Saturday, August 22, 2009

5. The adverse social effects of the instant gratification we have always known from our consumer products and machines

Part 5/7 of the series. It's amazing how the thoughts that you have in your head seem to come up from other sources in daily life, isn't it? I was just in my Business Ethics class, where my professor showed the class a video of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. (which I will post below). He then asked people about taking an ethical oath. Most of the students had a problem with said oath because they want to reach success and wealth as quick as possible, which leads me to the point of this post.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
MBA Ethics Oath
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Is it just me, or does it seem that no one really wants to put time and effort into what they do anymore? Laziness is a universal phenomenon, if you ask me (and once again, for the slow, if you're reading my blog you're asking me). I mean, we cut all kinds of corners, pull all kinds of stunts and tricks, and utilize all kinds of fine print manipulations in order to get over on one another. In fact, I'd say we spend so much time trying to get over on each other that hardly anyone has anything worthwhile anymore. We don't realize that good things come to those who wait, and that anything worth having is worth working hard for and investing time in. Nor do we seem to understand that with our work (no matter how menial or lowly the task) we make statements to society about ourselves. Therefore, it is best to take pride in one's work (once again, no matter how non-glamorous the job is). The whole thing reminds me of the movie "Click," where Adam Sandler's impatience (along with the technological advance of a remote control that could control time) caused him to miss the most important things in life.

It's the same thing with any MBA student (which I will be in a few more years). We want success, wealth, fame, and fortune to come IMMEDIATELY! The fact is that it comes with years of dedication, focus, drive, and hard work. So why is it that we want these things to come so fast? Where did all our patience go? The answer is that our patience went AWAY. It went away because we very seldom use it, and therefore don't seem to need it. I say that because for Generation Y-ers, there have always been certain luxuries and accommodations available. Personal computers existed all of our lives, as did calculators and microwaves. The world wide web took over while we were in grade school. By junior high, everyone had a cell phone. We love technology because it provides instant gratification, so in general we've never really had to wait very long for things. If you look at the state of morals and interaction in society, we seem to be suffering from the fact that we expect the same type of instant gratification from all aspects of life, including relationships.

Case in point, people are killing each other because they won't cooperate sexually. Like Lil' Kim's birthday party last year or the health club shooting earlier this summer. The culprit at Lil Kim's party (most likely dubbed The Jumpoff by her and her entourage) bludgeoned a lady to death because she had resisted his sexual advances. The culprit in the health club shooting was angry with women in general because he had only scarcely had sex and was not attractive to any of the ladies that he was attracted to. I'd say that things like this happen because we want instant gratification (and by that I mean IMMEDIATE SEX) from our relationships. It's sort of like the film, "A Beautiful Mind." Russell Crowe, who played the main character and Nobel prize winning economist John Nash, goes up to two women during the course of the movie (one who slapped him and dismissed him and one who became his wife) and said some variation of the following:
"Traditionally, there are a series of courtship and mating rituals that we both know will eventually culminate in the two of us having sex. Would you mind if we just skipped those traditional rituals and formalities and got straight to the sex?
I'm paraphrasing in the above quote because I could not find the actual lines in order to quote them here, but - if you've seen the movie - you know that's pretty much what he said. Those scenes in the film perfectly illustrate my point: we get everything else we want with the quickness and we want that to translate over to interactions with the opposite sex.

It doesn't stop there, however. Look at education. The fact is that the majority of students do not want to study or read for any class. I remember taking a sophomore Economics class last year. The policy for this particular class was that anyone who had over a 95 average after the last regular exam would be exempt from the final. I had a 100 average and was therefore exempt from the final. A girl came up to me after class that day, and asked for my help with studying for the final. I told her the formula that I follow to get good grades, which goes a little something like this: Come to class, take notes, define/know/study any and all terms, read all assigned chapters, study the notes days in advance, and ace the test. She replied, "You ain't gon' help me?" I answered, "I just did."
She didn't really want "help." What she wanted was some kind of quick fix to learn weeks and weeks worth of material for the final exam (an exam, mind you, which it had just been announced that I did NOT have to take).  My experiences having been in school for the past 15 years are an obvious indicator that the young lady is not alone.  Many of us don't want to put the time in to really learn, we're used to pointing and clicking. We want to download something or type in a code and have every answer to every question on every test.  We want A's without doing A work.  We want to come to class when we feel like it and retain enough information from that to ace any test while continuing to watch our favorite TV shows, go to every party, sip something before every "last call," and do any and all of the other things besides
education that college has become known for.  It doesn't work that way, time and effort have to be put into studying and academics. Until we realize that, I shudder at the thought of the futility of even the most aggressive education reform.  I also shudder at the thought that some of these very slackers will be business owners, doctors, lawyers, etc. who want to put the same effort (or lack thereof) into their actual work as they did into their preparation for it.  Because all of us are clients or customers of these types of professionals at some point, the vast majority of us may be doomed.  I'd hate to say it like that, and I hope that won't be the case.  Furthermore, I know that there are many students (myself included) who are very focused on their goals, on academics, and being the best students and eventually professionals - in any field - that they can possibly be.  However, as I said to a friend the other day, I find it hard sometimes to understimate the depth of the ignorance of the overwhelming majority of this generation.  It's as simple and plain as that.  I don't know of another way to put it.

If we don't put time, pride, and effort into what we do, then no one benefits from what we do at all. We can't build fruitful relationships, develop substantial attention spans, actually retain information, or honestly (and therefore without consequences) reach the goals of success that we have set for ourselves without patience. I'm not asking anyone to throw away their laptops, iPhones, or any other technological innovations. I am, however, asking us all to demand more discipline and patience from ourselves on a daily basis. After all, we all deserve relationships, products, services - and ultimately, lives - that are worthwhile.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

4. Either our inability - or perhaps, our refusal - to think things through and consider the consequences before making decisions

Part 4 of the series. It's been awhile since my last post, I know. I've been getting settled in and ready for the new school year. I've only been back on campus a few days, but I'm already disappointed in some of the things that I'm seeing here. Folks are wasting no time trying to get their party/freak on. It amazes me because I think about the hardship that families go through trying to provide a way for their kids to go to college. Some of these people may be first generation college students and whatnot, but their minds are not on the tremendous amount of hope that their families have in them. They're distracted by the booty, the (al, al al al, al) alcohol, and other vices.

