But, It Ain’t Really Your Life…

The following is neither a screed against nor a puff-piece for the movie. In fact, I haven’t seen it yet. I guess I am obliged to eventually go see and find out what the hoopla is all about. But the trailers I’ve seen so far on YouTube leave me somewhat disconcerted. The whole feudalistic jungle shtick, with grass skirts, spears, plate lips and all, was something to be expected from Disney/Marvel. I can’t really say at this point if Black Panther is simply a far more sophisticated and nuanced take on Jungle Jitters (a notorious Warner Brothers cartoon from 1938 full of grass-skirted and plate-lipped jungle-bunnies), or an Afro-futurist signifying on the racist “Noble Savage” trope. Whatever the case, Black viewers flocking in droves to the theaters are anything but offended.

Director Ryan Coogler has hit pay dirt. Another Official Black First. Chalk it up on the board. Black Panther has confounded all the negative expectations of naysayers (mostly non-black, and generally white) who assumed that “the first big-budget superhero movie with a black lead, predominantly black cast and a black director” would be a box-office flop. It has been just the opposite. So far this film has earned close to a billion dollars at the box-office worldwide, trumping Wonder Woman (in North America), X-Men, Suicide Squad and Star Trek.

To be entirely fair to the Black moviegoer, he or she would rather see a film in which they are in control of their lives, solidly in their own spaces, technologically advanced rather than the usual cliches of poverty, mud-huts, ghettos, drugs, prostitution or the flip side of the same stereotyped coin, ill-gained wealth manifesting itself in flashy cars, McMansions, diamonds and silk, pearls, oversized jackets and gold chains and gold grills. Wakanda is wealthy and technologically far in advance of any other civilization in the world, and even though it’s a total fantasy, provided by Marvel through a hired Black token director, at least the fantasy feels good–if only for 90 minutes.

In the make-believe world of Wakanda, the Afro-American can momentarily picture himself in a world where he or she can be strong, black, beautiful and undiluted with whiteness, with all the futuristic trappings and advanced technology that European civilization never heard of. In this CGI fantasy Black can be Black without Whitey dictating the terms.¹However, there seems to be a problem. The sensibility of Black Panther appears to derive much from Afro-futurism, a concept that (according to Patrick Gathara of the Washington Post) “cannot engage with (Africans) as human beings but, like the white and Chinese worlds, only as props for its own struggles and self-aggrandizement.” Afro-futurism is an engaging school of thought, but the very suggestion that Africans cut out for the stars–rather than engage our enemies down here on Earth–sounds like an ideological cop-out, another way of refusing to deal with an uncompromisingly ugly reality. Wakanda is an Afro-futurist’s wet dream, but it is also a feudalistic nation of greedy elites living in isolation from the rest of “Shithole Africa,” a nation “with the most advanced tech and weapons in the world” that, nonetheless, “has no thinkers to develop systems of transitioning rulership that do not involve lethal combat or coup d’etat.”² Not that Black audiences give a damn, however: they are dancing in the aisles in dashikis as I write this.

Naturally this last fact alone got the alt-Reich hopping mad. Ben Shapiro, the alt-right’s Uncle Tomsky, spluttered in his squeaky cartoon voice that “nobody’s ever gone to see a Captain America movie and said, ‘wow, look, a movie with a white hero! I’m so excited! He’s white!’ Nobody does that in America.” Well, Ben, that’s because white Americans don’t have to do that–it’s taken for granted that their screen heroes are going to be white by default. It’s taken for granted that when some scruffy “negro” appears on screen in saggy pants and with grills in his dirty mouth, he becomes the standard by which every “negro” the world over should be judged by. This does not happen with white Americans, Benny–not even Jews. Over 80% of American movies are entirely white-oriented. That should be a fucking no-brainer. But you know there’s no point in discussing anything intelligently with the American far right. They are so anti-African that they are uneasy with the very idea that an African can actually dream of a better world, much less fight for one in real time.

But that’s just the problem I have with this whole Black Panther phenomenon: it’s yet another instance of Afro-Americans opting for Escapist politics over substantive change.

“It won’t be too long before the director cuts the scene”

When I see this latest box-office smash I can’t help but be reminded that once again, Black American history–to use that old cliche–is repeating itself. It repeats itself for the simple fact that those doing the repeating of history clearly never learned a damn thing from it. We went through this cinematic escapist foolishness before on at least two occasions: once in the early Seventies (Sweetback and Shaft) and again in the late Eighties to early Nineties (Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X). What I’m saying has nothing whatever to do with the quality of either of these films. Like I said, we are not learning from history because we simply don’t like to stand back and analyze anything–let alone ourselves and our situation in the world.

