Coffee Rhetoric: Bitches International
Showing posts with label Bitches International. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bitches International. Show all posts

January 11, 2011

Monstrous

Urged on by friends who seemed overly excited by Nicki Minaj's fervid verse, I listened to Kanye West's all-star collaboration on the track, "Monster." Notoriously particular about the music and artists I listen and pay attention to,  I found myself nodding along in spite of my reluctance.  I'm not a hardcore Kanye West fan (I'll never forgive him for bestowing fame and fortune on the mute femme-bot known as Amber Rose)- or detractor (I think he's talented, enjoy some of his work, and even defended him during Taylor Swift-gate, when he Mic-snatched the annoying and saccharine country singer and did the infamous shrug seen 'round the world, elevating his douchery to epic proportions)- but in keeping with his current Avant-garde projects, controversial album art for his latest (and awesome) offering, My Dark Twisted Fantasy, and modernistic fashion choices, I found the dark, macabre lyrical quips right on track in keeping with this re-branded,  douchier more artistic than usual version of Kanye. I also found myself more impressed by Nicki Minaj's contribution to the song as well. She proved to be more than a one-trick pony with a dubiously luscious ass. She held her own, and then some, on an all-male track, and seemed to deviate from her whole "Harajuku Barbie" schtick, showing the breadth of her lyrical skills. Plus Jay-Z helped bring up the rear with his talk of vanquishing bitter vampires, ungrateful interlopers and such. In fact, Monster is heavy with horror movie tropes. I was in. I couldn't wait see the video... 
Um, so then I saw the video... *insert blank stare here* ... While I'm not sure what the inspiration was, I was a bit taken aback by the visuals. The video begins with a dead-eyed, limp model hanging by her neck, from a chain... Then the subsequent wide shot shows several other dead models hanging from chains in little else but their underwear, flanking rapper Rick Ross as he casually sits amongst their dead carcasses, puffing on a cigar... Next up? Kanye West... lying in bed... next to two dead models with broken necks, their eyes open but vacantly staring off... The video just goes downhill for me from that point on... 

Listen, I'm no prude. I'm known for seeking out obscure, off the cuff Art House/Experimental films that would cause the vast majority of the population to doubt my mental stability. I'm a fan of Richard Kern and Catherine Breillat. I've watched and grimaced my way through several films from the Torture Porn genre, so this is not a holier-than-thou rant arguing about the perverse nature of pop-art and rap videos. I'm all for seeing a little cutting edge perversion in art, and any rumblings disclaiming that admission would be b.s. because I suspect we all harbor curiosities when it comes to exploring perverse behaviors that're within some semblance of reason. However, there's imagery and ideas that are even twisted enough to make me squirm... which is a difficult feat...
During many aspects of the video, there seemed to be no discernible message connecting the dead, decapitated women with the crux of the song other than for shock value... and therein lies my issue. While I still enjoy listening to Monster, watching Kanye West lying in bed with two dead, broken necked models, as he re-positions them to touch one another reeks of necrophilia and it just makes it difficult for me to remember that I enjoy the song. There is a LOT going on in this video and none of it is particularly enjoyable to watch... including Jay-Z rapping his verse as yet another dead model lays splayed on a leather couch behind him. The visions of decapitated model heads and entrails offered no further hope or high expectations for the duration of the music video. I was over it by the time the Nicki Minaj, Dominatrix vs Nicki Minaj, Barbie (tied up in a chair) scene came up. 
Duncan Quinn ad
This video expounds on this disturbing trend of women featured in compromising situations... namely dead and dismembered ... or as zombies. It sort of reminded me of this movie I wrote about a while ago, that shook my core and prompted me to make haste and return it to Netflix. And in likening Monster's video to Dead Girl, perhaps the most chilling aspect or the one thing that bothers me about it rather, is the apathetic way in which Kanye, Jay-Z, & Rick Ross drift amongst the carnage of limp and dismembered female parts. While I understand the nature of the song itself and perhaps the video is a metaphor for... for... something... It always unnerves me when the female aesthetic goes beyond the usual titillating pictorial of T & A (which can also become problematic when done horribly wrong) - and manifests into something way more sinister and malevolent. And so enter the birth of films like this, this, and videos like this to counteract that victimization, much to the chagrin of many men, who are quick to deem it man-hating propaganda ... I'm just speculating.  Seeing women as tortured, mutilated corpses within the context of a music video is unusual and dare I say trumps the disturbing nature of Eminem's Stan video, where its antagonist places his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk of his car. Are women, hanging by their broken necks from a ceiling not hateful, misogynistic visuals? I suppose dousing some video vixen with a bottle of high-end champagne or swiping a credit card down the crack of her gyrating ass isn't humiliating enough.  Please weigh in.

