Learned a New Word Today

April 12, 2007

Learned a New Word Today

Well, okay, it was yesterday that I learned the word. While catching up on the whole Don Imus imbroglio involving the comments that he made about the Rutgers Women’s basketball team, I stumbled across journalist Gwen Ifill’s [yes, that Gwen Ifill. The one from PBS. The one who has moderated Presidential Debates] op-ed essay in the New York Times  [registration and other soul-numbing routines are required in order to read any of the substantial news at site of the publication that prints everything that is fit to print. So, if you are not already registered at the NY Times site, as I suspect way too many folx already are- and I hope, if you are reading this you are a dedicated Times reader- be prepared to spend some time doing so. I think it’ll be worth your time if you only read this article and never go back again. Yup, it’s that good. That Gwen.]. For you rock dwellers unfamiliar with the Imus situation, last week, the morning after the Rutgers ladies lost to Tennessee in the Women’s College B-Ball final, Mr. Imus, on his nationally broadcast radio show, referred to the team as “nappy-headed hos,” a slang-addled phrase that for speakers of the Queen’s English roughly translates into “African-American women with naturally kinky hair who are also prostitutes of the lowest, street-walker sort.” As one could expectedly assume, this is not exactly, especially when offered in the vernacular, a compliment of highest regard.

As has been widely reported since this incident, Mr. Imus, some years back, dropped a racially-charged insult on Ms. Ifill, who is African-American, referring to her as “a cleaning woman.” The invective leveled at Ifill, who was covering the White House for the NY Times at the time, went something like this [and I’m paraphrasing]- “Oh, those wonderful, esteemed publishers at the NY Times, they let the cleaning lady cover the White House.”

So of course, Ms. Ifill, who has apparently been ignoring the slight for more than ten years, finally gets her last laugh – in a rather didactic way – on Imus in the pages of the Times, and she gets to hurl a new word at me. That word is carapace.  For those of you already familiar with the word, good for you, and for those who have one, even better for you. A carapace is basically, a protective shell. The context in which Ifill used the term is: “They [the Rutgers Bball team] are not old enough, or established enough, to have built up the sort of carapace many women I know — black women in particular — develop to guard themselves against casual insult.”

Women aren’t the only ones in need of a good carapace. It’s virtually impossible to exist in today’s world as a sentient being without one. I myself, a big ugly repressive white guy of the basest gentile variety, have been accused over the years of being a bit thin-skinned, and letting things get to me. It’s true. I was thrown in with sensitive lot at birth, and have made some efforts to don a carapace in my daily excursions through this sphere in order to get along and have a decent, somewhat fulfilling existence. Still, it’s easy to leave it at home sometimes. It is a bit of a cumbersome thing. Even more frustrating are the things that get inside the shell, and get stuck there, to be obsessed over- over and over again. Ouch! Everyone has those things that come back to haunt them over the years- the failed marriage, the job they wish they’d taken, the girlfriend they wish they had never met. Those things get stuck in the shell, and the only thing that can get them out is patience and the occasional psychic vacuuming. Here’s hoping for the Rutgers Women’s Bball Team that this whole Imus incident, and I have faith that for these outstanding young ladies, it will- just bounces off them, and onto the curb where it belongs. From all indications so far, they seem to be more bewildered by the whole thing, and anything but insulted. I think Ifill has underestimated them. I appears they do indeed possess, at least, a collective carapace, and it is doing just fine.

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Crotchety Old Men and Drunken Babies

April 11, 2007

Greetings my demented denizens of the entertainment-industrial complex. I come to you wired, fired, and inspired. Geez. That was frightening. That is as close to rap as I’m ever gonna get, so ne’er fear, the pain you just experienced shall be but few and far between, or at least I should hope, lest I be whisked away in an over-sized SUV [redundant??], and forced to make rhymes to shoddily cribbed blues riffs while women with prodigious attributes gyrate and grind in the proximity of my person, and sing catchy little phrases like, “Hey Ho!” or “Say it ain’t so, Joe– Yo! Yo! Yo!.”

So what is this post about… hmmm.. Really??? Is it about the difference between tradition-directed, inner-directed, and outer-directed personality types as per that fabulous classic of the American psycho-sociological landscape, The Lonely Crowd, by Riesman, Glazer, and Denney??? If it is, I’m feeling strangely outer-directed at this juncture, despite the mad, insistent machinations of my inner-gyroscope. This sudden switch to the outer banks is odd, since I’m usually an inner-directed person, the kind that pisses-off people with his taciturn wiles and complete inability to read the inner workings of his fellow human-beings, though they are yelling in distinct body English not more than two feet in front of him. Forgive me for being old-fashioned, or Old Skool as the kidz today say, but I prefer my English spoken. Ya know. Verbal. Aural. You can even in write it down. I’ll read it. But body language???