Culturally, we are living in a very sad time. It has become expected of Afro-Americans to pantomime the most idiotic and puerile stereotypes that non-blacks have of us–as if our very identity as Afro-Americans is predicated upon being, in a nutshell, primitive, bestial and inferior. This collective neurosis is not new, of course–there’s simply far more of it than there ever has been in the past. Outside of Wakanda many of us can barely relate to each other as human beings. It should be no secret why this is so. When one is constantly tapering his personality to dimensions acceptable to his persecutors, you can barely look your own brother in the eye because deep down, you know that you have failed morally–you have failed to confront your own persecutor, you have failed to challenge his twisted system of reality; you have repeatedly failed to achieve what you set out to do and what you know, in your heart of hearts, is the right thing to do. As Afro-Americans, we have not only continued to fail in challenging white reality, but worse still we persistently–by our own confused, emotional, childish blundering–reinforce the very racist juggernaut we set out to destroy. How else can one explain the absurdity of the Umar Johnson debacle, the Tariq Nasheed-Boyce Watkins fracas, or the sudden emergence of this new Hotep minstrel show?

There may actually be thousands of unknown, struggling black filmmakers toiling away with enough power of expression to turn the entire cinematic world upside down. But who would be willing to represent such artists, where would they obtain the money to make their films and, assuming they got these films distributed and in theaters, who in the United States–least of all in Afro-America–would be willing to watch such films?

One would have to wonder if Black Panther really represents a step forward for Afro-American cinema, in which case (naturally) we would not need to wonder too much about the matter. In fact, the thing that has escaped most observers about the Black Panther phenomenon is that, in reality–and this especially concerns independent Black film makers–it is a step down. And not because of White Hollywood–after all, White Hollywood is what it is, and generally has made it perfectly clear as to what it thinks about Afro-Americans up till now. No. Black Panther’s success sent a clear message to Afro-American indie film-makers that if you want a smash hit, you’d better create something else other than a realistic, thought-provoking and nuanced film about Africans and Afro-American life; you’d better stick to escapism and fantasy. Forget about Art, forget about Truth, forget about Knowledge. Forget about Reality. Black audiences aren’t fucking interested in seeing these things.

Just ask Charles Burnett, or Haile Gerima, or even Nate Parker. Killer of SheepBush Mama, Birth of a Nation and other such films barely raised eyebrows because those same Black eyes were too busy grooving on Shaft, Pam Grier’s panties, or lost in the CGI jungles of Wakanda. Black Americans put their money into Marvel and other capitalist ventures because frankly, this is where their hearts lay. They certainly think American, contrary to what they might feel about their position in American society. Their hearts do not lay in building their own things; they want what Uncle Sam has, even if what Sammy has may not be worth a damn. They are not interested in cultural or any other revolution; they were not interested in it 80 years ago, 50 years ago, nor 25 years ago and definitely not now. It’s not because Blacks have any particular love for it, or even so much because they are afraid of the ultimate showdown between themselves and White Supremacy. Black Americans are disinterested in confronting White Supremacy because–up till now–it has been extremely difficult for them to imagine living under a system in which they aren’t having their every breath monitored. And why would they? They have hardly known anything else!!

All this talk about “liberation,” “revolution,” “independence” and all this crap is really just abstract bullshit to the average Afro-American. He may agree with it, but how do you really picture all this in concrete terms? What does “liberation” really look like, anyway? What does a truly independent Black nation look like–one that is not dependent, in any way, shape or form, on either Europe, America, the so-called “Middle East” or China?Eight generations of living (for better or for worse) under the iron heel of a European-settler regime has virtually wiped out any idea of what that might be like for the Afro-American. This fact alone explains the smashing success that Black Panther has had with Black audiences in the United States.

In the average African American mind group therapy, or an individual desire to blow off steam to survive the grueling and humiliating grind of living under a white-dominated society gets confused for revolutionary thought. Those of us who ARE serious about revolution wind up in prison, the insane asylum, six feet under or worse. Or, they go into exile in China, Algeria or Cuba. Black Americans are so happy merely to be recognized, merely to be seen by a society that pretends they only exist as a cheap stereotype, that when crumbs in the form of a Disney film (Disney, another corporation that pretended for decades that Black people didn’t exist) are tossed their way, Black Americans savor each crumb as if they were individual pearls.

