reality-tv

How My brand of Cynicism can Save the World


 

It’s no secret that humanity thinks highly of itself.  We  are the only species that continually finds new and inventive ways to kill itself and yet we have ironically named our species homo sapien- Homo sapien means wise man, or knowing man. Humility is something we as a species lack.

We really don’t know much. I work as a researcher and every year the number of discoveries made really blow me away not just in my own field but in the totally of human scientific and technical endeavors. Comparing science today to how it was 70 years ago is amazing. There is so much we don’t know and we need to remember that often.

The Reality

We find ourselves on the earth. Some of us argue that that is significant of what I am not sure. We have over the millennia come up with elaborate social, and personal constructs that help us find meaning and in trying to find meaning we look the other way at some key facts:

We are by nature greedy and that’s not bad.  There are some situations where greed is bad but I can imagine living like caveman wasn’t easy and when there was a surplus of food, we wanted more for ourselves. It would pay to be greedy under those circumstance.  However 1/6 starving kids and tons of food rotting isn’t so good in a post enlightenment post industrial age not so good.

We are by nature lazy and that’s not bad. If things are going well we will resign ourselves  to do nothing or next to nothing and “enjoy it”.  Nothing says lazy more to me than tanning (probably because I was born festively tanned) - laying out in the sun like sedentary fruit being dried for some nefarious  pleasure. Conservation of energy is important.

Cynicism can Save us

There is historic and almost evolutionary precedent to many human behaviors. We are a social animal comprised of many distinct groups.  There is a definite herd mentality that politicians and businesses utilize to get their way.  The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits of the masses is important in a society that focuses on material acquisitions.

So then let us just agree that naturally:

  1. We want more for ourselves,  and those peoples to whom we are loyal and can care less for people we are not connected to.
  2. We don’t mind exploiting others to get what we want, open up any history book.
  3. We are aware that we die and suffer a constant mortal anxiety i.e the constant strife and change that’s the hallmark of our existence is felt very acutely.

My plan is quite simple:

If you are religious, no matter what religion you follow let us admit that we have in no way lived up to the fraternal and gregarious guidelines our religion gives us. Let us stop thinking we are the paragon of animals and have dominion over nature admit that we as a whole through our industrialization and modernization  we are on the verge of causing the 6th  mass extinction on our planet. Let us admit we have used religious as an excuse to exploit our further human beings. Let us admit that we aren’t that special; that we would statically rather stay with our head in the sand or squabble over trifles only to ignore the larger issues.

If you are an atheist: let us just admit that we don’t treat each other well period regardless if we are religious or not or whatever ideology we subscribe to. Human beings are great fans of genocide, we may use religion in some cases to justify it, or we may use nationalism, or fear etc. Let us while we are here since this is the only life we get, live in such a way that some of use in the future may say that for a while we lived with a dignity that raised up above the animals – I dont think we collectively have earned that yet.

 

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Taking the Negative: The Movie Hero


“It’s funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them on a screen.”
Anthony Burgess

As a child I loved the movies. For four dollars one could watch an amazing story. Nowadays this may not be significant, but as I kid I only read stories. Through reading I was co-creator of worlds of conflict, of resolution. The movies were like my seventh day of creation. I could take it easy someone else was responsible for the small details of reality.  I did not notice certain recurring themes.

Whether it is ridding the world of an ancient unspeakable evil, or saving the world from an impossibly belligerent army, or even a galaxy of evil doing aliens humanity’s future is always assured in the hands of a Caucasian leader/Hero/Messiah. No where is this so clear as Conrad‘s The Heart of Darkness.

The Heart of Darkness

I should pause to mention that this whose series is inspired by and dedicated to in many ways Chinua Achebe so it is with great pleasure that comment on the heart of Darkness and his essay: “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness.” In his lecture/essay Achebe advances the idea that  Conrad purposefully depicts Africa “the other world” in order to look at Europe in a different light. To Achebe:

Heart of Darkness projects the image of Africa as “the other world,” the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization, a place where man’s vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant beastiality. The book opens on the River Thames, tranquil, resting, peacefully “at the decline of day after ages of good service done to the race that peopled its banks.” But the actual story will take place on the River Congo, the very antithesis of the Thames. The River Congo is quite decidedly not a River Emeritus. It has rendered no service and enjoys no old-age pension. We are told that “Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world.

