Tuesday, January 22, 2008

in lieu of the substantive

My top five list of dirty things I saw or had the misfortune of experiencing this week.

5.) A lady pulls her cart up to the check-out of Bed, Bath & Beyond with her puppy in the little part for kids, and the puppy (which is really a dog, a Shih Tzu, I'm pretty sure) is laying on a blanket she has for it, for comfort. A manager comes up, and points to the dog saying "What is this??!?!?!?" and the lady looks confused. I watch and am confused, because this guy loves dogs and is always talking about them (don't ask why I know this). It turns out that the blanket did not belong to the lady, but to the store, and that she intended to put it back when she was done shopping. Needless to say, they made her buy the blanket.

4.) A rat chasing a mouse (or another, smaller rat) on a subway platform. The rat caught the mouse and then bit it. Then they fell into some dirt and scuttled away.

3.) While waiting at the corner of 44th and Broadway I breathed some of the sewer gas that comes out from that manhole all the time. Into my mouth. I tasted sewer for like 3 minutes afterwards.

2.) This little old lady wipe her nose on a shirt in Hamilton Palace. Luckily I was buying a microwave. And it was in a box.

And the number one dirt fact of my week

1.) A guy pick up his dog's poop with his bare hand. No lie. Got an eyefull of that jewel this morning.

Sorry Kaya, I know you're trying to write things that are "meaningful" and "smart" but I thought it would be fun to go "tasteless" and "pointless" since I haven't written in so long. ;)

Monday, January 21, 2008

in response to brother komrade...

dude commented on my previous post and mentioned that he'd love to see someone talk about this whole presidential race from a more revolutionary perspective. now i'm not going to claim that i've got the revolution planned out or anything like that, but reading through the lines of his comment (and maybe i'm wrong, but this is what i read) maybe he just meant he wishes someone would talk about how fucked up politics is in this country instead of talking about who said what to whom and whether barack or hillary is better. which is a valid point. because i agree, they are both awful. and i've gotten sort of caught up thinking about this whole presidential race because i think the media portrayal of the way race and gender are playing into this is FASCINATING. but that being said, i think its time i made an important distinction: i'm fascinated by the race. i am very, very underwhelmed by all the possible outcomes.

so here is the real question i'm struggling with right now. it's not barack or hillary, it's to vote or not to vote. let me explain:

voting: could be considered a good thing. you're "participating" in democracy and all that great shit. when you talk to a stranger about politics, they can't accuse you of being a hypocrite for criticizing politicians and then not even 'doing anything' about it. when you register to vote, you also usually get jury duty. sometimes that can be fun. you can fuck with the judges and tell them you hate white people, and see whether they keep you on the jury or not. i mean the possibilities are pretty much endless. voting is fun! also a lot of people like to yell "vote or die." and i'm not really ready to die, so maybe i should vote.


not voting: i'm just not really sold. i'm sure i'm not the only one who "suspects" that our electoral system is not completely democratic, and that maaaaybe not everyone's votes are actually getting counted. i'm sure i'm also not the only one who is underwhelmed by the current presidential hopefuls, although maybe i'm in a minority on that. but suffice it to say i AM underwhelmed, and i don't especially want any of them as my president. so that being said, what would i be doing by voting? doing it just so i could say i could? making myself feel like my opinion matters even though its quite likely it doesn't? putting in my vote for the candidate i know won't win just so i can count as one person who supported kucinich? i guess when it comes down to it, i'm just reluctant to do something that sort of feels fundamentally like lying to myself. you know? and as a side note, the whole 'vote or die' campaign really freaks me out. it feels like brainwashing a whole generation into thinking that voting is the only way to make any kind of difference you might want to make. when the reality is voting is not really a way to do much except jury duty. although as i mentioned before, that could be fun.