Which leads me to this very topic. WE don't seem to be able (or wi
lling) to think things through and weigh the consequences of actions before we do them. If we did, we might think about the health risks that come with reckless freaking. We might also realize that condoms and birth control only do so much to prevent risks and that the only
risk-free way to go is abstinence. Better yet, we may realize the consequences of giving up on education and the subsequent road to self-empowerment. We may also realize the traps that come with lives of crime, using drugs, or doing anything by less-than-honest means.
How does the saying go? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Most of us have heard this saying before, yet we don't live by it. We see other people in our families, neighborhoods, schools, and graduating classes make the same mistakes and yet it doesn't deter us. What the heck is really going on? How can one have a friend that messed up his future with drugs and never have it occur to him that the same will happen to him unless he makes a different choice? Who's using their brains out there? Plenty of people are, I know, but we certainly don't seem to be the majority by a long shot.
The results and consequences of our actions are always pending. Always, no matter what. Some people call it karma, other people call it reaping what you sow. No matter what the name, the concept is the same. There is always a consequence for every action. Here is the requisite hip-hop quote. This one is from Nas's 2001 classic album, "Stillmatic" and is aptly titled, "What Goes Around." I couldn't really slice this one down to a neat quote, so I'll give you the whole last verse.
"This nigga Ike with the Iverson jersey, light-skinned with herpes
Fuckin' sisters in Harlem, Brooklyn and D.C.
This is the problem cause he never tell 'em he got it
from lettin' fags suck him off, Rikers Island in nine-three
Drives a Benz, hangs at all the parties, all the concerts
Backstage where the stars be, rockin' they shirts
in bitches faces like clockwork - what's your name, where you from?
Chain blingin', thinkin' girls everywhere is dumb
Takin' pride in ruinin' they lives
So they could never have babies, and they could never be wives
He never used a condom, give him head he got ya
Met the wrong bitch and now he dead from the monster AIDS
I contemplate, believin' in karma
Those on top could just break, and won't be eatin' tomorrow
I know some bitches who be sleepin' on niggaz dreams, they leave
When that nigga blow, she the first bitch on her knees
Knowin' dudes that's neglectin' they seeds
Instead of takin' care of 'em they spendin money on trees
I pray for you, deadbeat daddies
Cause when them kids get grown it's too late for you
Now you old and you gettin' shitted on
It's all scientific, mystic, you know the Earth and the stars
Don't hesitate to say you heard it from Nas
What is destined shall be
George Bush killer 'til George Bush kills me
Much blessings be healthy, remember..."
Now like the other parts of this series, this one directly relates to the others that came before it. The absence of fatherhood - if fathers were around to provide discipline and structure like only a father can, many of us may have already realized the truth about consequences and would be self-disciplined by now. The stronghold that the mainstream medi
a has on our culture and our desires to be socially accepted - we're raised by the televisions, our peers, our neighborhoods, and ourselves. These influences very rarely impose consequences on us nor provide structures or boundaries. Therefore, we don't look into the future and reason out the outcomes that our actions will bring. Stop snitching - why do they want you to stop? So they can do what they do with - you guessed it - no consequences.

We'd have to fix those problems in order to deal with those who are out of school. I think that one of the ways that we go about this is calling it what it is - STUPID. It is simply STUPID to do the same thing that so many others have done before us and think that it will be different when it happens to us. We have to oppose the forces that would have us believe that we should accept these things or that they are adequate lifestyles and decisions. They aren't. Not learning from the mistakes around you is stupid.

We have to expect and encourage our young people NOT to follow in the same footsteps as those whose lives have become negative influences for them instead of allowing so many of them to use their environments as excuses. Almost everyone who is anyone in this world had to overcome bad neighborhoods and various hardships. Those things are only excuses for those who allow them to be - for the most part. The secret is that sometimes you have to grit your teeth and refuse to fail. By that I mean that you refuse to stop working, stop trying, stop learning, or stop growing. Even when everything in your life is working against you. Instead of looking at those things as major obstacles, you should look at them as scenes from your life that will make your story more interesting for people to read (or watch on a film). We've all got to have drama in our lives to make our success stories all the more sweet, unique, extraordinary, and rewarding. No more excuses, it is time for us to realize the truth in those words and act on it.

Also, anyone who realizes that they messed up and wants to atone fo
r it should take neighborhood youths and young adults through a day or week in their lives. Such an exercise would have the purpose of allowing young people who think they want to live a certain way or make certain choices to see what those lifestyles and choices are really like. Not the glossy, big-screeen, glamorized version. I'm talking about the real, struggling, crying, "make me wanna holler" version that so many people are faced with because of bad decisions.

For those who are in school, I have another possible remedy: All students, starting in junior high, should be required to play chess and take lessons from chess coaches/experts. Why, you ask? It's simple. Because chess is a thinking man's game. In chess, the only way to win
is to think and plan ahead. If I move here, he could move there and put me in check. I
f I move there, he could move here and put me in checkmate. If I move here, I can put him in check. Then, of course, you go with option 3. I believe that the foresight and critical skills that can be developed through learning about and playing chess are transferable to life decisions, and that the youth overall (although not everyone individually, of course) would benefit and become better decision-makers. There would probably be less deliquents in our generation as well.

Philosopher John Locke once described those who refuse to think things through. In his Second Treatise of Government, Locke says,
"Sec. 10. Besides the crime which consists in violating the law, and varying from the right rule of reason, whereby a man so far becomes degenerate, and declares himself to quit the principles of human nature, and to be a noxious creature, there is commonly injury done to some person or other, and some other man receives damage by his transgression: in which case he who hath received any damage, has, besides the right of punishment common to him with other men, a particular right to seek reparation from him that has done it: and any other person, who finds it just, may also join with him that is injured, and assist him in recovering from the offender so much as may make satisfaction for the harm he has suffered."

That's fancy talk for you have the right to whoop the a-word of a person who acts like they have no common decency or sense and just wants to continue to commit crimes and infringe on your right to live and enjoy your own life and possessions. I say take his advice and fight back. In the meantime... play chess, ladies and gentlemen.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Hallelujah, hallelujah! To any bitter dog lovers out there who are upset because of my enthusiasm for the Brotha's return, read the title (of the blog, that is) and realize that I DO NOT APOLOGIZE. PERIOD. I wrote earlier about the hypocrisy of the legal system and the league concerning this matter, and am glad that he'll be back on the field. Go to jail for 15 days and get suspended for a year for killing a man, go to jail for 2 years and STILL face further suspension for killing dogs? Meanwhile, as Steve Harvey put it in his stand-up film, "Still Trippin,'" cops go home after killing Sean Bell? I'm sorry, the message was wrong - and that's why people in the urban community have been waiting, hoping, and praying for Michael Vick to play again. That urban community includes me. Yes, I said it. So there. Sick your dog on me if you dare.

