So a little bit ago I put up a post, highlighting Roy Wood Jr., a comedian and prank caller. Much to my surprise, he sent me an email, thanking him for my little shout-out of sorts and even was kind enough to send me a CD with some of his material on it. Needless to say, I was floored. Just a good reminder that there are celebrities out here who appreciate even the smallest fan. Here’s something funny for your Sunday.
Ah, Mr. Philosopher struck again! On my Facebook page, I posted a link of an article from the website The Root, called “Black Women, Black Men and Relationships.” In the article, there author is basically saying that people need to check their priorities and their overly high standards if they want to find a significant other. Most of the article is in humor, but the guy makes some great points. To me, at least. A friend of mine ended up getting into a HUGE Facebook fight with me over this, and I’m going to post the whole thing in its entirety and I want your responses. Who was right? Which points made more sense? I will warn you, it does end up into a bit of a pissing contest between me and my friend to make the other person wrong, but at least the initial few parts of the back and forth makes for some interesting debate. Also, I had an informal Facebook poll asking, “When it’s time to marry, is it for love or money?” And let me tell you, the majority of the responses mentioned money in some form or fashion as either the primary reason or a very important reason for the marriage. I’m of the belief that marriage should be about love primarily but recognize that historically it’s been a financially-driven enterprise. But with all that background, here’s the biggest cyber fight I’ve ever been in (and arguably the most fun ever).
After I posted the link, James responded with: “I disagree, u cant be in love wit the girl that works the fries at McDonalds and u a stock broker on Wallstreet. Life doesn’t work that way.”
I then said: “Bullshit, you fall in line with the overemphasis on socioeconomics that screws over many relationships and potential relationships. Read the article. You have no idea what she can offer you emotionally but because you’re so tied into the economics and the “life” that comes with it you’re essentially being an economical bigot. That’s a huge prejudice.”
Another friend interjected: “Life can work that way. It’s just that often the ‘fry girl’ being a product of environment and upbringing lacks the ‘dimensions’ that the stock broker would look for in a woman. This is assuming that his opinion of women does not stem solely from socio-economic status.
Likewise, money/career doesn’t equal a good man…
Although, to be honest with the glut of single black women out there across all demographics, I find it hard to believe they are really setting their standards that high. I mean, there’s just too much competition, and not only from each other. From my limited observation, and in my humble opinion, I see the standards as being fairly low…”
James: “That’s what I’m saying, most likely that fry girl isn’t gonna fill the mental capacity and other small traits that the stock broker is looking for. Not saying she isn’t smart. Same thing with a doctor and a cashier. They’re obviously at 2 totally diff points in their lives. Life doesn’t work that way. Timing is everything.”
Me: “You’re really just being longwinded in saying that the person is “above” the other person. The moment you do that, you’ve fallen on a slippery slope because money/positions of power/career doesn’t make someone better than someone else. More than that you have no idea what the background of the fry girl is, she very well could have a future she’s working towards or fell onto difficult economic times and this is what she’s got for the moment. Far too much prejudging on your end.
And look what my friend said – “This is assuming his opinion of women does not stem solely from socio-economic status.” Yours definitely is, and I look forward to seeing the woman you end up with.”
James: “How am I saying one is better? I clearly said that I’m not saying that the fry girl is dumb or anything inferior. Did u even read what I wrote. I just said they’re at two diff points in their lives JT. Timing is everything. Yea my wife prolly gon be somethin outta magazine, a AKA from Tennessee State or something.lol. Cuz that’s real life. lol.”
Me: “You didn’t say she was inferior but you’re definitely implying the superiority of the stock broker relative to the fry girl. And you ain’t explaining what “timing is everything” means. And you’re saying they’re at 2 different points in their lives but on the big line of life, their points could very well be parallel and as such they could be right on time for one another. To assume that their “timing” isn’t right due to one’s career and socio-economic status is just blind.
And the odds of you getting an AKA from TSU ain’t real life cuz they want one of those clean cut type niggas, not the hyper knappy dreadlocked nigga lol.”
James: “lol. That can’t be you sterotyping is it JT? Can’t be. Cuz ur implying that they only like a certain type of person just because they’re part of an organization? U can’t be implying that after all you just said. That would be contradicting. Checkmate. *drops the mic* LOL
And face it, if you were a Freshman at the “House” and you meet a woman goin into her residency to be a doctor you’re juz not at the same point in your life. You’re looking too much into what I said. It has nothing to do with the job JT.”
