Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Allow Me To Retort

What good is the Rid without the comb?

I've already said it, but I guess it needs to be said again.

It's like this, little boy: Your delusions of grandeur are not even annoying, let alone upsetting. You don't know me well enough to question my levels of sincerity, and your stating otherwise just shows how underdeveloped your mind truly is. But you do know well enough that I don't care. Your whole style is fake. So I won't even address you anymore. If I happen to bump into you at one of these little industry book-signing panels that I hardly ever attend, we'll deal with it however it needs to be dealt with. But, for everyone else . . .

When the chips fell down, the little boy holla'd at me asking for an apology. I was like, "For what? You did you, I did me. Period." He tried to clarify: "I think you have some assumptions about what I'm trying to do with my career, yadda, yadda, ya, rah, rah, ray-ray and a blahzay blah." I was like, "If that's what you're trying to do with your career, you're going about it wrong. Writing one-sentence barbs is not criticism." I pointed out that he wrote some shit about the book, which, basically served no purpose--it wasn't making me a better writer; it wasn't informing anyone who read the piece. I also pointed out that, having made my money off the book, understanding that all publicity is good publicity (NYT Bestseller list first week out -- thank you), and the fact that it's not my book, but 50's, means that my level of emotional attachment to it is not the same as if it were actually my book. [Shameless plugs: How To Draw Hip-Hop and Strapped For Cash, coming sooner than you think.] But, all that aside, I appreciate any and everyone who's ever given me constructive feedback about anything I write. His shit? Well, it was just--to use one of his words--"salty." That was about the gist of that exchange. This was not by any means a long part of the conversation and I've only covered it here to clear the lies.

Honestly, I'm embarrassed to be part of this whole thing. And I really, really have much better things to do with my time. For real. I have deadlines for real projects, friends and family to be with, bars to go to, hearts to break--all that type of shit. But there is a train of thought that has been floating around blogville that the boy touched upon with his post. He'd probably call it a "meme," but he'd be wrong, because, well, that's just not the definition of the word meme.

At any rate, let me address the blogger/journalist thing from my humble point of view:

I don't consider myself a journalist. Never have. And I've stated this publicly time and time again. I don't have journalistic training, nor do I hold myself to whatever ideals journalists supposedly hold themselves to. If I did, marriages would end and there'd be more hip-hop beefs than a little bit because, frankly, some of these rappers are wild boys, they say some wild shit, do some wild things. And besides, I've fucked up many times in my quest to be a professional. You can read all about it here.

I'm a writer. I write. Everyday. In notebooks, on the computer, on the backs of press releases, on envelopes, on napkins, on receipts; at bars, in cabs, at home, at clubs; in the middle of the night, in the morning, after having sex, when I'm angry, when I'm confused, when I'm feeling clear-minded. You can get it twisted, because you have free will and it's your right to think whatever it is that you want to think. But, truth is, I write because it's what I do. It gives my thoughts definition and space the same way that cleaning your crib clears your mind or balancing your checkbook lets you know if you can afford a new pair of kicks. For me, blogging is just an extension of all that; it allows me to experiment with voice, texture, emotion, style, wordplay, imagery and so forth. I don't need the hits, the comments or the linkage. If I did, I wouldn't be keeping a bunch of blogs that no one knows about. I won't say that I don't enjoy the community it offers, because I do. I've met some good people through this medium. Hell, I'm on one dude's blog now. Motherfucker lives in Sweden. But me and him, we cool. Shit like that happens with less frequency out in the real world.

Now, as for whether bloggers want to be journalists or journalists want to be bloggers, I guess each individual would have to answer that for themselves. Yet, I will say this: for the most part, when you pick up a magazine or newspaper, there's some sort of guarantee that you'll get a certain caliber of writing. There's a slew of editors who have to be accountable for the quality of the publication, another gang of people responsible for the dollars that the magazine spends and, usually, a managing editor that bridges these two worlds. Of course, there are going to be differences in budget, staff size and quality of writing as you explore different publications, but that's pretty much the template. Basically, print rags have keepers at the gate. These keepers have a lot of control over what is read by the reader. And, depending upon the individuals involved, the process can be an aid or a hindrance to quality reading and writing. But, by-and-large, it means that you have some idea of what you're getting before you sit down to read.

