Thursday, April 30, 2015

We interrupt this program for a very special bulletin...

This is just a note to all my viewers (yes both of you) that I'm taking a month-long sabbatical starting Friday. Generally this just a way for me to renew my batteries and get the ol' juices flowing. Baring a really big and critical event, I won't be posting until the beginning of June. So you get a month-long break from me! Yea?

Back to what you doing before, gentle reader (looking at those websites or kitty-infested YouTube clips on the company dime, no doubt.)

Cynical Proverbs 4:30

This one's another Jonathan original folks. One I think is especially poignant in light of recent developments (even though I have a feeling that it'll end up applying to various situations in the future:

It's amazing what a man cannot see when he keeps his eyes fully shut.

Why I hate my alarm clock or more Baltimore riot blather.

First a disclaimer. When I started doing this, I wasn't trying to create an Angry Black Blog. Seriously, I swear! But I already gave a catch-all explanation for this particular focus so blah, blah, blah, race card, blah, blah, blah, stop dealing it out, blah. Plus, i suddenly got hit with a big jolt of inspiration. Or was it indigestion? Ah, close enough. Basically this is a follow-up to my earlier post about what's going on in Baltimore.

Time me to break out the aluminum baseball bat be a use I'm about to beat a metaphor to death.

Like many people, I often have to get up in the morning in order to go to work, go to meetings or attend to other errands. My body may just be on Tokyo time or something, because I'm usually more awake around midnight and I'm definitely not a "morning person." In order to help me wake up, I use an alarm clock. Actually it's more like a constant struggle, because if I set it for early enough, I generally feel relatively sluggish, and do NOT want to get up. So when it rings I utilize the Slacker Method and push the snooze button on that baby and roll over, hoping I could ignore the morning (which, ironically enough, is why I usually set it early in the first place.) But of course the snooze button is only a brief ten minute escape. Not to mention the peculiar aspect of my alarm clock, where the alarm gets a little bit louder each time you temporarily delay it. So, like, if you set it for seven o'clock, and keep pounding the snooze button, by eight (yes, I know) it can sound like defcon-5. That's usually my limit so by that point I'm like, "Okay, okay, I'm up, dammit!" and turning the blasted thing off and waking the hell up.

Um...what the hell does THAT have to do with what's happening in Baltimore?

Yes I keep forgetting that not everyone speaks English major. So here's the special hint to help the nation connect the dots:

Stop hitting the snooze button and wake-up already, or the alarm will just get louder and louder to the point where you will be unable to ignore it, no matter you hard you try to roll over and get a bit more shut-eye in.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Thug Life" meets Quiet Riot in Baltimore

Sigh. Another day, another guy who dared to be black around law enforcement and fatally got his spine nearly severed among other injuries after being in police custody.

Wait, that implies a casual nonchalance that doesn't express the infuriating horror of this atrocity. So let me start again with a statement that is more reflective of yet another African American slain by cops

FOR FUCKS SAKE!!!! (And damn the racist ass-wipes for making me bust out the ALL CAPS like a disgruntled 12 year-old YouTube viewer!)

God dammit! It wasn't that long ago when I did a post on Walter Scott's murder. Since that short amount of time, there multiple high-profile cases of police brutality toward black men (and reports are surfacing that Baltimore has had particular bad problem with this issue. And not just with men as victims either. But I can't underestimate how "thuggish" an 87 year-old grandmother can be.)  And these are just the high-profile abuses that has happened within this month alone! This has become SO WIDESPREAD that's getting hard to keep track of them all. I'm sure I'm missing a few. This really is becoming like a "rite of passage" for black folk, where it seems like we are all just waiting for it to be "our turn" to be a victim of cop abuse. (Trivia Challenge: if I didn't provide a link would you even know which instance of police brutality i was even talking about?)

