Thursday

The New King of Pop

I had just sent an emailing to Seany-D which read like follows:
"My headspace is kind of fucked right now. Not bad or negative...just...fucked. Just sayin'."
Then I went directly to the Los Angeles Times Web site on the Internet Web and saw this very obituary:
Reverend Ike Dies
It's like a little bit of my childhood has died. I mean, obviously, the good Reverend was just on my mind as I posted this joint only 20 months and one day ago: "Honestly > A Humble Change of Heart." Now he's in my heart.

Says Seany-D:
"Yes - that's actually why I thought your headspace was "off" - the news took me by surprise as well."
Neither a follower nor a believer in the Rev's teachings, I'm just acknowledging that the Rev is a lifelong piece of my Thinkonomics puzzle.

Surfer The Fool

Surfer the fool.

Big Dave Wave...he keeps me fresh, he keeps me sharp, he keeps me alive. And that's only one of his roles, since 1987.

Today's BDW reminder is that the difference "F" and "R" equals 33,700.

Try it yourself:
"Suffer the fool" = 33,700 super hero points :)

"Surfer the fool" = 0 super hero points :( -- [UPDATE: Now with THREE hits]

Rare as it is that there are remaining phrases with zero Google hits that my friend--this mensch--keeps the unofficial tally.
"New super hero:
This goes under, really, zero google hits?"

- BDW
Surfer the fool.

Today I went to a governmental agency what is called the MVA here. In the rest of the free world this governmental agency is called the DMV: Department of Motor Vehicles. Here? Sheesh... MVA: Motor Vehicle Administration. Maryland, My Maryland.

I took my number at the check-in counter and quickly discovered that this MVA was staffed with nice, friendly, and highly efficient professionals. The processes were well-conceived and each station was self-sufficient. For some reason...for some weird damn reason, during my wait, I realized that I was going to be especially nice to whomever helped me today. There was a strong compelling desire to do this. So I was. I had all my shit ready (check-in number, current license, renewal form, credit card), gave it to her in the correct (and most efficient) order, and greeted her with a hearty and sincere, "good morning!" Our banter was light and sincere. No wasted steps but everything above the fray.

Things went smoothly. She was grateful, as was I. I think she reciprocated my pass-it-forward gayness in the only way under her direct power: she was nice (and funny) to me and commented kindly on my ability to sit still for my renewal photo. She said I was "photogenic." I said she was quite the magical photographer then. MVA, in and out, 30 minutes.

Surfer the fool.
All day meeting yesterday
Trust falls and happy talk
Respectful interactions
and thoughtful planning
Talk of diversity
Surfer the fool.

I have dreams, you know.... The despot's heel is on thy shore.

Quit Frontin': Our Commitment to Diversity!

Project start-up meeting:

"So, I [whitemale] will be the project lead, Jan you're going to do the preliminary development analysis component since you usually don't do that, and, uh, I guess Rick, can you take the contract management even though you've never done any contract management before ever in your life? We have two more assignments then: diversity applications [look toward me] and graphic design.... Heather, I know you're new to the organization, but can you learn Quark, study design theory, and maybe make up some four-color drafts of a design schema for us. And, Tyrone [everyone looks at me], I guess you can be in charge of diversity applications. Great, we're done..."

"But...but, I'm a graphic designer and a contract manager. And I have a Ph.D. in development analysis. You know that. I'd really prefer..."

"Yeah, but, you know? Uh, we feel that you might have so much to offer with...uh...the diversity stuff. Especially with the clients."


You know what I'm talking about because you've been in those meetings. The ones in the conference rooms with the big wooden table, glass walls, and view of other buildings across the way. Uncomfortably muffled, overheated rooms with one of those teleconference phones on the table andVideoConference TeeVee thing that never works.

Quit Looking At Me Every Time the Word "Diversity" Comes Up in a Meeting Because I'm Not the Spokesperson for all Black People

White people need to stop automatically assigning anything with the word diversity in it to the only Black Guy on your "team." Stop assuming that the only black guy wants to do anything with the word diversity in it and stop assuming that the black guy knows anything about anything with the word diversity in it. The only black guy on your team has probably been around whites more than blacks. I have. Stop assuming that clients who pay 34 percent overhead want to ALWAYS see The Black Guy on your "team" as the person in charge of diversity. That's just fucking all kinds of dumb.

[Full disclosure: Yes, I was the guy they always found to be in the photo for the university and corporate brochures as their way to demonstrate a "commitment to diversity".]

But first and foremost, do not look at me (The Black Guy on your "team") every single time that word is used. Why are you looking at me anyway? To see if I'm okay with its use; to see if I approve of the context? If it was used correctly? If I agree with its use? To see if I'm happily shuffling, tap dancing, and picking cotton when I hear the word? "OOOhhh massa, I's sho do loves wen you say diVersity. Sho yous right again, boss. Ummm hummm." I apologize in advance and for every only-black-person-on-their-respective-"team," but in 99 percent of these situations, we cannot approve things on behalf of all the black people of America (on earth). In these settings we don't know black from Chinese.

