Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TAN Is Off In Costa Rica

I should have put up this note before I left for the holidays -- my bad -- but TAN [me] has been in Costa Rica where there is mucho rainforest and very little internet.

I'm back after new years, bigger, badder, better... and con a little more espanol for the 2009 and beyond.

i'd throw up a pic or something but the computer i'm on is sub dial-up, pretty sure a monkey or toucan or something watches what i do and then flies off to tell someone to relay it to the internet.

so please bear with me on any emails, and we should be back up and running next week.

happy holidays everyone, thanks for reading, and i'll see you on the flip side



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson


and it's not just the weight that's a problem, via fox:
Since retiring in 2005, he has spoken of becoming a missionary to escape his reputation in America but recently opened a fund account that required a $50 monthly direct debit.

He declined the direct debit, noting that he could not guarantee the money would be there each month.

let's get ready to rumble humble?

image via

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Could LL Cool J Be A Spokesman for LL Bean and Live To Tell the Story?

This Onion video about the boycott of clothing company LL Bean by black people is pretty amusing:

African-American Boycott of L.L. Bean Enters 80th Year

In the wake of Obama and the new post-racial economy I'll actually be a little interested to see if LL Bean falls because they were supported by a white-sensibility system, or rises because black people were hating on the fuzzy new england goodness for no good reason, and as soon as Obama is rocking some Bean on a jog everyone will open their eyes.

If they are legitimized could the "LL for LL" promo spot be far behind? the cool j rap about how "he can't live without his LL. Bean" or "he needs Bean" or "doin' it and doin' it and doin' it weLL Bean..." would be hotter than wearing a polo sweater, timberland boots, j-crew hat and northface parka in the summer. word.

And The Book Will Be Tentatively Titled NEGROPEDIA Until "Operation: Raise Everyone's 'Negro' Tolerance Level" Is Accomplished, Or Deemed Impossible

Some day in the future, there will be a black boy, maybe of twelve or thirteen years of age. He will be precocious and smart (but not in that genius sort of way) and afforded some small cents of humor. And he will find himself plucked out of an urban ghetto, not unlike the South Bronx in NYC, and go to some boarding school not unlike a Choate Rosemary Hall, or a Pomfret School.

And he will meet his roommate, a cherubic caucasian-american, and the two will pose for a picture in front of posters of heretofore unseen or unheard of groups like Led Zeppelin (they're ok, but they're no Three Times Dope the young black boy might think.). And whimsically, as often his is wont, the brown boy will open up a book, because, at that time, in his youth, he so loved to read. And the picture will prob look something like this

(but with all the added technolification that comes from being in the future. )

and the boy will be intoxicated by the book and after reading it he will smile knowingly, mischievously. because now he knows things he didn't know before. things like:

who the 4 horsemen of the post-racial apocalypse are... (link, coming soon)

or the 5 black people you meet in harlem...

or the 9 stages of gentrification hell (as extrapolated and updated from this episode of GP)

he will know how to have sex with a racist, and the various exits on the intra-race state highway.

he will have chuckled at the letter from a black man to his average-size penis, and the letter from a black woman to her relatively-flat ass.

he will have fantasized about the 5 interracial cinematic hookups that should have happened (that one's coming soon too)

and so much more....

But most of all he will know that he too can write a most excellent, humorous, entertaining book because the book he just read, NEGROPEDIA, was written by Patrice Evans, TAN, The Assimilated Negro. And if that dude can write a book, so can anyone.

NegroAgent #3A44-southbronx-24c3000 reporting for duty!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Chang Interview: Part 3. Advanced Hip Hop Diagnostics

Subject: Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop -- a book (currently $6 on amazon? cop it now, yo.), and a website -- long and short, he's one of the contemporary Professors of Hip Hop.

Backstory: In the final verse of this three-part interview we compare the crises in Hip Hop and Wall Street, and explore how crack paved the way for our 44th President.

Mission: To sprinkle some crack on Barack. Let's do this:

(Part 1 of interview is here)
(Part 2 of interview is here)

PART 3: Hip Hop Diagnostics Check

TAN: In thinking about the "Wall Street is dead" headlines of late, the "hip hop is dead" headlines come to mind. did hip hop experience the same market correction? were some rappers living in houses their freestyles couldn't afford? has there been a hip hop recession? can an art or creative form experience those highs and lows?

Jeff: i love this analogy, and i think the similarities are shockingly crazy. i talk about this all the time, but usually get glazed-over eyes and yawns, but let me try again here and hopefully not put anyone to sleep.

the reason wall street is slumping with us right now is because deregulation got it all coked up. follow me here. deregulation made it feel omnipotent, made it feel beyond risk, made the irrational seem rational. and for a while, it got everything it wanted--risk-free money-making for the exclusive customer based off of predatory lending masked as humane housing policy.

when the media companies got deregulation, the same thing happened. it got big money rappers who could make money for them across multiple platforms (not just music, but vitamin water!) and sell to the big dark world beyond american borders (where most of the young world is urban and of color). it was risk-free chip stacking for the exclusive--the universals, the viacoms, the clear channels--masked as progressive, desegregated pop culture.

that's the thing about capitalism. supposedly it celebrates competition, diversity and creativity but it really wants monopoly, homogeneity and conformity.

