1.27.2008

The Trouble With Hill Is

After my euphoria over Obama's win in Iowa and then the crash of New Hampshire, I've been quiet. Real quiet. I was still reading articles and following the campaign, but fatigue started to set in. I still bought 100 Obama stickers, three buttons, four hope braclets, a "Got Hope" t-shirt and a lawn sign, but I was worried. People were showing fear and Bill started being very vocal on his wife's behalf. Well, Bill was probably being more vocal on his own behalf, waxing poetic about what it was like for him on the campaign trail and disorting Obama's record, but people have a long memory for things they hoped were better than they really were.

Oh, you didn't know that's what the Clinton campaign has been doing? Let me share just a few tidbits:

- mailers sent out in New Hampshire put forth lies (yes, lies) about Obama's record in the Illinois state legislature, turning his "present" votes that were part of a stragegy with Planned Parenthood (IL) into doubts about his position. Obama maintains a 100% rating with NARAL.

- the words vs. work argument. JFK & MLK dreamed it but it took LBJ to get it done? First, JFK did NOT dream the civil rights movement. He wanted it to go away; it was actually quite a nightmare for him. But, he was starting to face reality and then he got killed. Guess he couldn't do much after that, huh Hillary? And as for LBJ finishing the job - every piece of legislation has to be signed by the President. Duh. Difference is that MLK wasn't president and was never going to be president. Obama can be (I say, must be) president; therefore he can dream and do. The two are not mutually exclusive by any means.

- Mark Penn's multiple references to cocaine use during Hardball with Chris Matthews. Obama already disclosed this in his book, so there was nothing to new, but apparently Penn thought the public needed reminding. I mean, at least Obama had the good judgment to disclose this fact of his past. Bill could only muster a feeble and unbelieveable, "I didn't enhale."

- Bob Johnson's not so subtle innuendo again about Obama doing "something - I won't say what, in the hood" while introducing HRC. He also feigned some fake outrage about calling into question the Clinton's dedication to the black community. After these stunts, I, for one, call into question their commitment and their respect to the black community.

- Bill's feigned dusting down of a reporter, accusing the press of playing the race card. Yeah, right...

- The Clinton campaign's total abandonment of South Carolina, setting it up as a black state to minimize any Obama win there.

- Bill putting the cream on top yesterday. When asked by a reporter if it was fair for both the Clinton's to be piling on Obama, Bill answered with a straight face, no other words in between that, "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in 1984 & 1988..." Now, what that has to do with the price of tea in China is anybody's guess.

A little over five weeks ago, if you asked me who I supported, the answer would be Obama and quickly I would add that I would be happy voting for any of the Democratic nominees. Oh, have times changed. I have never been a fan of Hillary Clinton. I saw her as a very smart woman with her political calculations like tickertape on her forehead. I did not see (and still don't) what the argument is for her to be the president is. It bugged me that the plans for a Hillary presidency were being laid before the Bill presidency was over. And then there is the whole Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton thing. An aristocracy we're not. In spite of those reservations, I would have been quite satisfied to vote for her. Today, no longer.

I cannot over look the way she has run her campaign. Her campaign has become about Bill and less about her; she has become a bit player in her own production. I don't want to be told that electing her would be busting through the glass ceiling, when the very reason she is where she is, is because of her husband. And he has become -no, they've become a co-presidency. Not again - we, as a nation must move on. As one woman put it, "she already had her time in the White House." I also can't forget the very dirty tactics, the distortions, the dismissals and the half-hearted apologies. I don't think Obama shouldn't be criticized or treated with kid gloves. What I do think is that the candidates of the Democratic party should not make a habit of campaigning like the Republicans. They have smeared, lied, shaded, mischaracterized, slimed, cheated and stolen. And they didn't win. I'm one of those who believes that a great many of our elections were fraudulent. They played dirty and they won (NOT) dirty. Why be them? Isn't that the same as republican lite? Are her ideas so lacking that she has to resort to such disagreeable and dishonorable tactics?

