Thursday, December 31, 2015

Stop with the COSpiracies

Bill Cosby was finally arrested, after 40 years and 50 allegations, of sexual assault. His bail was set and posted. He cannot leave the country. Finally, after a year of Larry Wilmore reminding us the he didn’t forget about that motherfucker, the Pennsylvania Justice System showed that they didn’t forget about the motherfucker did it either.

Now, I’m calling on you, black people, to not deify Bill Cosby. We cannot have another “Support Him No Matter What” situation. We can’t have another OJ. Don’t try to explain away what happened. Don’t accuse the women who came forward of “just wanting money”. Don’t Excuse his actions because “they were from a different time”. Don’t claim that his arrest is a deliberate distraction from recent  cases of inequality and/or the Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland cases. And for the love of God, PLEASE stop perpetuating that dick-punchingly inane conspiracy that the White Man™ played a long game to ruin Bill cosby because he wanted to buy NBC.



Our heroes of the past were all human. That means that they were flawed. Michael Jordan is a great basketball player, but he also had a gambling problem. THis does not detract from him being a great basketball player. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a REAL social justice warrior. We’d likely not be where we are now were it not for him. However, he also had a few extramarital affairs. This does not de-legitimize his work to make everyone in this country equal in the eyes of the law, as much as J. Edgar Hoover attempted to make it so. Cosby’s body of work in comedy and entertainment raised some of us, whether it was “I Spy” in the 1960s, “Fat Albert” in the 1970s, or “The Cosby Show” and “A Different World” in the 1980s, or any other work he has done. However, over 50 people have come forward, at risk of their own reputations, to accuse this motherfucker of rape. This is not some infidelity, or a few thousand dollars on games. This non-consensual, drug induced, violation of people’s bodies. He even said in an affidavit that he acquired quaaludes for the purpose of drugging women and having sex with them, so please, if you keep repeating, “innocent until proven guilty”, take a ball peen hammer, and hit yourself in the nuts. If you don’t think that you can do that, please call me, and I will be happy to help you. I have three pairs of steel toe boots.

Over 50 women came forward. Only one case of one victim was seen in court and resulted in a settlement. It is utterly ridiculous to claim that 50 women were only out for money. 50 women, from 50 different walks of life, who never knew each other but have the same story with the same modus operandi, all of a sudden banded together to get money from one person? That makes about as much sense as a Trump presidential election bid, and sadly it is still gaining traction, like a Trump presidential election bid. Both can be stopped, though. You have to use a critical weapon called USING YOUR GODDAMN HEAD. Beverly Johnson didn’t need money. Neither did Tamara Green. Neither did the women who DIDN’T want their names public. The idea of the “devious woman” is as old as the story of Eve, and it needs to end now.

The 1960s and 1970s were a different time, by definition. That does not mean that actions in those times were not wrong. Spousal rape was not first outlawed in the USA until the 1970s, but it was still happening long before a law was on the books. It still wasn’t a nationwide crime until 1993. Drugging women with quaaludes (or any drug) was commonplace in the 1960s and 1970s. It was still by definition non-consensual sex. If a person cannot affirm that she is open to sexual advances, then it is assault, whether the law is on the books or not. The women who came forward did so in droves, uncoordinated, because there is safety in numbers. the blow of the slut-shaming they endure is likely a lessened thanks to their mutual support of each other.  The women who didn’t come forward until just now didn’t do it then, because what is happening right now to them would have happened tenfold back then. Their characters are being assassinated by individuals and the media, and Bill Cosby himself. Their histories are being torn asunder, so that people can prove that they were promiscuous and lecherous she-devils. If they so much as kissed a boy on the cheek when they were 8, it will be plastered everywhere. Why would anyone think they would receive justice in an environment like that? And black people, the same thing happens to us when we speak of getting profiled in stores, or being unnecessarily detained or beaten by overzealous officers, or being turned down for a loan or lease. We are battered with questions about what we were wearing, what were we doing, how we were speaking. If we so much as have one picture of us with a Supersoaker in hand or dancing, then our detractors exclaim, “See! They’ve got weapons, and look at the way they’re dancing! They’re thuggish animals!” Time has softened the public’s view of women who come forward to accuse someone of a crime. People actually LISTEN to them, and it is still a minefield. So, black people, if you are placing the blame on the women who came forward “late” at risk of their own reputations and careers, then please staple your mouths shut, and never speak again.