Anyway, the brotha signed a 2 year contract to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. McNabb and Vick on the same team? The possibilities are endless. People thought he would only get one year. SIKE! 2 years, and I guarantee you that if he is productive during his first, there will be extensions offered. Get your jerseys now, people. Eagles just became a team to watch. Thank God for the NFL channel - I don't ever have to miss a game. Oh, and be sure to catch Michael Vick on 60 Minutes this Sunday night where his interview - conducted by sports correspondent James Brown - will be aired.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From "Lollipop" to Now: Which Generation Has The Better Message?

As is the case on many a day, this post is inspired by a video. Here's the video in question.

The main premise of this post is focused on the lyrics of the 1958 song, Lollipop, which actually has quite a peculiar and telling racial context which I was not previously aware of until tonight after a little research. I'll sum it up for all link-avoiders. The song was originally performed by Ronald and Ruby, a duo made up of a Black lead singer and White songwriter. The song began to take off and television appearances were booked. Once people found out that they were dealing with an interracial performing duo, they canceled those appearances and the popularity dwindled - pretty much killing the song. Yeah. Wow. Reflect on that and whatnot. Move on when ready.

That's not my problem with the song. My problem is that when I listened to the dated lyrics of the record, I didn't hear much of a difference from the message that pervades rap music AS WELL AS all of popular culture to this day. There's this girl that looks really nice and seems to exist merely for my sexual pleasure and enjoyment. Don't think so? Let's look at the lyrics to "Lollipop."

"Call my baby lollipop
Tell you why
Her kiss is sweeter than a cherry pie
And when she does her shaky rockin' dance
Man, I haven't got a chance"
What's the difference between that and I love to see that sexy b**** in the club shakin' that @$$? What's the difference between that or a song about some dimepiece sliding down a pole and giving a man a lap dance? One of them uses profanity and one of them does not. The message is the same. I'm aroused by a woman and care absolutely nothing about what's in her head or her heart. I just wanna know what's in those pants (and in many but not all cases, "them draws"). Mind you, I could say something here about the reference to cherry pie, which now seems to be a precursor to rock band Warrant's infamous and innuendo-laced "Cherry Pie." However, no one can really predict the future. We can't blame them for that. We certainly can't blame them for Lil Wayne's "Lollipop," either - which featured the infamous "I let her lick the (w)rapper" line. Back to the matter at hand, though. The title of the song is "Lollipop." From the very beginning, the woman is objectified - she's likened to a piece of candy, her kiss to a cherry pie, and the song is all about the pleasures felt and lusts satisfied by her. Yes, the song communicates this idea in a very innocent, nice, and polite way - with no vulgarities and a lot left to the imagination. However, as is my point, the message is the same.

Let me stop right here and acknowledge the fact that the song was covered by a girl group, The Chordettes. The lyrics were altered to make the song about a guy. That version of the song became more popular than the first. It's still objectification, no matter which sex is involved. But doesn't it say something about our culture that for advertisement purposes, the executives and creative minds at work passed on the most popular form of the song to go for the one in which the female is the tasty object?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I criticize my generation a great deal. Many older people criticize us as well. Many people have something to say about the messages and images that come from our music and talk about better times before the music got so rotten and the images and messages so devious. Shouldn't we do a little research to see how far back our blame (and the proper damage control) should reach?

This Is Funny: Training Day Spoof

Now for a break from all of the sociopolitical commentary and discussions on race relations, hip hop, and the mental corrosion brought on by the media. Some of you like that, some don't. Not to worry, I'll be back on it soon. As for right now - I'm sorry, this is too funny for words. I found it posted on and I know all you Training Day lovers will appreciate it, for sure. Here's a hint. Common gets all types of punked by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, probably best known as Fogell, or McLovin, from Superbad. Common and McLovin. It's already funny!

Oprah In The Ghetto: The World Is Coming To An End

Images are from Dede_2_u, Iamhope64, RapRadar, and FuckKeriHilson's twitter. I know, interesting name, right?

First of all, let me say that being a Mississippi native, I know all about Oprah's rags to riches story. I am not implying that she has never known the stories, faces, and experiences of poverty. She certainly has. I'm just saying that I think it's been a while since she's been to the projects. I, for one, didn't think she'd ever return. Jay-Z's stock is rising, it seems. The reports are that he is to be a featured guest on an upcoming episode of Oprah. For all those who said she hates hip hop, she obviously has a problem with some of the lyrics and messages (as do I and rightfully so) but she doesn't seem to be denying the importance and reach of the genre. Although, on the other hand, I do have to say that we see a lot more representation of other genres than we do R&B and hip hop on her show. Plus, Ice Cube was not invited when all the other cast members of Barbershop were on the show. We all saw how the ish went downwith Ludacris when he and the ensemble cast of Crash were on to talk about their amazing film (and I do mean amazing, if you haven't seen it, check it out). Yeah, Oprah has done some questionable things regarding hip hop on her show. However, the key words are her show. She can do whatever she wants with it and have whoever she wants on it. Those who don't like it shouldn't watch it - for decades now there have been more than enough people who have and who will.
Anyway, she's going to the hood with none other than Jay-Z, whom many consider the "Best Rapper Alive" or the "Greatest of All Time" (I disagree, and I'm sure everyone knows by now who my favorite rapper is). He's taking her on a tour of his old stomping ground, Brooklyn's own Marcy Projects where he and his friend and fellow (although mediocre at best) rapper, Memphis Bleek are from. Oprah and Jay-Z also spend time sitting on his grandma's old stoop. They both seem to be having a great time. She doesn't seem to be in culture shock, as some of her critics might suggest, but seems perfectly comfortable and happy (they have a pretty large entourage with them, which probably factors into the comfort and happiness). Should Beyonce (and her big ego) be worried?

My Mama TOLD Me Jennifer Hudson Was Pregnant!

