Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Bronx Tale: In Search of Sonia Sotomayor

Had fun in the South Bronx talking to people about Sonia Sotomayor. I guess I should mention, for those who stumble on here looking for "assimilated negro sonia from the bronx", Justice Sotomayor is originally from the Boogie Down, and Puerto Rican, and has made a lot of people proud via her rags-to-riches tale. Here's the video:

A Bronx Tale: In Search of Sonia Sotomayor from weekendvids on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Premature Ejaculator Editions of 'COPS' and 'America's Most Wanted' Can't Be Far Behind

This is an ad featuring "The Bedroom Police" catching a prejaculator at the scene of the crime:



Frankly, I'm a lil bored by the "whoops, i came too fast" angle on interpersono-sexual relations. Can't we get on the girl's case a little bit more? It feels sexist to not be sensitive about a guy's need to get off in under a minute and take a nap sometimes. is that a crime now?!!?! How would Sotomayor rule on this? I say dudes should picket this commercial and take it to the highest court.

via: The Awl

How To Get Negros, or Anyone for that Matter, Out the Hood

I never posted pics from Costa Rica. Think I've been saving to figure out some "TAN Guide to ..." packaging. But I'm pretty sure the highlight would be the iphone snapshots of this feller:




Can't help but think that if you saw one of these pop out of some crack in your crib, in the projects (or whatever impoverished urban city-complex thingamajiggy you live in) you would most assuredly be living on Park Avenue (or whatever upscale urban location presumed to not have jurassic-era insects) by the next day. New job, new attitude, new everything. Want to pick up the productivity and economy? Make some advanced wolverine-caliber roaches. Problem solved.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dear TAN: Why Did Ghostface Do Us Like That? (Pt. 2)

Send your questions/letters to theassimilatednegro [at] gmail [dot] com.

In this edition: is the behavior of Wu Tang's Ghostface Killah representative of a particular artistic lethargy within the hip hop community?


Part 1 HERE

[ed: Two female fans of Ghostface Killah have just seen him walk outside after doing a half-ass bullshitty show. Part 2 picks up here...] So Kyla and I marched over to Ghost' van in our finest hoochie attire and waited while fans passed him mixtapes, and girls gave him kisses. Its only occurred to me now that I didn't say hi or introduce myself or tell him what a big fan I was. All I could ask was why? Why did you stop your gig to start pedaling t-shirts? Do you normally do this? If so, why?

The look on his face was worst than the show that he put on because he knew. He knew he was dead wrong all he could say shocked and dare I say embarrassed was "they told me my time was done". It didn't occur to us at the moment because we were buzzing and errmm verbally assaulting Ghostface Killah! But how could that be true? If he had to go they would have just told him to go, he does an ending song and leaves to a huge applause and then there are people outside selling the merchandise like at a normal gig? How did you stay on stage?

He knew. He knew he was wrong when he asked what was left of the crowd if they wanted more songs. Obviously! Its a gig! We came for the music. Not for a t-shirt or a wristband or a Wu-thong or whatever the fuck your selling. We came to see you. And he knew it. So much so that after we asked our first questions about why the fuck he would do that he went out of his way to find us again and say "yea really they told us it was done so we had to go". But as Kyla said "you didn't go anywhere mate" he stayed right there making sure he got his 20 pound off his shirts.

While walking with Snuff and his peoples to unsuccessfully find food one of Ghost' little hype men came up to us asking if we were at the concert. When Kyla and I clocked who he was it was Round 2! After unsuccessfully trying to get us to his hotel room he brought some more hype men and the DJ and not one of them could defend what they had just done. They had the nerve to ask Kyla, whose father is the bassist for a legendary rock band, if she knew anything about the music industry? When she responded that she grew up in the fucking industry he had the nerve to ask "if we knew what merch was?" No you dick I don't know what merch is. Yes you have figured out our problem for us! Its not that you didn't do your show. Its that we don't understand what this strange thing called "merch" is. If we only understood that then we would find nothing wrong with a legend pedaling t-shirts like his livelihood depended on it.

While living here I have seen Mos Def, Nas, Common, Will Smith (yes Will motherfuckin Smith! if you haven't heard "Summertime" blasted in a London arena you haven't lived) and all of them smashed it, they came to give the people what they paid for. But it brings me much pain and sorrow to say that Ghostface didn't.

People always wanna diss Jay-Z -- as Ghostface did when he was his boss at Def Jam -- about how hes not "real" blah blah blah. Why? Because hes smarter than DMX who has almost surely snorted away every dime he made? Because hes not like T.I. and isn't doing a bid for walking around with more guns than Obamas Secret Service men? What exactly is he guilty of? Investing his money in things that... make him more money? Controlling his image and how is name is used? In my opinion he's never claimed to be anything he's not. His first album is called "Can't Knock the Hustle" an epic solely about HUSTLING! Making money whatever way he knows how. Before it was drugs now he gets it legally.