October 12, 2010

The MIS-Mis-Education of Coffee Rhetoric

To Whom It May Concern
My days have been busy, moody... moody, busy, misunderstood, excited, dateless but excited about it, excited yet misunderstood... so forth and so on. My mood runs the gamut.... the myriad of emotions... it could also be due to hormones and PMS but I digress... I know this much is true; My disposition is at its worse when I feel trivialized or misunderstood. I've grown exasperated trying to over-explain my personal goals and what my social media endeavors are. If you get it, sweet... let's have a tête-à-tête, If you don't, then a Kanye-shrug for you and a plague o'er your home, for thinking I am the creator of illegitimate ideas... Le sigh, okay, I'm being a jerk, so a brief explanation for any and all interested parties, this one last time and this one last time only, because I like making worthwhile connections...
For those not in the know, I am a writer and am expounding on my use of social media-> my blog COFFEE RHETORIC ... to get my points and projects across to the masses. My goal is to parlay the modest success of my blog into an even more successful and lucrative freelance writing career. The powers of social media and the internet know no bounds and manifests itself in a variety of different ways for many different people... whether it be celebrity news blogs, politically charged blogs, or to promote activism. I hope to channel MY powers into expanding my SOCIAL MEDIA/WRITING BUSINESS ... which is called COFFEE RHETORIC, INC., which emphasizes culture, free thought, social issues, race, creativity, writing, and  all of the other artsy fartsy or hot button shit I love and most people consider snooty and/or touchy. That's what I love to write about, that's what I discuss with friends...So far this and one other blog/project is under the COFFEE RHETORIC umbrella. I love using this medium to encourage dialogue via the written word and visuals.
I've also grown quite fond of building relationships with new people both locally and beyond and espousing the positive, wonderful aspects of my city and its people... as well as the interesting personalities I come across in general. I like writing and spilling open about certain aspects of my life and experiences... as well as reporting on other interesting lives via my fledgling social media business, COFFEE RHETORIC... Inc. Which is why I've included a new feature on my blog COFFEE RHETORIC, I've entitled, Coffee Buzz. It's just as exciting, necessary, and informative as my Bus Tales, believe this, because I love sharing information, particularly if it's something that excites me or gives me great pleasure. What is there, not to understand? I want to work for myself, supporting myself, doing what I LOVE. At some point, my novela and other writing projects I've been nibbling away at forever will be published by a notable publishing company... or maybe (and preferably) independently via COFFEE RHETORIC, Inc. Some may still be confused or just don't get it... but it doesn't make my passion for this blog and writing any less significant, plus I've got business cards dammit. That is all. ...
X Oh X Oh
Coffey

May 21, 2010

Fat Ass!

As if slut, skank, ho,' and skeezer doesn't undermine femalehood enough, women have to contend with having yet another epithet hurled at them; an oldie, but still go-to, trusted, tried, and true goodie. These days, calling a woman 'fat' seems to be the insult du jour. Log onto any celebrity gossip site featuring posts including Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Christina Hendricks and even pop singer Rihanna; and commenters (mostly female) are incited to chorus... "I'm sick of Beyonce... FAT, no talent bitch!" "OMG, all of you people calling Christina Hendricks beautiful are probably fat ass cows!" "I hate Rihanna. Her thighs are HUGE and look like tree-stumps!" "How can anybody find Kim Kardashian hot?? She's fucking gross. Maybe if she lost like 30 pounds I'd bang her..." so forth and so on. The Infallible (I mean they must be straddling the line between perfection and 5 alarm hotness, right?); hiding behind their computer screens... intimidated by any semblance of curvature on a woman's body and ignorant of what overweight and unhealthy truly is.
Women can be the most biting and hateful when spitting the fat insult toward other women. Automatically assuming that anyone not sporting a meth-chic physique lives a sedentary life filled with junk food and Häagen-Dazs . "Get to the gym bitch!"  is generally the norm, dare you be curvy and having a disagreement with a thin(ner) woman. While I understand our current cult of personality is driven by image and that health and exercise are extremely important; since when are women who don't fit someone else's norm or ideals, fat and or lazy?? While the insult seems to be perpetuated by women toward women, men are definitely guilty of using fat to scorn their female counterparts as well, especially if his romantic advances are rejected.  
Many of them, despite being overweight and/or unattractive themselves, play on the insecurities of women, noting that our body image is at the core of what makes many of us tick. I recall a former co-worker who, divorced for many years, shared the fact that he happened upon his ex-wife's Facebook page and noted how much weight she'd gained. Bitter grapes... considering she initiated their divorce and probably looked to be the picture of happiness in the Facebook visuals... without him. And who can forget (provided you watched it) the episode of MTV's guilty reality TV pleasure Jersey Shore, when Mike 'The Situation' took a cheap shot at the quirky and lovable (albeit annoying and gaudy looking) Snookie (please don't ask for any further background on these people, you just had to've viewed the trash) - during an argument at a group dinner, where after she asked the waiter for more rolls he quipped, "You already have a few rolls yourself," much to her chagrin sending her running and crying to the toilets (she later revealed that she struggled with an eating disorder), and the anger of the other cast mates, "Dude, you just don't talk about a woman's weight! That's not cool" one angry male cast member griped. I'm also reminded of the New York Times writer (a woman) who bitingly referred to Mad Men actress, Christina Hendricks as a 'big girl' in a 'big dress,' citing it is a fashion faux-pas.
When a woman is full-figured/plus-size (or however we're referred to these days), and visibly striking or attractive, she better not dare have any confidence in the fact that she carries herself well, is a fashionista, and has no issues finding a date... otherwise it's likened to the perpetuation of an unhealthy lifestyle! "What a fat bitch! She's so unhealthy! How can she be happy??"  Notwithstanding the fact that healthy, active lifestyles aren't exclusive to one particular look.
Listen, as an attractive woman who just happens to be full-figured, I'm no fat or BBW advocate, because I choose not to define myself based on my body's proportions, not to mention, I don't live my life juxtaposing my hips to some other woman's. In fact I loathe the term 'BBW,' and am OK with the fact that I may not appeal to everyone's personal aesthetic,  and will probably fall victim to being called 'fattieeee' during a disagreement that'll undoubtedly regress to school yard antics... actually some years ago, upon telling a prospective paramour I wasn't into him, he tried to hit below the belt commenting during our last phone call, "Well, good luck with your search. You have a sensuous look and most guys aren't into that." To which I replied, "Hm, well you obviously are, otherwise you wouldn't be calling me making one last desperate appeal to date you." Burn! But I digress...
Basically, I am bored with people hurling the term fat around when in most cases, it doesn't even apply to the intended victim. And so what if someone isn't whip thin? Is it really that dire to your life?  The perps seemingly so quick to call someone else a fat ass should probably re-evaluate their own self-loathing and the reasons why they resent someone's confidence and self-acceptance in who they are.

