It was a brisk spring evening and after class, a buddy and I were hanging out at a local bar. Usually when he and I talk, things inevitably come to some sort of race discussion. And no, I’m not the one bringing it up (usually). And yes, he’s white. He’s also the kind of white guy that’s aware of the social boundaries but does want to push them, at times just for the sake of argument. He’s also second generation immigrant on one side of his family so he offers a unique perspective on cultural issues. He’s never offended me even though we’ve had some very good back-and-forth on contentious issues (such as his claim that African-Americans is not the right name for the current group of slave descendants – claiming simply American would be more accurate because the connection to Africa was, unfortunately, severed. I responded that ancestry is enough – Korean-Americans trace their ancestry back to Korea, Filipino-Americans to the Philippines, etc. Due to the severed connection, African-Americans might not be able to claim a certain country – hence Kenyan-American designating someone born in Kenya, not in America – but both on good faith because of the severed connection and ancestry, the title still fits. We went back and forth about this for awhile). This particular repartee was no different, as he took a swig of his beer and asked me, “Why can’t white people say the N word?”
I’d kind of seen this coming – our conversations had grown in, we’ll say, depth, since the first time race and Black culture and social issues came up in our conversations. And don’t get me wrong – this is valuable mental exercise for me. It’s like going to the gym and doing calisthenics for your mind when you have to give, evaluate, and criticize arguments on the fly. He knows that too, not to mention I think he’s got a curiosity about “the other side,” and because I’m not the normal Black guy he’s seen, he thinks I can provide a unique perspective that will confirm some thoughts about Black culture. Combine that with my intrigue about how white people argue against some of the social causes that directly impact Black people (e.g., Affirmative Action), his brazen honesty and willingness to put forth difficult arguments for the sake of arguments, and we tend to have thought provoking conversations on both sides, which is why I was alright with going forward. Part of me did want to say, “Can’t a nigga just drink his beer in peace?” and cut the conversation off, but discourse is highly important to becoming a better philosopher and to learning in general, so what the hell.
“I mean, you CAN say it, but I suggest you be prepared to deal with the consequences,” was my initial reply. We laughed (I was serious) but he rephrased to be more specific about asking why there should still be this stigma for this word such that it’s a bigger social taboo than calling someone a fag (depending on who you ask) or even a cunt (again, depending on who you ask. He was a proponent of what I call, “The Country’s Changed” argument – things aren’t what they used to be, Black people are accepted (he argues for assimilation at a later date) here and there’s no reason to keep hold of the past, it’s onward and upward and there are plenty of Black people who have been able to improve, so let’s not say that everybody is being denied a seat at the table. You know, because the country’s changed.
It’s colorblindness and that’s not something I agree with because it can lead dangerously right back into the same unbalanced power dynamic by ignoring the realities and the history of race in this country. That aside, he was making an interesting social point about the country changing. Hip hop is pop culture now. Jay-Z is a media titan, and a famous actress tweeted “Ni**as in Paris for real” in reference to his song title and a picture of The-Dream, 2 Hov associates and herself. White people at rap concerts say “Nigga” in the song lyrics alongside many of their fellow Black fans, ESPECIALLY if the rapper gives them permission. At a Kanye concert back in college when “Gold Digger” was out, he yelled to the Atlanta audience, “White people! This is the only time you’ll be allowed to say nigga!” And, yes, the white people sung along about girls not being with broke niggas, with no remorse. Some with big, shit-eating grins like, “Finally! I’ve been waiting to say this in public forever! AND nobody’s gonna get mad because the guy onstage said I can do it! It’s been my dream!” Nevertheless, the concept of white people saying nigga and getting away with it isn’t new. But saying it without having to get away with it is another idea, and that’s what my buddy wanted to know. Judging by the success of “Niggas in Paris,” as the Slate piece mentions, there’s definitely something changing about the moral status of the N-word.
You’ve heard his case and you’ve seen the evidence, so how would you respond to him? Is he right that white people should be able to say it and not be fearful of retribution? Or is there a better case to be made that white people shouldn’t say the N-word?
The conversation definitely got interesting, and the rest is coming later this week but what would you say if you were me? Would you even get into this conversation? Would you be offended? Has the country changed enough that white people can say “nigger”….again? Comment and share with others, your thoughts and intuitions about what you would do in this situation are sure to be fascinating.
 I actually, except for this blog, I guess, don’t say “nigga” in front of white people. This year I said it in two classes, but I was actually saying “nigger” and they were both quotes from texts. Oddly enough, both were contemporary texts. Nevertheless, I don’t say it in front of white people because I don’t want to encourage their usage. Call me old school. That argument courtesy of the soon-to-be-married BNT (congrats!).
 Both words hurt and offend, obviously, but I’m pretty sure the average white person would blurt those out before blurting out “nigger” or any derivation in front of people.
 The argument does appreciate the fact that there has been a terrible history in this country for people of color, especially people of African descent, but it emphasizes the growth that’s occurred in just the 50 years since major Civil Rights reform and effectively surmises that future generations will be more and more tolerant because of the reality of the melting pot in America (e.g., growth of Hispanic population, increase in mixed families, more interaction between Blacks and whites in a generally non-racially tense atmosphere on a daily basis).
I’m tired of it. There is a mentality that’s growing among us all and it threatens to ruin the fabric of everything good about human life. Much like a rotten apple, those purveyors of the…condition infect others with its allure of a better life for others. Nobody is immune to its charms, much like the devil convincing a poor soul to do his bidding. Truly, this condition is like a plague – if it is allowed to continue to spread, we will be overrun by these wasteful fools and life as we know it will end.
What could cause all of this calamity, you ask? Why, it’s simple…
LAZY BITCH SYNDROME.
Yes, Lazy Bitch Syndrome, or LBS for short, is everywhere and spreading. People of all shapes, sizes, colors and creeds are becoming lazy bitches. What exactly is a lazy bitch, you ask? Someone who refuses to work themselves into independence and prefers to
rely mooch off of another person or persons. Here’s an illustrative example:
Person A lives in the basement of his parents house at an adult age. He’s there because he couldn’t find work but since moving into the basement, he doesn’t contribute to much of anything. After 3 months, he hasn’t found a job and hasn’t tried to in good faith, he doesn’t help with any housework, and his parents still feed him.
Person B lives in the basement of his parents house at an adult age. He’s there because he couldn’t find work, but he’s been actively trying to find a steady job while working nights part time as a bar back. It’s not much but he still appreciates the work and his parents appreciate his earnestness on his job search. He’s still not much of a household contributor, but he’s not home all that often – he’s out trying to make something happen so that he can get back on his feet.
Person B is out here trying to make it work. He knows that having some sort of job is better than none and isn’t taking advantage of his parents – he’s trying to make money so that he can get out of his parents house at some point in the near future. It’s certainly not the most ideal situation, but he’s making the most of it in a positive way.
Person A is a lazy bitch. He doesn’t do shit but eat up food he isn’t working for and take advantage of his parents generosity. If you can’t work, you clean! You do something! That’s the essence of LBS – not wanting to do shit…ever. Person A isn’t interested in doing shit else but not doing shit. He wants to do that like it’s his job. People who aren’t interested in doing shit might have caught LBS and it could be in its contagious phase, so watch out!