Another friend, Terrence, interjects: “how are u going to get on anybody about making generalizations when the article itself is based on generalizations…and then you are going to combat that by giving a VERY specific set of circumstances that the “fry girl” could be going through…it is clearly apparent that each situation could be different…I agree with what JB is saying…timing does play a big role in relationships and it is more than LIKELY that a men or a women with a graduate degree will not end up with someone working at McDonalds…this whole argument is inductive and u keep trying to punch holes in peoples arguments by pointing out that it is not absolute…That is all well and fine but you have still yet to make a deductive argument yourself…”
Me: “To begin, the article was written with a lot of humor behind it using the commonplace generalizations to create characterizations of different men and women. The aim behind the article is that there are many glaring issues with “successful” black women finding “successful” black men. Here are some he points out: when one’s priorities aren’t in line, the right person does not come along. Those women who are solely career-first and keep blinders on their futures by putting a career completely over a family end up being solo and that’s to be expected just using a bit of logic. If woman A chooses a family over a career, woman A has a much higher chance of finding a husband and making a family because her primary priority will be towards that end. And vice versa still holds, though both are inductive. Another issue is the relativity of “success” and how success itself is essentially in the eye of the beholder but the common eye is looking directly at financial assets as well as position of power. Challenge these two points if you’d like, but with these two as the background, I will make the deductive argument Terrence is begging for that not only defends these two points, but also lessens the idea that “timing is everything,” which essentially takes finding a mate out of your hands and out of your control and explains what JB didn’t want to – what it means to be in different points in one’s life socially, economically, and emotionally. And just for kicks, I’ll throw in the part that you all missed, that most of this stuff is socialization.
But I’ll happily start by just trashing this crap. Terrence, you allow generalizations from JB and specific circumstances because these ideas are held by many in the populace. They also, according to you, stay the same throughout the example. Well, way back when there was an idea that niggas need to be strung up, hung, and are inferior beings who aren’t even full human beings and this was a popular idea. Does it make it right or even valid for that matter? Of course not. Same goes with child labor, performing one’s own religion, and a myriad of other issues. Popular ideas don’t make them valid, it just makes them popular.
You also do something that you acknowledge to be unreasonable – you say I poke holes in an inductive argument and ask me to present one that’s deductive knowing that for this subject or any subject that deals primarily in estimations of statistics and interpretation that damn near all arguments will be inductive. If you can’t even fathom doing it, why is the onus on me to? Oh and recognize that disrupting arguments only helps people refine them, as evidenced by how JB began and where he got to. There’s a reason for it, but those who don’t appreciate having their viewpoints dashed tend to get mad at that rather than looking back at what is being said regarding the viewpoint.
To the issue of generalizations – again, note that the article is written primarily in jest. If you read the link to MSNBC on the article, it gives some telling statistics but again, the statistics can be molded to fit any particular hypothesis, including the one of the lazy black man holding back black women or of the overfocused black woman who can’t see past her career to find a man, etc. So the numbers that you’d like to crunch are there, but how they get crunched can be very dangerous.
To JB, and the crux of all this mess. I will provide a point by point rebuttal, and finally the argument I know you and Terrence want to attack. Initially I take problems with the lack of explication of your supposed points. “Life doesn’t work that way.” What way is that, exactly? The way it appears to be, according to what you say, is that the stock broker and the fry girl are incompatible because of the traits the stock broker will be looking for. Your guess is that the fry girl won’t have what the stock broker is looking for. Again, the question is why? Ayinde provides a helpful insight, that the fry girl lacks the dimensions that the stock broker would most likely endeavor to have in a mate. He then says the ultra crucial, “This is assuming that his opinion of women does not stem solely from their socio-economic status.” Keep this in mind as we progress.
You take the small traits in two different directions and conveniently omit the disclaimer given by Ayinde – the whole small traits and dimensions thing most likely stems from a primarily socio-economic outlook. You then go onto mention that the fry girl could be smart, but you’ve already derided “smartness” as not being paramount to one’s other small traits. You then make a rather obvious statement – the fry girl and the stock broker are at 2 totally different points in their lives. Well no shit, Sherlock. But what do you mean by different points? You say they’re at different points due to their jobs, but you also say that it’s not the jobs. You make that claim by comparing a 17-year old freshman in college to an at minimum 24-25 year old woman, and again, this is very obvious that they are at different points in their lives. But does this preclude them from being compatible or even entering a relationship? And for the record, residency can be hellacious to any sort of relationship so that woman could very well be avoiding any sort of relationship until the harder parts of her residency are finished. But now, let’s see this example of the future doctor and the college student. They are at 2 obviously different points in their lives due to primarily age and so one has a dearth of life experiences and the other a relative wealth. That freshman has maturing to do as a person and is still quite young. The med student could also have plenty of maturing to do (being older does not necessarily mean they are wiser, or even advanced emotionally or socially). With that said, it can be claimed that your examples hold this pattern – the person with a lower status (fry girl, freshman) is not as mature as the person who has some status (stock broker, doctor to be). And let’s not kid ourselves here – a stock broker holds more inherent clout just by job title and presumed economic status than a fry girl at McDonalds. Same goes for someone who is soon to be a doctor compared to a freshman in college – the freshman really has no status (there is a sense of pride and worth due to him being in college, but he hasn’t “done” anything) compared to the doctor to be (already completed college, will be a doctor and doctors make money).
