Monday, May 08, 2006

I like how it’s not hard to start a conversation about the Bush administration with a picture from a Yale fraternity. That’s pretty cool - and easy research too!

Monday, April 17, 2006

What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls?

Uh oh, literary beef!

My friend sent a note about the Howl Counterreading. April 17th is the date Columbia has chosen to celebrate both Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” and the publication of an anthology on the effect of the poem fifty years later. And basically, a group called the Underground Literary Alliance does not like the admission fee ($15), stating that this event caters to the rich elite.

Are you establishment?

Are you underground?

Do you want to know what happened at the first reading of Howl in December 1955, back when San Francisco wasn’t just a rich person liberal haven?

Do you just want to read the poem?

More about Allen Ginsberg?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Giuliani Time (Perhaps the Beginning of a Series?)

A post and comment string on the upcoming movie Giuliani Time (the movie's title is taken from the line a cop supposedly said before broom-sticking Mr. Abner Louima) from Gothamist. The site has some interesting quotes from and around Giuliani. I put in a comment also, stating:

I was born in New York, lived through Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani. I was even in
diapers for Beame. It's important to note that some of the turnaround the
Giuliani took as his was a result of nationwide prosperity. And perhaps because
of changes Dinkins made in the NYPD to respond to his being soft on crime. Not
like he sat on a tennis court and frittered his days away.

Giuliani was a tough image of New Yorkers but certainly did a lot to alienate the minorities (racial and orientation-wise) in the city who, yes, tend to be a poorer
demographic. They also are a large percentage of the city; a good mayor wouldn't have to piss off 60-65 percent of the people to appease tourists and fat cats.

Rudy knew how to kiss tourists' and republicans' tails even though that was not where the concerns lay; he made the middle of the city a pretty place (and I applaud him for that) while entirely ignoring the hard questions of income disparity in the poorer areas. His heavy-handed treatment of the extremely large NYC arts community. Louima and Diallo. Donna Hanover. Berating the press and detractors. Et cetera.

Prince, Inarticulate??

A letter to EUR on Prince not making an appearance on American Idol:

Sharon W., Indianapolis, IN:
"Regarding 'Prince Declines Appearance
on American Idol' (04-11-06 EUR) -- after
reading the article, I said, 'and WHO
is surprised by that?'
Prince is an exceptionally gifted person.
BUT, all of us who have followed him since
the mid-80s remember when he could (or
would) barely make a complete sentence
in public. You may also recall the
'embarrassing' acceptance speeches
for his 'Purple Rain' album when he
mumbled into the mic while looking
at the FLOOR. So, when I heard that
they wanted him to appear on 'American
Idol' (which I watch regularly) I couldn't
help but laugh.
C'mon people, can you imagine PRINCE
giving advice to the kids, or letting one of them
HUG him, or interacting with them in any way.
Oh PLEASE! I have enjoyed many years
of his music ('Thieves in the Temple' is one
of my favorites) but Stevie Wonder and
Barry Manalow [sic] did all they could for the
contestants. Kenny Rogers gave HORRIBLE
advice to them and having Prince on the
show would have been just plain BAZAAR [sic]!"

EUR response: Sharon, only Prince knows why
he won't appear on "AI," but we can assure
you it is not because he is inarticulate. Back
in the day, we suspect, he was just playing
games. Trust us, he is very articulate and
he doesn't hesitate to speak his mind.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Shut yo' mouth! I'm just talkin' 'bout Bloomberg (Then that's all right)

A main-- and awfully lame-- humor staple is having a nasally voiced, preferably white person reciting hip hop language, lyrics, or names in public. It's not that funny when you think into it-- it's just language at best, and often belies a pandering attitude at worst. Still it shows up in Lifetime movies, in CBS dramas, and now...

from Mayor Bloomberg??

In announcing "Hip Hop Week," October 12-17th of this year, Mayor Mike had company from Russell Simmons and Ice-T. Now, while everyone knows that to be really hip hop, he'd have to have five scowling sycophants, three handlers, a DJ, and a hype man, I'll give credit for stating (and this is a paraphrase from the radion this morning):

Where else could you have Hip Hop week but in New York City? We have the Russell Simmons and Run-DMC from Queens, th Wu-Tang Clan from Staten Island, the Beastie Boys from Brooklyn, mostly, and me, Mike B from Manhattan."
I am sure he named a Bronx representative, but "me, Mike B?"