Seriously though, the prevalence of LBS is frightening. I’m not talking about housewives who are working with the PTA, volunteering, doing hair on the side, or focused on raising their kids and keeping a steady house – they all get up and have things to do and they want to do them and it contributes to the greater community. But the housewife that wakes up and drinks a glass of wine while watching her stories and then shops for 2 hours and calls the nanny to see how the kids are doing every day? You’re a lazy bitch!
I’m not talking about the men who are unemployed but hustle to gather up some sort of funds to help keep a roof over his head. But the men that purposely take advantage of the people in their lives to take care of them so they don’t have to get a steady job? You all are some lazy bitches!
My cousin Chris told me a story earlier today and it exemplified how LBS can even be generational, which means the fight might already be lost. He’d heard of somebody who was living with too many people in the house at one time, and come to find out it’s a guy, his baby mama and her 2 other children…then her mother and her mother’s younger daughter came to live with them. After saying, “Damn,” he told me that the baby mama doesn’t work and the mother has a job but doesn’t contribute to the house. First thing I said was, “That’s generational LBS right there. Baby mama don’t wanna work and the mama don’t wanna contribute and both of them just wanna live for free. That’s generational shit right there.” Truly, that’s how LBS can show itself across the generations! Who the hell lives with someone without contributing to the house? Especially if it ain’t your house!
Lazy bitches come in all kinds of forms, folks, do not be fooled because they will tempt you – they’ll lie and say they won’t be lazy or their laziness is a necessary evil! They’ll tell you that everybody acts like this! These people aren’t to be trusted with your future – always listen for somebody who wants to grow up and not do shit. They have tipped their lazy bitch hand and let you know that they’ll be mooching off of you for as long as possible while providing the most minimal of returns. And don’t marry a lazy bitch because you’re stuck with him/her for life! Please believe me, I’ve met some of the laziest bitch men on this side of the Mississippi, this has nothing to do with gender because anybody and everybody can succumb to being a lazy bitch. Think of the perks:
- I don’t have to do shit,
- Someone takes care of me and even encourages me not doing shit,
- Whatever money I make is all for me because I’m being taken care of (so I refuse to contribute to the house),
- As long as I’m being enabled, it’s a free ride and there are ways to help keep me enabled (AKA putting it down in some contexts).
I’ve heard it before and actually seen a man get the perks of being a lazy bitch – he told me all he did for this woman was give her some good sex and she legit took care of him and gave the motherfucker an allowance. He was tempting me into becoming a lazy bitch myself! I saw the benefits! Televisions, games, car, well-fed, everything. But I couldn’t succumb to being a lazy bitch.
But even now, I can’t deny the allure of not doing shit, so I can only imagine how tempting it is for all of us to become lazy bitches. But I implore you not to give in to that temptation and to live to DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE WITH YOURSELF! Be productive in the world rather than a human-sized leech. That kind of ridiculousness must end and it must end now with each of us taking a personal pledge not to be a lazy bitch and to fight off lazy bitches and rid ourselves of them, forcing lazy bitches to deal with one another and ultimately either cannibalize themselves or develop out of being lazy bitches and into productive members of society.
Welcome to a new addition to the blog – “Ask Mr. Philosopher,” where your favorite philosopher answers your questions about ethical situations that we all find ourselves in. I know, philosophers don’t actually have much use in this scientific and techie society, but science won’t inform you about what you ought to do. Technology can help you find answers to questions but it won’t help you develop your moral values. What technology can do is get you into trouble if your partner doesn’t share the same moral values, also known as “what’s right and wrong.” So here’s a commonplace situation:
Your significant other left their phone on the bed and left the room.
How many of you would pick up that phone and start “playing” with it? You know, looking around to make sure you have nothing to worry about?
The answer, I think, is a ton of people would do just that if presented with that situation. They don’t find anything and they don’t get caught doing it, so the moment passes. We all know, however, that if the same situation popped up and you DID find something, all hell would break loose and you’d feel justified in addressing your significant other about what could be foul play.
For many people, this is the reality of dating life in the technological era. Privacy continues to be eschewed in favor of catching criminals in the act, prior to the act, or finally, after the act on the assumption something illegal MIGHT be happening. In the tech age, everyone’s guilty of doing something they shouldn’t have been doing even before they do it.
With stuff like this, whoever is doing the searching really is acting like the police – looking for evidence to nail your ass to the wall with. Unfortunately, everybody’s watched Law & Order so they think if I find evidence, then you’re guilty. Even in the case of phone searches, there’s still a right to an illegal search because, and I quote, “It’s not your damn phone.” Even if you do find something that may be wrong, the searcher is also in the wrong because you went snooping and invaded the searchee’s privacy.
So the question is: Are you ever justified in going through someone’s phone? The answer is rarely, but we will find a way to justify any action so long as we stand to benefit from it. The justification just won’t be strong, and here’s why:
The searcher’s argument looks something like this;
1) If my significant other is doing something s/he shouldn’t (according to me), I have a right to know,
2) My significant other is likely to do something s/he shouldn’t do (according to me),
3) My significant other is likely not to tell me if s/he did something s/he shouldn’t have done (according to me),
HENCE, I’m justified in looking through my significant other’s phone (on a regular basis).
This is the most basic argument for why it’s ok for me to look at the phone, through Premise 1 could have a 1a that explains why you have a right to know. Even though it’s predicated on being in a healthy, successful relationship, that doesn’t necessitate that you have to know A) everything your partner is doing, or B) that something your partner shouldn’t do, according to you, is a wrong action.
In fact, I should say that I’m not sure you can make a good case of having a healthy, successful relationship if you make this argument because it’s clear that searching a phone displays a lack of trust. That’s effectively what Premises 2 and 3 are for – my significant other is going to do something wrong and not tell me. Granted, there may be a moment that could give one legitimate pause as to if foul play is occurring that could shake your trust in your partner. A swaying branch in the wind is far different than a broken tree limb on the ground because the branch still has life. The moment phone checking becomes a norm, without a shred of evidence of foul play, you’ve become like a wiretapper following the PATRIOT Act, invading privacy in service of your own greater interests, including correcting your partner’s behavior! Incredibly, there are people out here treating their significant others like children, figuring that if my partner knows I go through their phone, my partner won’t do things I won’t like because my partner knows I’ll find out about it. As though that model works wonders with adults, who are much more resourceful than children, on average, and give many fewer fucks than children, on average.
If the trust is so broken that you feel the need to search through someone’s phone, then the relationship wasn’t doing well to begin with. There’s a paranoia that must set in when somebody goes past the point of no return with their phone search, because you don’t read a phone like you read the news – you’re looking for something. Anything that will validate and justify what you’re doing because flat out, you wouldn’t want it done to you. And that’s why the justification struggles; it’s looking for evidence to convict without evidence of a crime.
There are three main reasons, aside from the “it’s not your damn phone” argument, that phone searching should be considered tech taboo -
1) What’s next? My email password, my Facebook password, my blog password to check my comments and make sure I’m not flirting there? This is a slippery slope for the relationship – the searcher will always assert, “if you have nothing to hide, you should give me the password.” Even if there’s nothing to hide, there’s still something to preserve – my privacy! You don’t need to see the email my Dad sent me about his time at Freaknik, that’s not for your eyes! He sent it to me, not you! Similarly, any text messages, Facebook messages, Twitter DMs, and emails were all sent to me, not you, so why are you trying to see what is literally not meant for your eyes? Privacy means trust, and generally trust implies both giving it and receiving it – this is not a one way street.