I bring up Jay-Z not only because of the whole "real" vs. "not-real" thing but also because I have spent chunks of pay-checks to see him live so many times and he always smashes it. The tightest live band, an amazing set list and a desire to want the crowd to be amazed at what they are witnessing. I have seen Nas play more times than a normal person should pay to see anyone, same with Mos Def and The Roots. I cannot think of any scenario in which any of them would just decide they were done playing and then STAY on stage for another half and hour not doing songs but making sure that everybody was in an orderly line to buy a t-shirt. Not even Jay-Z and he is the king of hustling!

Yes what I am saying is the most mainstream commercially successful rapper of our time has more of a soul and more integrity than Ghostface Killah a supposed victim of the industry.

Finally after his on stage flea market Ghost decided to bless us with a few more half ass verses on a few songs. If you ever want to see what Hip Hop on life support looks like, it's not a Souljaboy video. It's Ghostface Killah doing "Cant it All Be so Simple" to an almost empty venue that had only a short time ago been packed out.

So I ask you, TAN, why did Ghostface Killah kill Hip Hop?



images via: chris micro, gor v bear, and

Sunday, May 24, 2009

If Someone Says 'Chk, Chk, Boom' To You, In An Aussie Accent, Here's What You Need to Know


America's next top racist update: She's no longer a real witness (but still makes real racisistically-challenged remarks).

(thanks: Sean)

Previously:
America's Next Top Racist: Clare Werbeloff

Have I Ventured to the Dark Side?: I'm Sad Sasha Finds Me Belittling, and Her Fans Will Hate Me

My interview with Sasha Grey is a little bit controversial. At least for me.

I'm sure Sasha Grey is lovely when you get to know her. But there's a part in The Girlfriend Experience where the journalist asks about her "wall" and if/when it comes down, and if most people get to see the "real" her. Sasha's character, a character in large part based on her "character" in real life, says probably not. Vanessa G in the Rolling Stone piece likened the feeling to a woman behind glass. If you read the many interviews both print and video online, you'll find inaccessibility to be a theme.

My interview doesn't intend to begrudge Sasha that wall. It makes sense to have a wall up for a number of reasons. My dilemma was simple: I don't want to trot out the same boring interview everyone else is. And I asked questions, a month ago, that would hopefully find some new territory. Of course in an email interview you have to go through a little bit of old territory to get there.

Point being, I approached this as an opportunity for an interesting conversation. This is how I've approached all my hot-ass interviews. I am not "belittling" her (another word Sasha has thrown at interviewers before, I'm not the first to belittle unknowingly), and to my mind they are the same questions I would ask any writers, artists, creative professionals. Yes, I wouldn't ask someone in a different industry about "how to identify a fucking genius", but I would ask any professional about the 10,000 hours, and what constitutes superlative achievement/talent in their field.

When I interviewed Jeff Chang, the questions were equally chunky with verbiage (this is how I approach the issue of miscommunication, missed tone in email interviews, by rephrasing the question a bunch and they choose the one which connects), and also numerous (I trimmed down the initial question list a couple times, to make it more manageable), but he also has no reason to be distrustful of media and indulged the spirit of the conversation.

There's the "seduced over email" question. As the first question, it seems an obvious warm-up to me. Every single female who goes on Late Show with Conan or Letterman gets a flirty question thrown at them. Ignoring the "commentary on our sexist society" aspect, it's mostly functional. All serving as an easy way to gauge the temperature, figure out the mood/tone of your interviewee etc.. If she's fun and flirty, you might go with it. If not, you move on. If the interview were with a basketball player you'd make a softball corny open about maybe playing a pickup game or something. Same idea.

Back to the original dilemma: an interesting interview. I think some people are into doing them, some are not. No one's going to do an interesting interview with Robert Deniro (well, except a close friend maybe) because he's not interested. I feel a little bad that this would give Sasha more fuel for her distrust of media. But my spirit was pure and true! Sasha herself trumpets individualism, not being boring, so what am I to do when she gives me a boring interview. Interviews can be art. Anything can be if you choose to approach it as such. Belittling presumes I'm trying to get over on you, but what if I'm just practicing my trade as best I can? From her side, if she's doing a million interviews it's easy see me as another dude trying to service his media master. But I did put work into this, and am trying to make all my interviews part of a larger more artful TAN complex. She doesn't need to know or care about that, but to write me off could be seen as belittling.

The ambition in this blog-post-interview was to connect a theme from the movie, the hype-media publicity machine, and my particular interview. There's this whole dichotomy of veiled mystique and unobtainable intimacy. And I found the most interesting part of our Interview Experience to be how it reflected The Girlfriend Experience. Again, everyone is trying to get their hand on or around the wall. With varying degrees of success. Whatever.