Finally, my dear black people, The conspiracy theories need to stop. Bill Cosby was not arrested to distract us from the Sandra Bland case, or the Tamir Rice case, or any other case. He was arrested in Pennsylvania. Tamir Rice was killed in Ohio. Sandra Bland was killed in Texas. None of these are Pennsylvania. If you think that Cosby’s arrest was an attempt to keep us from focusing on other things,  you think that we are as narrow minded and stupid as people have been saying we are since Europeans started colonizing Africa. You insult your own intelligence. We can focus on more than one thing, hoping a serial rapist gets his day in court can be one of those while we’re still fighting to get more transparency and cooperation with our local police and justice departments, so that we don’t have more Tamir Rices and Sandra Blands.

The “distraction” conspiracy theory is nowhere near as mind-numbingly idiotic as the claim that The White Man™ wanted to destroy Cosby because of his failed bid to purchase NBC in the early 1990s. He just didn’t have enough money to do it. That is all. He also ventured to own a stake in ABC, which may have been a conflict of interest. It is amazing what you learn when you research something more than third-rate conspiracy sites. The NBC revenge conspiracy is an insult to actual conspiracies and plots that WERE actually perpetuated to take down successful black people. There is a whole list of them, beginning with mid-Atlantic slave trade. Then there is Jim Crow, the literal burning down of Black Wall Street, the Tuskegee Experiment, and Hoover’s plots to subvert civil rights activists through scandal. But this is not any of them. The only person who conspired to take down Cosby was Cosby’s abject hubris and hyperbolic sense of worth. He took himself down. There is a list of black men who have been in the news, who have done things that the public deems disgraceful, that you’re saying The White Man™ conspired to socially eradicate: Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Mike Tyson, Cee-Lo Green, Michael Jordan, etc. The problem is that all of these people took themselves down. Vick ran a dog ring. Woods cheated on his wife, Mike Tyson was an abusive husband and was CONVICTED of rape. Cee-Lo Green ADMITTED that he did a Cosby™ on a woman, and then defended himself by further admitting it. Michael Jordan gambled subversively. The White Man™ did not force them to do these things. They did it themselves. If the White Man™ were so intent on bringing down every successful black person, then why is Oprah Winfrey still one of the richest people in the nation? If you think is only black men about which the Man™ is concerned, then why is Denzel Washington still on top of his game, or Will Smith, or Neil deGrasse Tyson, or Magic Johnson (who BEAT HIV)? All of these immensely successful people would be on SKid Row by now. Every time you say, “I’m not defending Cosby, but…” you sound like people who say, “I’m not racist, but…”, and then say immensely racist things.

There is a definite distraction from things important to the black community in the US. It’s these conspiracies that make no sense. Our wages and education are in general very disparate, and we still have the residual racism permeating through society that has a lot of people, even our own people, viewing us as assailants before we’re considered human. But please, harp on about how Cosby is being dragged through the mud because of a failed NBC bid. Keep talking about how his career is ruined, ignoring the lives he ruined. Defend the rapist. Before you do it, please put uranium down your pants. You should not reproduce, and the sterilization procedure should be painful.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Slut-Shaming Feminisim: The Konundrum of the Kardashians, and Caitlyn Jenner

