Saturday, July 31, 2010

Baby Powder Demographics: Who, Exactly, Has Got the Johnson Baby Powder and the Polo Cologne?

for those who might not know/recall, the headline is quoted from Slick Rick's famed la di da di, later reinterpolated by Snoop. Snoop changed the brand of cologne to Cool Water, but kept the Johnson's baby powder. This is telling! And this Baby Powder Code of Omertá is what I'd like to inquire about...

I'm curious about the demographics of baby powder usage outside of babies. and basketball games. I think the usage implied by the lyrics -- both Snoop and Rick have these items in tow "for all the girls they might take home" -- is the same usage I have: which is to liberally powder my balls before doing most anything as a sweaty-musk inhibitor. on really hot sticky days I also have an eye on cutting down any potential thigh friction.

now at this point i put so much baby powder on my balls they're like my version of white privilege. my boys won't even raise up off the lawn without the smell of talcum with aloe and vitamin e in their immediate airspace. and if it don't smell right they just scrunch up their faces and chill. but i've received enough "your balls always smell like baby powder" comments over the years *cough* that i wonder now if baby powder usage can be used to profile people:

Race/Ethnocultural & Baby Powder: do black people favor heavy usage over other ethnic groups? do some cultures never use it? do some people only use it in a specific way? is the hip hop lyric an indication of a hip hop/black people trend? Would Radiohead or Dirty Projectors or Katy Perry or Gaga have lyrics about baby powder for pitching men/women on sexual activities, or anything really?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Playing the CL Smooth Game, or: Why the NAACP Should Be Up on 'Snacks and Shit'

If you have any longevity as a fan of Hip Hop you probably know the group Pete Rock & CL Smooth. Their song They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) is one of the great undisputed heavyweight hip hop songs of all time. The duo emerged in ’91 as a less-gritty update on the virtuoso producer-as-Batman with professional emcee-as Robin template that Gang Starr (RIP) established a couple years earlier (the problematic dynamics of having Robin as your frontman are only one of the reasons to identify them in this fashion, and also to save a post dedicated to those issues for another time).

Recently I was looking at Snacks and Shit, a site that makes jokey pull-quotes of absurd hip hop lyrics, and it reminded me of CL Smooth, and some of his lyrics, and this game my friends and I used to play back in the day. We didn't have a formal name for it at the time, but I'm gonna call it "The CL Smooth game".

Now I’m not going to get in full-on essay mode for this, mostly because I'm still waiting for my David Sedaris/Sloane Crosley bubble bath to arrive so I can soak my prose in those funny-amiability crystals before wrangling it into something resembling an essay (do stick around for that though: i’ve been shot at, arrested for holding a dvd, and have enough 'Beauty and the Blogger' tales for a few seasons of Problematic Sex in the City). But I do think there's a meandering personal narrative that connects this CL Smooth game I'm about to share with some current events on the political landscape. Perhaps you've recently heard about the Tea Party, and the NAACP, and racism in America?

Coates has a great post-and-comments digging into this issue of how Obama is handling the Race Problem at the moment. My short-form opinion is: (1.) Hip Hop culture is what’s missing from the Race Politics conversation. To talk race without hip hop is like sharing recipes in a world without food, pots, pans, stoves. If Race is Batman, Hip Hop is the utility belt. If Race is the melting pot of NYC, then Hip Hop is our Modern Museum of Ethnocultural Art and Literature that everyone stands in front of with the younger white bloggers pantsing each other and going “shots fired!” and the older white journalists saying, “here we stand before the museum of hip hop in unified solidarity, we are passing around a petition to make a stamp of tupac, then we will go back to our uptown homes and watch sitcoms” and meanwhile no one ever goes in to look closely and consider the actual artifacts. Race is the construct, the theory that we think and talk about in pursuit of equality, justice, happiness etc.; Hip Hop is the theorizing in action. And all the conversations will continue to go nowhere until enough people get on board with that. It's deeper than rap. *swallows rick ross sized lump in throat*

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lazy Blogger's Guide to the Joel Johnson Racist Twitter-Stalk Shitstorm

a couple days ago there were a couple posts on popular tech-blog Gizmodo that generated a lot of blog-media response and about 100K views of shitstorm. well, not hardcore shitstorm. but all told maybe an internetquake level 4, 5, 6ish event? ( mel gibson hate rant, iPhone 4 theft, michael jackson dying are approx. level 8, 9, 10ish).

but, in defense of its magnitude, this particular shitstorm involved Real Issues. ones like race, and privilege, and 'other-ing', and generally being different and getting along on the internet. These are the shitstorms that get me singing in the rain because the latent social psychology is easily converted to actionable real world wisdom: The sexy black woman you stalk on Twitter can easily be the sexy smart woman you stalk/ogle from afar in the bar! or the hot/stupid/broke man! or whatever sates your personal hunger for new and different shit/'diversity'.