Anyways, I had that sitting on my chest and had to get it out somewhere. I think the gawker commenters are shading something that is not ostensibly mean as such. And I'm just defending my position. Cheers!

The Sasha Grey Interview Experience [Gawker]

image: via

Dear TAN: Why Did Ghostface Do Us Like That? (Pt. 1)

Send your questions/letters to theassimilatednegro [at] gmail [dot] com.

In this edition: Yo, Ghost. Waddup with this?


Hey T.A.N.,

so I am a follower of your blog and really glad your back on Gawker on the weekends! I thought you would appreciate this story:

I'm finishing up a masters in London and since my MA project is due in about a month I don't get to go out as much as I'd like because I am always so swamped with work. But a couple of days ago I saw that Ghostface was playing. My Dad's entire family, post-slavery, was born on Staten Island and I have fond memories of Wu-Day, and just the genius that was Wu-Tang clan. So I decided to pay my 25 pounds, that I don't really need to be spending in the first place, and go see one of my Hip Hop heroes.

I ran from South East London to South West to grab my girl Kyla (my Essex soul sister) and then we headed clear across the capital. Thought we were late but when we got there a friend of mine DJ Snuff was still playing and UK MC Kingpin had the unenviable task of keeping the crowd from throwing things while waiting for technicians to sort the decks and mics before Ghostface came out. Thank God I witnessed Snuff and Kingpin as they were the highlights of the night.

So after about 25 minutes Ghost finally arrives and it.is.amazing. Hes doing all the tracks you want to hear, an ODB tribute and of course Wu staples. The crowd is going nuts there is literally a metal style mosh pit in the middle.

And then after about 25 minutes of playing something terrible happened. It was as if he just got...bored? He brings up two would-be future MC's which is annoying but as a fan of Hip Hop for my entire natural life you come to expect these things. But then after earlier praising the crowd for loving "real" Hip Hop he brings up a bunch of chicks on stage and the whole thing turns into a really bad Hip Hop satire. It was like a 50-Cent video sans the good looking girls who make you feel like maybe you should go to the gym. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised considering his video for the song that was playing in the background.

Even with this though I was still there excited for the second half of the show that I, for some reason, just knew he was going to get back to after he took a break having fun with the 10/12 girls who were there.

But then he did the unthinkable, after playing for about 25 minutes he claimed that "they were telling him his time was up" which I thought was weird considering he just got there and then he said "we've got t-shirts for sell." I assumed that like most artists he meant, you know, outside the venue there would be a stand with his merchandise. But no...this motherfucker started selling the t-shirts ON STAGE!!!! Who does that ever? I could have maybe dealt with it if he finished out a full set, did an encore and then came out to sign t-shirts. But no he went from legendary MC to a shop manager. "Get in line!"

Kyla and I weren't the only ones outraged. Hardcore fans who not long before were reciting every line to "Ice Cream" were booing, I'm talking Amy Winehouse has shown up to a gig drunk again type booing. Most of the crowd left.

+ + +

My first job out of college was at Def Jam the summer he had come out with "Fishscale" during the Jay-Z years of Def Jam management. I went blue in the face pushing it to my bosses, begging-unsuccessfully-for them to take some money out of the Ne-Yo and Rihanna budgets to put into Ghost' marketing campaign. I preached about how great it was, how it was the perfect combination of dope beats, lyrics, an air tight flow that has been so perfectly honed over the years. I couldn't believe how much they were sleeping on someone who I thought was one of the last remains of Hip Hop as I knew it.

You should know that I don't normally entertain conversations about what "real" Hip Hop is or isn't because I honestly don't know what the fuck that means. What is the criteria of being "real"? Do you have to write about a certain topic? Do CL Smooth or Premiere have to do your beats? To me the only thing more boring than mainstream Hip Hop is talking about how boring mainstream Hip Hop is especially when there is plenty of good shit to listen to.

So its not the "realness" or lackthereof in this case. That is not what I'm upset about. If anything I am more sad that someone who is part of a group that defines an era, that has influenced most MC's I speak to from my sunny hometown of Los Angeles clear to South London actually thought it was okay, actually thought that there was nothing wrong with doing half a set and then peddling t-shirts on stage. Where is your pride? I'm not a performing artist but surely when you finish you want your crowd wanting more, chanting, cheering amazed at what they just saw and not booing.

Because I always get the last word as I was standing outside starting to feel the effects of one two many ciders and a spliff guess who walks out? Oh yes Ghostface Killa himself.

I turn around, looked at him and decided I wouldn't be able to leave without asking him what the fuck? It didn't help that Kyla was in my ear in a sweet English accent demanding "go give him abuse!"

So Kyla and I marched over to Ghost' van in our finest hoochie attire and waited while fans passed him mixtapes, and girls gave him kisses....

