IGNANT Friday Vol. 3

It’s the end of July and we’re entering the hottest parts of the summer (though July was ridiculously hot this year).  And we all know that stuff happens because it’s hot and that’s reason enough.  So here are a couple of IGNANT stories to finish out July’s IGNANT Fridays!  (By the way, @mrphilosopher3 is always hunting for an IGNANT story for IGNANT Fridays – where y’all at?)

In honor of my friend Judy, who currently resides in Nashville and looks down on Memphians due to their reported “level of ratchetness,” I will recount something I saw the last time I was out at a Memphis club.  Was it ratchet?  No, this ain’t Ratchet Fridays.  Was it IGNANT?  Hell yes.

I’m in the club with a buddy of mine who happened to be in town for a few days and said he wanted to hit the town up.  I said I knew about a place that was doing Two Dollar Tuesdays ($2 entry until 11, $2 drinks all night) and I hadn’t been, but it’s two bucks so what’s the worst that can happen?  We walk in, get a couple of beers, and survey the crowd.  This was the first incident in the summertime that reminded me that I’m too old for some places.  It looked like everybody just graduated from high school in there.  But that’s not what’s IGNANT about this club.  Oh no, I saw two very IGNANT moments.

IGNANT MOMENT #1:

There was a girl in here who looked legitimately 16 years old.  She’s doing a whole lot while she’s dancing, like dropping down on all fours and popping (again, I thought to myself, “I’m too old for this place.”).  She was down on all fours, doing her extra-ness, when I looked over at this older guy who had a disturbing grin on his face and a beer in his hand.  He kept looking at her and I gotta be honest, he looked like he might’ve been a pedophile.  He just looked a little too twisted.  The shit-eating grin he had was pretty obvious and it was even more obvious what the apple of his affection was – the girl who looked like she was 16.

The young-looking girl was back down on all fours (look, I’m not a psychiatrist but she’s screaming for attention because I know that just can’t be fun) and the older man (pushing mid-30’s is what he looked like) made his move.  Did he go say a word to her?  Nope.  Walked over and (in front of what looked like her friends) got a handful of ass.  She didn’t see it coming.  Her response?  She looked at him like, “What the hell?”…then got back to the ass-popping on all fours.  I guess the look wasn’t enough for him, as he stuck around with an even bigger grin and reached over and got ANOTHER HANDFUL OF ASS!  I swear, he might have left a mark on his draws because this was probably the highlight of his month.  She looked at him again, and he leaned over into her ear.  They spoke about something and she went right back to her “ground and pound” while he stuck around and kept on enjoying the performance.

Sidenote: By the way, while this is all happening right in front of me and my boy, to our right there are a pair of strippers just having the time of their life with the two lucky guys they chose for the night – and all of them look barely 18.  Just another image of this place.

Anyway, the pedophilic man and his young-looking prey had a final, IGNANT encounter.  She continued her performance and he just couldn’t take it any longer.  The look on his face was like he was about to bust a nut and this would get him over the hump.  He reaches around and gives her a pussy tap!!! Not sure what that is?  He literally reached around with two fingers and gave her vagina a tap.  She looked at him again, angrily, and finally got up and went to her friends.  The older man walked away satisfied, literally and figuratively.  And let the church say, IG-NANT.

IGNANT MOMENT #2

Later on in this club, I noticed a young man dancing with a young woman.  Now, if you didn’t know, in clubs since the mid 90’s, dancing has been grinding.  And over the years, the young folks really upped the grinding ante.  It’s almost violent how hard they bounce on one another.  All pelvic thrusting and very little conversation.  Anyway, I look to my right at these two dancing in a booth.  He’s standing up, she’s bent over with her arms bracing so she can deliver multiple blows with leverage.  I look away for a while, scanning the room.  Taking a glance back to my right, I still see them dancing…but his pants are AT HIS ANKLES!!! Yes, he was sagging so hard and she was going so hard and he was going so hard that his pants fell and he didn’t blink.  Less fabric = more friction so he was loving this, I’m sure.  Turns out he had on some basketball shorts underneath his pants, but to go so hard that your pants hit the ground and you don’t stop dancing at all? That’s IGNANT.