Since the Baltimore killing resulted in a protest that turned into a riot, I'm going to focus on the Freddie Gray case for now. As per usual idiotic commentators are spending all there time blowing the usual media dog-whistle about out-of-control "thugs" (of course)  who deserve to be met with violence (irony!) with Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake getting in on the fun. I am anti-riot, people (it accomplishes very little but getting innocent people from the very communities victimized caught in the crossfire; the equivalent of shooting oneself in the foot to make a point.) I understand why breaking windows and looting stores is going to get condemnation. However rioting is a response. A bad response sure, but a response, nevertheless. It needs a catalyst to erupt like it does. It doesn't just spontaneously combust.  If history is indication, this will then be used to dismiss and belittle the legitimate anger at cops critically injuring people in their custody with little concern for their very humanity. As I said in a few message boards about this issue:

Aw, but the real question that citizens should be wondering is if these people will refer to the cops that way. I'm just saying that dealing with police brutality would solve two problems for the price of one.

Basically, let's not be tempted to lose sight of who the "dangerous thugs" actually are.

It's like a two way mirror...I mean window into your soul

Sometimes, you dig and just happen to strike a goldmine of Assholishness stupidity.

Hey ladies? Do you expect some degree of privacy when you use the restroom? If so then you are one whopping moron! At least if you visit Chicago-area BBQ bar, Cigars and Stripes.

See a comedienne performing there discovered that the bar had a two-way mirror in the women's restroom in direct view of the toilets. Now you'd think that the revelation that a gross invasion of privacy is being committed would unnerve the owner of this joint. But not, Ronnie Lotz, the owner of Cigars and Stripes who, in an epic rant of utter bizarreness, knows full well this just those uppity feminist broads trying make a little privacy invasion into a "thing" and that he will "burn this fucking place to the ground" before removing his little peep mirror innocent Halloween prop:

I will burn this fucking place to the ground before I get rid of that mirror. Do you know how much joy that mirror has brought to us? We’re synonymous with Halloween. We do a freaky family fun day, and all the kids look in the mirror. This is a fun house, honey, and if you don’t like the two-way mirror, go fuck yourself;

Notice that there's no mention of whether the men's room gets to share in the "freaky family fun" of being spied on. Because who doesn't love a "quick scare" while on the potty, right? The condescending attitude to a reasonable indignation about breeches in privacy is just a bonus.

I'm sure retail establishments will follow in the Cigars and Stripes example. "Well yes we do have hidden cameras recording you without your knowledge or consent in the dressing room. But we're not going to post it to Xtube or anything so it's OK. Have fun trying on clothes, ladies!"

Here's yet another crouton that I managed to pick out of Mr Lotz's word salad:

We specialize in making people feel very uncomfortable. It’s why we’re successful today.

That's some business savvy right there. Because if there is one thing customers love, it's feeling uncomfortable. That's why so many people love going to the airport! I'm sure the next renovation for the Cigars and Stripes is to institute a full cavity search before entry to really make customers feel welcomed and appreciated.  Maybe such a favorable policy might help improve it's rapidly declining Yelp score. Guess that two-way mirror isn't bringing as much "joy" as previously thought. But I'm sure that just bitter chicks trying to make aspects like basic expectations of bathroom privacy a viral phenomenon. Nothing to see here.

Unless you go on the other side of the mirror

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cynical Proverbs 4:25

A fool and his money are soon parted
Unless you part of the wealthy, in which case the 99% and their money are soon parted and given to the fool. To support and enhance a whole system of fool (so it's more like "a fool and his money are soon subsidized.)

Just a little pick me up as you hussle to your third job.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Cynical Proverbs 4:18

I'm going to trying something a little different for thus entry. Rather than take a well-known platitude and "improve" it in a way to be palpable to the modern cynic, I decided to create my own little life-affirming aphorisms that will uplift the soul (and since my wit has a case of the "butterfingers" expect to see you soul dropped down with a thud more than once.) So what original bon mot do I have to give to enhance sound minds? Just this sweet bit of sentimentality:
Eat the rich! (They taste like chicken!)
Warms the heart doesn't it?

And because the perpetual outrage machine that powers the Internet is always on, I know some might be "offended" by sage words of wisdom. Let me assure such people that I'm being facetious and don't really mean it. I actually think the rich taste like pink slime and beef by-products.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cynical Proverbs 4:11

Give a man to fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

Unless  you teach him to fish near an BP oil rig in which case he won't eat for quite sometime unless he's a big fan of very blackened three-eyed catfish (tar is the new barbecue sauce, right?)

