Toxic masculinity is what folks used to call a “jock mentality.” It is very real; I have the scars to prove it.
It was no fun growing up being called “retarded” and “faggot” in grade school while being called “nigger,” “coon” and “monkey” in my fucking neighborhood. Or having the shit kicked out of you at the age of nine by a dozen young punks while your guidance counselor looked on, smugly. Or getting groped in high school by closeted, allegedly ‘heterosexual’ guys. (As a side note, I know of many women who did not like being bullied by other girls when they were young, but that’s off-topic.)
For decades, I have been hoping–and not so secretly–that these jocks would get their comeuppance. Let these clowns whine. Even if their complaints against Gillette may hold some water (the commercial is somewhat patronizing, to say the least), their reasons for rejecting the ad are highly suspect. Most of the men complaining–people like James Woods or Paul Joseph Watson–are right-wing, all-American Reaganite types, hung up on some Anglo-Teutonic or Latin/Slav reactionary Catholic ideal of (white) manhood–much of which involves suppressing the life of the mind in favor of doing things exclusively with your hands (or your tiny dick).
Having said that, the very fact that Gillette, of all companies, would make an ad concerning “toxic masculinity” (aka WHITE¹ masculinity) is laughable.
If Gillette wants to wag its hypocritical little finger at rank-and-file “dudes” who wolf-whistle at women on the street (which is stupid in its own right) let them do that. Nobody cares. But before they do that they should stop and consider just what in the hell goes into making their shaving gels.
If Gillette wants to preach to its audience about young bullies who rough up kids on playgrounds, it should start by preaching to its fucking parent company Proctor and Gamble about how it treats seven-year old Indonesian girls who pick its cotton–or, to be more precise, extract its palm oil.
Palm oil is one of the key ingredients that goes into the production of Gillette’s famous shaving gel. Several articles on the web detail how Wilmar, the world’s biggest palm oil processor, “was sourcing its oil from illegally cleared land and destroying the habitat of critically endangered Sumatran tigers.” Jakarta Globe/Agence France-Presse, October 22, 2013. The article has since been taken down, but a quote from an online cache reads:
“Until Wilmar commits to a no-deforestation policy, their trade of palm oil to big household brands… makes consumers unwitting accomplices in the extinction of Indonesia’s 400 remaining Sumatran tigers,” head of Greenpeace’s Forest Campaign in Indonesia, Bustar Maitar, said.
Wilmar supplies more than a third of the world’s palm oil, according to the company’s website, and its oil can be found in Oreo cookies, Gillette shaving cream and Clearasil face wash, among an array of grocery items in more than 50 countries.
Greenpeace said Wilmar was continuing to source palm fruit from plantations on illegally cleared land within Sumatra island’s protected Tesso Nilo National Park, prime tiger habitat.
The report also said that fire had hit the permit area of another of Wilmar’s suppliers in June, when blazes swept through Sumatra’s forests for weeks, covering Singapore and Malaysia in a blanket of hazardous smog.
Indonesian officials said most were deliberately lit to clear forested land and grow palm oil.
Wilmar denied suggestions its supplier had deliberately lit land-clearing fires, saying in a statement the blaze was on a plantation that was likely ignited by surrounding flames.
“We are currently reviewing our business practices, including our sourcing policy, working with certain international supply chain experts,” Wilmar spokesperson Lim Li Chuen told AFP.
The company said it had issued “a stern reminder to all staff” of its policy to only source palm fruit grown legally and that any supplier trying to sell illegally grown fruit would be “dropped altogether”.
Wilmar is the latest company to be targeted by Greenpeace, which has taken aim at several high-profile firms and campaigned for responsible consumer spending.”
Within three years of this article’s appearance, Proctor and Gamble merely shifted from one palm oil magnate (Wilar, in Indonesia) to another (Felda Global Ventures, in Malaysia). Felda is even worse. According to sumofus.org,
Felda deals in the human trafficking of its plantation workers, confiscating close to 30,000 passports, and still works with labor contractors and recruiters who charge enormous fees to trafficked foreign workers.
Plantation workers are trapped in modern day slavery, all to produce palm oil that ends up in P&G products. The multinational consumer goods company is well aware of the problem, and yet still buys conflict palm oil from its joint venture partner Felda. (Bold in the original.)
What do #MeToo, Paul Joseph Watson or any of these other internet spooks have to say about this stuff? Nothing, of course. None of them gave a single thought about near-extinct tigers or severely-depleted rain-forests somewhere in South-East Asia–let alone a bunch of poor “gooks.”
I think that in due time Gillette (I don’t know about Nike) will be staffed largely by women. Proctor and Gamble, the parent company, will probably be headed by a woman. The CIA, at this very moment, is now staffed by women. But, God forbid, it is still the fucking Central Intelligence Agency. Nothing changes; everything goes on as before, except that white women are now doing the white man’s dirty work.
The same goes for other carefully hand-picked minority groups in the USA. A few American cities these days, for instance, are largely managed by African Americans. Cool, you think. But–which African Americans?
Picture a Black (male) President sending troops (mainly black) to a city with a Black (female) mayor, Black chief of police, black administrators, black accountants, and a majority Black population. To do what? To put down a rebellion of poor Black people furious at rampant police brutality. If this sounds like The Congo, or Liberia, or Nigeria in a bad political phase, you would not be far off. Actually this was Baltimore, Maryland, in 2015. (Maryland is not in Africa.)
When “French West Africa” gained its so-called “independence” from France in 1960, one so-called “African president” said with a straight face, “Gabon may be independent, but between France and Gabon nothing has changed–everything remains as is.” Exactly–and from today’s vantage point, our immediate future will look precisely like Gabon in 1960.
The patriarchy appears to be in transition, as the old white men are dying off and many young white men appear unfit to inherit the mantle of patriarchal domination; they cut a bad image with all that reactionary, alt-right bullshit. Many people worldwide automatically see “Nazi” when they see a white, male face. Indeed the face of cutthroat neoliberal capitalism these days is the face of a smug white man–the very paragon of “toxic masculinity”–in a three-piece suit and shades.
Capitalism will soon replace this guy with a smart, sassy, progressive black male (or white transwoman) who shaves his/her face with–you guessed it–Gillette razor gel.
Hannah Rosin’s prediction of “The End of Men” appears to be coming true–on the surface, anyway. The keys to capitalism are being increasingly handed to white women, who (like Angela Merkel) will be managing the works. Elite white ladies will get their long-awaited comeuppance. White men will still be the advisers, with plenty of time on their hands to fuck around…perhaps on some hidden island somewhere in Booga-booga-land, surrounded by pink cocaine and child prostitutes. The media will not disclose their whereabouts and will pretend they are safely dead. The plantations and human trafficking will continue unabated, and the cries of children forced to work for a pittance in illegally cleared forests will be met with silence.
¹I insist that this is a white (and, moreover, very American) ideal. Black (and other non-white) men who adhere to this ideal are typically aping their white Anglo or Latin or Arab masters.
In the months since I posted Part One of this article, a long string of infuriating race-related incidents have occurred–all of which merely reinforce everything that I’ve written about this so-called “Caucasian Aristocracy.”
Less than 24 hours ago the New York Supreme Court dropped one of six charges against super-predator Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. While not ostensibly race-related, Weinstein’s acquittal on just this one charge speaks volumes in itself. It comes directly on the heels of the confirmation and beatification of Brett Kavanaugh (misogynist, ex-frat boy and hard rightist, to whom David Duke gushed, “Thank God you are now on the Supreme Court!”), the revelations that Trump helped his parents evade millions of taxes (not to mention his own sex scandals with Stormy Daniels and other shady ladies), and the rehiring of Timothy Loehmann–the cop who killed 12-year old Tamir Rice in 2014–in Bellaire, Ohio. Georgia lawmaker Jason Spencer (no relation to Richard, though one would think otherwise) literally shows his fat white ass to the world on Sacha Baron Cohen’s This is America (indeed!), screaming “nigger!” at the top of his lungs, making “ching-chong” noises and sucking on a dildo. Jason Spencer was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2010 on the Republican ticket; his fat ass is still there, probably still shouting “nigger” and still pulling his eyes back in the presence of Asians. (At least in private.)
And in the meantime, Bill Cosby is serving three to ten years in prison. This is not to gloss over Cosby showing his own ass decades ago, when he hypocritically dismissed Huey Newton as “nothing more than a thug” and a “hoodlum”; when he made a name for himself playing a spy on TV (at the height of the Black Power movement), and later went on to become “America’s Dad” while privately dropping Quaaludes in ugly women’s drinks and lecturing the most exploited class of people in America–the black underclass–about not speaking English, not pulling up their pants and getting shot over ninety-cent slices of stale pound cake.
Bill Cosby’s actions perfectly personified the uselessness and moral bankruptcy of America’s Black Elite. He sat on a fortune close to a billion dollars while millions of blacks nationwide had to steal to pay their rent, or even get their next meal. So it’s not a matter of shedding tears for Billy-Boy being locked up. That’s not the point. The point is that Billy-Boy, far wealthier than Harvey Weinstein could ever hope to be, is sitting in a jail cell while Harvey, Roy Moore, Donald Trump, Tim Loehmann, Roman Polanski and above all that little turd George Zimmerman are not. That’s because Billy-Boy’s billion doesn’t add up to much when his skin ain’t white.
Further down the food chain, the outlook for those outside the Aristocracy looks far bleaker. The Aristocracy feels (perhaps rightly so) that it is under assault from the dirty, unwashed, unwhite masses of the world (especially the black ones), so it is pushing back against them post-Reconstruction style. This Kakistocracy loves playing victim even with an assault rifle in its hands. Down on the very bottom of the American totem pole, the Afro-American has become a veritable moving target. The days of the African Dodger are back; only this time, they don’t need to put your head in a canvas and throw rocks at your head; they simply call the cops. Nekia Jones of Columbus, Ohio, for instance, has been locked up for nonpayment of child support–Ms. Jones is childless. Delta Airlines, a crackerconcern, has shown its collective ass again in several appallingincidents (generally involving black women), one resulting in a passenger’s baggage being damaged in flight by incompetent baggage-handlers. (The passenger had the police called on her by a fascist staff member on the lower rung of the Kakistocratic food chain. The fascist’s excuse–like the one used by the soft Gestapo in Berlin at KFC–was that the unnamed woman was filming her.) A day ago, yet another Southern (Georgia) white woman calls the police on a black man babysitting his white friends’ children; Pool Patty, Permit Patty, Permit Betty, Barbecue Becky, and their male equivalent “Permit Model”–some sexually insecure schmuck who couldn’t bear to see a black model in a photo shoot–have sent a collective message to those on the bottom of the global racial hierarchy: anything you do–even if it is so much as reading a fucking book–is a threat to our well-being.
No–scratch that. To the white Kakistocrat, merely being alive as a black (or brown or red) person is a threat to one’s well-being.
It’s noteworthy that the overwhelming majority of racist calls have come from white women. No one should be surprised that this is so. These same poor white women, who wrung their hands and howled like banshees over the “sexual misconduct” of Harvey, Billy-Boy, Al Franken, Bill O’Riley, Sean Hannity, Donald Trump, Kevin Spacey and other men have never been opposed to The Patriarchy (or The Capitalist Kakistocracy, which is what it really is) except in theory. In practice, we clearly see that their hijacking of #MeToo (from a black woman dog-whistling at the Kakistocracy in the vain hope that their system would round up black male perverts) was, and still is, a clumsy power-grab on their part. Grabbing for what? The desks, round-tables, and cushy positions of the same “Patriarchy” they pretended to despise. They don’t hate the male chauvinist white Aristocracy; they simply want to run it for themselves. They are the female equivalent of those slimy, ethically bankrupt Third World elites who moved into the same comfy positions of power left behind by the British, French and Spanish after the colonizers left Africa.
