Tropic Thunder..my thoughts

I must admit when I first heard about this movie, I was pretty much in the WTF camp. However after reading a few reviews and a desire today to not work on a pressing piece of client work today, I gathered eldest child and the spousal unit and decided to go check it out while mini-me lounged at daycare.

This is one of those films that on the surface I see why its getting good reviews, Americans are not that deep and on the surface it is a funny movie. I think Ben Stiller has some talent as a director and from a cinematic angle he did do some interesting things. To quote a Ben Stiller interview I heard on NPR, he satirizes satire and I will agree that he did that well.

However as someone who studied media images of African-Americans (specifically Black women though I will don my quasi-academic hat here) the use of Black face or rather Robert Downey Jr as a Black man is disturbing to me. Now my son on the way home, told me point blank he does not agree with me and felt that maybe I was looking to nitpick at the movie. Yet as I watched (by the way Downey is a talented actor), I could not help thinking of early films such as Birth of a Nation, which is the most offensive piece of shit I have ever seen.

No, looking at the larger picture as a society we are not a place where I feel black-face regardless of how we dress it is ok. We may have a Black man running for president yet we live in a world where there are too many negative media representations of Blacks for me to be ok with this portrayal.  Downey’s character does attempt some shucking and jiving and is in fact put in his place by a real Black man but still its too much for my taste. The  fact that Downey’s character even attempts to shuck and jive no matter how brilliantly acted, still lets me know how the greater white society often views Blacks. We are not taken seriously, we are expected to perform and while on a base level we laugh it exposes the racism that is still firmly entrenched in our society.

Would I recommend this film? That’s a tough one, to be honest, though while Tropic Thunder is deeper than a Tyler Perry film, it was still a hard pill to swallow.

RIP Bernie

I had no plans to blog today seeing as how its the weekend, but I just heard that Bernie Mac passed, and I have to say for a moment I felt like I had lost a loved one. Regular readers know that despite the name of this blog, I am from Chicago, spent a good share of my life on the southside in fact, same general area that Bernie Mac hailed from.

I can’t say that I knew the brother, but I have known of him for years just in Chicago and have always loved his routine. Admittedly his style of humor was not for the faint of heart or PC crowd. That said, I loved his piece in Kings of Comedy about watching the kids and the little girl (I believe his niece) who wanted her milk and cookies. The fact that as he said in the routine, that she looked at him like he was small, always got laughs around here, especially in this last year as mini-me at times seems like she has the personality of that niece he talked about.

Anyway the beauty of blogging is when you got something to say, you can just post it, so I say RIP to Bernie and his family. Chicago and the world lost a true king of comedy. Perhaps you can meet my Mom up there in the great party and tell her some jokes.

Race card… whose really playing it?

Can I just saying I am starting to get really bored by the current election season, its like damn lets just get to November and vote already. Seriously, it seems like this shit has just being going on and on, so much that honestly I have lost a bit of my enthusiasm especially once my man Obama got the nomination and started acting a little strange. That said, I sure as hell ain’t voting for crazy ass McGrampy so unless some real nasty shit comes out about my man Obama, he’s got my vote.

That said, I woke up this morning as I do most mornings listening to NPR and heard the latest in this long crazy trip known as an election season, seems McGramps said Obama played the race card from the bottom of the deck… dayum, he played it from the bottom? For real? Thankfully being NPR, they then played a snippet of what Obama said and well in quick paraphrasing he essentially said that there are some who would tell you I am scary because I don’t look like the other cats who have ran for president, my name is funny, yada, yada.. Um, tell me something I don’t know… shit, how many emails have gone out this year basically saying because the man’s name is Barack Hussein Obama he is a Muslim and ya know them Muslims are scary. Come on, didn’t Hillary herself use coded racial language, like hard working folks aka white folks.

I must admit that after I heard the story, I laughed, shit was funny until I stopped to think about something that I went through last year where I was accused of playing the race card. Long story short, I was teaching at a school where I was only 1 of 2 teachers with an advanced degree, I was the only person of color and after being promised a ft gig with benefits after being worked like a Hebrew slave, I was let go, given some bullshit ass reason. Well turned out a sista was the lowest paid instructor at that joint despite having more education than only one other person, well as you can imagine, my Chicago side came out when I was being let go and I called bullshit. Anyway I was told I was playing the race card, former boss lady got all red in the face and huffy when I said basically I had been screwed and was pissed, of course by throwing in the ole race card, she threw me off my game for a minute. The end is not really relevant since I have been blessed since leaving that shit-hole ass job.

My point though is that incident coupled with many others have revealed to me that it seems when white folks get uncomfortable with Black folks especially us loud mouth ones who won’t back the fuck down, we are accused of using the ole race card. However it seems to me if anything its them using the race card, seems when you are white, you can tell a person of color especially a Black person they are using the race card and it will prevent said white person from taking a look at themselves and taking personal responsibility about a situation.

Call me crazy, but by the rules many whites seem to live under that is definitely playing the race card and playing it from the bottom. No, McCain is feeling bitter and clinging to outdated ideas, so its better to attack Obama on bullshit than to create his own real platform.

McGrampy, shame on you for playing the race card, by the way is that the Amex Black card you have?