The Kardashians are not as bad as you think, and Caitlyn Jenner sucks.
I saw a few memes this year essentially depicting the Kardashians as cock-hungry she-demons who use their enormous butts like siren calls to entrap (mostly) black men. If you push for a deeper explanation of these memes, ones that say things like “American Whore Story” or “The Only KKK That Will Allow Black Men In”, you hear comments akin to what you hear about most single women in public:
  • They have no shame.
  • They’re sluts, because of their pitiful marriage records.
  • They’re always sleeping with multiple people.
  • They are trying to “trap” a man.
  • They love black men too much.
The first one, “They have no shame”…that is the only one with which I agree. They have had more reality shows and series than they have siblings. Kim is always trying to “break the internet”. She has an entire book of selfies. On her 18th birthday, it seemed like Kylie Jenner IMMEDIATELY ran to the first magazine and did a pictorial wearing assless pants, getting manhandled a creepy older model, and posing in a wheelchair, just to make sure pretty much everyone is pissed off. Kardashians have no shame, and they have no problem monetizing the exploitation of their bodies, or at least the most prominent parts of their bodies. In conversation, I often interchange the word “Kardashian” and the Star Trek race “Cardassian”. Both are originally from foreign lands. Both are very opulent and shallow. Both are primarily known for large natural protrusions coming off their bodies. The real issue about them having no shame: why do you care? They exploit their own bodies. That means that they are in control of them. They know what the public wants to see, and they tease the public with tidbits here and there.  Maybe they’re exploiting themselves for fame and fortunes, but that is their prerogative. If the Cardassians Kardashians decide that they don’t want to do any more reality shows, they can just walk away after their contracts are up. Kim can decide not to grease up her butt and pose in Mapplethorpe-esque poses anymore. She has a book of selfies, not someone-elsies. THEY are all in control of the flow of what you get from them, and they are letting it flow right now, and making money off of all of us.
Are the Cardassians Kardashians promiscuous and trying to “trap” guys, due to their collective multiple failed marriages? That depends; is this 1950s middle-American society, or 1800s Western Europe, or nearly any patrilineal society before the 21st Century? Back in the day, divorce was illegal, because unlike same-sex marriage, divorce actually DOES destroy marriages, because that is what it is by design. Once divorce was legal in all states, it was still socially discouraged, and women who got divorced were considered sluts for the simple fact of wanting a divorce. Divorced men were fine. Usually the question to them was, “What did SHE do?” So you can be in a dangerously abusive marriage. You can fear for your and your child’s life. Even in those circumstances, you were expected to stay in the marriage, and it was somehow your fault that your husband was so terrible to you. If he was a chronic cheater, it was YOUR fault that he wasn’t satisfied at home. If you separate or divorce, then YOU are the slut. Looking at Kim Cardassian Kardashian alone, she was married three times counting Yeezus West. In between those marriages she dated a few people, most famously Ray J; we all know about the sex tape. If you look at the Kim K. relationship timeline, there is no overlap.
There are only gaps. The gaps are wide and small, but they are gaps nonetheless. That doesn’t sound like a “slut”; it sounds like a serial monogamist. The same can be said of the other Cardassians Kardashians: no overlap, just gaps. That sex tape says nothing of how slutty one is, because she was in a monogamous relationship with Ray J, and a lot of people tape themselves having sex. If anything, you can call her a narcissist. A lot of their spouses/boyfriends, however, have quite the Venn diagram of relationships. No one discusses their habits, though. The Cardassians Kardashians suffer from something from which all of us single people suffer sometimes: shitty judgment of first impressions. They did dissolve those
relationships eventually, though. If being in multiple monogamous relationships that have fizzled out for various reasons makes one a “slut”, then every single person who has had at least one relationship in the past is a slut…that designation is only reserved for gay/bi men and single people with uteruses, though. Straight men usually get a pass, no matter what they do….Well…straight white men at least…
The Cardassians Kardashians’ penchant for dating black men has become a lightning rod with which to judge them for a while. There are a few problems I have with this. For one thing, they do not exclusively date black men, unless there is a secret Nick Lachey is hiding, and we’re going by the One-Drop Rule. My other problem is precisely why people are so quick to mention the Cardassians Kardashians’ black relationships. During American slavery, black men were literally bred like dogs. They called male slaves bucks. They forced them have sex with women slaves in order to make stronger babies. I doubt everyone was willing in this situation. This is likely one of the few cases where both the perpetrators and victims of the forced sex were simultaneously sexually abused. After slavery was abolished the “mystique” of the black man as a virulent specimen of untamed, unquenched sexual stamina persisted. People acted like black men were uncontrollable animals who would steal your children and rape them in the night. Hundreds of black men were lynched and castrated, accused of horrendous sexual crimes, whether a crime happened or not. When people point out specifically how many black partners the Cardassians Kardashians have had, and equate that to them having insatiable carnal desires, they not only perpetuate that 200-year stereotype of