Strike anything I said in the first paragraph. If you could have heard it, damn that was funny.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hustle + Oh, No.

It's hard to divest myself from the thought that other black people are my brothers/ brethren; when really, they are not necessarily like me. For example, I'd have a hard time publicly acting and singing about how hard it is to be a pimp when my depicted pimp life isn't very hard. And let's not talk about Crash, but thanks to Dora for sending this analysis of Crash by Jeff Chang and Sylvia Chan.

While Terence Howard had no problems acting as D-Jay, the pimp in Hustle & Flow, he had a few voices in his ear when he decided not to single the song from his hit movie:

claims Poitier, others said it would be
embarrassing for blacks

*Terrence Howard was reportedly
approached by a number of black
stars requesting that the actor turn
down the opportunity to perform his
Oscar-nominated song from “Hustle
& Flow” during Sunday’s ceremony.

Howard is up for a best actor
award for his role as DJay, a Memphis
pimp who hopes to become a rapper.
The song he sings in the film, “It’s Hard
Out Here For A Pimp,” has been nominated
for an Academy Award as well. But
as previously reported, the song’s
writers, Three 6 Mafia, will perform
the track instead.

According to the UK’s Mirror
newspaper, actress Eva Longoria said
the actor was approached by several
black stars, includingSidney Poitier,
Denzel Washington and Will Smith,
who have asked him not toperform
the song during the telecast.
“Sidney Poitier said, ‘Do not
get up there and represent the African
American community singing about
a pimp,’” Longoria told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Taraji P. Henson,
who belted the song’s chorus in the
film, will join Three 6 Mafia on stage
for the Oscar performance and will be
allowed to keep the word “b*tches” in
the chorus. A spokesman for Gil Cates,
the producer of the Oscars telecast,
confirmed that the term was not on the
list of banned words.

Lyrics in the song that do appear
on the list include the N-word, the
S-word and the F-word. After being
asked to perform the track, Three 6 Mafia
members Jordan "Juicy J" Houston,
Paul "DJ Paul" Beauregard and Cedric
"Frayser Boy" Coleman, went through
the lyrics line by line and substituted
various words to make it FCC-friendly.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Here is's list of the world's most corrupt countries. A list of dangerous and politically cronyist places to be sure, but also a suspicious list. Note that this is a list of World Bank/ IMF fund recipients and countries where it's hard to set up oil companies and low-wage textile and clothing shops. And note the language to color in the African countries.

And of course the USA is not corrupt at all.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hey, did anyone else know that it's tax-free week on clothes and footwear (under $110)? Time to do a little bit more shopping.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Daily News has a quick analysis of Dubya the National Shrub's facial expressions. Prepare for tonight's State of the Union address and catch Dubya when he nervous (read: not telling the whole truth).

p.s. R.I.P. Coretta Scott King.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Democrats are the "Lyin' Ass Boyfriend Party." So true. I've been quiet about mentioning it, thinking that maybe he does SOMETHING behind the scenes, but Harry Reid is an ineffectual, soft-spoken man. And the California Senators, two women nicknamed "Ali" and "Frasier" by Bush, aren't kicking down doors right now either.

Monday, January 23, 2006

In case you were wondering, here is Chuck Norris' reply to the Chuck Norris facts:

I'm aware of the made up declarations about me that have recently begun to appear on the Internet and in emails as "Chuck Norris facts." I've seen some of them. Some are funny. Some are pretty far out. Being more a student of the Wild West than the wild world of the Internet, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. It's quite surprising. I do know that boys will be boys, and I neither take offense nor take these things too seriously. Who knows, maybe these made up one-liners will prompt young people to seek out the real facts as found in my recent autobiographical book, "Against All Odds?" They may even be interested enough to check out my novels set in the Old West, "The Justice Riders," released this month. I'm very proud of these literary efforts.
~ Chuck Norris

Dude. That was kinda soft.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Well. This is interesting:

Transport workers reject new contract

Transit workers voted against a new contract by a margin of 7 votes, opening the possibility of another strike, said Roger Toussaint, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, at a press conference Friday....

The rejected deal with the MTA -- reached after a three-day work stoppage last month -- included a pay increase of 10.9% over 37 months. The union's 33,700 members would have paid health care premiums for the first time but wouldn't be required to contribute to their pensions.

