Monday, July 30, 2007
Ghandi's wife died of pneumonia. Before she died, everyone (including their son) was begging Gandhi to let her use penicillin to combat the infection but he refused to allow it. Said it was up to God to do with her life what he will.
Eventually she died from the pneumonia and Gandhi said that God was testing him.
That's not what makes him a jerk though.
What makes him a jerk is that later, Gandhi himself contacted malaria. He suffered for a few weeks stating again that his life was in God's hands and refused treatment.
But praying didn't fight the disease which I guess changed his mind and he started the treatment. In a little while, he was all better.
Even great humans are still only human.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Never thought I'd see the day when a rapper would get in trouble for a lewd sex act. And apparently he has previous convictions? You don't say!
Rappers are some of the worst people in the world. For every song they write that makes a difference, or makes you feel some sort of tangible emotion that isn't pure hate, or every song that even has a good message you'll find a hundred more about:
killing bitches for money.
Or worse, they'll write about themselves.
But for once I have to side with the rapper here.
Akon was in Tobago doing a gig when he "simulated rape" with a 15 year old girl from the audience.
Horrible! What was a 15 year old daughter of a minister doing at an 18+ rap show? In my opinion, she was probably being the 15 year old daughter of a minister. She won an on-stage dance competition and I bet she didn't sing choir songs.
What's more likely?
A) That Akon is a sick pedophile who "simulated rape" with a 15 year old minister's daughter because it's how he gets his kicks? (At least he didn't piss on her!)
B) That this girl snuck in to a club she wasn't supposed to go to. Danced how fun-loving Carribean club goers dance. Enjoyed cutting loose. Got a little too much attention and when all that landed her in the paper the next day, decided to repent to Father Dad about the vicious, sinful lure of rap music in order to try to protect her image as a wholesome, lovely, young minister's daughter. (Who just so happens to be the hottest 15 year old in Tobago who goes to rap concerts dressed up a lot older than she should and enters dance competitions on stage).
"I will learn from this experience for sure. This week was the worst week of my life."
I'd love to hear what she would say to her friends if this never hit papers.
"BEST... NITE... EVR!"
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
This is the 2nd part of a Michael Moore interview which took place recently on CNN. I enjoy watching Michael Moore because I think he has good points, but he's blatantly biased. In this interview, he basically admits it, but has a good, quick excuse for it.
He accuses the Bush administration of fear mongering all the time, and he's right, but what about himself? Moore pulls on heart-strings just as hard as Bush plays off fear. Does Moore try to just make strong points, or does he try to manipulate the public into doing what he considers to be the "right thing"?
Sunday, July 22, 2007
I guess the reason why I don't know how to feel is because... well... I'm white. White people aren't allowed to get involved in "urban culture". Only sometimes, and only so far in.
There are sites claiming that this is a public service announcement which is airing on BET. I don't doubt BET would air it, but I was immediately startled by the idea that this might in fact be a genuine PSA, probably aimed at America's black youth.
BET is joking right? I went to the BET website and was immediately greeted by a banner ad for Kentucky Fried Chicken. After which I swiftly exited the BET website.
Not because I thought it was a cheap, racist ad. But because I can't stand KFC.
At the end of the video is a link to notarapper.com, the website of D'mite, the man apparently responsible for the vocals on the PSA video and found no reference to the video. His music is intelligent though a little bland and he does seem to have a distinct sense of humour about hip-hop culture. Even if he was trying to make a powerful statement or shock-joke with the Read-A-Book video, I still feel uneasy about it.
For a while now western society has been sharing racial humour and stirring up the black and white into a beautiful shade of gray. Chappelle's Show comes to mind. Rick James and Tyrone aside, he made it acceptable for everyone to laugh at the black, white supremacist and the white family named 'Niggar'.
South Park made a huge leap of faith when Stan's dad guessed wrong on Wheel of Fortune. And in the end, the episode made a hilarious point about racial issues in America and Stan realized that white people only "get it" when they can admit they'll never "get it." (And that Cartman is indeed stronger than a midget.)
The Boondocks is another brilliant comedy show with a powerful racial message that criticizes both black and white culture. But the Boondocks creator Aaron McGrudder got flack from the press because his main character had a dream of what MLK jr. would say if he were alive today.
So far, I haven't seen any response to the alleged PSA.