What will happen at the Ghost Van?Will there be a confrontation?? Will it be anti-climactic??? And what role will the hoochie attire play???? All this and more CONTINUED IN PART 2


image: via, 2, 3

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who Will Be America's Next Top Racist?: Clare Werbeloff

Ever since Obama slid his woggy ass into the presidential throne, the racists have been fairly quiet. We had a little bit of hubbub with Larry King race-farting in public, and the dude making drunken obama cookies, but nothing real juicy and watermelon-y that we can sink our teeth into.

So I think it might be time to import! And also start a new reality show! And I think Clare Werbeloff makes a fine first housemate for the Real World of Racism.

Who's Clare Werbeloff? Well I didn't know who she was either until a little while ago when I saw (via The Awl, Videogum) her little saucy-aussie racist video presentation. I guess "wog" is like the n-word in Australia. And so in the video she's basically like "this fat ni**a and this skinny ni**a were fighting ..." and blah blah blah I'm also a hot chick and can say anything i want because hotness trumps racism.



And it's true: hotness trumps racism! Just ask any negro who's had a sexy girl ask if she could run her fingers through his wooliness. The answer is invariably: Yes, please do (so long as I can run my peen through your fields of cashmere etc.).

So that's why this reality show idea would be so awesome. I mean, there's a significant percentage of reality shows premised on getting someone who's gonna be "The Ignorant Racist" character anyways. Let's get a whole house of them! If they're hot, America would totally tune in.

The importing of racists works here also because it's more of a sideshow when you don't know the racist colloquialisms from other countries. For example, one of these words is a terribly demeaning epithet: fog, bog, wog, dog, smog -- who cares, right?

Lindsay informs that Clare is now an R-list internet celebrity (I've added the "r-list" part, Clare and Michael Richards are helping initiate this new class of celebritydom) and has a whole PR team and facebook fan group etc. American reality show television can't be too far behind!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jizz-Puke In My Pants and Mouth

Always nice when creative funny people go tit for tat. Or dick for twat. I don't know, but here are two viral video sensations worth peeping, now being screened TOGETHER.






via: Jezinist

The Most Powerful Muscle in Human Advertising is the Female Ass-Crack

My boy Copyranter gets cheeky with a couple new entries from his Ass-vertising beat. It really is amazing the power of a female ass crack to generate commerce, good will, scientific formulas etc. Mostly, though, I'm just glad I don't need to wear what's-tighter-than-skin-tight jeans to look hot.




Of course ass-imprints are nothing new. I think this is an old Levis ad.


Damn, makes me want to go buy a back-pocket RIGHT NOW! Hmmm, I also need shoes. Can someone sell me some nice shoes.


Yeah, that's a nice shoe. Just what I was looking for. And it's cool, I only need one. (I also like this ad because it's so obviously aiming for "classy." Bullseye!)


This one above I don't even know what they're trying to sell me. I guess a bridge or something? Whatever it is: SOLD! I would indeed like to buy the bridge that leads me to Perfect Asstopia Shangri-La-Heavenville.

What's I find amazing, artistically speaking -- after all, when we speak of ass-vertising, we speak of art! -- is how creative art/visual direction can make gratuitous ass usage feel, i don't know, OK! I mean, you could use that frilly-laced ass as a centerpiece on your family thanksgiving dinner table. It's beautiful! In contrast, American Apparel are the masters of finding the perv line and crossing it.




That last one, really?!!? That has to be illegal. And there is a definitely a woman crying somewhere at the sight of it. Who approves that?

Anyarse, these are just a few shots culled from the Copyranter assvertising collection. So go there for further research and analysis. In the meanwhile, I've developed an odd hankering for hiking boots. So I'm gonna go scratch that itch.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Assimilator: or How to Philosophize with a Hammer, and the Hammer is Gawker

So Gawker is known for their gossip and *snarky* (sigh) take on current events. The writers -- certainly the ones I've known or met -- are all smart and generally sympathetic/aware of celebrities being human, or the deeper issues at play when a magazine is shuttered; but as per their job, usually need to cut to the witty, pithy chase at the expense of indulging, say, the modern window into the human condition The Hipster Grifter provides.

All to say, Gawker is not what anyone instinctively thinks of as a home for "panel discussions" on culturally resonant news/themes/stories. But we're trying to do just that on the weekend, via The Assimilator, and so far so good. We're still working on facilitating the "discussion" element, as it's tough to get professional opinion/taste-makers to stand where you want in line sans $ or significant lead-time. But we've got cool people, and opinions, and a space to share and exchange these things. So that, as the kids say, is something.

Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols, is the guiding spirit here. Specifically: The Revaluation of all Values. Seems most writers, artists of sound mind and clear conscience are motivated by this impulse to reassess the world around them; "The Assimilator" is another on-ramp to merge -- mind meld? -- with the rest of those in the struggle.

