Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Strokes: Not Just For Old People Anymore

Did you know strokes were the second leading cause of death in the world? And it's gunning for the top spot.

Adding melanin to melodrama, this PSA below says African-Americans are twice as likely to suffer a stroke (oddly enough, no mention on whether the 1-2 punch of fried chicken and Newports play any role in that).

We're just passing the word along so that when Michelle and Barack do their thing we don't all literally die from excitement.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dear Christina Applegate

"Christina Applegate, you gotta put me on..."

Who knew that legendary PM Dawn quotable about you would be so prescient?

Miss Bonita Applegate, you probably already know you have eternal TAN-cachet just off that ridiculously random hip hop reference, but I'm writing this letter to say I think you deserve dap of the highest order for being one of the few bombshells truly getting better with time.

As it turns out, your Kelly Bundy character was one of the more iconic ditzy-blonde-bimbo performances in the last 10-20+ years (wow, hard to believe it's been over 20 years since that show debuted). Kelly is/was possibly THE template for Trashy Teenage Trollop, and as The Sweetest Thing and Anchorman later showed, 'twas also the work of an actress with serious comedic skills:

But yesterday you raised the stakes by going on Good Morning America and letting folks know the results of your recent struggle with breast cancer. And since it's not too often you get to see a sex symbol, in her prime, talking about removing their first line of offense/defense via double mastectomy, I wanted to salute you. That move takes serious brass balls tacks, uh, labia-flaps.

Now you're 100% cancer-free and undergoing reconstructive surgery, so maybe we won't even know the difference next time we see you? But just in case things aren't the same -- and banking on your generous sense of humor -- I thought a couple clips capturing vintage usage of "the artists formerly known as your boobs" would be appropriate to celebrate. This is for the left:

and this tamer one is for the right:

Cameron Diaz & Christina Applegate - video powered by Metacafe

Good Luck,


Do Lions Cry?

Another broken dream ...
Do lions cry?
They’re so iconic, y'know.
Such powerful symbols.
And we watch them fight,
and hunt,
and f*ck.
Very primal.
The women actually do all the work. They raise the cub.
They also hunt the food. The males eat
And f*ck
Why is this coming out like a poem? I don’t like poems.
Stop breaking,
Stop breaking now please I want you to stop breaking this instant
You never hear on discovery channel,
“here is the lion, king of the jungle, weeping”
“Here are the alpha male’s shoulders
bowed from the weight of eternity”
that interminable weight
Does the lion’s heart not break?
When he sleeps with the whole pride of females
His whole pride
His pride

Ok, but seriously.... in terms of the traditional gender roles thing, I don't hear enough sympathy for the torment of the alpha male. Tragically programmed to spread his seed. What if Sisyphus had to have sex, not roll a boulder? Would that hell be any less depressing?

I submit The Myth of Sisyphus as the tragedy of the male species: every bedroom tryst condemned to roll our balls up some girl's hill[s], only to see them come back down ... still hairy, wrinkly, and generally smelling worse for wear. Like Camus says, "The struggle itself is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

next time you girls are complaining about some dude, think about that, and maybe cut a tortured lion some slack ...


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Am I Shal-low, Cause All My Clothes Designer

The cashmere hoodie may not place Best In Show in terms of function; hoodies are meant for anytime all-purpose anywhere use, while cashmere is special and should be treated with care.

But I would argue for them as the pinnacle of TAN style: irreverence with a touch of class, urban edge that's accessibly soft, and both pretentiously versatile and subtly versatile in its pretentiousness.

In other words, put a black guy in that picture and muah *kisses fingers* très magnifique.

Of course, you should have Ralph make it for you for maximum effect. Maximum Affect as well.



Netflix For Magazines

Interesting initiative profiled by Jeff Bercovici at Portfolio, apparently Time Inc is pushing out a membership service that will allow you to pay a monthly rate for a commutable array of magazines to receive. The service is called Maghound:

"Look at TiVo, iTunes, Netflix," Dave Ventresca, president of Maghound Enterprises, says. "They have raised consumer expectations of how much control they should have over their media choices. We haven't seen that kind of innovation in the magazine space. Sending seven or eight renewal notices in the mail and saying 'Time to write a check'—that seems like an antiquated way to do things."

From the consumer's perspective, Maghound will work like this: You choose how many magazines you want to receive each month—three for $4.95, five for $7.95, seven for $9.95, and a dollar each above that. All issues published by those magazines will be sent to you that month.

It's the sort of idea that makes you light up when you hear it -- I can read any magazine I want! -- but upon marination you wonder if mags translate the same way as movies, television or music on demand. On Jeff's related Mixed Media blog post, a commenter makes the good point that there's an inherent desire for variation in movies, tv etc, but the subscription model has lasted this long because people choose a magazine based on a common topic, sensibility, style etc.