And that's what pisses me off most. I don't think the Clintons are racist - no, they're something much worse, they are racial opportunists. They see predjudices and exploit them for their own benefit. Heck, they are opportunists period. The only people who deserve opportunity at this moment, are the citizens of the United States of America. The People are what and who matters. No one is owed political office. No one deserves their "turn". The body politic is wholly dependent on who and what the People decide is needed at the moment. True, most of us have abdicated our part in this process, but, but, but... many are awakening to the call and heeding it. It is for no one to stand between the People and its Will. No, I must dismiss this subversion; fight it.

Remember that song, Right Here, Right Now by Jesus Jones from a few years back?



I don't want to go back to the 90s. I want to be here, now, because the possibilities are breathtaking.

Got Hope?

1.21.2008

I Want Sex

And who doesn't?


I'm especially troubled by the net noise espousing that the only ideal life for a BW is marriage. It's not that I am down on marriage, heck, I used to be married. I don't begrudge anyone who wants to be married and I don't discourage them either. Well, that's not true. As a rule, I am against marriage before the age of 28 for either party – and that includes gay marriage as well, if we ever get around to allowing them to express their love on paper like the rest of us. I think that adults should be able to marry who they want. I don't even have a problem with plural marriages. If someone wants to share the cow or the steer, who am I to deny them? So, let's get that pesky little talking point out of the way – I like marriage. I am not against marriage. I am against dumb ones.

What is a woman to do, indeed, a black woman (BW), when a suitable man is not in the immediate future? Should she shut down or only seek out relationships that will lead to the golden egg of marriage? Now, according to some self-described interracial (IR) bloggers (IRB), BW need only pursue relationships with marriage as the end game. Every one cannot be a winner, more than 50% are indeed not, what's a woman to do? I know what men do, but I'll leave that for male bloggers to tell. Also, according to the IRBs, the best way to find the path to marriage is to eschew BM in favor or WM, as WM tend to marry women at a higher rate than BM (not as many baby daddies I think the rhetoric goes). I bet they have a bunch of statistics and numbers in addition to anecdotal stories to back up their claims as well as their advice. And that's all fine and good. But my question is this – what is wrong with BW also asserting their sexual freedom and being happy single women? I know that the argument goes that over 70% of BW are single, so the conversation is about moving that number lower. But really, what is wrong with being single in and of itself? Is the problem single motherhood? These days, motherhood is a choice. Women do not have to be mothers at all. But being single? Ah, well, you need two to tango for more than one night for that, now dontcha?

Disclaimer: I am a mother – by choice. However, I am also single – by choice.

I have not yet found the man to be my partner in life. I have not met that special man who is willing to buy a stranger a drink. It could be me or it could be them. All I know is that no one's asked and I haven't accepted less than what I hope to be a long lasting, rewarding relationship on the order of soul mate. That does not mean that I haven't met men who are smart, funny, humane, thoughtful or giving. My singleness is my choice. It's safe to say that most women can find a man. The real question is the man she finds the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with? I think, unfortunately, many women (and men) get excited about the idea of marriage, the thought of not ending up alone, that they rush into a commitment that should not be taken lightly. Hence, the high failure rate of such pairings. I say, let's take a breather; let's think about this to see if indeed that person is THE ONE. My single status is because I want to be sure. And in the meantime, hate to be crass, but I've got needs.

Don't you?

There's no Mr. Right on the horizon, so I'm okay with Mr. Right Now. Or, at least I am in principle. At the moment, I'm holding fast to single Ndel with a little karmic insurance. I am actively crushing on, ya'll know, Mr. Casablanca, so I am purposely putting my dating hat up and taking out my vibrator. And this too is a choice. I no less respect a woman who decides that if the one she wants at the moment is unavailable to her (yet), she will make use of a man of her choice who is. And make nasty, dirty, sexy use of him without regret, shame or apologies. I don't see the problem. Heck, it's been something I've actively practiced for years. The only problem I do see is that women, especially BW, are commonly vilified for such choices. I think the reason Sex and the City was so popular is that it successfully dealt with women looking for Mr. Right but not necessarily passing up a Mr. Right Now.