In spirit, the idea of "Let's everyone stalk each other!" has a level-10 merit for any conversation even vaguely connected to the notion of information/power/freedom-to-all internet idealism. should subjective novelistic creative non-fiction be part of the content agenda? When you complain about a hot-trendy restaurant, are you challenging the food, the presentation, or the hype?

worldwide q&a sessions figure to be a confusing mess for a few more days, but at least people are talking. getting the shit out of their system. i think we still need blogs to serve as Ex-Lax for these all-too-often constipated states of america. the internet, for better and worse, is our collective mental toilet bowl.
still, there's a lot of bullshit out in them thar pageviews. a lot of noise. and too much noise is annoying. but as you probably remember, or are soon to forget, TAN is like your expensive/free pair of noise canceling headphones that allows you to listen to the real issues at a comfortable level without exposing yourself to the problem of noisy-reading fatigue...

so let's light some incense throw on some grown folk music, and chillax the internet with some soothing TAN-notes of equanimity:

the short backstory: a white tech-blogger whrites a short bit on stalking a sexy black christian woman to diversify his internet culture diet. backlash ensues.

for those who want to get in and get out, here's a soundbyte: read about the joel johnson twitstorm? see, that's what happens when u steal $5 and people act like its $10 (feel free to spice that up while sharing!)

this is the main point because this is a major problem with internet discourse: people commit the crime of stealing $1 or $5, and they're often accused of stealing $5 or $10. PLEASE REMEMBER THIS AS YOU GO FORTH AND SHITSTORM THE INTERNET. It's easy to pad your i'm-so-smart invoice with a couple extra bucks in pursuit of pageview juice-and-gin. but you're f'ing up the pricing of our intellectual/cultural economy. so mind the details.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Feminist Freestyles: Jezebel Minded (Lights Please Remix)

(click for audio)

lights please
lights please
lights please...

read about this nice girl, her name is jezebelly
but down to pick a fight, if you hot and on the telly
heard they daily views lookin' something like a milli
jon's daily crew wasn't ready for they jelly

sometimes i'm jezebel minded
but don't get blinded
looking for a style like tan you won't find it
so many rhymes and subliminal signs if
you read between the lines of this criminal mind bit

you're about to be reminded,
a blast from the past
of wipe my ass, and then your mind schtick
it's peter tan leave these tinkerbells blinded
by they own behind...

Friday, July 09, 2010

Philosophy of Beauty: Is Natasha Leggero the Fergie of Comedy?


2. As a postscript to the video, or if you don't want to watch it: this is Natasha Leggerro, you might recognize her as the sole female judge on Last Comic Standing. She's 36 32 (pretty sure that changed since i mentioned it last week, but for the better!), from the midwest (Illinois, stand up!), and she's been performing since the age of 10. She's also studied at Stella Adler (everyone raise they're eyebrows for that one, please), along with having a BA in theater criticism. So she's got the performing on lock: she thinks it, does it, lives it. This is a woman who has had her Mind and Being consumed with 'being on a stage' for people most of her life. I refer to this type of profile as having "pedigree"; it works on both a nature and nurture level, the idea that you were born AND raised to do something.

3. This bit was uploaded in 2008, but per the Beyonce B'Day reference (funny!) she must have done it circa 2006 when that album dropped. After the B'Day joke she goes on to explain why she doesn't like hip hop. In general the clip makes me feel a weird confusion because the pleasure of her cute smiling face is contrasted by the pain of seeing her crudely slam the head of my beloved hip hop into the turnbuckle. and quite recklessly at that.

4. If you check out the comments on the clip you'll see two main genres: People saying, "she ain't talking about [my] hip hop, fuck this girl" and others saying, " i want to fuck this girl." Close, but different! Being that I know all too well that calm, coherent, poised articulation of one's thoughts can be difficult when emotional, or aroused -- especially in those goshdarn claustrophobic comment boxes --  so i hope these youtube snipers don't mind me trying to vet this out in the wide open air of the internet...

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Notes and Links: Who Will Be LeBron James's Next NBA Franchise?

"The Decision". LeBronapalooza. LeBronageddon. Whatever you want to call it, it's impossible to escape.

My boy Leitch (who recently made his own commitment, for slightly less dollars) has been all over the King James beat for NY Mag. This comes a couple months after he co-authored the Magazine's cover story/pitch (where the image comes from). So you could do worse for a one-stop shop on all the nuts and bolts...

But it's not like you necessarily need a one-stop shop since everywhere has a little something-something to offer. Last night Julianne Moore was on The Daily Show, promoting her new movie "The Kids Are All Right". It's a movie that some might regard as important, offering as it does a modern take on the au courant issue of gay marriage and gay parenting in America. Still, the main topic of conversation was LeBron's Choice. And the best part was Julianne Moore being so eager/earnest to discuss it despite being somewhat ignorant to the nuance and variables of the story (for example, zero awareness of how signing Amar'e helps, not hurts, with LeBron). I suspect this means her native NY'er hubby might be paying more attention to #LeBron twitter alerts than his stunning Hollywood wife with a new movie out, and she's just trying to keep up with the slang of it all.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Defending the Indefensible: On Mel Gibson's Mixtape of Hate

Perhaps you've heard, Mel Gibson is outing his inner demons again. Now granted if the contents of the tape are revealed to be true, there's no legitimate "defense" for telling your wife she looks fit to be "gang-raped" (which, yes, I agree the sex-crime deserves 'precedent' over the "N-word" business). But per the "Defending the Indefensible" post/agenda, I think it's worth sprinkling some 'chill-out' on this story.

1. The bloodlust for these kind of stories is a little unseemly, don't you think? My blog-kingdom for a mirror to hold up in front of our collective media culture as they tweet and link with faces and iphones smeared with blood and feces and body parts from these freshly torn apart celebrities. I can't spit it better than Jay-Z in a freestyle jackals don't listen to, but I'd be less cynical if they so earnestly dug into institutional racism with the same hunger. Unless you exist in Mel Gibson's circle of peeps, his personal demons shouldn't be "news".

2. Personal demons is the thing here. Racists are humans also. I'm with Mike Epps on this "cry for help" angle. And this is why the NAACP and Jesse Jackson popping into the picture makes me want to call some of my homies and man-rape these dudes who leverage a story like this for their own agenda, but play no part in separating wheat from chaff in our hip hop culture, know nothing of a Lupe Fiasco or Jay Electronica, etc. etc. There is in fact work to be done, and there would be less if these dudes weren't holding racist parades over bullshit all the time.

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