Yup, yup. MTV reports that Jennifer Hudson gave birth to a happy and healthy baby boy yesterday. The Academy Award-winning actress and certified Gold singer is engaged to David Daniel Otunga, Harvard Law graduate and former reality television star (he was a cast member on "I Love New York" under the name, "Punk"). She named her son David Daniel Otunga Jr. (maybe they will call him Punk Jr. for short?). Hudson never announced her pregnancy (probably because she doesn't like, hee-hee, living under our spotlight, hee-hee), but my mama told me she was pregnant when she sang at the Michael Jackson memorial service. Women know, what can I say. Otunga Sr. has been training to become a professional wrestler and currently wrestles for Florida Championship Wrestling, a sort of 'minor league' organization in which participation could developed into a WWE career (I know what you're thinking, I thought the same thing - what a waste of a Harvard education, right?).

Kanye's Getting His "Denzel On?"

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Do not adjust your computer screen. Kanye West will be starring in a short film directed by Spike Jonze, famed music video and commercial director who was also a co-creator of Jackass. What should we expect from this? I'm not really sure. What I can say is that looking at his track record for doing wacky and off-the-wall things, as well as Kanye's very artsy and free-spirited imagination, we can all expect it to be one of a kind. Also, the title, "We Were Once A Fairytale" is an obvious reference to the song in which the line is performed. That song, of course, is "See You In My Nightmares," from Kanye's 808s and Heartbreak. Maybe a look at the past can help us to predict the future. Here's "Touch The Sky," the video which, to this day, probably most prominently features Kanye's acting skills.

Who knows, maybe we can expect a Pamela Anderson appearance, or maybe Amber Rose? One thing's for certain - I'll be watching.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Libido Lynching Attempt

Well, well, well. Betrayed by Mr. Johnson again. People, I'm telling you. Sex is powerful. Indulge at your own risk.

RIP Michael Jackson. The man's music resonates to this day. The MJ song that fits this particular story goes a little something like this.

That's exactly how this guy felt. The story, found here, goes that Older Married Man meets
Pretty Young Thing in Starbucks. Older Married Man begins an affair with Pretty Young Thing,
which culminates in a divorce from his wife and a marriage to Pretty Young Thing. What
Older Married Man, also known as Michael Dippolito, 38, didn't know is that his new
pretty young wife, Dalia, 26, was out for that paper. She wanted that guap. She was ready
to "just throw it in the bag." So much so, in fact, that she hired a hitman to kill the guy. Morgan
Freeman beware, some of these younger women will kill you if they have to so that they
can reap the benefits of your labor. You've got to know that his dumped ex-wife is falling over
herself laughing at him.
"That's what you get. You tried to leave me for your little freak and it almost got you
killed. Hahahahahaha! AHHHH, hahahahaha!"

Sex is a weapon, folks. I say it time and time again. Keep it in your pants, it could save your life.
Here's what this guy said after he realized what was going down.
"It hasn't sunk in. I don't really get what happened."
I do, Dippolito! Come on, man. You got PLAYED! Screwed, conned, pimped, effed. She never
wanted you, she simply seduced you with a few tricks and had a plan to get that cash and kill you.
After you left what I have to presume was a good woman for her. You look like a fool on TV.
Speaking of fools, here's Miss Pretty Young Idiot herself being arrested.

Just face it, sweetie. You're going to jail and to a cell with some chick named Big Bertha who will
most likely make your life a living hell. After "our boy Mike" comes to his senses and begins to
think with the right head, he will undoubtedly see the warning signs he once ignored. Hindsight
is 20/20, after all. Stay home with your wives and quit chasing these freaks. Learn from
McNair (RIP) and this dude. That lust is a killer. Self-control is the answer.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

3. The resonance and reach of the "Stop Snitching" campaign

Back for Part 3 of my 7 part series. Part 2 got rave reviews (meaning about 3 or 4 people said that they liked it or found it interesting) so hopefully, readers can relate to this one as well.

First of all, this is truly absurd. You've heard the slogans, "Snitches get found in ditches" or "Snitches get stitches" and the like. You've seen the plain old "Stop Snitchin'" hats, signs, and paraphernalia before as well. In fact, most people have probably seen the following video as well.

You knew that was coming, right? Right. We don't seem to think enough of ourselves to know that we deserve to live in safe neighborhoods and to keep the things that we work hard for without worrying about someone breaking in, sticking us up, killing us, or endangering our children. Of course, here are the corresponding rap lyrics, this time from my favorite rapper, Nas. These are from the song "You're The Man" off his 2001 album, "Stillmatic":

"Wish I could flap wings and fly away
To where Black kings in Ghana stay
So I could get over my flesh right away
But that'll be the day
When it's peace, when my gat don't need to spray
When these streets are safe to play."

It says a lot about our culture that this mess is pretty much a PR campaign. Not only do we think it's okay to harm one another, kill one another, rob one another. From somewhere, we got the notion that we should also be accommodated by the very community that we victimize as we do so.

"Said I'd like to know where, you got the no-tion."
Maybe we got it from the fact that in the worst neighborhoods, police tend to take their time reacting to a disturbance? Maybe not. It's highly likely that the racial profiling and police brutality witnessed all over this nation is an important contributing factor to the lack of cooperation from those affected most by inner-city crime. No matter where the notion came from, it's time for me to rock the boat.

First of all, we should abstain from acting immorally or illegally because we make statements about ourselves with our actions. Let's go down the list:

If you fight someone, you're saying "I'm not intelligent enough to use my words to get out of this situation, nor do I have the self-control or self-discipline to walk away.
If you and a group of people jump someone, you're saying "I cannot win in a physical confrontation against this person on my own."
If you kill someone or have to use any type of weapon on them without just cause (meaning you were not in a kill or be killed situation), you're saying "I'm afraid to get into a physical confrontation with this person."
If you steal from someone, you're saying "I'm not intelligent enough or resourceful enough to make a legal living for myself."
If you break in and rob someone while bearing arms, you're saying "I'm not smart enough to enter without leaving a trail, neither am I man enough to take something without a visual aide to help me."
If you rape someone, you're saying "I'm not smooth, charismatic, or presentable enough to attract a woman's attention."

Are we noticing a pattern here? Good! Apply that pattern to any and all crimes not listed here.
Funny what these things actually represent as opposed to how glamorous they look in the media, huh?