That’s the end of IGNANT Fridays for July, and with my return to Memphis on the horizon…there’s plenty more ignance to see and report.  Remember, I want your stories for IGNANT FRIDAY! Email me (mrphilosopher3@gmail.com), tweet me (@mrphilosopher3), comment me or if you’re my Facebook friend, FB it to me.  But keep the ignance coming!

If Money, Then Power, Therefore Women – Scarface Revisited

He wants the money, cars, clothes...but will that get him "the hoes?"

Right now, BET is playing one of my favorite movies, Scarface.  I am kind of obliged to watch Scarface whenever it’s shown on TV, (even though you lose so much of the colorful language and visceral cinematography) but a certain line brought me to thinking a little bit.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the tale of Tony Montana’s rise to the American Dream and his fall from grace…well, I’m not going to ruin it for you.  But if you enjoy any type of gangster movie, Scarface is quite frankly, the shit.

But enough of me singing this movie’s praises – that’s not what this is about.  Probably a third of the way into the movie, Tony and his pal/business partner Manny are strolling around Miami Beach.  They’ve done pretty well for themselves in the drug game, and Manny tells Tony that the women love it when you (and this is how I’ve always heard it) “flop the pussy,” which means give some head.  Manny, the consummate ladies’ man, walks up to a bikini-clad woman and begins conversing with her.  She seems into him, until he sticks his tongue out at her, mimicking eating a bit of vagina.  The woman slaps him, which makes Manny mad and Tony goes and retrieves his out-of-luck friend.  He says to him an iconic line, which is what got me writing tonight.

“You gotta get the money first.  Then when you get the money, you get the power.  Then when you get the power, then you get the woman.” – Tony Montana

Sidenote: Watching this on BET sucks – scenes being cut/edited, no cocaine use showed, but at least some of the dubbing over the profanity is still within context as opposed to this hilarious monstrosity:

Back to the matter at hand – Tony has given us an argument to evaluate (though we might have to stretch to make the conclusion)!  We’ll call this argument Montana, because I feel like it and for no other reason.

Montana:

A) If one receives money, then one receives power.

B) If one receives power, then one receives women.

Before I give the conclusion (which, by now, is obvious to those who read arguments), I should make clear that Tony himself never asserted this conclusion – but it logically follows from the given premises.

Conclusion) If one receives money, then one receives women.

As I thought about this argument, I thought about the time this movie was made – 1983.  4 years later, Eddie Murphy did his classic standup comedy film, RAW.  During RAW, Eddie mentions that women are different in the 80’s and that “You’ve gotta have some money to get some pussy in the 80’s.”  Putting Montana next to Eddie’s statement and well, they might have been on the cusp of some sort of social examination – do you need some money to get a lady friend?

I’ve already covered some ground on needing money to gain a partner (I argued that you don’t), but Eddie’s assertion skips an all-important middle step that Tony highlighted – money brings power.  I’m going to concede that there’s a good level of truth to that statement.  Tony doesn’t infer that there are other ways to acquire power, only that money is the prime (and probably most effective) means of gaining power.  So (according to Tony) money is extremely important.  Power is also important.  But my initial phrasing may have misconstrued Tony’s position.  Let’s try Montana 2:

1) If one gains power, then one gains women.

So power yields women.  But money yields power.  So what does Tony believe attracts the women – the money or the power?  My “reading” is that it is a combination of the two, but ultimately it’s the second step – the power – that seals the deal.  So, according to Tony Montana, the money puts you in a position to gain women but it’s the power that gets accrued with the money that delivers the women.  It has been said that there is something sexy about a man with power, and power can be gained from multiple direct means, not just money.

What can we make of all of this?  Besides the obvious fact that Scarface is a great movie to watch (even on BET), we can also glean that power makes a much bigger deal in this than just money.  We also are facing a question of importance between power and money in relationship dealings, and I’m not sure I’ve got the answer to that.  I think we all knew that money currently plays a pivotal role in many relationships, but I hadn’t acknowledged the effect of power (or the appearance of power) in relationships.