The Walter Scott Murder or Are You A Good Black or a Bad Black

"Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"
--Glenda to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz 
 As I mentioned in my last post, a disgusting turn of events happened recently as a racist shitbag of a cop, Michael Slager is caught on tape fatally shooting Walter Scott a black man who committed the heinous transgression of fleeing a traffic stop.  This story was bound to go n the increasingly typical direction of such tragedies: blah, blah, blah feared for my life, blah, blah blah self defense, blah blah blah, he was a threat, blah. This time though, a good Samaritan armed with his trusty camera, instead recorded  Slager shooting Scott eight times in the back, handcuffed Scott while he lay there dying without administering any first aid whatsoever and (allegedly) dropping a weapon near Scott's body (which is impossible because our boys in blue are incapable of planting evidence or being dishonest, ever, right?)

Luckily Brittney Cooper, a columnist for Salon wrote a fantastic piece on this issue, giving this sickening display the gravitas it deserves, while heading off the obligatory BS rationalizations and excuse making off at the past. This captures the the frustration and outrage over yet another black life snuffed out by by "trusted" authority so well that I'm tempted to quote the whole thing. But I'll spare you and simply excerpt a distressingly common aspect of this phenomenon that infuriates me to no end:
And there are some questions that don’t need to be asked. We don’t need to ask about Walter Scott’s “history of violence.” We don’t need to ask about his “past crimes.” We don’t need to ask “whether he was a good father.” In this moment, none of those things matter. He is not on trial here. He was a person.  He was unarmed. He was shot while he retreated from police. The police officer lied.  Walter’s Scott’s life and the unjust taking of that life by Michael Slager are the only facts that matter.

As I mentioned in the comment section of this article, this is the part that gets me right there. The sheer dehumanization of the victims that comes afterwards in a way that Makes It OK. He was a "thug". He got suspended from school once. He smoked marijuana before and attended wild parties. He once stole a cookie from the cookie jar. He is a Scary Black Man that intimidates me to the recesses of my imagination simply with his very existence. Somehow this justifies being killed, even if he was unarmed and he was in a position of surrender and he was a fucking human being who deserved his life and not the implicit " Good riddance" occurring when scrutinizing irrelevancies in the victims past to determine whether they are "good enough" to not deserve their fate or not.

This is the part where the "racism" comes in. Yes the police do abuse their authority against a variety of people (maybe not against people like this of course. Wonder what's different?) but it's easier to abuse police power when you can capitalize on the racist subconscious of our society. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

This "race card" keeps giving me a losing hand

Terms I hate: the race card (you know because racism is just a game after all. Like a more discriminatory version of Blackjack! Why I bet the black cards have to use different drinking fountains from the red cards!)

If you're a person of color, a commenter on a message board that casually mentions the dreaded "R" word, or a put upon member of Nevada's assembly you've probably heard this question (or some variation) asked by some frustrated but cluelessly naive  (or contrarian troll):

Why do they keep playing the race card?
Um...because the dealer keeps handing it out. Where do people think it comes from? It's not some ace that's been hidden up our sleeve (after all, as mentioned in the title of this post, it's not like it's some successful trump card.) Why do "we" keep talking about it? Because it keeps coming up. Often a narrative boundary is superimposed on the issue stating that since the Civil Rights movement that has "won", racism should now be declared "over." You know, like how after a comic book arc where Batman defeats the Joker in which case the Joker is defeated for all eternity and he never becomes again, the end (Batman: "well I've now gotten rid of all crime in Gotham. Guess I gotta spend my time snorting blow off of supermodels now!") That sound you hear is millions of comic book geeks laughing. And yet people keep interpreting "victory" this way in real life, ignoring such concepts as "push back" and the fact that such achievements aren't set in stone.

Ultimately I would answer the above question with a question: why is talking about race considered a bigger sin that actual racism? Or to beat the metaphor I've been using into submission: why do we complain about that "race card" instead of trying to remove it from the deck?

UPDATE: Sigh!  In a sad and infuriating turn of events,  it appears that, nope we still haven't removed it from the deck. Yep there goes the video camera playing the "race card," making a policeman look like a possible murderer just because he shot at an unarmed black man. In the back. Multiple times. Over a traffic violation. Ugh!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Cynical Proverbs 4:03

Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining
That delightful little slice of sunshine was provided by walking fermented vinegar known as Judge Judy. And she's right. You shouldn't pee on her leg and tell her it's raining. Just pee on her leg. Duh!