Archive for social commentary

The Olivia Pope Scandal

Posted in satire and sarcasm, social commentary, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2013 by blackstarr

The white coat 01First it was the Tyler Perry debate.  Then it was the Kanye West debate.  I vowed that I was going to stay away from this debate, yet, here I am .  .  . again  .  .  .  going against the grain in the SCANDAL debate.  No shock here:  I HATE that show with a passion!  The first thing that will enter a lot of women’s minds who love the show is that I hate it because the lead character, Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) is having an affair with the president of the United States, a Caucasian man.  I can’t speak for any other Black man, but, I could not care less about with whom this woman is having an affair.

My hatred for the show is strictly because, in my opinion, the writing sucks.  To high heaven.  The first and most important thing that grates my nerves is that Olivia Pope is supposed to be this crackerjack who has such a discerning mind, who leads a team of similarly crackerjack minds, but we don’t see that.  The problem is that she completely blows their very first case in the pilot.  The argument that I have encountered is that her losing the case just shows her human side, that she, too, is capable of human error.  I would be alright with that supposition had that same “humanity” not been brought out in the very first episode.  It would have served the show better had she went on to crack cases, back to back, establishing the idea that she and her team were so fantastic.  After a few episodes or so, then they could have shown her vulnerable side.

The second thing that irked me, to no end, was the incessant babbling of each and every character on the team.  Every time a member of the team would speak, it would be an entire diatribe about whatever it was that they were trying to push.  It turned out to be one long, drawn out paragraph, devoid of commas, and sending me to my knees, begging for someone to drop a period in there.  Somewhere.  Anywhere.  Perhaps it would have come off better if that diatribe had been made by just one character.  It could have been presented as a simple character trait.  But, everyone on the team?  Nah.  Not working this way.

I looked forward to this show before it hit the airwaves, with bated breath.  Forget the plot – Kerry Washington is a treat for the eyes, before even mentioning her acting abilities. On the night of the pilot, I sat, with my family, snacks in hand, prepared to be dazzled.  Instead, I  – we were so taken aback at the poor writing that was given to us to swallow – swallow like a huge, disgusting pill.  In my small circle of friends and family, I have seen mixed reactions to the show,  My sister, a Black woman, HATES the show.  My daughter, a black woman (who initially did not like the show, and is married to a Caucasian), hit me up on Facebook and said that she had watched it again and found that it’s not as bad as she had first thought.  Many other friends on FB have said that they have been successful in converting a few of their friends to become fans.  For me, I have to be convinced that a show is good by the pilot.  If I can’t be swooned by the very first episode, there is no going back for me.  Just my own little quirk .  .  . but mine to flaunt.

I am also a firm believer in the motto “To each their own”, when voicing my opinions.  For whatever reasons that I have for hating the show, can I please just be a hater without being verbally attacked for doing so, particularly if you’ve misinterpreted my reasons for disliking the show?  I realize that there are two tons of people who watch the show faithfully and love it to the max.  To that, I say, “Enjoy!”  I’m not one of them.  Having heard my true reasons for not liking the show, can I please just exercise my prerogative, be a hater, and still live in peace?  V.

copyright  2013  blackstarr

freerealm@gmail.com

Who do YOU know?

Posted in social commentary, WTG (Walking The Dog) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2011 by blackstarr

Big ups to my daughter for helping to plunge me back into the world of blogging.  Although I haven’t blogged lately, I always have something on my mind that needs to be said.  I have to thank my daughter because of a conversation that we recently shared.  I was trying to relay my extreme disappointment and total disgust at the idea that The NAACP has nominated Tyler Perry for 19 Image Awards.  That’s not just one, not just a few, but 19.  Many.  Plural.  In my humble opinion, that is just downright preposterous.

To my dismay, my daughter surprised me with the answer “Why is that so annoying?  Many people find his plays and works to be a blessing to their lives.  They feel that it has helped them to ‘make it through'”.  What??  Are you kidding me?  Tyler Perry says that.  Mainstream media says that.  I say that most artists who toots their owns horns cannot be taken very seriously.  We all know how the media has a knack for presenting information in a more than distorted slant.  So, I posed a question to her:  Who do YOU know that feels that way?  We danced around that idea for a minute or two, and by the end of the conversation, that question had never been answered.