March 14, 2010

Push. Kick.

 To be able to reach the heights of purity you have to suffer through deprivation and humiliations. And what could have been a descent into hell becomes liberation.
-Catherine Breillat

<- ("Inner Peace" by Monica Stewart )
Being wanton, needy, and susceptible to dubious dating advice from so-called "experts" does not equate to being comfortable in one's skin and with one's sexuality. It's the minutest of details that illustrate that feeling of true liberation from the trials and tribulations of man/woman relationships, sex, and dating in general. A certain level of genuine aloofness... where you take sour lemons and make yourself a stiff (generous with the vodka) Lemon Drop martini, and rejoice.  Suddenly, the dead cow being sold to you gets a one-way ticket to the abattoir, providing you with delicious steaks to grill (medium rare), masticate slowly, swallow and then shit out in the bog pan later... relief and then flush, thank you very much.
 ("Contemplation" by Lee Ransaw) ->
The wishy-washy personality, inconsistent explanations about his state-of-affairs, knack for wasting your time, seeming comfort in being mediocre, inability to stick to a plan and see it to fruition, and bizarre extracurricular activities... none of it matters. Suddenly, not feeling obligated to return phone calls and texts in response to foolishness feels nothing short of... well... good, for what's good for the goose is definitely (without question) good for the gander. Closure is not seeking ... closure. Giving as much as you're receiving... in the form of not giving a shit... it's second nature now. Being on hiatus... succumbing to the frenzy of intimacy when *you* see fit to do so at your discretion, and being OK with it... never lamenting over what you aren't experiencing at that moment in space and time, because you're preoccupied with more pressing issues ... True freedom. Truth! Some might cry "CYNICISM!" ... but I chalk it up to being there, having done that, learning how to give the side-eye and moving on, and not projecting... because bitterness only increases one's self-imposed prison sentence. 
It's all about not caring, and meaning it. Learn it. Live it. A supple skin to wear for sure. *sips Lemon Drop martini*