Maybe the BET video WAS a joke and the white boy didn't "get it." It's possible. But I think I'm starting to. It's a caricature of black people. Remember the days when being a black comedian meant using shoe polish to make skin blacker? This made the whites of the eyes and teeth exaggerated. Putting red lipstick on to give that foolish clown look and exaggerating the lips. Using slang like "lawsy me!" and "Yess'm!" and dancing around on stage to ragtime?
THAT was a caricature also. It was racist and disgusting and no self-respecting black man would ever dress up like that.
...Except maybe a cartoon.
So I guess this white boy finally knows how he feels. I feel disgusted as a human being to be led to believe that this is a public service to black people in America. I'm concerned that it was made by black artists for a black audience. And I'm VERY pissed off that no one else seems to be talking about this.
Then again... maybe I'm supposed to feel this way.
I like extremists.
For most of this decade that word has been thrown around a lot. Usually negatively. And you know what? Extremism can be a very negative thing. Extremists are people who take a point of view that’s usually so one-sided that it distorts reason. They push limits.
Blowing up ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan because you’re Muslim is pretty extreme.
Tying a man up in chains and dragging him behind your Rebel Yell pickup truck until he’s in pieces because he’s black is extreme.
Staring down a row of tanks, armed with nothing more than a briefcase in order to make a point is extreme.
Stalin was extreme.
So why do I like people like this? Because without them, we would all be ignorant, placid and have no idea what is important to us. It takes extreme people to reinforce our personal values, and hopefully, we act on those emotions in positive ways.
Bill O’Reilly is an extremist. He’s a pompous jackass who thinks his opinion is the only valid point of view anyone can have. I hate him and most of what he says. But I love to watch him, and I think it’s a good thing he’s on TV and very appropriate that he’s on Fox.
David Suzuki is an extremist. He berates any media that questions him directly and won’t stop until he scares the world into his vision of a reasonable utopia. I love him and agree with most of what he says. But that doesn’t mean he’s always right or reasonable.
For good or bad, extremists show the rest of the world what we COULD be. They provoke us into thinking for ourselves about what we feel is right and wrong. They make us ask ourselves tough and meaningful questions.
Should I donate money to starving kids in Africa even though I know they’re being forced into Christianity?
Is it really worth it to get rid of my old lightbulbs for new, energy saving ones?
Do I really care about a single word Bono says anymore?
Usually we all meet in the middle. I’d be a fool to think that the majority of Muslims believe Al Qaeda is doing good things for their culture. But Al Qaeda sure does have some vocal supporters in the Muslim community.
I feel that it’s very important for us to change our environmental track record. But give the Earth some credit; she’s a survivor.
Without extremists, we would have no great struggles and no great ideas. As crazy as they can get, we need them to provoke us into doing good, or into realizing we’ve been wrong the entire time.
I like extremists. They make me hate myself enough to change what I am.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
There used to be a time when a song could put me in a trance if I heard it on the radio. One of those songs that they play once a year, or every two years. Something that was hugely popular (at least to me) at a time in my life when it mattered and when I understood it best. Or perhaps just differently.
When Fade Into You by Mazzy Star would come on the air, there would be no waking me up. I'd meld into the song and drift off to 1993 when music mattered the most to me.
I now have the song in 3 places at any given time; my computer, my CD collection and my MP3 player. Technology has given me the means to surround myself with the music I love.
But the more music I have, the less it means to me.
I can listen to it whenever I want. Mazzy Star rarely gets the chance to sneak up on me. And the nostalgia has worn off. It's no longer a song stuck in 1993 that drags me into the past, it's a 1993 song that I've dragged back with me to the present.
I try to find great new music and make new emotional memories. But I kill the song before it gets a chance to form any solid feeling. Phantom Limb by The Shins is practically permenantly queued up on my playlist at home and on my MP3 player. It's only a matter of time before it just becomes another really good song that I knew once, but felt the uncontrollable necessity to pick apart and devour.
I still love Fade Into You. But it doesn't make me feel the way it used to. It's somehow lost a large part of it's beauty. Same with other songs and bands. Smashing Pumpkins. Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode. My Bloody Valentine. Delerium. Cuts You Up by Peter Murphy. All a part of my then that have become a bit too much of my now.
A glass of wine doesn't mean shit when you're drowning.
I'll make sure I let everyone know which writings are reposts.