Monday, July 21, 2014

[ATA #11] The Pied Pipers of Patriarchy: The Rise and Inevitable Fall of Digital Charlatans

WARNING: Across the Aisle features a generous helping of exploratory writing, gratuitous pop culture abuse, and complimentary Funyons. This is Hive Mind 101. That glorious moment when Wonder Twin powers activate. Jay Connor + Alex Hardy = the triumphant return of Voltron. These ain’t no studio tricks, and such brilliance is solely intended for mature reading audiences.  Enjoy.

Episode 11
Steve Harvey, The Zoot Suit Don. (Photo: NBC Chicago)

The Pied Pipers of Patriarchy: The Rise and Inevitable Fall of Digital Charlatans 

Alexander Hardy: The State of Florida, blue contact lenses, and the quest for respectability are destroying Black people. The first destroys us with lopsided legislature and bullets, the second with the scorn of 1000 ashamed ancestors, and the third? Well, the quest for respectability leads us, the Coloreds, into the valley of the shadow of debt, stupidity, and reality television. We relish every opportunity to assert ourselves as more refined than those niggas over there morally, sexually, and financially superior to our peers, facts and easily verifiable bank statements be damned. Our collective need to be regarded as worthy of admiration and retweets keeps jewelers who make neck art from gold-dipped baby Jordans and certain self-proclaimed self-help czars in business. Yes, I’m talking about Steve Harvey, Tyrese, Tony Gaskins, Chey Bostock, Farrah Gray and the rest of the chocolate charlatans who sell generic quotes and patriarchy to the masses, bundled with a janky interpolation of da (alleged) werd of da lawd. It’s too much.

Jay Connor: The game is to be sold, not told. Be it a wise old adage or a Snoop Dogg album title, their gravy train is screaming down the tracks, making it rain alopecia and synthetic perspicacity. Besides, who needs a bible when chapter Tony verse Gaskins is just a leering meme away? Draped in ascots and deceit, these social media apex predators feast on the vulnerabilities of Black women, issuing cleverly disguised mandates culled from Romany Malco tangents and fortune cookies. Their natural habitat is gullibility, an environment in which they thrive since nary a matador can be found to sidestep their bullshit. Which in turn makes them adept Vagina Whisperers, who take great pride in telling women what to do with theirs. Because entitled. Because lucrative. Because patriarchy.

AH: When I happen upon some morsel of vending machine wisdom by one of these gents, my inner angry Black man perks up and reaches for his shotgun. I can’t quite grasp why it’s en vogue for bescandled Black men to dole out advice on Black womanhood, and for that advice to be accepted, quoted, and followed. But, somehow, by hook, crook, and fuckery-filled self-help book, these dudes have weaseled and veneered their way into the hearts, bootyholes, and wallets of countless women, respected for their misogyny-fed prosperity ministries and unabashed scoundrelhood. How did it come to this?

JC: If Sway ain’t got the answers how the hell am I supposed to know? You would think the drive-thru windows they slang guidance and onion rings from would give their prey pause, but I digress. Farrah Gray, chieftain of the Sigma Zeta Fraud fraternity, can commonly be found contaminating the Internet with gossip, or in the loving company of his imaginary friend, Facial Hair. “But wait a minute!” said anyone with even an ounce of sense. “Isn’t this guy supposed to be some kind of financial savant? A bepenised Iyanla Vanzant who peddles Buddy Passes of caste salvation, yet happily accepts retweets as an honorarium? If this guy is so enamored with uplifting his disciples, why does his website pillage the dreck of TMZ for its content?” Great fucking question. Is it “Ooochie Wally” or “One Mic”? Is it “Black Girl Lost” or shorty you owe for ice? But then again, we are talking about a dude whose claim to fame is becoming a millionaire at the same age the rest of us were sprouting whiskers from our armpits. Though oddly enough, there is no evidence of said windfall. Oh? He must’ve buried the receipts with Whitney.