December 10, 2009

NOT The One

I recently stumbled across a few websites, such as this one (my personal fave), mocking ill-thought out and poorly written dating ads. Interest piqued, I decided to reactivate a couple of dormant accounts on free social/dating sites, and do some perusing (in the name of research) myself.
So many Dating Profiles for Dummies type articles are written and seemingly geared toward women, suggesting how we might be able to get better results, if we spruce our profiles up a certain way... to endear ourselves to the male populace, who're undoubtedly trolling for creme de coochie as opposed to "Finding that true one." (Let's keep it real. That's what most of them are on there for. AdultFriendFinder and Craigslist be damned). "Be sure to include several, recent FULL BODY shots." ... "Be coquettish and clever with your headlines. But never come off as desperate or needy. Use catch phrases such as "Lioness needs keeper" some of the experts suggest. Every other week the Yahoo! homepage features articles titled "His Top 10 Turn-offs" or "Dating Site Techniques Every Woman Should Know."
Plenty do's and don't's for women... as many wave their arm in the air, yelling, "Pick me! Pick me! I'm beautiful, charming, and all of my pictures are recent!!!"
Careful inspection has prompted me to flip the script and offer my wry and sardonic take on my Top Turn-offs, when I attempt to read through some of profiles of the opposite sex. I see a notable pattern amongst all of them. Which causes me great distress, because some things should appear to be fundamental for those who don't think they're infallible. My $1.10 worth is definitely worth a damn, because the forums are rife with trolls and men, bemoaning the fact that women won't reply to their messages... and how we're only there to play games and collect emails...How we're all "bitches" with "saggy tits" who have no right to reject their advances.
One common theme in a lot of the profiles I skimmed when prompted by an email or a "favorited" status, is men starting off with a cynical or negative slant to their profile... "I don't know why I'm doing this, but here goes..." many read. Others ***PUT AN ALL CAPS WARNING*** hugged tightly by asterisks, at the beginning of their longwinded, grammatically incorrect decrees, that explicitly outline who's eligible to message them or even look at their boring profiles. Take this lecture for instance- (abridged and shrunken in size because it was just soooo damn long and rambling...)
PLEASE READ through my WHOLE PROFILE, I took time to write this so I don't waste your time or mine... I know how trying dating can be so I wrote in detail for someone that really feels compatible.. I'm open minded, passionate, and affectionate. I'm a self starter who's not afraid to take chances to better myself financially and emotionally. Don't believe in revolving doors. Only interested in a progressive relationship with someone that is READY for a COMMITTED relation that shows some kind of PASSION or real INTEREST in building something long term. Been meeting to many women as of late that give me the sense that they don't want to take a chance. Instant gratification is a pipedream. Things need to progress into something. If you don't show that you care one way or the other, well, the person your dating is going to loose interest FAST. It's just the way life is... We've all been hurt in the past one way or the other.
Um, that was just the introduction... then he finally concludes by thanking the poor soul who bothered to read through all of his drivel, P.S.ing that he also has two cats he hopes won't cause an allergy outbreak.
This guy figured a little condescension would go well with his photo...
Here we go... :) Is it just me or is being single and meeting a down to earth woman who is independent and has values so hard that is is like having a second job!!! I am wondering if woman in this day and age appreciates a guy that works a 9-5 ,who is independent and doesn't ask or say give me,give me,giveme.......If you have kids I am sure you independent woman don't need a grown man to also claim as a dependant on your taxes :)...If I offended any of you woman that thrive to do that then I apologize.......Life is too short.......I have a good sense of humor ,like to go to concerts or even a nice day in park to take a walk and talk........Into going to the gym to work out and respect those who respect me......Not into drama.....Just an open-minded fella here who knows how to be a good listener but at the same time I not a pretty boy or a softy......I am educated but have a little street in my swagger.Don't worry I do know proper english when having a sophisticated conversation with one or more people lol........Where you independant woman at? Stop hiding and upgrade on your choice of men.......Start with me first though :) Even it it doesn't work out we can still be friends......Open to all races along as keep you yourself mind ,body and soul intact.....I enjoy the company of a open-minded woman who speaks her mind,a little sarcastic,aggressive at times,good sense of humor,likes to stay somewhat physically fit and has a certain aura about her that makes her sexy and stand out..........I can be a romantic too with the candles,cards bubble baths :) and flowers or just say something nice to put a smile on your face.....Oh yeah I don't take the greatest pics and trust me I look better in person...No games I keep it real.I also enjoy music and can dance pretty good lol......Somebody teach me some salsa,merengue or bachata :) if you happen to be a latina woman :) Listen I am not an angel but I am a good man and role model if you have kids.......Good guy just try to keep up with the bad boys....It seems like they taking all the good ,hard working woman..lol
And of course, there're the charmingly poetic emails such as this one...
Hello, I realize this may sound abit forward of me but here goes. I will be turning 51 shortly and I would really like to receive an oldfashioned. over the knee birthday spanking from someone. Please let me know whether or not you might be up to it. Sincerely, (insert name here)
So forth and so on. Long winded profiles, none of it ever mentioning anything about their personalities or interests.
Listen, it's not rocket science. If you expect women to respond to your inquiries, keep it brief and keep it realistic. Once you start getting responses, than you can pick and reject accordingly. No one is going to read through a whole edict. If you're perfect and sans any flaws, congratulations... Most other people aren't. Good luck not getting any feedback. Also, why sign up for a dating site if you aren't willing to provide at least ONE visual? "Message me for a picture" just doesn't cut it. Sorry.Yet you sit there, all bugeyed from behind your naked profile, leering at photos, commenting how "hot" someone's rack looks.
Let's go guys, damn!

May 02, 2009

Casual Encounter

I love these random, casual encounters I come up against. Now, my friend says that I'm a"maneater" and a "temptress," who has left a trail of broken men leading from my door, but her opinion is born out of bitterness because she can no longer eat delicious cupcakes and cream sauces and I can. So her opinion is pretty much moot at this point and time and nothing can be further from the truth, but I digress.
I always find myself in the midst of foolishness. Whether it be a strange man wanting to take photos of my shoes to another insisting on removing his prosthetic foot at a trendy wine bar... I am a magnet when it comes to the bizarre.
This Friday was no exception. While leaving a diner, clutching a tasty pepperoni grinder, with peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, cheese, and mustard (former vegetarianism be damned)- a Mailman stepped back out of the way to let me pass (the aisle is narrow and my hips span across many nations and universes) however, I didn't think I needed that much space... but I thanked him anyway for letting me through.
"That's okay. I wanted to see how you looked anyway."
he said smugly. Both amused and annoyed, I hurried past and across the street back to work. Amazing. I am back on meat (for the past 3 years now) and am also a PIECE of meat to be appraised, judged, poked, and prodded. What clownery! Here's a thought... Instead of sidewalks and aisles, why not just make the landscape one, long catwalk for women to walk down... just to make things more convenient for you all? What a novel idea! (insert side-eye here). Men-beasts... you never cease to amaze this simple woman. The grinder was tasty by the way.