We've finally got enough in the can to start the archived list, so that's what this is, in no particular order:

On the Recession Possibly Being Over?: Melissa Lafsky (Discover), Jozen Cummings (Vibe), Abiola Abrams (Planet Abiola)

On Double X Launch and Feminism: Pt. 1 - Amanda Marcotte (Pandagon), Jill Filipovic (Feministe), Pt. 2 - Jess McCabe (The F-Word), Matt Ufford (Warming Glow)

On White-Rapper Asher Roth: Byron Crawford (XXL), Touré (Rolling Stone), Tom Breihan (Pitchfork)

On University Reform: Pt. 1 - Dan Kois (New York), Kate Perkins (N+1), Pt. 2 - Macy Halford (The New Yorker), Jeff Chang (The Nation)

On Dan Baum vs. The New Yorker: Emily Gordon (emdashes), Troy Patterson (Slate), Eric Easter (EbonyJet)

On the Hipster Grifter: Doree Shafrir (Observer), Gavin McInnes (Street Carnage), Big Time Book Editor (Big Time Book Publisher)

On a Prospective Hipster Reality Show: Becky Sharper (Pursuit of Harpyness), Rachel Shukert (The Nosemaker's Apprentice), Robert Lanham (Hipster Handbook)

On Eminem's "We Made You": me (School of Hard Knocks, etc.)

The Assimilator [Gawker]

cartoon: via

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Ten Tat Commandments

Five of which are on gawker this weekend.

What's going on with this particular tattoo? Might have to get Negropedia Brown to investigate this one.



And speaking of the old testament, how did they never do a video for Ten Crack Commandments? That was a missed opportunity.

this song contains multitudes. And I revel in any chance to play it.



Anybig, here's Oprah with dumbbells on someone's belly forever.

Friday, May 15, 2009

ReBranding America: Liberty Gives Birth to Hope?


I like this one, can't front. There are other rebranding America sketches/ideas at Adweek, but i think this is my fav. I do love the provocative sensationalist stuff.

What you need is the black daddy in the background though...

This agenda began at Paper Magazine, see a lot more there.
via: Adweek

I Think It's Totally Cool For Females to Appropriate the Sport of Beatboxing

More from the frontlines of the Beatbox Renaissance.



In a previous post on this beatbox, uh, beat, someone made a crack about white people stealing the "art"; like rock and roll, jazz, hip hop, dorito dust etc. But I think I'd like to see the caucasian capitalists take a crack[a] at really turning a profit off this thing. I'd like to see what beatboxing becomes as a mass-produced mainstream commodified artform. Saliva guards, noisemakers in boxes of cereal, Beatbox Superheroes, porn, this sort of thing.

Madonna's New Girl Is Kinda Hot

And she might have more cadonkadonk than Biel.


Guess it might be time to let that J-train leave the station, and clear out room for the Amber-Phatty Express.

via: Yeezy

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dear TAN: Can this White Guy Rap?

Send your questions/letters to theassimilatednegro [at] gmail [dot] com.

In this edition: The 3/5 Compromise for White Rappers


Dear TAN,

I think your site is clever...uh, yeah I rap and I'm white. You think you could give me a listen and tell me to keep going or pack it up? Please!? I'm also a visual artist and I'd be willing to make you something for help? I make a living off my visual art so I have more confidence in it. I can't even get people to listen and I don't want to talk shit to get them too....
thanks for your time and sorry to bother you
daniel
www.pinupforpeace.com
www.imeem.com/rockface

~~

Dear Daniel (Face),

I think I'm going to blog your request, more specifically: I'm going to grasp your hand and help you in the White Rapper struggle. So often I see well-intentioned caucasian emcees struggling with their esteem and identity and I think, well shoot, no one knows the plight of the oppressed, the ignored, the written off like a white rapper. You have your Martin & Malcolm, but still so many suffer in silence. Makes me feel like those white peeps you see in old Civil Rights footage, they didn't have to get hosed down and attacked by dogs with the rest of the negroes. But the sight, smell, sounds of injustice were too much to bear. So it is for TAN! You are not 3/5 of a rapper! You are an individual emcee who should be counted!

So heretoforward, since I get these white rapper demos somewhat often for some reason, i will post them occasionally, and maybe you will be praised, maybe you will be mocked, maybe the comments will remain at zero. But let it not be said that TAN didn't reach his hand out during the White Rapper Civil Rights movement of the 2000s.

As for you specifically, Daniel, err "Face"... i think the toughest hurdle for you is the voice. most good rappers have a distinctive, often commanding vocal presence. Guru said it long ago, it remains a truism, it's mostly tha voice. someone like kanye has a lot of clever jokes/lines, but often sounds like, well, like a white rapper. he's had to overcome his voice. in contrast, someone like asher roth, maybe he doesn't sound black, but he sounds well trained in how to sound black-er.

so in general, as i'd advise most rappers, i think you should just stay grinding. if you love it, do it. rap is something you do, hip hop is something you live. or somesuch. rapping doesn't have a lot of room for commercial viability these days, so i don't think you should give up the computer/design work to take on a career of open mics. but you're not the worst black or white rapper i've heard. if that's encouraging at all.

good luck,

-TAN

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm Happy to Report: LOLBlacks Does Exist

word from above is that "NEGROPEDIA" still might not clear customs as the title of my book, so i've been b-storming alternates. In churning out names i thought of "LOLBlacks"; and then thought it wouldn't fit my book, but would be a brilliant negro-derivative meme.

