news from kintespace.com ::: Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Contents:

  • ::: Book Review: Afrikan Alphabets
  • ::: Linton Kwesi Johnson: Inglan Is a Bitch (YouTube.com)
  • ::: rasx() on film: 2000–2006

::: Book Review: Afrikan Alphabets

::: ::: http://kintespace.com/rasx46.html

One of the assertive and creative ways people on the continent called “Africa” have adopted the personal computer outside the realm of music and film making is in the field of glyphic imagery or typography. At first glance, Saki Mafundikwa, his book Afrikan Alphabets, can be seen as a celebration of the African tradition of typography.

The opinion here is that this book can sit side by side with European typographic catalogues like The Postscript Font Handbook in order to remind the people who care that African technology is still useful and, the scholarly research shows, fundamental.

::: Linton Kwesi Johnson: Inglan Is a Bitch (YouTube.com)

::: ::: http://kintespace.com/p_lintonkj0.html

Linton Kwesi Johnson was the first Black poet I ever heard of that had an office. Not like how a professor (who may happen to be a poet) gets an office—but I actually remember seeing some interview years ago with Mr. Johnson explaining how his day in his office went. He described a meticulous schedule—a daily routine that included reading the newspaper. I was deeply impressed and very certain that all of that office work helped to inform his poetry. We are here to report that his work does very well—all over the world.

Here is some guy in Sweden writing about Linton Kwesi Johnson: “Linton Kwesi Johnson has been made an Associate Fellow of Warwick University (1985), an Honorary Fellow of Wolverhampton Polytechnic (1987) and received an award at the XIII Premo Internazionale Ultimo Novecento from the city of Pisa for his contribution to poetry and popular music (1990). In 1998 he was awarded the Premio Piero Ciampi Citta di Livorno Concorso Musicale Nazionale in Italy. In 2003 Johnson was bestowed with an honorary fellowship from his alma mater, Goldsmiths College. In 2004 he became an Honorary Visiting Professor of Middlesex University in London. In 2005 Linton Kwesi Johnson was awarded a silver Musgrave medal from the Institute of Jamaica for distinguished eminence in the field of poetry. He has toured the world from Japan to the new South Africa, from Europe to Brazil. His recordings are amongst the top-selling reggae albums in the world and his work has been translated into Italian and German. Unsurprisingly, he is known and revered as the world’s first reggae poet.”

We celebrate Linton Kwesi Johnson through the fleeting rebelliousness of YouTube.com. People from Greece, the UK, France and Sweden bring selections from his live performances. These include “Inglan Is a Bitch,” “Di Black Petty Booshwah” and “Sonny´s Lettah.”

::: rasx() on film: 2000–2006

::: ::: http://kintespace.com/rasx47.html

Hey, I’m no Greg Tate but this first collection of writings on film spans six years with 17 articles with names like Floyd Webb, R/Kain Blaze, Stanley Kubrick, Ursula K. Le Guin, Beah Richards, Dr. Julius W. Garvey, Will Smith, Sam Neil and many others.

It is important to highlight that Floyd Webb starts on the timeline for this collection. His association with Julie Dash, the first Black woman to release a feature-length film in the United States (and probably more regions of the Diaspora), is of great symbolic importance to me.

“Cameroon activist seeking asylum in L.A. still living in the shadows” and other links…

Anna Gorman: “Public Counsel, based in Los Angeles, has seen a recent influx of Cameroonian asylum seekers, with a caseload of about 25 in the last few years—more than from any other country. Some are opposition party members or supporters, others are part of a group trying to secede from the country, and still others have had no political involvement. They have fled by obtaining tourist visas, using false documents or sneaking across the border.”

Buy this Book at Amazon.com! “Guyland—The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men”

Wesley Yang: “Back in 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men under 30 had attained the five milestones that mark a transition to adulthood: ‘leaving home, completing one’s education, starting work, getting married and becoming a parent.’ In 2000, those figures had declined to 46 percent of women and 31 percent of men. One-fifth of all 25-year-olds live with their parents.”

“Memoirs of a Literary Forger”

Thomas Mallon: “Her West Side studio apartment began to accumulate cat feces and flies. Then the cat died and its replacement, Doris, needed a vet whose bills Israel couldn’t pay. It was about then that criminal inspiration struck. In the course of researching an article for Soap Opera Digest at the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, she stole three rather ordinary letters by Fanny Brice and was able to sell them for $40 each.”

The Jewel Woods “Black Male Privilege” Checklist

Jewel Woods is male. Let’s get that straight. And, without him, I would not have been able to write “Flippant Remarks about the ‘mass exodus of African American male tourists to Brazil’.” So I think it is my Blog-civic duty to respond to (almost) all 94 of the items on “The Black Male Privileges Checklist” (hat-tip to Liberator Magazine for letting me know about this). I do this heavily under the influence that my opinion does not truly matter to the people who should care the most: that would be Black women in particular and contemporary, urban women in general. Too many women are too busy being oppressed (and I just wrote those words in this sentence without any sarcasm) and making conscious/subconscious plans of revenge against male monsters to care about what this “monster” has to say.