The assumption that continues to happen within both of these examples is that the person who is in the higher position is actually more mature or responsible. But we both know that all you’ve done is preference the higher position person, in effect implying that the other person is not on their level. But you never gave any real explanation as to why, using age for one example and job for another example. But let’s merge your examples into an actual thought experiment.
Before we do that, I would like to acknowledge what you didn’t want to – the extremes of your examples which make them unrealistic initially. What happens when you draw the line from the manager of a McDonalds and the fry girl? You can say they are at two different points in their lives also, so where exactly does the line get drawn? A junior in college and a senior in college are in two different points in their lives. Someone who just graduated from college and somebody who graduated a year ago are in two different points, etc. That whole “two different points” thing only holds up when the examples given are of an extreme nature.
On second thought, you do the thought experiment yourself – stock broker and fry girl of similar ages so as to eliminate that barrier. Is it difficult to imagine going down? It’s because of the socialization surrounding this issue. Socializing has been constrained horribly so that it gets broken down into socio-economic factors, racial factors, and age factors. Not to mention those with “good” jobs hold their noses in the air towards those with “menial” jobs like the janitor, bus driver and custodian. But this is partly because in society there is the feeling that the “better” your job, the more money you have, and essentially the better you are than somebody else. In this country, money means everything and it’s pretty obvious that money drives relationships. You say it’s because of “different points in lives” and the like, but you can’t even back up your generalizations unless it’s with vagueness and more generalizations. So let’s end this on that note. The author is right, money is the driving factor in relationships, not the “place in life” that you want to presume. Certainly there is a correlation between age and earning power, degree(s) and earning power, but at the end of it all there is a strong emphasis on socio-economic status that overrides any sort of BS about “place in life,” it’s just about how much is somebody earning.
Here comes my argument – is that how it OUGHT to be? Should relationships be so closely dependent upon the compatibility of socio-economic factors?”
Terrence: “well played JT…I love when you get on a role…If you have a great semester and come up with some type of thesis that changes the world look back at this moment and give me credit for your most recent awaking…LOL”
James: “Hold hold hold on, my rebuttal is def not gonna be as glamarous and full of “educated folk” words like yours to make your point sound any more convincing that it actually is. Your nothing less than a magician with smoke and mirrors only using your verbage instead.
First of all, I agree with you when u said success is in the eye of the beholder. However, when I said that “timing is everything”, it is not to emphasize the fact that either mentally, financially, socially or even sometimes physically 2 ppl are not on the same level. Due to a very recent status of mine where SEVERAL ladies commented that timing actually has alot to do with a relationship no matter how much the two love each other. Even love has to take a back seat to the timing of a situation. And if you want to go into what “timing” means it really all goes to GOD, what HE has planned for you will happened, so YES it is out of your hands b4 u even thought it. Moving on to the next point….
Second point, I made the comparison between the fry girl and broker to say this…the job and what their job details can speak about a person. If you were an IT guy, obviously you like and work well with computers right? Also just to point out, I never said the girl was 17. As you very well know, there are 38 year olds working at the McDonalds on Lowry so age is not a factor unless you want it to be, but I digress…if this female is 25 working on fries, then somethin really has to be up with her situation financially, or at home (socially) or w/e the case. This perpetuates that she’s most likely not living in the greatest neighborhood and also making ends meet. IN MOST CIRCUMSTANCES, they would not even meet. Most likely have little in common and have 2 diff mindsets. Her focus is getting money or she maybe just a hoodrat. IN MOST CIRCUMSTANCE, the broker, I’m guessing wants a person who can support herself and not in a crisis.
However it of course changes everything if she’s in college and has that as a side job to maintain. Being blind to the person’s socio-economic status is impossible. To both you and whoever commented earlier I propose a scenario, a person with a golden heart, beautiful smile, and educated is attracted to you, however they are homeless and dirty from their head to feet. Do you still give them a chance? I’ll answer for you b4 u lie. NO! You don’t because you aren’t perfect and as much as you defend socialism and its flaws you are a product and are steadily acting from it while cognicent of it which is worse! I never said anything about an idea being popular, that was your claim, a fact is just a fact popular or not.
Next I will directly quote you, “That freshman has maturing to do as a person and is still quite young. The med student could also have plenty of maturing to do (being older does not necessarily mean they are wiser, or even advanced emotionally or socially)” This is but another one of many of your contradictions. How can you state that the freshman has maturing to do but turn around and say that being older doesn’t mean someone is wiser. That freshman could very well be mature already. If I had a nickel for every one of your contradictions I could revive the economy!