AH: When I made my way over to Farrah’s page, looking for something, anything to explain why minds, wallets, and Facebook timelines open to accommodate his musings, it was like walking onto the set of “Woman, Thou Art Not Good Enough, For Anyone, Ever, Ya Bish.” Are you unknowingly turning men away and in need of a dose of demeaning generalizations to get your love life on track and end your journey into vile womanhood? Let this man with the most obnoxious website this side of Bossip tell you what men find unattractive, but won’t ever tell you:

3. Remote Control - don’t hog the remote control. Meaning don’t be the one making all the decisions all the time

Translation: let a man be a man. Whatever the fuck that means. What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you see a lady friend reposting wisdom from one of these pish posh pushers, telling them how to be better breasted humans and attract/keep a man?

JC: Bereavement. A crippling anguish and loss mirrored only by the dissolution of Keenan & Kel. It hurts my heart to know that someone with so much to offer the world could succumb to such unfortunate circumstances, but I wade through the tears and wish them well on their journey to Facebook exile.  And don’t call or text me either. You belong to the Other inbox now.


AH: Confusion, surprise, and then more confusion. What happen? Why it happen? Can I be infected by whatever is ailing these people? Elsewhere in Awful Blackness lives Tariq Nasheed, creator of the Hidden Colors documentary series, giver of Mack Lessons, and full-time hater of Black women. Now, while there may be some necessary info contained in his films about Black history, that good is Sharkeisha’d by his anti-woman rants and pimping advice, packaged as goodwill. One recent gem, revealed to me by a former Facebook friend, decreed: 

And all of your cousins came to the yard to touch and agree. It appears that slinging this Dollar Store wisdom is lucrative as he has become a junkyard savior to dusty niggas worldwide, guiding them towards the light and into the land of Milk and Imaginary Honeys. Are we in the wrong field?

JC: And all this time I thought a woman with more than three tattoos was Wiz Khalifa a WNBA player. My mind is irreparably blown. Why do you feel as though these ardent Title XI antagonists have been able to sustain their influence? Aren’t child vaccinations supposed to prevent these type of things?

I think if you take one part of a decently faced man in a decent to niggerish suit, projecting a lifestyle of Relative Negro Success (fancy car, McMansion or better, mixed kids, etc.) and a mastery at doling out stale to stab-worthy Fake Deep Hood Wisdoms and, gatdammit, you got yourself a hit. Maybe, just maybe, their greater purpose here in this post-Teen Summit world of ours is to further the cause in favor of Super Duper Late Term Abortions, also known as “The Adult Recall.” Because if you put together a spiffy montage of all of their collective abysmal personhoods, we could get that petition right onto President Obama’s desk by sundown. Let’s put them on the Magic School Bus and fling them back to slaverytimes.

JC: Ah, yes. Slavery: the great equalizer. Harbinger of Hollywood blockbusters, pigs feet, and the Donald Sterling collection of NAACP Lifetime Achievement Awards. It would hurt my heart to watch Steve Harvey soil one of his signature zoot suits in the bowels of Lord Ligonier, but that’s probably something he should’ve thought about before unleashing his mustache unique brand of lunacy to deprave his minions. In a perfect world, he would wake up tomorrow in dire need of a maxi pad. But sadly, I’m told karma has other plans. Hopefully they involve an encounter with ChapStick.

AH: I'm not one to knock the next Negro's gravy train. This is the Age of the Young and the Terrible, and a lack of authenticity never stopped anybody from cashing out. *Rick Ross grunt* So I can't shouldn't fault these brothers for carving their own lanes to prosperity. It is unfortunate that simple requests for some receipts from these brothers (who have built brands and wealth on being better than you) are met with rage and accusations of Hateration, which is the go-to Negroidian deflection tactic. I want to believe that one day a chocolate charlatan will be made to directly address the misogyny and sanctified fuckshit in their messages. I want to believe that selling respectability wishes and dusty nigga dreams of all-you-can-hump romantic flourishing isn't sustainable, but book deals, radio shows, and conference rooms of spouse-hunting Coloreds, all entranced by a zoot suit and a smile, don't give me any hope at all.