The eye of my imagination sees so clearly a woman 100 years from now reading my poem, “void this misogyny,” being driven to tears with the desire to meet me and talk to me because suddenly I am so interesting. Well, guess what lady: 100 years from now I’ll be dead! And I have been using the most advanced communication technology in the history of the white world for over a decade and I have yet to discover any example of this tool being used to its fullest—especially in the world of literary arts. So in an effort to contribute to the future—because the future is always better (as it selects for African genes)—here are my responsible responses:

Leadership & Politics

1. I don’t have to choose my race over my sex in political matters.

“Political matters” is in the marketing department of the business. I’m in the technical department. The very concept of politics and the polloi are foreign to the real me. “Race” is not a real concept for me. Next.

2. When I read African American History textbooks, I will learn mainly about black men.

African American History textbooks are secondary to me. African History has always been my primary concern—even before Michael Jordan (and his dark complexion) became popular with ‘my’ women. African history is about African women. You can spot a pseudo-African snake-oil dealer real quick when he starts talking about Black power without a concern for the English language and no serious prioritization of the regeneration of wisdom-communities of women of color. There is no frickin’ way in the world a group of wise, strong African women would treat me like the shit that supposedly I am according to properly-assimilated “real world” women. So clearly I am biased toward all of us studying the world of wise women. For an example, see “Vandana Shiva: Planting Seeds for Change.”

3. When I learn about the Civil Rights Movement & the Black Power Movements, most of the leaders that I will learn about will be black men.

This item is just like item #2 only framed differently. In addition, here is an excerpt from “My Three Sexist Assumptions of the Apocalypse”:

For you other Negro asses out there who just happen to be reading this, you should have no motherfucking problem recognizing that the Civil Rights Movement is founded upon the social organizing principles of women of African descent. Yes, you want to credit some Negro preacher man in a suit and you want to credit some Quakerly Jewish lawyer but nothing would have happened without organized Black women.

4. I can rely on the fact that in the near 100-year history of national civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and the Urban League, virtually all of the executive directors have been male.

Read these words carefully, written by an award-winning ACT-SO finalist (in poetry of course): f’ the NAACP! The Garveyite bottom line is this: the NAACP was not allowed to own land. It was in the original charter. So, from the beginning, the organization was not designed to grow any real influence or real power. So whatever manhood is in the organization it is no greater than my manhood because at this time I hold no real estate investments outside of a squalid REIT.

5. I will be taken more seriously as a political leader than black women.

I immediately assume that this is reference to mainstream (“white”) authority figures taking seriously. Secondarily, I assume this refers to Black church leaders’ realm of influence. These two populations are temporal to me—these are not of the everlasting so not a concern for me. Get Cynthia McKinney on the phone for this one. I’ll respect her need to talk about this issue.

6. Despite the substantial role that black women played in the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement, currently there is no black female that is considered a “race leader”.

Oprah Winfrey turned that one down in exchange for a larger viewing audience.

7. I can live my life without ever having read black feminist authors, or knowing about black women’s history, or black women’s issues.

This is more toward “American privilege” than Black male privilege. For more details, see “Photograph of Gayl Jones.”

8. I can be a part of a black liberation organization like the Black Panther Party where an “out” rapist Eldridge Cleaver can assume leadership position.

No. I—even I—cannot do that.

9. I will make more money than black women at equal levels of education and occupation.

My personal experience does not agree with this observation. Get Microsoft’s Tammara Combs Turner on the phone for this one. The women who choose my career and have my qualifications make more money than I do—sometimes dramatically more. I heard about one sister (through my Black female head hunter) who bought a house built by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s assistants. I blame no one but myself for this—when one has to place blame. My number one problem is that I am Black man—many Black women (and more than one wily brother) know how to take a lot of Eurocentric workplace punishment (because, likely, they took a lot of Afro-centric childhood punishment)—and for those women with the technical chops—they will go far, very far. I have trouble fooling meat-and-potatoes guys that I can stomach their corn-beef-hash aesthetic. I explored this back in 2000 in “Bryan Wilhite: An IT Fundamentalist Speaks.”

Now there are Black women who think (through an ironic mixture of self-limiting egocentrism, racism and sexism) they are just as educated as I am and there are Black women who know that I am more educated and trained than they are—and not one of these Black women have ever expressed any serious lasting praise for my accomplishments. When I achieved I assumed I was achieving for my people and my family—and then myself. I found out the hard, hard way that my achievements are largely seen as self-centered, isolated and individualistic. I have heard similar stories of ambivalence from Black women who return home from college only to be dismissed and avoided.

10. Most of the national “opinion framers” in Black America including talk show hosts and politicians are men.

One Oprah Winfrey is worth 10,000 Tavis Smileys.

Beauty

11. I have the ability to define black women’s beauty by European standards in terms of skin tone, hair, and body size. In comparison, black women rarely define me by European standards of beauty in terms of skin tone, hair, or body size.

This is simply a lie. I have a childhood filled with Black girls identifying my dark skin color as “wrong” in various capacities. Since I actually grew up in a Black working class neighborhood in Los Angeles, my earliest, direct experiences with racism was through these Black girls. And these Black girls are still here to this day. Just because some male-dominated rap videos came out in the last 15 years suddenly it’s us Black men doing all the hating? Hah!

When we just have to get Freudian than know that my mother was flawlessly chocolate—and this is why my light-skinned father was attracted to her. I have my Dad’s taste in women but I also inherited my mother’s view of her dark self through the kind of women I easily attract in my life.

12. I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of having my hair conforming to any standard image of beauty the way black women do.