As true as I am to my own ideals, I like to think that I am not so closed-minded that I cannot fathom that there are those out there who simply adore Mr. Perry.  I don’t deny that.  However, the numbers that I have seen, which are few and far between, have always come from sources that I, for one, can’t believe.  I admit that I don’t have a ton of friends, but, I do have many.  I say with authority that none of them – I repeat – none of them – have anything favorable to say about Tyler Perry’s work.  Not one of them has said that his art has changed their lives.  Perhaps it’s just too true that “birds of a feather” really do stick together.  Along with them, I have seen his work and was dismayed, disgusted, and disappointed.  Herein lies the problem – I paid the price of satisfying my curiosity and no matter what I thought of the movie, DVD, or play, the money was spent and nothing on God’s green earth can get it back (not to mention the wasted moments that I will never regain).  In other words, curiosity caused me to support something that I didn’t like.  It’s the blue pill/red pill dilemma all over again, except that there is no blue pill to take back the horror that the red pill has exposed.

I liken the situation to a movie that I saw  years ago entitled “Mission To Mars”.  It was met with much anticipation.  I knew when the movie was being filmed.  I watched every commercial with bated breath.  I could barely wait for the movie to hit the theaters and was in line the day that the movie debuted.  I am an avid sci-fi nut(case), but it was one of the worst movies that I had ever seen.  EVER seen.  The movie, however, grossed over ninety (90) million dollars.  Basically, even though the film was pitiful, once the money has been paid, it’s all over.  This is, in my opinion, no different than what Perry defenders offer up – “But, he’s made millions!”.  Sure he has.  Can it be that, like on so many other occasions, people have satisfied their curiosity, only to find that it wasn’t worth the peek?  I say “It can happen”.

I’m not so sure that my thirst for an answer will ever be quenched.  Can so many people really like him like that?  Do so many people believe that his “art” has been such a blessing to their lives?  I doubt that those questions will ever be answered for me because those who hold the answers are those in whom I have absolutely no trust.  I wish that I could hear it from the masses.  More likely than not, however, when the votes are all in and the answer is a resounding “yes”, I will probably say “Consider the source”.

I will leave you with one last thought:  Meet The Browns.  Every time that commercial comes on, I get just a little bit nauseous.  That is buffoonery and coonery at it’s very best.  It saddens me so because too many Mantan Morelands, and Stepin Fetchits did what they had to do to get us recognized as artists, and we moved on to a day when African-Americans were seen in a better light.  This generation has embraced this new coonery with open arms.  I’m a baby-boomer in the finest sense of the term.  In the 60’s and 70’s I was about as radical as one could be.  I took every opportunity to take part in any demonstration that was for the betterment of mankind.  We, the baby-boomers, fought long and hard to get the “n” word and the “b” word removed from our conversations.  We ventured out into unknown, uncertain, off-the-beaten-path movies to dispel the notion that the only thing that African-Americans can do is jig.  As  The Field Negro says “The jigging must stop”.  This generations seems to be taking a step back saying “Oh, it’s not that bad”.  “To each his own” is an honorary credo, but there has to be limits.  Seriously, though – Meet The Browns???!!!  What kind of nonsense has Tyler Perry spawned?

The Tyler Perrys of the entertainment world will never cease to be.  Their knack for charming the masses is ever-present.  I can barely fathom the idea that the masses are so drawn to them in such a manner.  I choose to believe that it is merely a case of  ‘pay me first, then see if it’s worth it’.  Yeah – I said that I am not so ‘closed-minded’, but truth be told, like an ostrich with its head deeply buried beneath the ground, I will go down fighting believing that this man’s art is worthless.