As far as using the extremes as examples go, I’ll do you this…I’ll use a more down to earth one, something any of us can relate to…A freshman (girl) and Junior (guy) date in the AUC, that girl is finding her way around, i.e. classes, area, life as a college student. The junior has a great sense of familiarity with these things because of his time already spent there. The freshman still “fresh” on campus may not even be sure if this guys right for her, juz the first guy she came across. The junior has already been thru plenty ladies and is convinced she is the one. This situation plays to what u were making fuss about me tryin to make the younger person seem inferior when in this case the junior is the vulnerable person right now cuz she’ll use him and prolly move on to the next guy at the next freshman party. Hence my main point once again…TIMING IS EVERYTHING!”
Another friend, Kiki: “Ok…i dnt think that article is weak at all i totally disagree because i think that there are so many men out here that we want to be our ideal guy and we can’t ever find that. And then I also think that there is too much life going on out here for ppl to stop and think about who has this type of job and what kind of money that there are bringing to the table. Seriously if you look back in time there where many people that got married and didn’t have two pennies to rub together and they stayed together. So what is the problem now? People have good jobs or people have jobs that aren’t up to standard…..come one get on some real stuff life is going on out here live it while you can or your not going to know what you missed your just going to always assume.”
Another friend, Ayinde: “”And then I also think that there is too much life going on out here for ppl to stop and think about who has this type of job and what kind of money that there are bringing to the table.”
“Seriously if you look back in time there where many people that got married and didn’t have two pennies to rub together and they stayed together.”
–> You’re implying they have the same economic status which is not the crux of this argument and thus irrelevant…. ”
Kiki: “OMG people these are just examples. Come on now I know that there are so many things that we look for when we try to find a mate but after you look and search for so many years you should just try to love the person for just who they are and not by the money that they have. Of course I know that the world is ruled by money but I would rather be alone and happy than in a relationship or a marriage that is just about money and material things.
I guess it’s just because I feel like there is too much to live for and explore out in this world to stop and try to waste time on someone else and their money…but who really cares in the end, because you were born alone and you will die alone so the money means nothing when you dead as a door knob.”
Ayinde: “I admire the spirit Kiki. BUT, I will break you off wisdom my father has given me. “The religion of America is money.”
Hold high your ideals, for in the end they will keep you true.
Yet, do not let them lead you into ruin.
NPR did a great piece a few days ago about how our jobs define so much of our identity and self-worth in the modern era. Where as say 50+ years ago a job was just something we did to make to make some money; we did not define our lives by it, job titles were not the limits of our aspirations.”
Me: “Time to put your black ass in your damn place.
First of all that’s a great use of statistics, if 5 women say that timing is crucial to a relationship then it must be so. That’s not the best stat that you should use. Oh, neither is 10 women. I put up a status asking if you should marry for love or money and most of the people said something about money, so I should now make the claim that “marrying for money must be really important” because 8 people said so and there was a few dissenting opinions? Bull. And let’s be certain about what you’ve said here – several ladies said timing has A LOT to do with a relationship even if the two people love each other. But it’s a leap in logic to say that timing is now paramount to love in a relationship – what happens when the timing is amazing and there is no love? Would you consider that to be a better relationship than one with love and poor timing? And more than that, the timing of a relationship may very well be important, but to say that it outweighs the love in a relationship makes the unspoken claim that love cannot also drive the timing of a relationship. When I say that love drives the timing, I mean that when two people do indeed love each other, sometimes the timing of the love becomes equal to the timing of the relationship. Timing needs to be defined better, and then you decide to supersede the lack of definition for timing and say it’s in God’s hands. Now, this is a difficult claim to make, because faith without works is dead. So if it is in God’s hands, you technically still have to make it happen unless you’re arguing for a deterministic universe where God literally determines everything and you have literally no say in anything you do ever because it was all predetermined, and something tells me you like free will and aren’t arguing for that. So again if it is in God’s hands, you still have to make it work out period, so this whole timing thing is crap because technically you can go against God’s timing so then there must be something else that makes relationships work that isn’t God’s timing. NEXT!