Nawal el Saadawi, Egyptian novelist and activist, was perfectly on point when she described Theresa May and Hillary Clinton as being “even more patriarchal than men.” She forgot about Angela Merkel but then again, one gets the point. At the rate everything is going politically in the world today the Kakistocracy will continue for the foreseeable future. Not because this disgusting class is impregnable, but because this class finds it so easy to dangle 95% of humanity on puppet strings. No one outside the Kakistocracy is even thinking of resisting the bullshit. White women, negresses such as Candace Owens, Michelle Malkin and Jannine Piro (a sand Negress), reactionary boy-toys like Paris Dennard and Milo Yiannopoulous and super-spades like Kanye West, David Clarke and Jesse Lee Peterson will be our future gauleiters–reactionary buffoons whose main job is to vainly patch up the cracks in a rapidly disintegrating Western civilization.
Down the Totem Pole
The further you go down the American totem pole the darker people get, the vaguer their faces become, until they are all one dark mass on the very bottom. That dark mass supports the weight of the kakistocracy; it functions as a kind of cornerstone-slash-slop jar. We can be cute and call it “Da Hood” but everyone in the society (including other blacks) understand it to be That Other Place–Niggertown†.
Whatever it is, it is not America–not really. Not as the White Aristocrat defines America. I completely reject everything the White Aristocrat defines as America or as American, but that’s not the point. The point is that in his eyes, and in the eyes of everyone who sees the world through his eyes, Niggertown is America’s toilet. Niggertown represents (to him) a negation of all great Western values and morals–even though Niggertown is entirely the creation of white Western culture.
Ironic, yes. This Niggertown, this Black Slopjar is “dirty,” “evil,” “smelly,” “ape-infested,” but at the same time “we,” the White Aristocracy, desperately need this Black Slopjar. In a moral sense, we need “Niggertown” in order to define ourselves in opposition to it; without it, our existence (as White Aristocrats) makes no sense. It’s true that (in our minds) the high moral standards that “we whites” think we are setting for ourselves don’t apply there since Niggertown is (supposedly) the absolute moral opposite of “America.” But that is part of the fun. The society we have constructed for ourselves is simply too “white”; there’s no “passion” in it, no color, no adventure, no sensuality. So what do we do if we can’t go to Thailand? Go to Niggertown. Da Hood is not only America’s Inferno, it’s also America’s whorehouse, the place where “we” go slumming and let down our hair. It’s the place where “we” buy our drugs, our pussy, the joint where we indulge our sense of white privilege to the hilt since in Niggertown, we can’t be held accountable for what we do since we are never really guilty: only the “Niggers” are truly guilty.
Please note that Niggertown is as much a state of mind as it is a place. So if you are too afraid to go to West Baltimore in the flesh, you can blast Tupac or Drake from your car stereo and sag your fucking pants or even slap on blackface if you so wish. You can host a Mandingo party or pick up random “Niggers” in clubs and suck them off (or have them suck you off) in the toilet. What happens in Niggertown stays in Niggertown.
In this regard, talk of “Black Irresponsibility” is not only foolish and idle, but obscene.¹We all know that before “White” there was no “Black,” that the creation of “Negroes” or “Niggers” or “Blacks” required not merely the creation of White but the conditions under which white would flourish and “Black” would languish. As a side note, it’s worth noting that the Brazilian term for “Big Nigger,” negao, also means “negative” in Portuguese. I can’t tell you if that was a deliberate choice of wording but it is obvious that Black “irresponsibility” is but a negative reflection, an “Afro-pantomime” of the White Kakistocracy. All values within that system have their origins with the founders of that system; those in “Da Hood” may make some adjustments to those values in order to adapt those values to their own needs, but in essence they are the same.
A rotten, despicable, worthless society predicated entirely upon the notion that having white skin (and being rich) makes you a blameless saint in the eyes of most, whilst being the opposite makes you the devil. A black man’s worth increases in this society only if he comes closer to what white society deems its ideal…and yet, if this same black man were to truly become “white male” in every sense of the ideal save for his complexion, he would be tossed in jail.
Black women with braids and Afro-styled hair are weird or outre whereas a white woman who thoughtlessly appropriates these same styles (and wrongly, I might add) is “stylish” and “cutting edge.” We routinely see how white women appropriate, use and rip-off black, brown, red and yellow women, and use them as the battering rams to force their way to the top of the American food chain. #MeToo, the anti-Gun march: all sentimental, idiotic pie-eyed displays of the worst American puritan knee-jerk hysteria surrounding sex.
Every white woman who imagines she was felt up by Woody Allen or Woody Woodpecker or Mickey Mouse comes out with some wretched story about how she was abused, and the whole world stands up to applaud it. And when the Native American woman details how she and her sisters were raped or murdered at the hands of the American police or other men (including their own), one hears crickets. Thousands of black women have disappeared in the DC area alone over the past 10 years, and not a single soul has bothered to come forward to ask of their whereabouts. African women are routinely trafficked into sex slavery in Europe, along with Balkan, Romanian and South-East Asian women. Sri Lankan, Filipino and Ethiopian women are routinely raped, beaten and worked to death by Gulf Arab or Lebanese employers. (Many of these employers are other females.) Just recently a Kenyan woman was beaten senseless in the streets of Beirut by two Lebanese hoodlums. There is no fucking hashtag movement to highlight the plight of these particular women, and if there is it definitely gets set on the back-burner behind the outrage over Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein or Al Franken’s cute hijinks.
This is not merely because Thai prostitutes or Ethiopian maids are not “beautiful people” like Lady Gaga or Kylie Jenner or some other played up megastar, but because they are not white.
Their whiteness also blinds them to their own historical demise. In every sense of the word Western culture is nonexistent outside of the Louvre or some National Gallery of Art. Contemporary Western architecture–and this goes for everything being constructed elsewhere in the world–is hideous. Enormous glass cages which stretch for miles and miles around, filled with mindless drones parked behind cubicles or stuck in some hideous plastic condo. In the Italian Renaissance, a major building was generally conceived as a thing of beauty, nobility and grandeur. Today, everything–the architecture included–has an expiration date. Today no architect anywhere in the world (since they are all blindly following the White lead) would even dream of constructing a Sistine Chapel or an Alhambra or a Taj Mahal or a Machu Picchu or anything comparable to the splendors of Luxor or Karnak or Kilwa.
Why? Because White Supremacy–the ideology of the Cacistocracy–is strictly utilitarian, one that only function in opposition to whatever it deems threatening–even if that thing is Beauty itself.
Even their contemporary music is ugly. No more Beethovens, Mahlers or Janaceks can be found among them, unless they are hiding away in some attic in Lisbon or Lviv. Their “white” novels are solipsistic, pretentious masturbation. Academia, especially in the United States, is falling by the wayside. National infrastructures are crumbling, and not merely because everything is put into the American war machine. America’s infrastructures crumble because those responsible for maintaining these infrastructures are far more interested in laying about in Mar-a-lago or some God-forsaken Caribbean island stuffing adolescent girls or boys and basking in–what else?–their insufferable sense of being (once again) white.²
“Five centuries of colonialism, capitalism and nationalism have turned Europeans into the enemy of the human kind,” Franco Berardi fumed last year, in response to reports of mass migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, slave-dealing in Libya and the surge of moronic, right-wing Western populism. “May they (Europeans) be cursed forever! May Europeans be swept away by the storm they have generated, by the weapons they are building, by the fire they have ignited, by the hatred they have cultivated!”
Bifo Berardi’s words ignited, as they say, a “storm of controversy”; some folks considered him a bit mad. But when one sees Europeans–and by extension, white Westerners and their perennial flunkies–within the context of a decaying, bloated, self-satisfied Kakistocracy, then his words make perfect sense. There can be no democracy, let alone Socialism, in a planet dominated by racist white aristocrats and their colored court jesters.
†Niggertown wasn’t created by “Niggers” but by systematic “red-lining” (translated into English, it means setting up special residential areas for “Niggers” so whites can control their movements, their wallets, their culture, their minds, etc. In other words, a fucking township, or a reservation). There was also mental redlining. American music was once redlined on record labels (known as “race records” or “Sepia Series”). The African American was and is redlined in novels, plays, newspaper articles, and movies: restricted to being portrayed as an idiot, a whore, a mammy, a suck-up, a shiftless ne’er-do-well, a criminal, a thug, a “problem”; playing out the same tired, hackneyed roles that the Euro-American crafted for him, roles that revealed nothing of the Black actor’s true personality but merely those buried instincts (what Freud called the ID) that the good white aristocrat could not act out in polite white society. Hence, the minstrel show, Al Jolson, Elvis Presley, Satchmo (as opposed to Louis Armstrong), Stepinfetchit, Drake, Eminem and all the rest. Hence “Ebonics,” which is what white society has made of Black English–a language that Afro-Americans constructed in order to define the world on their terms and not that of the white aristocrats.
comment from “HaveYouEverDancedWithTheDevilInThePaleMoonLight”
²And what’s the whole point of the war machine, anyway? For the ultimate showdown between Western Whiteness and the Third World (namely, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, Africa and perhaps Russia, if only because Russia and China are the two major stumbling blocks between Uncle Sam and absolute global hegemony).
Generalissimo Trump has been very busy these past few months. If he hasn’t been randomly shutting two-year old Honduran girls up in concentration camps, he’s been sharing his shitpot with everybody’s favorite comic opera buffoon-dictator (Kim Jong Un) and scribbling random, emotionally-charged tweets to any prominent media figure he feels is challenging his “authoritahhh.” He’s been showing his fat, white pimpled ass to the world so often that some of us have even gone blind.
Hardly a day goes by in which this baboon doesn’t fling his feces at us. He does it with such regularity that most folks have already forgotten some of his worst blunderings–for instance, his referral to African and Caribbean nations as “shitholes,” among other things. Another big blunder was his referral to certain “illegal” immigrants from Mexico or El Salvador as “animals.” His alibi? “Mexico and El Salvador are not sending their best and brightest,” on the one hand, and on the other, “most of these guys are MS-13, savage murderers and killers.”
To be fair, some of Dumbo’s wild ravings in Duluth (reminiscent of one of Mussolini’s macho freakouts) had a grain of truth to them. Mexico and El Salvador are, generally speaking, not sending their best and brightest to the US because their “best and brightest” would rather not flip burgers at Arby’s for two decades. Yet that’s about it. Trump doesn’t give a shit about “real” Americans losing their jobs to “illegals,” because it’s been well-documented that he himself has utilized “illegal” labor in the past to build his little towers. Trump’s referencing MS-13 was a flimsy insinuation that all Latinos are “animals,” and that all “beaners,” including his most ardently racist supporters in Miami, are MS-13. (The alt-right doesn’t mind using a few racist Latinos to bolster their numbers and parrot their psychotic ideology. Why not? It makes them look legit; it takes moral ammunition away from so-called Social Justice Warriors and other “leftist” scum such as yours truly. Remember Amin al-Husseini?)