and eventually monopoly, homogeneity and conformity destroy the whole farm.

think of another analogy--the move from self-sufficient farms to corporate farms. used to be everyone grew something different--crops, animals, whatever, and everyone traded and everyone lived. then someone figured out you could mass-produce corn. so the corn now creates soft drinks, feeds the chickens and pigs and cows, and turns your biodiversity into one big cornfield. pretty soon everyone's fucking obese and lazy or steroided and crazy. cause you gotta take steroids to get those muscles you no longer get from working the field.

i know you are reading this now and saying wtf?

my point is that it's not a correction, it's the way capitalism goes in the 21st century. wall street is now paying the cost, and corporate rap--because hip-hop is most certainly alive if you leave out corporate rap--is too. nothing's shocking anymore. fools in that game are either fat and lazy or steroided and crazy, and while that may be a good look for some, it's definitely not for most. it gets pretty boring for the average fan also, which is always the next source of renewal.

having painted this wall-e world, i do want to say that i'm the eternal optimist. maybe hard times will make folks hungry again.

and one last tangent: i guess in the end i feel about the hip-hop is dead argument the way i feel about all these anguished 'irony is dead' articles. isn't it ironic how much ironists want to believe irony is dead?

TAN: the "?uest love thesis" (as termed in your bloggingheads vid), puts crack/the crack trade in a more positive light. to my warped mind, your logic allows me to formulate this equation: the crack trade helps form hip hop ----> hip hop helps pave the way for Obama ---> therefore Obama has evolved from the crack game. An evolved Marion Barry? funny cause it's true? maybe?

Jeff: funny cause it's true enough. crack sucked, and musicians on crack still mostly suck. i also don't want to romanticize the relationship between hard times and art, because good art doesn't always come from hard times and hard times aren't a prerequisite for good art. i myself prefer not to be unhappy and i think most artists feel the same way.

but it's also true that lots of great art came from the environment that crack created. one version holds that more white people paid attention to hardcore rap because of the media blowup over crack. that may be true, but who cares? to argue that the artists back then were making music strictly for those who didn't live in cracked-out neighborhoods is to rewrite history backwards--say, from the clipse to n.w.a., not the other way around. you'd have to be an idiot or a serious narcissist to try to pull that one off. besides, when hasn't there been a mass hysteria in american society that didn't involve notions of illegality and darker shade of skin than pale?

TAN: I like the notion of gangster rappers as Republicans. care to expound?

Jeff: ah, young jeezy proved us wrong tho!

TAN: a big part of hip hop's multicultural cachet is really legitimized/propagated by the asian/asian-american embracing of it. I recently saw Ballerina Who Loves B-Boy, basically some asian breakdance crews doing an all-dance West Side Storyesque production. Can you enlighten as to what makes hip hop and asians get along so good?

Jeff: the same thing that makes hip-hop and everyone get along so good. not that it always enlightens us all. i was at r16, the international b-boy competition hosted by the south koreans, who simply dominate breaking now. i interviewed russia's top b-boy, this blonde-haired blue-eyed boy named robin, a nasty breaker with that bronx-style chip-on-the-shoulder, who cited how much folks like bob marley and nas had shaped him. then, in competition against the south korean crew called rivers, really the inheritors of the zulu kings legacy, robin made slant-eyes at c-4, one of the rivers crew's top dancers.

wtf? in front of a korean crowd? the russian kid was all balls and no brain.

still, and this is what i love about asians and hip-hop--this dude c-4 went back at him three times as hard, literally castrated robin and left dude with his tongue wagging. the crowd went bananas. now, i know from asians and pacific islanders having swag--i grew up on an island full of em--but hip-hop took us to a whole new level. and for that, we say thanks.

TAN: No, no Jeff. It is I who says thanks.

Seriously, thanks for the interview!


TAN Caption: Awww, Little Black Stripey Scarf Is Lost

awwww ... don't you want to just grab her and have a college orientation program on race and whatnot?

more caps:

If you're ethnic and you know it clap your hands drink a beer *sip, sip*

raise your hand if you're sure! hold your hands close to your sides and look around nervously if you're unsure.

could anyone here point me to Africa-America? .... anyone.... anyone ... Bueller ... anyone ...Bueller ... anyone here see Ferris Bueller? .... anyone ... i'm just trying to make small talk and fit in here people ... Ferris Bueller ... Matthew Broderick ... anyone .... Bueller...

(sorry if that's you, it's all fun and games until someone cries over a blog. you're beautiful.)

photo via

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bert & Ernie: The Original Assimilated Gangstas

You see a lot of videos when you live on Internet St., but somehow, amazingly, I had missed what has immediately been dubbed the TAN 2008 Assimilated Video of the Year. Not even the surliest of Grinches can dampen the holiday spirit emanating from "Ante Up" by M.O.P., as lip-synced by Bert & Ernie.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Chang Interview: Part 2. Et tu, Obama? Then Fall, Hip Hop!

Subject: Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop -- a book (currently $6 on amazon? cop it now, yo.), and a website -- long and short, he's one of the contemporary Professors of Hip Hop.

Backstory: In part two of this three-part interview, we get into Obama and hip hop, and really the question that prompted me to get Jeff's opinion.