Diversity is a deep and serious subject which requires years of collegiate study, graduate school training, non-Wikipedia research utilizing the latest in inferential statistics, and years of career experience in order to begin to unpack the subtle nuances that might inform business, academic, and government organization that "diversity" is usually total mealy-mouthed, pandering bullshit! Diversity Training is, in fact, a trumped-up predatory industry that is as insidious as services that pertain to National Security, Wedding Planning, and anything to do with Modeling (no nudity? yeah right!). Think:Sub-prime mortgage.

Diversity is the gravy train for Diversity Trainers nationwide to accomplish what?
  • Recognize that diversity will bring a greater skills base when managed properly
  • Improve the overall climate on diverse project teams in order to improve satisfaction, reduce conflicts, and improve team member retention
  • Encourage creativity, flexibility, and innovation among the team members which will allow the injection of new ideas and challenge the normal organizational mindsets
What? No it doesn't! That's a goddamn lie! Those fragments don't even make sense in the English language (just ask Justin Barrett, I'm sure he's had loads of "diversity training," right?). Diversity training is the same as "sensitivity training" - it's a bullshit safety net so that an organization doesn't get sued because someone whipped out an "oh, you people" or "bitch" card. Can I touch your hair? Diversity training is a universal You've-Been-Warned check-off box. Most organizations could skip that costly, insulting, boring nonsense by posting a sign on the outside of the door that says, "Do not call anyone faggot or touchanyone's titty because we'll have to fire you. This is your only warning!" The end.

So don't look my way when someone utters "diversity," I don't know shit about diversity. I grew up in the suburbs of LA. I still ride a skateboard and eat fucking sushi all day. I'm whiter than you because I've had to act whiter than you my whole life. I've never eaten collared greens and I've never shopped in that littleblackpeople section of the store with the hair processing salves, darker colored foundation and Magic Shave; that tiny racist section you look at with confusion. No, I don't know what a Ebonics is. Is that even a word?

On the other hand, black people need to stop acting like they know everything about diversity simply because they are a black person who may have taken a psychology class first year of college. What do people really know about anything other than their own perspective?

Our commitment to (preventing) diversity (lawsuits) is an essential part of the way we do business!

Quit frontin'!

------------
"Diversity!"

Tuesday

Untitled (but I really love the light inside the snare rim)

The Anti-Ruckus Thinktank

Somebody Spoke and I Went Into A Dream

Today.

Routines of the day gave way to detailed multi-person, multi-state conference call style discussions pertaining to who, what, where, when, and why. How, thank G-d, was miraculously tabled until the next full meeting of the board of directors. Everyone became very tired from the level of detail in these discussions. Theory having won the day, execution waits.

Dang if today didn't hit an accelerator before it even started. Working. Words. Weird. Wired.

And for as much promise as the day held, all caveats remain firmly in place. I'm guessing that greater than 99 percent of every Big Idea, every untested paradigm, and every notion of re-invention fails. Hard. So-hard. It's reminiscent of close-up sleight-of-hand magic poker. This shuffle of the cards may be that last one before the big, surprise, heroic reveal OR something in the sequence gets corrupted and the big reveal turns out to be a fifth ace at a table full of seasoned hustlers (each with their own fifth ace up a sleeve).

Last fair deal in the country/
Last fair deal in the town

Who knows where fact meets fiction meets new meets old meets known meets unknown. No on has, no one will.

Remember, the opposite of ruckus is peace.

Today.

Monday

One-Man Show (All Week + Sunday Mantinee) 3.0

Today feels totally different.

This feeling...is very difficult to explain. It's like I've graduated to some new level. Like crossing state lines in the country at night, I realize that some hurdle was jumped yet most contexts feel remarkably similar. New title, new office. The last planet aligned. New light bulbs. And as interesting as this realization is, new responsibilities fill the in-box in this new office.

Rich will know that it is like "levels & worlds" and Big Dave Wave knows it feels much like the "search for the Banana Slug King."

It's like there is this question of "greatness" on my mind; on my plate. Like I can see it in others but have never, ever felt a real, personal discussion would focus my direction. All previous talk deflected like bullets from Wonder Woman's bracelets. Ridiculed as nonsense or hyperbole. Haunted by greatness. Maybe I know something now. Like if I don't achieve this greatness (as impossibly defined by myself), it's all been for naught. Or, not in the fulfillment of the potentials. Or massively disappointing somebody or something. Like opportunities squandered, as always.

I know it's hard for you to understand. I am barely scratching the shell on my end.

Yet my natural tendencies lead me to question everything. So. What is "this?" How does it all come together where it, at least, begins to make some sense...to me?

Where are the truths?

All I see around me is like a gaggle of all these children playing grown-up, acting like they know what they're supposed to be doing. Meetings. Fake formal talk. All around me. Shoes a dozen sizes too large.