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A million thanks to my partner in crime:

Jay Connor is a prized pupil of the esteemed Professor Xavier and a Los Angeles based freelance writer. When he’s not preoccupied with accruing overdraft fees while chasing the dream, he can be found disseminating terrorist threats on Twitter and Facebook. Direct all business inquiries, sexual innuendo and Nigerian email scams to

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Jeremiah Heaton, North Sudan, and the Audacity of Whiteness

Jeremiah Heaton. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Have you heard the one about the asinine White Virginia dad (before you huff and puff, Whiteness is a fundamental plot element here) who traveled through Egypt to claim 800 square miles of unclaimed desert land between Sudan and Egypt in the name of his daughter, the newly crowned Princess Emily?

Yeah. I know, right? When I first saw the headline, I checked to see if the local Virginia site with the story was a satirical one. But, yes, it happened: Jeremiah Heaton didn't want to tell his beloved chile that she couldn't be a princess in real life, so he did what any parent high on Whiteness would do: he “literally” (his word) went to what he considers "the ends of the earth" for her and planted a flag in her name in the ungoverned land of Bir Tawil. In Africa. He and his kids named this new land The Kingdom of North Sudan and designed a flag. My inner angry Black man popped up, grabbed his shotgun, and stood on alert for approaching unmelinated lunacy. 

The coverage so far has been pretty kind to Mr. Heaton. “Oh, that Jeremiah Heaton is one wacky dude,” and such. In reality, Jeremiah Heaton is a dickface. Though some consider it admirable for a pappy go to such great (albeit dickfacely) lengths to make his chilluns happy, Jeremiah is about as wrong as Janet was for putting Khia inside that television set in the video for “So Excited.” ****

I learned about responsibility by caring for turtles and goldfish (all of which died) and trying not to crack my exquisitely painted Egg Baby, Alejandro, in seventh grade Home Economics. Rest in pieces, Alejandro. Lessons came via stern talks and loss of Nintendo privileges. But times and parenting styles have changed and this generation of kids who never had AOL screen names is being guided by a generation still recovering from the mysterious disappearance of Judy Winslow. It’s still tough for us to talk about. #Damaged

Were your childhood ass whippings uploaded onto the Internet for commentary from your parents’ friends and the universe? No. But…well…l will admit that post-Duck Tales life is inherently difficult. So, I do understand a certain degree of fuckedupness in these chirren. Truly, I do.

But there are things that people who produce these tiny humans can do to ensure that fewer little Annies grow up to become Ann Coulters. You know, for the greater good.
Want to show your kids that you would do anything to make their dreams come true? Get them a train set and an anti-Macklemore vaccine and build them a fucking tree house. Want to raise a cool kid into a stellar adult? Read to them, tell them you love them, and keep them away from boxed macaroni and cheese. The way to raise a better world citizen, a person on track to becoming the best White woman she possibly can be, is with love and artfully imparted life lessons, not by gifting them a brand new African nation, because you think it's cool and, hell, nobody else wanted it. 

Go Go Gadget: Prepubescent land grabs.

Under his guidance, Jeremiah Heaton’s children are stewing in a crockpot of terribleness, along with the finest pickled entitlement and freshly harvested seeds of self-importance. Yummo! Imagine being a teacher trying to discipline a child whose father filed a claim with the United Nations so she could legally call herself the princess of a nation he traveled to the “ends of the earth” plus 14 hours by caravan to claim in her name. And you expect Princess Emily of The Kingdom of North Sudan to walk in a single-file line in the hallway because you, a peasantly teacher, say so?

Holy Nervous Breakdown, Batman!

So in a few years when the Heatons throw on their sunscreen and head to The Kingdom of North Sudan on a mission to spread benevolence and lunacy and, say, they wind up missing while directed by King Heaton’s disconnect with reality, the rest of us will get to witness yet another diplomatic crisis and the requisite panels of highly Whitely morning show pundits, faces all painted with concern, wondering for weeks, “Where, oh where could the Heatons be?!?”