Mission: The two meatiest Q&A's in the interview are below. Let's peep the science:

(Part 1 of interview is here)
(Part 3 of interview is here)


TAN: I think this is the pea under my mattress that prompted all of this: in a recent slate article you used the phrase, “postracial-is-the-new-black.” It made me think, maybe Obama is the new hip hop...

Your book Can't Stop Won't Stop seems all the more relevant today, not because of hip hop, but because it's the story of our post-racial generation. In the current phrasing we’re swapping out hip hop semantics for new slang that's more inclusive/accessible.

Obama has personified this transition; the same way "hip hop" once served as a cultural uniter, Obama is now serving that role in a a more tangible way.

Looking back now, it seems hip hop, perhaps, had a certain misplaced ambition. In the 80s and 90s all we had was Hip Hop, so we needed it to be in politics and fashion and music and make cookies and do dishes and be transcendent. Now we know different. We can’t deny hip hop’s influence, but that no longer makes a given thing "hip hop" in that KRS-istential sense. Obama may brush the dirt off his shoulder, and show his love, but he's clearly not hip hop, right? He's bigger, badder, better.

All this makes me wonder: is hip hop still as relevant as it seemed to be, or at least aspired to be, a few years ago? if so, how? if not, didn't obama play a big role in killing it off?

Jeff: i think you're right on the mark in identifying right now as a moment in which everything is shifting. success--even partial success--always creates new tensions, new anxieties, new questions. obama is certainly a symbol of hip-hop's success in literally desegregating the popular culture. but without hip-hop, obama is unimaginable.

it's as simple as yz calling for 'a black president solution' back in 1989. i'm certain that against the backdrop of ronald reagan, nelson mandela, 'do the right thing', tawana brawley, and howard beach, he was imagining someone like a fela anikulapo-kuti/louis farrakhan figure--'black power's in the realm and the government's disagreeing'. now that we're in 2008, the first real black presidential candidate is, well, half white.

in a way, that's the difference between culture and politics. hip-hop is the art of the impossible. it imagined we could rule the world when we were clearly so far from actually doing so. politics is the art of the possible. democracy in theory reduces everything to the mean+1.

i'm as ambivalent about the idea of the 'post-racial' as you are, and not just because it denies an identity of blackness or brownness or yellowness--or an identity that sits somewhere between all of that--but it also denies an identity of whiteness. whiteness is an identity born of and linked to power, after all, and one that we thus have to understand as well.

hip-hop was the new black, and in that way, it created all kinds of avenues for people like me who aren't black to understand and value culture differently than it has been valued by society in the past. that, in turn, created ways of understanding what political power looks like in this country, and furthered desires to understand and value people and communities differently. so in the end, i'm for a movement whether in culture or politics that redistributes power, shares power, flips off authority and flips the given script.

if hip-hop would go back to being disadvantaged voices yelling loudly, that might solve the problem. but here's the problem--that's impossible now. too much has changed. the only realistic way forward is to admit that in some important ways we aren't the underdog anymore, that we fucking won. and then we have to get over our fear of 'what happens next'? what happens next is we take this shit over and run it.

TAN: A lot of your piece talks about the new multi-racial majority. reports have whites becoming minority in 2050. How do you see things changing once ethnics are running this piece?

Jeff: dude. now the census bureau says 2042. and the brookings institution says 18-29's hit that g-spot in 2028. 2028!!! i might even live that long.

so yeah, this is the big question now, right? this is where whiteness as the identity of power is crucial--i think of all the anti-black racism of my folks. it's pretty viscerally about both being higher up the food chain AND being lighter skinned. that, i think, was part of the real fear behind the 'is he black enough?' talk--but it was the Fear That Could Not Be Named, except perhaps by a cadre of folks who lived through COINTELPRO with a gun under their pillow. and generationally, some of us have been so eager to crash the party that those folks just sound really old. that's the flipside of 'post-racial' if you will.

the truth is probably somewhere in between--and my sympathies probably lie closer to the cadres than the david broders of the world, who are ready to call it a day for racism before driving home to their gated community.

lots of folks i spoke to this year, especially bun b and david banner, really wanted to emphasize that obama would be the president of america, not of non-white america, and that we needed to deal with that. which for me raised the obama and faith question. do we place our faith in him that he's gonna make things right? in this sense, 'yes we can' was a neat little rhetorical device--it allowed obama to wipe that dirt off his shoulder. it's not me, it's you. barack is getting ready to let us down easy. but then again, i truly buy his sincerity. i'm feeling that earnestness. after so many years of 'kick me please', it's nice to hear someone say, 'have it your way' and like really really mean it.

i guess my best hope is that the difficult conversations around race continue, that obama's presence puts a ceiling on the biliousness and the viciousness, and that the general arc gets pointed again in the direction of justice. as for the rest of it, i take his challenge seriously--if obama's in the office, then let's get it.

Saving the best for last in PART III: Which came first: The Death of Hip Hop or The Death of Wall Street... and, did crack pave the way for Barack

barack bigot

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Black Man In An Elevator Video

Have you seen this "Black Man In An Elevator" video? (Also known as: "They Clutch Purses, Don't They?")

You probably have. There's a lot to like here, I see why it's popular. good tone. the direct monologue to the camera. well paced. all adds up to me liking what I presume to be the "direction" of the video.