It’s an understatement to say that Mara Salvatrucha is made up of Salvadoran youths who are beyond dehumanized. One need not belabor that point at all. Last July Angel Soler, a 15-year old, was hacked to death in Nassau County, New York by machete-wielding MS-13 hoods. But this begs the question: how in the hell did these kids get to be so thoroughly brutalized? The answer to the question is simple. “To understand the history of the MS-13,” writes Franc Contreras (CGTN America), “we must return to El Salvador’s civil war in in the 1980s. Left-wing rebels battled a U.S.-backed right-wing government blamed for widespread human rights abuses. Salvadorans fled the violence and migrated to the United States, many settling in Los Angeles. There, they confronted attacks from street gangs. That’s when MS-13 was born.”
America’s dealings with the world politically are like an exterminator who, contrary to all logic, uses mice to drive ants out of buildings. The ants may leave but the mice remain. When the mice become too much of a problem, this “exterminator” calls on the rats to drive out the mice but when the mice are gone, the rats remain. The whole process repeats itself until the fucking exterminator stoops to using elephants to drive out the hippos he used to drive out the wildebeests he used to drive out the bobcats he used to drive out the snakes he used to drive out the rats–the end result naturally being total chaos.
Uncle Sam, too proud to admit that he fucked himself, tries to shift the blame to the “niggers” or the “commies” or some other group he despises. Too proud, too narcissistic, too arrogant and above all, too fucking stupid. Uncle Sham wants the rest of the world to think that He alone is right, that it’s either Shammy’s Way or the highway. During the Salvadoran Civil War (which lasted from 1979 to 1992) U.S. officials went so far as to take control of the Salvadoran military in the hopes of beating back left-wing “Marxist” rebels. In other words, America not merely invented MS-13, but created the lion’s share of the social and historical conditions that led to the rise of MS-13. Along with ISIS and Al-Qaeda, Mara Salvatrucha is the end result of America’s misguided Cold War policies of “containing Communism” at whatever cost. Better a radical Islamic government–so Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan assumed–than Arab Socialism or Mossadegh; better a hard-right ultra-conservative Catholic military junta (think Pinochet, Somoza or Trujillo) than Salvador Allende or God forbid, another Fidel.
The end result of such blatant political blundering can be seen everywhere, on every corner, in every street in every city in every single country. The entire planet has become not a replica of American bullshit but its obscene caricature. And as for the state of America itself, no comment. Everything that America is going through politically, socially, culturally and economically is a direct blow-back from “Manifest Destiny,” that old Anglo-Saxon imperialist psychosis–or from America’s tried and true domestic policies of Keep The Niggers Down At All Costs. Neither Trump, nor the GOP, nor even those moderate Republicans such as George Will and the late Charles Krauthammer have any ideological ground to stand on when the facts are stacked against one another. The one cold fact that matters in the end (when all other facts concerning the state of America are considered) is that the country, simply put, is a shithole–a shithole with wings.
For those of us who aren’t white (you know, the Negroes), the country was a shithole from the word GO. Many blacks will disagree vehemently with this statement and argue that they are doing just fine, thank you. There is no shortage of Afro-Americans who will drape themselves in The Flag and talk about how lucky they are to have been born Americans. After 399 years of living in a slop jar you can come to feel rather fond of it. But a shithole is still a shithole, even with a massive barrel full of Popeye’s Chicken Wings set inside of it.
Former CIA director John O. Brennan brought up a strange word when referencing the Mr. Magoo-like incompetence of the Trump Administration. “Your kakistocracy is collapsing after its lamentable journey,” Brennan tweeted to the Orange Orangutan. It was far, far from being the first time the word was brought up; it had been referenced several times over the past three centuries, even in reference to McClownald. So what the hell is a kakistocracy, then?
Me being the guy I am, I’m tempted to conflate “kak-” with “cauc” or “cac.” You can call it “racist” if you feel like it. It is not racist ressentiment on my part, simply calling a spade a spade–or if you want to go there, a honky a honky. So-called “White” people have no reason to whine about it because in actual fact, any thinking “White” person really should not consider themselves “White” in the first place. You are a European or Mediterranean or Asian. Yeah, I know it’s a force of habit, just like calling yourself “Black” when your skin is really golden brown or mahogany. But all of this is beside the point. The real point is: what the hell is a kakistocracy?
A random Googling of the term brings up “a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens”. One can go further and say that a kakistocracy is an entire civilization and culture run by the worst, least qualified, and most unscrupulous, perverted, inept, vulgar, meretricious, ignorant, lazy, uncreative and just plain fucking stupid people.
Sorry to burst your bubbles, but this is exactly what we are living in at this very moment. It is idle to say that the bullshit began with Trump, or Dubya, or even Warren G. Harding. Most of the world has been living under a Caucasian kakistocracy for the past five centuries.
We all know that Europeans and their descendants consider themselves “White,” which is really not the same thing as being Caucasian, since so-called “white” skin (which can range from pale rose to a yellowish-brown olive) in and of itself carries no deep meaning; like other shades of skin tones it’s just a color. So just as rosy skin doesn’t make you some fucking holy man (as if that ubiquitous portrait of Cesare Borgia that we see hanging everywhere was really Jesus Himself), it also doesn’t make you The Devil. It’s not in your genes, in other words–it’s in your head. The rest is solipsism.
In fact the very notion of “Whiteness” itself is profoundly solipsistic–no, scratch that. It is idiotic. We have gone over this road before and so there is no point in wasting too many words about it. Centuries and centuries of racialist fantasies, starting with their Near-Eastern and Mediterranean origins and climaxing with the racist autism of Adolf Hitler, the alt-Right and Jared Taylor, there was and is nothing progressive about being “White,” just as there really isn’t anything progressive about being “Black,” believe it or not. The significance of Blackness makes sense only in opposition to the significance of Whiteness. Black (that is, Africanness) was not considered “sinful” or “ugly” or “evil” or “deformed” until the appearance of White. (This explains why pro-Black, pork-chop cultural nationalism always winds up eating its own tail, for any attempt to find significance in a degraded condition created by the White oppressor himself–since Black is a condition created by the colonizer, not by the African, Aboriginal or Dravidian Indian–ends in total failure.)
“White” (as we all know or should know) came into existence in the West purely as a reactionary and exclusionary identity against the entirety of the non-white, non-Aryan human race. “White” is the ultimate caste system, one that trumps all other social, economic, political and intellectual concerns. If some toothless old redneck showed up to use the bathroom at a Starbucks in Portland or Philadelphia, the barista would not bat an eyelash–there would be no question of him having the honor of using one of their beloved toilets. The same rule naturally does not apply to a black lawyer or perhaps even the black ex-president of the United States. After all, both are Black, with a capital B. So automatically the toothless redneck stinking of piss and unwashed ass trumps the well-scrubbed and well-healed black upper-middle-class gentleman–or Barack Obama.
The real meaning of what happened at Starbucks a few weeks ago, or the meaning of what happened to the Hart Family some months ago, or what happened when Nikolas Cruz strode into a Florida high school some weeks before and shot up 17 students, or when Stephen Paddock butchered over 50 people in Las Vegas, or when some scumbag, Mr. Affluenza himself–Ethan Couch–was spared prison even after having committed murder, flew over the heads of most people–even so-called “Black” people. The real meaning was perfectly clear to me, however. The white race, in America, as a whole functions as a kakistocracy, made up of irresponsible, clueless schmucks who feel that having rosy skin places them above reproach.
So you have a “white” skin, so-called? Great. You’re in safe hands, sort of. “You are rich because you are white,” Fanon has written, “and you are white because you are rich.” Full stop–nothing else really matters. Never mind the old adage that “with great power, comes great responsibility”–the Caucasian Kakistocracy doesn’t give a shit about “responsibility” and never has. The old elite of Europe, before it had fully formulated its notions of racial superiority and inferiority*, showed little responsibility to most members of their own race–this, prior to Portuguese colonialism or even The Crusades. Truthfully, the old European elite viewed themselves as being of a different race than those they held in serfdom throughout the European continent. (Surprisingly, the same holds true today to a limited extent–especially in Italy, and above all in Naples, where the Neapolitan elite views the street-level white Neapolitan as a “mau mau.“)
Worldwide colonialism changed all that. Now the old European peasants are part of a larger global Kakistocracy by virtue of having a precious “white” skin. A “white” man from Romania may be nothing in Italy but that will change the moment he lands in Burkina Faso or South Africa, or even the United States. In a bourgeois society (which of course includes so-called “Communist” and “socialist” societies such as North Korea, Cuba, China and Venezuela) everyone not in the elite bourgie class strives (to some extent) to emulate the values, mores and prejudices of the bourgie class. The bourgie class is “White,” of course. (This naturally explains why every attempt on the part of Western societies to implement “multiculturalism” has resulted not in true racial harmony but some sort of grotesque pecking order where, nationally and globally speaking, the ones on the top are naturally White Americans and Europeans.)
So it should come as no surprise as to why Chinese petty-bourgeois would put such an unnecessary premium on whiteness, virtually to the point where being “white” in many parts of urban China is the closest thing to Godliness. (Or at least, the Chinese petty-bourgeois thinks or puts on that this is so.) It should be no question as to why women in India, Nigeria, Egypt and other “Third World” nations use skin lighteners by the ton. It should be no surprise that in virtually every country in the world (to quote Chester Himes) so-called “Black” people are considered “the shit of the earth.” Likewise, it should not shock anyone that a Nazi scumbag like Andrew Anglin (one of several) would manage to obtain a visa for Cambodia or Nigeria, or that David Duke managed to hold a teaching position in Damascus, Syria. (After all David Duke, like most Arabs and truthfully like most Americans anyway, really doesn’t like Jews.) A Cambodian official is not looking at Anglin’s political rap sheet; he’s looking at Anglin’s passport and above all, his skin. Anglin is a Nazi, but he is WHITE. He is the aristocrat, and as such, he can really do no wrong in the world at large.
God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, “Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.”
–Ann Coulter, descendant of Irish famine immigrants and right-wing whack job
And aristocrats generally prefer the company of other aristocrats. Wannabe aristocrats prefer the company of aristocrats, naturally. Nothing is worse than a wannabe aristocrat, that poor creature who has all the aspirations of belonging yet does not measure up due to a mere “accident” of birth. So it comes as no surprise that some of the worst nigger-haters on the planet are other “niggers,” or Arabs, or Chinese, or Latinos, etc. or that those most vociferously opposed to “illegal immigration” (an absurd notion when you consider that virtually all European immigration to non-European nations was illegal to begin with) are, in fact, other Latinos. The White American himself does not feel entirely comfortable around any of them, of course; he’d rather interact with some German, Irish, Finnish or French immigrant than he would with his so-called “fellow African American.” This is because the immigrants, though they may not speak a lick of English, are white, and Northern European to boot. The White American may feel slightly less comfortable dealing with a swarthy Sicilian (more so than with an Italian immigrant from Milan) and considerably less comfortable dealing with a Chinese or Japanese immigrant, and still more uncomfortable dealing with somebody from Chile as opposed to somebody from Spain.
So, what then? The White Aristocrat is able to write off three quarters of humanity not because he has any burning desire to do so–not necessarily, anyway–but because his culture (like that of his forefathers) has rendered him incapable of truly seeing nuance in any other people or any other culture save their own. An aristocracy is exclusive, whether it is a Kakistocracy or not. Outside that White Aristocracy everyone else is either a romantic symbol, a stereotype, a cliche, a threat–or, more often than not, a cipher.