So, I ask “Who do YOU know”?  Peace.

copyright 2011 blackstarr

freerealm@gmail.com

a renaissance for the new millennium

Posted in poetry, political commentary, politics, Quotables, social commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2010 by blackstarr

here is
a renaissance
for a new millennium;
now is a time for literary finesse.
ours is a time
for new paths to be blazed,
the time for palpable ideas
to be raised.

we contemplate the
future that lies
with our next generation,
we question the choices
of our past,
we criticize the errors
that have brought us to
this place of turmoil.
a renaissance,
a new millennium,
a consciousness of grand proportion.

we press pen to paper
and social awareness is revived.
we debate
the topics to which
blind eyes had once been turned.
we answer the questions
of ages gone by,
and set the tone for those who
sit in silence, teeming with anticipation.
our renaissance.
our millennium.
our consciousness of grand proportion.

sharpen the blade
of intellectuality
and let its acuteness
and accuracy
run us through
until truth’s blood
flows freely from our minds.
then, let the wounds of incivility
be healed by the power of commonalities.

now is the time of literary finesse.
there are new paths to be blazed,
and fathomable ideas that need to be raised.
a renaissance.
a new millennium.
a consciousness of grand proportion.
i dare say
“a renaissance
for the new millennium . . .
a consciousness of grand proportion”.

copyright 2008 blackstarr
freerealm@gmail.com

Brand New Day by Tim Myers (ft. Lindsey Ray)

Images in this post are from various locations on the web.  If any belong to you and you have an objection, please e-mail me and I will remove them.

Where the h*ll have YOU been?!

Posted in social commentary with tags , , , , on September 16, 2009 by blackstarr

M.I.A. is too good a term for my lack of postings.  That term, for me, brings back thoughts of heroes who disappeared while stationed in Vietnam.  I’m no hero but I was, indeed, missing . . . for quite some time.  I won’t say that I’m back, but, rather, making my presence known and alerting the world that I am still here and very much alive.

electronic chip 01

There was another incident that kept me off the electronic highway – my DSL went down for over a week!  As it turned out, my modem was bad.  VERIZON sent me another one poste-haste and after connecting it, my DSL was still down.  Of course while all of this is going on, keep in mind that I was back and forth with customer service (yes – I use the term very lightly).  Each and every rep with whom I spoke was extremely “English challenged”, to coin a phrase.  The “final” outcome was that there was a problem on my line.  Now, I retired from VERIZON when I was a service tech (one who installs and repairs telephone service for a living), and I assure you that there was no problem on my line.  After a few days, I was told that there was a problem in the office, not my line.  I don’t have a video phone but I can say with certainty that both a Black man and an Hispanic man called me to say that there was no trouble in the office.  The real problem was that the modem that I was sent was very new and quite complicated to configure.  They told me what to ask for when I next called for technical assistance.  When I called, I asked for the very same – to no avail.  I called the Hispanic gent back and told him of my quandary and he said that he could do nothing to help me as he was not trained in that capacity.  He was, however, very gracious in transferring me to the Black gent with whom I had spoken earlier.  He took about ten minutes of my time telling me what to do and, voila, my DSL was back up and working.  I was extremely pleased that my problem had been solved, but, I think that I was more impressed by having two gents  assist me who spoke fluent English!

twitter_logo 01

That is when my “mobile troubles” began.  TWITTER is nothing more than time wasted foolishly.  It is not productive, is non-utilitarian, and the same results can be accomplished by already existing entities.  However – non-productive, non-utilitarian, and redundancy is exactly what I’ve been looking for – blind indulgence, if you will.  Ever since my DSL went down, I have not been able to log in to my mobile TWITTER account.  I accomplished that feat yesterday while inside. next to my PC and was whistling Dixie when it happened.  However, once back outside and in the public arena, I could not log in with my cell phone.  I was distressed once again.  I tweeted last night that I hope to have a decent cell phone by the end of the week and all of my “tweet” troubles will be behind me.  We shall see.