Now that we've gotten the crimes out of the way, what does refusing to snitch, therefore allowing one's self to be governed by the "Stop Snitchin'" Campaign?
There's no list for this one. There's only two things being said.
Either "I welcome you to continue to steal from, rob, defraud, harm, or potentially kill me or my family members. I would not cooperate with the police to stop you from doing any of these things because I like having you in my community oppressing me and wouldn't want to put you in jail and keep you from doing this to myself or anyone else. Putting you in jail might also deter other would-be criminals. Can't have that!"
"I do not trust the police to properly deal with you if I cooperate with them and fear for my safety or the safety of my family members if I do. Therefore, although you do oppress this community, I would rather be oppressed than dead."
First things first, if the entire community banded together against criminals, there would not be such a fear of them in our communities. Too bad we glorify them, take up for many of them because we know them, or have such a distrust for the police that we cheer for the worst of the worst. We also are under a belief system that there are no other opportunities for a young Black man in America. The fact of the matter is that this is not true. There are plenty of opportunities for us, many of which we don't take advantage of. We're not reading. Many of us are not trying to learn anything. That's why the most lucrative, yet perfectly legal, opportunities seem to evade so many of us. Notice that I used the word oppress in the above statements. We have to come to a point that we see crime in our community for what it is, oppression. The same oppression so many of us accuse "the White man" of everyday. Of course, there are still racists out there who want nothing more than the destruction of minorities. Racism, however, has become more of a taboo in this nation - thus people hide their racist sentiments for fear of being outed and duly punished. Also, would-be oppressors have no more work to do! We do it for them everyday! Why don't we refer to those in our communities who have no respect for us or our rights to live and pursue happiness as oppressors. Next time we say "the White man" is keeping us down, some of us need to look around and see who really hates us for trying to have something, be respectable, and experience the American Dream as well as the upward mobility that comes with it. The fact of the matter is, a great deal of that hatred comes from us. Our hate is for us, by us - just like FUBU. Common chronicled this truth in a song, "Black Maybe," from his 2007 album, "Finding Forever." However, his non-rhyming, casually-spoken remarks at the end of the song are probably most poignant. He says:
"When we talk about black maybe, we talk about situations of people of color.
And because you are that color, you endure obstacles and opposition.
And not all the time from ... other nationalities. Sometimes it comes from your own kind, or even your own mind. You get judged, you get laughed at, you get looked at wrong, you get cited for not being strong. The struggle of just being you.
The struggle of just being us... Black Maybe."

It must also be considered, however, that many of us come from families where ends are not meeting, eviction notices are left, stomachs go hungry, etc. Then it does seem that there is no other place to turn than the street. I understand that, but prison or death looms in the future of that lifestyle. I think all of our families would rather have us safe and struggle than for us to risk our lives everyday so that we can live comfortably. Education is actually the "way out" for us, there just aren't enough of us who act like we know it. Young people who already seek education and knowledge must begin a concerted effort to reach out and recruit others in the community before they fall by the wayside.
As far as the police aspect, I said earlier that police and minorities need to come together and admit our wrongdoings and address our grievances in a face-to-face forum between the communities. All questions need to be answered, all issues need to be considered, and all problems need to be discussed in order to lead to solutions. Until such a meeting of the minds happens and until there is an understanding between both groups, "snitches" will continue to get, or at least fear, stitches or worse. Ultimately, we've got to have a resolution in our hearts and minds to once again be our brother's keepers and our communities' advocates - not advocates, friends, keepers, and aides of our neighborhood criminals.

From "Driving Miss Daisy" to Dating Granny's Baby?

Say it ain't so. Lord Jesus, please, say it ain't so. I might as well stop wishing because all indicators seem to indicate that it is. Why do the things I write in this blog keep coming back to haunt me? I wrote about Gov. Sanford from South Carolina, while mentioning that Mississippi has it's own problems and that I should not go too hard on SC. Next thing I knew, former Mississippi politician Chip Pickering was exposed by his wife in her divorce filings because he was having a similar affair. After that, in the post about LeBron, I wrote that no one famous (even of the celebrities that are from Mississippi), ever comes to Mississippi except world-renown actor and native son, Morgan Freeman. Now Morgan Freeman has a scandal of his own, and one of epic proportions. Morgan Freeman - the man who played Joe Clark in "Lean On Me," who played Red in "The Shawshank Redemption," who played Lucius Fox in the Batman films, who played GOD himself in "Bruce Almighty" and its sequel, "Evan Almighty" - is dating his step-granddaughter, one E'Dena Hines, and seems to be planning to marry her once his divorce is finalized. No, you're not crazy. Neither am I. Do not adjust your computer screen. Instead, check out the full story here.
**Update: It has been reported that he doesn't plan to marry her. Note, however, that the affair was not denied when you check out that full story here.**
It's a mother effing shame, too. Here this dude is, the most visible Mississippian (who actually lives in Mississippi) and what does he do? Does he help us out of the stereotypes that have plagued this state (some of them rightfully so, but I digress)? No. He reinforces them. Of course, the state of Mississippi is in what is referred to as the "Deep South." One of the things that people think we do around here is get our incest-ridden relations on. I have never kissed a cousin and never even had sinful thoughts about a family member, thank you very much. However, the stigma remains. Now there's evidence to support the misconception. Now they can cite Mississippi's own version of Samuel L. Jackson as a culprit. It gets worse, however. This chick is his step-granddaughter, but she was raised as his actual granddaughter, meaning she likely thought of him just like she would a biological grandfather and probably even called him "Granddad." They may not be getting married, but it still seems that he went from "Grand Pop" to "Don't Stop." Is it really okay to practice PDA with family or with those that we consider family? No, there's no actual bloodline. I know. However, if you ask me (and by reading this blog, you're asking me), it's all freaky and nasty - no matter how one chooses to slice it.

*Side note -Speaking of family members or those who consider each other family practicing PDA, isn't it funny that Lil' Wayne wishes that he could F every girl in the world, yet he only wishes that he could KISS Baby aka Birdman? Just a thought.*