Empathy???? I’m not sure what that is. Though I’m certain I possess it, there are lots of people who think– or at least lots of people have told me– that I don’t. Yes, self-absorbed ass, moi. Who did I piss off today. Oh, always thinking about me. Me Me Me.. What would Christopher Lasch do???

But who cares at this point about me. Let’s talk about you. That’s right YOU!!! And Christopher Hitchens’ curmudgeonly article on “YOU” as the new “ME.” Thought provoking? No. Asinine? Yes, definitely. Mr. Hitchens is always good for having his goat gotten in the most entertaining of ways. I’m not sure if this was written by one of the more outrageous political commentators of the last few decades, or was dictated by a ranting Andy Rooney onto a scratching cylindrical tube from the early part of the 20th century. If this article should offer anything other than the impression that Mr. H has pissed his vinegar, please let me know. Oh yes. I bow and genuflect before the great one. Oh. I”m not worthy oh great Hitchmeister. You are so wise, so wonderful, so huge. So enormous. You are blinding in your brilliance. Read the article at Slate.

If you haven’t heard the Black Angels, you have not heard rock ‘n’ roll, or at least rock ‘n’ roll in the form of one helluva a Black Sabbath redux. And forget that they are from Austin, Tejas, EEU. That label tends to suffocate bands. Luckily, these guys know what the hell they are doing in the form of dirty retro revival rock. Black Angels are too good to last. They are on tour at this moment, so I highly recommend you see them before they explode into a happy cloud of sparkling hell dust before some lucky audience’s eyes.

If you have not seen the genius cartoon vid for Peter, Bjorn and John’s Young Folks, here is where you can see it. Love the covert sexual vibe and the completely understated tone of the whole thing. That’s right. Covert; understated. Does anyone, especially the under-30 set – and many over 30’s– understand what subtlety is anymore?? Gosh.. I find being seduced so much more fun than the cerebral and literal rape of so much crap that passes for pop art today.. cum [no pun kids] that Pussycat Dolls garbage on CW. Woo.. Yeah.. Strutting around half-naked. That’s really empowering. I don’t care how attractive you are. You look really frackin’ stupid. T&A will only take you so far. The ol’ Morrissey ditty rings true – “on the day that your mentality catches up with your biology….” Whoa.. I’m having a C. Hitch moment, there. Slap me before I have too much fun with my own consternation! Anyway, the Peter, et. al. vid is an exquisite example of how far a little imagination and thought can go in making something truly wonderful. I love the whole retro feel – as I’ve read in more than one place– it is quite reminiscent of the old Jonny Quest cartoons. What?? Too damn young or unenlightened to know who the f— J Quest is??? Well. Educate your darn self. Also, the female character is just totally hot without boobs and butt bursting all over the place– hello P-Cats… hint. Hint. Hint. . It’s all in the demur smile. Do the kids today even know what demur is?? Do I have to move to Sweden to get more intelligent videos like this?? Oh Hitchens!! Leave me now oh demon!!!

While you’re at it, check out the acoustic version of the song.

Oh yeah, the FINAL FOUR– May Madness – of Vmars.. Gosh, I stumbled over this one in the last few posts, then wondered all over the www. looking for info on when the last eps would start. Gosh, wouldn’t ya know it, all I had to do to get that info was turn on my little ol’ television set to the CW and voila, there’s a big fat promo for the last arc of Vmars starting on May 1. Ouch!!! This may be the last four of V forever, so get your recording mechanisms at the ready.

Ggirls Fans.. Yes, I am but one. The final eps for this season kick off on 4/17/07. Yee ha.

Other cerebral flotsam and jetsam– a friends’ kids’ little league soccer team got trounced 7-0 last week. I told him before he went out for the game today, that if they lose that badly again, they should be lined up and shot. Yes, sounds harsh, but it was merely a reference to Dynamo Kiev back during WWII. Of course, DK were lined-up and shot for winning against the Nazis. Isn’t there a ceremonial beauty to the act of being “lined-up” and then “shot.” It’s much nicer than just being shot. Or being lined-up. The whole lined-up then shot thing, gives it a neat little formality that seems to be missing in so much of today’s hurried homicidal rages. Gosh, do murderers just not have the decency to line-up their victims anymore? Is there no pride in crime, punishment, and execution anymore?? It’s just shoot, shoot, shoot. Blood everywhere. No pride in craft. Hmmm..

And.. speaking of being shot, Austin Country Music legend Billy Joe Shaver certainly knows how to handle unruly fans. Don’t Mess with Texas Musicians, folx. http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/04/06/6kelso.html;
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070403/ENTERTAINMENT06/70403019

Unfortunately, I don’t think Shaver lined-up his victim, other than in the gun’s site. No style points.

Now. I shall shut up. I leave you with Family Guy‘s Stewie, drunk..

A a gay infant, a talking dog. Whoa!!!

A televisual slice of heaven if there ever was such. Yes!!! That’s right, Baby!!!