Saturday, August 28, 2021

Throw Out the Trash Takes

As some of you know, I get ideas for some of my pieces from my daily Twitter scrolling. For the past few days, there have been a lot of interesting topics that caught my eye, from the Jeopardy host controversy, to Tha Carters starring in a Tiffany's ad, to the R. Kelly trial starting around the same time that we commemorated 20 years since Aaliyah died in that plane crash. There are a LOT of opinions, almost as many as there are people who equate mask-wearing to oppression...

So I thought that I would round up a few of the most compelling so that we can toss all this trash in one setting.

Tha Carters - I don't know what it is about the way Beyonce spends Jay Z's money that has y'all so hot and bothered, but really, why all the negativity? Most of you know I'm not a card-carrying member of the Bey-hive, and I am here for whatever well-deserved criticism they deserve from selling overpriced athleisure or tossing their pocket change to help a handful of HBCU students. But the backlash over this Tiffany's ad is befuddling. Why is this all so controversial?

I mean, didn't we all grow up in homes where EBONY magazine was a ubiquitous presence? And inside its pages, did we not see glossy photo spreads of celebrity homes and their acquisitions--their cars, furs, jewels, and fine art? Wasn't one of the most popular shows on MTV at one time called Cribs? Robin Leach anyone? Now that a few Black folks have transcended the EBONY socio-economic audience and have Town and Country cash, we've decided to denounce them as gauche? As if...

How many of us can claim to have been familiar with Jean-Michel Basquiat's work prior to the interest shown by Tha Carters? And how many of you are still wearing that Tiffany's silver link bracelet that you received as a graduation present, and have only managed to add one charm because that is all the status you can afford? Let's not get precious and conscious as if we shouldn't expect that Black billionaires aren't out here working hard to remain Black billionaires. But at least Tha Carters are still tossing a few coins in the fountain with that $2 million gift to HBCUs. 

(Actually, those aren't even their coins being tossed...$2 million is barely Bey's wig/weave budget for a year. Go on and drag 'em.)

Jeopardy vs. Reading Rainbow - Now, Imma tell the truth and shame the Devil here because as much as I LURVE LeVar Burton, I know he can do much better than settle for becoming the host of Jeopardy. I mean, let's be honest and admit that once an actor becomes a game show host, that pretty much means s/he is no longer an actor. I haven't seen the latest Drew Carey movie because there isn't one. So as much as I know that Burton would have excelled at this job, I hope he can move on to something much bigger and better because, yeah...

But since we're on the subject, I have a few thoughts on that ridiculous "audition" process and how shitty it was to bring everyone on with the delusion that they were under serious consideration. Once the producer picked himself, it became clear that everyone else had been put through the paces for the sake of appearances. And that is exactly why a lot of women and POC are nodding in recognition because we've been through this ringer plenty of times when interviewing for jobs that were never really available. Maybe there are good reasons why Burton wasn't the right fit, and as an actor he knows that most auditions don't lead to gigs. The real undeserved harm in this debacle will be the cloud it places over the head of the person who finally gets the job, since it probably won't be Mayim "Sugar Pills" Bialik. Who wants the burden of having to overcome the taint of being the third-round draft pick for a game show that most people only watch with their grandparents or right before meeting colleagues for dinner in the lobby at the hotel?

R. Kelly - So I clicked on someone's gross response to a headline about this dude's ongoing trial and it was an epic mistake. I won't repeat any of that nonsense, but I will just point out the single detail that every single one of his stans must live, die, and be judged by at the Pearly Gates when your entry gets denied: That mofo urinated on a 13 year old child during a sexual encounter with her. There isn't a note to any song he has ever written/sung/hummed that makes that okay. Children cannot consent to sex, not even with each other. If you spent any part of the day on August 25 listening to an Aaliyah tribute, just remember that he was a grown man and she was 15. Stop arguing about the culpability of the parents as justification for his abuse and enjoy eternity stomping to the name of love in Hell. 

Afghanistan - I am not a foreign policy expert, nor have I served a minute in the military, so my understanding of what is going on in that country is based on what I have observed for the past 20 years and quite literally how it all unraveled in less than 24 hours. So for me, this isn't up for political or ideological debate. The word quagmire has often been used to describe our involvement there, and it would seem that unless we can actually do something to improve the situation, this is one of those times when extraneous analysis and hindsight from the peanut gallery is pointless.

Haiti - However, if there is an international situation that is worthy of your attention, it is Haiti. The conditions there are tragic, and before anyone suggests that the failures of third world nations is due to some divine preference for the rich, let me stop you. Because then I'd have to challenge your upbringing and point out how that sentiment is a perversion of every Bible story we were taught as children. 

