My take on forbidden words

22 Nov

I know that this is a subject that has been written about ad infinitum, but I would love to put my two cents in about it. In light of (slightly) recent events surrounding one Richie Incognito and one Matt Barnes and a certain word-that-shall-not-be-named, I’d love to just put a slightly different spin on the issue. My personal stance on this issue comes from long debates with my mother. She is old-school. Well intentioned, but slightly ignorant. She genuinely does not understand why people are allowed to say words and phrases that she cannot. This doesn’t make me think that she is an evil person, but the way I view this issue means that she is entirely wrong. Keep in mind, I admit I may well be wrong, and be well out of my rights with my opinion, as I am willing to admit that the world as I know it comes from my own personal lens, and my view of the world is just a part of it, not the whole. 

Onto the nitty gritty. The instances in question were these two quotes:

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The way in which I understand the world has led me to believe that Matt Barnes is fully justified in using this word, and Richie Incognito is not. Matt Barnes is even right when he states that it is “no longer a racial slur”, in a way. The way I understand it, this word has been re-appropriated by a sub-culture within America. This sub-culture has long been oppressed by the dominant mainstream American culture, and has found this word that was a constant reminder of that oppression a new home as a symbol of resistance and empowerment. As someone who looks white, and acts white, I’ve been able to blend with this dominant culture, and have not had to experience the levels of racism that someone of color would typically have to experience in this country. That being said, I can never understand what it is like to be an oppressed person or an individual of color living in the United States. As such, I feel that I am an individual who is automatically disallowed from using these tools of resistance in passing conversation, or as anything other than a symbol of solidarity and alliance. That’s wherein the issue lies. Matt Barnes is correct in stating that it is no longer a racial slur, it isn’t, it’s a word that’s become a symbol of resistance to an oppressive culture. White people aren’t disallowed (in my opinion) from saying it because it’s a racial slur; they can’t say it because it is a word that serves as a constant daily reminder of their ancestors abuse of a biased and flawed system that exploited individuals based on their skin color. I would never use it, and am appalled by white people that do use it, because to me it’s putting us back in that place of oppression, turning us into the oppressors again. I don’t want to wish my views, or force them, upon anyone. I simply want people to look at this extremely complex issue from a potentially fresh perspective. 

Giants fans

5 Sep

SoCal sports fans have a very specific way of going about things. Style comes first, sports comes second. SoCal sports fans are going to be upset at that statement, and are going to try to argue it off, but I’m going to prove them wrong here.
As a SoCal transplant who has spent time in various cities, you begin to notice little things. Perfect example: San Francisco Giants fans. In Los Angeles, you may notice the occasional Kemp jersey, LA hat, or (more recently) Puig shirtsey. The key modifier here is the word OR. In San Francisco they love their Giants. And I mean they are absolutely gaga for them. This is one of the cities in which style takes a back seat to sports. Instead of wearing a t-shirt, or a jersey, or a hat, like a sane person, sports fans in these places wear a t-shirt AND a jersey AND a hat. You’re a little more hard pressed to find people in Los Angeles that are willing to forego all sense of rational behavior in order to appeal to the sports Gods with their absolute devotion to their team. But that’s what sports is, it’s irrational devotion.
If you’re going to make the argument that Los Angeles fans are bad because they show up late for games and leave early, then I am always going to call bullshit on you. Showing up late, leaving early, these aren’t indicators of devotion, these are indicators that you have responsibilities and or traffic is a real motherfucker in a city where the car is king and you have to get to work early in the morning. But I will let you make the argument that Los Angeles fans are bad because a majority of these individuals let norms and fashion statements dictate the way they represent their love for their team.
Almost hoping a friend reads this and leads a charge to prove me wrong.

WOW

5 Sep

I used to be a terrible writer. Starting over. Internet, will you give me another chance?

In response to Goodell

23 Oct

As many of you already know, the NFL recently released a video stating that it will distribute harsher punishments for what they deem “illegal hits.” Now I am not here to make an argument for, or against, the new direction of the league. I am merely going to give some pointers to Goodell to help make the league a safer place for all players.

1.) Re-instatement of the forward pass as illegal. Now, this is my flagship. If I’m going to make one point, and if you’re going to take anything out of this article, it’s this rule right here. All of the hits Roger Goodell called “illegal” were initiated on plays in which a receiver had just caught a pass. If forward passes were ruled illegal, we could greatly reduce the number of concussions that players receive.

a.) I’ll take passes outside of the numbers to be kept legal, only making passes over the middle of the field being “illegal passes”. All of the hits WERE over the middle of the field so that might be a solid option.

2.) Weight limits by position. Smaller safeties, bigger receivers, less devastating hits on receivers.

3.) Outlawing helmets. Since leading with the helmet is illegal, if helmets were outlawed no one could lead with them. Voila! Problem solved. Since helmets are being used as weapons, if we take away the weapons no one will get hurt right?

4.) Get rid of grass and turf in stadiums. If games were played in sand instead of grass, the surface of the ground would be much softer. Since 83% of concussions are helmet to ground, and not helmet to helmet (Completely arbitrary statistic made up by me on the spot, but still most concussions are caused by hits to the ground or whiplash and not actual helmet to helmet hits) Playing “beach football” may help prevent many injuries.