But the premise, i.e. the whole reason to make the clip, is way too stale for the hip sensibility that styles it. It looks and feels progressive, with the midget black guy doing the talking. and he's confident. man, I haven't had a tough-talking midget black guy put me in my place in years! and I like the assimilated brooklyn-chic clothes. and the woman is attractive, but not inaccessible. it all has a nice post-racial feel.

But, hello? no one clutches purses in 2008. wtf are you talking about? seriously? clutching a purse???

Even if there were people who still have physical muscle-reflex conditioning at the sight of a diminutive well-dressed black person, do we really care about them? Such that we would make cool video clips that address them? They have to be a small percentage of people at this point (c.f. Obama), and they have to be idiots. Very niche. Sub-sub-sub culture. Let's not have our creatives even bother with them anymore.

All things considered, overt purse-clutching racists are probably more of a disadvantaged minority than any african-american or ethnic-american group. You think a woman who shrinks from black people in an elevator is gonna have an easy time getting a job these days? pfft.

still... cool, funny vid. just sayin'.

(thanks calvin)

The Chang Interview: Part 1. The Brand Named Hip Hop

Subject: Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop -- a book (currently $6 on amazon? cop it now, yo.), and a website -- long and short, he's one of the contemporary Professors of Hip Hop.

Backstory: I first came across Jeff at a sorta Jews-to-save-hip-hop panel at the 92nd St. YMCA.
And he did the recent Obama cover story for Vibe. And is generally an Asian blazing the charts these days, so it was a nice opportunity to holler at him about the intersection of race, hip hop, identity politics in the wake of Obama.

Mission: Figure out what all this "postracial" business means for hip hop. He gave me plenty of fodder, so let's get into it:


TAN (The Assimilated Negro): I recently went to a hip hop show with a writer from Gawker, he's a hip hop head. we talked some about the struggle for a writer who comes from that hip hop background but now speaks to an audience that doesn't appreciate it. so if he does something hip hop focused, and it gets no reaction-- without taking into account our inadequacies as writers-- is that indifference a product of hip hop's limitations? or people who are small minded? why is it so tough to get page views for substantive hip hop content?

Jeff (Jeff Chang): i don't know. i ponder this a lot when i'm writing or speaking on hip-hop and politics. the way i keep from going nuts is i tell myself i haven't found my audience yet. :) it's a serious question, but i think sometimes it's hard to tell what's the result of daily tides and what's the result of global warming, you know?

TAN: What do you think about the assimilation of hip hop into advertising? i.e. the abundance of white people rapping and such. The skills seem to be getting better -- people love this one for holiday inn express -- but it still feels exploitative. is it?

Monday, December 08, 2008

EthnoCultural Tug Of War: N+1 vs. Okayplayer

Diary of a Serial Assimilator:


Dear Diary,

I was randomly commenting on the blog of Keith Gessen and thought I stumbled on to a flair of genius: An okayplayer and N+1 bougie-off!

"it'd be a cool field trip to bring both those crowds to one place for a good ol' fashioned tug-o-war."

Holla if you hear me, brethren!

There's no question Obama has helped level the scales, but for those who want to discuss how it's just a start, or how much more there is to be done, why beat around the bush? Let's fight this puppy out!

Or love it out, i don't mean it to sound so fatally competitive; just to say determining a winner or loser is important....

now i'm not positive on how we should do this, but i'm thinking the best way would be for both sides to *accidentally* plan their parties/ethno-cultural worship events at the same time, same venue. This will require some vision/manipulation on the part of leadership, because I don't think these respective multi-intellicultis will cross-pollinate demographics without some forcing of the issue.

Once it's all set up i'm not sure what happens next, but i know if we're doing it for real-for real then sex needs to be involved. Like King White Bougie and Queen Black Bougie have to mate before the congregated-but-segregated masses. And if we're doing it for real-for real-for real, then murder must happen also. Like black-white ultimate chicken fight to the death. I know, it's sad. Well maybe we can just keep it at the sex level. (in fact now i sort of regret this whole thread because it's unnecessarily reckless, but i think it also enhances my cachet as an "unexpected" writer, so i'll just close the parentheses here and leave it at that)

anyuhhh... whenever i get the chance to sit on Obama's lap and tell him what I want for America, i'm going to force these camps to do a collaborative project. 'twould be awesome.

pics are good for blogging, so these are the images i found for my multicultural tug of war allusions.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Check for yourself:
N+1 Magazine
Okayplayer, home of The Roots

dog tug

Maybe Soon The Giants Will Be Good Enough To Have Cheerleaders?

Currently the Giants FAQ says they think "the game should be the focus of the day", but we'll see how long that stays in place now that Eli is a stud. Don't good teams need cheerleaders? Why would cheerleading exist if the best team didn't have cheerleaders?

At the least, the Giants on-field goodness, and lack of cheerleaders, offers opportunity for a referendum on the value of cheerleading.

Yes, this applies even after losing to the Eagles. That was a bye week for Giants fans. I was practically rooting for that loss.

Giants Clinch NFC East [NBC NY]

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dear TAN: Which Gang Starr Album Should I Buy?

I once started a neverending interview, but now we're switching to a "Dear TAN" feature. Send your questions/letters to theassimilatednegro [at] gmail [dot] com.