so that's my story. its not 'revolutionary' or anything like that, but it is how i REALLY feel about this whole nonsense, so in the spirit of honesty, fuck barack obama and fuck hillary clinton. they are both terrible.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

the race of the century

i know, not really tough competition, considering the century just got started. i think what i really meant to say was something along the lines of "the race thats going to feel like it took a century to finish." i mean come on. if the entire new york times appears to be devoted to the presidential race now, feel free to put me out of my misery a good few months before november.

but thats beside the point. what i actually wanted to talk about re: ELECTION 2008!!!!! is the whole "black man" "white woman" thing. actually, maybe we should clarify. because barack seems all about calling himself black but never manages to mention the man. and hillary is equally gung-ho about being a woman but never seems to squeeze in the "white." i'm just pointing this out because i feel like the dialogue surrounding this whole barack v. hillary thing is both completely obsessed with race and gender yet magically and simultaneously completely uncritical. and through the eyes of a black woman, some of the failures of this dialogue seem pretty obvious. for example, hey: did you know that both race AND gender are a part of everyone's identities? shocking. if you liked that one, be sure to stick around for lesson 2: why a mention of past cocaine use is not synonymous with "bringing race into the conversation."

anyways so i don't even have any answers here, but i wanted to leave a couple thoughts for you to ponder as you procrastinate from whatever it is you're actually supposed to be doing. i'm sick of complaining about how the media is racist and sexist, so i'm going to go ahead and ignore all the idiotic things they say and try to spark an actual dialogue about the issues of race and gender in this election. here's some food for thought. in my favorite: an itemized list!

1. i read an interesting op-ed in the new york times the other day arguing that hillary's appeal to the idea of being the first female president is basically "so last year." meaning that even though we've never had a female president, people feel like women are not so badly-off in this society. there are a lot of (white) women in positions of power in this country, whereas minorities (and the columnist argues minority males, although i have to point out that just because black girls are doing better in school than black boys, it doesn't mean they're doing great) are struggling. so barack is more of an inspirational figure because black is a bigger barrier than woman?

2. but if THAT'S the case, then how come the media is all up on hillary, and they can't seem to get enough barack-love? i actually read an op-ed the other day that criticized hillary clinton for wearing a similar outfit to two different interviews. seriously? unless barack wore a suit to one and hammer pants to the next, i'm going to have to assume hillary wasn't the only one who made that faux pas. and i won't get started on the whole "crying" thing, because it will just make me mad. and i'm in my happy place. in fact, to read more on why woman might be a bigger barrier than black, just see my last post. also see the life and times of Shirley Chisholm - that black woman no one ever even knew ran for president.

3. more and more i see/hear black people flocking to obama, saying we have to stick together, getting mad at hillary for one perceived slight or another. i had to stop reading the field negro, which used to be entertaining for me, because it just got too damn sexist. dude was talking about what "the man on the street" thinks, as if there is no woman on the street. talking about how black people need to stick together, calling anyone who defends hillary against barack a house negro. first of all, that metaphor is really getting overplayed. second of all, just because there's no term for a gender "house negro" doesn't mean i owe you shit, black men. so please stop acting like the only thing that matters to black people is their blackness, just because thats the only thing you personally, as a wealthy straight black man, have going on.

4. and i mean, i could go on for days with the thoughts i've been storing up, but i sense that my grammar is not that on point tonight, so i want to wrap it up before i embarrass myself: why is it that "i don't want to bring (race)(gender) into this" is such a hot thing to say in this election? we have a black man and a white woman in the running for the democratic nomination, and people DON'T want to talk about race and gender? i get that as a candidate, you might not want to consistently bring up the thing that makes some people uncomfortable about you, but i also kind of feel like you look like a straight up idiot not talking about it. and beside that, this is sort of a moment in history. there's an opportunity here for our country's fucked up issues around race and gender to become something people actually WANT to discuss. something that's in the news, something that people are talking about and maybe developing a more critical view of. that seems like something you might want to go for, no? and frankly, bottom line, even if americans arent "ready" to talk about race and gender at a higher level than "women cry a lot" or "i don't trust black people," if people aren't ready to talk about it they're probably not ready to have a white woman or a black man as their president. so if hillary and barack are trying to win this thing, they might want to start thinking about ways to talk about their own identities without causing pandemonium. but i guess thats just a thought.