I almost NEED to demonstrate...something. Maybe my greatest piece will be shutting up. No cameras, no instruments, no pens or papers. Just thoughts. Full and robust thinking. No matter where you are you can be a producer, a creator. Not just a consumer. Full of beautiful thinking.

Bottom line though: if you want to ever do a thing. You gotta do that thing your damn self. Nobody will every match your thinking, planning, or intensity with your thing. Period (perhaps exclamation point).

And here's the very best part: No antsiness. No lowness. No confusion or depression. Just calm and fresh.

Today feels totally different.

Miasma

Earth Day Upload

four fresh uploads [the Earth Day thread]

Friday

Quit Frontin': You Need To Stop Assuming We Have the Impact of Obama's Presidency Figured Out - Here's Why


I accidentally stumbled across this essay today. Coincidentally I found it whilst I was still thinking and thinking about what my friend Cassady's questions [here]. Questions that I didn't as much answer as throw open for discussion. I got lazy. You know us blacks....

I think we're too impatient in waiting for the Magic Negro to make everything all better when we don't even have the impact of his election figured.

Remember the day after? November 5, 2008. After all that breath-holding followed by intense partying? Remember the collective, "what the fuck do we talk about now?" I remember that (mostly because it was only eight months ago and I ain't got Alzheimer's yet). The Great Election of 2008 was over, it was a blowout and there were no controversies to fight over. There we all sat, on our asses, all hoarse from the "Yes We Did!" chanting. All that effort and all that good will and all that anticipation of shit that would go wrong on election day and inauguration day (and all those emails from the Obama campaign) and.... What now?

And sure the Inauguration was beautiful and unprecedented in its scope. We all high-fived and cried and clenched ass cheeks until he got his ass back in the limo and shit. We died a little when John Roberts tried to trick Barry's Muslim/socialist ass into flubbing the oath. But, again, we had to ask ourselves, what do we know? I keep hearing about what it all now "means." I've herd the term "sea change" like a million times. Every white liberal, no, everybody seems to have this shit figured out. The liberals say it's a Revelation. The conservatives say it's a Travesty. Really? Five months in and we have it figured, huh? Ignore the birthers for a minute since they are fucking crazy as hell but here's what I know:

First, before anything, please people, please, please, please stop using the term Post-Racial. All of you. It makes absolutely no sense and it only annoys the fuck out of EVERYbody. Barack is half-Kenyan half-Kansan. So what? He looks like a black and racists still call him "nigger." Post-racial? I don't think so. I'm a half-black Jew and I'm what? I'm not post-racial, am I? I'm very racial. I'm more pre-racialist if anything. Race is still everything. Just because Corey Booker, Adrian Fenty, Devon Patrick, and Barack Obama won an election does not mean we are post-shit. Last I checked all them niggas were niggas and everybody still calls them niggas and will call them niggas in perpetuity. You never hear about Governor Patrick as anything but the "Black Governor of Massachusetts."

There is no such Santa Easter Bunny Tooth Fairy as "post-racial." I argue we are now more racial than less because we are now more overtly aware of our collective and individual nuances. As long as we have colors and hues and specific characteristics of the races, we will never, ever become post-racial. That's stupid liberal, Kum Ba Yah, head-in-the-sand, defeatist thinking. People just happen to be choosing smart, young, forward-thinking leaders who happen to be black. It's a trend that surely will end though. It's definitely not a Black Thing.

Also, do not assume that we will have another black president in our lifetime. How much have I had to endure hearing about how Barack's election opens some kind of asylum of black presidential candidates.
Barack Haters: Rest assured that Barack was probably an exception and Pac Man Jones and Michael Vick won't be running as a team in 2012. Grow up. Shut up.

Barack Lovers: Get over yourselves and quit saying asinine shit like, "once you go black, you never go back." What? Barack's now fucking America? That's crazy low-intelligence shit, people. Bush fucked America but we were drunk and passed out from the 9/11 roofies he sipped in our cocktails.
Barack seems like a great dude and all and the next great dude, probability speaking, will probably not just happen to be black. Them's the odds. Likewise, as the great pendulum just swung from conservative to liberal, expect that shit to swing back at some point in our lives. Whoosh! Even the best case is we'll have a string of boring, moderate, media-savvy Mitt Romney types before we have another black president. You betcha, Sarah! You still "in it to win it," Hillary?

White people can now go back to like it was before the election. You can now stop making eye contact with me and every other black person you encounter in some sort of fake ass solidarity. We were Americans before the election and we are still Americans (unless you're a black Ivy League professor going into his home). Why weren't you making eye contact before, huh? We heard. We know: Obama won. The sheriff's a nigger. Of course it's cool with us, though, that's obvious. And thanks for voting too, but stop looking my way like I care about NPR. You can stop acting like it's the first day of college orientation.