February 22, 2009

These and Those: Still Rolling Along

I'm still rolling along and settling into my apartment, slowly but oh so surely. I purchased a few chindi area rugs for my bathroom, front hallway, and kitchen, for five dollars a pop at Family Dollar. That place is becoming addictive. I also hung up some curtains in my spare room and have set up beddy-by shop there until I get a bed in my chosen bedroom. The curtains aren't perfectly hung, but they pass. Anyway, who gives a damn. I think they look fine, when you consider that I'm not used to having to hang shit and drill screws in the wall and what have you. I've gotten better though. Good enough suits me just fine.
Still working on the couch issue. Hopefully I'll have that resolved in another two weeks. I'm in full HGTV mode and nothing can stop me. It's amazing, the ways in which you can upgrade our apartment without breaking your pocketbook. I've even managed to squeeze in a couple of dates in-between the condo decorating. Nothing serious. Nothing to read too much into. It's just cool to be able to have a quick lunch or what have you, and get to know someone interesting. My preoccupation with the committee of me, myself, and I is barreling forth, at warp speed and I've no intention of taking a detour. You have to be a pretty extraordinary man to get me to back up and take another look. Nothing wrong with accepting a lunch or drink to help fill up one's free time.
Speaking of Family Dollar, I was at my local one up the street from me this afternoon. The manager or owner (I presume), an African man, recounted the morning's events. He apparently got pimp-slapped by an irate customer who grew angry, because his coupons weren't valid at Family Dollar. The right-side of his face was swollen as proof and he claimed that he had a headache. "I'm gonna slap you!" the manager said the customer threatened... and, well, he did. The manager said he held the man until the fuzz came to arrest him. Sad day in our culture when customers go around administering beat downs because they can't use invalid store coupons. Obama would NOT approve and this is NOT the month of us to be going around slapping the piss out of one another. People, we've got to do better. Chris Brown hasn't done anything but exacerbate the way in which we relate to one another when we are angry.
In the same breath, The slapped asked me if I was single or had any children, and suggested that we should become "special friends" and go out from time to time. I considered bitch slapping him across the other cheek, but forced a tight smile and said, "Mm-hm, bye, thanks alot. Sorry you got slapped." And pushed my way out the door. "Each time you come back, we'll get to know each other more and more and build a friendship!!" he yelled after me.
A few days prior to that, after taking out the trash and while digging around in my purse for my keys so I could let myself back in, imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw an old Black woman pressed up against her window blatantly and unapologetically glaring down at me, um disapprovingly? She looked pretty unreceptive when I spied her. I waved and she continued to leer. I shrugged and went back inside. FYI- YES granny, I DO live in the building, but thank you for your concern.*insert side eye* I'm guessing she's the resident neighborhood-watch skeezer, or perhaps geezer is more fitting. I'm starting to familiarize myself with my 'hood more and more. Colorful with a dash of seedy. Very Brooklynesque. I LIKE it. Not to mention the wine shop is a straight shot up the street along with a Jamaican bakery, a few bodegas and local markets. The weather has been relatively cooperative, so I've been out and about more. Spring seems like it's on the cusp of being sprung.

February 15, 2008

... Didn't You Know This?