It is the ultimate in moral irresponsibility for a group of people that prides itself on running (or rather, ruining) the planet. When the whole of humanity is forced to toe an insane line of thought and action simply because some fat, blonde white sex-maniac insists that it is so, then something must change, and change quick. The needs of the many are far too precious to outweigh the needs of eight or nine white men who control literally half of the world’s wealth. In European text books the old aristocracies of France, Austria-Hungary, the Hapsburgs and others are shown for what they had become by the time they were destroyed–old, creaking monstrosities driven by perversion and greed, completely cut off not merely from the needs and concerns of their people but from their people, period. The very same holds doubly true for this current White Kakistocracy, which is cut off from virtually the entire human race.
Western historians teach us that when the masses of Paris descended upon Versailles and trashed the place, it was a “great moment in history.” It will never occur to these same Westerners that if the masses of people outside the White Kakistocracy descend upon downtown Manhattan or downtown Paris or London and loot it to the hilt, it would be virtually the same thing. We all remember the howls of outrage that rose up throughout the entire White world three years ago when millions of African and Asian refugees descended upon Europe. The Kakistocracy, as it typically does, played dumb and talked endlessly of “Eurabia” and “White Genocide” and all that crap.¹ They still do.²
This white, global aristocracy is so obsessively narcissistic they imagine that some thug from West-Side Chicago is actually oppressing them when he goes on a shooting rampage, rather than the other way around. The white aristocrat does not need to go on a shooting rampage; nothing is oppressing him but his own diseased mind. But he does it anyway: case in point, Stephen Paddock. Another case in point: Dylan Roof. Dylan Roof was not taken out gung-ho style like Tamir Rice or Stephon Clark. It is true that Clark was caught attempting to burglarize several cars before being shot for having a cellphone in his own backyard. Dylan Roof, on the other hand, guns down eight black people in a church in Charleston and while on the way to the police station, he is allowed a meal at McDonalds. Because, you know, killing eight niggers makes a young boy mighty hungry.
Yet another case in point is Nikolas Cruz, the poor, lonely, lost child who shoots 17 kids at a high school in Florida. Since he was not a “fucking Ay-rab” or a “Paki” or some “Black Identity Extremist,” he is not considered a terrorist but simply another misunderstood cat who suffered from extreme bullying. So you know, we, whites and wannabe whites, can empathize with the motherfucker to the point of sending him cash, love letters, nude pics and panties while he languishes in prison. (But Tanishia Covington? Hell, no.)
Slinging mud at far-right loonies like Paddock, Cruz and Roof is extremely easy. But when our liberal and leftist “friends” fuck up along these same lines, what can we say? The Hart family, pictured above, was the exact polar opposite of Jared Taylor and Company. Here we had a white lesbian couple from Seattle that had adopted six black and brown kids and reared them on their own. But on closer inspection we saw that these six kids merely existed as punching bags for these two white liberal lesbians’ self-aggrandizement. In other words, the kids were just there to make these white bitches feel good about themselves and the world.
No matter if these two bitches routinely beat, starved and punished these kids, insulted them with racial slurs or, even more humiliating, forced a couple of them to march out with signs offering hugs to cops (knowing full well it was a bullshit move) while the country was in an uproar over police brutality (not to mention Nazi infiltration of American law enforcement); their sociopathic behavior must have had some justification, however insane, since after all they were not only white but liberal lesbians who had adopted six black and brown children. Naturally the alt-right and their ilk has utilized this incident as an alibi to call out the “privileged” racism of the liberal-left. No comment; one doesn’t need to write any more books about the hyper-privileged racism of wealthy far-right demagogues such as Richard Spencer or the Koch Brothers or, for that matter, Donald Trump. Let them kill each other; they could hardly do worse to themselves what they now do to us. Of course they are still getting away with murder. Of course the level of national outrage at their behavior is nowhere near as high as it is for Bill Cosby³ and certainly not O.J. Simpson, whom the white majority considers to be Satan incarnate.
The entire incident reveals a genuine rottenness at the heart of white liberalism; even though it is just one particularly outrageous incident, it is really of a piece with how white liberalism functions in regards to non-whites, especially blacks. In fact, the whole Hart Family incident can be read as white, Western liberalism in a nutshell. “Whites,” whether left or right, Northern or Southern, Eastern or Western, rich or poor, understand “Love” as a one-way street in which the whole of humanity is bowing at its altar, endlessly mimicking their twisted value system, speaking their language in their own particular “white” way. And in turn, these “whites” can only “love” us if we conform to their ridiculous expectations.
This “Love” of theirs is full of exceptions, conditions and caveats which contradict themselves at every single turn. It is so exasperating and demoralizing in the long run that one wonders whether this kakistocratic “Love” is actually more lethal than their well-known “hate.” “White” so-called Christians (as well as Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Wiccans, agnostics and atheists) speak to the world about “unconditional love” while at the same time drawing up an insane laundry list of expectations and demands that the entire planet (including themselves) must abide by in order to receive the “Love” of a white, Western Kakistocrat. That “Love” manifests itself naturally in government grants, fellowships, aid packages, job hirings, job promotions–every conceivable thing under the sun that the non-white individual either wants or needs, right down to a simple phone number from a white woman or man in a crappy pick-up bar.
Yeah, we already know that fact–or at least, we know it, but we don’t want to think about it too much because too many of us who are not of the Kakistocracy actually need to jump through these goddamned hoops merely to survive–much less pick up some chick (or dude) in a singles bar. This won’t happen to our member of the Caucasian Kakistocracy. Slob or no slob, punk or no punk, beta or no beta, he is–in the eyes of too many willfully blind folk–the ultimate Alpha Male. Sexual attractiveness and financial status have little to do with it, of course, for even the most pathetic white “incel” (involuntary celibate, for those not familiar with this kind of talk) is still “Alpha” socially, politically, and economically. All he needs to do is stop feeling sorry for himself. For at the end of the day, this self-emasculated “incel” is still white.
He can walk the streets of his own neighborhood without fear of being pulled over by cops. He sit down inside a goddamned Cracker Barrel–this, assuming that it’s actually worth the time to even go to a Cracker Barrel–and not be forced out. He can use the esteemed crappers of Starbucks or Denny’s and not face the prospect of arrest. What–him worry? Worry about what? Even when everybody puts him down, even when non-white males insult and ridicule him, call him “honky,” etc., the “honky” laughs inside because he knows that his social “inferiors” are simply letting off steam before returning to their proper place, to pick his cotton, shine his shoes and suck his wiener.
Being called a “honky” won’t lead to him losing his position at the top of the totem pole. His throne is safe for now. He is still worshiped–or has the illusion of being worshiped–in China, India and South America, even if he is a fat, toothless old git. She is still worshiped (or thinks she is) in Kenya, Morocco, Jamaica even if she is a fat, stinky pile of rotting flesh. After all they’re white and white means money. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority of the world’s people like them–on the contrary, most of the world hates them, but since they have money, power, prestige, all the trappings of the Great White (Western) Aristocracy they are far more inclined to get a pass for their honkyshines.°
So, now we know. The truth of it all is unbearable, insupportable. That is: in a white kakistocracy there simply is no Equality, no Liberty and Justice for All; it’s just idle talk. But there are hierarchies within hierarchies, and the Kakistocracy is no exception. It has never been enough within White Society merely to just be white: this is only true in opposition to those who aren’t white! Left to their own devices, the Europeans simply revert back to their age-old feudal/ethnic hatreds of each other. (The entire history of Germany is a perfect case in point.)
The lower end of the settler’s aristocracy shoulders the upper end. This lower end is still somewhat bourgeois, right down to the lowliest hick in an Appalachian trailer park. But the hick is pissed off because he finds that the weight he carries is simply too much for him to handle. The hick’s ancestors came to America hoping that they, too would one day be Great White Aristocrats. It didn’t happen–not the way he had hoped.
In America, the affluent white Anglo-Saxon can afford to play at being a liberal or even a leftist. When we see this man, all smiles, cotton-candy and hamburgers, we can’t help but feel that as a member of the White Class, he is but the flip side of the resentful white ethnic with her Madonna on the front porch and Polish/Italian/Erin-go-bragh flag flapping in the breeze. One can’t help but feel that if this same Anglo-Saxon were living in some Kentucky shithole, he’d be just as bigoted as Billy Ray, or a little shit like Harley Barber (Barbera). Miss Barbera is pissed off because Big Whitey (Anglo-Saxon) never handed her ass a proper crown yet. She is all of a piece with Bubba and Billy Ray next door with their Jack Daniels and rebel flag. The white crown they wear is a tarnished, hand-me-down one–one reserved for the wops, shanty micks, white spics, polacks and redneck trailer trash.
There’s never enough room at the top in any caste system. The rank-and-file, lower-middle-classwhite man increasingly finds himself in an economically precarious situation through relentless downsizing; having to shelve his master’s degree while he hunts for a shit job at Walmart; and failing that, he faces homelessness, decades of sexual frustration and settling for the mere luxury of being white in a neoliberal Western culture that is increasingly thinning its high class ranks. And being white but somewhat disgraced (for ethnic or class reasons) the “hick” is at least given the “Liberty” of punching down on the totem pole–as New York City police officers or the Hell’s Angels. Or Dylan Roof. Or even–God forbid–a disgruntled, antisocial millionaire white supremacist like the late Stephen Paddock.
*Re: Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. We witness the birth of hardcore Western racism not in Abbasid Baghdad, or Aryan India, but the Late Roman Empire, when the Romans’ fear and hatred of outsiders reached the point of homicidal and genocidal mania. Just before the sacking of Rome by Alaric in 410 AD, the Romans had already had an obsessively inflated view of themselves as “Romans” being superior to non-Romans, but Germanic incursions into Roman borders had erased the Romans’ sense of security and well-being and threw them into panic mode. Much like today, where the descendants of both Romans and Goths cower together on Cape Europe, in horror of the “niggers” and “towelheads” below and beside them.
¹The European right loves to sling arrows at Angela Merkel, whom they imagine has gotten in bed with the fucking Ayatollah of Iran. Mind you this is the same Angela Merkel who proclaimed the multicultural experiment to be a “failure.” No shit, Sherlock. A society predicated upon upholding exclusively “White” standards as The Only Way is incapable of becoming genuinely multiracial or even socially equal. By default, anything “Black” is going to wind up in the social shitter.
²The Swedish Far Right imagines that Sweden is “dead.” No: only their idea of Sweden appears to be dead, when in fact it is quite alive. The Arabs and Africans on the bottom of Swedish society, leery of mimicking the stilted, stolid and pedantic mannerisms of the Swedish people (themselves a massive white Global Elite), instead turned inward and against each other, and ultimately against a society that judged them as trash from the start. The hegemony of Islamic extremism was simply a ready-made alternative to the antiseptic nightmare of bourgeois Swedishness. It is not, never has been and never will be representative of anything progressive or humane. But the Islamic far-right (like the Nation of Islam in the USA) was on hand for these alienated black and brown youth when the so-called “Left” was not.
³As I write this, Bill Cosby, America’s Dad, PhD and all, is on his way to prison. He will most likely die there. Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, Donald Trump and innumerable cops and old Klansmen who beat, tortured and killed “niggers” during and after the Civil Rights movement are still free.