In this edition: G-A-N-G to the Starr, son.

Dear TAN,

If i were to buy only one Gang Starr album, which should it be?



Dear TC,


well they have a fairly comprehensive double album of their hits -- Full Clip -- you can't go wrong with that.

looking on itunes, apparently they have another greatest hits album, i haven't peeped it myself, but it's 20 tracks to 30+ on the other, and a little cheaper. again, figure those are the best bets.

But if you're looking for a real album, to achieve that authentic Gang Starr experience, you have to choose between Hard To Earn and Daily Operation. my vote would be Hard to Earn, I think that's their most complete album. But you lose Ex Girl to Next Girl and Take It Personal, and I'd shed a tear if I could never hear those songs again....

Then again, presuming you're an Obama lover, and if we go along with hip hop paving the way for Obama, you might want to go ahead and cop both those albums and chalk it up as back pay. Maybe tell your negro friends (i know a black person isn't asking which gang starr album to buyy) that you put 5 on it (+ another $15 for inflation) on some hip hop reparations tip. That would be thoughtful, generous, and provide some multi-cultural oriented entertainment/chatter for your next cocktail party (soundtracked by Gang Starr of course).

Also, make sure you drop that extra wisdom about "Dwyck" on that girl you have your eye on, she''ll surely be impressed.

good luck!




Dear TAN,


i'm all about going with the full albums. i like getting the feel of a whole album as opposed to just hits.

well, think i might go "with hard to earn" since it has your jam Dwyck on it and mass appeal. probably will go with moment of truth too. everyone online is apparently in love with "moment of truth". a hundred hip hop fans can't be wrong, can they? wait...

other than winning the new yorker caption contest, contributing a "dear TAN" is a major life goal of mine. that would be sweet. guide us to hip hop greatness.

thanks man


no, thank you TC, for allowing me the opportunity to further spread the love that is primo production. if you close your eyes while listening, you might see the synchronized neck-snapping of a million TANs who came up on this ...enjoy, assimilate and be merry! and thanks for the note.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

If Plax Isn't Actually Stupid, Then What Is He?

here's the nut of my take on Plaxico-Gate

And if Plax isn't actually stupid, then what is he? Is he unlucky? Is he an obnoxiously selfish a-hole? Is he a big proponent of the second amendment, and an armed populace? Is he too invested in male machismo? Does he have daddy issues? Is he aloof, such that he might overlook the immediate and unnecessary danger simply possessing a gun in a crowded club creates?

I have no idea on these questions, and have gotten little help from the coverage on PlaxicoGate; so it seems much like a young athlete who has all the tools but lacks the focus, blogs and the media at large are failing to maximize their potential. This is a story with serious issues a the heart of it -- gun culture, rights/rules for the rich and/or famous etc. -- by covering this from an angle that prioritizes stand-up routines over insight into how such a reckless accident can occur, we are in essence dropping the ball, and/or shooting ourselves in the leg.

it's not all wagging a disappointed finger at the media, some plax jokes in there also. after all, who can resist....

If Plax Isn't Stupid, Who's Really Dropping The Ball? [NBC New York]

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ugly Gina

I'm not inclined to call anyone ugly, but when you're a 30-something year old second-grade teacher and you start preying on/going for dates with 15-16 year olds, and your name is Gina, and you take a picture like this for the Daily News:

Well, what else can you say?

Also, can someone explain to this kid why one becomes a model? I mean, I'm not a model so I don't know, but am I mistaken to suspect that no one does it for the old ugly white women in Queens? Though from the looks of this photo methinks there will be plenty of drugs and alcohol in his life (they have a child!) down the road.

I like the kid though, he's sassy. This quote he gives is awesome:

'I'm tapping that a-- and there's nothing you can do about it,'"

Ha. It's almost like a dare for him. He's making his life into an episode of Punk'd! Only he doesn't know it yet. Sad.

Anyummm, for those thinking teachers and white women are thought of too highly in our society (used to be you'd see a Taye Diggs in this pic and not blink an eye), here's your countermeasure: Ugly Gina.

Repugnant Teacher Sues After Being Fired For Bagging Model [NY Daily News]

Did the Days of Chivalry Leave With Sir Isiah Thomas?

The Cavs beat the Knicks down Tuesday night, like a boyfriend tired of fools flirting with his girl.

When you think about it, Cleveland had to do something. The New York media hard-on for James was such that I was afraid to touch a newspaper for fear of getting LeBron-gunk on my hand. It crossed the line into rudeness; you can admire some guy's girlfriend from afar, but you can't just start licking her the way everyone has lapped LeBron's booty the last couple media cycles.

in final edit I got to say hard-on, but no gunk! baby steps....

LeBron and Knicks Need To Get A Room [NBC]

Tell Me These Aren't Real Bears Playing Real Hockey

The Tao of bears playing hockey. Torture and needless cruelty to animals versus hilarity and must see TV:

thanks: LT

Will Someone Please Tell McDonald's About The Recent Business With Obama And The End of Racism

Yo, McDonald's and their black-people marketing project is straight out of control! At this point it's like they're satirizing themselves... but I don't think it's intentional.