Dating (make no mistake, by dating, I mean fucking) Mr. Right Now while waiting to meet Mr. Right is completely acceptable, in fact can be liberating. How else does one learn to separate love and sex? That's something women are told constantly – that we cannot separate the two. We are feeling creatures. We must have a deeper level connection with a man… Now, I don't want to brag, but there has been plenty a man that I have gotten nasty with that I didn't love or fall in love with and maybe didn't even like afterward. Stop thinking evil thoughts now, I'm just being honest. We are so brain washed into thinking that in order to have sex we must be in love that we indeed force feelings on men that we might not otherwise be into. I mean, we fucked him, so we've got to love him, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

No, we fucked him, so we've get to…move on. Yup, with our eyes open and our hearts free. However, if he's a good fuck, I suggest you keep him around a bit; winter nights can be long and lonely. Plus, why should a woman spend her extra change on great dinners at Bastide when someone else's credit card will do just fine?

Excuse me while I get my flak jacket; it's right next to my vibrator.

1.19.2008

If the Shoe Fits

Do you do it in the field? Or do you do it in the castle?

What's your preference woman, who do you do it with?

For the last few years, there has been a discussion, some might say a one-way discussion, in the black community (BC) about the widening class gap between BW and BM. You see, BW are doing better in all measures than BM in the US. We're getting educated, we're getting better jobs, we're making more money, we're travelling more... You get the idea. BW are living the American Dream, while it seems BM are living an American Nightmare. I do not have enough time on this earth to properly dissect and discuss the reasons why this is, so I won't even try. I want to talk about something way more personal - the choice of a mate with the reality of the situation in mind. What are BW to do? The number of men available to us is greatly diminished when, in addition to subtracting (how's that for new math for ya?) married, gay, incarcerated to BM who just aren't suitable, I forget the exact ratio, but it's something like 4 to 1 BW to BM. That's like super scary. And so, the recent upward trend of BW dating and marrying men other than BM. Some call it opening up options - but I call it looking for love, wherever you might find it, with a suitable and compatible person.

The resistance to BW opening up their options is very strong in the BC. When a woman sits down and writes down exactly what she wants in a mate, more than likely, she aspires to a man who can lift her up, mentally, spiritually, physically ("sweep me off my feet"), intellectually and materially. Yes, I said it - most women want a man who can make her lot in life better. Back in stone age days, that meant either the neanderthal with the smarts (fire!) or the brawn (food!). Today, more or less, it means the dude with the education (white collar) and not the hands (blue collar). Of course, that's a very pre-90's way of describing the division that exists in US society today, but it's a comparison that most people still understand. When the trend became clear that BW were outperforming BM in almost every way, voices in the BC began to tell BW that they should not set their sights so high - if the BW was an executive, educator or entrepreneur, she should consider the garbage man. He was still a good BM, wasn't he? It would be infinitely better for the BC for BW to stay with a BM rather than seek out a member of her class. Right?

Wrong.

Class in the US is an economic construct, rather than one solely of birth, as it was in old Europe. Class is an ugly word to us because we associate it with the circumstance into which one is born. Not so much here in the US anymore. On the other hand, poverty is, in large part, the result of birth and since our class system is based on money, one could argue that class remains the burden of birth. Ho hum. The big difference is that today, one can be born to poverty and move their class; that was next to impossible in the old world. And BW have been doing that en mass since the early 80's. BW have been moving up in society; they have been changing their class. Is it not natural for people to either look in their class or to any that are above for mates? This does not necessarily mean that you look down on anyone (as one shouldn't, we are all created equal), it simply means for mating purposes, you wish to be with someone who is your match in all ways. Now, that usually means if you have an education, you want someone who has one too. But today that is not a hard and fast rule. Our society is so complicated, so diverse, is it possible that a college professor can find romantic parity with a copier repairer? I say yes. One can be smart and intellectually curious without a higher education. It depends on the person.

Love is highly subjective. Plenty of white collar women fall in love with and marry blue collar men. I think, because of the internal pressure in the BC, the percentage of white collar BW married to blue collar BM is probably higher than the population at large. Then again, 70% of BW aren't married at all, so that shows we're avoiding the question altogether. It's an individual and a collective problem with no easy solution.