This is absolutely true. Do read “The Black Hair Thing.”

13. I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of being terrorized by the fear of gaining weight. In fact, in many instances bigger is better for my sex.

I am the child of a mother who was terrorized by her mother about her appearance—including her weight. So even though “I do not have to worry”—my mother was not my servant, she was my mother. And to this day, I can feel her pain. And I largely destroyed much of what “normal” people would call a “normal family life” because of my desire to “save” my mother through relationships with women who were almost supernaturally like my mother. This savior complex of mine was a necessary horror.

14. My looks will not be the central standard by which my worth is valued by members of the opposite sex.

I’m suspicious of this one. As women seek equality with male patriarchal stereotypes, I’m seeing more than a few selecting males for youth and beauty—just like a male would. It is an error to assume that most women—especially properly-assimilated American women—are looking for a companion for some kind of sophisticated psychological experience.

Sex & Sexuality

15. I can purchase pornography that typically shows men defile women by the common practice of the “money shot.”

It is an error to assume that all “healthy” males consume pornography. Serious studies of African history before Islam shows that “healthy” males were indoctrinated into what I call ‘fertility conspiracies’—males were exposed to real, live girls in ritualized, regulated sex games. I understand how totally alien this can be to so-called Afrocentric people—but just perhaps you might understand how this assumption that I consume pornography with “money shots” is insulting to me. I prefer Japanese gravure videos! No nudity and more sexy!

16. I can believe that causing pain during sex is connected with a woman’s pleasure without ever asking her.

I hate this “belief” because it is actually true for women in a love/hate relationship with patriarchy and gluttony. Women have asked me to smack that ass—hard. Now I did not hate to smack that ass but I hate the larger system of lowered sensitivity and confusion. Women are very tough. They largely have higher thresholds of pain than males do—especially me. More than a few women will look down on me for preferring to go slow and gentle with them because they prefer to ride hard most of the time. I’m just keeping it real and letting you know, homes.

17. I have the privilege of not wanting to be a virgin, but preferring that my wife or significant other be a virgin.

I prefer that my wife not have herpes. It is for purely strategic reasons: I do not want to risk an outbreak during pregnancy that might harm our children—and her. I leave all that virginity stuff to wealthy Catholics.

18. When it comes to sex if I say “No”, chances are that it will not be mistaken for “Yes”.

My personality is designed (often against my lustful will) to repulse women who actually do say no and they mean yes. There is no woman sexier than a woman who means yes and can look you straight in the eyes and say, “Yes.” The ideal behind this is that I desire a woman in my life that deliberately chooses to be with me—not one I caught like some soldier riding on horseback in an Indo-European battle field. There are army men and there are family men.

19. If I am raped, no one will assume that “I should have known better” or suggest that my being raped had something to do with how I was dressed.

See “How a Terrifying Moment in Toni Morrison’s Beloved Relates to 1990s Thug Music” and get back to me.

20. I can use sexist language like bonin’, laying the pipe, hittin-it, and banging that convey images of sexual acts based on dominance and performance.

There are army men and there are family men.

21. I can live in a world where polygamy is still an option for men in the United States as well as around the world.

Ousmane Sembène on polygamy:

You have to understand how these women are raised. There’s a real hierarchy—the senior wife, the second wife, and the junior wife. Then the man is the supreme master, so to speak. But, when I say that the man is the supreme master, it is because he believes this. In actuality, the first wife, not the husband, wields the power. People don’t say this, but it’s something that’s unspoken.

That’s why in the context of polygamy in my society, I just see the man as a progenitor—the only role he has is to make babies [laughs]. He has to satisfy his own sexual appetites, but he also has to satisfy the three women’s sexual needs. He’s just a sex machine, so to speak [laughs]. Of course, in this situation there’s inevitably some sort of rivalry between the three wives because they’re often denied sexual satisfaction. And when the man is around, no matter what he’s done during the previous night, he has to perform sexually. To help him perform, the woman feeds him food that functions as an aphrodisiac. Since women know more about these aphrodisiacs than men do, they share their secrets.

22. In general, I prefer being involved with younger women socially and sexually.

I prefer to be with holistically healthy, mature women who can hold a conversation with me. Just read what I have written here and guess what kind of woman you know that would be very eager to talk to me because this woman moves thoughts like gold diggers move mountains. Tell that woman to look me up on Facebook. I won’t hold my breath.

23. In general, the more sexual partners that I have the more stature I receive among my peers.

I do not socialize my sexuality among other males. One might call this behavior of mine “homophobic.” My priority is to get down with one woman several thousand times instead of trying to process several thousand women. It’s a form of yoga—a weird fantasy of co-ed monasticism.

24. I have easy access to pornography that involves virtually any category of sex where men degrade women, often young women.

This is like saying to me that I have “easy access” to bags of refined white sugar to pour directly into my mouth.

25. I have the privilege of being a part of a sex where “purity balls” apply to girls but not to boys.

What the f’ is a “purity ball”? This sounds like teenaged, unregulated American Imperial sex games. There is something known as Imperial Sexuality…

26. When I consume pornography, I can gain pleasure from images and sounds of men causing women pain.

Umm… no.

Popular Culture

27. I come from a tradition of humor that is based largely on insulting and disrespecting women; especially mothers.

The whole point of Black “yo’ momma” jokes is that it actually pisses a real Black man off to have someone talk about his mother. Just because Richard Pryor started a popular movement away from this Black fact has nothing to with me.