2) You wouldn’t want it done to you because of the slippery slope from #1 and the invasion of privacy. We all have things we don’t want our partners to see, with good reason (at times). You go into my email, I don’t want you to see that my boss kicked my ass on a project I didn’t do well on! That’s not a conversation I want to have with you, otherwise I’d have it with you. You, the person searching, have those same emails and texts that you would rather your partner didn’t see, even if they present no threat to the relationship. You can say, “I don’t have anything to hide” but it’s bullshit and we both know it. It might not be an affair, but we all have things we’d like to keep to ourselves and you would feel just as violated as your partner does, checking your phone on a regular basis. And quite frankly, it’s disrespectful and can feel like a slap in the face.
3) Even if you find something that’s potentially problematic, how you found it won’t help matters – your “rightness,” because you found the evidence of wrongdoing was done via a wrong act yourself, invading your partner’s privacy (whether or not it’s done regularly doesn’t diminish that it shouldn’t be done). As #1 and #2 explain, by revealing that you found the forbidden fruit, you also reveal that you went through the phone. Even if you find potential evidence of an affair, your partner will have a claim that what you found doesn’t matter, it’s how you found it. You hurt your partner before you found out your partner might have hurt you…and thanks to misunderstandings (see below), potential problems get blown out of proportion as false evidence of wrongdoing. Ultimately, the chances of productive conversations for your relationship arising out of you searching your partner’s phone are slim to none.
SIDEBAR: All of this is so far based on a committed relationship between two people. If no exclusivity commitment has been made, all of this is moot. There isn’t any justification other than “he told me he was making death threats” or something like public or personal safety. Trust is still being built at that stage – if you’re concerned that the person you’re dating has somebody else, think about making the commitment rather than going on a witch hunt. Witch hunters don’t yield good partners; they’re always looking for another witch to burn.
The greatest fear I have is that these events are predicated on people assuming their partner is keeping something from me, as though it’s a bad thing. Right to privacy is important for a reason politically as well as romantically. This is part of the problem of dating in the technological era, which is that boundaries are being disintegrated. Thanks in part to the boundless (literally and figuratively) Internet, privacy is not what it was just 15 years ago. The concept of privacy was rocked when Facebook became the go-to social networking site and we collectively placed our lives on the boundless Internet for everybody to view, comment, and poke. Not to say that these technological advances were bad – rather, they’ve been incredibly useful (especially for people who like to snoop around without being caught). People feel less restricted in invading your privacy – “you put your business out there,” they’ll say. “Facebook stalking” exists as a term for a reason; it’s an accepted behavior that we chalk up to the amount of content you put out there. Still, with the amount of misunderstandings (“She’s not your friend, don’t lie to me!” “He’s not your coworker, don’t give me that!”) that are easily possible by reading conversations that don’t pertain to you, and with such a huge downside of getting caught in the act, this particular action just doesn’t seem to be the best way to alleviate your concerns about foul play.
I get it though, you don’t want to be played like a fool in case your partner is doing something wrong. Trust need not be blind, you say. That’s true, but it also doesn’t need to have one eye open. While unfortunate, there are people out here who will abuse your trust and it behooves all of us to be on the lookout for those people. If something does indeed seem out of place, ask about it. But know this – whether you follow your partner to make sure s/he is where s/he said s/he would be, go through their Facebook posts, look at their Twitter mentions or go through their phone, you have opened up a can of worms of distrust on your end that can’t be easily closed. Distrust in a relationship leads to poor decision making and regrettable events daily. Snooping starts you down a path that doesn’t end well. I’m not saying be naive about your partner, but I am saying that snooping should be considered an equivalent of arming a nuclear weapon in your relationship. It’s not a button I would push unless the circumstances are dire, and even then nobody enjoys the nuclear fallout.
Welcome to the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” edition of IGNANT Friday. In the past couple of weeks, more than enough #ignantshit has happened, from the Grammy Awards to the Harlem Shake. In fact, I’ll start with those…
I’ve never been a gigantic Jay-Z fan, but I respect his talent both in the boardroom and in the booth. I don’t need to sing his praises – he’s gotten all the accolades and turned himself into a true mogul. And he just clowned with the award winning speech of the night at the Grammy Awards:
I learned about this through Twitter as it happened and I was rolling! It’s a new day when they bring the Dozens to the Grammys. Easily the most IGNANT award speech in Grammy history.
Keeping with a New York theme, these Harlem Shake incidents are getting out of hand. I saw a bunch of these pop up and kept thinking, “Nope, I’ve seen that dance – I don’t need to see it again.” Until one day I found this gem and discovered things were not what I thought they were.
The guy in the sleeping bag had me in tears, but what kind of army has the time to do a Harlem Shake video? Go save somebody!
The people of Harlem, however, aren’t sold about the merits of this new version of the Harlem Shake.
On a completely different note, the FBI has some problems with agents using their phones for improper reasons. You just cannot make this stuff up, (which includes an agent sleeping with a drug dealer and lying about it under oath! That means they straight up asked you, “Did you sleep with this drug dealer?” They don’t ask questions they already know in court, and then to top it off you get caught by your cell phone? Why didn’t they check it earlier?! All this Federal ignance just makes me smile.) but the Feds continue to show that their unscrupulousness knows no bounds.
Bloomberg Businessweek might have pulled out its most ignant cover in history, with caricatures of people of color in some stereotypical manners. Everybody tweeted that it had to be a joke, but this is the new cover, folks. That’s a pretty inflammatorily ignant cover.
Finally, Black History Month will be over shortly and over the past few years, it’s seemed like it’s been glossed over publicly – something you’re mandated to mention and recognize, but the weight of it seems to have dwindled a bit. But don’t tell that to the good people in Mississippi, who made Black history earlier this month by abolishing slavery. You read that right – on February 21, 2013, slavery was formally abolished in Mississippi. In fact, without the movie, Lincoln, this “clerical oversight” would likely have continued to go unnoticed. This was probably their plan to improve public relations with African-Americans in the state – abolishing slavery for a new generation.
Like normal, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @mrphilosopher3 with Ignant material from the web, or any good stories, and the best stuff gets posted on IGNANT Friday. Have a great weekend, all.
There’s an old Chappelle’s Show skit about the Player Haters Ball – a group of pimp-like men who excel at talking trash in the most hilarious of ways. The ball was actually an awards banquet, and instead of applauding for award nominations (such as Player Hater of the year), people would chant, “Hate! Hate! Hate! Hate!” Hating on people was awarded in this forum, as well it should have been – the “I’ve got to go put some water in Bucknasty’s mother’s dish” line still cracks me up. But unfortunately, the real world has dipped into when player hating goes too far.
This morning, I was doing my YouTube news updates (because the news in Memphis either bores me to death or tells me about too many deaths) and I ran across a Rachel Maddow segment from earlier this week and another segment featuring former Gov. of Vermont Howard Dean on the Last Word from the past couple of months. I’d also seen a column on CNN.com by LZ Granderson about this particular issue, but hearing it and seeing it helped to solidify it.
People root hard for the good guy, but they root even harder against the bad guy.