Of course, getting back, the Heart of Darkness, it was written after the time of the  1884 Berlin Conference. It appeared in 1899 as a three part series in a newspaper. Eight and a half years before writing the book, Conrad had been appointed by a Belgian trading company to serve as the captain of a steamer on the Congo River. It is assumed that thought his stay brief due to sickness was he saw provided the backdrop for the story.  A word about the Berlin Conference:

The Berlin Conference of 1884–85 regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period, and coincided with Germany’s sudden emergence as an imperial power. ….. its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, can be seen as the formalization of the Scramble for Africa. The conference ushered in a period of heightened colonial activity by European powers, while simultaneously eliminating most existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance.

I want to be Clear

My intention isn’t to rehash a lot of debate that Achebe raised when he criticized Conrad’s canonical book.  I wan’t to say that there is a precedent in movies , well movies that I have seen of course in America being an American, where the savior of mankind is always of a certain type of look.

There are many famous Westerners who follow Buddhism but there are not many movies where Asians are saving the world.  This is interesting because Buddha is referred to as “The Savior of the World.” In the Green Hornet Bruce Lee is the valet of the main character. He is under the beck and call of his employer. He is told who and when to attack like a vicious pit bull.  Yet in one of my favorite films  Enter the Dragon, a Hong Kong action film Bruce Lee is  totally depicted differently he is a hero, a bad ass  he isn’t under anyone beck and call.

There are not many movies where many Hispanics are saving the world same can be said for Middle Easterners.  Even Jesus himself who was born in Palestine could not get a tan for centuries if one were to look at all the old Christian art depicting him as anything but a Middle Easterner.

Questions

Can you imagine any of these heros with any other ethnicity

As a kid I love Christopher Reeves portrayal as the man of steel. I couldn’t see a black guy as wearing blue and red tights called Superman. He couldn’t save people in the neighborhoods were superman frequents. He could only work in Harlem and in the ethnic ghettos I’d imagine. Plus a muscular black dude in tights sound pornographic. While you may think I am joking please refer to the movie Mandingo or if that is too below your station read Sir Richards Burton First translation of the 1001 Nights which was published in 1850 (I’ve read it a good3-4 times in my life)

Then they all paired off, each with each: but the Queen, who was left alone, presently cried out in a loud voice, “Here to me, O my lord Saeed!” and then sprang with a drop leap from one of the trees a big slobbering blackamoor with rolling eyes which showed the whites, a truly hideous sight.He walked boldly up to her and threw his arms round her neck while she embraced him as warmly; then he bussed her and winding his legs round hers, as a button loop clasps a button, he threw her and enjoyed her. On like wise did the other slaves with the girls till all had satisfied their passions, and they ceased not from kissing and clipping, coupling and carousing till day began to wane; when the Mamelukes rose from the damsels’ bosoms and the blackamoor slave dismounted from the Queen’s breast; the men resumed their disguises and all, except the negro who swarmed up the tree, entered the palace and closed the postern door as before.

Please compare that to Joseph Conrad’s memory of meeting his first black person:

“A certain enormous buck nigger encountered in Haiti fixed my conception of blind, furious, unreasoning rage, as manifested in the human animal to the end of my days. Of the nigger I used to dream for years afterwards.”

Centuries of this kind of thinking  doesn’t go away over night. It lingers for a while  sometimes in seemingly innocuous places. I’m not trying to say things are as bad, or that things aren’t better than they were in the past. I’m saying that just taking the negative  switching the colors of movie heroes and saviors often times can be a bridge back to the certain cultural practices and biases that still linger onwards to this day.

This was discussed in a sole  superman comic issue

Muhammad X is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe. Real name unrevealed, his first (and so far sole) appearance was in Superman v2, #179 (August 2002). Muhammad X is the self-proclaimed protector of Harlem NY, using his ability to alter density and gravity to protect the community. When Superman runs into him, Muhammad browbeats him, accusing him of ignoring Harlem and, in essence, the black community. This causes the Man of Steel to question his understanding of race relations and leads to his seeking advice from his supporting cast/colleagues such as Lois Lane and Natasha Irons.

What a name how predictable but anyways still interesting. I’m not the  only one thinking about this it seems.

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

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AIDS, Ancient Greece and a History lesson


Most of you know me to be buff and who can argue, I mean have you seen me. I hope the answer to that was “no” because then you would be stalking me. Back to it, I’m not just buff you see there are many kinds of buffs out there. I also happen to be a history buff to which means carrying heavy history books around my house has given me monstrous biceps. The other day I was carrying around heavy history books and had an epiphany about how our view of Ancient Greece is destroying our society. It was a discovery too shocking and unsettling to keep to myself.