28. I have the privilege of not having black women, dress up and play funny characters—often overweight—that are supposed to look like me for the entire nation to laugh.

Tyler Perry had two choices: continue to sleep in his car—because his father would not pay for his education (like mine did)—or dress up like a woman to make white men and Black women laugh. Tyler Perry chose not to sleep in his car. I’m sure Flip Wilson and many others had similar choices. I choose to not call that shit a “privilege.”

29. When I go to the movies, I know that most of the leads in black films are men. I also know that all of the action heroes in black film are men.

Halle Berry will never be another Cleopatra Jones.

30. I can easily imagine that most of the artists in Hip Hop are members of my sex.

I try not to imagine what has become of Hip Hop. Remember that sister in Digable Planets? I wanted LadyBug so bad…

31. I can easily imagine that most of the women that appear in Hip Hop videos are there solely to please men.

I’m still imagining me with LadyBug… hol’ up…

32. Most of lyrics I listen to in hip-hop perpetuate the ideas of males dominating women, sexually and socially.

So what. It sucks. White kids buy it. Next!

33. I have the privilege of consuming and popularizing the word pimp, which is based on the exploitation of women with virtually no opposition from other men.

So what. It sucks. White kids buy it. Next!

34. I can hear and use language bitches and hoes that demean women, with virtually no opposition from men.

So what. It sucks. White kids buy it. Next!

35. I can wear a shirt that others and I commonly refer to as a “wife beater” and never have the language challenged.

So what. It sucks. White kids buy it. Next!

36. Many of my favorite movies include images of strength that do not include members of the opposite sex and often are based on violence.

One of my favorite movies is in “Flippant Remarks about the Double Life of Véronique.”

37. Many of my favorite genres of films, such as martial arts, are based on violence.

There are army men and there are family men.

38. I have the privilege of popularizing or consuming the idea of a thug, which is based on the violence and victimization of others with virtually no opposition from other men.

There are army men and there are family men.

Attitudes/Ideology

39. I have the privilege to define black women as having “an attitude” without referencing the range of attitudes that black women have.

I think I wade into this deep water very well in “My Three Sexist Assumptions of the Apocalypse.”

40. I have the privilege of defining black women’s attitudes without defining my attitudes as a black man.

This is not so much a Black male privilege as the blindness of egocentrism. Also, I can assure you that I have been expressing my imperfections quite well on this Blog for years and I can only remember one Black woman on this entire planet that responded to me with any form of comprehensive support. She writes “Beautiful, Also, are the Souls of My Black Sisters”—I also recognize attention from The Black Snob. Other than that most of my people are too busy being oppressed or too young to know to care—to care not just for me but for others online (and in the bricks and mortar) as well…

41. I can believe that the success of the black family is dependent on returning men to their historical place within the family, rather than in promoting policies that strengthen black women’s independence, or that provide social benefits to black children.

This item is too deeply invested in European death models to address effectively in the space that I provide myself here.

42. I have the privilege of believing that a woman cannot raise a son to be a man.

This is not a “privilege”—this is a tragedy. No child should spend their formative years influenced by the eyes of one person—especially when the child is male and the parent is a female that deeply “knows” that males are foundationally animalistic and inferior. I’m not here to “debate” this shit with you. It takes a village to raise a child. This shit we are living now is not civilization so it should not be talked about too much…

43. I have the privilege of believing that a woman must submit to her man.

Shut the f’ up. My experience is of the deeper confusion where the woman—especially the Black woman—wants to submit to her man in bizarre, slavish ways that reminds me of my very unpopular opinion of Kara Walker.

There is no greater privilege in my life than to be chosen again and again as a companion by a free, powerful, healthy, wise woman of color. The reason why I distinguish women of color is because of the monumental physical and metaphysical obstacles they have to overcome to be truly free in thought. In the same manner that the male penis goes deep into the physical body, yes, we can go deep into the non-physical body of the woman. Too many women are too, too quick to deny what I am implying here—because what I have seen in the souls of ‘my’ women are imbroglios that truly baffle.

44. I have the privilege of believing that before slavery gender relationships between black men and women were perfect.

Really. Shut the f’ up. The end of the world started when Upper and Lower Egypt was unified. Anything after, is all that indigenous woman-centric cultures built being unraveled and degraded. Yes, it took thousands of years—and here we are…

45. I have the privilege of believing that feminism is anti-black.

Get bell hooks on the phone and get back to me.

46. I have the privilege of believing that the failure of the black family is due to the black matriarchy.

This is literally perverse. This item is of a trend that implies that Black male “privilege” identifies with white male privilege. This is just wrong.

47. I have the privilege of believing that household responsibilities are women’s roles.

First of all, few people that I know actually have a household. Secondly, too many women I know can barely keep a structured domicile for themselves let alone for another person (including children).

Homemaking is a technical skill. Think of how much money fake-ass Martha Stewart has made and perhaps we can have a materialistic idea of how much homemaking is worth in both males and females. Find me an African male—from Africa—that cannot cook and you are probably showing me the son of a cleptocratic, Eurocentric family.

48. I have the privilege of believing that black women are different sexually than other women and judging them negatively based on this belief.

