If you watched The Daily Show this week, aside from President Jimmy Carter making a visit, maybe you saw the montage of Reverend Jeremiah Wright “clarifying” his various statements. I cringed and cringed and cringed. As a Black man, to see an adult, ex-military, presumably educated black man go into multiple media venues and express himself with seemingly no regard for the impact it would have was mind blowing . And I’m not even running for President! God almighty, what must life be like for Barack Obama these days? Watching Wright do a Stepin Fetchit routine in particular was so upsetting I had to just turn the volume down. I couldn’t take it. Well of course, Obama came right out there and said what he was supposed to say “I denounce his actions…”
But most (white) Americans are probably scratching their heads and have no idea what happened. Hell, I’m sure even some BLACK people are wondering what the hell would make a man do that. What would make a man, who says he’s the friend of another man, go out in public and cripple him? A Black man. A minister no less. To destroy by association, another Black man-who’s running for President? First time in HISTORY that a Black man might have an actual snowball’s chance in hell of winning . So how could this happen? I’ll tell you. As it happens all three of US are from Chicago. (Barack is an import, but he’s put in 25 years so we’ll call him a Chicagoan). And most people do NOT know what being Black in America is like. And most people REALLY do not know what being Black in Chicago is like. That. Is. A. Unique situation. I kid you not. Keep in mind, I had been out of town for nearly 20 years, and when I got back almost 3 years ago I had to RE-learn what being Black meant around here.
By now I think it’s become part of the lexicon to talk about “Black on Black crime.” It’s one of those platitudes people throw out there whenever yet ANOTHER crime takes place “in the city” and gosh darned, they just wanna make sense of it all! But have you heard about the crabs in a basket analogy ? I’ve heard that when crabs have been captured and they’re all piled in a basket if one tries to claw his way out the other crabs will pull him back down. None of the craps escape. The fishermen don’t even need to put a lid on the basket; the other crabs will do the work for them. Can you see where I’m going with this? And so it is with Black Americans; especially in Chicago. Did you know that the 1st generation children of African immigrants (and even Jamaican immigrants!) tend to do better in education and economic growth then most long standing Black people? Say, isn’t Obama’s dad an African? And aren’t Colin Powell’s folks from Jamaica? Yeah, the Black people in this country have a problem . And that problem is NOT White people; it’s other Black people. Shhhhhhh!! This is kinda secret. I mean it’s the worst kept secret since…well, no this is the worst.
There used to be a rap song in the 80’s where the refrain was “Self destruction, you’re headed for self destruction!” Well that’s us! And Chicago is like a petrie dish for me. It is easily the largest grouping of Black people, unbroken by other races, in America. In other words it’s the biggest Black neighborhood in the world. And because of that, all of our bad habits are MAGNIFIED here. So let’s just say on any given day on this side of town (that’s the South Side y’all) you’re very likely to hear “man them niggers is crazy” at least a dozen times. Oh yeah. It’s a VERY popular expression around here. And the reason for that is…well them niggers IS crazy. What can I say?
Reverend Wright is not only a product of this environment, but he’s a product or our cultural flaw of crab-like behavior. Rather than see another Black man move in an impossibly lofty position he’ll ruin him. He’ll ruin him. NOBODY else has it in them like us; sit down for a moment and reflect on the one step forward, 2 step back hokey-pokey the Black population has been doing for all these years. We are broken on such a deeep level that a guy whould make himslef look like an ASS on the world stage (and it’s going in the history books folks) out of vindictiveness. I’m asking you to consider the SCALE of what he did and then try to imagine some other group of people doing that. Especially given how often we do it. It’s unimaginable for ANY body else except Black people. We knew what it was right away.
Up is Down and Down is Up. First of all I wrote this a couple of days ago and thought it posted but it was just in save, but it’s still kind of breaking news. Yeah, the world of comic and Moves/TV is crossing at an even greater pace then when I first wrote a piece back in October. So one piece of big news to come out of the New York Comic Convention is that Mark Waid is doing 2 big things. He’s coming over from DC Comics to Marvel Comics to work on Amazing Spider-Man. Now, it was only about a week ago I talked about what a fantastic job he did on the Legion of Super-Heroes . I LOVED what the gut wrenching stories he told in this very candy coated set of characters. He brought the true grit into the game. But wait it’s even heavier than that! He actually has his own comic book line now called Boom Comics , and I’ve been reading one of their titles called Dominion. They actually call it Boom Studios, and with good reason. They’ve had a lot of their work bought by Movie and TV people. And in one case they’re going in reverse. If you can believe it Farscape is going to be made into a comic book. Mark went into a little more detail in this interview .
