Archive for the ‘Society/Culture’ Category

So what really DID happen to the “Occupy Wall-Street Movement”? Where are the folks who wanted to have a visible movement and make global changes?
I suspect that VERY few of the OWS folks were really interested in it  from the beginning. The rest were poseurs and folks having their  15 minutes of fame.
I consider an argument with my friend Gary about the subject officially WON! LOL, He’s going to hate this. 🙂
From: Joe harden <>
To: Gary Shiffrar <gary[cencored]com>
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2012 2:00 AM

But in early 2013 it looks like it's "back to bed" after rebellion summer camp was over.

But in early 2013 it looks like it’s “back to bed” after rebellion summer camp was over.

Ironically these "ironic" signs would be the most honest representation of this movement...pretty ironic, right?

Ironically these “ironic” signs would be the most honest representation of this movement…pretty ironic, right?

Subject: Mr Harden goes to Washington…I mean bed. lol 🙂

Not exactly. Why would I consider someone who has spent their life in public service a “clueless college sophomore”, Gary? Just because I called some of those poseur kids out, doesn’t mean that I don’t respect people truly making a difference and actually caring about these things. I hate it when activism and awareness “tourist” come through and feel like they are the only ones doing anything to affect change (by setting up shanty towns somewhere and looking “rebellious chic” for the camera). Most people who affect any real change, do it on a daily basis, and they quietly educate themselves and others in everyday life. Others teach large masses in the universities and social activities groups (outside of the “campus square” or a field-trip to NY (and shittier versions) to “occupy”…instead of Holland this year). There are many ways to do this. I don’t like the idea of some privileged snot looking down on “every day people” who don’t fit into their narrow definitions of rebellious and conscious…smugly sitting back and judging. 
It bothers me because some people (like myself) have pursed this type of knowledge before my grades counted on it and when no one was/is filming me (and when most friends didn’t discuss it with me i might add. Not many kids were talking about this stuff in America when No Logo hit the shelves in 1999-2000). OWS kids…I dunno, they bother me a little. Mostly when people act like they are the only  “inspiring youth who can really make a change”. Give me the kids in Egypt dammit!!! lol
We all take our beatings in one way or another. I don’t think that this years or last years designer rebellion is worth a damn if it isn’t something LIVED out every day after that. So I respect your congressman (which is like always the first hipster question (along with “what is your major?”) lol. “Do you know who your congressman is?”. I always want to ask in response “do you know why you asked me that?”. Smug self-satisfaction and haughty condescension  is my guess.  It’s the type of question that’s meant to “educate the ignorant person” in front of them. I would rather those types think of me as ignorant, than  to engage in a “loaded conversation” with them. 
“Freedom fighter or house negro”? My thoughts on the matter aren’t that simple. I’m simply not falling for A LOT the OWS kids fake attempt to co-opt rebellion and awareness. In any movement, there are fillers and there are the truly motivated. No disrespect to the “fillers”, their sheer numbers serve a purpose of sorts. We all have to pay the rent. But , I also think that those hipsters in glass houses should not throw stones (or judge and condescend to people). fillers. 
Again, I would never call someone who devotes himself to serving the public a “clueless college sophomore”…I am not even sure how that can be assumed from what I wrote earlier. That distinction is reserved for the poseur kids who will no doubt use the OWS participation/fad as  a means to get inside some Women’s Studies chicks. To cozy up to the girls  who don’t shave their armpits for one summer (before they cut it…along with all ties to “rebellion”). 
Gary, I know that you have seen a very limited side  of me in the past and over the years…but it doesn’t mean that’s “all there is” to me. My “wild going out days”  (which weren’t even extreme, really) started as a way to bust out of my self-conscience and (a little too) introverted ways.  I never made those types of assumptions about you. As a matter of fact, I told my friend Macario (and one of  my cousins) how you told me about train-tracks being used in city planning to segregate (I remember you telling me that YEARS ago). Information being passed even without O-ing WS and wanting a t.v. crew to film me. Everyday life. Grand gestures and visible battle scars tell a compelling story but real people LIVE them. 

Here we are less than a year later and where is the burgeoning  movement now? This is not so much  an insult, as it is  (hopefully) motivation for the types who really cared in the first place. PLEASE, PROVE ME (and folks who think you are simply “rebellion TOURISTS” WRONG. 


Here we go again, Hollywood…*sigh*

Zoe Saldana is set to play Nina Simone in the forthcoming biopic for Ms. Simone .