Anyway, it gets worse, yet. Freeman is 72. Hines is 27. Once again, do not adjust your computer screen. It just so happens that if you should put his age in reverse, you come up with her age. That's a completely new twist on the phrase, "opposites attract." That's not all, friends. It's gets worse, still. He's been sleeping with the girl since she was 17. He was 62 then. Come on, Mr. Clark! You're supposed to educate the kids, not deflower and satisfy them. She must've 'leaned on him' a little too hard. All this from a man who played the detective who saved the kidnapped women in "Kiss The Girls?" Too bad he was kissing the girls himself. As for Ms. Hines, is it really that hard to find a man in Mississippi? Of course not, I'm single. I know the population of whatever town she's from had younger and more appealing men than Morgan Freeman to offer a 17 year old. This is like a low-budget sequel to "The Color Purple" or something. And until Morgan Freeman does right, everything he thinks about is gonna crumble.
I'd just like to say that I blame Hugh Hefner, Viagra, and Woody Allen (hey, maybe Morgan and his step-granddaughter can get with Woody and his wife/stepdaughter and double date?) for this as well. Is there really any love in this relationship? Does he look at her and see anything more than, dare I say, a "new model?" Just a younger, slimmer, finer young thing for him to fulfill his fantasies with? Seriously, the guy did star in the film, "The Bucket List." How do we know that a twenty-something wasn't on his? Does she look at him and see anything more than the Hollywood lifestyle, red carpets, riches, stability, security? The fact of the matter is that it isn't my business. But why so young and so close to home? When you look at Cindy Crawford still doing her thang at 43, you know that younger doesn't always necessarily mean better. Plus, she's your step-granddaughter. Seriously, I know there's no blood connection - but she's family. Family-on-family love is good. Family-on-family sex, however, is a no-no. Period. Plus, when his age is factored into the equation, it makes one think that if he keeps getting his freak on with baby girl, she'll be the death of him - literally. I can hear the interviews now. Just like another scene from "The Color Purple."

"How'd he die?"
"On top of me."
What a tragedy it will be if the great, accomplished, and storied life of Morgan Freeman is muddled in the press and in our memories by his freaky family frolicking. He'll be following in the footsteps of people like Michael Jackson, James Brown, Frankie Lymon, and other black celebrities by having his estate, family, and memory enshrouded in controversy (shout out to Bernie Mac for being a family man who went out far too soon, but nevertheless did so with dignity). Sounds like a libido lynching waiting to happen.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"Rappers and Hoopers, We Strive to Be Like"

The title is a Common reference, for those of you who didn't already catch it. It's a line from "The Corner," the first single off his 2005 album, and one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time if you ask me, "Be."

There's a lot to be said about the fact that many of us try to emulate and mimic the images that we see on TV. Probably most prominently, these images include "rappers and hoopers." So here's the issue: When these individuals do things that cause themselves to be seen in a negative light, there is a negative message sent to the imitators and emulators - also known as young people. Case in point:

J.R. Smith, or J.R. "Swish", as his teammates and fans call him, has been raising eyebrows over the past few days because of a recurring habit on his Twitter page. He's been quite noticeably replacing all the Cs in words with Ks. Now I'm not a gangsta, but gangsta mentality has infiltrated popular culture to the point that you have to be way out of touch not to realize what this peculiar spelling signifies. Let me put it simply: He's spelling these words the Blood way. That's Blood as in the two rival gangs, Crips vs. Bloods.

They refuse to use Cs because C is the first letter of Crip, of course.
But there are other words that begin with Cs as well, like cash. I'm guessing the Bloods refer to it another way, or use a K. Isn't it funny that Bloods, who are a mostly Black gang, have so much hatred for the Crips, another Black gang, that they would rather refer to them with the letter K? A letter, mind you, that when used in threes (KKK) signifies the ultimate hatred of minorities altogether? **

Anyway, the Denver Post brought it up that his misspellings seem to be of a gang-related nature. Must've been a slow news day, that's all I can tell ya. Smith has since deleted his Twitter account for good. Check out the full story here.
Well, well, well. Many of these guys came straight from high school or had only minimal college. It's obvious the league doesn't care so much about their education, yet they aren't allowed to misspell words on their own Twitter pages? Good Lord.
They are role models as I said earlier, so it's not like I would defend such a bad example. I'm simply curious as to whether or not it ever occurred to any of the sports writers or anyone else at the Denver Post or otherwise that (gasp) the Brotha might simply like the letter K! I'm not a J.R. Smith fan (or a Nuggets fan, for that matter - even though the color of the text in this blog may make it seem otherwise) and have seen his on-court antics and am aware that they are enough to make one wonder as to whether or not he is gang-affiliated. It's not something the kids should look up to or try to be. At the same time, there are worse ways to show one's gang affiliation then to misspell a word. If he's gang-banging on Twitter, he's not really a gangsta. Leave it at that. The Denver Post staff might need to get some writing done instead of spending all of their office hours on Twitter in the first place. But wait, there's more.
This whole thing is eerily similar to what happened earlier in the summer to Derrick Rose. The very same Derrick Rose who was named Rookie of the Year last season, and who led the Bulls to a Game 7 against the then-defending champs, the Boston Celtics. A picture of him was spotted in which he was throwing up gang signs. These particular signs belong to the Gangster Disciples, or GDs. They're in the Midwest, Chicago mainly. Ironically, they were started by Larry Hoover, who was born in Jackson, MS - a mere 45 minute drive from my hometown of Vicksburg. They usually wear all black and their caps are usually to the side (so straighten yours up if you're headed to the Windy City) and if you've seen the cult classic movie "Cooley High," they are the ones who killed Cochise.

Rose denied the affiliation although he grew up in Chicago and the gang is pretty prominent in his neighborhood. Is he telling the truth, or is it now unsafe for him to go home? Beyond that, what is the message that is being sent to us from the "rappers and hoopers?" That it's somehow honorable to engage in illegal activity that endangers the community and causes the deaths of so many young minority urbanites? Even if these guys were from that life, they have progressed to a point that they no longer have to live that reality and should be grateful and stay out of trouble to ensure that they never go back. How backwards has our society really gotten if they are doing the opposite? If these guys need a family and a set to claim, they have it. The logo and team name on their jerseys is the only family they should need. Last I checked, gangs don't pay millions of dollars to their members.

Plaxico Burress Is Going To Jail

Song of the moment: Akon's "Locked Up." How does it go again? Oh yeah, I remember.