Yeah, it’s true: Black Panther ain’t really your life. It ain’t nothin’ but another movie. It’s a great movie–so I’ve heard. And if you want to see this film then damn it, just see the film. There’s nothing wrong with 90 minutes of good, clean fun. But for Christ’s sake, do you have to boogaloo in the fucking aisles or wear dashikis to see it, in the meantime?

______________________________________

NOTES

¹“(T)he Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,” DuBois wrote in 1897–“A world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.”

²Patrick Gathara, “Black Panther Offers a Regressive, Neocolonial Vision of Africa,” Washington Post, February 26, 2018

 

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…And Still, They Voted NOT to Impeach this Idiot.

So The House has decided not to impeach the Orange Orangutan, after all.

Now we know–after months and months of Democrats and assorted “Independents” screaming about how “psychopathic,” “racist” and “dangerous to the world” it∗ is–that they, our self-proclaimed “real leaders,” are just as worthless, psychopathic and dangerous as the Orangutan. With all the evidence at their feet concerning Trump’s bullshit, The House of Representatives has decided not to impeach.

Brilliant.

It’s over, folks–the country has just signed its fucking death warrant.

And frankly, I don’t feel like talking about it anymore, because nobody is listening. Nobody has listened to a damn thing any of us has been saying for over two years. Nobody listened before the election, or during the election, and they are not listening now. They raised no stink, for instance, when Bernie Sanders was casually pushed aside in favor of Hillary Clinton (another monster, and for whom we can blame much of the Libya disaster on). I realize now that Bernie Sanders was no socialist, that he was already quite old (and the task of running that country would have probably killed him, as it did more than a few presidents), and that his leftism was wafer-thin (the man supports Israel, which is morally insupportable by any standard and for very obvious reasons). But a vote for Sanders would have been a vote against Armageddon.

James Baldwin himself voted for Jimmy Carter. He said emphatically that his vote was not an endorsement of the man, but a vote against the Final Solution. Unlike today’s phony so-called “Black” intellectuals, he understood the true nature of White American (settler) Manifest Destiny and that it was almost entirely predicated upon violence–violence pushed against whatever enemies that White Americans happened to conjure up at any given moment. To White Americans, any group of people became an enemy if their skins were too dark or if they (and perhaps more importantly) held a world view and a system of reality that was at loggerheads with their own. Hence, Black, Native, Latino Americans, gays, Communists, leftist Jews (not right-wing Shylocks like Ben Shapiro, Milo and David Cole), Muslims, Chinese (before 1930) and the Japanese during World War Two have been more or less on the Klan’s enemies list. The Japanese were removed after their defeat in World War Two but made very brief reappearances in the seventies and eighties because of Murka’s failing auto industry.

Even so, the Japanese were never really at the top of Uncle Sammy’s list. The Blacks, aka niggers, coons and monkeys, always were, but the Negro intellectual can’t deal with this reality. He or she prefers to forget reality. The next eight years will probably change that, but I doubt it, at this point; this fool will probably go to Dachau with a bayonet at his back, singing “We Shall Overcome” in the boxcars.

The rest of the country, of course, is equally clueless.

It’s no use recalling that it merely took a tawdry sex scandal (something Americans love; it’s in their blood, and goes back to the good old days of the ridiculous Salem Witch Trials of the mid-1600s) for Congress to impeach former President Bill Clinton twenty years ago. And it’s no use telling people that the mindset of Congress then is scarcely different than the mindset of Congress today. Many of the same Congressmen and women from the 1990s are still there and still basking in the limelight of political and moral mediocrity. Their minds have not changed: apparently a cum-stained dress carries more moral significance than the long rap sheet of a fat bastard who made his mark as a slum-lord and swindler, whose psychopathic tendencies are well known, whose racism, sexism and antisemitism are well-known (though people insist that he himself is not, that he is merely surrounded by racists, Jew-haters and jocks who are pulling his string). Apparently the shaky testimony of Paula Jones–a supremely ugly woman not worthy even of a hillbilly like Mr. Clinton–carries more weight than a very clear recording of Trump boasting about his ability to freely stick his hand in women’s crotches. It’s not hyperbole. Why?

