IGNANT Friday: All #IGNANT Everything

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:

“Roach-eating contest winner choked to death.”

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, mrphilosopher3@gmail.com, use the hashtag #IgnantFriday or #IGNANTSHIT

On Voting While Black, or Why Obamamania Must Continue

The Force is strong with him. Resign yourself to your fate and bow down to the master and ruler of the world.

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.

I’m With You But Not Really…and Don’t Trip – The New Norms

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.