Ummmm…no, no, no, Hollywood!

This selection justifiably raises some eyebrows. While Zoe is a terrific actress, getting her to play Nina is not right. So much of Nina’s identity as a strong, outspoken and controversial artist stems from  her upbringing as a dark-skinned “plain (yet unconventionally beautiful) featured” woman in America’s turbulent Jim-Crow through Civil Rights eras (an image that evokes the human bondage that preceded those years). This was a time when her image was striking and defiant for the era (her dark skin, pre-popularity “Afro” hairstyle, (at times) African garb, and head-wraps).

Nina was a very proud dark-skinned woman who didn’t smile much (in the subordinate “aww shucks” way that a woman of color was expected to “back in the day”)…and Simone didn’t suffer fools well (even in her later years). There wasn’t much to smile about in those times. The rare smile from Simone was noticeably a minor victory for the (mostly) white journalist who interviewed her (and they were never able to conceal their utter joy  (relief) at seeing her as a “human being” that was capable of non-confrontational emotion). It was wonderfully subversive to have them seeking her approval in many ways.

Nina Simone held a freshly polished and buffered  mirror to America’s ugly past and (what was at the time) America’s present. It was born of a pissed-off, oppressed, and highly intelligent woman maligned and eventually (through hard work AND legendary stubbornness) highly respected for her personal appearance and demeanor.That look and those features went hand-in hand-with her personality. It was a package deal (and when you get down to it, “cause and effect as well”).  Her image and outspoken character, was as radical as the Sex Pistols (yet she was light-years beyond them in eloquence and musical “chops”) in her own way.

I believe this casting choice is such an image departure in the telling of her story, it effectively “whitewashes” Nina. I think it whitewashes her to such an extent , that (I think) it would have deeply bothered Nina. I could imagine her saying (because I am supremely imaginative (and humble, lol) )  in that  husky/academic voice of hers:

“[She] is a very BEAUTIFUL, young, (and gifted) woman of color…but I fear her appearance is more “acceptable” (in America) than mine is/was…and the essence of who and what I am will be lost in this translation… that appearance (her appearance) is not in line with an effective (or even) rational retelling of my journey and career…was Angelina Jolie too busy to play this version of “Nina”?

hmmmm. It makes me wonder: “Was Angelina too busy?”

It is proper that the torch of the Bartholdi statue should not be lighted until this country becomes a free one in reality. ‘Liberty enlightening the world,’ indeed! The expression makes us sick. This government is a howling farce. It cannot or rather does not protect its citizens within its own borders. Shove the Bartholdi statue, torch and all, into the ocean until the ‘liberty’ of this country is such as to make it possible for an industrious and inoffensive colored man in the South to earn a respectable living for himself and family, without being ku-kluxed perhaps murdered, his daughter and wife outraged, and his property destroyed. The idea of the ‘liberty’ of this country ‘enlightening the world,’ or even Patagonia, is ridiculous in the extreme.”

This scathing (and accurate) message was printed in the Cleveland Gazette in 1886 (an African American newspaper). It was written shortly after the dedication ceremony  for the Statue of Liberty and a little over 100 years after America became an independent nation. It was also around nineteen years after slavery  was abolished in America . 

The irony of recent slave owners and current oppressors congratulating themselves, with a gift celebrating the “freedom” of their land, was not lost on the contributors to the Cleveland Gazette.

Not only does this serve as a document of the continued struggles of the downtrodden Peoples of America, It also shows the truly AMERICAN desire for America to become a more inclusive and “free” nation in reality (as well as “on paper”). It’s a characteristic that we (as Americans…all of us) should remember AND be very proud of.

Even if all of us don’t have ALL of our freedoms at this time, remember to keep fighting and keep speaking out…It is in our country’s DNA. Even when the “powers that have become”, forgets it!

Happy 4th of July, people :)!!!!!!!!!

Here is a status update  to my Friends on Facebook today:

“Dear America,

Fifty Shades of Grey!? Fifty Shades of Grey!? come the F*CK on! Haven’t we seen this before? It’s CALLED “EROTICA” and the “SEX” book! Isn’t this the same type of fantasy stuff that got Madonna forever hated by some people? That’s it! America has finally managed to make bondage and various “kink” uncool….Now it has become Oprah book-club soccer-mom bullshit!? What the hell!

That is all.”