That wretched, waste of time and money holiday... the one that starts with a V and shall remain nameless, is finally done and over with.
I always find it amusing when couples wait once a year to do something thoughtful and sexy for one another, before settling back into the routine of being jerks to one another. I smirked on the inside as a co-worker discussed how mean and cold his siggy other acted toward him, prompting him to consider calling it quits over the past weekend, before she called apologizing... all sweetness and light. Bitch knew that V day was on the horizon, that's why. Word on the street is that he got her an assortment of lovely gifts anyway.
I rolled my eyes as I listened to the frazzled bartender at restaurant Hot Tomatoes, sitting in wait for my lunch as he complained about the dozens of reservations overwhelming the restaurant for the evening... "people don't realize, we'll be extremely busy and they expect to be in and out in like 45 minutes!"
"Call me jaded, but I don't understand what all the fuss is about..." I opined. "It'll be done and over with in hours, and couples will go back to clawing at one another's throats on the 15th. But perhaps I'm just saying this, because I'm single..."
"Yeah..." he agreed before throwing up his hands at the ringing phone and rushing to answer it... Another hopeful patron probably wanting a reservation, no doubt. And then there was that attractive, young, sharply dressed and perfumed Hispanic couple I passed on the street later on that evening, after clocking off from work... arguing en route to Hot Tomatoes, as girlfriend struggled in her pointy-toed stiletto boots, to keep up with her agitated boyfriend, as they stomped to their destination over melting snow piles.
Ask me how deep my scowl furrowed, as I shook my head at the tacky assortment of plastic hearts, pitiful looking single red roses individually wrapped and contained behind cellophane plastic (for a whopping 5 to 10 bucks a pop), white teddy bears holding red heart pillows with the words "I Love You" painted on the front, and other stupid bric-a-brac vendors were hoping to hawk to desperate last minute shoppers, who didn't have time to order that delicious (and pricey) flower shaped cantaloupe bouquet from Edible Arrangements.
The most infuriating moment, however? ... Walking into CVS Pharmacy and discovering every last bit of fucking chocolate... every box of Hershey's Pot O' Gold (on sale for $3.88) sold the eff out!! The inconsiderate vultures. I wanted to push the shelves over in blind, white hot fury, but instead purchased a pack of cellulose facial sponges, black liquid eyeliner, and gum and stormed out into the damp, dark winter malaise, in a moue of glossy indignation and disgust.
The bitter ramblings of a young woman, never having been in love and cynical about the complex maze of dating? Perhaps. Or maybe just realistic and an staunch advocate of consistency in genuine behavior and emotions, just 'cause... not prompted by some corny holiday, that dictates you should go broke buying someone's affections once a year.
This morning, as I made my way to the entrance of my place of employment I came upon a sad looking, red, heart shaped mylar balloon, with Betty Boop on the front... flirty and dripping hearts lying on the ground. Dejected on February 15th. The last remnants of the previous day already forgotten and only remembered to begin with, due to some overwhelming sense of obligation. Half deflated and out of place in the backdrop of a crisp, bright, wintry-white morning as people hurried around it, rushing about in long, black winter coats... faces grim as they clutched their oversized Starbucks cups as if the 14th never happened. Clutching my own dark roast, I stopped and looked down at it. I shook my head. That pretty much summed up V-day. I stepped on Betty's face with my favorite pair of calf boots and rushed in to start my day.
P.S. to the man whose phone number I accepted a couple of weeks ago, because I thought you were genuine... TEXTING a response to someone's voicemail message, after "hoping" that they'd call: "Thanks! Talk to U Later" and then following up by calling at odd hours: 7:30 AM as you're getting in your car (I heard you unlocking your door), calling and then hanging up sans leaving a voicemail, texting "Are U up??" @ 12:20AM on a week day are NOT the proper ways to woo someone for a date and is rather dubious. Been there, done that... and the shirt I have to prove it? I use it to clean around the house. Strikes one, two, AND three. You're out!

January 06, 2008

Manderlay

... Rent it. Manderlay is a foreign director's take on American slavery in the South. Conceived by Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier the film is a sequel to von Trier's Dogville (which stars Nicole Kidman as Grace), and is part of his USA: Land of Opportunities trilogy. It continues the tale of Grace (now played by Bryce Dallas Howard), who is traveling through the south with her gangster father (Willem Defoe) and his merry band of fellow thugs during the early 1930s, after having fled Dogville. En route to whereverville they stop outside a plantation (Manderlay), in bumf*ck Alabama to take a breather, when a black woman in full "slave regalia" taps on the car window and implores them for help, because a fellow slave is about to be whipped for stealing. Grace inquires within and discovers that slavery (quarters and all) is still alive and well, 70 years AFTER its abolishment. After a confrontation with the plantation's ruthless mistress Mam (played by Lauren Bacall), who's hemmed up on her death bed and who eventually dies, Grace decides to stay (along with a few of her father's best thugs, including a lawyer) to teach Manderlay's ignorant breed the fundamentals of freedom and how to be civilized and self sufficient... much to her father's chagrin. Dad bids grace farewell and burns rubber, leaving Grace to her own devices, but not before discouraging her from ever trying to locate his whereabouts. Grace is also made privy to a notebook called "Mam's Law." Its contents is basically a meticulously documented and comprehensive code of conduct for all the slaves, and what Mam has used to gain psychological power over them all. Each Manderlay inhabitant is divided up as follows:
  • Group 1: Proudy Nigger
  • Group 2: Talkin' Nigger
  • Group 3: Weepin' Nigger
  • Group 4: Hittin' Nigger
  • Group 5: Clownin' Nigger
  • Group 6: Loser Nigger
  • Group 7: Pleasing Nigger (also known as a chameleon, a person of the kind who can transform himself into exactly the type beholder would like to see)