Well as Ayinde points out, there is a growing trend that one’s job defines them – but by no means does it really speak to what you like. If I work in IT, it could be because I’m trained in it and have a good skill set in it and am successful in it but I could very well hate having to work in front of a computer screen all the time or they could have a serious love/hate relationship with technology. That’s an assumption that people who work on Wall Street love working on Wall Street – sometimes you do what you have to because it’s what you’ve been told you need to do or ought to do but it’s not necessarily what you like to do. And you are making some serious assumptions about the woman and her character based off of the job. I mean, going back to the IT example, one could make the same generalizations about anybody in any job and make character assumptions about them. The IT guy is an anti-social nerd who loves video games, for example. There are many more IT people who aren’t nerdy and don’t play video games. The businessman is white, shrewd, cold, calculating and bottomline driven. But we personally know many black and otherwise warm, friendly and community oriented businessmen. So to generalize character from what a person does is another major leap in logic that plays heavily on the stereotypes, which is what you like to do basically. And then you acknowledge what I said earlier, that you made an example of the extreme by saying in most circumstances the stock broker and the fry girl wouldn’t meet. Also the age bit is something you misunderstood, I suggest you re-read my argument and try again. Then you say the fry girl is probably money-focused and a hoodrat. That’s just a horrible character assassination based solely on stereotypes which is just outlandish. I’ve met women who aren’t hoodrats who work the counters and fries at McDonalds, it’s just a horrible assumption you’ve made here. And aren’t stock brokers money-focused?! But if you have a job that pays 50K as opposed to 10K, then it’s OK to be money-focused? That’s an even worse double standard. And what’s more, you make the statement, “the broker, I’M GUESSING, wants a person who can support herself…” so you acknowledge that you’ve been making major assumptions. Oh and I know plenty of people who want to make enough money so that their woman doesn’t have to support herself. So that money-focused stock broker could very well be on that same path. Then you excuse a woman who works at the fries if she’s in school because you think that means she’s trying to do something with her life. What if she’s in school just to find a husband (and don’t bullshit like these women don’t exist)? What if she’s in school but not applying herself and falling through the cracks and isn’t really doing something with her life? What if she notices the ability to move up in her specific store and wants to be a manager or something like that, is she still not trying to do something with herself or does it have to follow your specific criteria for how to better one’s self? Check yourself. NEXT!
You say it’s impossible to be blind to someone’s socio-economic status, but I would argue just the opposite. You use it as a way to barrier people, and section people off. I make the claim right now that any chick you met in college you would turn a blind eye to her socio-economic status because you’d focus on her personal qualities. And you know what, the same way there are people who hold a blind eye to the race of their significant other (which you can hold a blind eye to, but their respective culture is what you have to learn to embrace) there are those who hold a blind eye to the socio-economic status of their significant other. As I’ve been saying, the money ain’t the end all be all, as you’d like to have us believe with all your goddamn fallacies and grandstanding and acting like you can’t comprehend me. Now then, you propose a scenario of a great person who’s educated and everything but dirty and homeless. Firstly it’s a rare setup for someone to have all of those qualities and be dirty and homeless, but even on that off chance if this is indeed who God has for me and, as you put it, the timing is right, then I need to submit and go with it. The fact is, however, that just like your stock broker/fry girl example, it’s still going to an extreme to make your point which only helps debunk your point.
And as far as the little personal attack (that’s an ad hominem, which is a fallacy – you should learn it since you thinking bout goin to law school. Also learn the fallacy of the appeal to many, because you should only appeal to authorities but that’s even a fallacy if you don’t check on your authority) that you decided to get into, regarding my views on socialism and saying I’m not perfect and then calling me a hypocrite: you say that as much as I defend socialism I’m a product of capitalism and benefitting from it and am cognizant of this and that makes it much worse. Rather than lower myself into a bunch of personal attacks, I could make a similar hypocritical claim regarding you and knowing how blacks spend frivolously on things they don’t need and yet make the claim that you do the same (i.e., Jordans) and that you’re cognizant of this fact and that makes it worse. My support of socialism has no merit in this; you are still attacking at my character using the derogatory connotation in the United States with the word socialism in order to get more people to join your side. And as far as me benefitting from capitalism while speaking out against it and not liking it, quite frankly this also has no merit in this particular argument but if you’d like me to explicate my views I will, but only in short – I can criticize a society and praise a different social setup while living in the original one, and it doesn’t make me a hypocrite, it makes me someone who wants change. And indeed, a fact is a fact, whether it’s popular or not. But you like to use popular opinions and mask them as facts, then use a statement like this to cover your ass. And that, my friend, is hypocritical. Gon say I’m usin smoke and mirrors, you’re a goddamn Houdini right now, JB. Step your game up fuckin with a guy who does argumentation for a living right now. NEXT!
I can easily state that the freshman has maturing to do and at the same time say the med student could have maturing to do. Psychologically and physically, you normally aren’t completely mature by 18. That’s one of those facts, whether popular or not, you were speaking of earlier. The freshman could very well be mature; the med student immature. Being older does not make someone else wiser, certainly, but it also is very true that at 18 we have maturing to do, physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. Look at how you were at 18 and how you are now and ask yourself if you matured. If the answer is yes, then you have proven my point. Now ask yourself if right now you still have maturing to do. If the answer is yes, then you have proven my secondary point; that being older doesn’t necessarily make you ultimately mature – maturation is an ongoing process as is gaining wisdom.