As you can probably tell, I have finally emerged from my NBA basketball coma and have directed my attention to what is going on in  pop-culture/the world at large.

What the hell is happening to people with this “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy crap?

Is America really this horny all of sudden? Fifty shades of Grey. Magic Mike. Vampire Orgies on True Blood. Mainstream coach-potato America is getting comfortable showing off their sexual curiosities in public? It is as unsettling as watching your parents drunkenly make-out at a family reunion…and probably even more rote looking! It all seems so artless AND raunch-less at the same time. It occupies that BORING grey area that America seems really good at finding. It’s that banal/mediocre area that is searched out like a truffle and gorged on by the masses.

I can’t wait for the Fifty Shades empire and branding to come next: Fifty shades curtains, fifty shades butt plugs, fifty shades soap for washing away the “shame” and fifty shades Ray Bans  (I got a million ideas for them… 🙂 ) . All of this will happen until we “shoot” our collective load on this type of stuff and “walk-of-shame” our way back to pretending that we don’t think of this stuff all of the time…again.

Ultimately that is what really bothers me about this little KINK/FETISH  phase America seems to be going through right now. We don’t know how to handle incorporating sex into our society in a mature way . So we end up seesawing  between “sexy” and “saints” . Until we can learn how to incorporate sex into the pop-culture  without the stupid shame dance afterwards…we should leave the kink to the Germans and French (not to mention the Dutch).

No one likes a mere “Tourist” into dark/different territory!

Bad! Bad America!…you “dirty little whore”!  lol!

I am all for people exploring a little more. Only if this is all SHAME FREE, though. No one wants a bunch of psychologically damaged straight-laced people with regrets walking around, condemning everyone because they couldn’t handle it.

lol 🙂 !

Yet another reason to dislike Dominique Wilkins .  lol.   I was going through Youtube crap and found this  video with him in it (4:35 minutes in). It Made me think of the time I met Mr. Wilkins…

When I was a 19 year old  package pick-up dude for Sears, I brought something out for Wilkins  one saturday afternoon.  As you can tell by the Articles in this blog, I am a HUGE basketball fan (and 5’5″) . It was an insanely busy day at Sears (another “Super Saturday”…sales days which I grew to loathe ) and package pick-up was a little backed-up with customers waiting for their stuff. After pulling tickets and pulling down HUGE televisions and lawn mowers etc. , I heard the people in the back office (next to package pick-up) joking about “Dominique Wilkins buying the place (Sears) and making changes”. I chimed in with “doesn’t he play in Europe now” and some other comments about him never winning a title or something (never knowing why they even brought him up).  Then I walked outside with the microwave that I pulled off of the shelves, and read “Wilkins!” off of a pick-up slip.  The room full of people started to chuckle. Confused, I looked around and then ‘Nique stepped from behind a vending machine that he was crouched next to. I was extremely surprised to see all 6’8″ of “the human highlight” film while I was bringing a microwave to him while I was at work. Needless to say I was like a little kid again.

That ended pretty quickly though.

When I finally go over being in awe, I managed to  say something lame like “I liked [his] game in the NBA” or something. Instead of some standard fan meet-and-greet pleasantries , he said “Yeah, my ride is over there”  and pointed to his HUGE hummer vehicle. I was a little embarrassed that I had complimented him. Then he gave a half-assed “thank you” and drove away in his gas-guzzler !

It was the most ANNOYING expirence that I ever had meeting an NBA player and he made “the list”. lol. That imaginary list that we all have (admit it!) of assholes that we would love to get to verbally blast one day.

Over the years I have tried to rationalize it. Maybe he was busy and running late? Maybe he was tired of being “on” all day and wanted to get home? Who knows what his deal was that day? I don’t really care as much about Wilkins’ demeanor as this blog probably makes it seem (and I love my height too 🙂 ). It just had me thinking about NBA players and celebrities in general.

I’ve met a few NBA players  living/working  in Orlando…the coolest of which were Matt Gierger, John Amaechi and Nick Anderson. Anderson gave toys to underprivileged kids at my community center when I was a kid…without his Magic teammates or the organization/cameras with him (I got a remote-control car…if I remember correctly).

NBA players (or celebrities in general) please remember to be  good to the fans…especially “the kids”. That’s why I always respected Michael’s approach to the game and to his fans. Realizing his importance to fans and being so nice to people (knowing that it may be the ONE time that they get to see him) showed how PROFESSIONAL he was. Good or Bad the experiences we have with these guys  makes an impression (We won’t even get into P.J. Brown at Universal Studios (when I worked there…yet 🙂 ). That meeting was probably a little worse…those two made me not want to meet celebrities I liked).