I can say this, though: when I was a sophomore in college, I told a friend-girl (woman who is just a friend) that I had a theory – if a man looks like he has money (whether or not he has it isn’t as crucial), smells good, and doesn’t say anything stupid then he’s got a tremendous shot at success with a potential mate.  While I didn’t enjoy that I’d formulated the theory because it makes everybody look bad, I thought I’d put it out there for feedback.  My friend said that she didn’t want to agree…but reluctantly opted to (with no coercion from yours truly).  I made specific mention of money, but perhaps this appearance comes off as powerful?  The most important thing I’ve pulled out of this is that power adds another dimension to relationships and has a very unique relationship with money.

But ladies, you might want to run away if a man says…

(I watched and wrote on Scarface – this line was going to be put in there!)

Men: Women’s Projects?! Part 1

Is the house they're building the project or are these two men the projects?

Recently, there have been two separate but equal (HA!) instances where I’ve been confronted with the idea that men in general are to be considered “projects” by their lady counterparts.  Seeing as I’m a man, it follows that if men are projects, then I’m a project.  For the purposes of this post, I’m going to keep things in a heteronormative environment – I’m dealing with women who are interested in men and consider men to be projects as mates.  I figured I’ll give the background story for one and the practical problem I have with being considered a “project,” (this will be Part 1) and then I’ll give a full blown argument I had with a young woman over men being “projects” and I’ll give a philosophical objection to the idea of being a “project” (this will be Part 2, be on the lookout!).

So I was conversing with a young woman and she remarked that she thinks I’m wound more tightly than it would appear.  I said that I guess I’m more than meets the eye.  She responded that it means I’m a project.  Simple backstory, no?  But being considered a project is troublesome to me.  I know she (and I imagine most women) doesn’t actually mean I’m (or men in general, I hope) a thing that needs some sort of overhaul by the hand of the Other, but this concept exists – that women must mold and shape men into what the woman is looking for.  And now, a brief aside…

I had a similar conversation my freshman year with a friend of mine.  He said that he wants a woman to tell him how to be a man; he wants to be what women want, since he wants women.  Fair enough, but I didn’t agree.  Not that a woman can’t tell a man how to be a man, but that if the reason you’re learning how to be a man is so that you can become the object of affection for women, then there’s a bias in the teachings you’ll receive.  You’ll learn how to be a man as designed by women.  Much in the way that there’s been a woman historically designed by men in order to make “womanness” the things desired by men, it seems peculiar to endeavor to do the same thing by women to men.  Not that turnabout isn’t fair play, but it gets the process nowhere.  Now back to the main story…

I didn’t like being called a project, not because it implies that I’m incomplete, but because it implies that she who will “complete me” is actually complete, herself, and that she’s become the creator and I’m the created.  I mean look, I’m clearly an incomplete (or better worded, not fully formed) person.  There’s still much life to live, many experiences and emotions and events to go through.  So no, I’m not complete.  But it’s very presumptuous to think that “being with you” will create a more fully formed me.  I was skeptical of her “golden touch,” so to speak.  And for the record, her touch was not golden.  It wasn’t any precious metal, in fact.  Nevertheless, in her dealings with me it became plainly obvious that, while I didn’t wish to be called a project, it is, in fact, what she considered me to be.  A piece of clay for her to mold to her whim.  To go along with the first problem (the creator/created issue), here’s a second problem with being a piece of clay to somebody – if a relationship is supposed to be based on both partners being equal, why is it that I’m to be the only one molded?  It’s not that BOTH of us are projects – I’m the project and she needed no change.  This is problematic to me, if only because the implication here is an air of inequality (be forewarned, I think this is the moment where I slip into the more philosophical).

I say inequality due to the fact that projects are inanimate objects.  They are things, not persons.  They aren’t independent – they need assistance to be fully manifested.  On the power scale, persons rank higher than things.  When a person is able to convey herself as complete inside of a juxtaposition with her “incomplete” partner, she has (purposefully or inadvertently) taken power in the relationship.  Some might argue that all relationships are power struggles to begin with, but I don’t believe that interpersonal relations are fundamentally dialectical.  Power struggles will happen, certainly, but I don’t think it’s something that we need to base interpersonal relations off of (for the record, I vote for basing them off of an assumed equality between partners – why be with someone you have to fight with for power all the time?)

Wanting to change someone is a good intention but...