And black people? You can still keep making eye contact with me because look at the fuck what we just got! Are you dreaming? Because I must be dreaming because Holmes is in the 'Hizzie...he's like us, yo. But I'll pretty much be over you looking my way for eye contact pretty soon as well.
You know what? It is OK to criticize Barack the Mighty Black Magic President too. We do not have to justify every move he makes like because he did it, it's the right thing. He's not nor is he going to be perfect. So quit treating him like he's Jesus. Look what happened to Bush once he got inside the bubble of yes. Barack needs the exact opposite. Every liberal, moderate, and conservative needs to hold Barack and all of government accountable as hell. We forgot to keep a watch out on that shit and we almost wrecked the American motorcycle because we got lazy with hubris and started pulling wheelies and shit without wearing a helmet. And look at us now. We have John Roberts. A monster recession. Afghanistan? Looking like the next Vietnam to me. We just don't know how this will play out so let's keep it real.
And look at the GOP. First McCain then Palin got all Hope 'N Changey on us because they had nothing else; so they copied Barack Co. (who copied Clinton '92 and Kennedy '60). Now the Grand Old Party has their own Homie, as chairman. But, just because Michael Stephen Steel is the first black GOP Chairman does not translate into the GOP giving a shit about our black asses. Mark my words. The GOP still only has one true love: moneypower.

We do not have this figured out. Quit trying so hard so early. Take your ADD meds, alright?
Quit frontin'.

Limited Unstructure #100 - A Check in the Mail

When i was really young
like four or five one day
a kid reported that when
it is raining
and
the sun is also shining
that the devil
is beating his wife
something I continue to remember
Now my child a kid
at the ripe age of seven
reports that when
it is raining
and
the sun is shining
they call it "monkey rain" now
evolution will always involve
orders of primates
There has been much recent
talk of epitaph
and legacy and eternity
we are as much our own
bloodlines
as we are not "them"
liberation and freedom
results from revelations
of our very own hero-ness
We are leaving the bread crumbs
like brick-paved roads
tiny clues to follow
spiderwebs of puzzles
we are the ones
that the people know
like hearing Petty's
wake up time
by accident or coincidence

Thursday

Ask Ty...July 24 [The Obama Question] -- UPDATE WITH ANSWER

It must be Tuesday Friday, Middlespace Cadets, because I'm answering your questions
Q: Dear Ty,
Some questions for the man of truth:

I was all jacked-up in November when HOPE won out over the war mongering greed heads. I remember dancing in the streets and drinking pints late into the night. That evening and the next day, being a photographer, I went out and took a series of images to use in a project which lead up to "these historic elections." Just yesterday I looked at those images again and they didn't seem quite so historic anymore.

I keep seeing Obama inviting TV crews over for his White House lawn BBQs or going with him to Phat Burger and such, to show that he's the people's man. He even threw out the first pitch at the All Star game and I hear besides playing pick-up basketball that he's tuning up his golf game. Golf? Really?

So here are a couple questions I have regarding the New Era of Hope.

Obama promised that he's get the troops out of Iraq within the next year. Is that going along as planned? I know he HAS sent a bunch of troops to Afghanistan which is pretty awesome right? Maybe he can just have the troops walk across the desert from Iraq to Afghanistan. Wouldn't that be easier? When he said OUT he didn't stipulate HOME, did he?

Is it true that Obama voted to re-instate the Patriot Act. And if so does that mean this email is being monitored by the NSA?

What's going on in New Orleans? I hear that a bunch of the people aren't being allowed to move back into their Public Housing homes (which is situated between the French Quarter and downtown-big money real estate) even though the housing units DID NOT have any damage from Katrina. I also heard that 40% of the city is still without power....that sounds familiar...kinda like Iraq. Why hasn't Obama gone down to New Orleans and done something? Wouldn't it help the economy and unemployment to give the people jobs to build their own houses? That would be like killing two birds with one stone...kinda like FDR's Great Works project after the Real Depression. On the other hand if those people don't move back we could build spiffy Wal-Marts there and maybe even a Phat Burger joint--betcha Obama would come visit then?

The only thing Obama has done is bail out the big banks but now people say that THEY are running this country and he's just their puppet.

Oh, that's right he also bailed out the Auto Industry so we could put more cars on the road--like that's what we need. How about ditch the Car Industry as we know it and put those billions into Green Technology, like the Electric Car and efficient mass transportation? Uuuuuhhh...yeah.

I'm confused. Nothing happens in DC. I thought this was gonna be like the '60s or something but now it seems like these guys get the keys to the White House and along with it drink the Kool Aid. Is Obama selling out already? Or am overreacting?

I mean it's only been 6 months. But where is the BLUEPRINT for GREEN TECH JOBS to SAVE THE PLANET? NO MORE WAR! FUCK OIL! EVOLVE already!

Show me a plan--any plan.

Thanks,

Cassady
San Francisco/Oakland, CA

PS: Obama just did a sit down with the nation. He sure sounds good when he talks about health care for all Americans...but wasn't that Hillary Clinton's idea back in '93? Is this guy the ultimate pitch man or what? I like to listen to him talk. He sounds smart. But what is REALLY happening? Am I gonna be able to get my job back at the Gas n' Sip or am I gonna have to go on welfare. Just say something controversial, man...even Bush knew how to do that...

