Friday, March 27, 2009

Old School Friday: I had a bad day

Okay, I had to think hard about today’s Old School Friday theme: “I had a bad day.” There really isn’t one song or singer or genre I listen to when I need to be pulled out of a funk. Just what tune is required depends on just how funky I feel and the specific brand of funkitude that I am plagued by.

So, I scrolled through my iPod with the intent of identifying artists and songs that make me happy when I hear them. Here are a few:

Stevie Wonder “Superstition”

I love early Stevie—mostly pre-mid 1980s, when he went kind of middle of the road. There is something about his music that makes me feel good and nostalgic for my 70s childhood. This song reminds me of tooling around Gary, Indiana, newly emerging as a “Chocolate City,” in the back seat of my parents’ brown Monte Carlo.

Dolly Parton “Islands in the Stream”

I like Dolly Parton—always have. She’s so shiny and bright and over-the-top—unabashedly herself. She seems like she’d be a real hoot if you met her. And if you were feeling poorly, she’d invite you in for some down home cooking and then try on wigs and sample makeup and nail polish with you, while dishing and laughing really loud.

Sugarhill Gang “Rapper’s Delight”

Can you feel sad while singing, “bang, bang boogie, say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie to be”? Oh, I think not.

What other people are saying

Invisible Woman...Black Cinema at Large posted an interview with Dennis Dortch, the director of the acclaimed film "A Good Day to Black and Sexy," which, by the way, is on my Netflix Watch Instantly List for this weekend:
The landscape is so barren on Black love/sexual situations in movies. I know you have been asked this many times over, but what gave you the idea to make this film? Who or what has been your inspiration in filmmaking? (That is really two questions--I'm cheating a bit)

Life. Real life. Our daily pursuit for happiness in love and sex drives and affects most of our decisions in life. We are living it everyday. These are basic human needs that find our white counterparts with oogles of quirky movies on the subject. When it comes to us, suddenly it's different even though we are all human beings with the same desires and needs. When you do see us in any sexual situation in a movie (especially a mixed cast movie) - we are either raping, overly sexually charged, or getting no ass whatsoever. Nothing but the extremes and nothing in between. Keep in mind that anytime you put a black person on the screen (esp. a black man), whatever they are doing or portraying holds much more weight. Put a gun in their hand, show them dead, show them running from the law, in court, or playing the President of the US or God, or Jesus, or simply having sex, it's suddenly a little bit heavier. Where our white male counterpart is just doing something as an action, the black counterpart becomes that *something* they are doing.

I think the second part of that is black folks are kinda prudish. I mean the West is sort of prudish overall compared to our European counterparts, but we all love sex but we just don't want people to know we love it. That's why the porn industry is booming. It's all about secrecy, so it carries over to the big screen and the lack of content on the subject. I've been asked plenty of times, why would I want to make a film just about this stuff? Like a porno or something. This usually comes from a woman. Deep inside, I'm thinking this person is probably a freak in bed, but a lady in the streets. Simply, I wanted to just get at the things we are doing and feeling today and tomorrow, and the next day in a realistic presentation.

To answer the second part of your question, it's almost the same answer... Life. Real life. Women are an inspiration especially. Sometimes I just want to talk to you. And film is an extravagant way to communicate. You ever had an argument with your significant other and you wish a third party was present so that they could validate your point of view or judge who is right or wrong in this situation? Cause you feel the other person is clearly not listening to reason. You just want someone fair and non-biased to call it. Making a film is like creating that opportunity for a third party assessment. I'm simply telling on someone, including myself.
Pam Spaulding, of Pam's House Blend, wrote about lobbying black North Carolina legislators during the Day of Action:
It's one thing to talk about the disconnect between some black lawmakers who don't "get it" that LGBT issues are social justice issues, but to see it play out in person, even with a legislator who votes with us on issues, is really disturbing. We stopped by the office of Rep. Alma Adams (D-Guilford). As I said, she's been wonderful on the issues -- supporting the bullying bill, comprehensive sex ed, and indicated that she would consider supporting the anti-discrimination bill once she had a chance to see it, since it has not been introduced in the House. However, there was a very strange dynamic going on. In most of our meetings we let members of our group who were the actual constituents of the lawmaker take the lead in posing questions, since ultimately, they work for them.
3) With several black LGBTs standing right there in front of her, Rep. Adams actually said "your issues are not the black caucus's issues" -- as in social justice for black LGBTs is not their issue. I was directly next to the constituent and stunned into silence; we all were. I presume she hasn't received the memo supporting the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry from NAACP national board chair Julian Bond and President and CEO Ben Jealous of the NAACP.
Ann Bauer's article on Salon about her son, who suffers from autism, was absolutely heartbreaking:
I awaken to this headline: "Professor Beaten to Death by Autistic Son."
I scan the story while standing, my coffee forgotten. Trudy Steuernagel, a faculty member in political science at Kent State, has been murdered and her 18-year-old son, Sky, has been arrested and charged with the crime, though he is profoundly disabled and can neither speak nor understand. Sky, who likes cartoons and chicken nuggets, apparently lost control and beat his mother into a coma. He was sitting in jail when she died.
This happens to be two days after my older son's 21st birthday, which we marked behind two sets of locked steel doors. I'm exhausted and hopeless and vaguely hung over because Andrew, who has autism, also has evolved from sweet, dreamy boy to something like a golem: bitter, rampaging, full of rage. It happened no matter how fiercely I loved him or how many therapies I employed.
Now, reading about this Ohio mother, there is a moment of slithering nausea and panic followed immediately by a sense of guilty relief.
I am not alone.
Carmen Van Kerchove and I talked Rhianna, English proficiency and the recession on the latest episode of Adicted to Race. Plus, I'm on board to talk with Renee (Womanist Musings) and Monica (TransGriot) about motherhood as an active choice and the ways motherhood is devalued in our society on their Blog Talk Radio show. at 4 p.m. EDT, this Saturday, March 28.

Gosh, I'm concerned about our Republican friends

I'm a liberal Democrat. But there comes a time when partisanship must be put aside. I'm worried about the Republican Party. If yesterday's news is any indication, it seems they are in the throes of some collective break down.

First, Republican leaders smugly call a press conference to reveal their alternate budget proposal and blueprint.

Then Sarah Palin, from a party meeting that appears to have been held in a cave, snarkily laments that no one on the McCain campaign would pray with her. Somebody is being disengenuous here. Either Sarah Palin simply did not form bonds with the religious members of McCain's staff. Or maybe a lot of Republican politicos are in their protestations of piety and the McCain staff wasn't as churchy as one might believe. Hmmmm...

Michelle Bachman is calling for violent revolution:

I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, “Having a revolution
every now and then is a good thing,” and the people – we the people – are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States. Read

Then Michael "Bringin' hip hop to the GOP" Steele was all, "Ya'll may think I've been fucking up a lot since I became HNIC of the GOP, but it's cause you don't understand my mad, crazy skillz, yo!" Yes, that Limbaugh dust up...the whole pro-choice, gay rights slip up...just part of the strategery. Off the hook, son!

Don Lemon looks incredulous.

And in some corner, Glenn Beck is still shedding crocodile tears over his country.

I'm telling you, somebody should be watching these people.


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