I'd be fraudulent if I didn't say that I've learned a lot from many great editors. They've definitely made me a stronger writer. I've argued with them, hated them, called them all types of idiots (most times to their faces), but I've been blessed by these men and women and I am thankful to have learned from the constraints which they placed upon me as a writer. Without a doubt, there are pros and cons to writing hundred-word album reviews. One of the cons is that they're limited in their ability to inform the reader as to whether or not the joint in question is worth 15 bucks. But one of the indispensable pros is that they teach the writer to make every word count. At this point, I can write 100, 350, 500, 800, 1500, 2000 and 3000 words in my head, without a pen--paragraph breaks, quotes, transitions and everything. Of course, I still have to sit down and fine tune with the pen and paper, or keyboard and screen, but I can get a pretty decent first draft done before I ever hit my brick and mortar tools. The reason being, the aforementioned are very common word counts in the game, and if you are forced to turn in copy at those lengths for over a decade, I'm sure that you'll mentally know what they feel like as well.

I'm not perfect, though. I usually come in over. Most editors will allow you a 5-10% overage that they can squeeze in. I tend to come in around 15-20%. Then we gotsa get to cutting. That shit hurts. Sometimes it damages the piece, sometimes it makes it tighter. But when I see it in print, it's always--always--different from the last thing I saw. Why? The art/design guy who can't (or refuses to) shrink a picture or fuss with his layout, the copy editor who misunderstood a bit of slang or a reference, the legal department that thinks that something may be libel. Shit happens. You get used to it.

With blogs, there's none of this give and take. Once again, pros and cons. Pro is that you can get unfiltered, unadulterated writing. Con is that it may not be any good. Seriously, some of these dudes lack original thought and they're devoid of any style when saying something we've all heard a million times before. This would never happen at any good magazine because a competent editor will tell you that you're not bringing anything to the table and send you back to the blank page or, at the very least, help you find something new to say that hasn't been said. Of course it doesn't work out this way 10 times out of 10, and you may wind up reading the same piece more than once. Still, most editors try to make sure that there is some new observation, some new understanding, some new bit of information involved. Even if the revelation isn't novel to you, a proper editor will aspire to make sure it's something that will be fresh to at least the majority of the publication's readers. Better bloggers will do the same for themselves--they'll self-censor in order to ensure that they are advancing a conversation. But too many bloggers just want to be heard, regardless of the discussion that has taken place before. It's their turn to speak and that's all that's on their mind. As far as I'm concerned, these types will remain worthless until they step their game up.

Another thing is that the overwhelmingly vast majority of blogs lack primary sources. The authors are simply picking over other people's research and commenting on that. They don't go out and find the news stories, interview the politicians, build with the artists or talk to the victims of crimes. They just play peanut gallery to someone else's findings. This is fine when the peanut gallery has something of interest to say, but when they don't, well, then no one is there to tell them to stop. They just post away. Sometimes this results in getting put on to new artists, debunking media/government lies, exposing plants in the White House press corps and much more. More often, however, what happens is that people who can't gain an audience in their own livingrooms attempt to pose as experts on a subject and, unfortunately, some unwitting souls will follow along.

I think you have to take the good with the bad and use your discernment. There are engaging writers, people and thinkers in all forms of media; but there are also a bunch of dim nitwits. It's just a microcosm of real life. The same rules apply. You have to know what works for you and be careful whom you follow.

Ed. Note: In its furthest definition, I may be wrong on the "meme" thing. But, I'm cool with being wrong. Shit happens.

P.S.-- This a bit under 1800 words. Just like I thought.

If you can't respect that, your whole perspective is wack.

even when disasters strike

it still exists. please tell me the difference between

and this one

maybe it's just me...

drive slow homie

turn your hazard lights on when you see dem hoes

Friday, August 26, 2005

Behind the Music: Sexual Chocolate

found this from a couple of years ago:

Sexual Chocolate rose to fame in the middle to late 80's reaching
it's apex in the hit Eddie Murphy movie Coming to America tonight
we'll go behind the fame, the "hit" songs to a story of friends who
were able to do what they love.

This story begins in Queens in 1960 when Randy Jackson and Terrence
"uh huh" Jenkins were born in a working class neighborhood.

Randy's mother was a numbers queenpin who also preached at the local
Holiness church on Sundays. Randy's dad was a mute factory worker
who worked his whole life to provide for his family. *flash to
Randy's Dad nodding*

Randy's mom: Randy was always into music at church but schooled on the
street. He was always a performer, when he was 6 the bums down the
street used to pay him to dance for them. now that's talent, here
are people who get by by panhandling and they wanted to give their
hard earned money to my boy for entertainment. *shaking head*

Randy's dad: *nodding*

Meanwhile a few blocks over Terrance "Uh Huh" Jenkins was being
raised by... well we don't know and since Uh Huh only says Uh Huh
it's kinda hard to tell... regardless Uh Huh became friends with
Randy in Kindergarten and they never were apart from then on.