That said, plenty of people would subscribe to Judd Apatow movies, or Spike Lee films, or anything with Angelina Jolie in it.

But there are other issues: Jeff raises the wrinkle of content previews. And of course there's this whole internet thingamajiggy, i.e. more and more magazine content can be found online.

It's a good idea (apparently in the works for years), but I wonder if it has enough upside for a company like Time Inc. I don't think mags on-demand get to the heart of what's going on with the shrinking margins and circulation numbers.

I'll be interested to see what happens though, because if it works then mags may have saved themselves, and if not then it might be the official notarized certification that the old model is dead and it's time to move on.

Will This Hound Hunt? [Portfolio]

Friday, August 15, 2008

Post-Racial Is Not PostModern

Well this is apropos of nothing, but -- well it might be a little apropos of white journalists everywhere raising their hand saying they got a little something on "postracial america".

So yeah, it's been great reading about post-racial this and that, I don't have to wear Karl Kani anymore etc. etc. But while it's cool that some brothers and sisters are using the premise to get themselves a byline and all, the proliferation of the term within a mostly white media establishment feels a little weird.

I suspect it's because we treat "post-racial" like it's "postmodern". So instead of "modernity/modernism" we're past/post "race". Both of them being these social/intellectual constructs we created.

But here's the problem: "We" didn't create nothing. This is all some white ish.

Look: "race as a social construct" is a brain-nugget that came from a white person. Period. Ain't no old slave-timey Wendy Williams start that little rumor. A black person is black, and if you get him to say he's a construct it's because you also got him to pay some $200K to "learn theyself sumthin'."

When I got one of my first Assimilated Badges by getting pubbed on McSweeneys, I was so excited to get my Eggers Stripes that I threw on my Timz and white t-shirt and found a gypsy cab to take me straight to Harlem (turns out I lived there, but I still took the cab). Then I got out and told all my ghetto hood crack-slingin' black friends about my achievement:

The Assimilated Negro (TAN): Look! McSweeney's ran my 'Objective Perspective on Black History" bit. Dude, isn't that awesome.

Just Another Negro (JAN): Mc-who? And don't be callin' me dude, n.

TAN: McSweeeeneys. Dave Eggers? Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Duh.

JAN: *slings some crack*

TAN: whatever. you don't know because you're too busy listening to the rap music and stealing iphones, but this means a lot to the people who run this country.

JAN: Con Edison and Child Support run my family, fam.

TAN: hmph. look, i posted this on my blog so i'm gonna go check my email in the Starbucks real quick. I'll brb.

JAN: *slings some crack*

TAN: ok. back. I can't believe you guys aren't giving me any love on the McSweeneys move.

JAN: look TAN, we up on McSweeneys. Alright? But honestly we just don't give a f about some website doing ish like, "Interview With A White Pot Who Calls Kettles 'Whatever The Hell He Feels Like Calling Them'". Or whatever other nonsense they do.

JAN2: Ha. Yeah, McSweeneys be like "early bird gets the worm" and I be like "early bird gets the white worm cause them the only mofos who show up early" hahahaha. Send that to McSweeneys, n.

TAN: McSweeneys don't be like anything... although they might actually go for something like that.

JAN: Yeah we know, but it's not our bag. Congrats though, TAN. Keep doing your thing, god. We'll do ours.

TAN: ok. so can I take off these timz and put back on my flip-flops?

JAN: yeah, son.

TAN: can i also put on some Feist

JAN2: yeah, i actually like Feist also.

JAN3: yo, I would f the ish out of Feist. She could get it.

TAN: true. ok. I'm gonna go now.

annnd ... scene

Look, I like the cauc postmodern humor. I love it even. I think its very funny. Stuff like Demetri Martin. Soooo cuuute. And it's real nice to have in the DVR list when you bring your hipster chick back to the crib and want things to get a little, um, postracial.

But I also know that if I didn't go to a private prep school and a New England liberal arts college I would have no appreciation for it. It's a sensibility I grew into. Black people (and other minos) have to go to school and learn (earn?) a ticket aboard the train of indulgent-thoughts. We have to cultivate that air of entitlement. We are not born with the same sense of Seinfeldian smug.

The humor of the idle mind is an acquired taste, and it's acquired through -- wait for it -- being idle. Going to college and not having real concerns about $ and food and getting in trouble for doing drugs. It's nice, every person deserves some time to themselves to think about, say, what their toenail might say to a real nail. Bound to be hilarious if you marinate with it long enough.

But these postracial/postmodern articles are so self-serious. And here's the thing: if you're at a cocktail party and someone starts getting serious about "postmodernism", you know they're full of ish. White people may indulge, Black people may indulge, but everyone knows they're just showing off their edumacation.