All of this results from White people going places they have no business going to do shit they have no business doing. Every time. Spare us.

Sure, it’s cute right now. That little precious Emily in her crown, beaming before her flag next to her father, The King, is so fucking cute. And one of her brothers made a cute little serving tray at summer camp with the flag they designed on the front. And the rest of the family shall henceforth refer to this child as Princess Emily. And Jeremiah made letterheads, so all of that makes their claim to this land real. Also, too, también, because White. So, duh.

“I feel confident in the claim we’ve made. [Planting flags is] the exact same process that has been done for thousands of years. The exception is this nation was claimed for love.”

For love.

But wait.

What the fuck am I even talking about? Nothing, after 29.5 years of full-time Blackness, should surprise me where White people are concerned, because White Audacity knows no bounds. It is limitless like the reasons why Donnie Klang’s career was all a big misunderstanding.

White Audacity informs one that consideration of necessity is for suckers and that these ideas are good ideas because I thought of them and because I'm White. It's a helluva drug.

Aside from it being impossible for an U.S. citizen to assume a position of royalty and still remain a U.S., the amount of gall required for this man to set the expectation that Egypt and Sudan should, for the agricultural good of the region, recognize this chain gang of misguided Caucasians as a nation has not been seen on this Earth since Oprah sang the opening theme for The Oprah Winfrey Show back in the 90s. That took a lot of nerve, girl. White Audacity let Jeremiah Heaton believe that he was the first person in history to assert ownership of this land and that using colonial-era land claiming laws to industrialize a desert all for the happiness of his precious White chile is necessary and that he should be the fuckboy to do it.

He didn’t have a pal with an old barn who’d let him clean it up, throw a damn trampoline and a pony stable inside so they could make her the princess of that shit? Ain’t no foreclosed properties that he could have buy and let Princess Emily jazz up to live the young, carefree conquistadora life over there in Abingdon, Virginia?

White Audacity, a byproduct of white privilege, is why Jeremiah Heaton, who lost a Senate bid in 2012, can regard this disputed land like a fun little political science project, as if he’s starting a virtual company with the kids.

The children would like the area to become an agricultural hub of the region and pappy plans to bring in world class-scientists and experts to irrigate his desert fantasy.

Mmm. Nothing like a slice of White Savior pie in the summertime.

But before I poopoo the visions of Jeremiah Heaton, I suppose I should also know not to underestimate the capabilities of White Audacity, because Iggy Azalea. These motherfuckers might fuck around and get the funding pull this off. That Flex Alexander portrayed Michael Jackson in the worst biopic to ever biopic showed me that anything is possible when White Audacity is involved. Where there is a White will there is a way. And so on.

***: While Janet was wrong as shit refusing to share camera time and oxygen with Khia, I totally understand. Last minute solution to her regret over the collaboration? The world will never know.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lemon and Ice: The Rules of Blackpeoplegatherings

As a full-time Black person, I have attended about 12 hundred dozen Blackpeoplegatherings in my lifetime. Crab boils. Welcome Home From The Clink parties. Fish fry-style wedding receptions. You’ll probably observe many of the same elements at most of these Blackpeoplegatherings. Drank. Music (with a high probability of the Electric Slide making an appearance). Bad ass kids. Overindulgence and the Itis. Well seasoned food. The usual.

(Do White people get The Itis? Serious question.)

In these Blackpeoplegatherings, there is an unspoken hierarchy of meal-making clearance that exists to ensure collective enjoyment and prevent mass food poisoning. More importantly, where dish responsibility is concerned, this hierarchy helps avoid culinary blunders and embarrassment. Meats > Macaroni and Cheese > Greens> Other Sides > Dessert, etc.