Today, the Orange Orangutan has declared that Jerusalem is indeed the capital of Israel. This is a supremely stupid move–no, scratch that. It is just fucking retarded. Even American Jews (for the most part) are upset. And virtually the entire Middle East–except, of course, for the Israeli leadership and the reactionaries on the streets (of whom there are quite a few)–is up in arms about Trump’s idiotic decision.

The speech he has just given is garbled and semi-coherent, at an junior-high school level and spoken with his usual ugly Bronx accent. The White House explained it away as “dry throat.” I’ve had dry throat and I know what it sounds like. Trump’s speech sounds like he was on a four-day bender. (Which he probably is, with a pile of fries and Filet O’ Fish sammiches piled up all around him.) A number of psychologists have stated that Trump exhibits clear signs of psychosis and delusions of grandeur, and that he is sociopathic and lacks empathy, and that he is perfectly capable of doing something rash enough to take us all off the planet. So why hasn’t be been impeached?

Trump hasn’t been impeached by the House because, to be blunt, the powers-that-be want him there. They want an authoritarian state. And not just paleoconservative nuts like Jeff Sessions but even a fair share of self-proclaimed “liberals”–you know, those Democrats who voted “Nay” in opposition to impeachment–as well. I suspect that Americans, collectively, have either become so indifferent to how bleak their future will be that they allowed this buffoon to get as far as he has gotten in politics–or they are so full of guilt and remorse over what America has become these past few decades–integrated neighborhoods, the so-called “Sexual Revolution,” a freer press, abortion rights, gay bathhouses, porno stores and Pakistani immigrants–that they have quietly allowed the Klan to creep further and further into center political stage.

Likewise, the powers-that-be will light a torch under the ass of Bill O’Reilly for a short while but he will be allowed back into the fold. Roy Moore, the cowboy, Bible-thumping pedophile, the Alabama Ape, is still running for office; Rick Ross, the Molly Man, the decadent, obese King Kong of Shit Hop, is still turning out generic rap hooks; Sean Hannity, a McCarthyite reject (and also accused of sexual harassment) is still on Fox. Al Franken, essentially a harmless prankster (and liberal) has to step down because apparently, the powers-that-be think that what he did far outweighs anything Hannity, Moore, Ross or Trump has ever done.

Harvey Weinstein has scumbag stamped on his forehead in bright neon letters as far as I’m concerned. I’ve heard the audio of him attempting to grope an Italian-Filipino model and it speaks for itself. Weinstein is garbage, but he’s the Democrat’s garbage. He’s the kind of bloke who gives millions to the Democratic Party when he can, which is often. Had he been a Republican one wonders if he would have received the same treatment.

Likewise, with Dustin Hoffman, Charlie Rose and the like. I’m not going to sit here and defend sexual harassment because I myself have been sexually harassed  as a youth, and mostly by men. It happened in high school, and again at Howard University. These men didn’t give a shit if I wasn’t gay; they saw me as another small guy, with a cute baby face that–in their minds–spelled “pushover.” All of this is beside the point.

This new mania to out prominent people for sexual harassment can not conceal its true intentions by catching a few conservatives and hard-righters in its net. You know something is extremely wrong, politically and culturally, in that country when we slide very easily from accusing Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein for things they most likely did do¹ to demanding that certain works of art be removed from galleries because they are too “sexually provocative.” And from there we very well could slide into snatching certain books off the shelves that offend the delicate sensibilities of bourgeois white, Christian women, arguably the worst sexual hypocrites history has ever known.² It does not matter if the morality police operate from the Left or the Right, for both sides are caught up in the increasingly totalitarian zeitgeist. It’s the Great Depression, all over again.

The American morality police never left the historical stage–or to be more precise, they never left the building; they merely went into the dressing room during these past five decades and now they are coming out again, shoulder to shoulder with (even if ideologically in opposition to) the alt-right.

Remember: there was more than one evil dictator during the last Great Depression. There was Stalin in addition to Uncle Adolph. Adolph (and Mussolini) simply took most of the limelight. Stalin was just cannibalizing from the far left; he was no less of a prig, no less of a moral cop, no less of a manipulator and certainly no less of a racist than the Austrian teppichfresser.

But then again, it may take an overemotional fuck-up like Trump–one of White Supremacy’s own–to bring down the whole rotten superstructure that we currently live under now. The system is unsustainable for most of us on this planet, and as far as anyone can see no one really has the balls OR the ovaries to seriously challenge this monstrosity. We don’t even go for economic boycotts anymore, let alone revolutionary uprisings, so we have put ourselves in the position of having to let the snake eat its own tail.