In several places throughout the Bible it reminds us that "the poor you will always have with you." No where does it say that our job is to judge them or complain about their inability to overcome their impoverishment, especially when we contribute to and benefit from it. Therefore, we won't argue how the legacy of colonialism, racism, and geo-political imperialism have compounded this latest series of tragic events. Instead, you just need to find a reputable organization to which your donations can be sent to provide relief. 

Kamala Harris - The caterwauling over her mere existence is on par with the whining over former President Obama's birthday party. How dare she (fill in the blank)! Like it or not, she is the Vice President, so if your wish is for President Biden to resign, then guess what?

And this is a truism for those of you who haven't read past the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, because any hopes that there will be some kind of restoration of the Trump Dynasty to the White House is proof that the Kool Aid was laced and that it was a mistake to stop airing School House Rock. It is also indicative how people need to keep dictionaries in the home because the misuse of the word incompetent is rampant. There is no job description for Vice President except to show up, which she does just as competently as the 48 others who preceded her. That one couldn't spell the word potato didn't stir up calls for his impeachment, but let her misspell a tweet and we should expect another insurrection. 

Biden = Trump - like Hell to the Naw! This is literally the Alt-left Twitter argument against the current Administration, which pairs well with the Alt-Right fantasy of a triumphant Trump return. Because some of y'all are seriously opining on Al Gore's internet that there is no daylight between Uncle Joe and the chaos and pure daily fuckery that was the Trump Reality Shitshow. I don't know what you've been smoking for the past 7 months, but the most controversial misstep made by the Biden Administration was in letting Dr. Jill reveal how kinky they get down when she wore these tights in public.

Unvaccinated Celebrities - Because of my algorithms, most of the people on my timeline are the very frustrated, masked up, and vaccinated folks who really cannot believe that we're still debating masks and vaccines in the face of a mutating virus that has had global implications for 18 months. So every time some celebrity issues a statement about not wearing masks or refusing the vaccine, I typically see it as an incredulous re-tweet, because none of us CAN BELIEVE THIS SHIT! WTF??!!

Usually I am not one to tell anybody to shut up and sing/play/rap, etc., but damn. 

The Milk Crate Challenge - Meanwhile, if there was a way to illustrate how ridiculous folks look/sound when they complain about wearing a mask was a social media challenge...

Cyber-bullying - When I first thought about the various topics I would include in this piece, one was in reaction to the tweetstorm stirred up by Sha'Carri Richardson's stunning upset in her first competition since her Olympic disqualification. She lost and because Twitter makes it possible for everyone to be a sports analyst, she got some serious ribbing. But she's a competitor on the global stage, so she has to take the cheers with the jeers and just keep on running.

I won't point to anyone in particular (Roland Martin), but you can be right and still be wrong at the same time. I personally don't think that everyone needs to clap for Richardson, but I also don't think that we should celebrate her loss as some kind of karmic lesson. That's not how to encourage people to do better. Instead it provokes the very kind of response she had upon losing, which was to dig in and clapback. Whether that was the most appropriate way to react is debatable, but having just watched the Olympics more than two weeks ago, I noted that no other last place finishers were granted post-race interviews. And upon further reflection, naw lil Sis, you don't need to be humble, you just need to win*...

As that drama gets replaced by other trending topics, this is your friendly neighborhood Busy Black reminder that words can and do sting. Actions have consequences. And just as we are responsible for the things we say in real life, we carry that same responsibility on Blue Ivy's internet where everything is written with Sharpies, not mechanical pencils. You can't undo the harm you cause someone by erasing tweets in the age of screenshots, nor should you expect any grace if that clapback strikes at your Achilles' heel. 

Social media isn't a substitute for therapy. If you have personal or professional stuff going on, Twitter ain't the venue for working through any of that. No, it isn't cool that someone took advantage of you in real life, and while it is a public service to warn others, once it becomes a crusade that involves doxxing 3rd parties, that is taking things way too far. Posting an angry rant on IG because you feel the need to defend yourself against someone who was defending you...(*yeah, I saw that recent post SR and I repeat, you need to win some hardware Sis, otherwise you are just talking loud and saying nothing). You can keep your misogynoir takes on feminism because no, grown women aren't looking for that toxic manhood punch you're selling from your Mama's basement. But I guess this is what we should have come to expect from a generation of kids raised on The Maury Show.

That's all I got for today. My can is full.

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