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece is interesting well our concept  of ancient Greece. For some reason many historians like to place ancient Greece as the start point, as the place were democracy began. It is in many way the spiritual home of the West. All the cool philosophers came from Greece. They were a very forward thinking people, they named an island (Lesbos) to honor lesbians, might be related to why the place is called Grease Greece. They took boy loving to such highs that wouldn’t be matched until the Catholic Church  put a strangle hold on Europe’s genitals and politics.

According to popular legend the lasting legacy of Ancient Greece isn’t Democracy as the politicians will tell you but syphilis. When I was a boy I was told Greek shepherds being lonely bedded sheep that were hairy and made strange noises like the wives they left back home.

The actual science says a different story, but  here is the problem  while we are all logical people  and have science to answer questions we cant help but cling on to our imagination that somehow fucking animals gave rise to disease. There are things such as zoontic diseases. Influenza is a great  example. The influenza flu virus was originally a bird virus. Over time it has jumped it host species. it can be found in ferrets pigs , people even aquatic mammals like seals. But I did hear as a kid too that some people got off fucking ducks and we got a bunch of diseases.

Freddie Mercury and Africa

I remember when Freddie Mercury died  of AIDS hearing the theory that Africans recently started fucking monkeys and they got the AIDS virus from the monkeys, and then  some African lady then took a plane to the US and fucked a lot of dudes, 10 of which were Magic Johnson in different disguises.

Something is up. We all now know that Africans are too weak and emaciated to have sex period. Well at least what the commercials tell us.  If you are too weak to swat flies off your face then you are too week to have sex. Secondly  monkeys are very strong and can rip peoples  faces off. I am not sure how a hungry Africa can hold down a wild monkey and have sex with it then conjure up money for a multi-city ticket through the USA to go one a fucking spree and keep up with magic Johnson and then go home to being hungry again. Does that make sense to you?

[in case you read this in the future, i didn’t mention the equally crazy suggestions that monkeys go around raping humans because thanks to Daniel Tosh its taboo to talk about]

Taking a step back

This is the legacy of Ancient Greece, not the real ancient Greece but the Ancient Greece we have created retrospectively. We are all our own authors and we choose our predecessors. If this is true on a personal level why cant it be true on a national level ? Facts can be woven so many ways to create things that aren’t really real. In the end what we come to see and believe is more a product of our own biases and limitations. I find those who praise logic the most act illogically. I find that we create stories even though science or common sense will tell us no. Any ideas why is that ?

Let me Give You an example from Wikipedia:

Great Zimbabwe is a ruined city that was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country’s Late Iron Age. The monument first began to be constructed in the 11th century and continued to be built until the 14th century, spanning an area of 722 hectares (1,780 acres) which, at its peak, could have housed up to 18,000 people. Great Zimbabwe acted as a royal palace for the Zimbabwean monarch and would have been used as the seat of their political power. One of its most prominent features were its walls, some of which were over five metres high and which were constructed without mortar. Eventually the city was abandoned and fell into ruin.

The ruins were first encountered by Europeans in the late 19th century with investigation of the site starting in 1871. The monument caused great controversy amongst the archaeological world, with political pressure being put upon archaeologists by the government of Rhodesia to deny its construction by black people.

The fact were there. The official line in Rhodesia during the 1960s and 1970s was that the structures were built by non-blacks and the government censored archaeologists who disputed this.

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Mitt-Apple-Pie

Helping Mit Romney – How to Approach Black People


Mitt Romney was booed today when he spoke at the NAACP (motto: a Negro is a terrible thing to waste) Conference. He wanted to make a statement he knows he isn’t  “Colored People’s” monthly discounted Goya or Ethnic aisle canned goods. But as reported by The Los Angeles Times:

Mitt Romney’s speech before the nation’s oldest civil rights organization was framed by his campaign as an olive branch to the black community and a promise to be a president for all people. But his sharp criticisms of President Obama and his vow to repeal Obama’s healthcare plan drew sustained boos — and some in the audience left more energized to work against his campaign.

I want to help Mitt Romney out why, because it seems for this case (appealing to black people is some), his skin color is  his greatest impediment and it must feel weird being on the dilapidated side of the fence everyone  only talks about when new basketball prospects have made it into the NBA for late night ESPN filler or the possibility that Cuba Gooding Jr may find work again being cast in the sequel to Precious: …. “The Kid”.

How to Approach

Things aren’t what they seem to be

Mitt when you came into the places and people clapped for you, it wasn’t because they like you, it was  because they respected the balls your advisers had to send you out here. You must know that government funding to improve metal detectors has percolated everywhere so you get applause

The LA Times Picked up on this:

he received a standing ovation when he arrived to speak to the annual convention of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People in Houston, where many members praised him for having the courage to show up even though 95% of black voters supported Obama four years ago.