Pookie - childhood friend - Randy and Uh Huh were always together you
see, they were the only kids in the 1st grade to have their hair
conked. everyone looked up to them. Randy was always the one
talking though. we always knew something was special was going to
happen to them.

Randy: I always did like my hair long that's why in the 70's I kept a
perm though everyone else wanted to have a afro. I used ta think to
myself now why would you want that nappy unmovable hair when you
could move it around like this *moving head from side to side*

it was in highschool that Randy decided they were going to be a
famous band and Uh Huh agreed.

Uh Huh: Uh Huuuh

Randy decided it would only be right for him to be the lead singer
and Uh Huh to play the drums so they went looking for a keyboardist
and bass player.

Randy: that was about 1975 and I was 15 we ran into a guy who was in
his late 40's and we knew we had a bass player.

That bass player went simply by the name Hub and always had a chew
stick in his mouth and constantly wore a hoodie. He never said much,
to Randy's pleasure, and they hit it off. They decided why wait for
the rest of the group when that will come in time so they started

Randy: yeah we used to go around Queens hitting all the bars on the
late shift, you know 3 - close and we got a big following. Sure some
of the people just followed us to throw things at us and beat us up
after performance but hey, it was a following.

Uh Huh: Uh huh

Randy: We used to just do covers because I was working on getting my
writing chops up, so we did that until about 1980 where I finally
finished the song that would put us in the big time. right around
that time we got a keyboardist and we were set to go. The Song's name
was Superstitions and Stevie Wonder heard about it and got
mad so we couldn't use it again.

email me your add-on's and i'll add them to this post with your name

Thursday, August 25, 2005

ode to nyquil

being miles apart really makes me appreciate you with your sleep and breath easy night version and your daytime relief, i miss you and don't like having to go to counseling with the cold/flu of the moment because it's not a relationship it's a kcuf thing and i'm the one getting kcuffed. if you were to come through the mail i'd appreciate whomever sent you.

your friend,

*cough, cough*


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

fight club/corrections/domestic disputes

wifey aka Threats has sent me threatening emails about yesterday's previous post's quotes, which she feels are inaccurate. threats don't work against me, even with the flu, but i'll "correct" them to make sure that her fans aren't mislead (you wouldn't believe the fan mail ldef receives c/o'd to wifey).

Quotes from Threats:

"I said I never liked the way MJ danced, I like watching Usher more
even if he copied MJ's style

And I never said PE is just noise, I just don't like that 80's hip
hop beat they had"

End Quote

Notice the omission of the Marky Mark and Slick Rick statements not to mention that she said yesterday "not only was he a good dancer the Funky Bunch were good dancers too"

this now elevates my dopenesstivity of boyfriend apex-ness, though wifey must be warned that this will be the only post influenced by her, there are no more rewrites or corrections. thank you.

now back to cough central network.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

4 reasons to break up with wifey

"Usher is a better dancer than Micheal Jackson"

"Slick Rick has an annoying voice"

"Public Enemy just sounds like noise"

"Marky Mark was a good dancer"

Saturday, August 20, 2005

God Forgive Me For My Brash Delivery

Another G-Bomb mistake that hit too close to home.

Now, once upon a time, not too long ago
A nigga like myself had to strongarm a hoe. . .

On Aug 17, 2005, at 5:07 PM, NH wrote:

Keep mulling over the part of our conversation about the usage of language as a means to subjugate or demean. When straight men are ridiculed as gay, it implies that they are inferior in some way. Not a man. Not quite there.

(So not the case with the gay men that I know and adore.)

This is not a critique of your writing, nor the motivations behind your posts to address the cowardly and distasteful way that said parties have slandered your name and your body of work. Merely to say that your written response, with the intent to defend yourself, seems to include asserting your masculinity by feminizing or sexualizing other men.

Political correctness aside, you are more than clever enough to craft an argument that posits that emotional insecurities lead to impulsive epithets designed to establish a fleeting sense of control.

What do you think?

I think I should apologize to the women and members of the LGBTQI community who I may have disrespected. So. . . Sorry.