Ty: Good questions and even better observations, Cassady. Here--after a sleepless night pondering this from every angle imaginable--is my answer:




Just a guess,

-ty

--------------
Ask Ty...
archive on LU [clicky]
Ask Ty... archive on AKD: [clicky]

The Greatest Show on Earth

Standing at the Crossroads (with Robert Leroy Johnson)

Well. Here we are...at the crossroads again. And we got here by circumstances of time and history. Perhaps we've been at these here crossroads since forever, still trying to decide which way to go, waiting for some signs. This is the New America, after all, but it's the same as it ever was, don.

As a white-black/black-white human male of America who is paying attention, I get to hear all sides on this one. Wait, there are only two sides this time. Here's what I hear:
From the whites: "Well, there wouldn't have been a problem if he [Prof. Gates] would have complied with the officer's requests."

From the blacks: "Exactly! That's typical of how we're treated from the ghettos to Harvard. He's [Prof. Gates] probably lucky he wasn't beaten, tasered, or shot."
Both positions are correct. Gates would have been fine (but pissed) if he had indeed done exactly what the officer ordered. Sure. And, Gates is lucky he's not dead in this all-too-typical situation. Once Sergeant Crowley positively ID'd Prof. Gates, he should have also complied with citizen Gates' request for name and badge number. The ostensibly equally protected citizen had a beef to resolve. People can, in America, have beefs with cops. But once a beef arises it then becomes a matter of how said beef is squashed. Even if a pissed-off old black man is raising his voice in demand of badge number and name...should he have been arrested? In his home? This is how old dudes roll and you know I'm right. The officer could have done something to resolve the situation too. Both heads could have been cooler, sure.

Let's play a game. Let's replay the story but make the professor white this time. A little old white man. Harvard professor. Everything the same except race. Same outcome? Probably not because: 1) Nobody would have called to report a break-in and, 2) The cops wouldn't have fronted so hard. And you know I'm right (look into your heart). "Sorry sir, our mistake. Yes. Here's my name and badge number, sir. Have a good day." [See: A Cop's Perspective]

Yes the cops did act stupidly. Why? Because they COULD act in any damn way they wanted. Blue is the roughest gang in town, people. You see, there was a perfect storm of race, class, and power. This didn't necessarily happen DESPITE of Obama's New America (no whaaaaa!). Think about it...it probably happened BECAUSE of Obama's New America. Here's a police officer, he was wrong in his assumptions. He didn't catch the blacks breaking into a house but he caught a black actually living in that house. A little old man who, in turn, wanted to exercise his post-mistake constitutional rights. What is a police to do? The little old man is speaking up for himself, in America. Cop gets pissed and he decides to squash the beef the way he squashes beefs with black people. Lock that fool up! Call him "disorderly." Teach him some manners and nobody will ever know or care. But the officer never for a moment believed that this little old black man was a Harvard professor and one degree of separation from the black governor and the black president. Sergeant Crowley actually didn't know who they were dealing with. Not. At. All.

Here is an eloquent old black man (race factor) who makes more money than you, is better educated than you, and lives in a better home (class factors), yet the officer still holds the majority of power. Perfect Crash. How you like Obama's New America now?

Speaking of Barry Oh!®, here's what Dayo Olopade said this morning with regard to the president's "acted stupidly" comment:
"Obama's remarks had the authority of a lawyer who knew the specifics of the applicable law, and it gave him the chance to spotlight an initiative he worked on ardently while in the Illinois state senate, where he wrote a bill to deal with racial profiling by police officers. But his comments also carried special resonance because he is a black man in America."
I don't know Ms. Olopade, but she sums my reaction quite well. About time somebody said something. Remember, even then-Senator Obama had a difficult time getting a cab...in America. What do you think the cops would have done to him in this situation, the young eloquent professor Obama?

Sorry white people. You lose this one. Until you live in the black shoes, you'll never, ever know how wrong or typical this situation is. Even you crybaby liberals will never, ever get this one.

And black people, pay attention to this one. It's important. It could be you or me next time. Like I've told my friends, every time the police slow down to eyeball me in my neighborhood down the block from my home, I steel myself for the beating I'm going to get when I calmly and eloquently ask, "Why do you need my ID, officer?"

We're at the crossroads in The New America...just sayin'. We need some more time and history I guess.

Wednesday

Sword Mightier


While people were frontin' on the Leatherman I keep in my "purse" you wanna know what I was doing? Working. Reading, writing, taking pictures, making music, discussing topics, encouraging and mentoring others, and publishing work all for the work to have. That's what I was doing.

I just read, in fact, in Harper's that the percentage of Web logs on the Internet not updated in the past 4 months is equal to the number 94. Rephrased for you: 94% of the blogs on the net haven't been updated in a full third of a year. Weak. I guess people are too busy tearing others down in the comments' than being bold enough to make their own stuff (see: United States of Snark).