°Sometimes the honkyshines are welcomed. There is actually a group of American Negroes who have sexualized their own self-contempt and white-worship, and have allowed white Nazis to beat them up, put them in cages and force them to eat dog food or dog-shit, holding up signs with racial slurs or swastikas on them, etc. Some of these revolting pics can be seen online. (Of course one can also see the reverse in guilt-ridden white male “cucks” who allow themselves to be raped in the ass by big black thugs, but these are really two flip sides of the same coin. Scratch a sadist and you will find a masochist, and vice versa. At bottom neither the white sex-sadists nor the white sex-masochists think they are dealing with their social equals, but with their social and biological inferiors.)
Note: I have noted the deathly silence on this blog’s activities after posting a picture and a quote from the late Romain Rolland, author of the massive roman-flevue “Jean-Christophe.” The quote was taken from the novel.
I placed the quote there for an obvious reason. Yeah, Monsieur Rolland was a white Frenchman, a good friend of Gandhi (well-known racist and flip-flopper) and Rabindrath Tagore (who wasn’t). That’s not the point. The author does not indulge in white worship either on this blog or elsewhere nor does he do it in his private life. The reason why I posted the quote is because it is entirely relevant to what people, especially black people, need to do now.
Rolland writes: “There is an age in life when we must dare to be unjust, when we must make a clean sweep of all admiration and respect got at second-hand, and deny everything truth and untruth everything which we have not of ourselves known for truth. Through education, and through everything that he sees and hears about him, a child absorbs so many lies and blind follies mixed with the essential verities of life, that the first duty of the adolescent who wishes to grow into a healthy man is to sacrifice everything.”
The point is perfectly clear. Writing from a contemporary perspective, it’s obvious that there are too many people, including far far too many black people, who get all their values, their knowledge about the world and themselves second-hand. With Afro-Americans in particular, we are still so deeply infested with this idiotic colonial mentality that some of us are even willing to pretend to our white masters that our oppression doesn’t really exist, that it’s just an illusion. Which explains why the late Stephon Clark went to his death thinking that his children (from some Vietnamese woman, whom I’m not going to talk about) were “not black,” that he himself wanted nothing whatever to do with “black.” Or why his brother Stevante was willing to put on a ridiculous coon act in front of the entire nation, to the point of landing himself in jail. It also explains why Melissa DePino, a white woman who captured the entire Starbucks flap on video, was far more willing to call the incident for what it was–blatantly racist–than the very victims themselves.
Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson sit on ABC News with their attorney, their blank faces staring back at us, carefully censoring their true feelings before the white majority audience–as if mouthing bland platitudes about “standing up” and “this is a people issue” will take the national heat off them. The heat is on them because they are black, of course. It does not matter if they have been victimized or not. Like the ridiculous Stevante Clark, both Mr. Nelson and Mr. Robinson were perfectly willing to settle for a wad of cash in exchange for their dignity. Now if either of these three were willing to take the cash and leave Trumpland, it would make perfect sense. I do not know what either Nelson or Robinson intend to do with their cash and it’s none of my business. But we all know what Stevante Clark intended to do with his because he made himself plain with his goofy-ass behavior.
Unfortunately, Stevante Clark was not the only victim of fascist police thuggery to trade in his dignity for a few pieces of tarnished gold.
Every single stupid thing that we do when it comes to dealing with the white world stems from the fact that we still see white people (and to a lesser extent other non-blacks) as our superiors. We think that no matter how horribly the planet treats us, we still must make believe that our ill-treatment really isn’t so bad. So some white guy kicked you in the ass on the metro, spat on you and called you a nigger? Well, okay. Not a big deal. In fact, maybe the white guy was just angry over something else, and was just taking it out on me. Don’t even bother to ask yourself why he chose YOU, of all people, to vent his disgust on. Don’t bother to ask yourself why much of the world thinks you’re a walking spittoon simply because you’re an African. Laugh. Smile. And above all, love.
Love is the key, isn’t it? Why, sure it is. We’ve heard that old line before. The only goddamned problem is that you never bothered to ask yourself where you got those words from. Who? Your mother? Your father? Some random book, or some friend of yours? And did you bother to ask yourself precisely what “Love” is? Is it a one-way or a two-way street? Is it conditional?
From what any damn fool can see, the “Love” we share with our white overlords clearly comes with a huge laundry list of strange clauses. The most notable clause is from the Bible. Do Unto Others As They Would Do Unto You. Well, then. How do “Others” do unto us, anyway? Ever thought about that? You read the fucking Bible and the damn thing tells you “Love Thy Neighbor.” Okay, then. Your white, Asian, Hispanic, Arab, African or self-hating American colored neighbor hates your damn guts for no good reason. This is how shit happens in the real, everyday world, sir. So what do you do, then? Do you come to this hate-filled neighbor with a love he refuses to show you, preferably with a Bible or Koran in hand? Or do you return the favor, since–as that clause itself would amply illustrate–you should Do Unto Others As They Would Do Unto You?
The other clause (and far more sinister and unspoken) is: you, negro, must love me no matter what, even if I don’t love you. Therefore your honky neighbor has a right to scrawl racist shit all over your car and you must forgive him (or her). The honky will probably get probation, but if you curse at him you might get shot on a technicality, either by the honky or by the cops (who are probably the honky’s friend). The real point I am trying to make is that everything you think you know about love, about forgiveness, about respect, about being an American or being (for that matter) “Black,” you learned it second-hand. You show America a begrudging respect (and your own folk a routine and calculated disrespect) not merely because you are afraid, but because it has been drummed into your head from birth that you belong at the tail end of the bread line because of your ethnicity and color, democracy be damned. Yet at the same token it’s also been drummed into your head that this is your country and that this is a democracy and that you are an integral part of it. So, then–why the fuck do you think belong at the end of the national bread line? And if you are at the end of the fucking bread line, getting everybody’s leftovers every passing decade, why do you still call it a “democracy?” Something is clearly wrong here, but what do you think of all that?
Deep down, you (Afro-American) think you are at fault for all the bad things that are happening in the world. Never mind that you don’t have a goddamned stake in running things, and NO, it’s not because you’re “inferior”–whatever the fuck that means. After all there is a thin line between a man who thinks himself to be inferior (and acts the part out of some sick Pavlovian syndrome) and a man who actually is inferior and thinks himself to be superior–not because the inferior man is genetically deficient or lacks the necessary melanin to build a Great Pyramid, but because this inferior man’s inflated sense of white self makes him feel that his color alone is enough to make him feel superior. Had this superior white man walked in your shoes for a single month (much less a lifetime) you can rest assured his high IQ score would plummet by several dozen points after the first week.
The whole country right now is screeching like drunken magpies about arch-rapist Bill Cosby, while forgetting that their President Sideswipe is pushing humanity towards World War Three. If you ask me, I’d rather have Quaaludes in my coffee and fingers in my crotch than global radiation poisoning. (We only have one planet, after all.) That’s not to say that Cosby is a saint. Bill Cosby is simply the by-product of the same decadent, money-grubbing, hypocritical, neoliberal, capitalist, bourgeois culture that spawned Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Roy Moore and the rest of them. That culture is completely antithetical to all true moral values, all sense of right and wrong, everything beautiful, everything positive, and anything even remotely natural and healthy.
Yet you abide by the fake values of this culture and even pledge love for the promoters of this shitty culture without even thinking about it. You go to a Starbucks or a Denny’s or a Cracker Barrel with the intent of eating or drinking their shitty, chemically saturated food. Okay, you dig this funky “food.” You have every right in the world to eat there and to challenge to any degree those who would insist that you have no right to eat at Cracker Barrel, or Denny’s, or Starbucks–the police included. But your eating there puts money back into the pockets of the same schmucks who are kicking your ass, while at the same time, very slowly ruining your health.
There is something very childish about this kind of behavior. It’s typically American, and black Americans are definitely no exception. The average American spends his entire life in some painfully protracted adolescence, blindly believing everything he has been taught and living what James Baldwin has called “the unexamined life”–a life which, he hastened to add, was not worth living. I’m assuming that your average Afro-American is equally adolescent, if in his head if not in his body. You have millions of black men who have prioritized a cheap piece of ass over everything in the world because they imagine that some oozing vagina (or asshole) will make up for their basic lack of manhood–and millions of black women who imagine a blonde weave will give them the womanhood they never had. And why?
Virtually none of them can think for themselves. Very, very few of them will stand back from the chaos that is their society and say, “I won’t accept it.” It’s not enough for an individual rejection of the American insanity; there must be a collective effort to reject the insanity. But whether this rejection will actually take place within Black America is another question entirely.
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 Sheep, Bush 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?
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
Concerning Ragtime, composer William Bolcom has said that “the classic music style of any given culture is the one that defines its basic language in a form that that culture can naturally accept as its own.” This is not only true for ragtime, but also the blues, the shouts and the spirituals and, of course, Native American music. Everything else is essentially from outside the country; however this does not mean that “everything else” is to be disregarded and rejected.
Of course, expressing a full range of emotions in music–having access to a complete palate of music colors and tonal shadings–is what makes a music great. It’s what makes it human. The music can be mystical and ethereal, or light and airy and in pastel shadings. Or in deep, dark, heavy oil colors, or somewhere in between.
The term “Funk” is just like “jazz,” like “ragtime” itself, or like “swing,” a cheap name slapped on a form of expression in order to sell it. Before the early sixties “Funky” meant filthy, low-down, smelly, degenerate. The word was rehabilitated by “funky soul” jazz musicians ca. 1960 (mostly from middle-class backgrounds) and by James Brown, whose music, coincidentally, drew heavily not only on gospel and postwar urban blues but also on swing and early jazz. James Brown’s music was multilayered and multifaceted, though certainly not on the same level as Thelonious Monk or Duke Ellington.
Many who were touched by his music only heard the funk element and nothing else. In fact most popular black music after 1970 (and certainly after 1980) had become increasingly narrow in its range of emotional expression. It became increasingly slick, sterile, superficial and repetitious, frequently even mindless. Today “funk” (besides homicidal rage) has become the only element in “black music” that one generally picks up on when one listens to it, and it is not even good “funk”–it’s worse than the corny pseudo-funk of vintage porn clips of Seka and Long Dong Silver.
Why the obsession with just this one (watered-down) ingredient? Because it’s easy, number one. It’s easy to fake. Of course, you can’t fake the funk, but untold millions of listeners these days can’t tell the difference between Hersal Thomas, George Clinton and rapper DMX. Millions of listeners these days would prefer DMX because in their minds (regardless of their racial, ethnic, or national background) he represents “authentic black music.” DMX could not even play his own skin-flute but such is the power of multinational corporate persuasion, most listeners don’t give two shits; their minds have already been made up concerning “authentic black music.”
To pop-culture squares, both DMX, Tupac and their ilk are “acceptably” black. To the Afro-Futurists and Afro-Surrealists Sun Ra is acceptably black because the Dionysian element in his music appeals to their rococo sensibilities, forgetting that Sun Ra himself scoffed at the very idea of people needing more freedom. “People need more discipline,” he said.
In reality, Sun Ra was a bit of a reactionary. He was lukewarm (to say the least) about Black Power and even about the Civil Rights struggle that preceded it. There is evidence that he was in fact a Republican or that his political sympathies lay in that region. (He was from Birmingham, after all.) As an anti-authoritarian leftist I realize that discipline is important but truthfully, people need to learn how to walk that tightrope between freedom and discipline, and not just in art.
