Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Next Time You Say Those Things Think About Me

Isn’t being racially ignorant something of the past? Isn’t it 2008, and time for the American man to take a stand and live a life of purity minus the need to throw around offensively charged language without a clear justification of such behavior? Or maybe it’s me just wanting to be free and shit. At any rate, I’m kind of over white artists, writers, filmmakers or other likes thinking it cool, hip and straight dope to dip in and out of black culture for a) comedic effect, b) comedic effect, and c) comedic effect at my expense. When is it okay to make comments like one that a good friend and I heard in an indie film (that is much about nothing) how a little white baby couldn’t be considered a monkey (even though he sort of resembled one) because he wasn’t black? What the hell is that?

Okay let me give a bit of backstory on the happenings surrounding this WTF moment. There’s this film (that is much about nothing) that played tonight at the Gene Siskel film center and my friend asked me to tag along, and I complied. So we get to the theater and are watching this film (that is mediocre at best) when there’s a scene where a white couple is chatting away with their friends, fun stuff right? Okay, one of the friends asks to hold the couple’s kid and they of course oblige and laugh when the boy starts to crawl down the holder’s leg like what—right, a MONKEY! So then one of the actors says, “He looks just like a monkey.” And at that moment, the director of the film who also played the kid’s father said the statement of the freakin’ century that there’s no way he could be mistaken as such because his skin wasn’t black. (But aren’t monkeys hair brown?)

What is so frustrating about situations like this when artists take certain liberties without adding some cushion around these ethnic sensitivities so readers or viewers are clear that these aren’t views of the creator, but a statement that he or she is trying to make about what’s still wrong in the world today. And it’s doubly offensive to viewers like me and my friend when artists like the one tonight try to switch the focus from him being an ass and not working to develop his character to the point that when I heard this remark that it would be clear to me that ‘of course this guy would talk like this,’ but instead after being confronted by my friend the director informed her that there’s racist remarks in all of his films because he hates ‘that stuff so much.’ Bullshit. It’s so surprising that he wants take up the cross of racial stereotypes and bear them for all black people, but my reaction to this scene would have been totally different if the other characters in the scene would have showed some inkling of disagreement that would have revealed something about this guy’s character (which I told him).

It’s always a fun time when you’re like two black girls encased in a circle of white people and they’re all looking at you like you have the problem. A simple question of my friend asking the filmmaker his reasoning for dropping such a statement in his film without making it clear that this is showing how politically incorrect this guy was, turned into him trying to beseech us—his brethren on how this statement was really included for our benefit and not detriment. Again, WTF! What this filmmaker (and others) doesn’t understand is that blacks and other ethnic groups take offensive when there isn’t a clear reason why racially charged language is used. As a writer, I’m all for self-expression, but I also believe that as an artist I too must be accountable for the work I produce for the world to hold in its hand and critique, like, love and hate. So after this whole fiasco maybe the director will take into consideration that maybe there’ll be someone like me in the audience and maybe be more responsible in bringing these things to light that ‘millionaires still say’. I can’t hope for any miracles, but just maybe.

Listening to: Adele “Daydreamer”

Monday, July 7, 2008

Something New, Something Not Borrowed or Blue

Thanks to Dick Terrill (The Terrill, as I always referred to him) I have an internship at Another Chicago Magazine!

A couple of weeks ago, I sent around an e-mail with my new google address to MSU's English department, and Dick e-mail me back asking how things were going and I told him about applying to Purdue University for an academic advising position (which I didn't get bytheway), and he responded saying that he has a good friend who teaches in their MFA program, and I e-mailed him back asking if he could tell her about me because I would like to keep in touch with some local writers, and not only did he tell Sandi Wisenberg about me wanting to possibly meeting her, he also told her that I would be interested in interning at her husband's (Barry Silenski's) Another Chicago Magazine. So one thing lead to another and Wisenberg sent Dick an e-mail telling me to contact a specific person from the magazine, but after a week went by and I didn't hear anything from this contact I took matters into my own hands and e-mailed Wisenberg about twenty minutes ago and she just responded--hence this post.

So even though the internship is unpaid, so even though I will only be sorting submissions for now I'm still excited and optimistic that this will be my chance to gain some publishing experience (any way I can). And since I've been the bearer of crappy news for a while now it's time to shed some good news on this blog, and give readers something new to ingest.

Listening to: 'My Same' by Adele (Lesley introduced me to this artist and she is fantastic!)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Watermelon Rain--(Not Even Sure If I Should Post This)

First off, let me say that I don't like watermelon-- its texture and consistency just doesn't work for me. Second, let me say that the previous statement or declaration (which ever works for you) has nothing to do with why I'm writing. I'm writing because I've turned into a bitter old lady in the last month. Maybe that previous sentence might be stretching my condition, but really I've morphed into the biggest crab-cake on this side of heaven. Maybe I'm just going through the motions of being anxious and jobless. Maybe I'm tired of these famous lines, "Something's going to happen--you'll get a job--it's only been a month--can't your mother take care of you--and--keep the faith." Even though I know these things were said out of love, it seems like I'm still being a bitch when I hear them because as much as I would like this to not be so: bill collectors could give two shits about my present situation. It's just so frustrating. I think this is the most frustrated I've probably ever been. And some may be a little bit "over" my whining, but I just can't stop complaining how sucky this is.

Okay, I didn't spill my guts so I can get comments or calls that will tell me everything will be "okay." I just want authentic understanding minus any consolations that may include the famous lines.

Even though I rather keep things bury inside--to myself--I feel like I should say something because when I'm my regular smiley-self, people might think that everything is alright.

On Being a Bitch, okay I'm not saying that everyday I'm this way, but I have my days. It's not something that's even like me because I like to think that I'm fairly easy going. I have tried to think positive, be happy, and other things but when I get e-mails like "we regret to inform you ..." it's like seriously who's playing this sick joke on me. So yeah, I'm trying to be better most days.

Post script,

Isn't life grand.

Listening to: The sound of cars zoom down the street.