Monday, March 31, 2008
Wyclef needs a sociology class

Wyclef, a man chosen to be the ambassador for Haiti has recently appeared on radio ads asking Haitians to "give up crime and work to improve the country." Full article here, below are the highlights:
" should not be raping women, kidnapping people and children, because there can be no excuse for doing so,"

"I reject these evil practices"

I'm sure Wyclef means well, he seems like a decent guy, and I have no doubt he loves his country and its people. I'd also like to add that I don't really have a problem with what he's saying. After all, raping women and kidnapping children kinda got played out in the 80's, right? What does bother me is the eerily Bush-like, fundamentalist phraseology of the line :'I reject these evil practices.' I'm figuring thats either a Haitian thing I'm not hip to, or maybe he just finished watching an episode of Charmed?

Seriously though, to me Wyclef is saying this:
"Many poor Haitians choose to do bad things, and maybe if I, as a millionaire celebrity, ask them to stop, they will stop because they respect me. "
Aside from the immediate problem I have with a rich person telling poor people to do anything; what he is saying seems to imply that the crime and violence going on Haiti are solely the product of personal choices. It implies that all is well in Haiti and yet, for some inexplicable reason, people keep committing crimes.

If you know anything about Haiti you know all is not well and it never has been. The kind of poverty that Haitians have endured over at least the last 40 years, is nothing short of violent torture; and that is not hyperbole. Haiti, has consistantly been the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and now, there are Haitians who are forced to eat dirt to survive!! The U.S. has played a healthy role in helping to create the Haiti that exists today and is unwilling to play an equal role in improving living conditions there. As a black man, I have to say, I'm not exactly surprised, but its still sad nonetheless.

If I could speak to Wyclef, I would implore him to study the connection between, politics, economomics, and crime and analyze the environment that most of the people who become street criminals, grow up in. I think he would find that, poor living conditions, generally produce criminal activity and that this holds true pretty much all over the world. Then I would ask him if he thinks that a millionaire ought to be asking poor people to stop committing crimes, when the solution to crime is rooted in economics and education?

I'd hope that after his studies, he'd no longer look at the guns and street crimes that kill Haitians, and instead focus on the political corruption and economic rape that is killing them softly.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008
Tight is the new Baggy: Indivdualism vs. Individuality

Whenever I get into a discussion about communism, inevitably someone makes an argument that sounds more or less like this:
But under communism everything will be the same, everybody will be getting the same thing. What if I don't want to wear a drab grey jump suit every day for the rest of my life? What if I don't want to live in black & white?

Between this non-argument and the 'human nature' platitude, I have to give credit where credit is due. After all of these years, shitty public education and anti-communist propaganda are still effective weapons for the ruling class.

I am forced to endure these arguments because people are individualistic. Individualism is encouraged by society (how else are they gonna control us?), that is, until they need some fresh bodies to go kill some brown people in another country somewhere. Then they are waxing poetic about how brave it is to sacrifice for the common good and how you ought to think about people other than yourself. Yeah, think about people other than yourself, because, yourself…well, he’s about to die! But I digress. It always strikes me as ironic that amidst all of this individualism, there is very little individuality.

On its surface, the individuality argument seems valid. You wonder, aren’t they arguing in favor of greater individual choices, a wider political debate, and more health care and educational approaches? No, instead they are mainly talking about freedom of choice as it relates to fashion, jewelry and other consumer status symbols like cars. They don’t want to lose their choices between Evisu, Bathing Ape, and True Religion jeans. They want the choice to be rich (hows that choice coming along, btw?), the choice to be different, the choice to be consumers and have those consumer goods define them. The glaring contradiction of it all is that the people making this argument are ALL DOING, SAYING & WEARING THE SAME EXACT SHIT!!!! What they are really saying is they don’t want to change the economic system to focus on human need, because they will lose their over-priced consumer goods that make them fell good about themselves. They are essentially rebelling against rebellion. How radical?

What many of them do not realize (or care about) is that the modern concept of fashion, (clothing as a way to express your individuality) comes solidly out of corporate marketing in the early part of this century. Clothing was once just something to have you look decent and protect you from the elements. Thats until some corporations got the bright idea to manipulate public opinion by paying some famous rich people to tell you, that you're hip and fashionable because you wear a certain item. Then, once you have complied and paid way too much money for some cotton garment that an exploited woman of color somewhere sewed for pennies an hour, you can walk around looking smugly at those who aren't following the trends as closely as you. You get to pose as some kind of fashionista pioneer by following the trends of the fashion world closer than your friends. Wow! Not only do you dress better than me, but you' are also now one step closer to being gay. Congrats. Repeat cycle when your fashion gods tell you whats hot for the next season.

The fashion industry reminds me very much of the American political system. There is the illusion of choices, but they are all really all made from the same cheap shit when you get down to it. There are a million clothing lines/labels who are all making clothes so similarly ugly, it takes me a full day of shopping to find 1 pair of jeans that aren't male hip huggers with some kind of embroidered mosaic going down my leg, and 1 shirt that doesn't look like my daughters did an art project on it. Or maybe I'm wrong about this whole fashion/politics analogy and we all really do fit neatly into political boxes labeled democrat and republican? And maybe i need to cop me a whole bathing ape outfit and stop playing? Yeah, wait for it.

Nah, but honestly, I feel your pain my soon-to-be-gay fashionista friends. You're afraid that in some kind of Communist/Socialist society you wouldn't all be able to rock your Technicolor hoodies and wear your tight-ass pants down by the back of your knees, looking like a male rape victim, while you call yourselves 'young', using the identical vocal inflection of a 38 year old corporate/CEO rapper. Aside from the fact that your concerns are unfounded (who's gonna deny you the right to look like a buffoon?), I understand why you wouldn’t want some silly shit like universal health care, and free higher education, to stifle all that hyper creativity you've got going. Its like Sophies Choice, for you dudes. I guess thats how we now have a million rappers and not an original thought among them. Lots of individualism, and scarce little individuality. To be honest, I'd prefer a drab grey sweatsuit to alot of what passes for hot nowadays anyway.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008
1 in 10 get Obama's religion wrong

The Washington Post documents American ignorance here, below are the highlights:

One in 10 voters believes Barack Obama is Muslim, a mistaken impression that lingers across party lines, a poll showed Wednesday.

Conservatives, less educated voters and white evangelical Protestants are likelier to believe Obama is Muslim, as are people from the South, the Midwest and rural areas, the poll showed. Nearly a quarter of white Democrats with unfavorable views of Obama say he is Muslim though overall, blacks are about as likely as whites to hold the misconception.

Although this is pretty self-explanatory, I feel compelled to state the obvious: Huge swaths of this society are severely uninformed and easily misinformed about a wide variety of things. I suppose thats nothing knew, but it gets worse...
[The notion that Barrack is Muslim] has persisted despite the recent controversy over divisive remarks by his longtime pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Those saying they have heard a lot about Wright's comments are about as likely as others to say they think Obama is Muslim, the poll showed.

So in other words, many know that the Christian Pastor of Barrack's Christian church has said some controversial things, YET, they still think he is a Muslim. Barrack is a Muslim, who attends a Christian church which is too black and scares white people?!? There is a word for people who allow both of these ideas to exist in their mind at the same time. Stupid.

How long before these people connect him to Al-Qaeda?

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