As to be expected, someone's already on it. I can't tell when it started -- no wiki, myspace acct is dead -- but the site content copyright says 2008. There's a fair amount of photo repetition, so i guess it's not stuffed with inventory, but some def lols to be had:





LOLBLACKS [home]

Holy Cadonkadonk, Cat Power!

One of the Asses that Changed America, Jessica Biel, was motivated to shake-rattle-and-roll said arse/bastion of bountiful beautiful backside. Indie siren Cat Power, cigarette smoke, candle wax enhance the ambience.



so happy about this 6th, 7th wave of feminism stuff. love when the ladies feel liberated, good for them!

via: Bol

Monday, May 11, 2009

T-Mobile: Keeping You Connected with the Fake Karaoke Crowd

So I guess this T-Mobile Sing-Along *artificial flashmob* has been divisive. Some people are finding the clip below (and other packaged melodrama relateds) inspirational. Some are finding it contrived.

Think I'm in the Felix Salmon camp in calling it overproduced. Also "FAIL" or "weaksauce" or whatever the kidz r saying these days. Don't get me wrong, I'm no flashmob purist or anything; if you told me the idea on paper, or after a few drinks, I could see giving you a hi-five and legitimately thinking it was cool. I'm not anti-peace, jumping double-dutch with strangers in the street or whathaveyou. But in execution, it just doesn't translate.



Mainly I keep feeling confused about the scope of the project. I'm pretty sure it's a few thousand people in a square doing karaoke. But i feel like it should be, like, a whole continent, or hemisphere or something, doing it via some sort of fancy live-feed transmission, courtesy of t-mobile. but that doesn't appear to be the case. Sheeit, people are doing this sort of thing every day on facebook, just out of boredeom. I ain't 'bout to change phone providers over it. this "flash mobaoke"-as-epic would be like your boyfriend telling you he's going to make you breakfast in bed, and then he throws on bittersweet symphony, and his satin robe in slow motion, and he looks like Bradzel Washingpitt, all to come back with a limp dick, some leftover backwash from his glass of OJ, and a packet of sunmaid raisins. You don't totally want to complain -- it's Bradzel Washingpitt, after all, and the song and slo-mo stuff are nice -- but you do feel a little duped. Thesep roducers at least need to slip some Obama (tm) footage in there or something. Go for the gusto if you're gonna go. Get some doves, and some tear-gas and make it REAL, son. Didn't the beloved Bea Arthur just pass (rip). I think she was on t-mobile.

Really though, it's the Beatles who might be overdone on the emotional push-buttoning tip. T-Mobz might have fixed this all proper with better song selection. For example:


Rehab Video


Everyone knows these songs! you can still contrive without being so heavy-handed about it. yay!



Jesus walks with T .... mobile *ding*.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Post-Hype: Christian Lander (Stuff White People Like)

After the mobs go away, I'm the only one who still cares...

That's not true, but I kind of wish that were the salacious smarmy tagline for this interview series premised on a simple idea: much better to talk to people after the hype cycle has buzzed on.

When I first interviewed Christian Lander, few knew his name: the L.A. Times was breaking the "who's behind the blog-sensation 'Stuff White People Like'" story the same day as me. I got him right at the cusp of his mainstream explosion (you'll notice the enthusiasm in sharing his link from Kanye). In only a few weeks Christian would have a huge book deal, and be restricted from even conducting more interviews. The book would be rushed to print, and amidst throngs of media critics predicting a quick crash-and-burn would go on to be one of the smartest publishing "gambles" of the year, becoming a NY Times Bestseller. All of that, from blog conception to dudes taking "gonna show my mom" pics, happened in less than a year ('08).

Now in 2009, I thought I'd check in and see if Christian's postpartum depressed or riding high or just trucking along or what. So here we go:


The Assimilated Negro (TAN): So you've posted, like, four times in the new year. That's slower than me! Also, quite a contrast to your torrid pace to start the blog. What are we thinking: burn out? too busy? end of the SWPL road? something else?

Christian Lander (CL): Part of it is definitely a burn out. I try to make sure that the posts and the topics are still accurate and funny, I have no interest in updating just for the sake of updating. I also just finished the Page-a-Day Calendar which is actually a lot more work than it sounds like and leads to an enormous burnout on talking about white people.

TAN: So I see the tour ended a month or two ago: Much success? How many stops you make? Good consistent turnout?