In the case of Dominique Wilkins, a pretty horrible impression was created…but a pretty funny story came out of it too!

Thanks Dominique!                            

You know what?

Everyone’s  talking about the ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ and all…but am I the only one that’s thinking…”FINALLY!”?

 We have been watching Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead,  28 days later and scores of other zombie flicks for decades. Secretly, I think we  have always wanted this to happen. We have a television series called “The Walking Dead” for “crying out loud”. 

I (for one) welcome our flesh-eating overlords…and this is f*%kin “sweet”! I hope we get at least one more Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance out of this!

For those of you that are still clueless, like I was a “scant” few days ago, here is the deal:  Zombies are slowly (how else?… 🙂 ) invading American cities and  all are doomed…sort of.

Beginning a little over a week ago, grisly reports have been surfacing throughout parts of America. First, there was face-eating in Miami (what else is new?).  Then, cannibal moms were reported  in Texas (isn’t that the way it goes down there, though?). In Maryland, one student  chewed someone’s brain and heart out then  told everyone about it (hey, college can be rough). Finally, in New Jersey, a man cut himself open for all to see and couldn’t be stopped… even by pepper-spray (that’s just The Jersey Shore “kids”, right?)…

Standard stuff for America nowadays OR ithere something to all of this Zombie Apocalypse stuff being tossed around?

Either way, I love it . 

Finally, we get the Zombie Apocalypse that we have been promised since George Romero’s Classic “Night of the Living Dead”. That Classic film drew parallels between those flesh-eating creatures and SOUL SUCKING racism of the Civil Rights Movement . Add that  to Vietnam War & Feminism stuff…hell, all of the turbulence of the 60s was brought to us in cinematic form. The Ghosts and Ghouls of the past infecting  the present and trying to destroy youth and progress. It was very heady stuff from Romero back then…and STILL managed to be  a damn good horror movie without sounding like  a term paper.

It’s Hard to balance…ask the Wachowski Brothers (I love the Matrix films…all of them). Which makes me wonder whether this is all some  super-metaphysical    scenario of  life imitating  art…in this case, “calling” on it like an actual archetypal memory through the only shared history we can all readily “call upon” and “trust” (in this information drenched society)…Movies and pop-culture.

That’s another blog, another day.

But I digress… 

Are we finally getting our Zombie Apocalypse ? I hope so…Will it Be like the  Zombie Land movie? Will it be Night of the Living Dead? Maybe it will be  Dawn of the Dead…who wouldn’t want to raid a mall with all of the gadgets we have nowadays…oh no…consumer culture has got me too!!! ahhhhh! It feels more like Shaun of the Dead for me (and I bet the rest of you) right now because: a.) we’re kind of plugging along doing the daily grind and b.) we’re vaguely aware of these horrible stories about zombies and not paying THAT much attention to it. If anything, I think our new “Zombie Apocalypse”  would end up like 28 days later…government thugs terrorizing us all while the world dies. 

“Wanna know” why I welcome the “Zombie Apocalypse”?

I welcome the “Zombie Apocalypse” because of the opportunity to destroy and rebuild…Let the best and most decent of us rise and work together to forge a better world. Let’s destroy all of the “old-world” values and rebuild in earnest… free of the past’s ghosts and Zombies. That…and wouldn’t it be fun to blast your zombie-fied enemies? You know you want to . 

All jokes aside, this is all probably just doomsday jitters (because of the Mayan, to name one of the doomsday “prophets”,  predictions)

Well, here’s hoping…I’m about to take my bath…errr…make that a shower!!!!!!!!!! SHOWER!!!!!!

Pat Summit!!! Any real basketball fan respects the hell out of this lady! I became a fan of hers when I was a teen, because of an HBO documentary about her team (awesome documentary btw.)! It’s a bittersweet day in basketball history with her retirement from coaching! Prowling the sidelines in her suits…she looked determined and deadly…indistinguishable from Pat Riley in those moments of intense competition.  Ferocious, tenacious, kind and dedicated… She was a great winner as a coach and helped her students beyond the hardwood (100% graduation rate!). In the end though, Pat Summit is more than a “coach” she is a LEADER in every sense of the word! Documentary trailer here!