In short: unless you want to be the person who fucks up Granny PumPum’s 113th Great Day In The Morning Super Turnt Episcopalian Celebration of Life dinner with a dry ass turkey, know your motherfucking role in the kitchen.

Every relative isn’t allowed to up and decide that they’ll make the primary meat of the meal. Twenty-nine-year-old Auntie Bop Bop, who survives off of corn chips and purple Kool-Aid would never be allowed to walk through the door with a turkey on Easter Sunday. Uncle Man-Man can’t declare that he’ll make The Fried Chicken on Christmas night if nobody has ever tasted his cooking. There are rules. You have to audition and shit. Anything else would be uncivilized, and would only take place in a family where crack rocks mean “I love you.”

At these Blackpeoplegatherings, food is often the purpose of the event. Sure, it’s nice to catch up with your favorite Druncle and his new dumpy White girlfriend. But over here in reality, getting down on that corner piece of the macaroni and cheese is the real reason for the season. So if you do Harlem Shake your ass out of bounds where food is concerned, you will never ever ever ever live it down. Your Black family will NEVER let you forget that one time you forgot to rinse the college greens before attempting Meemaw’s recipe. Until the day you perish like Nicole Scher$;ra!J678’s singing career, you are the LaTivia LaTavia of holiday meals. You can only bring liquor and napkins, ya bish.

Pro tip: If you’ve never made a certain dish before, holidays are not the best time to experiment.

Grandma: Miss Ruby, La Kingpin Panamenña
About a decade ago, my family met up for Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house. Now, my grandma is the kind of woman who doesn’t eat in restaurants. She rarely eats other people’s cooking, and if she does, she never forgets a culinary blunder. (“She’s nice, but she likes to use a lot of salt. It was alright, I guess.”) Miss Ruby doesn't believe in buying cleaning products or salad dressing because she can make her own. Duh. She is a legendary cook and used to cater damn near every Panamanian or Caribbean event in the 757. If she is involved, the meal-making clearance hierarchy is as follows: She makes everything, including the sorrel. Anyone else can bring dessert but it must be prepared outside of her kitchen. And you can do dishes, if she’s convinced that you know how to wash dishes.

There is no “I’ll bring the ham” because No. You will bring the Paul Mason and take the trash out. In this case: “you” means “the entire family.” No exceptions.

So on this particular Thanksgiving, my sister and aunt decided to bake a cake after dinner. A lemon joint. Somehow, they were able to prepare it in Grandma’s kitchen, unmurdered. My uncle was sent to the store for icing. Lemon icing. “Okay fine,” he said as he grabbed his keys and bounced.

We continued Blackiando and talking shit. I likely went back for a third plate. My uncle eventually returned with two bags and set them down on the counter. The cake had cooled and we were ready to apply the frosting and get to work.

He presented his purchase to his wife, satisfied with himself for his contribution. “Here, lemons and ice.”

You know that instant where the air is sucked out of a room, all eyes meet, and everyone explodes into laughter? Yeah. We howled and cried for a good 20 minutes, mainly because my uncle didn’t find it funny at all and, well, Black relatives ain’t shit.

“Now, tell me what you thought we were going to do with these lemons and this ice,” my sister asked, placing her hand on his shoulder. Everyone paused to wait for his response, because Black relatives ain’t shit.

“I thought y’all were gonna make icing with the lemons.” More tears.

Now, that wasn’t even a meal-ruining blunder, but do you think we’ve let him forget that he brought lemons and ice rather than lemon icing? Of course not. A decade later, my Dad or someone will ask him, “So, what’d you bring?” and the tears just come.

We’ll probably put “lemons and ice” on his headstone.

So, friends, as summer unfurls and the chicken-eating gatherings approach, remember: know your motherfucking role in the kitchen. Stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to. Don’t be the guy that ruins Granny PumPum’s 113th super turnt birthday. Every auntie can’t be Deena Jones with that crockpot. And that’s okay. For dignity’s sake, sometimes it’s better to stay in your place, be the LaTavia, and bring the fucking ice cream.

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