It’s the reason the Miami Heat were hated/loved/vilified/praised/held to an impossible standard/fairly judged by that standard two seasons ago. It’s the reason the Darth Vader-esque Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are hated by everybody that’s not in New England. It’s the reason that many fan-based sports narratives exist and continue to – as much as I wanted the Ravens to win the Super Bowl because I’m a fan of Ray Lewis (sidebar below on the appreciation of Ray-Ray), I also HAD to root against the 49ers as a division foe of my St. Louis Rams. As hard as I was pulling for the Ravens, I was pulling harder for a 49ers loss than a Ravens win. Likewise with how I (and most St. Louis sports fans following the ’01 NFL season and the ’04 MLB season) root hard against the Patriots and Boston sports teams in general. It’s just preferable to see them lose, and reasons for that will vary, but if I’m subjected to a Jim Nantz/Phil Simms snoozefest of commentary sandwiched between a lovefest for Tom Brady against the hapless Miami Dolphins, then eventually I just want to see the Dolphins beat the shit out of the Patriots for the good of all involved (Nantz/Simms have to do actual commentary on the game, not just the Patriots, for example). I hate on the Patriots, and it’s admitted. It’s still irrational, (it’s been 12 years since the Super Bowl and the Cardinals have two World Titles since that loss) but it’s still just part of my normal modus operandi. It’s not with much vitriol, mostly in jest, but I can’t help but enjoy when the bad guy in my world loses.
SIDEBAR: Ray Lewis was involved in a double murder situation 13 years ago during the Super Bowl in Atlanta. Terrible as that situation was, Lewis pled down to obstruction of justice and turned his entire image around to the point that nobody talked about his double murder situation except for one mention by Terrell Owens in the mid-2000′s trying to paint the picture that he (T.O.) had been unfairly portrayed as a bad person by the media. Nevertheless, another football player, Leonard Little from the St. Louis Rams, did kill someone while driving under the influence (BAC of .19) and didn’t serve a day (convicted of manslaughter with 4 years probation and 1,000 hours of community service) in 1998. Little quietly retired 2 years ago and nobody brought it up. Donte Stallworth killed a man on camera driving under the influence a few years back (and came back to play with the Patriots later after serving 30 days for DUI Manslaughter) and Josh Brent killed Jerry Brown drunk driving this season. We don’t even know if Ray actually killed anybody. More importantly, he did what Michael Vick and T.I. have been after since their first major stints in trouble – a successful turnaround in his public persona from wild-eyed bad boy from the U to the Godfather of the NFL. Big ups to #52 getting to go out like John Elway and Jerome Bettis.
So what does this have to do with President Obama? Well, the White House released a picture of the President skeet shooting. First of all, if you didn’t crack a smile when seeing that headline somewhere about the President skeet shooting, then we either have a generational gap or you just don’t have even a sliver of a sense of humor. More importantly though, Obama has made an appeal to the mass, minority group of Americans that simply hate Obama for not being more like them, in some manner or another. Granderson’s piece makes this point, and I think rightly so – when he was challenged on his birthplace, which obviously had to be in America otherwise he isn’t qualified to be President, he deferred on the topic until he actually produced his birth certificate…while already President. So of course, it could be a fake birth certificate, created after the election to hide his real birthplace (presumably somewhere in Africa, but because this mass minority group of haters doesn’t want to appear racist, they just say “not in America”). Now it’s the gun control issue – even though he’s being charged with taking away the 2nd Amendment, which is as American as apple pie
and racism, he still reaches out to show people that he’s not anti-guns, he’s a skeet shooter for fun like everybody else. And of course, since it’s after the fact, the picture has been called a fake. He just can’t win because he’s not American enough, and that’s to be expected, unfortunately. Barack Hussein Obama, on name alone, will get more side-eyes and raised eyebrows than George Herbert Walker Bush, because one sounds and looks distinctively foreign and the other looks more like what’s down the street. He doesn’t look American: what with all of that brown person swag he has, he looks like he’s from somewhere else and isn’t supposed to run this country. Mind you, this is after he gave McCain/Palin a historic election night ass whooping and after he delivered a Rock Bottom to Romney/Ryan (back-to-back popular vote wins). Obama continually tries to prove that he’s the People’s President to a group of people that aren’t willing to give him that claim, and they more than likely never will. He’s the bad guy in their story – it wasn’t always so much that they loved Romney, it was that they hated Obama. They hate what he stands for, his policies, and they think he changes everything they hold dear about America. Anybody who’s NOT doing those things or is willing to stand up to their bad guy is a good guy. Good guys and bad guys might be simplistic terms, but they reflect the general feeling you get from people when you hear about President Obama. The reactions aren’t always measured like you see on TV, but just gut, visceral reactions ranging from, “Extremely glad to have him as President” (regardless of policy record) to the social media hate seen on Election Night that had many Black voters even more encouraged to vote. Why? Because this was how they could support their good guy in this particular instance, and more importantly stick it to their bad guy and shut his fans up (“their” here refers to the group of African-Americans who voted for Obama, roughly 93% of Black votes). In a very unique way, hate on Obama (which should just be a hashtag to any inflammatory remarks made about the POTUS, #hateonObama) reminds me of how good guys and bad guys can change in the world of wrestling. It has to be the only hope Obama has as to how to get the haters to cheer you.
Shawn Michaels was the bad guy of the WWF in the mid-90′s. Not only was he one of, if not, the best performers the business had, he was also an incredible antagonist. He was the guy you loved to hate – knew he was good, could back it up, and would rub your face in it. He was booed, especially through 97-98 as he became the top bad guy in the company. But he was so good, he would still win, even as a bad guy. Getting his comeuppance didn’t happen until a rocket called Stone Cold Steve Austin launched. (One could adjust this story for the ’10-’11 Miami Heat.)
Shawn Michaels took a 4 year hiatus and came back as the best good guy in the 2000′s. From 2002 until he retired in 2010, Michaels was not the just a good guy but THE good guy in terms of wrestling. He played the role of the Wily Vet, not afraid of using some tricks to stay ahead but still plenty talented to get the job done. Nobody booed Michaels for nearly a decade in his Hall of Fame career. (Heat get through their booed period to become dominant on path to title.)
President Obama, if he’s really trying to appeal to the mass minority of haters, has to be doing so with the hope that how the public receives him changes like it did for Shawn. Because facts don’t persuade this minority – he’s the bad guy, so of course these aren’t reputable, trustworthy facts. Not like it wouldn’t be because the U.S. Government has a history of being effective at giving untrustworthy information. Why Shawn was the bad guy was for a number of reasons – jealous of wanting to be like him, his brash arrogance, his cockiness, and his lack of humility come to mind as a few. Why Obama’s the bad guy ranges in reasons from he’s not an American, to he’s not a Christian, to he’s trying to repeal the Constitution, to he’s Black. So anything that the bad guy says won’t be trusted and he’s already the bad guy for reasons that aren’t all necessarily under his control. So you can’t actually out-logic these people; they already assume you’ve made a fallacy.
To the people that hate President Obama, the rest of the country is cheering on a bad guy like he’s a good guy and it’s confusing to their sense of good and bad (in the sense of “good and bad guy”). More than that, you can’t rationalize with hate – you can’t shake me of hating the Patriots (however tongue-in-cheek or real the hating is), just like you can’t convince a guy in Montreal in November 1997 that Shawn isn’t a terrible bastard, just like you can’t get the mass minority of Obama haters (the MMOH) to GET that Obama’s not the bad guy. Unfortunately for President Obama, Shawn Michaels broke his back in the line of duty and came back (albeit, 4 years later) for him to get the nod as a good guy by the public. So perhaps the POTUS will be a good guy to the MMOH after he’s President and somebody else gets all the vitriol.