5.) Less players on the field, smaller field. Less players mean less players to get hurt, and a smaller field lowers that velocity in the mass x velocity = momentum formula. Less momentum, less concussions. Science.

6.) Flags. Flags lower the chances of hits occurring on the field. If we played flag football instead of tackle football, less concussions would inevitably occur.

A game whose primary motivating factor is violence will always inherently be just that, violent. From when these players are just learning the game in pop warner, they are taught that the big hit will earn you a starting position. The big hit in practice or try-outs earns many of these players a spot on the special teams unit. Outlawing these types of plays will fundamentally undermine the game. Players are taught their whole lives to go for the big hit, and they are now being expected to completely change their style of play as soon as they enter the league.

Breaking down the Bed Intruder Song, Critically.

13 Oct

It’s been a few weeks since the song first came out, and I believe it’s finally time for someone, anyone, to break down this song critically. Because nobody else has decided to take up this challenge, I believe the mantel has fallen to me. The song begins with the words; “Obviously we have a rapist in Linkin Park.” Now we can see that this is an obvious reference to the band, Linkin Park, an American Rock Band from Augora Hills, California. (That last sentence was pretty much taken word for word from the band’s wikipedia page) The band is signed to Warner Bros, a major record label and has done deals with their movies getting play on such giant hollywood movies as the Transformers franchise.

The lyrics to the rest of the song go as follows; “He’s climbing in your windows. He’s snatchin your people up. Tryna rape em so y’all need to. Hide your kids, hide your wife. Hide your kids, hide your wife. Hide your kids, hide your wife. And hide your husband. Cuz they’re rapin errbody out there. You don’t have to come and confess. We’re lookin for you. We gon find you. We gon find you. So you can run and tell that, Run and tell that. Run and tell that, homeboy. Home, home, homeboy. We got your t-shirt. You done left fingerprints and all. You are so dumb. You are really dumb–for real”

No doubt this song is a critique on the modern music industry, and how major record labels are so over-run with money that music quality is now lacking from much of the music available to the public. The wife and kids are a reference to music as an art form. These are things we hold dear to ourselves, and love. Music is something that is almost universally loved by all peoples, much like their family members. We can therefore surmise that the “He” in this song is a metaphor for major record labels. Your kids and wife (music as an art form) are getting raped by the modern major record label, and must be hidden to avoid the negative influences of his (it’s? Corporations are treated as people under U.S. law, and the english language lacks gender neutral pro-nouns so for the sake of simplicity let’s go with ‘his’) wrath.

The next few lines are a reference to the growing awareness of the public, and the probability of a musical revolt in which smaller artists overcome the major record labels. “He” is going to be found, and we can assume the consequences will be dire. You can run and tell that homeboy can be seen as the buddy buddy system that the major record labels have with other forms of media; such as the sprite-mtv love nest, or the warner bros-Linkin Park issue we discussed earlier. The t-shirt and fingerprints are evidence that we know of their discretions and are prepared to call them out on it. The last line is obvious. We are fed up with this system and are ready to fight for good music. I can neither agree with or fight against the allegations made in this song, but there it is. Antoine Dodson hates the American music industry.

Semiotics of the Biebs

20 Aug

Ok, I can not tell a lie. I do like Justin Bieber’s music and sing along to his catchy tunes. I’m sure many of you out there do too. So what’s with all this Bieber-phobia going around? Justin Bieber is NOT a bad artist. I know many of you out there will listen to him on the radio and complain about him later. The question is; why are you complaining? The music isn’t half bad. It’s kinda catchy, upbeat, and fun to sing along with. It’s THE IMAGE. America in general, and American music corporations in particular, have become obsessed with this packaging, this process of selling you an image. This image is meant toappeal to you, the consumer, and in order to be part of the image, you have to buy into it. So along comes this cute, metro, little white boy to break into the music scene. Arising like so many other kids from the Disney clone breeding factories, this kid is bred to straight fuck shit up. He has been screened and processed to represent what these corporate giants think America wants. America has a lot of white people? Let’s give them a cute little white boy. Everyone’s listening to black people music now? Well we had Elvis before and that guy worked, so let’s try having a white boy invade another culture again. Guys are supposed to be soft and caring? We can do that, have him sing some songs about getting his heart broken. (even though he’s like twelve and is very unlikely to know jack shit about girls yet) And just for good measure, let’s give him longer hair and have him dress nice. Let’s have him look queer, but be blatantly heterosexual. No no no, he can’t be a homosexual because that won’t sell albums. We can blur the gender lines a bit, give him a little male femininity, but we can’t cross them completely. Who was the last major musician who was openly gay anyways? Freddie Mercury? Shiiit. Yeup anytime you see Bieber he’s being trailed by a hoard of at least fifety prepubescent teenagers.

So he’s definitely not homosexual. He is the culmination of every white suburban mother’s desires. A cute little metro hetero white boy with a lot of talent who dresses nice. By listening to his music you’re buying into the hype. By buying his album you’re buying into the hype. It’s the image people, not the music. Bieber has become a way for these corporations to market R&B to white people. He’s an unassuming white child that the majority of American’s can buy into. He’s unthreatening (unlike his black gangsta counterparts that scare the shit out of some white suburban mothers) and marketable.

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