 

∗I really have a hard time believing that this idiot is actually human.

¹There’s no question of Weinstein’s guilt, and in light of what’s been happening these past two months maybe Cosby isn’t so innocent after all. But historically speaking, when Americans start shrieking accusations of rape against people, it is more than a little bit like the little boy who cried Wolf. Usually the Wolf is a Negro.

²Besides, of course, Wahhabi fundamentalists.

Bill Cosby Case: Scottsboro Lite?

Taken verbatim from attorney Richard B. Herman, on CNN (excerpted, June 17, 2017):

Q (CNN) : So, Richard, uhm–would he stand a better chance to retry?

A (Herman): No, not necessarily, Fred. He (Kevin Steele, District Attorney) never looked at the case like a true district attorney. This was a politically motivated prosecution. The prior district attorney made the determination (that) they could not get the conviction, and therefore they did not allow Ms. Constand to be the witness in criminal charges against Mr. Cosby although that DA encouraged her to bring a civil litigation where the burden of proof is less. This district attorney (Steele) ran on a platform of indicting and prosecuting Mr. Cosby…He won, maybe on that provision alone–

CNN: Yeah.

Herman: And so he brings this litigation on facts and circumstances that took place fourteen years ago, where people have to testify to what happened then and after. There’s a lot of contradiction in (the) testimony and statements that were given, and the problem with the retrial here, Fred, is the problem they had during this trial. Ms. Constand had a relationship with Mr. Cosby. She had some 72 phone calls with him before the event took place–

CNN: That’s right.

Herman: Three meetings in his house, before the event took place.

CNN: That’s right.

Herman: Then subsequent to the alleged attack, Fred, six months later, she reached out to get tickets for her parents to see his show. That’s not consistent with someone who was sexually assaulted. No forensic evidence to prove Quaaludes, nothing at all.* This is a very difficult case to ever obtain a 12-0 conviction. (It’s) not gonna happen next time…

___________________________________________________________________________________

*So in other words, this so-called “trial” was just another one of those good old fashioned, all-American, O.J. style legal lynchings that have been so popular throughout American history. In fact (as it turns out) the goddamned DA himself, Mr. Steele, ran his entire political campaign on putting a high profile black man behind bars, which to me sounds like the kind of shit that white Southern demagogues (like Cotton Ed Smith and his ilk)

andrea-constand-30d030e76270d402
Definitely not a “catch”–not with that jawline!

used to do about a century ago. This trial is simply the 21st Century version of the notorious Scottsboro Boys case. Professor Black Truth, a vlogger on YouTube, put it very succinctly when he said that Cosby could have been any high profile black man–the whole idea was to disgrace black men across the board by picking one of the most powerful. “It’s the symbolism of it,” he said. “After all, you go after some Pookie or Ray Ray nobody’s going to care. But if you go after a black man who’s got some name recognition and notoriety, that’s the kind of racial coding white people understand and go for. They like that, they know what that means.”

What that means, of course, is that if a black man goes too far in American society–if he dare imagine himself to be the equal to a white man in all respects, or just any respect–white (colonial) society will attempt to slap him back down in “his place,” which could be anything from a job in a dishroom to a prison cell to a six foot hole in the ground. (Or, he could shine shoes at your local Greyhound bus station, grinning and giggling the whole time. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?) Cosby’s own elitism and snobbery notwithstanding, many whites loathed the fact that he was wealthy and powerful (nothing new there: many, if not most, of the lynchings that took place in America in the Bad Old Days were motivated out of economic jealousy, and not only of Blacks), and above all, the thought that Cosby actually had the money to buy NBC must have infuriated many white Americans beyond reason, though they tried not to show it.

Speaking of the Scottsboro Boys case (they are pictured above)–Mychal Denzel Smith, a NYT bestselling author and sometime writer for The Guardian (UK), said in a tweet that we should not make the Cosby case out to be another Scottsboro. Maybe such a comparison is jumping the gun, but it sure as hell smells like Scottsboro all over again: Scottsboro lite. Cosby himself has said as much without making that exact reference, which, given Cosby’s myopia on the true nature of American race prejudice, seems almost funny. (Three years earlier Smith had this to say concerning Cosby’s refusal to see yet another race-tinged court case–that of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin–for what it really was: “What Cosby, and others who would have us focus less on Martin’s race and more on other factors contributing to his death, would prefer is that we operate as a color-blind society. But if we choose not to see race, then it is impossible to see actual racism – and there is plenty of it to go around.”)