My guess is that this item mixes two debilitating influences on the sexuality of Black women: the traditional need to suppress open, honest sexuality to prevent rape and murder during the era of legal American slavery and the white missionary tradition of suppressing female sexuality that still runs the Black church to this day.

My other guess is that this item suggests that we Black males have the “privilege” to “escape” these debilitating influences on Black women by having more ‘open,’ ‘honest’ sex with women from different so-called “races.”

Many Black men who have spoken to me about this do not consider this a “privilege” but, at best, an “alternative” and at worst the last resort. Do remember that the Black men that speak to me (about these personal issues) are not famous Hollywood actors, investment bankers, sports stars or any celebrity of any kind.

What about me? I have yet to have a serious, adult, long-lasting relationship with a non-Black woman. That does not mean I have not tried! Hey! Look me up on Facebook, G!

Sports

I am just going to avoid covering the sports section point by point. I just have two comments: one is that women have the right to be dumb jocks too. And, two, I do remember playing soccer (football) in the park on a hot summer day with a beautiful Haitian-American woman named Fay Jasmine Walker. She became seriously angry when I took my shirt off because she knew she could not take hers off. She also knew that she was physically fit and very comfortable with her chocolate-body self-image. I felt so strongly for her that I put my shirt back on… I have told this story to many other women—many of whom not as physically fit as Jasmine—and these ladies aggressively don’t care to know just what the big deal was…

Diaspora/Global

61. I have the privilege of being a part of a sex where the mutilation and disfigurement of a girl’s genitalia is used to deny her sexual sensations or to protect her virginity for males.

Again this is not a “privilege”—this is just ostentatious sarcasm.

62. I have the privilege of not having rape be used as a primary tactic or tool to terrorize my sex during war and times of conflict.

More ostentatious sarcasm.

63. I have the privilege of not being able to name one female leader in Africa or Asia, past or present, that I pay homage to the way I do male leaders in Africa and/or Asia.

Ancient Japan was ruled by women. I tend to remember this quite frequently. In Africa, in the Old Kingdom, the women chose the male king. Sounds complicated but the bottom line is that women ruled in composition with men.

64. I have the ability to travel around the world and have access to women in developing countries both sexually and socially.

I mentioned “Flippant Remarks about the ‘mass exodus of African American male tourists to Brazil’” earlier.

65. I have the privilege of being a part of the sex that starts wars and that wields control of almost all the existing weapons of war and mass destruction.

Again, the author too easily confuses white patriarchy with traditional African manhood. I understand how easy it is to do this, but he should stop. Stopping this will make him a better person but he will get fewer dates with the population of properly-assimilated women and their confused, malformed love/hate of patriarchy.

66. In college, I will have the opportunity to date outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women will.

Black women actually shunned me at UCSB. There were so few of them there. Remember those girls with the skin color issues? They did not disappear—as much as they would like to deny it. At 21, I married a Latina. She was brown like my mother… but still, to this day, very white (self-alienated) on the inside…

67. I have the privilege of having the phrase “sewing my wild oats” apply to my sex as if it were natural.

Please. Go make me some ho’ cakes.

68. I know that the further I go in education the more success I will have with women.

Wrong! Very wrong. It’s the money that you get from an education that attracts many women—not the education itself. Only one Black woman talked to me at length about how aroused she got when she began to feel my thoughts. Those were the good ol’ days…

69. In college, black male professors will be involved in interracial marriages at much higher rates than members of the opposite sex will.

Okay… you are losing your liberal, Negro audience with this one…

70. By the time I enter college, and even through college, I have the privilege of not having to worry whether I will be able to marry a black woman.

This is just a fucking joke. I’m living proof. Check this: “Flippant Remarks about ‘Getting the Love You Want’.”

71. In college, I will experience a level of status and prestige that is not offered to black women even though black women may outnumber me and out perform me academically.

Yes, I wish I went to Howard instead of UCSB.

72. If I go to an HBCU, I will have incredible opportunities to exploit black women.

Yes, I wish I went to Howard instead of UCSB. I would have had my savior complex turned up to 11. Supposedly, to this day, I would have a fiercely devoted young, educated, healthy Black woman at my side because she would have known that I was actually serious about the power of woman—instead of the old, bitter, cynical bats flying around me today thinking they are “smart” for not taking me seriously. Instead, I went to school in Ronald Reagan’s backyard.

Communication/Language

73. What is defined as “News” in Black America is defined by men.

This item is of a trend that implies that Black male “privilege” identifies with white male privilege.

74. I can choose to be emotionally withdrawn and not communicate in a relationships and it be considered unfortunate but normal.

My experience is that “normal” women prefer this. I have memories of women wanting to talk—but it’s actually them doing most of the talking. I am very serious about being a poet so what I say makes too many women want to make me shut f’ up. When I speak, I speak to penetrate. I know that sounds like more male violence but it depends on how the penetration is done and the quality of the surface being breached.

75. I can dismissively refer to another persons grievances as ^*ing.

This is more white shit in Negro form. Very annoying and not me… When you find me dismissing you, this is after I tried to talk to you—several times. Remember those women who literally asked to have their asses slapped I mentioned earlier? These tough ladies can’t feel it when someone is actually trying to speak with them. Often, through past sexist experiences, that don’t have damn thang to do with me, these ladies are over-prepared not to be heard and are underprepared and ill-equipped to actually have the conversation. Again, I refer you to “My Three Sexist Assumptions of the Apocalypse.”