And your example is very specific in nature and holds far too many variables. The freshman is new and obviously must leave the junior, when actually the junior could very well consider the freshman as fresh meat and just want to hit and quit. But in your specific example he has to think she’s the one. He also could very well not have run through plenty of women before meeting her. Your example is still an extreme, because we both know that if a freshman girl is dating a junior guy often times he’s just running through her because he has the power position. And it’s just a very convoluted and specific example in order to try to prove your point that timing is everything, but even in that extreme and specific example timing still isn’t everything. She may very well stick with the junior because she really likes him and he really likes her. You’re molding the example to try to make your point but the amount of leaps you’ve made in all of your rebuttals and the sheer number of variables in this example alone point out that you’ve lost making your case. You attacked me because you didn’t know what more to say, you’ve used fallacious reasoning after fallacious reasoning because you don’t have any valid arguments for your points and face it – you’re arguing the common opinion but just because it’s the common opinion doesn’t make it the truth, which is what you’re trying to make it. And as you said, a fact is a fact, whether or not it’s popular means naught. The same goes for trying to prop up an opinion as an argument, just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s a good or valid argument. In this case it looks like you just didn’t make many valid claims.”
Like I said, it became a bit of a pissing match, but if you bothered to read this whole thing, what’s your take on the whole issue? How important ought money be to the development of a relationship? Do socio-economic factors outweigh things like compatibility and love? What do you think about love and money and how they operate?
Here’s to those who lost their lives 8 years ago. Here’s to those who risked their lives 8 years ago. Here’s to…well I’m not one for God Bless America but it’s undoubtedly the most impactful moment in this generation’s lives so far. For my parents, their big moment was the assassinations of Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. The Cold War shaped some of their identities as well as the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. But this generation has had tragedy befall it with one of the worst attacks in history, destroying the World Trade Center towers in a couple of hours with a couple of planes.
I’ve seen some of the conspiracy theory videos, like Zeitgeist, and from this philosopher’s opinion, there’s a good chance that there was some other foul play going on. The questionable “missile” underneath the planes hitting the towers, the Pentagon attack that could not have been an actual plane due to the size of the hole, all that stuff. But this post isn’t about what may have gone on – rather than use philosophical inquiry and keep getting at why, whether or not Osama bin Laden is a scapegoat or the war in Iraq was fronted by this terrorist attack, I’m going to just be honest about it.
A few weeks ago I happened to run across some YouTube videos that were talking about 9/11, and I saw what I didn’t see 8 years ago because, figuratively, my eyes weren’t open enough to see what had happened. The man who jumped. The different angles and shock of the fall of the buildings. The shock of the news anchors. The heroism of the FDNY and NYPD. The emphasis of the phrase “terrorist attack.” And the defacing of one of America’s biggest icons – the skyline of New York City. In a city that’s hardened and known for being rough, the overwhelming unity shown as everything became about survival. It makes me think Hobbes was wrong in Leviathan, when he said that if there’s no government around the ethics get thrown out the window and people are just trying to make it out alive. 9/11, there was no government protection for New York City and Manhattan specifically. Folks were just trying to survive. And the video of the man who was on the phone, pleading for help, praying for help, trapped. And then the tower fell.
I was in 9th grade when this happened. I remember hearing reports on the radio, vaguely, saying a plane hit the World Trade Center. I was on the way to school, riding in the backseat, and I had no real idea of what that meant. I just wasn’t hearing it, you know? My mind was on the notetaking I’m supposed to be doing for my 1st period class. People seemed to be running around when I got to school, and my mind was focused on the reading I should have done the night before. I think during the morning assembly the headmaster announced that there had been some sort of attack on the World Trade Center, but I still had no conception of what that really meant. I got to class, and the TV was on. I’d known what the WTC was, but I’d never really seen the skyline of New York City. I dismissed the TV, expecting that we’d go on with class because, in my young mind, it hadn’t registered what was going on. And I will not forget, as I’m doing the last bit of reading for the class I was sitting in, my history teacher came up to me, put one hand on my shoulder and used his other hand to close my book. “There are more important things than that right now.” And it was at that moment I looked at the TV and saw a gigantic hole in the middle of a big building. And not too long after that I saw the 2nd plane smash into the 2nd tower. Heard the reports of people jumping. And very quickly it got real for me.
I didn’t know anybody in New York; most of my family is concentrated in St. Louis. But a person at the school’s uncle died in the towers. I remember seeing her running in the main building crying. The whole day was surreal. I got to a phone and called my brother, he was at school in Atlanta, asking if he was ok. I guess I figured they hit New York; maybe they’ll hit another big city. Especially as reports of more hijacked airplanes came in. My brother dismissed my concerns, saying it’s over for today he thinks and that he was fine. These are my random memories, but it’s amazing to see how in a 24 hour period everything can come crumbling down…literally.