Essentially, after Mam's death, Grace designate herself as bearer of great news and alerts Manderlay's slaves to the fact that slavery was abolished some time ago and that she will stay on to make sure they transition accordingly and sans minimal incident. They are however, mortified at the prospect of living "another way of life" for Manderlay and the comforts its strict system are all they're familiar with. Needless to say, without relaying too many details, Grace assumes her position, punishes Manderlay's white overseers via role reversal- (she makes them serve Manderlay's slaves dinner, in Black Face in one scene)- and eventually discovers that the inhabitants of Manderlay are indeed clever and aren't as ignorant as she initially thought and that it is she, in all her idealistic and liberal, forward thinking, and at times pretentious grandeur, who is ignorant.
The film is interesting in its approach. It tells the tale of Manderlay in 8 chapters. The Film's aesthetic and discourse unfolds just like a live stage play. It may not appeal to particular film tastes because of this... but it's worth a look-see anyway. It also stars Isaach de Bankole (one of my favorite actors) and Danny Glover (as the "talking nigger").
I, of course, am always mildly amused by how Europeans view race relations in the United States. While racism isn't as cut and dried or overt there, as it is in America, it does exist despite rumblings to the contrary. At times, it's an even more complex and multilayered system, because there was never nor is there currently a Civil Rights Movement or minority leaders who are as vocal as some of ours are and were (Farrakhan, Malcolm, M.L. King, Panthers, Davis, umm Jackson, err, Sharpton?). There aren't any organizations that really champion that particular cause in Europe, or at least none that I'm aware of. Unfortunately many countries refuse to acknowledge the role racism plays in their country, but there have been noble attempts to bring immigration and the history of slavery to the forefront and half-assed, reluctant ones, because particular countries refuse to acknowledge the reality of growing multiculturalism and bigotry in their sphere. They'd prefer their immigrants to become naturalized only if the shuck their ethnic pride out the window **cough-cough France**
Xenophobia runs just as deep if not more, in Europe than it does here, in some instances. Especially in countries like Germany (see the film Otomo, also starring Isaach de Bankole). I'm a fan of much of von Trier's work, but I suspect that his approach was a little pretentious and self-aggrandizing. His attempt to describe the system of slavery in the U.S. was underwhelming and fell short of whatever his intention may well have been. It also shows just how little the world knows about the history of slavery, in the United States and especially in the deep south particularly if you've never stepped foot there. Manderlay still deviates from the norm, is darkly comedic, seemingly anti-American/anti-U.S.'s foreign policy, and will definitely prompt discussion if not annoyance. For those reasons alone, it's worth renting and watching. I'd go ahead and rent Dogville too...

September 21, 2007

I Think? That's What Happened... Maybe? I don't know...

When you ASSUME. You make an ASS out of U and ME.

Dear Presumptuous One,
If there is one thing that irritates me, it's when people try to read or over analyze my demeanor, acts, body-speak, deadpan facial expression or what have you, and assume they know me within two minutes. People presume to think they have me aaaall-llll figured out in a matter of minutes, and then will try to read me the riot act, using their poorly gathered data against me. ahem- See, me? I prefer to talk to people. Cop a proper feel from the comeliness of their personalities, if you will. Ask, probe, poke, prod, confirm so that I truly know. Getting to the root of some matter does wonders when one is attempting to be accurate in their assumption about someone. As time consuming as it can be, I like to do thorough research. No one ever scored a proper grade on a term paper, having done shoddy research... not having cited their sources. Paraphrasing for their convenience, in that regard (when using direct quotes) just doesn't cut it. Period. You either quote or cite verbatim or don't bother attempting to relay or repeat. Makes for a sloppy argument. Makes for a dubious presentation. In any event, I bid you well on your journey. Perhaps in your new-prior life, this will be your best, last, greatest chance at a great start to a new, but familiar beginning. Makes sense? Good. It didn't make any sense to me either. I guess I'm hoping that you've learned your lesson and that you will proceed accordingly in your new dealings. Where I'm from, people tend to prefer personalities that are genuine and organic. In fact, I think that's a universal feeling. No one likes a disingenuous facade hiding behind a vacuous smile and dead eyes. Sayonara, my friend. And do your research thoroughly. People don't like being defamed and misunderstood, without so much as an inquiry. Your truth is not necessarily the truth. You're forgiven. Godspeed. Keep it tight.
Regards,
Coffey

August 08, 2007

Salope

The New York City Council is trying to flex its legislative muscle by attempting to get a bill passed, that would put a city wide ban on the poetic words: Bitch and Ho' in hopes of discouraging entertainers and young people from using them. Oh the horror! Councilwoman, Darlene Mealy voiced her disdain for the words, calling them "hateful and deeply sexist," and says they create "a paradigm of shame and indignity." While I agree with and admire Ms. Mealy's stance against those words how, exactly, does one eradicate the use of bitch? Particularly within a metropolitan structure as massive as New York City, where the word is as endearing as it is hateful? Bitch is commonplace in the fashion industry. It's used in New York's most famed and widely read gossip columns. It's uttered on the lips of fashionistas, socialites, gays, and hags alike. I use the word semi-regularly myself. How do you force a large body of urbanites to not use the word without stomping all over their constitutional and goddess given right to do so? I say you can't. Given the climate of the culture we live in, it's unrealistic to expect anyone, New Yorkers especially, to delete the word from their vocabulary. What the hell are drag queens and trannies supposed to use if not bitch?? Ms. Mealy's frame of thinking dictates that her argument will carry symbolic power against the derisive uses of bitch and ho.' In a statement to the New York Times, Village Voice columnist and media/popculture gadfly, Michael Musto opined:
"Half my conversation would be gone. On the downtown club scene the two terms are also used as terms of endearment. We divest any negative implication from the word and toss it around with love."
Another naysayer to Mealy's stance argued,
"Hell, if I can't say bitch, I wouldn't be able to call half my friends."
Still, Mealy says that Bitch and ho' are "vile attacks against our womanhood." Look, I don't agree with every expletive nor do I entirely condone the use of many, but as someone who uses colorful language quite often, If I were a New Yorker, I'd probably be a little resentful of Ms. Mealy's suggestion to ban my right to say Bitch and ho. In light of our current White House administration's dictatorial tactics and conservatives mouthing off about what a woman should and shouldn't do with her body, the last thing people want are even more bullying measures, that intercept personal rights and freedom of speech. I sense a need to bring this country back to its puritanical roots, and that is called regression. And I don't like it. Do I want to be referred to as a bitch or a ho'? No. But I don't take it as an affront to my own personal womanhood if I hear someone utter the words in a rap song or on the street. You can't force people, adults to delete certain bad-words from their arsenal of expletives. In fact, if the bill passed it would only heighten the appeal and usage of such and possibly do more harm than good! Determining when bitch is appropriate: commentating at dog shows and in describing female dogs, and when it's not: to chide a dumb ass or to playfully tease a friend or your favorite gay, can be tricky. We do have to take responsibility for our conduct and how we interact with one another but, forcing people in a country that is supposed to have substantial amounts of freedom, is a bit much. Enforcing change in vernacular via authority is a fluke and it doesn't really solve the problem. Why not exert the energy to combat poverty, homelessness, and crime. All three of those sad realities are indeed a bitch and should be tackled head-on.