76. I have the privilege of not knowing what words and concepts like patriarchy, phallocentric, complicity, colluding, and obfuscation mean.

Yeah, that’s me—or you can’t read. In the past, too many women would rather think of themselves as literate and educated, while I permanently remain, to this day, a complete idiot. Do I sound bitter, sweetie? This honestly does not anger me because I have seen what kind intimate relationships some of these “smart” women have (or never have) and then I learn something new about poverty in the world.

Relationships

77. I have the privilege of marrying outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women marry.

To be blunt, many Black women (especially the younger ones) are not truly, deeply upset about Black men marrying women of European origin. What pisses some sisters off is Black men with Asian women—one bad theory for this is that many Asian women do not meet the European beauty standard that rules so many of our lives—so why would a Black man be attracted?

78. My “strength” as a man is never connected with the failure of the black family, whereas the strength of black women is routinely associated with the failure of the black family.

This statement of “privilege” is just gay.

79. If I am considering a divorce, I know that I have substantially more marriage, and cohabitation options than my spouse.

Yes, but by the way she act—she does not know this… that’s just the horror that is patriarchy—and it is too easy to find women that will consciously and non-consciously defend it.

80. Chances are I will be defined as a “good man” by things I do not do as much as what I do. If I don’t beat, cheat, or lie, then I am a considered a “good man”. In comparison, women are rarely defined as “good women” based on what they do not do.

In my experience, these are “privileges” women (who will consciously and non-consciously defend patriarchy) impose upon males.

81. I have the privilege of not having to assume most of the household or child-care responsibilities.

Again, in my experience, these are “privileges” women (who will consciously and non-consciously defend patriarchy) impose upon males. My mother was not playing that shit. I can run a house better than most sets of three women combined. Women, largely, do not praise me for this. They got too many f’ed up problems to go around praising people all the time.

82. I have the privilege of having not been raised with domestic responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and washing that takes up disproportionately more time as adults.

Wrong. It is because of these domestic skills that makes me proud even arrogant. This power is part of an aesthetic that I value—like ancient priests cleaning the temple.

Church & Religious Traditions

83. In the Black Church, the majority of the pastoral leadership is male.

Check.

84. In the Black Church Tradition, most of the theology has a male point of view. For example, most will assume that the man is the head of household.

Check.

Physical Safety

85. I do not have to worry about being considered a traitor to my race if I call the police on a member of the opposite sex.

The framing of this item is just flawed. Most Black men don’t even want to see the police—on a television.

86. I have the privilege of knowing men who are physically or sexually abusive to women and yet I still call them friends.

Naw… not really… you can have a friend from childhood that you are real close to but as this child grows older into a male adult they sometimes admit things in passing that weakens the bond… as time passes the bond gets weaker…

87. I can video tape women in public—often without their consent—with male complicity.

Again, I do not share my sexuality with males as some kind ritual of “bonding”—I was not into team sports that much while growing up.

88. I can be courteous to a person of the opposite sex that I do not know and say “Hello” or “Hi” and not fear that it will be taken as a come-on or fear being stalked because of it.

I actually hate—deeply hate—the fact that a lone woman cannot stop me on the street and introduce herself to me because most are afraid of being physically violated. When we simply must be racist about this matter, I notice that “white” women are the most comfortable with this rare behavior—and this also makes me angry (because this is one way some Black men think life is better apart from Black women—and “white” women often do this in ‘exclusive situations’ where the socioeconomics often bar Black women from the scene).

89. I can use physical violence or the threat of physical violence to get what I want when other tactics fail in a relationship.

I have never done this—but I know that (especially in my younger days) some women actually wanted me to be like this. This is because some women under patriarchy only have materialistic/physical concepts of strength and dominance. And they want to have the wartime experience of being with a “real” man.

90. If I get into a physical altercation with a person of the opposite sex, I will most likely be able to impose my will physically on that person.

In my little world of unpopularity, the greatest “punishment” I have for a woman is to “banish” her. I’m one of those strange people that actually thinks a woman is pleased simply by being in my presence—and to take that away from her is violence enough… This punishment is not very effective but, by habit, it’s all I have… maybe I should teach myself to body slam people…

91. I can go to parades or other public events and not worry about being physically and sexually molested by persons of the opposite sex.

Have you been to West Hollywood on the wrong day?

92. I can touch and physically grope women’s bodies in public—often without their consent—with male complicity.

There are army men and there are family men.

93. In general, I have the freedom to travel in the night without fear.

Yes. And I cannot stand people who live in fear. But many men who travel the streets of Iraq at night are very afraid.

94. I am able to be out in public without fear of being sexually harassed by individuals or groups of the opposite sex.

Have you been to West Hollywood on the wrong day? I may be forty but I’m still pretty, baby! Snap! Snap! Snap!

“Essence.com gets Ning-y with it” and other links…

Essence Nov 1994I have been following Black Web 2.0 for a few weeks now (hat tip to Tiffany B. Brown). Their celebration of the newly designed Essence.com in “Essence.com gets Ning-y with it” is well deserved. I can assume that this is an inside job since the article does not mention some hopefully-Black-owned Web design firm. An inside job means that Essence is actually paying people fulltime to build a web site which is incredibly impressive for a Black-owned business (as a backgrounder, check out my entry from 2007, “The One United Bank Experiment”).