Friday, January 11, 2008

people in sexist houses should not throw stones

Ok so first things first: I know I haven’t blogged in like, ten years. Its terrible. I’m ashamed. Laziness has reached an all-time high, and I apologize profusely.

But lets not cry over spilled milk. Moving on, I have a blog post in mind that I’ve literally been planning to write for like, a week, but only just now got the energy up to actually start writing. And I feel compelled to make an additional disclaimer that every single source for this entry comes from the new york times. Not because I think it’s a stellar paper or anything. Come on! Didn’t we JUST have a talk about how I’m lazy? Try and keep up. So here goes:

I hate it when forces outside of myself compel me to stand up for someone I don’t even like. It’s like in 2nd grade when everyone made fun of that fat kid who sat in the corner and had a bald spot on his head from where a fan fell on him. You didn’t WANT to say anything because you don’t want people to think you’re friends with him. But when they start throwing rocks, you’re kind of backed into a corner. This is how I feel about Hillary Clinton. She’s way too moderate for me and I don’t think I would love her as a president. But people have started throwing rocks, and now I’m going to have to kick their asses. Playground-style.

After this presidential race is over, I doubt people will even be able to make the argument anymore that race is a bigger deal in America than gender. Barack Obama is sailing along like everyone’s little black wonder-boy, and people clap their hands in glee over how articulate and clean he is. Don’t get me wrong, I get that that’s problematic. But at the end of the day, Barack is a man. Ipso facto, he can totally lead our country. Hillary? The Wiz shoulda had a woman singing that song “you can’t win.” I swear. I continue to be shocked by the lengths to which people will go to discredit this woman, and the lengths they will go to do so without ever touching on a single POLITICAL issue.

Case in point: this latest “crying” fiasco. Now I don’t want to point fingers or call anyone a crybaby, but John Edwards as far as I can tell has been crying himself to sleep every night for the past year, and people think its sweet. I think we all know Hillary can’t do that without getting labeled an emotional woman, incapable of leadership. So she shows a tough face. And people call her unlikeable. And then Barack throws her a bone and calls her “likeable enough.” What a swell guy. So she tears up. TEARS UP. She doesn’t even really cry. And BAM, everyone is all over it. Hillary’s too emotional. Hillary is a calculating bitch who only cried to get sympathy votes. Hillary can’t handle the pressure. Hillary’s desperate. Hillary is still married to a man who cheated on her so we should all think about that instead of her politics. Come. On.

I know this is getting long, but I need to make a special example out of just a few articles. For starters, Maureen Dowd: that woman gets on my last nerves. In her latest op-ed entitled “Can Hillary Cry Her Way to the White House?” she has the audacity to claim that every single one of Hillary Clinton’s political victories was a sympathy vote sparked by a previous embarrassment Hillary had suffered at the hands of a man. Dowd, who I’m certain considers herself SUCH a new-age feminist, seems to believe that not only is Hillary just some woman who would never have gotten ahead on her skills alone, but that the majority of voting-age women are completely incapable of rational thought, and are driven only by their traumatic memories of past wrongs.

Gail Collins seems to feel similarly about the new Hampshire win being a sympathy vote however she does make the astute point that Hillary seems to do best when she’s just speaking her mind, however boring that might be to watch on CNN. She’s not passionate like Barack, but she does have something to say. (unlike Barack? Oh. Snap.)

This is getting long so I guess I’ll end it. If you want to check out a couple other op-eds, I’m sure you’ll find them as fascinating as I did.


my point? I guess really my main point is just damn. If this is what it’s like to try and be a successful woman in this country, I’m glad I have no ambition. The rampant sexism and subsequent rampant denial that sexism plays any role in this whole campaign is absurd, and it makes me pretty pissed. Oh and don’t even get me started on the whole “you can’t count those 8 years she was living in the white house for shit because she was just a wife” business. If she had been president first (ha!) you can be damn sure everyone would be singing bill’s praises about how well he handled being the first ever first man, and how much he was able to accomplish politically while living with the president. Jesus.