Good guys win in wrestling eventually. Bad guys win in wrestling at some point. But ultimately, the good guy always wins. That’s the way the story is told. So the MMOH is just stuck in a period where their bad guy is champion. The good news for them is that in 4 years, Obama won’t be their bad guy anymore and their good guy will get a chance to take the title. The good news for the rest of the us who don’t throw unnecessary shade the President’s way? We’re guaranteed another 3 years with a good guy at the helm.
I woke up yesterday in a sublime mood. First semester back was all done, except for the grading, and I had a relaxing day to look forward to. But when I got a breaking news alert on my phone that there was a shooting at an elementary school, my initial reaction was that I couldn’t believe that children that young were being so bullied or had so many problems that a 6-year-old would shoot up a school. Then I turned on my television and NBC News had taken over on NBC, letting the public know that over 2 dozen people had been shot in an elementary school and the shooter was an adult. My mouth dropped. None of us, even the craziest of us, would shoot up an elementary school, I thought. There’s no rhyme or reason to it and we’re searching for explanations and more information. As the information continued coming in, it became evident that our country was going to have a tough day. None of us could understand what would make a young man kill his mother and shoot two classrooms full of children, and we worried about our own children. School shootings have been perpetrated by the attendants of the school, not by a random outside adult – there is no good defense for this situation. This is everybody’s worst nightmare.
A paper I wrote just this Wednesday dealt with the theme of extreme evil and collective responsibility. Something interesting that came out of the paper was that we appear to have different reactive attitudes when extreme evil is done by an individual rather than a group. We are aghast when one person has, what we would call, a moral failure and commits such an unspeakable act as murdering children. Our reactive attitudes, better understood as emotional responses, are appropriately negative. After we find out more about the background of the person, our attitudes may change toward the person. Maybe we find out somebody abused him severely as a child, or some other such tragedy befell him. It wouldn’t excuse or condone his extremely evil actions, but it at least gives us a rationale and a way to try to avoid the same tragedy from unfolding again.
He seemed to be a troubled, suburban kid but what he’s done made no sense. Dare I say, it never will. Perhaps this does reflect back on our inconsistent relationship with gun control or why we need to treat people better so that they won’t resort to these acts. Maybe it just signals the end of the world is coming.
I’m not really joking, but I’m not completely serious and that could be because of the magnitude of the statement and how ludicrous it sounds. These events have been more and more frequent – purposeless killing of innocents because they were in the wrong gathering place at the wrong time. A movie theater in Colorado changed how we can enjoy our experience of full captivation while enjoying a film; a mall in Oregon changed how we approach holiday shopping or even just a place of relaxation; and now an elementary school in Connecticut has changed our relative feeling of safety when we drop our children off at school.
This has been a difficult year, and yet after a few weeks we move on, as another tragedy or problem happens. The cleanup crew arrives and yesterday’s problem becomes today’s talking point. Gun control comes on the front line when we haven’t made enough about the cameras and microphones being stuck in little children’s faces after they’ve witnessed the kind of horror most of us won’t see in our entire lives. We talk of human dignity and needing to treat people better but these kids were objectified in a similar way as the man whose photo was taken just before a subway train ran him over. That picture was front page news, just like putting those children on camera – to speak to a nation of millions about how their place of sanctuary was just desecrated – was prime time material. But that will pass on too, as sensationalized journalism keeps the 24-hour news cycle turning.
School has long been considered a safe haven. Up until the digital age, where bullying turned into its own two-headed beast, school kept you out of trouble, out of the streets, away from where things like shootings and stabbings and unspeakable violence took place. It’s like a church – you don’t shoot up a church, it’s desecrating holy ground and is generally considered bad form. Then I remembered the Rwandan genocide and a quote from my paper describing how the Tutsis fled to churches and the Hutus found it even easier to kill those huddled in one place, especially a church. Unspeakable acts have been ever-present and something, just something, must change. In this case, the issues that must change are:
1) It just cannot be this easy to get your hands on guns. Then again, if he was psychologically stable when he got the gun then how can we prevent someone from breaking down and then committing a terrible act?
2) We have to treat each other better. If everyone participates in a collective uplift of one another, these issues wouldn’t be so prevalent – we would have more respect for human life. Then again, we have evidence across human history of wanton disregard for human life while acknowledging its importance. Human dignity skepticism, that we will not achieve that collective uplift, has merit here.
With regards to 1), gun control laws have always seemed relaxed thanks to the 2nd Amendment. The right to go hunt? Sure. The right to protect one’s self? I’m alright with that, except in Florida for obvious reasons, and only on one’s own property. But certain weapons just aren’t needed for either case. Cracking down on gun control would be very helpful, consider the bill that got passed in Michigan for conceal-and-carry being ok, as well as in Illinois. Make it illegal to carry a gun around – you can’t outlaw guns, but you can outlaw how they get used. Give more psychological evaluations prior to owning a gun – even if they lie to the evaluator, there’s still a chance of being able to stymie the process of them getting a gun. Do something, because this is getting to be more like the Wild West rather than the modern technological era.
But wait a minute. We have plenty of gun control laws and more importantly, plenty of illegal guns. Just like we have a War on Drugs and Celebrity Rehab as a show about people getting off of illegal drugs. Cracking down on gun control won’t necessarily crack down on illegal guns, and those cause just as much violence as anything (remember the assault weapons ban?). With gun control, as @efowl314 said, you can do something about this problem.
A collective uplift of human dignity? As much as I don’t want to take up the skeptical position, I feel like it’s the only one that seems right and this is why the world might be coming to an end. Even with all of our social and technological advances, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, we can connect with diverse people across the world. My friend told me this morning that she went on Instagram and it just seemed like everybody was hating. That resonated with me. How can we desire a collective uplift of dignity when, on a daily basis, we feel justified in denigrating the dignity of others? Unless one is a sociopath or a psychopath, we generally acquire a basic value of human life, if only through our own living of it. Our meaningful interactions with others change our worldviews, we come to value those relationships and value other human lives as a result. This doesn’t matter when (I’m paraphrasing Brian Williams of NBC News here), “you have a disturbed individual who is determined…there’s not much you can do to stop them.”
This raises the question – if we all value human life and all stand to gain from a collective project of uplifting human dignity through compassion, why the hell haven’t we done it yet? Tragedy after tragedy after tragedy and we come together and support one another, in a true embodiment of the dignity of the human spirit. The pride I take in seeing strangers helping strangers is incredible – that is the essence of the human spirit at work, in my opinion. Yet we have not taken the more precarious steps of turning those strangers into our brothers and sisters, on a daily basis. To develop that compassion we should all show for one another. Instead, we live in fear now – fear that the next time we go to a movie it may be our last; fear that the next time we go to the mall it may be our last time shopping; and the fear that when I send my child to school, it will be the last time I see him or her.
This is why the world just might be coming to an end. I’m at a loss as to how we can better accomplish the goal of uplifting human dignity when we never seem to have a collective impetus short of tragedy to begin the project. And even when we begin the project, we never continue it to its true finality, the kind of finality where yesterday ends with no news of over 25 lives ended and countless more affected. We can control the gun laws – we can vote and lobby and ultimately come to a begrudging decision that leaves both sides equally happy and mad. But, in an ironic twist, we can’t control collectively treating each other better beyond reaching out and
hoping praying that your action spurs that on in another.
