Archive for September 12th, 2007

Ghetto Fabulous

Time was, people wanted to leave the ghetto. Once upon a time, American ghettos were bottomless pits of hopelessness and danger where nobody in their right mind would choose to remain if they had half a chance of moving somewhere better. And if they did choose to stay, they stayed to try and change the ghetto into something else. Somewhere along the line, record companies started telling people to stop trying — to wallow and embrace rather than escape or transmute. To keep it real. To internalize the ghetto instead of fighting an uphill battle to transform or escape it.

Record companies didn’t create that notion. Rap and Hip Hop didn’t even create it; you can find strains of mysogeny and odes to surrender as far back as you’re willing to look. Black people who reject the ghetto as it is have always had to face other black people who think they’re sell-outs, who say they’re trying to be white — People who think they’re not black if they try to move beyond what they think is their station in life. Record companies didn’t create that idea, but they did realize it’s easier to sell. They did realize depicting the ghetto as a glamorous lifestyle that people should aspire toward would hook more customers.

Maybe to us, every dollar we spend on this stuff may simply mean it had a good beat, but to them, every dollar we spend proves them right. Maybe to us, this is about self esteem. Life on the stoop isn’t usually “Boyz n the Hood.” Life in the “ghetto” is like life anywhere in a sense: much more good than bad in it if you pay attention. But is it something to aspire to? Unless you have Snoop Dogg’s money to throw around, the ghetto can’t be all that fabulous. At what point does self esteem end and stagnation begin?

On the positive side, that’s not to say this is all that’s out there. I’m currently playing this song into the ground. I’ll be tired of it by next week:

Same movie, different actors

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of remakes. I don’t quite get the purpose of remaking old films with different actors. They remade “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” for no damn reason, Keanu Reeves is remaking the classic “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” again for no damn reason. They’re remaking “The Hulk” just three years after the last time they released it. And is it just me, or have we already seen this movie:

Israel believes that North Korea has been supplying Syria and Iran with nuclear materials, a Washington defense official told the New York Times. “The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” he said.

The official added that recent Israeli reconnaissance flights over Syria revealed possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials estimate might have been supplied with material from North Korea.

If only there were some way to know when it’s real and when it’s fiction. If only we had some sort of, oh, I don’t know, let’s call it “News Media” for lack of a better term, that would reliably and doggedly seek out the truth and tell us what they’ve found. Somebody should invent something like that.

Harry Reid: the paper tiger roars

Harry Reid remembered his backbone today when he warned that Ted Olsen, the man who made the argument that convinced the Supreme Court to stop Florida from recounting its votes and hand the presidency to George W. bush, won’t be confirmed as Attorney General (if Bush nominates him). Fearing that “Ted Olsen” is merely English for “Alberto Gonzalez,” Reid rightly insists Olsen isn’t the right man to clean up Gonzalez’s mess. Apparently “highly partisan” is no longer an asset on one’s résumé when they come before the Senate for confirmation. We’ll see if Reid sticks to that.

I can think of nine Republicans who would make great candidates for Alberto Gonzalez’s old job.