So my initial problem appears to be that if I’m a project that she’s working on, what does this make her?  One way to solve this problem is to assume that both partners are projects – works in progress.  This levels the playing field again and prevents unnecessary power moves.  As I wrote that sentence, I remember tweeting the question a few days ago: “Why do I know a lot of women who want to change their man/view him as a project?”  Few people responded, but those that did seemed to wonder why this is a prevalent phenomenon.  Wanting to change someone for the better means that you know what’s better/best for that person.  But, and I’m being very honest here, knowing what you think is best and what may actually be best are generally two different things.  I say this for two reasons: 1) We tend to side with our own opinions on things – what we think is best is best, to us.  2) What may actually be best might yield a tougher decision that we want to avoid (due to its toughness).  So while the effort to change a person might come from good intentions, the road to Hell is paved with them.

I think this is where I’ll shut it down on this topic for the moment.  In Part 2, I’ll explore why trying to change people period is a problem (we’re not prisoners needing rehabilitation by the State), a conversation I had with a friend of mine about why she views her boyfriend as a project (which led to some…exciting exchanges between the two of us), and finally my philosophical objection to being a project – subject (person working on project)/object (the project person) duality and that if I’m a project, I’m an object and…I’d like to avoid being objectified.

The Chronicles of The Black Pack – Pt. 6

A couple of things – this was written when I wrote the Chronicles last year, but for some reason I never posted the finish.  Also, this story should be nominated for the 2010 Black Weblog Awards for Best Blog Post Series.  Send them this particular post because I’m linking the other 5 parts right here.  Enjoy the finish (and what hopefully will be turned into a novel for the future!) of the Chronicles of The Black Pack.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

——————————–

When you deal with the fellas, there are plenty of events that can happen, which includes having sex with someone’s unknown girlfriend.  You could get piss drunk and puke all over someone’s house.  You could even ruin someone’s wedding by being the biggest asshole on the planet because you don’t like who they’re marrying.  But for every one of those types of events, you get the events where you get in a fight and you have backup.  When you can borrow 15 bucks because you don’t get paid for 3 weeks and need gas money.  When two guys pay for a broken coffee table because they fought over the biggest chance happening since when my cousin won the lotto, all this and more can and probably does happen.  The fact is, we all have each other’s backs, like an extra part to our spinal cords.  I didn’t have to worry about James and Andre getting cool again – James got over it because they weren’t exclusive at that point and knew Andre didn’t mean it, and Andre understood how James felt and admitted he probably would’ve taken a swing if he’d been in the same position.  Petty squabbles happen – they happen to any group of people if you stick them around long enough.  My kids at school fight over who should be using the glue, for God’s sake.  I’ve heard of people in jail fighting over the titty magazines.  Conflict happens.

Rob loves to tell the story of how he and I got into it back in college because I took his girl.  It was an accident, but it turned out to make us better friends because he came after me, not unlike how James did Andre, and we fought until we both were just too tired.  He looked over at me, panting, and said, “This is exactly how you look 10 minutes into fuckin’ with Nadia, isn’t it?”  And all I could do was laugh.  There was nothing else left to do but laugh, because we just kicked each other’s ass for no good reason.

A lot of stuff happens for no good reason.  But meeting the fellas, nah that happened for a good reason.  But before Rob starts yelling about me needing to turn on Waiting to Exhale and get a good cry while eating some chocolate, I’ll say this: Every single time I’ve needed to talk some shit, get something off of my chest, or just relax and shoot the breeze about anything – I’ve known exactly where I could go.

“Man, you went berserk when you hit me.  I thought you’d gone alien or somethin’, like Lilo and Stitch.”  Andre leaned back in the chair, laughing about what’d recently happened.  “You’re lucky I didn’t Barry Bonds you and break your legs with a baseball bat, ha!”  James got a good laugh in about it too, and Rob and I chuckled about it all.  We were in Andre’s place (I told them they can’t come over to my place if they’re drinking; my furniture is worth too much to me), and Rob said, “Ok, I should tell y’all something.  I’ve been talking to this girl for a few weeks, and – oh, her name is Brittany and she works for a PR firm and doesn’t hit the gym, just so we’re all clear – and…damn I can’t believe this, but…”  James finally had his chance to beat Rob to the punch.  “Go on and grab Gone With The Wind and pop some popcorn and cry your eyes out because I know what you’re about to say – you can’t find a damn thing wrong with her, can you?”  All four of us started laughing our asses off.  Rob, still laughing, exclaimed, “I hate when you’re right, James.  There’s nothing wrong with her at all.  This is brand new territory for yours truly, and I’m ready to see what’s on the landscape, you know?”  I put my beer up in the air and sighed.  “Well, another one bites the dust.  Welcome to the club.”  As we toasted, Rob’s phone buzzed and he looked down puzzled.  “Brittany just texted me, ‘we need to talk.  R u busy?’  Damn, already?  It better not be no sneak attack, ‘it’s yours’ type of shit.”  We all tried to give him a little bit of advice, but hey – if things turned sour we’d be getting the call tonight.