Perhaps the world ending is a good thing. It could mean the end of this fear-laden era we have come to be comfortable in, and the project of uplifting human dignity is undertaken with the goal of maintaining the uplift. These would be welcome ways to end the world as we know it. But after what we’ve seen this year alone, culminating with yesterday’s horrific events in Newtown, our collective sense of safety has been altered in such a drastic way that we don’t know what’s coming next. That may be the path toward the end of the world as we know it.
It’s been many, many moons since #IgnantFriday hit the blog. There’s been so much Ignant shit that’s taken place in the months that have passed that I can’t chronicle it all. Here are some of the quickies, in case you missed them:
- At the GOP National Convention, a black CNN camerawoman got peanuts thrown at her, while an attendant yelled, “This is how we feed the animals!” And you wonder why Obamamania keeps running wild, brother…
- To kickoff the college football season, this play by the Kent State Golden Flashes (and the other team) is easily the most IGNANT football play I’ve ever seen in 12 years, since the T.O. TD celebration in Dallas from yesteryear.
- Speaking of football, the sprinklers went off mid-game last Sunday during the Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins affair. Somebody got fired immediately for sleeping on the job, I’m sure.
- The NHL has once again committed ritual hirakiri so that we can respect its memory without remorse.
- Following President Obama’s re-election, there was a riot on Ole Miss’ campus. Yup, the Rebels really ran through the incredibly pro-Obama town of Oxford, MS.
- Bath salts. Nuff said.
- Chris Brown and Rihanna got back together, some 3-4 years after one of the most publicized domestic violence incidents in recent memory. I label them both as #IGNANT, believe this all to be a publicity stunt, and won’t be surprised if they get married in 14 months, divorced in 24 months.
- A woman’s son was racially profiled and cuffed for no reason, for all intents and purposes, other than being Black in the wrong place. Thankfully, he wasn’t wearing a hoodie (anybody got news on Zimmerman?).
- In LA, people voted to have mandatory condoms in porn…and the porn industry got pissed! Safe sex makes sex workers mad, never thought I’d say that.
- A Chinese man sued his wife for being ugly…and won. I can hear people claiming patriarchy, but let’s just wait a moment. If you can sue for not receiving what’s owed to you…nah, let’s just move on before I put myself into the #IGNANT category.
This is but a mere snippet of the Ignance that has roamed the globe since I last stopped documenting the ridiculous shit we do with no problems. But this morning, I had to open the #IgnantFriday files back up, as I was doing my morning news roundup and saw this gem:
Fear Factor has been off TV since before Tyrone Biggums won it on the Chappelle’s Show. The recession isn’t like it was in 2008. Come on man, eating roaches (and worms)? For a motherfucking python? (I can hear Samuel L. Jackson now, “I’m sick of eating these motherfucking worms and these motherfucking roaches to get this motherfucking snake!”) I know we say don’t speak ill of the dead (presumably it’s because they can’t talk back) but I would’ve spoken ill of him to his face and he couldn’t talk back because his airway was obstructed by “bug body parts.”
I know he’s got a family, but who thinks it’s a good idea to consume roaches? Apparently 20-30 other people thought eating roaches and insects for a damn python is an effective use of their time and physical resources. That’s allowed – consume all of these “lower life” organisms to gain possession of another, more expensive and can-kill-you organism…and weed is illegal for recreational use…which brings me to my last piece of #IGNANTSHIT.
Weed is legal in the United States while illegal at the same damn time.
Do you know how confusing that is? Can you imagine visiting from somewhere like the Netherlands and asking a local about where to get some pot and they tell you go to Colorado or Washington? When you say, “but I have glaucoma,” then you have access to another dozen or so states where you can get your pot but only if you have an OK from a doctor but when you ask, “Well great, but is it illegal?” and the local says, “Well it’s federally illegal but in certain states, it’s ok,” you would have a perplexed look on your face. Never has a drug caused so much controversy about its legality while being more commonly accepted. Literally, a FDA officer could arrest someone in Colorado for lighting up but a local cop couldn’t with how things stand. What’s so damn ignant about all of this is that you might as well just legalize it and be done with it. Slippery slope to other “hard drugs” being legalized? Possibly, but we have medical evidence that cocaine, heroin, meth, even bath salts can kill you. Too much alcohol can kill you; alcohol has no medical benefits other than fucking you up, and it’s legal. They warn you that cigarettes can cause cancer and they just give you an addictive buzz, and it’s legal. Free up the future jails by making marijuana possession offenses non-existent, cut off some of the black market by having government owned/backed selling shops (not unlike some states/cities with one type of liquor store that’s government run), or just completely outlaw it nationwide (oh wait, they did that already…) so that this isn’t nearly as confusing as it is. Red tape = #Ignant.
#IgnantFriday is back, and it won’t go anywhere. Finding #IGNANTSHIT? @mrphilosopher3, email@example.com, use the hashtag #IgnantFriday or #IGNANTSHIT
I’ve written about Obamamania following his 2008 election, particularly how it rose the bar for Black men across the country (in both positive as well as unrealistic ways). This election shouldn’t be close – for every legitimate attack that has been made by the Romney/Ryan campaign regarding President Obama’s economic policies (which, is also up for debate – the policies or the ineffectiveness of being able to implement them, which doesn’t necessarily reflect on the President or his policies), they take two steps back with regard to social responsibility, civil rights, women’s rights, and I jokingly tweeted that “If Romney gets elected, all those abortions we’re relying on for when you don’t make it out in time/have equipment malfunction are gone,” there’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that we are on a fast track to contraceptive rights going back 50 years with the new Supreme Court addition on the horizon. Moreover, I watched all 3 debates and concur with most analyses – Romney came out fists-of-fire in Round 1 and stunned Obama; Obama defended and came on the rebound in a physical Round 2; Obama with a 3rd round KO…but Romney supporters still think the challenger put up a great match ala Rocky, and could still be a great champion. What was evident is that, while Mitt Romney is passionate about America, loves this country and he likely is a solid, decent human being, I cannot seem to trust him to save my life.
This could be in part because I’m Black. Truthfully, I carry a background of mistrust of white men, especially older white men. Thanks to being born in the late 80s, I wasn’t alive 20 years earlier to verify whether or not every white person, especially white men, called everybody Black a nigger, coon, jungle bunny, pickaninny (sp?), porch monkey or some such other racial epithet. I can’t verify that all white people treated Black people like shit. What I believe is that there was a culture that considered these actions permissible or even an appropriate way to treat other members of the society such that I
can’t don’t believe or trust many older white guys. They come off as, still, unable to handle the magnitude of the reality that Black people are still in America AND are free.
