So, dude. There are these dudes on a mission from dude and here is a photograph to prove it:
I will assume that the soldier standing next to these non-English-reading Iraqi children is called Lepl Baudreux, probably a soldier from Europe—so the sign reads:
Lepl Baudreux killed my dad. Then he knocked up my sister.
I’m not going to write some left-wing, over-intellectualized, pseudo-moralistic commentary to condemn this image. I’m just going to say that this shit ain’t funny. In fact, it is historically accurate when Lepl Baudreux speaks on behalf of the European nations he represents. Tell me something I don’t know. It does not matter that Lepl did not fire a shot in Iraq. Lepl and the photographer are trying to be creative—funny even. And it is just not working on me.
Boys will be boys. They are just letting off a little steam. This photo represents much of what I’ve been calling office humor: professional boys running around cubicles passing around dirty emails and telling dirty jokes. It’s hard to be funny. It takes skill—so we already have disrespect for professional comedians. Take it further and it does not matter that such humorous folk never owned slaves—and they may even sincerely hate slavery. What matters is how they embrace their freedom and what they do with their ‘free’ time. This is the extents of their creativity and it is like Pat Boone trying to dance like James Brown.
I recognize the great Miguel de Icaza for letting me, and thousands more, know about this link.
Because of those several-hundred-dollar phone bills I was running up talking to Dr. Margo Crawford placing phone calls from Santa Cruz to New Haven Connecticut, I fell in love with a photograph of Gayl Jones. Because telephones and photographs were enough to inspire passion, you will be correct when you assume that all of this ordure happened when Margo and I were in our twenties. Hell, I even wanted to go to Brown University to take creative writing. I had no idea. Now that my hair is peppered with grey and my 40th year is just a few years away, I declare that falling in love with Gayl Jones—and the young admirers of Gayl Jones—is almost like being a Jewish girl falling in love with Wilhelm Richard Wagner and hanging out with his male aficionados trying to get a date. Nevertheless, I still have chilling memories of Eva’s Man and Corregidora is sitting up on my shelf—and yes some Wagner MP3s are on disk.
Taking creative writing classes for a professional degree probably would have been a disaster. I’m too uptight for the humanities. I’m a hard scientist from the ancient school. I was listening to a creative writing professor this morning while driving into the office and I just knew he would give up on me. He surely would accuse me of clinging to my identity as it relates to African descent and being too frightened of my unconscious mind—to embrace ‘a larger humanity.’ I would be unable to tap into my Universal Mind dreaming, that collective unconscious of Jungian thangs. His suspicions would be justified when he would find me sitting in class with a red, black and green liberation jump suit, topped with thrilling head gear—constantly trying to argue and confront him in order to force him to validate my existence.
I would suggest that the unconscious mind of a loyal citizen of Rome leads to that frightening beast boy drinking wolf’s milk straight from the fur. So it would make sense for such polloi to lose the self in ‘world cultures’ that are far more peaceful and less imperial. I dare to dream that there were people who dreamed in the waking state and the very words they spoke was what we now consider that indescribable place of the unconscious. These people were not confined to the continent of Africa so I know I have a lot of company—but these boys and the wolf are alone in the forests of the Neander, howling up a storm and firing shots heard around the world.
For more identity police investigation, please recall “Basic Black: the Funky Sutra” at kintespace.com.
I can’t believe that a technical guy like Carl Franklin would express difficulty with learning the object model of say Microsoft Word and actually found Visual Basic 6.x stuff easier! But he did just that during the December 27 2004 .NET Rocks! show “Talking Smart Clients with Rob Barker.”
But then I had to think back to the day that began without the Internet. In those days, the sun rose and the sun set on the F1 key for us Office VBA programmers. There was option to install Office without the VBA help files—and most Microsoft Office installs were probably like that since it is a default option. So poor Carl was probably stuck with trying to write code without having the luxury of placing his cursor over a VBA keyword and hitting the F1 key.
When VBA help pops up for every VBA keyword, any seasoned programmer like Carl would have learned Office programming easily. The F1 key was our MSDN back in those days! I’m convinced that one installation option and one keyboard key prevented Carl Franklin from falling in love with Office programming. Even though I now program in C#, I would not have a healthy respect for Visual Basic without Microsoft Office automation.