Ok I’m done for real now. Lets all be mad about sexism together. And then a little sad about the state of our world.

Over and out,


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

coincidence or power: think about it.

First off:


We here at Afropologe look forward to raging, griping, poking fun and having a generally great time with all of you in 2008. :)

Now to my blog..
Have you ever started your day with something really shitty or annoying happen? Like you wake up, brush your teeth, get in the shower and as you shave you either cut yourself or like bang your elbow? Or on the way to work somebody cuts you off and then the rest of the day seem to just go right down the crapper? I’m assuming you said “yes” and if you didn’t – not because you haven’t experienced these exact occurrences but because you, for some reason, lead a completely happy and worry free life – then you are a weirdo. Well, what if I told you that there are lots of people out there that believe that you’re kinda at fault for the day you’re having, and that if you put a smile on your face all you want (and more!) is right there for you?
Yeah, it sounds pretty crazy stupid to me, too, which is why when my Mom gave me the book “A Complaint Free World: The 21 Day challenge” I rolled my eyes and was pretty annoyed. Ever since that “The Secret” shizz came out a few months ago this whole “power of thought” idea has been picking up steam (and a hell of a lot of revenue) all over the country and world. People are trying to change their thoughts according to the “law of attraction” that says that your thoughts send out some sort of vibrations into the world that attract to you exactly what you’re thinking about; So if you worry about fixing your debt, concentrating on that debt will attract more to you, but if you look forward to and think about being financially stable and successful, you will attract this sort of success to you.
I’m sure that if you read this blog that you know me by know, and you know that I’m gonna have a couple things to say about this idea. First let me start with what’s problematic about it- I mean... can we say hegemonic? If this isn’t hegemony at work then I don’t know what is. Convince a bunch of people that they reap what they sow in their thoughts so if they are unsuccessful or experience injustice they feel that it is, somehow, partially their own fault and are discouraged from action. I mean, in regards to the whole financial standpoint of this- we live in a Capitalist society, and in such a society it’s pretty much impossible for everyone to have financial security and stability. I mean, that’s just how it is, so saying to people that if they think positively they’ll get it isn’t really effective since it’s all a numbers game and you just can’t beat some odds. I mean, there are some situations where getting angry and complaining is absolutely necessary in order to change things or to bring notice to a situation that needs action.
On the other hand, I can see a potential benefit in this. I mean, I don’t think it’s very easy to argue that the world does not need a little less negativity. There’s a lot to be said for taking a conscious step toward bettering the way you approach the world around you, and even if the benefit is only felt by you, it’s still something worth trying. I’m a big believer in kindness having major effects on people without major efforts and I feel like putting less negativity in the world (via being “complaint free”) could possibly help.
So what is the challenge, you ask? It involves tracking your complaining (complaints, criticisms or negative judgments- oh and gossip, too) by using a physical marker- so if you have one of the complaint-free sponsored bracelets then every time you complain you must switch the bracelet from one wrist to the next. The goal, and challenge, is to go 21 consecutive days without switching your bracelet. Each time you switch your bracelet, no matter how far along in the 21 days you’ve gone, you must start over again. In the book (which I read, it was pretty easy and quick to get through) they say that it takes the average person 4-8 months to go the 21 days.
Where does that leave me? Well, I’ve decided to give it a go, and ever since the 26th of December I’ve been making a modest attempt to track my own negativity. I’ll let you know how it goes. Hopefully it won’t take me TOO long. And I’m experiencing a few of the benefits now.

So- what do you think? Does this seem like a nice idea or just a fleeting fad for Oprah addicted Moms?

If you take up the challenge, let me know. We can be strong together!

P.S. The complaints only count for spoken words- not thoughts or written things, so this blog is FREEEE RANGE! Yes! Excellent.