"I'm lah-cked up, they won't let me out."
Former New York Giants Wide Receiver Plaxico Burress, who you may remember shot himself in the thigh last season at a nightclub on accident while illegally carrying a gun, has been indicted by a grand jury. He faces weapons charges and is looking at three and a half years in jail if convicted. Read the full story here.
He's likely to receive that sentence, too, being that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out against him and even said that anything short of the maximum 3 1/2 years would be a "mockery of the law." That maximum sentence popped in his head rather quick, if you ask me. He rattled it off and said that he wanted the man to get it. Does anyone else think he's a little eager to send someone to jail (meanwhile everyone, including Roger Goodell, has little or nothing to say about Big Ben Roethlisberger)? Especially when you look at the fact that the guy shot himself and no one else suffered any type of injury, there was no mass mayhem in the club, no riots, no fires, no stray bullets? Another reason that I feel it's best to get paid for using your mind. As long as you're breaking a sweat to get paid, people look at you and more importantly, treat you something like a slave. A well-paid slave, but a slave nonetheless.
I hear the argument. "Someone could've been shot." This is a very accurate statement. Could have been. When's the last time someone got convicted of murder for shooting and missing? Like Katt Williams says, "Don't worry, I'll wait." That's what I thought. Considering that all the damage was done to the shooter and his career, I think probation or a minimal stint in prison would suffice. It is really something, the hypocrisy of the legal system and the NFL. Michael Vick gets 2 years and major suspensions for his role in a dogfighting ring. Plaxico is looking at 3 1/2 for shooting himself in a nightclub because he was not licensed to carry the gun. Donte Stallworth, however, KILLS a man while drunk driving and gets 15 days in jail? Stallworth paid a hefty sum to the victim's family. I'm sure Michael Vick would've paid a similarly-hefty sum to the shelter that got the surviving dogs he had mistreated. I'm also sure that Burress would have been ready and willing to drop some guap on the nightclub or hospital. Or his injured thigh, for that matter. The message from commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL, and our criminal justice system to the world is pretty clear: Kill somebody! Don't you dare injure yourself to the point that you're worthless to us or our franchises and for God's sake, you better not lay a finger on the dogs.

Trea-tease On the Death of Hip Hop

Notice that I called this a trea-tease (not a typo). I have a lot to say about this and will most likely break it into a series when I get done with the one that I am supposed to be working on. Why the teaser? It was inspired by this video:

Eat that watermelon, indeed. Some are asking if the video went too far. Instead, we should be asking if those who inspired the video have gone too far. Rappers (not MCs mind you) like Soulja Boy, who put both feet in their mouths every time they open them and make you wonder why such happily and blissfully ignorant fools are allowed to speak in public or at all. **Ignorance in and of itself is not so bad, we are all ignorant about something. However, speaking on and about things that we are ignorant about is my personal definition of stupidity. Furthermore, I would normally post a picture here but I wouldn't give this no-dancing, no-reading, couldn't-rap-if-he-tried idiot the pleasure of gracing my page. This concludes my interruption, now back on topic.** Of course, the video is narrated by my favorite rapper, Nas, who is pictured above. This is merely a snippet, so I won't get into the similarities between the minstrel show and the current state of hip hop at this moment, which were obviously addressed in the video. Similarities which were also addressed in rap group Little Brother's 2005 album, "The Minstrel Show." They shot a music video for the lead single, entitled "Lovin' It" off their album. BET refused to play this album because it was, and I quote, "too intelligent," according to an unnamed executive. Here's how I feel about BET, as addressed by Aaron McGruder.

Enough of that, just know that anyone who analyzes the images on television with and the words on the radio with their minds as they see/hear them already understands that artists are being "pimped." We'll say or do anything, without regards for the ramifications these things bring about for the entire community (and yes there are ramifications). It's the same thing with black actors. Wonder why they keep killing us at the beginning of these movies? Because there's always someone willing to take the job, that's why. Viewers protest, actors oblige. Same in hip hop. A few listeners protest, most rappers and fans oblige. We don't even realize that we're clowning ourselves for meager money while we make billions for corporate executives, many of whom would never allow their children - or anyone that they cared about - to exploit themselves in such a way. Why is hip hop dead? Ever seen the movie, "Ray?" The beauty of that movie is that it provides an in-depth look into the life of Ray Charles and the sources of inspiration for all of his music. Every song that he sings comes from a specific story from his childhood or his adult life. From his joys, pains, sorrows, and anguishes throughout his life - we got good music. Music that he sang because it was his truth, his experience. That gives it an authenticity that many of us in this generation have never known from music. Fans, listeners, and money came because people could relate to it and therefore supported it. Nowadays, it's backwards. We make music trying to come up with something catchy and simple (not to mention silly) that people will buy. Instead of telling our own stories and imparting the wisdom and lessons learned from our lives into inspirational and life-changing music, we desperately want to make a "hit." Every high school teenager you know is putting out (or has recently put out) a mixtape. Everybody thinks they can 'spit.' No one, however, is bringing anything new to the table. Instead, they make clone music that they hope will be a hit. Not because they've lived it, but because it sounds like something that went platinum and they're hoping to mimic the formula and the success. It's just like reality television. Very little of it is original, it is all derived from something else and adds merely a little twist. For instance, "Dancing With the Stars" begat the ill-fated "Skating With Celebrities." They don't even think enough of us to try and hide it anymore. That goes for both reality television and most of today's hip hop (so-called) music.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

2. The stronghold that the mainstream media has on our culture, and our desires to be socially accepted at almost any cost

I know. It's been a long time coming. A really, really looooooooong time coming. In my first post, I said that I would do one of these everyday for a week until I had finished the 7 reasons I had cited (while acknowledging that there are more that exist) for the downward spiral that we are seeing in Generation Y and in our society as a whole. Things came up, stuff got pushed back. I apologize. Sorry. But I'm back on it now, so here we go.