Evony 01

I also spent a lot – no wait – an extreme amount of time playing a MMORPG (Massively Multi-playing Online Role Play Game) entitled EVONY (which can be found at evony.com).  It is a game that combines a sim-type game, a role-play game, and a war game for an exciting and time-consuming experience.  I won’t even go into details as I could go on for forever about the game, but, if you have the time and patience and don’t mind becoming addictive to yet another distraction, head to the site and let the fun begin.  I know – I’ve already said it, but, let me reiterate – extremely addictive!

whoopigoldberg 01

My e-troubles brought up an interesting thought:  why is it that when our technological toys are not responding properly, we lose our minds?  I love the time spent with my children.  I bike ride with my best bud just about every weekend and it brings on hours of fun and conversation.  I can go for days without turning on the TV, radio, or my MP3 player.  Yet, when the internet and all of its wealth of information becomes unavailable, I swear that I just about lose it.  It’s almost like my world has come to an end.  Sad, indeed.  I’m not (all that) embarrassed to let you know that I am a somewhat fan of  The View (on ABC).  Believe it or not, I can’t take my eyes off of Whoopi and Sherri.  Yeah – sue me.  At any rate, I quote their motto that is used at the end of each show: “Take some time to enjoy the view”.  Peace.

copyright © 2009 freedom

freerealm@gmail.com

“It’s A Beautiful Morning” by Felix Cavaliere and Edward Brigati

“It’s A Beautiful Morning” by The Wipe Outs

Old School Flava: 8/29/08

Posted in humor, Old School Flava, social commentary with tags , , , , , , on August 29, 2008 by blackstarr

Quiz time.  Did you pay attention?  If not, you’re probably jumpin’ up and down cryin’ “It’s not Wednesday!  Why, oh why, is he doing Old School Flava on a Friday??!!”  Freedom has no schedule, no rhyme, and no reason.  He just does what he does when he does it.  So, on this last Friday of August, allow me to entertain you with more phrases that my Moms has laid on me through the years.

FOOD

It’s a huge mistake to walk into my mother’s kitchen while she’s cooking.  Her first words are “Get outta my kitchen!”  After you ignore those words and continue to try and catch a glimpse of what’s in the pots, she tosses a wet dishrag at you and repeats herself.  Finally, when you can’t determine what’s cookin’, you ask.  Her reply?  “Daddy’s old britches”.  That means that she has peeked into the refrig and gathered up whatever has been left from the previous few nights and came up with one of her creations.  It basically means olio, stew, soup – anything that does not require starting from scratch.  There’s an underlying statement there, as well:  “None of your business!” Now, you casually stroll outta her kitchen, no wiser than the moment that you ventured in, moments of time that will never be retrieved.

GENERAL

Ever try to help someone out and end up causing more confusion than anything else?  I’m the kind of person that just hates it when someone says “You could probably . . . “ I don’t take too kindly to advice unless it is solicited.  Give me a job, back off, and let me do it.  If I need assistance, I’ll ask for it.  Otherwise, let me do what it is that you asked me to do.  Moms has an answer for that one:  “Don’t help me, help the bear”. That means “I don’t need your help, thank you”.  Now, I have no idea why the bear needs help, or why I should help him at all, but, I guess it is what it is.

Sometimes, things are just “over the top”.  I mean, plain old you-done-outdone-yourself-this-time over the top.  This particular phrase usually refers to food or beverages, but, can also be used for fashion, hairdo’s and just about everything, but, is meant specifically for food and beverages: “It’s enough to make you wanna smack your mammy down!”.  That’s definitely “mammy”, as “mommy” just won’t work here.  The statement exudes sassiness.  It alludes to the idea that something has got to be awfully good in order to make you slap your mother.  Even more so to make you wanna slap her down.

I’ll be back with lots more “down home” phrases that my Moms has laid on me.  It’s called “Old School Flava”, and it could be on a Wednesday, it could be on  Sunday, it could be on any day of the week that catches my fancy.  That’s not a bad thing, though. Just think about it: if I said it was gonna be a a particular day every week and you came back on that day and it wasn’t here, you’d be real upset with freedom.  We wouldn’t want that, now would we?  See you next time.

copyright  ©  2008  freedom

freerealm@gmail.com

still on the fence. WHY???!!!