But for me, the issue hits home. I'm not college educated, but people think I am. I do have a managerial position in the private sector (as opposed to government or education), so I am solidly a white collar worker. And, as my Daddy used to say, I have champagne taste on a hard lemonade budget (he said beer). I like the finer things in life. Whatever. As an avid reader of this blog (and I know you are), you are aware that I've had my eye on a certain somebody for the last few weeks that I call Mr. Casablanca (MC). And he flies right in the face of the conventional wisdom of a what a blue collar man is supposed to be. Yes, he gets his hands dirty each and every day. He works with components, motors, computers and circuits. He wears overalls (color blue!) and safety goggles. He has to be licensed to do his work. Yet, in spite of all this, he is, in fact, an educated man, by one of the finest small colleges in the country. He is well traveled, physically fit (remember, he played Division 1 football - as a center and nose guard I've found out) and articulate. In spite of being 34 to my 39, I suspect he makes more money.

Plus, the man knows his shoes (and I'm not talking about the safety boots he must wear for work); he loves spas. Next, I'm going to catch him reading Nietzsche for fun. See, I realize that he will "clean up" well. I know he's smart and funny and all that. I know that he likes classic movies but not musicals. I know he likes to snow ski and that he loves Italy. But some others don't see that, not at all. They see dirt under the fingernails. And that's all they see. The real problem with that is that's how they see everything; executive and worker and the twain shall never meet. Now, it may seem that I am making the original argument of the BC that BW should look to blue collar BM to find mates. Not at all. I am making the argument that all people should look for the one that fits them.

Does he lift you up rather than tear you down? Does he understand the politics that you encounter each day, even if the politics he faces are different? Can he take care of you and your children; even more importantly, does he want to? Does he respect your love of books and current events? Is his sense of humanity stronger than his sense of tribe? Will he go to the opera with you and you to the races with him? Does the sight of him get your heart racing, your spirit restful and your mind attuned?


And most importantly, will he appreciate those Manolos? Cause girl, you know you haven't bought them yet!

Ladies, we've got one shot at this life. I, for one, want comfortable shoes; it's going to be a long haul. If the shoe fits, wear him and wear him well.

1.12.2008

Falling in Love With White Women

This week brought the series premiere of Cashmere Mafia (CM). I've just finished watching both episodes and I have to say I like it. It's not as good as Sex in the City (SATC), when it premiered and before it was significantly retooled and became a cultural icon for 00s, but I liked it. But, I have to ask myself why on earth all the good shows with the great fashion and cute guys are almost exclusively cast with white women (WW)? Yeah, I know that Lucy Liu is technically Asian American, but let's be real, for all intent and purposes, she's a Hollywood WW.

And in Hollywood, only WW, heck white people, get to have fun. First, they get to live in New York City, Manhattan to be exact. They get to eat in the most fabulous of restaurants, drink at the hippest of bars, view at the most cutting edge art galleries and shop without abandon in the most fashion forward of boutiques. The unbelievably handsome men in these televised versions of WW utopia offer drinks at every happy hour, enticing sex at the first opportunity, and nary a demand on time or emotion. The story lines throw in the occasional cad to serve up passing cautionary red flags to keep us interested (our heroine can't have everything handled to her on a silver platter, now can she; plus, they need to throw in some reality, don't they?), but those temporary excursions do nothing to derail the audience's feeling that our girls really have it all. Rather than the message of not everyone can have it all, these shows seem to give the impression that indeed, these women do have it all. Their set backs are just minor inconveniences, easily swallowed with that first glass of champagne in that $2,500 dress.

Perhaps the reason that brown and black women of color are missing from these types of fantasy shows is that the honchos at the networks just can't believe that we can have similarly uncomplicated lives. I mean, our men are killed off and incarcerated at alarmingly high numbers, so we can't have any money -- we've given it all to the bail bondsman. Plus, don't forget, we had all those children between the ages of 9 and 15, so we have a really hard time finding a babysitter. And, we really are better suited to the hefty, overly confident assistants with good sense and hearts of gold. But in these shows, the WW play each other's best friends, so there's no place at the table for us. But, they've thrown us a bone in that Jennifer Hudson is going to play, what else? Carrie's sassy assitant in the big screen version of SATC, coming to you this Spring.