Count Basie, Anthony Braxton, Duke Ellington is “stuff white people like.” And if white people like it, it isn’t “black” anymore. “The brothers ain’t into it,” people (mostly black themselves) will say. And the dutifully cowed black listener will listen to Florence Price or James Scott or Julius Eastman in private, lest his black peers label him a “coon” or a “honky.”
“Authentic black music,” “real” black music (in the minds of most listeners) must always be limited in its range of expression, always stuck in the night club, no matter where it finds itself. Even in Carnegie Hall or the Berlin Philharmonie, “real black music” must always carry the stink of the fucking night club, the cathouse, the strip joint, across the railroad tracks in Funky Butt Hall or the Bucket of Blood. “Funk,” even the good stuff (to be perfectly honest) impresses in the minds of those people (who wish to sell, listen to, jack off to, screw to or appropriate black music) that our music is just cheap, tawdry shit to jack off to, made by a bunch of black-faced, comic opera buffoons who are naturally happy or naturally enraged or naturally sad–all just one emotion, incapable of expressing a entire range of human emotions.
In Tha Funk, all we are left with is shit-brown, or as some ignorant coolie fuck somewhere in China called it, NIGGER-brown. People love Tha Funk because not only does it make us want to fuck, or eat, or shit, or gouge out some asshole’s nipples with a gimlet but also because it subconsciously reinforces in our minds that the niggers who made this Funk are just that–niggers.
Today’s American musician would have you think that The Funk is everything. It isn’t. The Funk always was and always will be what it is–an ingredient. When you make a fucking stew, you don’t just add hot sauce and nothing else. Who wants to eat a bowlful of hot sauce?∗
Better yet, let’s just ask the basic question: what is “funk,” anyway?
Duke Ellington described it when he placed his fingers down on a few keys and produced a dissonant chord. “That’s us,” he said. A funky chord is produced on piano by playing an F-major over a B-major note, for instance. But the trick is not to overuse it, or be so obvious with it. The Funk is something that should emerge organically.
Here in Berlin, I receive several invitations to jazz concerts and ignore the bulk of them. Usually it’s because these days, I simply don’t have the time. And when I do have the time I’m selective with whom and where I’m going to spend it. Hint: it may be at Speichers, but it won’t be at Edelweiss or the Yorckschlossen, because all I’m going to hear is the same old tired “funk.”
Very, very few musicians here are doing anything ground-breaking. It’s “nice” to see that young kids in their twenties and thirties are back into “jazz”¹ but virtually none of them have brought any new energy to the table. Whether they are mindlessly trudging their way through post-bop cliches or chug-chugging away on their banjos at various night-spots in Berlin (or Paris, New York, Amsterdam, for that matter) it all sounds the same, and it is extremely painful in the end to hear yet another tired-ass rendition of “Indiana” or “As Time Goes By.” Do we really need to hear “Indiana” again? Or, at the very least, do we need to hear it just the way Eddie Condon played it back in 1940?
The various Shout bands of the United House of Prayer have already given these so-called “jazz” musicians ample clues as to where they can take the music next–and typically, the “jazz” world has all but ignored them. When they do listen to the UHOP bands it is merely to ape their instrumental lineup (and honestly, I strongly doubt if the jazzers ever did that: the various street jazz bands one sees in urban America are just bland imitations of the worst of the New Orleans brass bands, most of which sound nasty). Very well, then: it is the jazz world’s loss.
Out of all the musicians playing today bands such as The Lively Stones have developed (over a period of four or more decades) a uniquely successful synthesis of early big-band territory jazz (think Luis Russell, Alphonso Trent, Zach Whyte, Cecil Scott’s Bright Boys, etc.) and modern gospel, neo-soul and funk harmonies. The result is some of the most emotionally powerful music currently being played in the United States. Occasionally these bands do get raggedy and repetitious, but they are rarely bad unless they go into the studio and cut commercial CDs (the shout bands have cut extremely few and nearly all of them are quite bad, compared to the almost overwhelming power they are capable of when playing on street corners.) They can roar like a herd of lions or they can be soft, sweet and gentle as lambs. At their best, their music has an almost defiant, earthy dignity, coupled with an impeccable swing that has been absent from “jazz” for untold decades. They are using a far broader palette of emotive expressions than these “jazz” circle-jerkers, who are content to run their fingers up and down their instruments as if they were masturbating rather than making music.
So-called “jazz” musicians are not obliged to keep their heads in their asses and ape Coltrane or Miles Davis for the next two thousand years. Nor are they condemned to some European-infected avant-garde oblivion by reducing the music to a series of deafening shrieks which not even dead people can tolerate. The whole postmodernist shtick of pushing the music forward to incomprehension is an obsession of French intellectuals with no ideas and even less feeling. But of course, feeling isn’t everything.
Some idiots would have us believe that so-called “black music” is all about feeling and rhythm and soul. We have been over this ground a billion times and Anthony Braxton has said it better than I can. To sum it up, the obsession with “black feeling” is implicitly reactionary, even in a revolutionary posture a la Amiri Baraka. Baraka is a writer who I greatly admire (and count as a major influence on my own writing). Yet in his many writings on this subject posited that black music was all about the soul and feeling. Yeah, fine, but what about the intellect? Sun Ra himself would have thought otherwise. Is head music only for Apollonian Europeans (who never existed, when you think about it) and the “soul music” only for Dionysiac (read: emotional and primitive) Africans? Really?
Alain Locke, writing in the 1920s, saw the matter somewhat differently:
The characteristic African art expressions are rigid, controlled, disciplined, abstract, heavily conventionalized; those of the Aframerican—free, exuberant, emotional, sentimental and human. Only by the misinterpretation of the African spirit, can one claim any emotional kinship between them—for the spirit of African expression, by and large, is disciplined, sophisticated, laconic and fatalistic. The emotional temper of the American Negro is exactly opposite. What we have thought primitive in the American Negro—his naiveté, his sentimentalism, his exuberance and his improvising spontaneity are then neither characteristically African nor to be explained as an ancestral heritage. They are the result of his peculiar experience in America and the emotional upheaval of its trials and ordeals. True, these are now very characteristic traits, and they have their artistic, and perhaps even their moral compensations; but they represent essentially the working of environmental forces rather than the outcroppingof a race psychology; they are really the acquired and not the original artistic temperament.
The whole “black soul” trope sounds suspiciously like the same crap regurgitated endlessly throughout the 20s, 30s and 40s by slumming whites who thought that Cab Calloway, Fats Waller or the Mills Blue Rhythm Band (in performance mode, that is) were perfect expressions of everything inside the Negro Soul. And we all know that the Black Man’s Soul was and is a White man’s artifact. One can’t create a revolution in the culture while adhering to self-concepts that were fashioned by people who still think that we’re monkeys.
But perhaps at a very basic level the essence of African diaspora music globally is “the same,” and the difference is in the details. Taking Locke at his word (and it seems fair that we should do so) African musical concepts are generally far more rigid than our own. So-called “African music”–to cite one example out of thousands, the music of the Wolof, or that of the Ashanti–has fixed rules. In Ashanti musical ensembles you play your part and if you must deviate you must do it within the context allotted you–otherwise, the musical spell is interrupted. You can’t just play any old goddamned thing that pops into your head and then try and blend it in with the rest.
Of course, such a thing might be entirely possible in New Afrikan music providing one has an intuitive understanding of what is being played. Freedom–but within discipline. Albert Murray and Ralph Ellison said as much concerning real Swing music, which, ironically (because many critics, including Baraka, condemned it as whitified, commercialized and bourgeois–and much of it was, truthfully), comes far closer to the African musical aesthetic than free jazz. So does the music of King Oliver, as well as James Brown. Both were known to be iron-fisted disciplinarians in rehearsals.
The African music is a classical one, like the European, the Asian, the Middle Eastern, or South American. The African American music has a classical side, too, but it is persistently overlooked, largely because it doesn’t really sell. Nobody is really going to buy Leon Bates, Orbert Davis, Reginald Robinson, John Reed-Torres or the Fisk University Jubilee Singers to the degree in which they’ll gleefully gobble up Jay Z’s simple-minded “Story of O.J.” Because the sad truth is that your average African American’s tastes in music are generally just as vulgar, just as tawdry and frivolous as your average white Yank. And that’s because your average African American is just that–a Yank.
Naturally, all of this has to change. Our new music can no longer confine itself mentally to dingy nightclubs and to The Street. We can’t keep on putting out frivolity and trashy, tasteless, corny shit because “everyone is into it,” or because it pays well. Today’s pop music is even worse than the cheesiest disco, worse than 80s synth-driven, obnoxious coked-up New Wave trash. To create the New Music, one has to find the aesthetic strains that bind together the low (so-called “pop”) and the high. Whatever has value in pop music, one can use it and throw the rest in the trash can. Whatever has value in neo-soul, one can use it; whatever sounds that can blend in harmoniously with the new musical stew, it can go in. Otherwise, keep it out.
No audience for the New Music? Find the fucking audience. Forty years ago very very few people wanted to hear Hip Hop. One hundred and thirty years ago ragtime was unknown outside of cheap saloons and bordellos. Today ragtime is our basic musical language and one can’t find a patch of earth on the planet in which hip-hop, the retarded great-great-grandbaby of ragtime, isn’t being blasted from an iPhone.
Yes, that’s right. Hip-hop is essentially ragtime syncopation with words and not notes. John Legend’s “Where Did My Baby Go,” which was enormously popular, is essentially a ragtime song with the rhythm shifted to a “Latin” beat. In fact, it sounds almost as if it had been written partly by Louis Chauvin, Fats Waller and James P. Johnson. You can’t hear this unless you play it stride style on a piano.
The New Music has to be somewhat nationalistic. I hate to say “nationalistic,” but at this point in time we need nationalism in our culture to beat back the fog of a fake neoliberal “multiculturalism,” as well as the fog of pseudo-nationalist “identitarian” racism. We need African American nationalism in the New Music in the same way that Chopin put Polish nationalism (by way of mazurkas and polonaises) in his “New Music.” The aim of Chopin and other European musical nationalists was to break the stifling mold of an increasingly bland, characterless pan-European Classicism in music, in which the folk melodies of oppressed nations such as Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, etc., etc. were almost completely absent. The “Classical” music of Europe reflected the bloated faces and rococo sensibilities of the Hapsburgs, not those of the various peoples under the Hapsburg heel. One anonymous listener made an interesting comment concerning Chopin’s Grand Polonaise: he said that the piece was a conscious expression of the Polish people’s struggle for freedom. I agree.
Our New Music must reflect our own folk sounds and anything else we can incorporate into the Music that gels with the basic folk sounds. The Music must reflect the struggle to liberate ourselves under the dead weight of a fake corporate “international” sound designed to put people to sleep under a fucking ecstasy haze. This pseudo-music we should seek to destroy is the soundtrack of hipsters and the bullshit neoliberal/neofascist/alt-right pseudo-democracy they thrive in like weeds.
And when we make our music, we do it right. Not in a stupid, heavy-handed Commie way, or in a brutalist fascist manner, but in our new classical manner. Classical doesn’t mean wearing a tuxedo and picking up a fucking violin. That is not our classical form. If you don’t like the old “classical” forms then create new ones. You can even utilize Rap, too, but be prepared to shatter every single definition and rule as to what Rap is supposed to sound like. Rap is a painfully limited art form; it doesn’t express much more than junior high school machismo. It’s like a squirt of jism–once it’s out there, that’s that. Even their politics are suspect because of their lousy self-presentation: when Snoop Dogg shits on Donald Dumb-ass, he does it in the same old tired way–as a clownish, comic-opera negro. When Eminem shits on the Orange Honky he is no different: a hip, violent Al Jolson sans blackface.