Right-winger Newt Gingrich once talked “on code” to his white settler constituency with his feigned outrage at then-President Barack Obama for saying that if had a son, “he would look just like Trayvon.” (Of course, Moldy-fig Newton.) Gingrich and his ilk don’t mean what they say when they insist–in Newt’s words–“we should talk about being Americans.” Newt’s own track record, of course, suggests otherwise. In reality Gingrich and Company refuse to tell the difference between Cosby, Obama and Trayvon Martin, not to mention me, Mychal Smith, Professor Black Truth, Tupac, Pookie, Ray Ray and Rastus the Cream of Wheat man. All “coons” look alike to redneck settlers and those cuddly, soft-spoken, well-meaning, paternalistic center-left petty bourgies who love to call themselves our “friends.” We won’t get into the fact that all too often, less blacks can be found living in neighborhoods where the latter (left) congregate than among the former (hard right): even fucking Jim Goad can point that out. Besides, that is not the point at all.

There is an absurd irony of Dr. Cosby (we already forgot he was a doctor) being caught in a race-tinged scandal organized by a troupe of America’s ugliest white women (with one

bill-cosby-completely-blind-confined-to-home-diaryofahollywoodstreetking-com_795297
Cosby is now “completely blind”

of America’s most crooked high-profile DAs). Cosby is now legally blind. There is a sad comeuppance (once again) in this fact. Cosby had long blinded himself–by public admission, anyway–as to just how virulent, deep-rooted, and tightly structured American racism really is–the kind of racism that historically reduced able-bodied black men to the point where they felt they needed to steal–perhaps to eat, perhaps just for kicks: either way, it really doesn’t matter, since it all adds up to the same thing. That a man would lose his life over such a thing–that U.S. law enforcement would see more value in a goddamned 99-cent slice of half-stale pound cake than an actual human being speaks volumes about the absolute inhumanity of American society. It should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the US military’s actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and countless other places. We do not need to go over US history with even a fine comb to turn up still more examples of the sheer callousness of these people (meaning Americans, of course, and certainly not just white Americans). But Cosby’s pound-cake speech treated the matter as if it were just a pathetic joke. “What,” said Cosby, “was he doing with a piece of pound cake in his hand?” Well, Cosby, why take a man’s life over a shitty piece of cake? Better yet–why is Kevin Steele trying to jug you based on a pack of convoluted lies?

 

Bill Maher, Bill Cosby, Quaaludes and Other Not-so-Nice Things

This is strictly off-the-cuff, a few ramblings on topics that are raging on social media while in the meantime, the Congo is a dysfunctional ruin, India is turning Nazi, Yemenis starve and Syrians get blown to bits, Gaza is still a nasty ruin, slum dwellers in Rio still get their heads caved in by Brazilian killer cops (especially if they are pretos), Russian fascists are infesting the globe and even reaching their hoary tentacles down in Cancun, hipster fascists, redneck scum and negro/cholo thugs rampage throughout America unchecked (and fools like Jim Goad are still publishing books. Worse, many people still believe that Jim Goad is still relevant.)

Number one: I didn’t think much of the Bill Maher “house nigga” flap because I didn’t even watch it when it happened. And when I did see it, I simply shrugged. To me it was just some typically tasteless, cute, white-boy shit. Having grown up around white boys, I am not going to be surprised by the things they say when they think they are being witty, nor am I going to excuse whatever it is they say. I don’t hate them, but I know them; where I grew up in America, I had to know them and their intentions. It did not surprise me that Mr. Maher put his foot in his mouth (and possibly on purpose) one more time. So, what?*

People have forgotten the seventies or, God forbid, the eighties. The levels of racism on TV during that time were nothing short of toxic. They have forgotten scumbags like the late Morton Downey, Jr., among others. Channel Five and Channel Twenty were still broadcasting those disgusting racist cartoons from the 30s/50s (among other things) yet unlike today, nobody said a fucking word about it in any newspaper or magazine column. Not one fucking word. There was a particularly revolting cartoon (I think it was the Isle of Pingo Pongo) which showed a stereotyped “coon” with a Victrola in his enormous white lips, and I remember actually throwing shit at the TV screen in disgust. But other than my family, nobody cared–which is why I find the hysterical reaction to Bill Maher’s cutesy-poo wise crack so disingenuous.