Mr. Toussaint, who had vigorously campaigned in favor of the deal, blamed a small faction of naysayers for the rejection. “It was a byproduct of inappropriate measures,” he said.
The One Store I Get Excited For

Trader Joe's In NYC! Finally, the store has an arrival date. I blame Anna-Lu for my Trader Joe's love. But what a fine store it is. I will happily travel with TJ bags on the subway.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Culture Shock

While I don't agree with all of Daryl James' assertions, this is an interesting article. The article is located at and here is the text.

Paradigm (n) 1. One that serves as a pattern or model. 2. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.

I wrote about the need for African Americans to create a new paradigm in two separate installments of this column. In the second, I even provided recommendations for what the new paradigm could be.

The topic is so complex that I decided to dedicate another installment to providing reasons why our current paradigm is faulty and causing us to be left behind as a people.

Our current paradigm is to accept whatever the worldview of African or African American happens to be.

Due to the commodification of our culture, we are now only as deep as the outlets issuing our culture back to us. As opposed to creating new extensions of our culture and then sharing it with each other, the world now takes from us what they want and eventually, it is packaged and sold back to us--presented as authentic Black culture. We consume this artificial culture as the rest of the world does and it is sickening us as a child who eats too much sugar.

We are cultural children. We are not fully developed as a people, because we don’t know who we are, what we stand for or where we are going. Many of us don’t even think about it.

The best that many of us can manage is to be whatever white folks are trying to be in their secondhand, deviant duplication of culture stolen from us. Blind to our own obfuscated culture, we embrace it as though it is true culture, which explains the success of someone such as Eminem.

And when we do play Afrocentric, it’s like children who play house but never really become responsible adults and parents. We can see throngs of Blacks with Afros, Dreadlocks and Braids claiming to be moving closer to their roots, but nothing else about their lifestyle or mentality is African or intrinsically African American—whatever that is.

But as far as our true and longstanding culture and legacy, most of us are no longer aware of anything that Blacks have contributed to the planet. Our history in this nation and in the world has been hidden, obfuscated, twisted and crapped on to the point where it is counterculture to embrace the truth. After having everything good about a people stolen, stomped on and lied about, it is no wonder that some of the people begin to hate themselves.

We are now seeing the deleterious results of the historical abuse of our culture, our minds and our collective psyche. We’ve embraced the worst things said about us and we joke about how horrible we are on the world stage. In our regular lives, we talk about how horrible black businesses are and expect consistency. We open businesses and perpetuate stereotypes about our employees and walk into Black businesses armed with stereotypes against them.

And, we fight against anyone who speaks against the ugly distorted culture that has become the status quo.

But we once had a tight hold on real culture.

Our grandparents were serious people. The times that they lived in dictated that they live as serious people. They would have loved to be carefree and pretend that they were okay as individuals, but they realized that as a people they really weren’t okay.

Then our parents came into the sixties and seventies and were handed resources which could have been used to build a Black nation, but they were used to build good things for the first few who lined up to get them and share with no one.

That was the first generation of people to become all about self and we now see the result. The white hippies were able to crap on their status quo and then clean themselves up and go to work for daddy. Blacks who did it just fed off of their families and resources, which lead to the first generation of wholly dysfunctional families.

Our parents came from a movement that was revealed as hollow and at its roots revealed as superficial. Only a few people were Martin and Malcolm, while the rest were dressed up for the occasion, which explains how the “movement” stopped short when a handful of people were killed.

Now, just like white Americans, many of us watch television for cultural cues.

Black men in their thirties and forties who watch rap music videos are being silently affected by the second rate candy-culture, which is why we see grown men with sagging pants, talking like stupid ass rappers and thinking like them, which is killing us.

White women can watch shows like Sex And The City, but Black women who allow the imaginary socialization to seep into their psyche are damaging themselves and their potential for real relationships.

The world ain’t fair, and it ain’t cool. Black men are being left out and left behind, but the useless, counterproductive gangster lifestyle is still being glamorized. AIDS is at the doorstep of Black women more than anyone else’s, but yet, they still want sexual freedom. Freedom from what?

Baby daddies and baby mammas who both know that they have nothing financially, morally or culturally to give a child, still continue to have them. Fantasia’s ode to baby mammas was a cultural signpost of the comfort held in being a single parent. Why celebrate and glamorize a wretched situation just because you overcame as an individual?