SAT scores of some public scores may not indicate so but  coloreds are very adept in the realm of sarcasm.

You Started off Good

Everyone applauded sorta for real, sorta when you talked about championing school reform to close the achievement gap between white and minority students, and that you would push forward  economic policies would help lift Americans from poverty and aid middle-class Americans “of all races.”

We love that shit, like the discounted  plantain chips that are not completely stale yet. We don’t believe it.  I am more likely to believe OJ Simpson talking about humanitarian projects to save lives in Scandinavian countries, but I like to dream too granted money doesn’t talk to me in my dreams, and  Tom Hanks, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz aren’t in my dreams like yours but I dream in color. When I am being lied to I like for it to seem plausible at least.

I mean I dont know who else buys Chris Browns albums. I mean this joker is talking about relationships which is total crap but the way he sings about it makes what he says seem plausible.

You Built up some steam

You gave props to the Big Boss Obama when you noted that few had expected 50 years ago that a black man would become the nation’s 44th president and asserted that despite the civil rights movement of that era “many barriers remain” and “old inequities persist.”

Nigga Guvnah Romney, we ate that Shit up like it was puppy chow. I would clap for that, your writers have been definitely studying BET to help ya.  But thats a bad way to segway. It’s like saying:

“yeah dear I know I havent been putting out a lot and  you been out in the cold, and I have many hurdles  emotional and imaginary to overcome so we can be intimate, but here is why that hope of you ever getting any is never going anywhere.”

It’s hard to talk about how momentous having a Black president is to blacks and then talk about why he sucks. Clearly your writers haven’t seen Best Man, Love and Basketball and other black films that defined a generation

Shit I just can’t Fucking Believe

“With 90 percent of African Americans voting for Democrats, some of you may wonder why a Republican would bother to campaign in the African-American community, and to address the NAACP.  Of course, one reason is that I hope to represent all Americans, of every race, creed or sexual orientation, from the poorest to the richest and everyone in between.

Nigga,  Ahem: Guvnah Romney: You got money in places that some black people I know can’t spell or find on a map. You are worth $250 mil and didn’t have to do commercial for Nestle Crunch like Shaq or get your own sneaker out like D-Wade, your Pops was a Governor, from how you walk You obviously don’t have a jump shot, if I draw the double team as I try to make it to the basket are u gonna be able to understand what I am doing and fall back  for the pass ?

“I have no hidden agenda. If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you are looking at him. Take a look.”

Some of us have managed to learn to read in between selling drugs dropping out of school and raping people in prison (I mean that’s how we are shown on OZ, I’m guessing that how people see us). I read the following in the 5th grade:

1964 threatens to be the most explosive year America has ever witnessed. The most explosive year. Why? It’s also a political year. It’s the year when all of the white politicians will be back in the so-called Negro community jiving you and me for some votes. The year when all of the white political crooks will be right back in your and my community with their false promises, building up our hopes for a letdown, with their trickery and their treachery, with their false promises which they don’t intend to keep. As they nourish these dissatisfactions, it can only lead to one thing, an explosion….

- Malcolm X  The Bullet or the Ballot

I could Go on but ….

I just did the math, while it took balls to come down and talk to the NAACP, you don’t really need to, the US population is 311,591,917, African-Americans are 14% I believe or a whopping 46,322,868.  In the past 90% of us voted for Obama (39,260,581). I’m guessing at least 50% of those who voted for Obama in the past will do so again so that’s really approximately 19,500,000 votes, not that important when you can raise a 100 million dollars  in a month for your campaign or realistically speaking, buy the presidency. But here is what you can do for us:

  1. Find out how Diddy ruins Everyone’s career right after a major hit or two. Where is Craig Mack?
  2. Be the first one to buy LL Cool J’s new Album. He promises it will change the rap game, its about time that diapers been dirty for a while
  3. Give a speech at the Apollo and have Lauryn Hill and nas open for you singing If I Ruled the World.
  4. Explain some things for me about mormonism like:
    • Why early writings describing dark skin as a curse and mark from God
    • Mormon leaders beginning with Brigham Young instituted a policy of excluding most people of black African descent (regardless of actual skin color) from Priesthood ordination and from participation in temple ceremonies. These practices continued in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) until the 1978 Revelation on Priesthood. Associated with this policy were various statements by church leaders tying the policy to their view of scripture, and opining that black men and women had inherited the curse of Ham.
      • Niggas – We like pork and pork products,  but the curse of Ham , cmon

 

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It Pays to be Dumb When Principles mess with Children’s Education


I remember the first time I got straight A’s. It was a horrible day for me. Why you ask ? My father said that know that I had proven that I was smart my education was to precious to be left in the hands of the teachers at my school. My father then made me do all the extra pages and assignments in my books. He gave me a separate list of books to read. Whatever free time I had before it was taken away so that I could study. He would quiz me on the events of the day, on my handwritting. Of course mistakes where dealt with harshly. But you know what the beatings  and the being yelled at and lack of personal expression were not so bad in comparison to what happened at school.