Now we know McDonald's are the Black People Plumpers, but I'm half expecting my next Big Mac to be wrapped in a du-rag, or to bite into a Timberland boot, or to be chased by a Pit Bull next time I see a commercial for Chicken McAnything.

Also, can they start putting some fat people in these videos? If you're waking up in the middle of the night, in the rain, to steal away for a ten-piece, you do not have a hot body. Period.

McDonald's: We Feed Black People!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Can Obama Fix An America That Pays Stephon Marbury $22M To Do Nothing?

There's limited space blogging sports for NBC, and in this recent musing about Marbury and Obama and reevaluating values, I couldn't include the point that makes Marbury such a paradox. That is, despite being vastly overpaid, and fairly dysfunctional, he's also one of the most giving philanthropic-oriented players in the NBA.

His move to put his name on $14 sneakers, in this era of $200 LeBrons and whatnot, along with the reputed donating this year's salary to charity, don't get enough pub in the face of all the more sensational hubbub he creates.

I've fallen victim now too, but at least I can clear my conscience a little here.

Can Obama Fix An America That Pays Stephon Marbury $22M To Do Nothing?
[NBC New York]

One Love: John Forté

Hip hop blogs and others are buzzing about George Bush pardoning "rapper/producer" John Forté.

I wrote a "Free Forté" post a couple years ago (mostly to share his great blog). We were in prep for prep together, and since then lived a similar Miseducation of the Assimilated Negro path. He went to Exeter, I went to Choate. He started rapping, I started rapping. He canoodled with Lauryn Hill, I couldn't believe it and hated. He got locked up, I started a blog. The symmetry is remarkable!

I do think on the occasion of his freedom, it's worth noting that John will give many of us prep/assimilateds something we didn't have: a homey who got locked up.

You'll often find TANs are easily perturbed by those who would challenge their "Realness" just because they went to prep school. In one of my Ghetto Passes for Gawker, one of the commenters questioned my authenticity, and I threatened to put on brass knuckles and beat her face in.

I've since learned to take my meds when I write something for public consumption, but it gets to my point about sensitivity and defensiveness. Just because we took that assimilated road, doesn't mean we've forgotten where we came from. That's what special about this up-and-coming generation of TANs. The respect for the past, coupled with the unprecedented hope for tomorrow. Good times.

Anyways, I'll prob be less sensitive cause one of my old homeys just got his bid commuted. Now when I see him and we listen to "One Love" together (obviously), we can sing along to the lyrics with conviction, err, gusto.

Free John Forté

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Obama Inaugural Song Submission: Common, Changes

I like this pitch/power move from Common, trying to make one of his singles the "hip hop inaugural song".

Honestly, that's what every emcee should be trying to do right now. Make that inaugural song. The inaugural jam is the new club joint, or somesuch. If hip hop gets skipped in the soundtracking of the Obama presidency, they will have lost a great -- possibly necessary -- opportunity.

As for Common's submission, it's not bad: happy groove, peaceful lyrics, solid performance. I wonder if the lyrics themselves are presidential enough. That said, with Common being from the Chi, and his whole brand being something along the lines of the hip hop version of hope, there's a lot of synergy potential there.

The lil kid at the end is a nice little underrated hip hop effect. If you add a cute-sounding child to the end of your hip hop song, you really can't lose. Also, whistling. Whistling on the track is another no-brainer. I'm surprised the market for good non-profit hip hop isn't a little larger. That's probably telling about something or other. Here's a youtube of Common's song:

You know, even better than the solo song would be to get one of these "We Are The World" records popping. They do them before, why not do it for the actual inaugural song. Everyone would want to be down. Prob get Kanye to engineer the whole thing. Him, JD (yes, respect JD please.), Dre, Andre, Em, Hov, Nas, GZA, Slick Rick, Chuck D, Common, a couple others ... obviously Black Thought and The Roots as the players. Oh, we need some women. Lil Kim doesn't seem right, though you know she'd drop the perfect PG-13 saccharin verse for the occasion. Maybe some Jean Grae. Oh I guess the songstresses can rhyme, so get those male emcees plus some Alicia Keys, Badu, Estelle, Mary J,etc. L Boogie if she's available. Beyonce and Sean can have a section to go back-and-forth on...

That song would be hot fire; the Black Music All Stars (pardon, hip hop all stars) making the Obama inaugural record. It's really the only way to do it.

Short of that, Common's song is fine; if everyone's going for dolo, Common is as good a choice as any.

Only caveat is if he comes in looking like the pic above right. With the background all fuzzy, and he's staring directly in your eyes and stuff....that means he's feeling the love too much. Abort the mission if that happens and wait for another day, that's not the Common we want.

Common Freestyles for Jeremiah Wright

Songs To Know: The Bitch In Yoo

Friday, November 21, 2008

NBC, New York, Sports Crack... It's Good For You

Been doing some sports blogging for NBC recently, they have new localized sites, and I'm playing the role of B.A. Baracus for the New York A-Team. I'll probably figure out some widget or link to keep the posts streaming over here at some point before the reign of Emperor Obama is over, but for now, since I didn't post anything else today, I'll just link some of the recent hits from the sports-crack pipe.

The Curse of Mike Mussina (sorry Muss, just sayin'!)