A little over a year ago, Blaze, a mega-shooter, asked for a story to go with this image. I rediscovered this request while archiving email in Outlook. And now that the Blog Bug has bitten the English-language writer in me, I will take a weak stab at it. Sad but true. Captives of an empire are not supposed to work for themselves so attending to an imaginative task like this can be counter intuitive.
Let’s set the scene. Let’s borrow from the less spectacular imagery from Kazuaki Kiriya, his 2004 movie Casshern. You have someone from the upper castes touring the wastes. Her retinue of guards and transport are just out of frame. She is pulled to this place for reasons beyond her consciousness. Something that will help her form her identity as a mature person draws her to this place. No special effects… No super manga hero pyrotechnic martial arts…
And the soundtrack? Well let’s bring in the Roach Messiah! Well, maybe something a bit more subdued—for this particular scene. …And, of course, that relatively blue sky and the telephone poles will have to go!
That’s all for now… captivity! Arrggh!
I’m writing a script for two actors, one male and one female—both descended from Africa, raised in America. You can call them ‘African Americans’ but you might want to call them American Africans after serious world travel and sensitivity. These two meet in a Caribbean resort for six days of talking—no sex… just talking. This is a play of dialog—a play of revelation. This work has been dismissed by a noted professional actor of color—that will go unnamed—as a play with no plot, that evidently does not interest her at all.
So I look at films like My Dinner with Andre and I just finished watching Before Sunset—the sequel to 1995s Before Sunrise and I see plays of dialog with no plot. I see only revelation and the implied assumption that the audience are interested in these characters because of the popularity and talent of the actors (in that order). Now we go back to our dismissive actor of color with my implication and I conclude that this seasoned professional is finding yet another way to say that a North American audience is not interested in subtle plays of dialog between people of color in a structure that is not reinforced with the concrete storytelling of a giant mason like August Wilson.
My next grocery bill does not directly depend on my writing—for humans (for machines is a different story). So I will go on without the validation of ‘humanity’ and experiment with the possibility that someone other than myself wants to see work with real adult contemporary themes for English-speaking people with strong African features. And when the African features are strong, the following concepts in fiction are questioned:
- The superiority of romantic love and the assumption that it is a desired destination.
- The desire to preserve individuality to the exclusion of any form of collective responsibility—providing, say, escapism in a time of war.
- The assumption that regular sexual activity is a grand prize of the privileged few instead of a lifestyle activity necessary for human health.
- The isolation of sexual behavior from a larger system of human interaction. (This fails to blur the line between sexual intercourse and social intercourse between consenting adults to make it all just one big intercourse.)
Unless I am writing about hippie free love in some drug den, most of these assumptions are accepted in fiction as real life forever—the ‘human condition.’ My fiction would remind the audience that these ‘assumptions’ are peculiar problems—by-products—of patriarchy based on a dominator culture founded on the Greek concept of the individual. Don’t assume, English-speaker, this is ponderous pretension that will weigh down work with ‘heady’ academic dogma. Just remember that when Kurasawa does a dialog scene as a two-shot instead of a bunch of over-the-shoulder one-shots he is trying to ‘teach’ you about the collectivism being equal to individuality (among other things). This is very important in our contemporary American “ownership society.”
So artists go to art school and they learn about art. Sounds harmless. Right? However, when I show my African features—when I am not compelled to hide my heritage in order to make others feel comfortable—then I no longer see artists and I no longer see art. I see creative people learning how to express themselves using tools and techniques that come from a specific culture. My theory of relativity comes in to upset the classical model of the mechanical universe.
I am sure that my colored actor friend would pat me on the head, agree with me and then get on with real life. She might go see a play on Broadway—and that play might be The Lion King. But we should agree that director Julie Taymor and choreographer Garth Fagan are drawing on sources outside of ‘normal’ artistic sources to make a ‘respectable’ commercial success.
Further readings around this context can start with two articles: “The World Wide Floyd Webb 2004” and “Blazed Up with The Undefined”—both at kintespace.com of course.