A word like 'postmodern" is the equivalent of liberal-arts bling. Deconstructionism, b*tches! You flash it, but you don't really need to. You never need to. You can either philosophize like a human, very simply: love. sex. hate. men. women. race. intelligence. peace. war. education. science. technology. Whatever you want. But there's no sentence in the world that contains the word "postmodern" that couldn't be rephrased more simply.

Take it from someone who will drop the term at first brush of a blonde-girl's hair against the behind of the horse on my polo shirt.

But i went to school and spent was given a lot of money so i could make my bullish sound hot and use big words to coax upwardly mobile women into sleeping with me. Poaching smart chicks is one of my sole luxury vices, and I own it.

Anyramble, this is all to say that a lot of these articles are conflating postracial and postmodernism and it cheapens the impact of identifying this moment in time as some sort of new era. There is something amiss, but postracial as defined by postmodernists is the same quaker oatmeal y'all been spooning to us for sometime now. And I'm not eating it, dammit!

If you want to call it something I say call it "Post Abiding-by-alot-of-white-bullish". Cause that's what postmodernism is, white bullish. And that's what most these articles are talking about when they use the term postracial.

And I also have to point out that of course postracial isn't really about Obama, but all about 2050. That's when we'll get to dictate the smartypants jargon up in this piece.

Postmodernists, prepare yourselves.



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Who Will Be The Tiger Woods of Shin Kicking?

The sport of shin-kicking is decidedly Caucasian, evidence by the video below which is -- thankfully! -- lacking in melanin. I wonder if it's because black communities don't have access to amenities like shin-guards (straw?) and, um, shin-kicking fields, or if it's just because WE'RE NOT FRIGGIN' RETARDED.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pour A Little Something: Bernie Mac

Pour a little something for Bernie Mac who has passed away at the too-soon age of 50 years old.

I think Bernie's a little underrated for being someone who brought some of that real, raw "Black" sensibility and translated it for mainstream accessibility. If we say calling someone a "sell out" is a sentiment that carries less and less weight in the 2008, Bernie Mac is part of the reason. He was among the TAN vanguard that showed how to "keep it real" and still get that mainstream America paper— to the tune of a twice Emmy-nominated network television family sitcom.

Last year he announced his retirement to "enjoy life a little bit". After a year of R&R maybe his mission here was done.

‘I’m funny. I’m a comedian. I’m not a clown,’
- Bernie Mac

Obit [NYTimes]

Friday, August 08, 2008

Race Bait: Beyonce Haters Blinded By The Light

So the latest race-bait garnering some media buzz is the purported Whitewashing of Beyonce Knowles. Various blogs and others are taking L'Oréal to task. Gawker after reviewing the arguments decided to put some compare-and-contrast pictures up. And, y'know, she definitely looks lighter. Maybe even whiter.

Jezebel is doing a good job of pursuing the whole skin-lightening-as-gross-epidemic angle, with lots of informative and scary links on bleaching of the skin and there being a market for these products. But I think focusing on the skin-caucasianizing of Miss Knowles is sort of missing the point.

Many people in the comments and elsewhere have referenced Michael Jackson in relation to this "scandal." I think one question with regards to MJ serves as a great reminder of why the bleached skin is not the issue: Does anyone think Michael Jackson is attractive?

No one of sound mind and body sees obviously bleached skin as "hot". Maybe there are a small percentage of folks who are f'd up in the head enough to think slathering your face/body with dangerous chemicals is worth it to get just a little more pale gray, but I think it's a stretch to make this any sort of society-wide problem. This doesn't mean we're not still contending with issues stemming from centuries of reinforcing the White Beauty Standard, it just means that we've evolved past "make-it-white, make-it-right" thinking en masse. Like sticking a banana in a black guy's hand and saying that makes him a gorilla, it's a little too simpleminded to actually reinforce the white-superior/black-inferior complex in 2008. These are not ideas that will gain traction en masse no matter how many shades Beyonce lightens up, or chimp noises LeBron makes.

Point being: if you're going to get hrrumphy about the Whitewashing of Beyonce as it pertains to reinforcing improper beauty standards, well that slave ship sailed long time ago. I'd actually contend that the hair is the real issue here. Straight, sleek, satin-smooth, that ain't no black person's hair! And no one's batting an eye at the actual point of the product being to get the kinky blackness out of your hair, soooooo ....

But do we really think L'Oréal would have the brainstorm that Beyonce would be more attractive if she were white? Photoshop mistakes happen, in this case it's the equivalent of airbrushing out a bellybutton or whathaveyou; a definite testament to the artificial beauty complex, but not with any racist intent.

And if you want to combat the White Beauty Standard, let's get Beyonce in an ad campaign rocking an afro. Maybe a little Náps by L'Oréal?

Everybody Staring At Beyonce's Skin [Gawker]
Photoshop of Horrors [Jezebel]
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