I started to get notes from students that said that they hated me for being smart and doing well. Then I started to hear  kind of upsetting comments about my being black and all. Even distant family friends  got in on the dark skinned jokes, and the rumor spreading that my father did my homework. I kind of hated being smart. It came with a certain backlash that I wasn’t prepared for from all sides. Something Similar has happened in Rochester NY to a thirteen year old girl.

A 13-Year-Old’s Slavery Analogy Raises Some
Uncomfortable Truths in School

(Full Article can be read here)

Excerpt:

In a bold comparative analysis of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Jada Williams, a 13-year old eighth grader at School #3 in Rochester, New York, asserted that in her experience, today’s education system is a modern-day version of slavery.

The Fact Rundown

Essay Contents:

Synopsis

Williams reflected on what Douglass heard his slave master, Mr. Auld, telling his wife after catching her teaching Douglass how to read. “If you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there will be no keeping him,” Auld says. “It will forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master.” Williams wrote that overcrowded, poorly managed classrooms prevent real learning from happening and thus produces the same results as Mr. Auld’s outright ban. She wrote that her white teachers—the vast majority of Rochester students are black and Hispanic, but very few teachers are people of color—are in a “position of power to dictate what I can, cannot, and will learn, only desiring that I may get bored because of the inconsistency and the mismanagement of the classroom.” Instead of truly teaching, most teachers simply “pass out pamphlets and packets” and then expect students to complete them independently, Williams wrote. But this approach fails, she concluded, because “most of my peers cannot read and or comprehend the material that has been provided.”  As a result, she continued, not much has changed since the time of Douglass, “just different people, different era” and “the same old discrimination still resides in the hearts of the white man.” Williams called for her fellow students to “start making these white teachers accountable for instructing you” and challenged teachers to do their jobs. “What merit is there,” she asked, if teachers have knowledge and are “not willing to share because of the color of my skin?”

General and Administration Response

The schools’ teachers and administrators were so offended by Williams’ essay that they began a campaign of harassmentkicking her out of class and trying to suspend her—that ultimately forced her parents to withdraw her from the school.

According to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Williams’ parents transferred her to another school, then withdrew her altogether. The conservative Frederick Douglass Foundation gave Williams a special award, saying that her essay “actually demonstrates that she understood the autobiography.” They have also reached out to the school for an explanation of the 13-year-old’s treatment.

MrMary Weighs in

Given that only 19 percent of School #3’s eighth graders were proficient in language arts last year (and just 13 percent in math)—well below the state average of 60 percent—it’s clear that the school and its teachers need to change their approach. Attempting to silence Williams by branding her a troublemaker and driving her off campus isn’t the answer.

I have been branded a trouble maker many times because I thought to question some things that didn’t sit right with me. basically I was always dismissed either because I was young and didn’t know anything, or I had no respect and was probably not raised right.

I feel as an educator that shutting my student up only exacerbates the problem in the long run.  I won a scholarship to a prep school and I had white teachers and they really inspired in me the want to learn.  Those were the happiest days of my career as a student. There was no name calling, by my other students, I was the only black student in mot of my classes. We actually felt like a family to be honest. It can be done and it has been done before not just in NY State  but in many other places in the USA. It takes a commitment to listening.  It takes a willingness to engage in matter we may not want to talk about or know how to approach.  I really think this essay could have been the impetus or the catalyst for the community to come together. I really think that the teaching paradigm has to be revamped completely in the country.

What do you think?

Take a look at two comments that made my blood boil a bit:

In other news, a thirteen year old student who encouraged her fellow classmates to disrupt class and insult their teachers with charges of racism was expelled by the administration.  Also, somehow the existence of white educators is to blame for the lack of black educators and the poor student performance.

______________

Although I agree with everything said in this article, I find it hard to believe that a thirteen-year-old student wrote something this controversial, trenchant, and insightful. Someone must be whispering in her ear.

BTW for all you grammar Nazis, there inst a mistake in the title. It was a play on the words principals and principles, did you see what I just did, can you dig it sucka?