I think that I should have taken the time to clarify that I was speaking metaphorically. I was attemtpting to draw a parallel between homey's repeated attempts to garner attention from me and the mannerisms of a schoolboy who pulls on a girl's hair beause he really likes her but lacks the courage to express his admiration. I mean a guy attracted to another guy is gay (or maybe bi), no?

I think it's unfortuante that my approach allowed the child to hide behind my residual homophobia (I ain't even gonna try to front like my understanding and/or comfort level with male homosexualtiy is at 100%; maybe 80-85%.) and suckle at the teat of the feminist crew as opposed to dealing with what he knows the true issues to be. Dude knows well and good it's about his constant, misguided moves to engage me in conversation. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not so umbrageous as to take offense to anything written about me (much less my work). I mean, hell, much worse has been written and said. And a lot of it is right there on Google for anyone to see.

I think it's also unfortunate that a third player came into the game in the 9th inning, further allowing homey to obfuscate what the whole situation is really about. I also think it's fucked up that I let myself be blind-sided and caught out there by the third player. But shit happens. You win some, you lose some. No one bats 1.000.

But, most importantly, I think it's fucked up that I was insensitive to you and others like you. If anything, I was dissing you by equating the boy's twaddle with the real things you deal with everyday. Sorry.

[Pacifist-Assassin: This is not a hoe in the sense of havin' a pussy, but a pussy havin' no goddamned sense -- tryna push me.]

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Gift & The Curse

Statutes 2000 by Paulo Coelho

1] All men are different. And should do everything possible to continue to be so.

2] Each human being has been granted two courses of action: that of deed and that of contemplation. Both lead to the same place.

3] Each human being has been granted two qualities: power and gift. Power drives man to meet his destiny, his gift obliges him to share with others that which is good in him. A man must know when to use his power, and when to use his gift.

4] Each human being has been granted a virtue: the capacity to choose. For he who does not use this virtue, it becomes a curse and others will always choose for him.

5] Each human being has the right to two blessings, which are: the blessing to do right, and the blessing to err. In the latter case, there is always a path of learning leading to the right way.

6] Each human being has his own sexual profile, and should exercise it without guilt provided he does not oblige others to exercise it with him.

7] Each human being has his own Personal Legend to be fulfilled, and this is the reason he is in the world. The Personal Legend is manifest in his enthusiasm for what he does.

--the Personal Legend may be abandoned for a certain time, provided one does not forget it and returns as soon as possible.

8] Each man has a feminine side, and each woman has a masculine side. It is necessary to use discipline with intuition, and to use intuition objectively.

9] Each human being must know two languages: the language of society and the language of the omens. The first serves for communication with others. The second serves to interpret messages from God.

10] Each human being has the right to seek out joy, joy being understood as something which makes one content not necessarily that which makes others content.

11] Each human being must keep alight within him the sacred flame of madness. And must behave like a normal person.

12] The only faults considered grave are the following: not respecting the rights of one's neighbor, letting oneself be paralyzed by fear, feeling guilty, thinking one does not deserve the good and bad which occurs in life, and being a coward.

--we shall love our enemies, but not make alliances with them. They are placed in our way to test our sword, and deserve the respect of our fight.

--we shall choose our enemies, not the other way around.

13] All religions lead to the same God, and all deserve the same respect.

A man who chooses a religion is also choosing a collective manner of adoration and of sharing the mysteries. Nevertheless, he alone is responsible for his actions along the Way, and he has no right to transfer to religion the responsibility for his steps and his decisions.

14] We hereby declare the end to the wall dividing the sacred from the profane: from now on, all is sacred.

15] Everything which is done in the present, affects the future by consequence, and the past by redemption.

15-5] Dispensations to the contrary are herewith revoked.

[Pacifist Assassin: These are the rules I follow in my life -- you gotta love it.]

Friday, August 12, 2005

work related

would you kill for me?

obviously ready to die is at fault here. where they kcuf is tipper when you need her? me and my b-i situation wasn't what i would call a well planned venture, i mean, it's was like the iraq post war planning.

life: i'd say the drawback to my job is having to listen to myself over and over again with the spiel's variation but thus is the curse of a true hustler, with world domination plans, focused. what's been happening with me? nothing much though days seems to stream together and the nearing end of the fiscal year has me on hyper drive. it's 1:15 and i got up at 6 am so i'm sitting here wondering i'm not in the slumber that wifey's in. well i'm going to stare intently at the back of my eyelids.