It turned out she wanted help getting her mom a birthday present.  Rob almost messed it up, being defensive and aggressive with her when they met up.  But that’s another story, I’d rather let Rob tell it…

End of The Chronicles of the Black Pack

Cali NAACP Backs Weed…And So Do I

The irony would kill me if the NAACP backed crack legalization.

On July 1, the California chapter of the NAACP formally announced that it will back a ballot measure that will legalize marijuana in California.  A reader commented that he wanted me to do a piece on weed legalization and this news will prompt that particular piece.  When I was in high school, I never thought ill of the people who did weed but I just didn’t opt to.  It wasn’t my thing.  When I got to college and found out that EVERYBODY smokes, it made me adjust my perceptions of the drug.  I never had a problem with weed or weed smokers, but the people who can’t survive without it…they worried me.  I know a few of them, too.  Still, I know some successful people who use weed every now and then.  Ultimately, weed doesn’t frighten me like cocaine, prescription drugs, heroin, and much more debilitating intoxicants.  The use (and in the prescription drug case, abuse) of these drugs should be illegal – they can cause serious harm with just one use and really destroy lives.  People make fun of stoners because they always seem out of it, detached from reality, but a couple glasses of juice away from returning to reality.  People make fun of crackheads because they’ve dipped out of society completely, becoming vagabonds and caricatures of the people they once were.

With all of that prelude, I view weed like I view alcohol – some people shouldn’t do it because they will develop an addiction, others can do it in moderation and be socially functioning people, and some people will choose to abstain completely for their own reasons.  Whichever way you want to slice it, a joint will get you high but after a couple of hours, you’ve sobered up and you’re back to reality without the need to chase that original high like you do with heroin and cocaine.  So do I have a problem with weed consumption?  Nope – it’s not harmless but it’s not immediately dangerous – a joint is like having a couple of beers, in my estimation.

But the Cali NAACP isn’t formally backing weed consumption via legalization; it’s aim is to get rid of the disproportionate amount of Black people jailed for weed possession and possibility of distribution.  I don’t have the official statistics, but there are many Black people in jail for weed and Black people are not the largest consumers of weed (admittedly, I don’t have the stats but according to the article above, “The group highlighted findings it says show the arrest rate among blacks for low-level marijuana crimes far exceed those of whites in the state’s largest counties.”)  At the very least, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that along Black/white racial lines, the consumption of weed is roughly equal or at least not so out of balance that the arrest rates would be so disproportionate.  And for those of you who are quick to think that the ghetto is covered in a cloud of weed smoke, I would point to the average middle-class suburban white kid – many of whom are weed smokers.

This will get you high...but even this tiny little blunt will get you into unnecessarily hot water.

So the Cali NAACP is possibly the first major Black organization to be on board with marijuana legislation reform.  And I’m on board with them, if only because of the obvious arrest rate disparity between whites and Blacks.  Lots of Black folk are in jail because of a blunt, and it’s a waste to me.  Low level marijuana possession shouldn’t create so many jailed Black people in this country.  In the end, current marijuana legislation feeds into the prison-industrial complex and we end up with many Black people as ex-cons because of a weed arrest.  Ex-cons lose a ton of rights as a citizen (which includes losing the right to vote) and become alienated when they get out of prison due to the disturbing culture inside of prisons.  And many of these ex-cons due to these petty weed arrests?  Black folks.

