Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My latest post on Change.org: What "so ghetto" really means

You know when Oprah does that thing where she switches from “white lady Oprah” to “ghetto Oprah?”

This is how Kathy Griffin, in her book Official Book Club Selection, describes the way Oprah Winfrey switches between standard, Midwestern-inflected American English and an accent that illustrates her African-American and Southern roots. Damn! Pick up a book for a little brainless summer reading and get hit with a double dose of racism and classism.

I know. I know. Griffin is a comedian — one I like quite a lot, in fact. But the idea that black = poor and urban = deficient, i.e. "ghetto," is too much a part of the mainstream’s consciousness to be funny. We're long past Merriam-Webster now. "Ghetto" these days doesn't mean merely "a quarter of a city in which members of a minority group live because of social, legal or economic pressure." In commonly-used American slang, the word has turned from noun to adjective, and in doing so, has come to illustrate the country's race and class biases. Read more...

True Blood Roundtable: Episode 32 "A Night on the Sun"


Join me over at Racialicious for our weekly "True Blood" roundtable:

The End of Bilkie set to music

Andrea: So….Sookie’s newly found fairy identity leads her to 1) her screaming her ass off (per usual) with the realization that her man’s been using her for her fairy juice and 2) her doing the first mature thing (in my estimation) since this show started: breaking up with the vampire. My question is: Bill is a couple of centuries old. Did he *really* think Sookie wouldn’t get hip to the fact that he’s just no good for her? And that weepy I-nearly-killed-you-but-I-lurve-your-ass-Sookeh speech just gave me bitchlips because of Bill’s (willful) naivete.

Latoya: Seriously. I was so ready for this cycle of dysfunction to end that I had prepared some theme music for the final farewell in the hospital, 1TYM’s “It’s Over." (For those of y’all looking for the translation, click here)

I suppose its kind of apropos most of the concert videos push together It’s Over and Put Em Up, following the sad song with the “I will not be defeated” joint.

Thea: I will say that I liked the symbolism of the blood line being broken between them. It looked nice. Yes, I can occasionally be mollified by a nicely shot bit of poetry.

Tami: I would have been more impressed by the breakup if it had lasted more than 24 hours. Yeah, Sookie and Bill’s parting was well acted, but I still cry foul on the reasoning for the split being “Well, we’ll never have picket fences and sunny days together” and not “You nearly killed me. I hear you have some creepy file on my family. My best friend says you left her in a life-threatening situation.” It all came down to Sookie not being able to have her romantic fantasy relationship. Harumph!

Joe: I don’t care what anyone else thinks, I found their break up really well acted and rather touching. The one thing that Oscar winners know how to do best is weep uncontrollably, and boy did Anna Paquin get to show why she has that thing.

Thea: Agreed. Sheepishly.

Andrea: But, Joe, what pushes mere weeping to Oscar-nabbing is what my moms calls The Snot Factor. Anna Paquin and Stephen Mowry didn’t snot; ergo, no awards. When they go home at the end of a day’s shooting they should rent Gladiator. Russell Crowe got that Academy Award on the strength on his nasal stream. Just saying.

Joe: Ha! Halle, anyone?

Andrea: Dude, that’s after she won the award. Though I would’ve given her the Oscar for that acceptance speech than for her actual performance in Monster’s Ball. Better yet, I would’ve given it to her for her composure after Adrien Brody sneak-attack kissed her when he won his Oscar.

Back to True Blood…What nearly made me nearly stake Bill was when he tries to kick out Jessica because of his failed relationship with Sookie. I was like, “Just because you and your younger lover didn’t work out, you’re going to be a deadbeat maker to Jessica? You need to learn the difference between the young woman you’re fucking and the young woman you essentially fathered. Don’t get it twisted.” But Jessica is full of win in this ep: her tantrum at Bill wanting to go neglectful fits the situation. (Sookie, take notes.) My heart went out to Jessica feeling abandoned because she really was. And Bill gets over himself enough to be a proper maker. Thank you, Jessica, for setting Bill’s mind right.

Tami: Bill is totally that ineffectual and irresponsible emo guy that just lets life (or afterlife) happen to him and never admits his role in his problems. Lorena called him on his shit when she pointed out that he enjoyed the ugly things they did as a couple. Here he has made this baby vamp and abandoned her for weeks on end, allowing her to mistakenly kill someone, and he just wants to cut her loose in a fit of faux concern for her. The truth is Bill can’t be bothered to live up to his responsibility, because he needs to go sulk over Sookie. The man has no fight in him. Compare that to Eric, who was working some crazy complicated revenge plot, while trying to save his progeny and staying out of the nefarious clutches of two monarchs. If situations were reversed, Bill would have taken to his bed weeping.

Andrea: …and writing bad poetry while sweeping his hair out of his face.

Thea: I wrote “oh for crying out loud” in my notebook during when Bill and Sookie got back together (they lasted a whole day! wow!)…I really thought that their energy-sucking love affair was finally coming to an end. I’m so naive. When is it going to end already?

Joe: Thea, I think I may have shouted “Oy gevalt” when they got back together (as steamy as that reunion was, at least for my eyes) From being dumped by cell phone, to saving your ex-boyfriend anyway, to getting back together for an escape, to being almost murdered by him, to dumping him, to crying some with a buddy, to canoodling with a hot ass werewolf, to getting back together with your vamp all in 48 hours. This girl sure enjoys an active schedule. I think the audience could of used a little more time between break-up and make-up.

Tami: See, I find Sookie/Bill sex scenes so not hot. I’m sure it’s partly because I loathe both characters, but also because knowing that Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are a real-life couple kind of makes me feel like a peeping Tami.


The podcast Talking True Blood at Merlotte's is on hiatus this week. We'll be back next week with more analysis.

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