A Tale of One City, 3 Quarterbacks

Hal Steinbrenner is Antagonizing Sabathia For No Reason

ARod for MVP: Madonna's Valuable Player

$4M Is Going Rate For A Quality Reliever, Ahem, Omar Minaya

McGahee Would Not Make The Giants Band of Earth, Wind, and Fire

Brook Lopez, Bidges

and I still hold a torch for The Rehiring of Willie Randolph

NBC New York Sports [NBC NY]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Welcome To Post-Racial Fight Club!

Jewcy asked me to do a quick blog on one of these post-racial articles that are in mass abundance. In responding I discovered Post-Racial Fight Club. Here's a tease:

... I think the biggest ingredient missing from these stews of post-racial analysis are white people; this Post-Racial Identity crisis is not so much about Black identity as much as it is about White identity being scaled back down to size, thereby allowing everyone else to look a little more important. Perhaps even more than the Obama t-shirts we see everywhere, the book/blog Stuff White People Like is the prominent post-racial avatar that signals change is underway.

After all, we're somewhat versed in Black identity politics, hence Obama putting on his du-rag for a campaign speech. But White people have long been able to lump their particular sensibilities under the broad label of "mainstream" or "american". This was always best represnted by the position of President, leader of the free world, and presumably white bred, white educated, etc. etc. Now it's different. Now we know the first family doles out dap, and quotes hip hop lyrics. Good times.

So, not wanting to be passive and redundant, it seems the only step in further understanding what matters in the world now is to start a Post-Racial Fight Club. So here we go:

Welcome to Post-Racial Fight Club.

The first rule of Post-Racial Fight Club is you must talk about Post-Racial Club, A LOT!

The second rule of Post-Racial Fight Club is you must talk about Post-Racial Fight club some more!

See, when you use the term "post-racial" you can't help but seem smart and aware and progressive. Go ahead, say it to someone who went to college.... doesn't it feel good? Don't you feel better about yourself? I know I do. So next party, make sure you bring it up, especially if any members of the Multi-Culti are in attendance.

The third rule of Post-Racial Fight Club is if someone says "stop, you don't understand their people's struggle" and points to an historical tragedy where you can see the legacy of it still in effect today, the fight is over ... continued...

Post-Racial Fight Club [Jewcy]
Original Rules of Fight Club

women should get down with Post-Racial Fight Club too

cat fight club

woman fight club

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Perfect Political Woman: Coming Soon, Like Maybe 2012, or 2016

Amanda Fortini at NY Mag raises some valid points. While there has been much trumpeting about the progress for females in the wake of the campaigns by Hillary Clinton and VP nominee Sarah Palin, the end rewards have been muted at best.

Granted, in the realm of American politics, there's a measure of progress simply by seeing a couple women so prominently in the spotlight; it's not an unmitigated blessing. Amanda writes:

"In the grand Passion play that was this election, both Clinton and Palin came to represent—and, at times, reinforce—two of the most pernicious stereotypes that are applied to women: the bitch and the ditz.

What I don't think she satisfactorily conveys, however, is how those archetypal female stereotype boxes may simply add up as part of the cost of losing. Which is to say, if Obama lost he'd be a lot more like an Inaccessible Elitist Bougie Negro stereotype than he is now.

But because he won, because he was an individual who brazenly defied those characterizations, such an assessment sounds as silly as it should.

So while Fortini's closing sentiment, "Many will say we’ve come a long way this year. The truth is we have a long way to go." -- is true, it's also shortsighted. It doesn't accomodate a perspective that appreciates how much ground one perfect political candidate can cover.

This is part of the largesse of Obama's legacy. We may have wondered how much a Black president mattered, and then we saw it mattered so much more than we could imagine, and not just in our nation's borders, but around the globe.

We couldn't exactly predict the overwhelming magnitude of The Big O's appeal. His perfectness. Sure you can speculate and rationally deconstruct a perfect multi-racial presidential candidate, and it would be Obama. But he's special because he played the game perfect. Every misstep was anticipated, every major mistake avoided. He threw a perfect game, against a substandard opponent and it resulted in a landslide.

So yeah, Hillary and Palin proved to be flawed, and maybe the media will transform those flaws into caricature. But all women need to find is their Super Woman to show how long distances can be leaped in a single bound.

How The Year of the Woman Actually Set Women Back [NY Mag]

perfect woman van
perfect man

Friday, November 14, 2008

Can Obama Bring American Idol To The Good Side of the Force?

I don't know, maybe make it a government funded non-profit. That would maximize its potential, yet keep it relevant. (you hear that, media. non-profs are relevant too!). Everyone loves the spectacle of the Idol, but we all hate the nasty side of ourselves it taps into (even if we don't know it).

This nasty side has come to a head in my mind via this sobering column by Lisa de Moraes in the Washington Post:

And now -- the dark side of the four-week-long Bad Auditions portion of "American Idol" that traditionally kicks off each season of the country's No. 1 television show.

A woman found dead of an apparent drug overdose in a car near "Idol" judge Paula Abdul's Los Angeles home on Tuesday night was an Abdul obsessive who had twice auditioned for the Fox singing competition. She was handpicked in the fifth season to become one of those wannabes the show's three judges would savage on national TV during the early weeks of that season.

The Daily Beast put me on to the story, and they have a clip of Paula Goodspeed's audition. If you watch it, you can actually see the thin line between comedy and tragedy right before your very eyes!