Posted in political commentary, politics with tags , , , , , , on August 22, 2008 by blackstarr

Unbelievable.  Two days and I am still appearing as the angry Black man.  Why do you make me this way?  It’s all over the net and as long as it has been going on, I am still perplexed with each passing day.  Earlier this year, there was a slew of candidates to choose from as the nominee for the office of president of the United States.  Now, just a few short months before the national elections, the situation has not changed very much:  there are some Black folks who are still in the “contemplation stage” regarding their vote in the upcoming elections.  I take comfort in the fact that in MY neighborhood, that IS NOT the case.

Earlier this year, I could almost see one’s point of indecision.  Notice that I say “almost”.  For me, I decided to vote for Barack Obama a month or two before he threw his hat into the ring.  For me, it was a no-brainer.  Still, I have given my people the benefit of the doubt.  Perhaps they saw something that  I didn’t see.  It’s now August and the slew is gone.  There are but two viable candidates:  John McCain and Barack Obama.  It should be back to a no-brainer, but, this time, not just for me but for all of my people.  Alas – it is not.  WTF??? Here are your two choices:

John McCain, a Caucasian, Republican a$$hole who could not care less about our people or anybody other than himself.

Barack Obama, a “somewhat” Black, Democrat, as yet unproven, but charismatic and promising at the very least.

That’s it.  There are no more candidates who will be able to win the election this November.  One of the two aforementioned candidates will be the president of the United States come January, 2009.  Not “might” – but “will” be, provided that nothing keeps them from remaining in the race.  Like it or not, that’s the way it is, and it is no other way.  What the f*ck is there to even think about???!!!

Sure – the fact that a “somewhat” Black man is in the running is no assurance that if elected he will do some good for my people.  We have witnessed Kwame Kilpatrick in Detroit breaking the hearts of all the Black people who put him into office.  We have Marion Berry smoking crack in the mayor’s chambers in Washington, D.C.  We even RE-ELECTED him after he was called to the carpet for his mind-expanding activities!  Yet, today we have what looks like a “good guy” who is, at the very least, “akin to my people’s skin” and some of them are still undecided as to whom they will support.  People, please!  An a$$hole named McCain who could not care less about your Black a$$, or a “somewhat” Black man named Obama. This IS NOT rocket science!! Get a f*cking life and for once, do what you know is right.  What the H*ll is your problem???!!!  Do you actually think that McLame really has some plan to relieve us of the pain and suffering that we are all dealing with?  Do you honestly think that we need eight more years of Republican leadership reign terrorism?

OK – so I’m just an angry Black man, but I still say “Get the H*ll off of the fence and stand on your own two feet!

copyright  ©  2008  freedom

freerealm@gmail.com

I’m just sayin’ . . .

Posted in music, racial discrimination, social commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2008 by blackstarr

Freedom has returned, sporting his favorite persona – the angry Black man. There’s a lot on my mind, which, hopefully, I’ll get around to telling you about.  When I appear as the angry Black man, I tend to be a bit towards the left with my conspiracy theories, but, hey, it is what it is.  I can only be me.

In 1970, The Jackson Five made their debut.  Been under a rock?  They were a Black singing group consisting of five brothers, including the one and only Michael Jackson. Their first song, released in January of that year, was I Want You Back”.  It topped the charts.  Two (2) months later, their second hit was released, “ABC”.  It topped the charts.  In June of that same year, “The Love You Save” was released.  It topped the charts.  With the success that The Jackson Five had, I could do this ad infinitum, but, I won’t. The bottom line is that their music made history.  Over and over again, their music made history.  The group also had a sister named Janet who has been said to have had mild success in the music industry as well.

In 1971, The Osmonds appeared.  Right – you’ve been hiding out.  The Osmonds were a Caucasian singing group.  I should mention that there were five brothers in that group.  Wait – this sounds a bit familiar.  Anyway, their success was heralded as the next big thing since The Jackson Five.  They had a sound that was almost identical to that of The Jackson Five.  Did I mention that they also had a sister by the name of Marie, who gained some musical success, as well?