The first reason was the absence of fatherhood. It ties directly into this one, because one part of the reason that we are "raised" by televisions is because parents aren't doing their jobs anymore. Many fathers aren't there in the first place, and many mothers work extra hard to provide for their children - who are left in front of the television all day. Mainstream media (TV, radio, internet, movies, etc.) directly affects us and how we think. Don't we all have people that we know who say things like "I know such and such is true, I saw it on TV!" People hear songs on the radio and think that the topics mainly discussed (money, cars, clothes, drugs, sex, and violence) are what hip-hop is all about (more on that at a later date). As the saying goes, "seeing is believing." I, for one, find it hard to believe what's on TV and what I see in actual life. Wonder why our culture is oversexed? What do they use to sell everything from records to clothes to phones to food products? Sex! Sex, sex, and more sex. It desensitizes us to the immoral and perverse. Plus, in the Black community, we see the same images of Blacks over and over again. Negative images that I believe send subliminal messages that carry sizable consequences. What do we see? We see the "hustler" (or "hustla" for the suffix protesters) that gets money by trafficking drugs to the community. This life is glamorized on all types of movies, songs (and the subsequent music videos), and television shows to the point that we have young men walking around who think they want to be this guy. The part normally left out is how the guy ends up living his life looking over his shoulder all the time, unable to trust anyone or actually enjoy the fruits of his "labor" (think Frank Lucas - his wife bought him a mink and he sat with the bigwigs to watch the Muhammad Ali fight which led to suspicions about his identity and next, his empire came crashing down and he was headed to do hard time). If not, they end up in prison for the rest of their lives. Worse yet, someone gets jealous of the money and popularity our dopeboy has received, and kills him. If either of the last two happens to anyone, that person is not living. Either you die, or you go to prison. Prison is no way to live. They sell these lies to us in such a smooth way, we've even started to believe them. Similarly, sex is promoted all over the media. Once again, they neglect to tell the whole story. Hot partner, sexy. Hot encounter, sexy. What's not sexy? How about syphillis, gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia? Worse yet, what about HIV/AIDS? Teen pregnancy is not sexy, either. It's a really hard road - especially for someone who is still a child - to travel. No stable source of income, no education, and a young mouth to feed. Even more important, a child to raise without the benefit of life experience that provides the lessons and morals that we all should pass on to our children. Did I mention that it's not sexy? Ask any unmarried woman with a child who is trying to find a date. Not a booty call, mind you, but a date. Yeah. Thought so. You don't have to take my word for any of this. Ask Bristol Palin. Yes, the daughter of Sarah Palin who once said that she thought abstinence was 'unrealistic.' Now she's an advocate, speaker, and promoter, of abstinence. Having a baby is not fun because if you actually care about the life that you brought into the world, you have to put your life on hold. Very few friends stick by you during and after the pregnancy, either. Not fun. Not sexy. What of the fact that many women seem to be looking for "bad boys" these days that life is actually beginning to resemble the movies where the thug gets the girl? Criminals are glamorized and made to look incredibly "cool." Thugs, gangstas, drunks, weed-smokers - cool. Lack of discipline - cool. Lack of self-control - cool. Lack of integrity - cool. The negative effects of such images can be seen on the 10 o'clock news every night. Conversely, the smart and wholesome characters seen on mainstream media are usually shown to be uncool, unpopular, insecure, and lonely. It should soon begin to make sense that so many of us actually shun knowledge and learning - those girls never seem to get the guy or vice versa. Or if they do, it's because they "loosened up" and got drunk that night. Or they finally hit the blunt. Or some girl finally gave 'em some and now all of a sudden, their focus is completely on their social lives and any noble goals or focus goes out of the window. What do we expect from our generation, then? As is my custom, I have rap lyrics ready to prove my point. These particular lyrics are from Lupe Fiasco, on a song called "The Instrumental" which was featured on his first album, "Food and Liquor."

"He just sits, and listens to the people in the boxes
Everything he hears, he absorbs and adopts it
Anything not coming out the box, he blocks it
See he loves the box and hopes they never stop it
Anything the box tell him to do, he does it
Anything it tell him to get, he shops and he cops it..."

The point behind the title of this song is that those who control the images and messages transmitted in the "box" have taken away the voice of he who watches it, thus leaving only his instrumental. I've heard many Brothas from the Nation of Islam say about television, "They're telling lies to your vision." Farrakhan seems to have this one right, if you ask me. If acting and movies and music are all considered "art" and life is said to imitate art, then shouldn't producers, screenwriters, creators, actors, and others in the film and television industry as well as those in the music industry be more careful as to what they are willing to show? Better yet, who said that children should be raised by the media anyway? Isn't it time for parents to stand up and at least monitor and control what their kids can see? Here's the point. I wrote in an earlier post that the current trend of rap music that we hear on our radios relies on one constant: the continued oppression, stagnancy, and complacency of the Black community (the effects of which are beginning to spillover into society as a whole). If more women knew who they are, and that they aren't "hoes," they wouldn't dance to (or worse yet, buy and support) songs and artists that refer to them as such. If more young men really knew what it takes to empower and elevate one's self (knowledge, drive, education and integrity), less of us would fall privy to the dangers and allure of street life. More of us would be too busy investing, saving, or paying our bills to "make it rain". More of us would inhabit safe and prominent neighborhoods before, not after, driving a nice car. More of us would also father our children. Nearly everything that is depicted as cool or socially acceptable on television can and will lead to death and/or destruction. Crime, sex, greed, drugs, lack of intelligence/education, etc. They all lead to the prison yard or to the graveyard. Such is the point of the entire concept on which Lupe based his second album, "The Cool." The album follows Micheal Young History, a young guy who is seduced by The Streets and misled by The Game to be a drug dealer. He ends up poppin' tags and collars and whatnot, rides a nice whip, everybody knows who he is and he has a whole lot of money and women. Eventually, on a skit, a gunman runs up behind his driver's side window and shoots him while he is in his car. On the following song, "Put You On Game," Lupe embodies The Game, a personification of the allure of the glamorized lifestyles which in actuality lead to death or imprisonment, neither of which are glamorous.
"I am the safe haven for the rebel runaway and the resistor
The trusted mis-leader,
The number one defender,
And from a throne of their bones I rule,
These fools are my fuel

So I make them Cool
Baptize them in the water out of Scarface pool,
And feed 'em from the table that held Corleone's food,
If you die, tell them that you played my game
I hope your bullet holes become mouths that say my name,
'Cause I'm the... [gunshot]"
Can you see why I'm so excited that Lupe's gearing up to put out another album? If we ever plan to stand up and take our place as a respectable generation, we have to first reject what mainstream media tells us we should seek. We have to replace the destructive images with constructive ones. Replace ignorance, violence, drugs, alcohol, and sex with intelligence, peace, drive, discipline, and determination. Smart is the new gangsta. Articulate is the new sexy. I'll tell you what isn't sexy. That guy that wants to create children and not provide for them - not sexy. That girl who doesn't know her worth and flaunts her body as if she wishes to be passed around - not sexy. That guy or girl that does not realize who he/she is, what his/her talents are and what he/she wants to spend his/her life doing with them - not cool. The guy/girl that seeks validation from everyone and everywhere else except from within and above - not cool. We have to be the antithesis to what we see on television, to what we hear on the radio, and to much of what is seen on the internet. We cannot be living examples of it. In the Bible (John 10:10 to be exact), Satan's M.O. is described. "The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy," it says. It would seem that the Devil is using television to do it. Unfortunately for Jesus, people don't read anymore. Only one word describes the message of the mainstream media - propaganda. We have to dismiss and reject the propaganda and create our own stories, define ourselves, and create our own futures and destinies instead of taking our cues from those in posh corporate offices who are more concerned with ratings and profits than they are about the social effects and by-products of their programming (take notice of the word -a very fitting one). Don't be programmed. Be the resistance.