Last night I watched MSNBC’s “9/11 How It Happened,” which was NBC’s coverage of it all basically being re-broadcast with a few minor edits here and there. But seeing the gigantic dust cloud over Manhattan, the sheer imagery is enough to impact a young mind. I’m really just rambling right now, but this event is THE event for my generation. Obama being elected is a strong 1a, but this is the telling event for my generation. The generation that grew up seeing the worst attack on American soil. The generation that saw 2 wars simultaneously in the Middle East. The generation that has many problems to fix.
9/11/2011 will be one interesting day…
If you haven’t heard of Roy Wood Jr., he’s probably the best prank phone caller I’ve heard in quite sometime. He is gold on the prank phone call.
And he’s got so many more at www.roywoodjr.com
Wrapping up part 5 of 6, I thought I’d posted it but I guess I hadn’t.
I’ve been doing the single life for the past couple of months now, and it’s been like old times. Not so much the one night stand type deal, more so just getting back out there and loving these Atlanta women. 7 months with one woman is a long time – no sense in losing more time being with one woman unless I’m pretty damn certain.
The four of us hit the lounges, the clubs, the bars. We could be found anywhere from Midtown, Crescent Ave., Buckhead, it really didn’t matter. Our weekends were fun, being with the boys for a bit and just having fun. Unrestricted, do-whatever fun. Rob kept up his picky antics, and Andre was determined to have one last great one night thrill before he settled down with a girl he was interested in. James, on the other hand, had found a nice girl who was giving him the time of day and apparently no runaround. He had really just started going out with her exclusively in the last week, and how he met her was something out of a storybook or something. He said he bumped into her on accident, offered her dinner because she thought she was cute and wanted to apologize, and things grew from there. Her name was Jennifer, and she worked in real estate. Shockingly enough, both of them had plenty in common – they still had a job in this horrible economy. James never has problems going out with the guys, but now he didn’t have any pressure to come back with a phone number or with a future love interest. He was out to just enjoy himself, and damn if that’s not enough of a reason to come out. Last weekend we all hit up some club, might have been Opera or something, and we hit it off with four women over near the bar. Took them to the dance floor, and I was reminded that I need to enjoy these single years until I end up getting locked up. And that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying that time in the company of many cute single women.
“Man, you been doin’ it all when we go out, I’m proud to see you back Big Mike!” Andre figured he and I were switching places, and so he told me in so many words that I’ve been doing his job well. I was just casually dating, which is not something I’ve ever been prone to do. But it’s been working, and I’ll keep doing this because right now, I can’t really go all in. I can be honest, I’m still a little sore. But I’m proud of James for having the balls to go all in. Dre is almost done with his wild days, but his methodology is a little wild to me. He’s dead serious about finding someone steady, but before he settles down and does the relationship thing he wants one last amazing thrill. And he found it.
“Big news fellas, I’m going off the market. I finally had that one girl, and I’m going to settle down with Melanie. The other night I had the time of my life with this chick, and I finally got it all out of my system. I’ve done it all, y’all. I feel like I can finally settle done.” Our faces, again, were stunned. Seemed like every time we got together, somebody had some startling news. When I told them about the breakup with Maria, their mouths dropped. All we need now is for Rob to say he’s dating a girl for longer than a month for it to be a clean sweep.
Melanie was this nice woman Andre met at the bar one night. They hit off, traded info, we were watching it happen. The normal bar routine, you know? Well he kept up with her, dated her a little bit more but not exclusively, and he was waiting on this last, for lack of a better word, nut, before he settled down and tried to do the exclusive relationship. But for him to call out that this last girl was the one who set him ablaze and made him finish, she must’ve done something out of this world.
“Well you know the drill, let’s hear it. How’d it happen?” Rob was on his second cigarette, the first one dropped out of his mouth upon Andre’s announcement. “Lemme guess, you fucked her on the chandelier and finally did what you’ve been dreaming of doing – busting a nut upside down. Is that it?” Rob was great for those cheap shot jokes that are hilarious and yet have a small sting to them, but his interest was piqued. James, having recently found his woman to settle down with, also had his ears up, wanting to know about what woman finished Andre’s pimping days.
“I went to the gym last Thursday and as I was warming up, I noticed a cutie doing some calisthenics. I hadn’t done those in awhile, so I thought she might need a partner, you know? Came over there, introduced myself, she’d noticed me from the TV and was all sweet and kind. We helped each other keep up on the exercises, not losing form. Her form was nice though, and I do mean nice. I offered her dinner for helping me keep in shape, and she accepted. I called her up later on, we met up at Chow Baby and I drove the conversation towards her dessert plans. She was saying that it’s whatever, that she’s been dating a couple of guys and was still on the market. ‘Ain’t no rings on my finger, you know?’ I was like,’Cool,’ you know? I didn’t want her to be my woman – I just wanted to have some fun. When I told her we could finish this talk over wine at my place, she was up for it. We had a little bit to drink, and I had to ask her a question before I even tried anything. ‘Are you really feeling these guys that you’re talkin’ to?’ She looked at me and laughed, ‘Yeah, they’ve all got something about them. So do you.’ I had to know I wasn’t getting caught up in some mess doing this. I wasn’t trying to be part of her stable, and I wasn’t even going to go through with it if she was really into somebody.”