I don't know why, though, but I am fascinated with that descriptive statistic. 94%. I am by no means surprised, however. Web logs are, after all, as much whim as they are peer pressure. Were a whim, that is. Very few rely on the 20th century antique Web log as a showcase for their being anymore.

Remember we first built entire Web sites and shit. We posted ALL our stuff on Home Pages with fancy flashing, bold, scrolling text. It was ugly but it was novel. We were finally free. Evolution dictated that our attention and effort-spans got us into the social networking sites. EVERYbody had a MySpace, Facebook, Friendster account [speaking of Friendster, check out this whaaaaaaa!], and some people even pretended to be looking for jobs with LinkedIn ("I'm networking!"). Ha! Now, Twitter is the easiest, snarkiest, and most quip-filled donut on he shelf. One hundred forty characters at a time. That's forty, right there.

I mean, we're all still screaming "LOOK AT MEEEE!!!" at the very top of our lungs until we're all coughing and hacking and panting like dogs, but who's still doing any work? Who's still putting in any effort? I hate so badly to throw anyone under the bus to proverb town, but the "It smells like rain" tweet is not only boring, it's suicide-inducing. Blah-blah-blah, so I quit the internet blah-blah! There's a point though. Who's doing real work anymore? Not for commerce. But. Just. Because.

["Professor, what's another word for pirate treasure?"]

Let's just take me out of the analysis for a minute. I concede that, for better or worse, I am an outlier in terms of production (it's a Chinese factory up in here), I know. That's my normal though. I don't know what you people are doing with time. But, again, 94% untouched after 4 months (insert "married guy" punchline here) should serve as a decent general indicator of where we stand, as an advanced, literate, and artistic society. A single data point.

The straw man benchmark says that we are artistically ill-productive.

It's so easy now. Not only in terms of making stuff, but to share it with the whole world. I know all you producers want to SELL everything--good luck, yo. And I'm not talking the sharing of aggregate materials that others made (there's a place for that too, Matt Drudge), but for your ass to sit still for five minutes and create something with your own two bare hands seems to be losing its allure.

Of course I have a context; a history. I recall how difficult and expensive it was just to get one track onto one Compact Disc in the mid-1990s. Now? You sneeze and all your stuff is on the interweb already--before some polite old lady says, "G-d bless you." Shit we even figured out that we could make our own stickers and such back in the day. Now? Everything is so goddamn easy (but I'm old...kids today don't know how easy they have it). Embarrassingly easy. So why isn't anyone doing anything anymore? You tell me. Learn me something.

I guess what I'm saying, is thank you to the producers and creators out there. Keep doing what you do. But perhaps a bigger nudge is to those who either stopped doing their thing for whatever reason or those who never started making things but have a feeling:

Do something.

In the Bag



...or, "Cards on the Table"

Tuesday

From the Phone V

---------
From the Phone strips

Today's Quote of the Day de Jour

"What happened with Gates is beyond horrifying and is a wake up call to anyone who thinks this type of shit is a thing of the past."

-----------
de jour collection [clicky]

Elicitation

Today is one of the
Bittersweet ones
Troubles on the mind
Coronation of arrivals
Illuminating pathways
Of itineraries booked and pre-paid
Slide greasing zen ninja monkeys
Walking the talking
But do I want to write in the poetry style today or do I want to write in the style of the prose? I cannot really decide whether straight-shooting mavericky or heavy-hopey coding is the order. Bittersweet, from above, heavily coded because sometimes all is neither. So I shall plunder all the words, thoughts, and notions from others and conversations previous.

There remains open transactions to conclude, ends to tie (or ends that need a close once-over to determine whether tying is the correct course of action), and mountains to climb. Not for me.
A poker game edgy
Acceptance blossoms credibility
Camouflage the new plumage
In the new social order
As long as cards are showing
It's not like I'm careless with the cards at all. I hold them in a manner, the whole time, where all can see. Deliberately as stratagem for all to know. But. If you haven't counted the entire deck recently, you'll see that there appears to be an ace a-missing. And I'm wearing long sleeves in the summer shouting something about "the view from the top" being "really great." Cocksure dapper schnookery.

People find asking the difficult questions to be frightening and disorienting, 180º from majority and popular opinions. But we are empiricists by nature and emboldened by nurture. It's always best to ask. Mr. Wise in the 6th grade made it clear, "There are never stupid questions. Stupid answers? Yes. But all questions are valid."
Like the snowball
We create it
And the effects grow
With momentum
in layers
Life and art
A river flowing
A dark alley
A knife
A drunken mime
Go
Maybe winning the game is completely beside the point. Perhaps being the best player--knowing from within rather than through feedback--is what it s all about. Maybe without the win/loss/player elements, IT becomes less the game than the real. What keeps a pattern going? You tell me.

Elicitation. See?