Snoop Dogg wants to Make America Crip Again. I say: a curse on both your houses–the White House and the Hip Hop House. The Hip Hop House is obsessed with cocaine, money and fat white women. The White House is obsessed with power. Both are dead set upon keeping Black American Music in the lowest and most obscene state imaginable. In their empty heads the minstrel stage is the end-goal for our music; after that, the gas chambers and firing squads will be activated. Even when their “rap” is allegedly radical it still makes the Afro-American look like an ignorant savage. We don’t need this. Get Afro-classical; get back to the roots.
∗It is not enough to simply sit around talking about how much Rap stinks, or that The Funk is just simple-minded, repetitive droning on one fucking chord, with no real feeling (one can’t fake real funk, you either get it or you don’t. If you don’t get it, don’t play it: play Chopin instead.
(On second thought, don’t play him, either. Or Beethoven. Because in both of these players there is a discernible “proto-funk” or better yet, borderline-funk sensibility: listen to Grosse Fuge by Beethoven or Nocturne in F-Sharp by Chopin. And definitely leave Scriabin’s Vers La Flamme alone.)
¹It was fascinating for awhile to see millennials getting back into jazz, even traditional jazz. Anthony Braxton might see it otherwise, as concomitant with political reaction. The truth is a bit trickier than that. Yes, the return of swing music in the 1990s heralded the disasters of the Bush Regime and worse things to come, and to be honest, not a single one of these goofy bands was playing anything close to what real swing music was; none of them possessed the true musical sensibilities that made the best so-called “big band” music, such as that charted by Don Redman, Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson, Eddie Sauter, Jimmy Mundy, Melvin “Sy” Oliver, Patrick “Spike” Hughes, Eddie Durham and many others. None of them possessed the musical skills necessary to tackle a difficult piece like “Chant of the Weed” or Coleman Hawkins’ atonal “Queer Notions.” “Stop Kidding,” a notoriously intricate John Nesbit arrangement written in 1928, would be completely beyond the powers of the overwhelming majority of today’s so-called “big bands.”
For the containment and selective eradication of so-called BIE (Black Identity Extremists)
by Dr. Milton Milquetost, Director of Denegrification Department, F**** C***** I*******, Washington, D.C.
Note: this modest proposal analyzes the poverty and anger of specific members of the population in question: African-Americans, popularly known as “niggers,” “spooks,” “coons,” “monkeys,” “apes,” “baboons,” “jungle-bunnies,” “tar-babies,” “quashies,” “spades,” “ink spots,” “sambos,” “Negroes,” “coloreds,” “basketball-Americans,” “spearchuckers,” “moon-crickets,” “jenkem-sniffers,” “groids,” “nigras,” etc.
In light of the revelations that BLACK IDENTITY EXTREMISTS pose a unique and grave threat to the established order of the Republic, we of the F***** C***** I*****¹ have offered our own unique proposal for the containment and eradication of this said threat.
It has been discerned that the African-American population is widely held in contempt by the general population of the United States (and by not inconsiderable number of people throughout the world). That this contempt is largely a result of systemic indoctrination through the U.S. media (e.g., Hollywood, Madison Avenue) is a matter which does not concern us here. Entire tomes have been written about the plight of the Negro/nigger/ape/coon in the United States (and elsewhere, but for the sake of conciseness we shall concern ourselves entirely with the American Negro/nigger/coon/ape). In these texts we have discerned certain incontestable facts:
that the black* in America is still largely segregated due to his race and ethnic background, and that this segregation is all-encompassing;
Has restricted access to meaningful and gainful employment which would allow him (especially the males) to earn a living wage;
The extreme difficulty of obtaining gainful employment due to previous convictions;
Social conditions, such as the disagreeable emotional reactions of non-blacks to the presence of blacks in eating establishments, bathrooms, shopping malls, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, etc.; the widespread reluctance of non-blacks to eat, work, live, drive, play and intermarry (in the majority of instances) among blacks, generally due to indoctrinated fears
Relentless stigmatization of blacks;
“Colonial mentality” (see Fanon), “plantation mentality,” subsequent and largely justified collective paranoia which often manifests itself in grotesque fantasies (so-called “urban legends”): the “Lynch Letter,” which never existed until c. 1973, and is a proven fraud. Nevertheless, the history of slavery and Jim Crow is still one that the black has yet to overcome, and manifests itself within the group with widespread obesity, high suicide rates, high infant mortality rates, high homicide rates, high rates of incarceration, drug usage, STD infection, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, hypertension, police abuses, racist attacks, schizophrenia and other forms of mental illness, self-contempt, class and even color divisions to a degree unheard of in the general American population, and correspondingly low rates of college attendance, business ownership, home ownership, employment, marriage, etc.
It has been noted that the considerable creative drive that spurred on the black to create ragtime, blues, the spirituals, jazz and other forms of music (which have been justly acclaimed the world over) has been sorely depleted as of late. “Thug rap” and endless regurgitations of generic sixties “soul music” are virtually the only forms of music that this group can come up with in the 21st
Likewise, the black seems to be content to be defined as a “thug,” or a “bitch,” or “skeezer,” “chickenhead,” “ratchet” (aka “wretched,” possibly a reference to Nurse Ratchet of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), etc. Our media has defined and pictured the male members of the group as big burly negroes, black bucks, coons, pickaninnies, apes, etc., and the female members as whores, cunts, strippers, obese freaks, etc. It is mind-boggling to think that any group of people anywhere in the world would choose to define themselves strictly according to the xenophobic fantasies of an ethnic group which hates them, as we clearly (though not admittedly) do African Americans. Yet such is the case with the blacks of this country. It is a situation genuinely unique in the history of mankind.
In spite of the aforementioned situations we still find the African American—in the generality—to be childish, obnoxious, doltish, ignorant and primitive in his thinking and behavior. While acknowledging centuries of systemic dehumanization and depersonalization from Anglo-American cultural and political domination, we must also realize that the race problem is indeed a drain on the national purse and a burden on the collective conscience of the United States. It has, more often than not, manifested itself as a physical threat, largely due to the astonishingly high rates of crime among the African American lumpenproletariat.
The African American elite have a substantial amount of capital at its disposal. However, this is a lazy and unproductive class, as outlined by Fanon (Wretched of the Earth). The African-American elite exhibit all the foul and socially perfidious traits of Third World elites. See Fanon: the bourgeois phase is a useless phase. This useless bourgeoisie, seen in hindsight, would function merely as parasitic classes were it to declare independence from the American republic and set up its own state somewhere in the US. The egregious example of Liberia, to say nothing of Sierra Leone—two failed African states founded by repatriated black Americans—should serve as a dire warning. Because the African American is clearly still functioning—albeit mentally—as a slave, it would be ludicrous to expect of him to function as a politically independent entity. He is a slave—period. It makes no difference whether we were his enslavers in America or whether other Africans enslaved him in Senegambia or Benin or Dahomey. It has proven too costly to this republic to extricate the African American from his slave mentality. All attempts to educate the African American according to Western norms have largely ended in spectacular failure, and it has been noted that even educated blacks are still burdened by pathologies induced by slavery. We must reiterate that it was indeed we who imposed this slave mentality upon him, that our social conditioning has depersonalized him. This depersonalization was unintentional. However, this is entirely beside the point.
We must admit that our experiment in “multiculturalism” (concerning blacks) has not worked. The long-term consequences of importing millions of Africans from various nations of the African west coast—many of whom were enemies of one another—were not foreseen by the Founding Fathers, who insisted upon viewing the African American as “three-fifths of a human being.” Clearly this is not so—the African American, by all accounts, and judging solely from the historical evidence provided us, is very much a full, 100% human being, capable of the highest human achievements. This has been amply illustrated by such illustrious niggers as Frederick Douglass (one of the most eloquent men of the 19th century), Booker T. Washington, Henry Highland Garnet, W. E. B. DuBois, Scott Joplin, Will Marion Cook, Countee Cullen, Sissrietta Jones (aka “Black Patti”), Leontyne Price, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Roy Eldridge, Francis Johnson, Benjamin E. Mays, Benjamin Banneker, Jelly Roll Morton, Edmond Dedé, Muddy Waters, Ida Cox, Bessie Smith, Chano Pozo, Fletcher Henderson, Joseph “King” Oliver, William “Bunk” Johnson, Freddie Keppard, James Reese Europe, Alain Locke, John A. Williams, Buddy Ace, Ann Petry, Mary McLeod Bethune, Langston Hughes, George Washington Carver, James Weldon Johnson, J. Rosamund Johnson, Dizzy Gillespie, Hazel Scott, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, Piri Thomas, Antonio Maceo, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Eddie Murphy, Bert Williams, Eubie Blake, Luckey Roberts, R.Nathaniel Dett, William Wells Brown, Albert Nicholas, Nicholas Gullién, Ollie Harrington, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Gladys Bentley, Augusta Savage (who designed the “Roosevelt Dime”), Scott Hayden, Wynton Marsalis, Sojourner Truth, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charles Lloyd, Redd Foxx, Jamie Foxx, Clarence Williams (the first and third), Ida B. Wells, William Wells Brown, James Brown, Son House, Tom Turpin, Louis Chauvin, Artie Matthews, E. Franklin Frazier, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Shirley Chisolm, Nina Simone, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Bobby Short, Curtis Mayfield, Run DMC, Sammy Davis, Jr. (Jew), Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Smokey Robinson, Reginald Robinson, Aaron Diehl, Gordon Parks, Jr., Eartha Kitt, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Jack Johnson, Venus and Serena Williams, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Roberta Flack, Arthur Ashe, A. Philip Randolph, Josephine Baker, Jesse Owens, Duke Ellington, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, Tupac Shakur and Stepin Fetchit. Inventors Granville T. Woods and Lewis H. Latimer were instrumental in the development of the modern light bulb; Latimer’s innovations in particular—the perfection of the cotton filament—made the light bulb a viable option to gas lighting. Elijah McCoy’s inventions were reliable enough for one to coin the term the “real McCoy.” Dr. Charles Drew’s contributions to modern medicine are indispensable. Even today, the renowned Neil DeGrasse Tyson is, as members of this ethnic group would so aptly put it, “doing his thing” in the field of physics.
However, we reiterate: all of this is entirely beside the point.
The behavior of the black American is best understood when seen within a colonial framework. In this instance, the mystery that shrouds his/her behavior ceases to be a mystery.
We had deduced that the so-called “black problem” or “Negro problem” is basically insolvable, save for a radical restructuring of the American socio-political order. Such a restructuring would result in chaos. Consider the conflagrations of the former Yugoslav republic, or French Algeria, or the current morass in the Middle East, for instance. Since the African-American elite isbasically uncreative and unproductive, the middle-classes struggling merely to stay afloat, and the underclasses continually committing random crimes against the general American population, it has been suggested by us that these primitive people simply be contained. The containment process would be conceivably costly but the long-term results of non-containment would mark the end of our republic as we know it.
Indeed, as Fred Reed, American iconoclast and internet blogger has aptly put it, we have the feeling that some people are simply more useful than others.