But we have begun to operate as individuals, while we continue to talk about the Black community. We are disconnecting from the struggle, even as we are still struggling.

The longer you make people struggle, the more you filter them out and wear them down and collectively they eventually acquiesce. Over the past few decades, more of us have begun to circle the drain, even while others claim to be “balling out of control” with heavy debt and few real assets. Now, we have people who don’t even sellout, they give everything away for ninety-nine cents or for nothing.

Our most salient issue is that we think we are free. We think that we can make choices without paying a cost, not realizing that many of us get nothing and still must pay a dear price.

Financially, we are in danger of becoming irrelevant. Comfortable morons can talk about the growing Black middle class, but as a people, we are worse than ever, because the real growth in our population is the group of people who have nothing and will not find a way to have anything. There are more of us who are getting pushed out of the game, yet there are more of us pretending to be at the top of the game.

When one of us makes it, we pretend that we are different from the rest of the race. How could we have role models when the fist thing a successful Black man or woman does is disconnect and speak about how different they are from the rest of us?

Whatever we create as individuals will never benefit the collective and if the divide between the haves and have-nots is growing among whites, then it is growing exponentially among Blacks no matter how many sweet lies we tell.

Spiritually—the best many of us can do is embrace Jesus and refuse to look at anything else even if we don’t really understand. If you don’t fall in line you will be chastised. If you question the norm in any way, you will be attacked and/or ostracized. Yet, many of us are dying a spiritual death while zealously beating others over the head with a religion.

Ignorance and its fallout have become cultural cues for the destruction of what we were and what we could become.

Without a real culture that we can embrace, there is nothing to hold us together, or even keep us solid as individuals. We have never been at a lower point in male/female relationships, cultural identity, or mutual respect.

Many of us are so far from anything substantial and real that anyone who poses as aware is embraced as something near to a god.

We have developed such poor cultural habits that it appears that we have truly accepted our place as second class citizens.

At some point, we will witness blacks dying off. We are morphing into an entire segment of society that can not provide for itself—spiritually, financially, culturally.

There is no guarantee that we have to exist.

Darryl James is an award-winning author and is now a relationship coach, providing pragmatic advice for loving and living in today's world. James’ latest book, “Bridging The Black Gender Gap,” is the basis of his lectures and seminars. Previous installments of this column can now be viewed at James can be reached at

And from the comments to that post, one I tend to agree with:

Name: Kofi
Comment: I think Darryl falls into a familiar trap. We will often spend 90% of our time and effort on an analysis of the problem and only 10% of our time and resources on solutions. Its not as if Darryl is telling us anything that most of us already know on some level. I would like to debate various strategies and tactics to resolve issues impacting black folks. We have collectively fallen into the trap of viewing ourselves through the lens of pathology. A SOLUTION WOULD BE TO ASSES OUR STRENGTHS. Based on this type of analysis we can then formulate strategies for success. Yes, there are businesses that are not run well but, there are many more successful ones as well and more open each day. What can we learn from successful economic strategies? We as African Americans give white people far too much power. They are not a monolith. Just think about the number of whites who are marginalized as white trash or rednecks. Southern whites and poor whites are largely invisible and often tricked into acting against their class interest.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

a shameless plug from one of my LA friends, who has finally gotten her first credited writing job on network TV. it's on a midseason show called "4 kings" starring seth green. her email to her friends:

Hello, all. Laura Gutin here with a brief note regarding the premiere of "Four Kings" on NBC this Thursday at 8:30pm (7:30pm Central).

As you may or may not know, I was a staff writer on "Four Kings" this season, so I'm really excited for the show to be on the air. It's about four guys in their mid-20's who have been friends since childhood and are now living in New York, and it stars Seth Green, among others. The show was a lot of fun to work on, and I think it's pretty funny. I hope you'll check it out, and if you like it, you'll set your watches (or your TiVos) for 8:30 on Thursdays. Don't you want me to have a job next season?

One more thing: due to some weird NBC rules, staff writers are not credited on shows. Yup, I got a credit when I was a production assistant picking up CPK and dropping off scripts, but now as a staff writer I don't get a credit. It's a bummer, but I assure you I wrote on the show this season, and when my own episode airs, it will have my name right at the beginning.

I hope everyone is having a good year so far, and I hope you enjoy the show!

Love, Laura