This is How We Roll

Monday

Habituation






I was going to clean my studio today. Not that it's too big of a mess but it's not as efficient as I'd like my space to be. I'm at the point where I have to execute things utilizing one to three additional steps. My mind is generally several steps ahead of where my body is at any time. I'm an efficiency/execution junky. Art is as much about ideas as it is about execution. If you don't DO it, it never happened (or the opposite: if you've done it in your mind, it's done. Just ask Jimmy "sin-in-the-brain" Carter). But I do like having the drums set up if only to play a funky ass beat for 30 seconds (hit it n' quit it), but they're totally blocking access to several things (printers, monitor, VHS deck, storage selves, media archive, etc.). Oh well. I don't have the cancers, thank g-d, so I don't have to feel like I'm in such a huge rush all the time. I can take some of my own advice and breathe....I'm blessed like I'll never quite comprehend.

But looking around this place I decided I'm not touching a thing. Not today. Not right now. Cleaning this place is not on any schedule for the time being. This is evolution of how and why I work. From the American flag (photo 5) to the volcano thing (2) to the genuine Iraq combat boots (3) to all stuff I've been planning to mail to friends (4) to the drawings the B SOLD me this weekend (1), this is my world and my world is customize and has significant meaning. This is middlespace live; the real deal, the real world.

But looking around I got to thinking about how we all get so used to things. Granted, taken for, our possessions, our surroundings, our environments. Perhaps--aside from the internal combustion engine and coal power--our greatest human shortcoming is our blinder tendency. I am certain evolutionary theorist could provide meaning but I'm guessing that it is our curious and empirical nature to focus on finding out what's next, what's on the other side of the hill, damn the known, what's unknown.

Habituation. Just...getting so accustomed to certain things from mere presence and exposure or repetition or context expectation. Everyday situational habituation and message habituation. Situational habituation is the opposite of middlespace, where trees are missed because of forests and such. It's how people run new stoplights. It's why stopping to smell the roses is an anomaly of an ideal. It's the cognitive mapping and structures of our everyday existence; so "focused" on "important" things that so much fades into backgrounds. I'm convinced most of us miss all the good stuff.

Messages too. One can hear a message so often that the message becomes an internalized self-fulfilling prophecy (telling a child that they are smart, for example, may result in a child who believes he or she can and will be smart) or the message can become completely lost and discounted (when there is no reinforcement or evidence to support messages). OR BOTH.

And here is my point today: I'm told certain things frequently, we all are. Very positive things about some of my "abilities" have been disclosed to me for all of my life. But...have these messages shaped who I am and what I do? I mean, I shy away from praise and acclaim and completely discount much of what I hear in terms my ability. Even as a child I just figured all kids heard about 90+% the same shit from parents and educators. As an adult I just figured that people buttered you up to get things for themselves from you. But that's naive and jaded, respectively, as hell.

Where does message influence and message discount meet? Do they meet? Or are these exclusive events? I tired to graph it with axes labeled "Credibility" and "Frequency" (high and low, each) but that doesn't seem to capture what I'm not sure I'm trying to capture.

Maybe the producer in me is trying to understand how to motivate people to do their very best, most personally reflective work -AND- the creator in me is trying to understand when to believe and use feedback best.

Maybe I should just clean my studio.

S-s-s-something from the Emailings

Ty,

Thanks again for letting us use your photos for the digital offering of the emmet swimming EP. The release is tomorrow but Amazon has a teaser so I thought I would share it with you:
[clicky]
Also, I enjoyed throwing a bass part on the mashup recording of the TKOL stuff that Rich sent me which became "Las Calaveras".

Thanks again and stay in touch!

- Scott

Universalis Metaphorilus

Sunday

Working Harder in a New American Economy

Finally rebounding from the Ghosts of the New America

モスラ is Dead!

[what?]

Quit Frontin': Black People Need to Stop Accusing Other Black People of "Acting White"

Overheard office-environment snippet by some 30-something white woman:

"This morning I heard on Pacifica radio that inner-city African-Americans hold each other back by accusing their more academically proficient peers of acting...white! Isn't that weird? Why would they do that? Such a vicious cycle...."

Everybody has heard of this phenomenon via anecdote, on NPR, or in the research literature of academia. Oprah probably did a feature on it. It's well documented--and you have probably even explained it to people you felt were less worldly than yourself--that blacks sometimes humiliate other blacks with the accusation that they are "acting white." It's an inner-city accusation that arises at the first signs of assimilation-based achievement. You can discuss the negative outcomes for all parties involved and detail historical predictors and blah-blah-blah. In fact, by explaining all that shit aloud, you are totally acting white yourself. I'm acting very white right now by writing words...on a computer...A MAC...on a topic!! See? That's some rough shit [some prior discussion here].