If you have 10 pounds of weed, then yeah – you might need some help.  But a blunt?  A joint?  Nah…let’s change some of those laws.  If you’re curious about weed statistics and what’s being said about Mary Jane, below are some sites I ran across:

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Myths And Facts About Marijuana

Marijuana Legalization Organization

And as a bonus, I’ll throw in my favorite song from the Wiz Khalifa mixtape, “Kush & Orange Juice,”….

Be like the NAACP and Go Green, y’all.

IGNANT Friday, Vol. 2

I’m sure you all are going, “Where are the essays, the cultural criticism, the challenging writing that we’ve become accustomed to?”  It’s here, mostly finished, and soon to be put out.  In the meantime, we’ve got IGNANT Fridays to tide us over.  And from the weekend of the Fourth of July up through this Friday, there was much ignance to be shared.  Here are some ignant moments that deserve mention on IGNANT Fridays.

Imagine if someone threw THIS at you...

– On the Fourth of July, there were reports in Alton, IL that there were fires in dumpsters and people being shot at a particular housing complex.  Turns out they were lures to attack firefighters and cops with fireworks.  Yep, people set up dumpster fires and lied about injured people in order to shoot fireworks at firefighters and cops.  According to this news report, the group ranged from 300 people to 1,000 people attacking cops and firefighters.  Pretty damn ignant if you ask me.

– Earlier this week, I ran across the wildest headline I’d ever seen in my life.

Tired Gay succumbs to Dix in 200 meters.

Yeah, you read it right.  It might be questionably ignant, but I’m going to pull a Mills Lane and allow it because of how funny it is.

– Rounding out this week’s IGNANT Friday is a story about two men and their dog.  Sadly, the dog died unexpectedly while both men were away (they’re housemates right now) and they had to figure out what to do with the body.  Housemate A proposed a very unique funeral rite – a homemade cremation.  “Why don’t we put the dog on the grill and you know, we’ll cremate him that way.”  An inquiring mind asked, “It takes a lot of heat to break all of that down – can a grill really pull that off?”  Housemate A responded, “I’ll just go get a ton of logs and throw ’em on there, that should get the job done, right?”

Wrong.

The idea, thankfully, was shot down to BBQ the dead dog in an attempt to cremate the dog, and they simply buried him in the backyard of their house (which no, they don’t own and yes, will probably be found in a decade).  But that the idea of grilling a dog down to cremation even came up…

That’s pretty ignant if you ask me.

IGNANT Friday Vol. 1

Nobody submitted anything.  Nobody.  So I’ll get IGNANT Fridays started myself, with an ignant tale of what happens when people have too much time on their hands and not enough respect for others.

My friend named Bess (I’m changing her name to maintain anonymity) is a pretty normal, friendly woman.  She’s from the South and has always had a friendly air to her.  So much friendliness (combined with recent single-ness) that she would give out her phone number to guys a little more liberally than some other women.  One night, she got a random phone call around 3 a.m.

Yeah, she had a stranger calling...an IGNANT stranger.

The caller said, “Bess.  Bess!  Wake up!”  Bess responded, in a very groggy and tired voice, “No.”  The caller persisted.  “Bess!  Wake up!”  Bess, still kind of out of it and known for a ridiculous level of calmness in situations that might call for an attitude and an attitude in situations that might call for some diplomacy, repeated to the caller, “No.”  Finally, the exasperated caller said, “Bess!  Wake up so I can eat your pussy!”  Why Bess has remained on the phone this long, nobody knows.  But she finally said, “No, I’m good.  Thanks, though.”  The caller hung up.  This song and dance would happen randomly for a few months, with Bess never knowing who the person was but the man continued to implore her to wake up so he can eat her pussy.  Finally, one night this same 3 a.m. phone call happens.  The same progression happens.  When he says, “Wake up so I can eat your pussy,” she responded quickly, “Come on with it!  I’m ready!”  The shocked caller started stammering, “Uhh…y…you….you really want me….”  Bess cut him off, having lost her diplomacy.  “Yeah, damnit!  If you gon’ keep callin’ about eating this pussy, come on and do it or get the hell off my phone!”  The caller hung up and never called back.

That story needs no explanation.  I couldn’t make it up if I wanted to.  If you don’t get how IGNANT that is…well, you’re probably pretty damn ignant yourself.  And no, that ain’t a compliment.