the black sexual beast, they make the pushback against said stereotype so forceful, that cases where a black man actually HAS raped someone will be defended by people aware of this history, and their defense usually includes a healthy dosing of slut-shaming of the victim. This toxic environment makes true victims of sexual assault by anyone not want to come forward, and people get away for their crimes for years, until a group of victims band together and step forward, at which point the statute of limitations is long past, so the perpetrator is pretty much free. ...But enough about Bill Cosby. Back to the Cardassians Kardashians…beside the fact that they do not exclusively date black men, they might just have a general attraction to darker hued people. They are Armenian. Armenians would pass a paper bag test, but they are definitely not the social understand of “white”. Perhaps they are attracted to the people who would also most likely appreciate their darker skin. I would love to claim that as a black man, I am a smoldering monument, chiseled from a Vulcan monolith carnal sexual prowess, waiting and willing to explode, but I have a mirror and enough disappointed exes who will attest that this is not the case. Bringing up the Cardassians Kardashians black partners is not an indicator that they are “sluts”.
The Cardassians Kardashians may be many things. “Sluts”, they are not. Even if they were sleeping all over town, I doubt that would preclude them from being bad people in general. Frequency of sexual partners does not denote a good or bad person. They are quite rich for various reasons. They seem shallow, self-absorbed, and vapid. I do not enjoy hearing them speak or seeing their TV show. There is one thing that I notice in all of the coverage of them. They do stick together. All the blood relatives stick together through thick and thin. That definitely cannot be said of many families, and is an enviable trait. They may or may not be bad people, but they at least have that strong value. The only person I cannot stand in that extended clan is Caitlyn Jenner.
I am not supposed to say that Caitlyn Jenner didn’t deserve the Arthur Ashe ESPY Award. I am not supposed to say she doesn’t deserve Glamour’s Woman of the Year award. Don’t worry; I haven’t gone Full Huckabee; I don’t believe she is a NOT woman. I don’t think she is “playing dress up”. She says that she is a woman now, I’ll respect that. I’ll respect that her name is now Caitlyn. It takes a lot of courage to come out on a global stage like that. I do not hate on her for that. I am egregiously faulting her for not speaking up about transgender/transsexual rights. Her speech for the ESPYS had many platitudes. She mentioned two transgender teens who died, one by suicide and one by murder. She highlighted the works of Laverne Cox and Renee Richards in their respective fields of show business and sports. Everyone clapped, some teared up, and most of us expected big things to happen. Jenner appeared in a few public places, but her greatest accomplishment is a new Cardassian Kardashian-based reality mini-series called I Am Cait. It is as vapid as every other reality show. She said that the hardest part about being a woman is “figuring out what to wear”. Really? Getting your fashion game on point is the hardest part? Not the fear of being ostracized by your family, or winding up on the street, or having to prostitute yourself in order to get barely enough food to survive, or having an overall fear that any time you’re in public, no matter what you’re doing, someone may pick you out of a crowd and beat you, or even kill you? 21 transwomen were murdered this year in the US. A transgender woman is murdered every three days worldwide. Most of these are beatings. Can you imagine being beaten to death? I suppose coming out while being worth nearly $100 million shifts one’s priorities.
A minority person’s wealth and fame are not necessarily a dictate that they must now be a representative for the minority person’s group, but if they are going to be public about their identity and use that fame to garner more money awards, they should probably do something to respect and honor the people who came before them who were showered with derision and death instead of rewards and a TV show. ESPN and Glamour giving Jenner an award reminds me of when Barack Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize before he was even inaugurated. HE HADN’T DONE ANYTHING YET. He even said that in his speech. He was rewarded for not being George Bush and that’s it. Caitlyn Jenner was awarded before we saw what she would do with her publicity. Also, let us not forget that SHE KILLED SOMEONE WITH HER CAR. That definitely happened, and it has been pretty much ignored. A woman, who trivializes the plight of other women of her ilk, barely recognizes that transgender people are dying nearly every day, and has yet to show any remorse for killing someone got multiple awards and is now stumping at the UN. Let us all hope that in 2016, she starts doing something of substance for her community. That does NOT mean another reality show.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Almost Tuesday: The Curious Case of Benjamin Carson