Yep, I can’t shake the idea that old white people are either private (as opposed to formerly public, or at least without fear of cultural reproach) racists or they just had to take it on the chin and not just learn, but accept that these formerly inferior people are and now have been for a snippet of time, equals in all essential means (and plenty fight having to accept that). It’s a new social ontology of how white people are situated, with their top dog position in much greater flux than it’s ever been. Is it such a leap that in a country that has arguably the worst recent history (call it 200 years) of racial…harmony, if we were to go back into 1963 and had me, the brown skinned intellectual, walking around Birmingham, AL, that many of the angry, reddened faces at my presumptive air of knowledge would be white and the thoughts and/or words emanating from them wouldn’t be trying to kill me with kindness? With all of that said, I struggle to believe that when older white people (and because older white people raise younger white people, white people in general) tell me they have everybody’s best interest at heart, that they don’t mean the traditional “everybody” that excludes minorities, gays and lesbians, the socially disadvantaged, the economically disadvantaged (and not the nebulous middle class, of which there is a class beneath them that receives virtually no attention beyond Medicare/Medicaid), and basically those who aren’t in power or even near power.
Now, this doesn’t have anything to do with Mitt Romney or Barack Obama – this is a belief that is held and one that informs my politics and my voting, much in the same way that Paul Ryan’s Catholic faith and belief in Ayn Rand informs his politics, much in the same way that many in the Bible Belt look for Christian values in their candidate of choice because those beliefs inform their politics and worldview, and being Black and what that means to me plays a hefty role in my politics because being Black in a purportedly post-racial world that still carries the inarguable reality of race gives me pause to be sure that my interests and the interests of those who have to suffer through the same reality of being raced are at least being taken seriously and admitted into the purview of general American interests. I don’t have the actual power to do that, so taking what it is to be Black in America into my political considerations is how I’m able to. It’s how any of us are able to make our voice heard, share our opinion, essentially participate in government at the most basic level – voting with our beliefs and interests of ourselves and our compatriots in mind.
This is why Obamamania should continue.
For 3 very basic reasons, I voted for President Obama. I was ecstatic at being able to choose a LEGIT (note: not a failed Al Sharpton or Jesse “I’ll Cut Your Nuts Off” Jackson bid for President, but a candidate with the backing of an entire party) African-American President in 2008. The simple fact that we did created a watershed moment for this country, and the world, as somebody who didn’t look like the other 43 guys, didn’t have a similar background or even a similar heritage as them, got voted in. That aside, he represented a fundamentally different approach to governing, one that appreciated the whole of America rather than just a part; one that wanted to extend assistance to those who need it while helping entrepreneurs who could help build more companies for the future; and one that could repair the world’s view of America by being more in touch with diplomacy and the current culture of the time. He gave us the best chance to do these things, but admittedly, I was going to vote for the qualified Black guy. It was like awarding a scholarship to two equally qualified guys, one Black and one white. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody but I’ll choose the Black guy basically because he hasn’t gotten the chance historically, he wouldn’t get the chance to prove the expected critics wrong without having the job for a moment (nobody can work well with a noose around their neck), and because all things being equal, it’s a good thing to help another Black person be able to succeed when possible. This reason still stands, and that’s because…
4 years later, he’s a more experienced leader who has had his successes and his failures, but his path has been unwavering and his resolve has stayed the course. He’s now the experienced, legitimately qualified candidate. The job didn’t change the guy that we voted in for change, and by and large, change in many ways has come. While not every measure he attempted ended up fruitful, Obamacare will likely redefine how citizens are able to access healthcare going forward, he killed Osama bin Laden, and he’s committed to ending the decade long wars overseas. More could have happened, but on the social agenda front he ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and came out in support of gay marriage. He’s in tune with contemporary times, which can’t be said for ThatMittIDon’tLike. While he doesn’t represent the candidate of hope and change from 2008, Obama does represent a future for America that I can trust and believe in, and that’s what we vote for as citizens.
Finally, I voted for President Obama because the other option appears worrisome. Again, Mitt Romney strikes me as a guy who isn’t a bad man, but enjoys power and any strong businessman has a cutthroat tendency toward the most expendable at the first drop of problems in order to save himself and his business. While wise for a business (and not totally ethical), it’s an unwise approach to leading the nation. Invoking my Black principles that I’m voting on (much like the Christian values and the economy and the like are the principles and issues at play when others vote), me and the people who look like me still are undervalued and the threat of a post-racial nation would be made real with a Romney election. He represents the values of a post-racial society; one in which the raced realities of people (and what follows from them) are ignored; where the value of a person is inextricably linked to one’s income; where the institutional problems that barricade minorities from advancement go untreated like a cancerous spot on the country’s skin; and where ultimately, the same problems that arise from a raced society – where white men win and everybody else is playing catch up – come back to haunt us from using the same system with a different name.
So for 4 more years (you too, white people), let’s let the Obamamania run wild again. If Hulkamania, littered with steroids, sex scandals, the biggest turn in the history of professional wrestling and a reality show on VH1, can run wild again and again and again, Obamamania should get one more call to perform.
Life has norms. People abide by or choose to ignore those norms for whatever reasons. Norms can conflict with one another, but our norms, which have been pounded into our heads over the years in media, our social observances, and our experiences and research, give us a purported view of how the world both is and how people think the world should be. Norms can have descriptive (how the world is) and normative (how the world should be) force. Fortunately or unfortunately, our norms provide a basis of expectations. Norms do differ for everybody, largely due to the variable between people that determines so much of what we tolerate – personal experiences. The norms for a spoiled child of an aristocrat will differ from the child of a Black Panther – not all of them, but there will be different expectations of normalcy for varying parts of their social lives. It’s the expectations of normalcy that have me writing today.
I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong, but the expectation I’ve gleaned over the years is that ladies, your man is going to cheat on you. How the blame is parsed out (“it’s this bitch who was trying to get my man’s fault!” or “you shouldn’t have been in the room with this bitch!” or however you’d like to explain it) might differ from person to person but, in general, the expectation is that men cheat and at some point you’ll be a victim. This is a normal expectation apparently. And our behaviors reflect our norms, but more on that in a minute.
In an ironic twist, I can think of men who live by that same expectation – they will cheat, have cheated, and find it normal to do so. On one hand, they could be considered to have…”different” expectations of what monogamy entails, namely that their significant other ought be faithful but what it is to be faithful to her either is not the same way most would consider or the appearance of being faithful counts more for them than being faithful itself. On the other hand, many men wouldn’t agree with either expectation of monogamy (and there are those that don’t inherently agree with monogamy, as has been explained to me by one cheater – “It’s in the blood to go out and hunt and get some pussy, mane,” were the words uttered to me) and don’t have the expectation to cheat. I’d argue most men don’t have the expectation to cheat. What we do have an expectation of is to find satisfaction, somewhere, somehow. It’s why strip clubs still exist (except in Memphis…and SIDEBAR):
SIDEBAR – In an egregious overstep of government dictating to its populace what is moral or immoral, inside Shelby County (where Memphis is located), on January 1, 2012 there were laws placed into effect that restricted nudity from places where alcohol is served. The strip clubs chose to retain their liquor licenses and they have become bikini bars. More than just government overstepping, they didn’t take the strippers even into account – if they can’t take the clothes off, how are they expected to make money? Tricking in VIP? Actual prostituting to make ends meet like in Boogie Nights? Terrible law. Juicy J said it – “It ain’t a strip club if you ain’t showing pussy.“
…anyway, men do expect to be satisfied (which means to go and procure satisfaction), in some manner, whether sexual, emotional, physical, whatever. We hope for basic satisfaction. And that expectation, that norm, does drive our behavior.
So it becomes easy to see why cheating could happen and get quickly rationalized into one of two ways -
1) I turned a want into a need, but I did need to be satisfied.