Remember that Black-owned businesses are run largely by conservative business people (remember sitting in that science or literature class you adored with econ majors?). And my flagrant stereotype about North American Black conservative “business leaders” is that they are about five to fifty years behind in the knowledge and use of the technology white people like. Remember we as a people do everything better—and this includes being arrogantly blind and exceedingly mediocre gatekeepers, cock blocking the real technical brothers (like me) that end up working somewhere else. (Do I sound bitter, sweetie?) So it is even more impressive that Essence.com only produces two XHTML validation warnings while a typical page here at kintespace.com produces about 30 (thanks, Google). Essence.com is clean. As a ‘classic’ Web site it is a first class achievement.

However, Black Web 2.0 does point out that, “…what is clearly absent is the ability to subscribe to content categories using RSS. I guess this isn’t a huge surprise since few sites, outside of blogs, who target African-Americans actually utilize RSS at all.” This admission is both a confirmation and a disappointment.

My isolated experience on the Web left me frustrated with too many Black Web sites that are essentially demanding that you use a browser re-invented in the 1990s to look at their site instead of a more efficient news feed reader—like Sage in Firefox or Google Reader. In the extreme, this attitude is extremely egocentric and essentially says, “My site is the only site in the world and it demands time-consuming, inefficient, individual attention.” You can even take this to an ironic racist level where you have Black people arguing that other Black people not only are unaware of news feeds but will never learn how to use them.

I appreciate the constructive criticism from Black Web 2.0 that states, “Overall beautiful site but nothing there to make me want to go back or consume the content and brand in other ways like from my fave RSS reader, from my iPhone, etc. Also not so sure the social network is compelling enough to make me that involved in it…”

I know from experience that this way of describing the whack-ass situation at Essence.com will go a long way while my words elect to cut that shit short. My impoverished past in the “ghetto” left me with a vision of Black business as being technically and aesthetically superior to the so-called “white” or mainstream business. Adjusting for scale, we can be technically superior with inferior and out-of-date technology.

When IT technology is used effectively, one kick-ass person can do the work of ten unimaginative losers. When the machines fail, we compensate with soulful human excellence. That’s just how we roll. You want me to sing the Blues into your T1 line to make it run faster? The multi-billion dollar industry of hip-hop started from some dude beating on the hood of an abandoned car in some junk yard in the Bronx. Jimi Hendrix could disassemble his guitar while he was playing it. So I have little tolerance for African mediocrity locked in the missionary position, lit in glossy sepia tones with that orange-brown complexion that is the Essence of some kind of black-plastic Blackness. I don’t “think” we can do better I know we can do better—and this why you are not my friend—with your punk ass. Now go to the store and buy some shoes or something…

Cringely on Leadership and Management

Robert X. Cringely: “Management is telling people what to do, which is a vital part of any industrial economy. Leadership is figuring out what ought to be done then getting people to do it, which is very different. It is a vital part of any successful post-industrial economy, too, but most managers don’t know that.”

“Windows 7 will dump desktop apps for Web versions”

valleywag.com: “The next version of Windows after Vista won’t include Windows Mail, Windows Photo Gallery, and Windows Movie Maker. Instead, Microsoft will offer the Windows Live versions of these apps as optional downloads.” This is one of the few significant, consumer-facing changes Microsoft is making with its entire OS line. Less is more. My captive hope is that Microsoft will find others ways to trim the fat from this Redmond hog. Respect your own Windows Server 2008 team!

iTunes: “Two Years Later, Cover Flow Still Sucks”

Cosmo Catalano: “This problem is complicated by the fact that iTunes is just way too stupid to have the responsibility of assigning songs to albums. Miss a hyphen? A capital letter? Misspell a band name? You’re gonna get three different albums. It’s not that iTunes can’t figure out what art to assign; it just can’t tell that three discs with the same art, title, and band name belong to the same freakin’ album.”

Great Online Couples of the Arts

Since I am today very mufukkin certain that I will never be able to write about myself in this capacity, it may be therapeutic for me to write about other people living the dream. My title of this dream is Great Online Couples of the Arts and my picks are two couples: (i) Mari and Kento; (ii) Tananarive and Steve.

Mari and Kento

ZASHIKI-WARASHI by Kent Williams Kento is Kent Williams. He is the love of Mari Inukai’s life. No doubt about it. Mari met me in person before I knew about Kento—so let me tell you: No doubt about it. My other reckless statements include the following flippant remark: Mari Inukai values technical supremacy in a life partner. You know, back when an actress friend of mine was pulling down US $20,000 a week, she said to me, “I need a man to look up to.” She said that to me to stop me from approaching her in ‘a certain way’ so that we can be “just friends.” I just knew she meant that stacks of money are included in what she looks up to because I was certain (very certain) that I had everything else a talented artist like her was looking for… Now, when money is the only measure of a man, then the man Mari Inukai has to “look up to” must make one trillion billion dollars a week! Now we should get some fiscal idea about how she feels about Kento. That’s a whole lot of koku, baby! So clearly Mari is a fine artist not preoccupied with the material things. Here is Mari back in 2006 just brimming with Kento:

Hooray! check out kento’s website! There are two new paintings of Meeeee!!! and here is the one of them..I was looking at this painting since he started, and made me cry when I saw the writing on the painting says” don’t forget your dream, mari”..(T_T) makes me still cry and remind of me that I should keep working on MYOWNSTUFF to realize my dream!!