I have yet to watch a complete episode of “Politically Incorrect” by Bill Maher because frankly, I don’t really like Bill Maher. He comes off as smug and self-satisfied, perpetually smirking, smart-alecky and bumptious–a typical New York dick, as Ken Shakin  (also from New York) would put it. I remember one episode in which Mos Def appeared on the show, alongside Salman Rushdie and the late Christopher Hitchens. Mos Def basically had his own ass handed to him by the other three panelists, but then again, Mos Def had it coming: he is not the brightest bulb on the intellectual tree. My gut feeling was that Bill Maher allowed Mos Def on the panel discussion as a form of progressive comedy relief–a way of putting on a coon show while maintaining an illusion of “progressive inclusiveness,” or whatever the fuck you want to call that. In the end, the show–in my view, anyway–wound up putting niggers in their intellectual place again. Too bad I, or some other far more sharp-witted black intellectual (such as Playthell Benjamin or even Ta-Nehisi Coates) hadn’t been brought on the panel.

Coincidentally, Ta-Nehisi Coates did cross swords with Bill Maher a few years later when Maher brought up an old trope about blacks and Cadillacs. Unfortunately Coates appears to be too young to remember the stereotype; it must have went out with the seventies. And Maher must have forgotten an even older trope concerning Jews and Cadillacs, which probably bears some relation to the anti-Semitic notion that Jews are a bunch of “negrified Orientals” (the type of shit that Henry Ford, Celine and Gobineau were pushing nearly a century ago).**

To my mind, Maher simply isn’t a very funny man. He seems to rely on an old Jewish comedy shtick–the kind of thing Lenny Bruce, Groucho Marx, Mel Brooks (to cite a lesser example) did far better, which is take down everyone and everything around them with a sort of cruel, Swiftian irreverence. Maher tries too hard. His “house nigga” shtick would have come off better if he had known how to deflate that tension he had built up after he’d dropped The Word. Lenny Bruce could do this, but then again Bruce was a comedic genius. Bill Maher is not. He could, possibly, pull his head out of the dirt by appearing on his next show as an actual house nigger, swallow-tail coat, Yiddish accent and all, obsequiously serving ice tea to a frock-coated Ice Cube while muttering, “yassuh, boss.” Possibly.¹

*

Bill Cosby, meanwhile, is stewing in a boiling cauldron of legal issues that may or may not be of his own doing. Again–much like Bill Maher–I’m not a huge Cosby fan, though as kids we used to watch Fat Albert religiously (and even cruelly mocked it on private home-made comedy tapes, which were so offensive and obscene that Maher’s shtick would seem less than nothing). I didn’t like the Cosby Show of the Eighties, which to me epitomized that new buppie shit that I was inundated with by the end of that benighted decade. I view the Cosby debacle several ways: one, as an hysterically prudish reaction against the licentiousness of the 70s and 80s (when everybody who was sexually hip–or thought themselves to be–dropped Quaaludes, and said fuck all about it); two, as yet another media takedown of a black American icon, this one far more powerful and influential than O.J. Simpson could ever hope to be–he’d even considered buying NBC at one point (which is probably the real reason why the feds decided to jug him). After watching the Cosby case on TV or social media, one can never look back on his legacy with the same eyes: Fat Albert, his stand-up routines of the sixties, his show in the eighties and above all those books he authored on Parenthood and all that now appear shoddy and fraudulent. Again, this could be the whole rationale behind the Cosby case, in spite of the existence of Cosby’s court deposition.

The third way? I personally see Cosby’s downfall as an ironic comeuppance after his notorious “pound cake” speech. The absurdity of a man of Cosby’s stature resorting to drugging extremely ugly white women in order to bang them doesn’t quite add up, and the deposition appears to speak for itself. I would not be surprised if the deposition was faked, but I would be equally unsurprised if the deposition simply is what it is. The reason why I call all of this “comeuppance” is simple. Here you have a proud member of the black elite chiding the black lumpen-proletariat for not pulling up its pants or, to use Cosby’s words, “not holding up their own end of the deal”–when he himself has had quite a bit of trouble keeping his own pants on.