So in hindsight, the basic summary here -- a woman who was an obsessive fan of Paula Abdul, one of the celebrity be-pedestaled judges of American Idol, commits suicide after being ridiculed by her, uh, idol -- strikes as sort of inevitable. The show in its current incarnation had to eventually lead to this sort of unnecessarily tragic end.

Of course, we can't blame Paula or the show for the psychological issues of others. This suicide occurs three years after the point of impact, and that's more than enough plausible deniability for the courtroom of public consensus to let American Idol off the hook. There's little point in trying to assign a dollar amount for damages due to a particular crime.

But at the same time, there's an obvious misappropriation of value here. It feels like a karmic sin to see a show that so brazenly resonates with our spirit of love, companionship, communion (talent, after all, is nothing more than a connection between two people) but then use that power for EVIL.

Which is to say, it's not inherently bad to laugh at people who sing horribly. Or are clearly a few posts short of a blog. But you don't lie to them, prop them up, tell them they're amazing, only so the fall can be more entertaining to us normals.

In my head this current cycle, this business of laughing at those who are unawares, will always be pinned to William Hung; he was the gateway drug. But from Punk'd, to Borat, to Idol ... it's a cheap laugh, that comes at the expense of a Real Life Human Being. And we all eventually realize it (there won't be a Borat 2) and feel bad. Or worse than bad if you're Paula Abdul right now.

So anyidol, my question is: Can Obama fix this? I know he's got a lot on his plate, but in some sense it feels like we voted for Obama specifically to help realign our fundamental values. He was the one who showed a willingness to make the sacrifice.

Leadership isn't about having the tools; it's about having the heart, the balls. We all have a sense of the greater good -- hence, bloggers and writers abound! -- but our leaders are the ones who take action.

We all know how to be healthy and get in shape, but sometimes we need a trainer. And it feels like the real mandate for Obama is to be our moral trainer. Sympathetic, yet demanding; showing us how to indulge and have fun with talent showcases, but not take it too far lest someone end up killing themselves.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Even The Old Testament Was For Obama

these missed my radar in the heat of the action, but they're brilliant...

For the Jewish Obama-Lover In Your Life: Obama-kah's!

(sold out, natch)

Obama-kah Yarmulkes [Jews for Obama]

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

How Can One Man Mean So Much To So Many People?

I haven't felt so patriotic in ages. Maybe since 9/11. That feels like a lifetime ago.

For me, that's one drop in the infinite reservoir of amazing takeaways ... America is so incredibly important to so many people. But, why?

Why are we the Apple to the rest of the world's PC? How is this land of Bush, and Enron, and Cheney, and Spitzer, and Flavor Flav, and TMZ and Fashion Police etc. etc. ad nauseam, also the symbol for that inscrutably-human sense of independent spirit?

Look at these pictures, taken from around the globe. How can one man, one job, one country's chosen leader mean so much?

Barack's step-grandmother Sarah Obama in Kogelo , Kenya

At Obama's former school in Jakarta , Indonesia

Manila , Philippines (my favorite)


I don't understand; it's so difficult to wrap my aluminum-body macbook around the idea that when the world is spinning its wheels in the, uh, ditch of life or whathaveyou, we're the folks everyone looks to for a plan? What are we, Hancock? The Alcoholic Superpower?

If you were to ask me about America-as-Guiding-Light when I'm drunk and fantasizing about Sarah Palin, in my apartment, telling Katie Couric that she knows how to save Africa because she can see my balls from where she's sitting; I would be like, "How can you talk about some broad 'America the beautiful' stuff with a scene like this in front of you? THAT'S UNAMERICAN! But I do appreciate the conversation, so hold on a second, I'm just busy at the moment." Then in five minutes I would return and tell you that such a thought (America-as-example-for-the-world) is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

But yet, it's true. The throngs of people, the wide-eyed faces, the streaming tears... none of them lie. This country, my country, your country is the worlds guiding light. The world's Encyclopedia Brown. The forger of black steel in the hour of chaos. The nationalized avatar of Nietzsche's will to power? Or maybe you prefer, Manifest Destiny. Just Do It. Yes We Can.

This mandate, this refusal to suck, where does it come from? In the last couple years we have bottomed out and taken it for granted, putting up the most pathetic effort we could in the form of George Bush. Seemingly testing our own karma, only so we could feel the rush of the Tao coming back harder and stronger with Barack, the Anti-Bush.

We started this country with no money, only ideals. Then we sacrificed our ideals to build capital. And now, when capital is no longer worth much, we go back to ideals. Willing ourselves to power, by any means necessary.

But where does it come from? Nietzsche wasn't even our dude. Germany should be the world superpower, but obviously they fell in love with the dark side of the force.

And here we are.

And, it's not like we haven't had our fair share of "bad" people.

But here we are. In our bleakest hour, the force provides us our Luke Skywalker to save the day and seemingly inspire the universe. (and he's even better because he doesn't have the sketchy side storyline with the incestuous sister-loving.)

Pretty amazing.

Disclaim: (I just received these pics from family over email, they are presumably of the people, by the people, for the people. if you are/know the source please contact me and I'll properly attribute, or take down... but if you make me take them down, I'm telling Obama on you.)










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