CL: There were actually three tours- Summer 2008, Fall 2008, Winter 2009. I've lost track of how many cities were there, but I feel like I hit almost every big city in America except for New York (who knows why). Every stop had an amazing turnout and it stayed consistent the whole way through.

TAN: There was some backlash at the time of the deal, but I do feel SWPL has sustained as a go-to reference/standard if a writer/blogger is accessing that classification. i.e. when you need a link to describe white people. Thoughts on that? Will it be forgotten eventually or stick

CL: It would be great if it sticks, but I never in a million years expected it to become as popular as it has. So if it completely fades away, that's just fine with me.

TAN: any networking with your offshoots (stuff blacks/asians like ... etc.) any word on if any of those blogs turned to books?

CL: I have nothing to do with the off-shoots, Stuff Midwesterners Like was published and Stuff Christian's Like is also going into publication soon.

TAN: What's been a bigger deal for you: getting the money or developing the platform?

CL:It's been absolutely amazing to have developed the platform. I still can't get over the popularity and it's been so much fun. Not to sound too pretentious but it's been a lifelong dream to have a book on the New York Times Best Seller list, to have achieved that is just incredible and it still blows my mind.

TAN: Are you earning out your deal? Is that a concern? You hear stories about books being successes but the size of the deal becoming an albatross.

CL: The book is doing very well.

TAN: What's one thing you have learned from the experience, that you could not have anticipated?

CL: Hard to say, I don't think I had any expectations going into this so I'm not sure what has been a surprise. I think I just never anticipated how big it eventually became and it's still strange how often I meet someone and when they find out that I wrote the blog/book, they are impressed. That's still pretty weird.

TAN: Other projects, future plans etc?

CL: The book has been optioned by Imagine Entertainment to become a TV show and I'm working on that along with a few other TV projects that I'm really hoping will pan out. But immediately next is a talk show this summer with Microsoft and Crispin, Porter Bogusky. It's going to be on-line, so it won't be the biggest thing in the world, but it's going to be a lot of fun.

Thanks, Christian.

Previously:
Original SWPL Interview (pt. 1)
SWPL Interview (pt. 2)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Blipster Bingo

Ha. missed this first time around:


working with hipster dewds on gawk this weekend, totes stokedness TK!!

previously/related:
On Blipsters: Smells Like Negro Musk [Gawker]

B-Bingo via: HRO

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Any Chance that Elzhi is Deeper than John Updike?

The wikipedia, for all its flaws, has become an iconic testament to this Information Age. The depth of its reliability can be strained, but it works as a get-everyone-on-the-same-page knowledge depot/resource.

1. The wikipedia on John Updike says "Updike was widely recognized for his careful craftsmanship, his unique prose style, and his prolific output."

Updike is a wonderful example of one of these American literary lions that often does not translate for people not of his generation, or, possibly more importantly, his purebred American background. We shouldn't forget the missing modifiers in David Foster Wallace's essay on "the end for Magnificent [White, Male] Narcissists".

Updike is a legend for his prose. One of Slate's assimilateds, Troy Patterson, says,"Updike's most enduring legacy exists at the level of the sentence." Even in Wallace's previously mentioned takedown he concedes love for "the sheer gorgeousness of his descriptive prose."

I was talking with a friend of mine who recently had a book club session on one of the "Rabbit" books. They told me how the group started talking about the book until everyone admitted they were bored/distracted/frustrated by the elaborate prose; stripped of the pretense, no one cared or related enough to make the effort to appreciate the flourishes and "getting every word and rhythm right". In the Patterson piece he mentions an example of Updike spending ten pages discussing the character's penis. It's an indulgence that ultimately makes Updike niche; if you're expensively educated like Patterson or Wallace, you've likely cultivated an appreciation for this strain of mental acuity. But as the fields level, it's easy to see other ways to flex your brain muscles.



2. The wiki on Detroit rapper Elzhi identifies Jason Powers as "a solo rapper" and also a member of the group Slum Village.

A few weeks ago a new single from Elzhi began making the rounds. It was called "Deep", and in an era of fractured opinions i was struck by the near universal love/appreciation for elzhi's skills. This given, of course, by those who gave the time to check it out. Deep isn't a pop song. It's the underground hip hop that your white girlfriend might appreciate, but you're pretty sure her parents won't. Not that they won't listen, they just won't get it. Or will be bored by it. White-black noise, if you will.

So as i bumped the Elzhi track on loop, i realized the same effort, the same niche-nerdiness that is demanded of someone who loves elzhi is also required of Updike apologists. Fans of El will mention his wordplay, meticulousness w/ rhyme schemes, his imagery. Here's Patterson on Updike again, "The precision is painterly in the way of photorealism, except when it's cinematic."

Here's the start of Elzhi's first verse in "deep":

i'm the bell ringer
shell slinger
hiding bodies until the smell linger
until they pale as renee zellwegger...