When I first heard the Pound Cake speech, I smirked. Oh, really? I thought, knowing full well that Cosby was an outrageous snob. Well, I then thought, upon further consideration, perhaps Cosby was right, when you look at how insufferably decadent African American cultural life had become by 2003-2004. Those were the “saggy pants” years, for those of you who have already forgotten; the years of Chingy, Plies, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, and a virtual avalanche of coonish, gold-toothed rappers that virtually no one in that fucked-up decade even thought to challenge. 50 Cent was not a “coon” then like he is now. 50 Cent, for better or worse, represented Black America throughout the world in the 2000s mass media. That was the rationale behind Cosby’s 2004 speech.

But I took issue with it because Cosby and his ilk (Michael Jordan, Kanye West, Jay-Z, etc.) are collectively worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and not a dime of their money has gone into creating the Black Economy that some of them love to talk about. They will weep crocodile tears over the 1921 tragedy in Tulsa while barely putting a penny towards the creation of another Black Wall Street, something which–even given today’s economic crisis–is entirely feasible. Whole skyscrapers lay vacant in downtown Detroit, and not one of these black elites–Cosby included–has ever considered buying even one of them, let alone five or six of them. Certainly 550 million dollars could cover the cost of purchasing and refurbishing downtown Detroit, if not that then maybe a billion–and what is a billion compared to the 1.1 trillion purchasing power of Black America?

Yet the thought has never crossed the minds of our black elite. I doubt if it had crossed Cosby’s mind. He had wished to buy NBC while completely ignoring the possibility of constructing his own alternative to NBC. Over one hundred years ago, when Jewish immigrants were run out of New York by Edison’s anti-Semitic goon squad–Edison’s henchmen targeted the nickelodeon trade of the early 1900s, which was primarily run by Jews–they moved as far away from the East Coast as they possibly could, finding cheap real estate in a little village called Hollywood-land. It was there that these immigrants created (to quote Neal Gabler) “an empire of their own,” one which, ironically, did precious little to either promote or enliven American Jewish or any Jewish culture anywhere in the world.

Instead, Jewish Hollywood promoted white, Anglo-Saxon (honky) culture and white, honky, Anglo-Saxon values. There is nothing even remotely Jewish about “Gone With the Wind” or “Meet Me in St. Louis” or any of the classic Hollywood films, and “The Jazz Singer” is too laughably corny for a racially sensitive soul such as myself to get angry about. (Seriously.) Actually, there’s nothing all that “Jewish” about Politically Incorrect (assuming that one can assign certain characteristics to “Jewishness”) but that’s beside the point. Once again, the American cultural elite has shown itself to be just that collection of cheap, shoddy, decadent bastards that they generally always were, with surprisingly few exceptions (and I won’t mention their private lives). Even if Bill Cosby didn’t drop Quaaludes in unsuspecting women’s drinks, the fact that he belonged to an elite that had done nothing to pull the black underclass out of its misery should give one pause. The fact that this decadent, do-nothing black elite has presided over a virtual cultural genocide for the past four decades in America–while fattening itself off the proceeds of that genocide, and making derisive and condescending speeches about the attendant social catastrophes of those years–should (ideally) piss somebody off.

This elite had a chance to build a new Black Wall Street far beyond anything their counterparts in the 1910s had ever dreamed of, and with far more resources at their disposal. Instead, they were too busy having fun at our expense–buying Bentleys, sniffing coke, jetting off to Rio and dropping roofies in whore’s drinks. And yet these pigs dare scoff at us rank-and-file black men and condescendingly tell us, with a goddamned jock’s sneer, to “man up” and “get a job”!!

*

*Another Bill, Bill O’Reilly, is just a joke, a fucking embarrassment to the neocon/neoliberal establishment, with his idiotic and antiquated Irish ethnic ressentiment towards “fags,” “coloreds” and “commie scum.” O’Reilly makes the white establishment look bad. He is the type of nitwit who appeals to New Jersey cops, Boston barflies, Trumpistani hardhats, and all those dolts in Arkansas who still think the Civil War was fought over “States Rights”–a dinosaur, a throwback to the days of Joe McCarthy and the fucking Honeymooners, so sidelining him is really no skin off Uncle Sam’s backside.  

**Cadillacs were once known disparagingly as “Jew canoes.”

¹Update, June 12, 2017: I actually listened to the show this time, and Ice Cube gave Bill Maher a well-deserved shove in the ribs. And Bill is still not Lenny, so if you haven’t seen the show don’t expect much. Dr. Dyson comes off as rather verbose and disturbingly obsequious.