I’m just sayin’ . . .

In 1983, New Edition appeared on the scene, a Black singing group from Boston.  There were five members in the group, most notably, Bobby Brown.  Their debut album was entitled “Candy Girl”, which immediately soared to the top of the charts.  In 1984, the group released their second LP, self-titled, which produced “Cool It Now” and “Mr. Telephone Man”.  The LP itself went double-platinum.  By the second half of 1985, New Edition released its third LP, “All For Love”.  It was not as successful as their second, but, it still went platinum.  The group went through various personnel changes, particularly with lead singers.  Although original lead-singer Bobby Brown had left the group, the group flourished nonetheless.  Here we are in 2008 and talks about a New Edition reunion are in the works, including the return of Bobby Brown, as well as a new album.

In 1986, New Kids On The Block made their entry into the music world with their self-titled LP.  They were a Caucasian singing group, with five members, of course.  Their sound was practically a clone of New Edition’s.  Between 1988 and 1989, New Kids On The Block had a string of hits.  By the early 90’s, they released “Step By Step” which was mildly successful, but did not do nearly as well as the group’s prior offerings.  That signaled their downfall.  Somehow, I get the feeling that the similarity between the two groups is just way out of line.

I’m just sayin’ . . .

Whitney Houston blessed us in 1985 with her self-titled debut LP.  It was not an immediate success, but as 1986 rolled around, it produced three (3) number one singles.  The album is Houston’s best, with over thirteen (13) million copies sold to date.  It became one of the best selling LP’s in the industry in the U.S. and worldwide.  It’s one thing to have a “self-titled” LP, but, one should be a bit more imaginative by the time the second LP comes along.  Not so with “Whitney”, which debuted at number one, and sold over nine (9) million copies.  The first four (4) singles all went on to the number one spot.  This brought her total of number one hits to the record-breaking number (at the time) of seven (7) straight.  As with The Jackson Five, listing her accomplishments could go on – ad infinitum, so, suffice it to say that Whitney Houston not only made great music, but great record-breakers as well.  An African-American?  Of course!

In 1990, Mariah Carey entered the scene and blessed us with a self-titled debut album which produced four (4) number one singles.  That same success earned her Grammy awards for Best Female Artist and Best Female Vocalist.  She had a sound that was so close to Whitney Houston’s sound that I often confused the two at the outset of Ms Carey’s debut.  In 1991, Mariah Carey offered up her second LP “Emotions”, the single of which soared to the top of the charts, and the LP produced two (2) other chart-toppers, as well.  Caucasian?  You betcha.

I’m just sayin’ . . .

In all fairness, I should say that the original manager for New Edition was terminated and he is the person who was responsible for the group New Kids On The Block.  As for Mariah Carey, she is of mixed heritage (Caucasian and Afro-Venezualian) but at the time of her debut, was rumored to be simply “Caucasian”.  I often wondered if her marriage to Tommy Mattola hit the skids when she finally came out and said that she was at least “partially Black”.  Hmmmmm.

One can chalk all of this up to extreme coincidence.  Not I.  One can chalk it up to the idea that if there is success with one product, emulate it and come up with another success.  I say “nay”.  One can conclude that if an African-American has some form of success, some Caucasian will find a way to take away that thunder and make it their own.  Bingo!!  That’s the theory that the angry Black man buys.

The Beatles made history by making their young, female fans pass out in droves at the sound of their music.  Michael Jackson made history by making his female fans, both young and old, pass out from just  watching him walk through airports . . . before he even opened his mouth.  I was way past . . . sorry . . . waaaaay past my teens when I sat glued to the tube,  on seat’s edge, awaiting every new music video by The Gloved One.  And I’m not even a female.  They couldn’t produce a solo artist to out-do His Michaelness, so they had to find some other way to take his thunder away.

I’m just sayin’ . . .

copyright ©  2008  freedom

freerealm@gmail.com