2) Well, I’m with her but not really so it’s not really cheating.
This is the gray area of norms that I wanted to address, #2. These first two statements are for everybody: If you want some pussy/dick and already have some pussy/dick locked up, tend to your own pussy/dick to help it stay the pussy/dick you want. But if you kinda have some pussy/dick, what are the rules of engagement? You’re with him/her, certainly, but not really. The “not really” is an emotional kind of “not really,” wherein you’re not emotionally invested, or completely emotionally invested. If one side of the pairing knows that they’re not emotionally invested while the other side doesn’t know that and does begin to emotionally invest (or still has that option on the table, whether or not her partner is investing), this is an unbalanced setup and a slippery slope to the gray area of norms. Buddy Guy will head out and, because he’s with her but not really, find no problems stepping out and closing the deal with someone else. Maybe he won’t even close the deal but start entertaining and pursuing another one. It’s a normal behavior, why? Because I’m with you, but not really. But if Buddy Guy told Madam Lady what he did last night, she wouldn’t be thinking that’s normal behavior because she’s with him, whether or not the not really is in place. She’d likely be hurt (and deservedly so) because someone else now is a claimant to her spot in his pantheon, a spot she didn’t even think was in question. More than that, Buddy Guy will be slightly confused because in his mind, he’s with you but it’s not exclusive (for some reason or another) and so Madam Lady shouldn’t trip. Two more things come to mind -
If Madam Lady and Buddy Guy’s spots had been swapped for last night, Buddy Guy would probably be mad finding out Madam Lady met another man and for the same reason that Madam Lady got mad. If he didn’t get even the slightest bit upset at this turn of events, he’s done a good job compartmentalizing who Madam Lady is – she’s one fish in the sea and tuna gets caught every day, he might think. From my experience, that mindset is certainly around with men – “If you can take her, you can have her.” (NFL Motto #4) but even that process of seeing it or knowing that it happens and being fine with it takes effort to get through. For varying reasons (the purported number of Black men in jail, the purported number of “marriageable” (which smacks of classist undertones) men around, and the bad faith found in men after women turn 19), the whole “there’s many fish in the sea” idea just doesn’t resonate as strongly with women, in my experience. There aren’t enough tasty fish to eat, whereas for men the fish can get cooked to be made tasty, women prefer catching tasty fish. That changes your numbers game drastically (any fish can get cooked and seasoned to get a certain flavor but every fish has a particular flavor in itself).
The second thing is that these situations arise from a distinct lack of clarity. Even the title of this post is disturbingly unclear – if somebody told me they’re with me but not really, then they’re not with me but what are they? As one of my boys put it, “You’re single until you’re not.” Single and not-single are in a binary relation – you’re either in one category or another. You don’t adhere to these categories? Doesn’t matter, the categories still adhere to you. This is nothing more than friends with benefits or what could be called a baby relationship. Neither party will outright say what they want, and if they do, the other party will either ignore, placate, or leave if it’s too much (leaving can also be prompted by destructive behavior to the relationship – it’s making the other person leave for you). Getting too serious is too serious but it got more serious than originally intended. So we take what we can get – we hear the “I’m with you,” and choose to ignore the “but not really” unless it’s to our benefit. We don’t trip unless our ego has taken a bruise or we’re being insecure or perhaps we just don’t feel like not tripping because we’re tired of holding it in, this “it” that we shouldn’t have had to begin with. And all the while, we feel like we’re getting what we asked for, what we wanted, but it’s nothing more than rationalization because of a new norm being accepted – that this is the best that we can get, so don’t fight too much and don’t rock the boat. And norms are reflected in our behavior. We have shamed and fooled ourselves into accepting lackluster behavior on our part and our partner’s part regarding taking responsibility for what this relation is. We don’t expect more, we expect to get exactly what we’re getting and then twist it so that we can accept that what we expect is normal. For those of you who say, “My partner doesn’t hold up his/her end of my expectations,” ask yourself if you’ve clearly, and not clearly in a yelling or frustrated or angry way, but clearly and from a place that’s not purely beholden to emotions, expressed what you expect from your partner and given your partner a chance to redress his/her behavior? If not, then don’t get mad at your partner for not reading your mind. And each one of us ought ask ourselves if we’re holding up our own end of the bargain – we’re very quick to tongue lash without turning our tongue on ourselves with nearly as much venom as we dole to our partner.
So the norm of being cheated on, that expectation should be there if the relationship isn’t aptly defined or given boundaries and borders. Dare I say, most women probably would get cheated on by these standards – standards that have been generally accepted as normal in terms of social policy. Most men could be cheated on by these standards too, and for every time a man cheats on a woman, there’s a woman (literally) cheating on a man. Seriously, do people think that all men are in the not-single category and all women, except those linked to the men in the not-single category are single? Women stepping out on their men every hour of every day but, purportedly, all men cheat with these no family having, perpetually-single-with-no-purpose-other-than-to-fuck-with-spoused-up guys-who-can’t-control-themselves-when-a-woman-wants-to-fuck-them homewreckers (unfortunately, these women exist – only want men in relationships. These men exist too. More on these people in a future post).
I know, plenty of people will say that the men caused the new normal by not stepping up and being better but to these people I offer a rebuttal – why? If it appears my partner is getting fulfilled by the “I’m with you but not really” setup, why ought I “step up and be better?” How, in fact, could I if it appears that I’m doing my job (and, in accordance with the new normal, he likely would be within a margin of error of performing his duties)? What if she doesn’t want more, which is also part of the new normal (again, a rationalization of our norms to create a new norm – that I don’t want more than sometimey companionship and that’s what everybody is doing)?
Plenty of other people might blame the women, saying their standards are too unrealistic and that if you did expect more to appreciate what you have. To these people, I offer a rebuttal – why? Why lower the bar because you can’t get over it? Why don’t you jump a little higher? Even if there aren’t many of the fish that she likes in the sea, there’s still another one who might well jump hoops better than you can, and can even do a trick while doing it. And moreover, if you do care about her, why not try to do more? There could be valid reasons that could keep you from wanting to do more (for example, you actively do not want a committed relationship), but then if you communicated that from the jump, you hopefully don’t find yourself having these issues, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you did because a lack of clarity still exists when your actions (relationship-esque) and your words (but no relationship) don’t line up.
Normalcy in relationships might be an impossibly fleeting concept to consider – my parents’ generation had some of the same relationship issues that plague this one, but many of my generation would admit that the normalcy in their parents relationship differs from what’s normal in theirs by some degree (this could be because of experience and time together for someone in their 40s-50s vs. 20s-30s, but that wouldn’t explain more inherent differences in normal behavior, e.g. chivalry vs. “chivalry is dead”). Hell, using the word normal has plenty of biases implicit in its use so this entire post could get undermined by attacking my use of normal. Still, on a common sensical understanding of normal, this inescapable gray area that many of us are choosing to live in with our relationships is cause for plenty of concern, if only with how clear we are to our partners about what we want and what we need. It’s cause for concern for us to figure out for ourselves what we want and what we need. I’ve been accused of not knowing what I want before, and it was a legit accusation – I only knew what I thought I wanted, but I didn’t know what I actually wanted. Wants change, behaviors change, and even needs change, non-basic ones at least. Knowing that, I’m hopeful that our norms can change, and we can start to speak up and out, confidently and honestly, that I’m with you or I’m not with you.