I guess Dre didn’t notice that he was definitely into a girl and was about to finish sowing his oats, but didn’t really see that. Rob, the constant commentator he was, did. “Wait, you mean you weren’t up for her doing to some guy what you were ‘bout to do to Melanie? That ain’t right, man.” Dre looked bewildered, and shot back, “At least I’m open to what I’m doing, you play with women routinely so don’t come at me like that. Anyway,” and a beer swig later, “She did things to me I’d never have happen. EVER. I’ve done a lot in my time, but she was in much better shape than she let on. I damn near pulled a hamstring, almost threw out my back, had a cramp in my right arm, my left leg and my neck all at the same time, and after all of that – she left. And I didn’t feel like I usually do. I felt like I was missing something. It was in my top 2 in my ‘Greatest Ass’ list, and I ain’t even get happy afterwards. So when I woke up the next morning, I called Melanie.”
James looked perplexed for a minute, then asked, “So it’s all over? You’re going to be with Melanie now?” Dre nodded with a smile on his face. I could believe it, but I was still shocked to hear it. Our man Dre is about to go into a long-term relationship with a woman. Rob took a long drink of his Budweiser, wiped his mouth and looked at the ceiling. “Another one bites the dust,” he muttered. Andre stood up, stretching no doubt because of that bad back this chick gave him, and said, “Yeah, you’re damn right I bit the dust. And the bullet, too. I’m just happy I happened to meet Jennifer-“ “Wait, her name’s Jennifer? That’s pretty wild, you know the girl I’m with is named Jennifer,” blurted out James. He started rubbing his chin though, and we could all see his mind cranking. He was trying to figure something out. “She went to the gym Thursday too…nah it’s impossible. Too many Jennifers here, right?”
Boy, if you could have seen it. James’ paranoia was running wild, Dre was hoping that the worst was not about to happen, Rob was loving it and I didn’t know what to make of it all. Like a damn soap opera or something. “James, man, you’re thinking too hard. There’s no way I met your Jennifer, I don’t know what she looks like or anything…” Andre trailed off. He didn’t know what she looked like. James’ look of despair was more than enough fodder for Rob. “Ha! Oh this shit is priceless! My nigga Andre’s last fuck before he gets serious is with the chick James just got serious with! Where’s my camera, we can send this to America’s Funniest Home Videos and win $50,000! Mike, where’s your camera?” I looked at Rob and snorted, “It’s full from the artsy videos I made with your girl last night, so don’t worry about it. And both of y’all,” pointing at James and Andre, “are tripping like hell. 1 in a million chance that went down, just because she got the same name and went to the gym the same day. What gym did she go to?” “Gold’s downtown –“ they both said in unison. Rob’s glee at the situation turned into shock as he put down his beer and sat in silence. I couldn’t even try to protect the situation – and James put it as clearly as possible. “You fucked my girl, man? All the girls in the world, you fucked mine?!” James was breathing heavily, and none of us knew what he was going to do. He’d just been crushed by one of his boys. “Just calm down man, it wasn’t like that! I didn’t know that was your chick, she ain’t mention none of it, just rela-“ Andre couldn’t finish his sentence before James took a clean shot at him. I grabbed James, who kept yelling, “Come on man! My girl…you fucked my girl! What the fuck?!” Rob grabbed Andre, who now had a bloody nose and was yelling back, “What the hell is wrong with you? I told you it wasn’t like that – let me go Rob – and don’t you ever swing on me again in your goddamn life!”
The yelling back and forth continued with both men finally breaking loose of our grasp and fighting each other. That 5 minute brawl ended quickly because both of these idiots knocked each other out at the same damn time. And they broke my coffee table in my living room fighting. Rob glanced at me and said, “Well, are you seriously dating anybody – I’m not, so fuck away. But I’d avoid girls named Melanie or Jennifer for the time being.”
James woke up with a knot on his head and left immediately after getting up, muttering, “…can’t believe this…bullshit…” Andre popped up with a swollen nose and a black eye, and Rob helped him out, giving him shit the whole time. “Remind me not to go fuck James’ girl, I’ll end up looking like you or worse. He knocked you out, man. Big bad former football player got knocked out by an accountant. This is the funniest day ever, hands down.”
My front room looked like a damn warzone. Blood on some of the furniture, a broken coffee table and two guys just walloped one another. So when Andre left, saying he’s going to his girl’s spot, I couldn’t help but say, “You know, if you see James’ car there, just leave them be. He gets to have a night with your chick now, ha.”
End Part 5