Dead TV shows are popping up all over the place in comic books and it’s a GOOD IDEA. The reason is that characters never have to die! And even better than that, they can be in their prime. I’ve seen some covers of Star Trek comics and Kirk looks great (as a drawn character). And shows like Buffy or Farscape or Serenity; shows with huge fan bases, but not enough for the studious to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth, get to enjoy stories about characters they like. And it gives the studios a reason to do a double take. Maybe they can do a low budget movie here or maybe do a TV special there. All this stuff is happening now. It’s really great.
In other weird news; the Black Panther is coming to TV. BET to be precise. This is no accident. Reginald Hudlin, the Harvard educated, half white-half black, film director became head of BET a few years ago. Oh, and he also started writing the Black Panther comic book for Marvel. So a foresightful person might have seen this coming. Variety announced the news, and most people are hopeful but a little…worried. But my feeling is, like the idea of a black president, this is a rare time in history-so what the hell give it a shot.
So ok, I took 2 days off from the blog. Normally I might take one day a week off whenever I’m just too busy, but for the last few days I’ve been working on TheMailBoxDepot for my mom, DirtySmiles .com my funny video site and CheapGasDiscovery my last new blog where I show people that some weird invention has been discovered where they are actually making car gas OUT OF WATER!. But I have taken time out of all my web bases stuff to watch PBS’s new long format documentary Carrier . Man, this show is amazing.
You probably didn’t know this, but up until about a year ago, your humble blogger (that’s me) was in the Navy Reserves. I say you probably didn’t know because statistics show that 80% of my visitors are first timers-but even you regular readers probably didn’t know. Yeah I went in after Sept. 11 because when I lived in NYC I actually worked for and banked at the Citibank in the basement of WTC. So when the first attack happened I was not happy. And so that second attack made me, by that time an old man of 34, decide what they hell; I’ll join the military. And thus began an insane few years of running around trying to get stuff to happen. At that time the cut-off age was 35 and after tons of rushing and rushing to shut down my life in Los Angeles I got all set for my big “military experience.” And then they told me because it was 2 days before my 35 birthday they wouldn’t process me. Mind you, this was 6 months before the Iraq war broke out-they were very arrogant in those days about turning people away. Single, healthy, college educated people like me. VERY arrogant. Just to put this in perspective; you can join at the advanced age of FORTY TWO nowadays. Can I share with you an expression I learned from my days in showbiz? “Don’t step on any toes today because they might be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.
Now to ME the program is the best representation of Naval life on a US Aircraft Carrier I’ve ever seen. Granted my time on a carrier was so short it doesn’t even count as a day trip. But I got to do a little deck inspection (where we all walk side by side looking for objects on the landing deck). But really the main meat of the program is the depiction of day to day life in the Navy. So much of what the show captures is what my experience was. There are MANY aspects of the Navy; one guy’s experience can be so totally different from a another guy-or woman. In fact this shows so much of the sticky aspects of Naval life; personal conflict, job conflict, the hierarchy issues, the food issues, the confining issues. And then the weird sexual things that can happen with male/female relations. There are a few show details I don’t want to give away, but the good thing about PBS is I’m positive they’ll rerun the show many times or put it online .
Naval life as it really is aboard the USS Nimitz is really captured so well. And what you’re seeing in the show is all stuff I saw. People from all different backgrounds and races stuck together. For the most part we pulled together. But you would meet people like “Allen” from the show. Just guys who wanted to get out. In the show they show his giant eagle chest tattoo, but it’s not the American eagle, it’s the Third Reich eagle. Allen is an acknowledged racist, but he hangs out with the non-white shipmates in a very fun and casual way. What he really wants is to get out. My mom didn’t know they kicked you out if you were a KNOWN racist. But they do. She wondered how they got in-and I told her, you meet people who come from hard circumstances and they want to get in. They lie. And when they want to get out, they’ll do crazy stuff too. I meet more people than I would have thought who self-destructed. I myself was what they called a “hard charger” meaning I came in with goals and a plan. But I STILL left in a ball of flames. So you see the full spectrum. And this show captures it VERY well.