Another week, another Almost Tuesday show, and another Chronicle of Nonsense. Enjoy.

CHRIS: Ben Carson is the #1 in the pool of black candidates for the GOP candidacy.
WOODY: Isn’t he the only bla-
CHRIS: Shhhhh…
WOODY: Sorry.
CHRIS: We need to find the real Ben Carson.
WOODY: What do you mean?
CHRIS: Ben Carson used to be a respected doctor who worked his way up from poverty in Detroit to become the head of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He was a folk hero to poor kids in BOTH places. Now he’s a shell of the man he once was.
WOODY: How so?
CHRIS: Carson most recently said that a Muslim candidate would not get his vote, because the laws of Quran go against the tenets of the United States.
WOODY: But a lot of the Bible goes against the tenets of the United States. That’s why there’s a separation of church and state, and no established national religion. Has he not heard of Article Six? That’s grade school history.
CHRIS: Yeah, and don’t forget the complete disregard of medical and scientific facts. He compared homosexuality to bestiality, which is a standard homophobic thing to do. He most recently claimed that homosexuality is a choice, and his example was that people go into jail straight and come out gay, which is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in days.
WOODY: What, not a lifetime?
CHRIS: Come on, Woody. We’re in the middle of a campaign season.
WOODY: Oh, right. That’s pretty bad. What’s next? You’ll tell me he doesn’t believe in Evolution?
CHRIS: Well…
CHRIS: YES! He said that people who support the Theory of Evolution would have difficulty figuring out how they derive their code of ethics! First, he’s questioning proven science, and then he’s claiming that if you believe in science, your ethics are questionable. He makes a living DOING SCIENCE! And his reason for believing in Creationism is, “Ooh, the Human Genome is so fancy!”
WOODY:  “Ooh, the Human Genome is so fancy!” What, does he think, God is Martha Stewart!
CHRIS: He also used a much skewed version of thermodynamic theory last week to claim that the Big Bang theory was wrong.
WOODY: Well, he isn’t an astrophysicist. He’s a neurosurgeon.
CHRIS: Hm…good point. Well how about this: he said that pediatricians have cut down vaccination schedules, which is outright false. There is a sequence for measles and such, and the only people changing schedules are parents, because they think Jenny McCarthy, a college dropout, knows more than their doctor.
WOODY: Wait, didn’t he work in pediatrics?
CHRIS: Yeah. That is frightening. He also came out against stem cell research, even though he had no problem doing fetal brain stem cell research in his career.
WOODY: What a hypocrite!
CHRIS: Oh, if you want hypocritical, He wants to do away withal government programs, even though when he grew up, his family got food stamps, he got free glasses, went to public schools, and most likely got SOME assistance to get into college.
WOODY: Wow, way to kick the ladder out after you climbed.
CHRIS: He’s not too kind to poorer people. He claimed that immigrants, not unvaccinated kids, were spreading measles to the States, and he also claimed that the few Syrian refugees to the States could be terrorist sleeper cells since they were mostly young men.
WOODY: But they’re mostly women and young children!
CHRIS: Yeah, truth does not seem to be his strong point. You know he questioned that domestic violence is a major problem in this country? 3 times as many women died in the last 10 years than soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even Bill O’Reilly called him out on his doubt!
WOODY: I’ve noticed he likes to compare a lot of things to Nazi Germany.
CHRIS: That and slavery! Remember when he said ACA was the worst thing to happen to America since slavery?
WOODY: Um...Japanese Internment? Pearl Harbor? The Tuskegee Experiment? The Trail of Tears? Jim Crow?
CHRIS: I know, I know, and then what he said after the third to last mass shooting-
WOODY: Fourth to last shooting.
CHRIS:Right, sorry/ I lost count. What he said after that fourth to last shooting was hardly comprehensible.
WOODY: Are you talking about how he said a bunch of people could have overcome him (even though somebody tried and got shot), or the part when he contradicted his own advice and recalled the time he was in the middle of a robbery in a restaurant and suggested the robber to rob the cashier?
CHRIS: Either one. It shows he doesn’t take his own advice, and he has no street cred. How are you going to throw somebody under the bus like that.
WOODY:  Wow. I can’t believe that an award-winning neurosurgeon can be as dumb as a bag of squirrels.
CHRIS: You just got to my point! That man parading around right now isn’t an award winning neurosurgeon! He’s been replaced!
WOODY: Oh yeah, now you’re going to tell me this Ben Carson is a trench coat full of squirrels in a rubber Ben Carson mask?
CHRIS: Well, how else would he forget that he grew up with government aid, or that he did stem cell research, or all of a sudden not understand basic medical knowledge? Maybe during that robbery attempt, he was kidnapped, and now a bunch of squirrels are running the show.
WOODY: But why would a bunch of squirrels do that?
CHRIS: Where I’m from, If you are gonna rat out ya boy like he did during that robbery, you get NO respect, even from animals. Plus, we’re talking Baltimore Squirrels, Woody. They’re pretty hardcore. Everyone is a little hood in Baltimore. Hell, I’m from Baltimore!.
WOODY: True, I saw “The Wire”, but that’s all Hollywood hyperbole.
CHRIS: Is it? I just stabbed you in the foot.
WOODY: Oh! Oh jeez…You might be right.
CHRIS: Yeah, We need to find the real Ben Carson.
WOODY: Agreed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dear Rochester: An Intervention