To this day, Mari and Kento are still in the zone. It would be a mistake to discover that Kento does not write about Mari online. What do you think his paintings of her are? Has your monkey ass ever sat down and painted someone? Do you know how much time, mediation and inner effort that shit takes to do it excellently like Kento does? Mari and Kento are experiencing the bliss of artistic communication. Communication is the dominant, most frequent activity of healthy couples so when the couple gets old and physically frail they still have a strong bond through diverse forms of supernatural exchange. My other flippant remark is that these two intertwine on metaphysical levels that go beyond the trivial mess we see in Hollywood-style love stories with all that public hugging, awkward face collisions and shit.

When I was a freshman in college, I spent 12 hours in bed in the girl’s arts dormitory with the future mother of my first son, a ballet dancer (she actually married me later). We could not have been boinking like crazed weasels all of that time! Something else must have been going on! So I know what I am talking about when I say, ‘the zone.’ It is a blessed life to share the zone with another person (especially when both of you are out of the college dormitory and are thriving in the so-called “real world”). It is a nightmare of oppression to discover that only one person in the “happy couple” can zone out while the other sits jealously and disrespectfully in the “real world” too scared, blind, self-sabotaging and “normal” to really know what this zone is… Do I sound old and bitter? Bah!

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! Tananarive and Steve

As I suggested in my failure entitled, “What I did to Leslie Nia Lewis in my early twenties…,” two writers may not make a great couple. My preference is for a writer and a reader—and I know full well that writers (that actually love language) can be excellent readers as well. Well, who cares about my preferences? When I see the open, candid passion between Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due, two accomplished writers, maybe I need to check myself.

Steven Barnes actually took the time to explicitly write about his successful situation (which is exactly what I would do after being convinced for a number of years that my thang is actually real) and I appreciate his openness. Here he is in the summer of 2008 just letting you know what he’s putting down:

We had such a narrow window of opportunity to find each other. I was living in Washington state, and she, in Miami. We’d each gone through a massive amount of internal work preparing ourselves to find a partner. Such work involved, variously, therapy, meditation, self-discovery, journaling, and more… Somehow, we recognized each other, and within 48 hours after meeting realized that we had to take a chance to be together, that the potential was simply too wonderful. …what I wanted, more than anything in the world, was a friend and partner, someone I could just be myself with. And I was willing to be celibate until I found her.

Buy this Book at Amazon.com! Steven Barnes makes it crystal—mufukkin—clear that he chose to be celibate in order to be with Tananarive —in the same manner that a monk makes devotion to a discipline in order to be of Nirvana. In my twenties, strategic celibacy simply was conceptually impossible for raw physical reasons that wreaked incredible impoverished pleasure and lasting child-support misery. In my thirties, celibacy for true companionship was actually possible had I known a few secrets about my family that I know now. Now that I am forty—and I have inherited my excellent children from my family secrets—the Steven Barnes story is an inspirational possibility. But remember: his window of opportunity was narrow—and this is what it really means to be a Black man dabbling in the so-called “arts” while W2-labor-camping in this North American shit.

We gotta put shit in perspective: ever since Jackson Pollock crushed his artist wife, Lee Krasner, under the weight of the new fangled fame—and also alienated the entire abstract expressionist movement, causing them to share less with each other for concerns about new fangled fame—, many artists assume “making it big” is a solo, predatory process. You see, before Bob Dylan blew up by leapfrogging over his famous girlfriend, Joan Baez, the arts scene in the Village was open and generous. Now that fame (and maybe money) is involved the artists habitually and often non-consciously fight amongst themselves for sole credit and share little with each other. This American tradition has been going on for so long that young artists who try earnestly to share can’t even do it effectively.

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com!Some female artists (especially the ones that I have been tragically attracted to) are very, very concerned about being thought of as “helped” or “influenced” by some man—especially some Black man (that does not make one trillion billion dollars a week). It is so pleasing to see here two examples in two couples where this identity-policing is not happening. In fact, Tananarive and Steve shared the marquee on not one but two writing projects, The Darker Mask (edited by my homeboy’s homeboy, Gary Phillips) and In the Night of the Heat: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel.

And just one more thang for the young cats out there: being celibate (as horrible as this is) saves you from lying to and stealing from human beings. Leaving someone jaded and cynical for the rest of her existence only to make others miserable does not seem worth a few ejaculations from the genitals (easy for me to write at age 40). For me, getting a little physical contact with a twenty-something girl could end up with a few childish mistakes and youthful tears shed over resilient cheeks. But, when you are f’ing around with a grown-ass woman (which is what I like to do), you can be f’ing around with her entire life. Hey, kids, I need a living, creative woman to look up to—not some used up corpse to drag around to drinks parties. At a certain age, some women (and I guess the dudes too) can no longer recover from ‘mistakes’ related to non-celibacy (did I mention that celibacy is horrible?). Remember that scene in Blue Velvet when Isabella Rossellini comes walking across the lawn completely naked like some Ghost of Pussy Past? That shit is only funny when it is not happening to you—or someone you love.

Update: Tananarive and Steve are also sharing the pages in Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora. I should have known this yesterday since the book is sitting on my desk! No doubt there are probably more Tananarive and Steve collaborations out there in print…