"Nigga, you actin' white now?" is a typical affront that is immediately replied to with "No I ain't!" Then the accuser and the target immediate regress into the same time-worn stereotypical behaviors that make old white ladies afraid of black people throughout America. Once outed as acting white conversation then refocuses from topics such as what pi might equal, aerodynamics of predatory birds, and the probability that other intelligent lifeforms exist in the universe, to timely and significant topics such as crunk ass shiny ass rims, mad ass dope beats, phat ass bitches, and "making my moneys, playa" and the like. Frontin' for frontin' sake.

Unfortunately--unlike crack babies and profits from credit default swaps--the aforementioned phenomenon is actually real. Black people perform that very behavior to other black people all the fucking time. I've had it done to me many times throughout my life, "There go Ty...actin' all white and shit." Kid shit; just some silly teasing, right? Well, except for the venom and hate-emphasis on the word "white," and how the accusation was meant more as a warning than as a factual analysis, it is indeed just some harmless teasing (sarcasm is quite white).

It's an unfortunate external manifestation of an accuser's inner struggles, suffering, and socio-economic envy, right? It's just a normal lashing-out at a dominant culture from the oppressed you say. "Oreo," "white nigger," "house nigger," "uncle Tom," "sell out," "you can't change your skin," and "forgetting where you come from," I've heard all that bullshit from blacks (and of course, "faggot!"). Sticks and stones, certainly, but it still hurts like fuck and leaves a person at proverbial crossroads of how the rest of one's life should play out.

Let's Make A Deal! One of these boxes contains a happy, long, healthy life featuring family vacations, intellectual stimulation (subscription to The New Yorker), proud colleagues, collegiate alumni membership, and neighbors you trust. The other box contains three-baby mamas and a colostomy bag as the result of a drive-by shooting because you "dissed" someone at the funeral of some cousin (because there are always cousins involved) who was killed at the age of 17. Oh and you're in prison too...with AIDS. For life. Pick one...now!

But even though that's some fucked-up, bitter, self-hate psychology, I never let it stop me from acting as white as Patty Hearst acted on February 3, 1974. As a half-black/half-white/all Jew Californian, I've always felt entitled to act in any mother-the-fuck manner I chose--or, in the case of the occasional fight or flight situation that may arise, acting in any matter in which I need to act. My choice. Besides, I deconstructed the "acting white" 'tard-code as a three year-old and observed that significantly all of the rich and famous and historically significant humans happened, to that point anyway, to be more white than not white. The police were white. The mayor, governor, and president were white. Actors were white. Hugh Hefner was white. The Six Million Dollar Man was white. G.I. Joe with kung-fu grip was white. So, if acting white was gonna be my ticket out of poverty, obscurity, and desolation, then I figured that I'd put on a goddamn one-man show! I got all Stanislavski method and shit. "Hello, how are you doing. My name is Tyrone."

Remember in 2004 when Barack said, "...children can’t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white." Now it's 2009 and Barack Hussein is president of all of this. The President. Mr. President. Our president. Damn, it must be real because Barack said it...and look at him.

And even when Barack Hussein was running for president as a viable presidential candidate, there was still that fake ass debate over whether Barack Hussein was either "Not Black Enough" for blacks or "Just Too Black" for whites. What?! Even when people were giving millions of dollars and volunteer hours to the first viable black presidential candidate's campaign, fucking Jesse "Jealous" Jackson and Ralph "Hater" Nader were still labeling Barack as "acting white." What the fuck? Occidental College. Columbia University, Harvard Law, Illinois Senate, United States Senator, Ivy League lawyer wife and Barack's still acting white. I'd trade for that act in a second.

Oh, but wasn't that the very same Jesse Jackson I saw crying his authentically black eyes out in Grant park on November 4, 2008? And I see Nader wisely just shut the fuck up.

So yeah, black people have got to immediately cease and fucking desist insulting other brothers and sisters who just don't want to be a perceived as or called a nigger anymore with the accusatory, "acting white" drive-by bullet bullshit. In fact every black person in American should immediately begin telling all their black children and friends and cousins (because there are always cousins involved) to start "acting presidential." Black people should demand explanations for when peers are not acting presidential enough. They should warn, "don't do anything to embarrass Barack, start acting more presidential." And white people need to start telling their kids to start acting black...like the president!

Am I still acting white? Do I hate blacks or black culture? No and no, shut the fuck up with those dumb ass questions, don. My office tower colleagues used to love how I could "talk black" to certain support staff. To them I was, what, a white person talking black? The support staff were just proud that I represented them on the billable staff side of the ledger. So I guess I can do it all now. I have all the acts down. Do I look down on my people? No. Do I forget where I come from? No. Do obfuscate notions of how race intersects the majority paradigm? Hells yeah, motherfucker! But I know what I am. I made it and I survived it. People act like me now. I do not want to taste Hamburger Helper or Kool Aid ever again even for some retro-nostalgia bullshit.

Driving a Prius is acting very white though. I'd never stoop that low.

Quit frontin'.

Sam 2 [Summer Portrait Series 2009/24]

------------
[SPS09]

Boyds, Maryland - 2009