Dear Rochester,

We need to talk. You are really down on yourself for some reason, and I don’t know why. This is the only possible reason why you would, for the 7th time in a row that you chose Wegmans as the City Newspaper’s “Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner”. Your collective self-esteem is lower than it ever should be, because Wegmans is a supermarket, and there is no reason to think that any out-of-towner would think that this is the best that Rochester has to offer.

I know you know that both Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, two of the most pivotal civil rights activists in US history, are buried here, and you can visit and see their graves. There is no way anyone would think that is less cool than a place to get groceries and menial goods.

On First Friday, the Hungerford is a Shangri-La of artists of all types. The creativity is so diverse that walking through the different exhibitions is like walking through different dimensions of reality. It is better than San Jose’s. But you think that the bulk bin is what will mesmerize people.

You have some of the most fun festivals I have ever seen. I always regret having to travel in the summer, because I’ll miss at least two. For example, Jazz Festival and Fringe Festival are weeks concentrated with pure bliss. Even though there are paid/ticketed events, I don’t think I’ve seen festivals with so many free events that are so extravagant, I sometimes wonder if I missed the ticketing booth when I am watching and dancing to some of the best local and international artists in the middle of Gibbs Street or on the East & Alexander or in MLK Park. There is no way anyone who thinks highly of their hometown would think that the festivals are less impressive than fresh produce (which I believe is the law for them to be fresh).

You have a Museum of Play here, and it has a giant butterfly-shaped room that is full of BUTTERFLIES. If any bugs got into Wegmans, they would exterminate them, and they would definitely not let you play with the merchandise, so how is Wegmans a better place to take an expat than a museum where touching is encouraged?

I have gotten to know a lot of your citizens. I do not think I’ve met such welcoming, caring, community driven people in my life, and I have literally lived all over the world. My friends here are always doing five things at once, and all of their goals are aimed at making you even better, Roc. Whether they’re running their own restaurants or are involved in the Willow Center or the Gay Alliance or B.L.A.C.K. or if they just like to pay it forward in their own way, you have a population that cares about its fellow people a lot more than about where to get sushi and bread in the same place.

High Falls at dawn is dazzling. The old Subway system is an adventure. Cobbs Hill at dusk on that Parthenon-looking thing at the top of the hill is probably one of the most relaxing things you can do with your Sunday. I can give you a myriad of landmarks and events that you can take an out-of-towner that are better than a grocery store, so stop short-selling yourself. Take it from an out-of-towner, Roc: you are better than a supermarket. Don’t take an out-of-towner there and think it’s the best you have to offer. That is what small-towners in B-movies do right before disaster happens. You are much bigger and better than this, Roc, so start thinking it.

A Baltimorean Expat.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ghosts of YouTube Past

Many of you have asked about videos of my standup. Here are two. One is me (kind of) as Nick Fury, and the other is my special Columbus Day set, where all the jokes were dedicated the the most uncomfortable time of the year.

Now stop asking me about my comedy sets, and come to my shows.

Here’s a fun video that my friends put together:

Here is me in a trench coat:

And here is my Columbus Day Set:

Now seriously, come to my damn shows when I invite you.

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