Worth noting rhat last line works orally, not on the page.

3. There are obviously a lot of difference between Updike and Elzhi, but that seems to make the similarities all the more striking. Most critique of underground hip hop will use terms like narcissistic, ponderous, overly indulgent in minutiae that no one cares about.

I hear/read a lot of academic talk about hip hop lyric appreciation, processing it as literature, but that sensibility is not embedded in the pop cultural zeitgeist yet. The difference in mainstream perception between Elzhi and Updike is the gap yet to be bridged. Obama can't do it alone. Or in 100 days. Only time and a history of multitudes will condition us to think in different ways. Until then our wikipedias, our informational home base, will be slanted. One that places updike and that white male narcissist on a pedestal, while barely making a case/argument/entry for 'zhi. elzhi = updike?, maybe not totally equal, but we have to raise one or lower the other a little.

This is mostly a rough thought exercise. the analogy might not be perfect. a more apt comparison, for example, might be: a John Updike is to Dave Eggers as Jay-Z is to Elzhi. That one seems to work in a few ways, including J and J both being "bigger" artists. While eggers and elzhi are master craftsmen operating within the constructs of genre limitations. by choice.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Underground Rappers Finally Learning How to Sell Albums in America

No disrespect to Big Pooh of Little Brother, but there's little question he's got a steep hill ahead of him trying to move copies of his album without Phonte or 9th Wonder.

Time to break out the big guns then:


now that's a mixtape i can get behind! if you know what i'm saying! well, DO YOU????

Prince Paul knows what i'm talking about.

via: Bol

Sunday, May 03, 2009

100 Days In the Year One of Our Lord Obama

Obama called me and was like, "yo, why do you not have some pictures up from my first 100 days? don't make me come down there!" So here we go ...

Lawson curates a nice set from the official White House flickr stream of the first 100 days of Mr. Obama's term as emperor pope and high priest. But honestly, most of the full gallery is awesome and worth peeping. And considering photos from election day, and inauguration day, and puppy day, it all makes you wonder if it's possible to take a picture of Mr. B and his family without it having emotional gravitas out the as (don't know how to code that for the full joke).

Makes me think of a new Parlor Game for the kids (do they still have those, parlors?): swap shots of the Obama family into the picture frames and albums of your family and friends and see if they care. They might think it's better! (They won't really, but it's telling that instead of calling you an asshole they'll chuckle and just put their pictures back. Maybe even let the Obamas ride for a few days before fixing.) All races can play!

PLEASE tell me Obama's about to start a clothing label

aww shit, someone done f'd up now. how often do we think this face come out?

how to be The Man (pt. 1)

Wow, that's a nice office in an airplane

still playing the hard shirt-tucked-in defense; obviously "change" has not spread to jump-shooting white folks yet

this image here is the one black people have been missing in their history

I have to help you move the couch? Like, me? Seriously? Isn't there—ok, fine

I got an office in a plane, but the entertainment center needs work

still feeling on the booty. notice guy in the background has to look away

so, um, i just get to walk into any room i please? is that how this works?

this gallery does a good job of making The White House feel accessible, they should do a Cribs

if you're a rock star you MUST have a hot-like-fire signature

Friday, May 01, 2009

Animal Magazine Scores with Korean Abdul Jabar

(I was gonna go with "shoots", y'know, for the Jabar shooting a hook shot angle, and photo shoots. But then, yeah, whatever...)

So by contractual obligation I've got to post the latest development in the Hipster Grifter saga: Kari Ferrell, aka the Hipster Grifter, the korean that launched a million blog posts, has taken a photo shoot and left a video confessional with ANIMAL Magazine.

It's all sort of balloon deflating -- although, for the most part, the balloon had deflated on its own already -- but it's definitely weird for her to have fun with the pictures as she did (see her there, she wouldn't really steal your traffic cone like that, she's just having fun!!), and the video confessional only seems to service the media story/narrative part. I mean, don't get me wrong, she seems like a very cool girl, but she has all this baggage from her past that you know eventually is going to catch up, and so it's sort of a muted half-smile to anything with her; like the b-level jokes in a movie that you've already seen. There might be a powerful Tyson-esque docu-story of redemption and reinvention in here, but we're at the stage right before Tyson goes to jail for rape (alleged or not), and so we don't know how things will change, we only know that they will, and so even if you like her (which everyone does) it's still either non-committal, or the relationship is exploitative (i.e. bloggers, journalists photogs, hot dog buns etc.).

Anygrift. Here's her confessional:

Meet the Hipster Grifter from ANIMALmagazine on Vimeo.



Kudos to Bucky Turco for the "get", I've had some drinks with him and he really lives for this on-the-street sub-cultural journalism story. So it's awesome he's done that well enough for Kari to feel he's an oasis of trust, place of sanctuary during the storm. It's true, Kari. You're in good hands!

(thanks, Billy for tip)
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