May 25, 2007

Keeping Our Head Above Water...

Yesterday, after I was settled in at home from work, I caught an episode of Good Times on the TV Land network. Florida (matriarch of the Evans clan) came home, excited and breathless... ready to share with her family that she had just enrolled herself back in school, in hopes of obtaining her GED. Before she could relay the good news to her family, father James [Evans] interrupted, chastising her for not listening to HIS good news first. He had been hired for a better paying job with a construction company as a foreman, and the opportunity would possibly allow him to move up. Excited, Florida heaped praise upon her husband, before telling her family that she was back in school, and may finally have the opportunity to get her diploma after having dropped out in the 10th grade. Thelma, J.J., and Michael were ecstactic and hugged their mother. James (who dropped out of school in the 6th grade) on the other hand wasn't thrilled and a dark look came across his face. Suddenly he became discouraging and somewhat insulting... commenting, "Everybody knows that you can't teach an old dog new tricks!" He suggested that best friend, neighbor, and modern woman (for the time) Willona was the one, undoubtedly, putting such nonsense, as going back to school, into Florida's head. James also demanded to know what she planned on fixing for dinner. Willona proudly told James that she had finished school, got her diploma, and that it afforded her the opportunity to work at a clothing boutique. Florida challenged James (with Willona's encouragment) that if he tried to stop her from achieving her goal, he was gonna be faced with "One hell of a fight!" from her and suggested that she wouldn't be able to improve the quality of her (or the family's) life if she didn't see her education through to fruition. It was an intense episode. Due to my getting up to get a glass of vino and some Ramen, I missed the end. Good Times was filmed during the mid 70's, which wasn't that long ago. That particular episode, where James discourages Florida's desire to improve herself by turning into a chauvinist extraordinaire... brow beating and insulting his wife's desire to excel, prompted me to think about how difficult women... black women (as well as other women of color) in particular, had it during that time (and how difficult it still can be for us). I'm reminded of the whole concept behind (and need for) the womanist movement, encouraged by author Alice Walker and adapted from her book: In Search of Our Mother's Garden: Womanist Prose. The concept of womanism came to be, because women of color were left out of the mix during the feminist movement... which dealt largely with issues pertaining to white, middle-class women; and focused predominantly on suffrage and sexism. Racism and classism were not issues they related to or felt compelled to fight against. Womanism paints a portrait from the perspective of black women. When discussing issues of race or classism, the focus tends to be about the oppression of black men. Sexism tends to chart the plight and suppression of white women and how they overcame their struggles. It's rare to find literature that deals specifically with the oppression, suppression, and plight of black women, specifically. There are Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, but how many other black women have traveled tumultuous roads, paving the way and fighting for civil rights and liberties for women of color? We grapple with sexism, classism, and racism. Throw sexual stereotypes based on ethnicity into that equation, thanks to the rump shaking featured in rap videos and the media's portrayal of us, and you begin to understand WHY the Don Imus incident caused such an uproar, after he described the Rutgers University women's basketball team as being "nappy headed ho's." Many people seemed flummoxed about the furor that statement incited. Some martyrized him, saying that his constitutional right to free speech was being infringed upon... which is true, but so is our right to freely be WHO and WHAT we are, without having to continously apologize or go through this multi-step assimilation process, because people aren't happy with how we look. It's maddening, and I'm sick to death of it. Snoop Dog weighed in on the Imus controversy, by justifying his (and other rappers') use of the term "ho's", after the rap community came under fire (or were scape-goated) for desensitizing the masses to the use of the word ho'. Snoop suggested that it was okay for rappers to disrespect certain types of women by calling them the ugly name, because they're referring to the ho's living in the projects, not "a successful basketball team." That didn't really do much to help our cause, now did it? It's a neverending battle, particuarly when you consider that we already have 3 strikes against us. I think of some of my own personal struggles, particularly since I wear my hair natural, I carry around an ample rear end, and I constantly have to defend the reasons WHY I don't act like [insert stereotype here], WHY black women aren't one- dimensional, and WHY I'm not going drop my shit like it's hot for some ignoramus who has OD'ed on videos shown on BET... or WHY I want you to kiss my ample rear, when you pigeonhole me and women of color or chastise me for my blackness. I will gladly continue to fight the good fight and refer to myself as a 21st century womanist.