and destructive institutions (*ahem* B.E.T.)

So much for "The Dream."


In the spirit of the times, I think I still have a little hope remaining in this world. Especially after seeing this again:

Preach Brotha Martin!

Let our world's healing being NOW!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

We almost had a great joke

So my sister and I were joking about how creepy this weekend's Giants/Packers football game was. First, the game itself:

And then there's the surreal prediction embedded into one of my favorite comedies of all time:

This joke was ALMOST ours. But then people on YouTube started coming up with the same idea. From there, it was all over. No chance at making a comedic name for ourselves. All we're left with are thoughts of what COULD have been.

Stupid telepathy.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Whites, PLEASE get it Right!

To all my white readers out there, let me first say that I appreciate you sticking with me so far. Admittedly, some of my commentary regarding race relations (particularly about white privilege) may be a little uncomfortable at times. But let me just say that I commend you for taking the bumpy ride with me. But, I've got one more request that may be a little uncomfortable, but necessary: please tell your fellow white folks to stop being so damn stupid.

I was ready to put the Tiger Woods lynch joke behind me. Until I read this article:

Golfweek magazine replaced the editor responsible for illustrating the current cover with a noose and apologized Friday for its depiction of a Golf Channel anchor’s use of “lynch” in a comment about Tiger Woods.

“We apologize for creating this graphic cover that received extreme negative reaction from consumers, subscribers and advertisers across the country,” Turnstile Publishing Co. president William P. Kupper Jr. said. “We were trying to convey the controversial issues with a strong and provocative graphic image. It is now obvious that the overall reaction to our cover deeply offended many people. For that, we are deeply apologetic.” Source

So let me get this straight: the woman who made the joke in the first place only gets suspended for two weeks, but the editor who brings the issue to light while trying to address the problems of racism in golf was forced to resign fired?

Unfortunately, I know this score all too well. Too many White Americans are unwilling to accept the fact that this time-honored sport is littered with a shameful and racist history of exclusion and marginalization (I should point out that the absence of blacks in golf is not a reflection of the idea that we don't play. In fact, it's actually just the opposite). It's just a shame that as long as the sport of golf can maintain its covert system of racial inequality and segregation (with the occasional exceptions), people will never realize the impact blacks have made in the sport over the years.

Perhaps what's worse is that apparently racist stupidity from people like Tilghman (deliberate or not) is given a slap on the wrist; while trying to be disturbingly critical about it will most assuredly get you canned. Instead of using this magazine story/cover as a method of engaging in hard-hitting discussions about race, some folks would rather brush it under the rug. At the end of the day, shit like this does very little to deal with the problems. If anything, it only makes it worse.

So again to my readers, please get the rest of your folks to get a clue. Lord knows I'm not doing a good job of it.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Lynching on the back 9

So, PGA Tour announcer Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel recently joked that the only way for younger players to beat Tiger Woods is to "lynch him in a back alley."

Tilghman was laughing during the exchange Friday with analyst Nick Faldo at the Mercedes-Benz Championship. But the comment became prevalent on news shows Wednesday, and the Rev. Al Sharpton joined the fray by demanding she be fired immediately.

Faldo and Tilghman were discussing young players who could challenge the world's No. 1 player toward the end of Friday's telecast when Faldo suggested that "to take Tiger on, maybe they should just gang up for a while."

"Lynch him in a back alley," Tilghman replied.

In a statement, the Golf Channel said: "While we believe that Kelly's choice of words was inadvertent and that she did not intend them in an offensive manner, the words were hurtful and grossly inappropriate." Source

Apparently, her comments weren't too "hurftul and grossly inappropriate"; the chick was only suspended for two weeks.


Again, I'm a proponent of free speech. But for real?! Who do I have to run over with my car for there to be a more suitable punishment for using one of the nation's greatest atrocities as the butt of some crass humor? I'm just curious...

**UPDATE** I just found a clip of the incident on YouTube. Decide for yourself:


Saturday, January 05, 2008

My thoughts on Obama and Iowa (**and now N.H.)

As much as I hate to admit it, when it comes down to the Presidential election, I have no idea where my loyalties lie or what's gonna happen in the next few months. Lately, I've been starting to dig Ron Paul a lot more. Depending on what day of the week of it is, I like -- or can at least tolerate -- Dennis Kucinich; or so I've been told. Hell, I even make no bones about liking Mike Huckabee. But, even when he does stupid things like disenfranchise my vote as a Michigander, I'm still enamored most by Barack Obama. And now that he's won the Iowa caucus, many analysts say that the White House is but a hop, skip, and a jump away.

But the fat lady hasn't even started to get her voice ready yet.

There's no doubt about it: Obama's win in Iowa was amazing especially considering its historic precendence and the nature of race relations in this country. But to say that this is a prelude to living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is a bit of a stretch right now.

For starters, consider that Sen. Obama hasn't had the same run-ins witht the media (especially CNN) as Hillary has as of now. In fact, it's been the very opposite. Ever since his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he's been adored by virtually everyone in the national media. Now, I'm not saying that this isn't well deserved. I mean, the brotha did come across as being far more charming, relatable, and likable as Hillary has ever been (even with her Sopranos parody). Most of the backlash Hillary receives in the media -- though not equitable when compared to the other candidates -- is pretty justifiable. Still, I'm a little nervous that the same media who is currently shouting "Hosana" as Obama makes his way through the primaries riding his donkey will the very folks yelling "Crucify him" when it becomes fashionable to do so later on.

What's also been bothering me about Obama-mania is how the concept of race relations has been significantly skewed by analysts. Many analysts are using Obama's victory as some sort of indication that race is not a factor for Obama and that America has somehow moved beyond racism. But what they often miss (easy to do when you're a privileged white person in America) is that though the racism which disallowed blacks to have a significant presence in politics is a thing of the past, deeply rooted systemic racism is still alive and well. Sure a black man is currently a legitimate candidate for president. But this is a drop in the bucket when you juxtapose it to the racial inequality still prevalent in the world.

Also, I think everybody needs to stop making a big deal every time Obama wins a primary. if you recall Jesse Jackson; as disliked as he was and still is; won eleven different contests during his run for President (including seven primary elections and four caucuses). Democratic candidates for President; even those as legitimate as Obama; are just not newsworthy anymore. You wanna impress me? Find a legitimate Black candidate who wins primaries in the GOP race.

Finally, I've always maintained that I think Obama's momentum will be seriously compromised by his decision not to be on Michigan and Florida's ballot. One thing that connects Michigan and Florida (besides the thrashing that the Wolverines just gave the Gators! HA!) is that both are critical swing states with expansive memories. They won't soon forget about how he and three of his fellow Democratic Presidential hopefuls all decided to skip out on us. I'm curious to see how this will effect his chances. But frankly, I'm not optimistic.

Simply put, Obama has indeed been impressive so far. But this thing is far from over. I mean, even Kerry won in Iowa; and we all know what happened next. Let's not get too carried away yet.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Justice at last!

Plane ticket: $180
Bowl game tickets: $320

University of Michigan - 41
University of Florida - 35


Oh, yeah: Happy New Year and all that jazz too...