As a fan of SATC, I always wished there were some women of color, actually just more people of color on the show. Their world just seemed so white and Jewish. I don't live in NYC, but I suspected that there were more than white and Jewish folk there. But, you wouldn't know it. I was happy when Miranda got involved with a character played by Blair Underwood (recently holding the lead in acceptable black man for WW in short story arcs these days), but the writers punked out and had her go back to Steve - whom she eventually married in the series' finale. And since the show (as MC) is based around women, I don't look for my usual BW-WM pairing, but why not? Why can't one of these fabulous men (white, except for Blair, of course), have BW as spouses or girlfriends? What's up with that? In the background, I see WM + WW to the exclusion of any other race. And that sucks.

I think that CM and Big Shots could be companion shows. That is, if the writers of BS wise up and drop the Karl storyline and some of the more outlandish threads (the tranny hooker storyline could have been interesting, if they hadn't dragged out it for five episodes). But, BS has some real emotion going for it, especially the
James and Katie storyline. It's not a perfect show by any means, but I applaud it's nod to diversity. And that's not to say that I don't think they couldn't do more in that department, but I find it more than a little funny that a male centric show does it while the female equivalents seem to be tone deaf on the subject.

When when my conspiratorial mind gets going, I think is the message that only WW & WM are worth love and attention? In the WW centric shows, WW are the object of all male desire, albeit all the men are white, except for, you guessed it -- Blair Underwood. Oh, I forgot, in CM, the chick that is figuring out she just might be lesbian, is about to get nasty with one of those racially ambiguous actresses. She could be a BW or she could be a LW - either way, she's some color. In the WM centric show, all kinds of women are available to the men (with no men of other races in contention) and they take advantage of this virtual smorgasbord. So, I guess in the end, we'll only get equality when everyone is the object of desire - black, white, asian, latin - whatever. And don't even think I'm forgetting about the balding, the big, the handicapped, the short, or the plain. Everybody deserves equal access to get sum. And as TV does, the public follows.

And TV, while you're at it - please try to portray a somewhat accurate lifestyle a salary (even $300k - $400k) buys in NYC would ya? People who that make that much money don't generally have time for impromptu lunches several times a week or a heck of a lot of evenings free.

They have to work.

1.05.2008

Please Do Yourself A Favor

And check out the final season of The Wire that premieres tomorrow night on HBO. You've probably seen the posters and newspaper ads for it. Believe the hype; it is THAT good. I did not see the first three seasons; I am a johnny come lately (told ya, didn't I?). I started watching last year after concluding that I had to try again since the buzz was so deafening. HBO does a great job of airing catch up episodes before the beginning of the season that help explain the characters and story lines. After watching the preseason shows, I was ready. And I was not disappointed.

This show is good. No, this show is excellent. It's not just the story; it's not just the characters. It's not just the realism, or the truths. It's not the unflinching horror or the frequent moments of humanity. It's everything together. At some point, I plan on renting the first three seasons, just so I can have the full experience. Like I said, don't despair; it's not too late. The season premiere is tomorrow night, HBO 9pm and HBO On Demand. Watch it, rent it, TIVO it - whatever!

You will not be disappointed. I promise.

1.03.2008

Thank Gawd Almighty!

I don't even have to wait for 9:00 pm! Obama wins it. Come on now -- lose the people won't vote for a black man or that he doesn't have enough experience. Heck -- those who like Edwards so much, tell me, how much experience does he have? Name it exactly.

Obama is the one. Oprah said it and I still believe it.

Almost free at last!

Finally Iowa

I can't wait for tonight to be over - I'll wake up tomorrow and find out who won Iowa. It's been a long, long, long pre-campaign.

I'm still an Obama gal. All the way.

Crossing my fingers.