Our continuing “exploitation” of the African American at the current rate would inevitably result in total civil/social/political breakdown, and subsequently economic catastrophe. Adolf Hitler had outlined in Mein Kampf that the Jew was a rootless, cosmopolitan parasite and a drain on the German economy and a blot on the German soul. Celine, in Les Beau Draps, had suggested urns for the Jew, the Oriental and the Negro. Monseuir Fragonard, writing of the Algerian, and most recently Thilo Sarrazin of Germany has suggested that the criminal Turkish population be deported; likewise for Oriana Fallaci’s Rage and Pride, in which she suggests that Somali and Moroccan hoodlums get disposed of in the canals of Venice. Easy for Germany, or even benighted and incompetent Italy, but not so easy for we here in the United States, where we are saddled with 40 million chronic malcontents who have been so thoroughly depersonalized by their inability to adapt to Anglo-Saxon cultural norms that they have become a global threat.
A global threat, since the Anglo-Saxon norm is the global norm, for better or worse. We are not at all suggesting a return to Anglo-American, old-fashioned imperialism of the Roosevelt/Saxe-Coburg variety. We do not find this desirable. However, as it has been said, “the show must go on,” life must continue. We must acknowledge reality and be reasonable and forego romantic notions of swift social/political change for pragmatic solutions to America’s domestic ills. Many, if not most, of those ills originate with the black population of the United States, and to a slightly lesser extent the Latino population, commonly known as “beaners,” “spics” and “wetbacks.”
However it has been found that the Latino population is more industrious and makes more contributions AT PRESENT to the American economic well-being than does this black population, which prefers to wallow in collective self-abnegation and even goes so far as to destroy any member of this population which attempts to pull itself out of its physical/psychological misery. Barring the Puerto Ricans or Dominicans, who have been defined jocularly as “niggers who can swim” or “negritos de Español,” or the towelheads, or the equally useless white rural lumpenproletariat (aka “trailer trash”), we know of no other ethnic group who is so destructive to the overall fabric of American cultural life.
Booker T. Washington defined this as “crabs in a bucket.” James Baldwin spoke of the “profound, almost ineradicable self-hatred” of the African-American. It has been noted (see Herbert Aptheker’s “Slave Revolts”) that every instance in which the black slave has attempted to strike out for freedom, he was betrayed by a subservient “Uncle Tom.” The massive slave revolts of Jamaica, Brazil and Haiti were unthinkable in the United States.
However, we must be pragmatic. The effects of “exploitation” (and ours is a society—like all others—founded on a certain degree of what liberals term “exploitation”) are not so easily eradicated. We cannot continue to let past mistakes in racial/intra-ethnic relations burden us. If we do so we will be condemned by our children for perpetually walking in the shadows of our ancestors. We suggest a series of proposals to deal with the crisis in race relations in America:
Walled cities. These are more effective than one thinks, considering the effectiveness of the Berlin Wall. Of course, there are also the probabilities of blacks escaping the wall, so we suggest another: deportation to semi-abandoned cities such as Detroit or Camden, and using depleted uranium to help depopulate said areas.
A more pragmatic proposal is simply to accelerate the dehumanization of the African American by simply admitting to ourselves that he is, indeed, an animal. By turning him into an animal, by completely stripping him of his humanity, we no longer have to burden our conscience with what we might do to him. Rest assured that what we will do to him will have far-reaching and ultimately beneficial consequences to humanity the world over, particular in those parts of Africa still suffering from food insecurity.
Our ultimate suggestion is to reintroduce public lynchings. In this instance, the lynching of the African American will be a legalized and controlled affair and not simply a mob assault. Furthermore, police beatings of African Americans, whether in prison or outside of prison, should by necessity result in the death of the African American. The corpse of the African American can be properly disposed of without fear of international obloquy—in this instance, as food. Many Africans have been known to be cannibals, so selling this African American meat—in particular, the illegitimate offspring of black women—to starving Africans for a pittance should help immensely in alleviating hunger in Africa and other parts of the world currently afflicted with food insecurity.
For those of a more discriminating palate, certain brand names would be helpful in discerning high-grade nigger meat. A “Fats Waller” would have a certain light piquancy and go easy on the stomach, and preferably seasoned with lemon, dill and white onions. Meat should be cut from the middle thigh, through the bone, into T-Bone Walker steaks. Serve with mint juleps. A “Tupac” would be best served as a strip of steak, the meat removed from the flank, smoked with hickory over a low-burning flame for three months. The resulting meat should be sliced against the grain, between 1 and 2 inches thick and carefully marinated in Schlitz malt liquor overnight, then garnished with Louisiana hot sauce while grilling. The resulting taste is tart, hearty and slightly chewy. A “Foxy Brown” calve of a negress should be removed carefully at the joint. Since the meat of a negresses’ calf is generally rather thin, plump calves would necessarily be in high demand. The meat should serve up to three. Preparation: bathe in brine before smoking with hickory and dried fruits for up to 3 months. Cooking with bitter chocolate and red wine is preferred for those with rather romantic tastes. The meat should be tender and almost melt in the mouth, somewhat like braised lamb. Serve with Chardonnay and couscous. (Also: the James Brown, for those with the toughest stomachs, very hot sauce and highly spiced in the Ibo Nigerian style, with lots of peppers and a dash of soy sauce, since most African American meat is not of pure stock. Preferably very rare; well-done “James Brown” tends to be rather chewy, since it has plenty of fat streaks.)
Jewlattos, or The Sammy Davis.The Jewlatto stock should be prepared in the Kosher fashion. Note: do NOT kill the Jewlatto livestock with such generic rat poisons as Zyklon-B or by gassing. This will render the meat inedible. First club the Jewlatto in the head; try not to agitate it with racial epithets. Then slit the Jewlatto’s throat at the jugular and hold it near a drain. Do not listen to it when it starts making noises about “holocausts” or “lynchings” or other such nonsense. Jewlattos are known to combine the worst traits of black and Jew in one body and soul—containing all the tartness of the black and the mental edginess of the Jew. However, Negro-Jewish meat, because it is generally raised in superior social surroundings, is usually of the highest class. We have tasted this meat and the author, for one, finds it tastes much like a cross between mutton and pastrami. It has an unusually musky aroma. Serve with Manschewitz and/or egg cream, rye bread and pickles.
Blasians, aka Tiger Woods. Best served with wasabi and Barbeque sauce. Meat tends to be rather stringy with a somewhat smoky taste. We cannot entirely explain why this is, since Blasian meat is generally soaked in vinegar rather than smoked.
Black Muslims, and/or Afro-Arabs, aka Farrakhanesque. Follow advice of number 5. Halal preparations of food are a must. Hardcore Nation of Islam followers who don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, fornicate, or eat pork generally produce very high grade meat. The females of this species makes excellent ground beef, especially when spiced with coriander, ginger and cardamom. The liver and kidneys make delicacies; the jowls, when sliced, make a perfect alternative to pork bacon, as they generally are crisp when sliced then and fried.
Black/Irish, or The O’Neal. As can be expected, a piquant corned-beef flavor is usually yielded. Marinate with Wild Irish Rose over an open grill. Especially fun during lynching bees. One must use caution when cooking this meat since it tends to smoke heavily. The light “Ronald” meat has a slightly blander flavor than the darker “Shaquille” brand, which is tougher yet very strong-flavored, very similar in taste to Smithfield ham.
Black Latinos, or Blatins, Blatinxs or Blatinos. Very tender and yet very spicy. The meat tends to be very lean and burns quickly, so it is best to cut into strips a la Tupac and served like New York steaks. The Pele is a must-try–it’s got a kick. The Del Rio is best served at dinner and between consenting adults, preferably with candlelight, oysters and pineapple juice, as it has shown to be a marvelous aphrodisiac. This is hardly surprising since Blatins are known to be the most oversexed people on the planet–even more so than the so-called “African-American.”
Much of the fatty and coarse grade of negro meat comes from ghetto/project stock, and this can be sold at cut-rate prices to starving Africans, or even given away gratis.
We are not at all suggesting that African Americans be exterminated. This proposal is simply a method of containment. Extermination naturally means destruction of valuable livestock, and it is crucial to the well-being of our society that African Americans, from the degenerate elite to the violent sociopathic underclass, are at least of some good use.
Of course, nigger-hunts should be encouraged. When niggers are hunted for sport, it must be remembered that the meat, unless it is diseased by HIV infection (and naturally cooking the nigger meat will not kill the virus), can be sold for a decent price.
¹Fucking Cannibal Institute
*since there are many terms to describe this designated ethnic group, most of which are considered by said group to be grossly offensive, we shall stick to the term “black” as a matter of convenience. However, it has been noted that many members of the aforementioned group prefer “black” as opposed to “African-American,” which requires seven syllables to pronounce.
Patriarchy takes for granted that women are inferior and “the weaker sex,” as assholes used to refer to women decades before. The system of patriarchy is smug in its paternalism towards women. Patriarchs love to hold open doors for women and treat them with what they (patriarchs) imagine to be “respect.” “Respect and protect women,” they chant, like a bunch of crows perched on a tree branch. They love to talk of women being “queens” and how “strong” and “lovely” and “noble” and “fair” they are. They say women are romantic and emotional while men are visual and phallic, that women are from Venus while men are from Mars and all that crap. Actually, both are from planet earth but who cares? The language of patriarchy puts women on a pedestal that women themselves did not create.
The paternalistic language of patriarchy is highly indulgent and ever-adaptable. It is a shape-shifting chameleon, and therefore a dangerous language. Actually it has evolved to the point where self-proclaimed feminists can borrow extensively from it without their even realizing it. Feminists speak of their bodies being “sexualized” by “heterosexists,” of the “oppressive male gaze,” and so on. This is a white, Western middle-class concern, voiced in rhetoric that has precise roots in the blue-stocking language of Victorian social reformers, nearly all of whom were White, female (and largely racist) Anglo-Saxon Protestants. But today’s Social Justice Warrior does not do his or her research; in fact they do not read books at all unless they are schlock books by Amanda Hocking or Jonathan Safran Foer. They refuse to realize that when they express shock and horror at the expression of overt sexuality they are walking in the high-laced shoes of Carrie Nation, Anthony Comstock and their ilk.
These modern-day Victorian social reformers will never admit to themselves that their rejection of sexuality (especially heterosexuality) is heavily tinged with racism. It is the exact same racism of their late 19th century American ancestors, who were horrified that newly-freed black male slaves were now free to put their hands on white women. These ancestors had once been Abolitionists and felt relatively safe in protesting the enslavement of Africans–safe, because he was in chains; because he was illiterate, and generally not in any position to challenge the authority of white Americans. But when he was freed he became a threat. Feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton made her position clear in an oft-quoted statement from 1868: “Think of Patrick and Sambo and Hans and Yung Tung who do not know the difference between a monarchy and a republic, who never read the Declaration of Independence or Webster’s spelling book, making laws for Lydia Maria Childs, Lucretia Mott, or Fanny Kemble.”¹
Of course, it probably never occurred to Ms. Stanton that Patrick the Mick, Sambo the Sambo, Hans the Kraut and Ching Chong simply did not think it worth their time “raising” themselves to the allegedly “high” Democratic cultural standard of the superior Anglo-Saxon Race. Today, her ideological descendants, many of whom are black, think that such a feat might still be worthwhile. Many of these black descendants are self-styled “feminists,” “feministas” and “New Black Men,” who are quite young and generally middle-class oriented. A lot of them are self-styled “Afropunks,” and though they are among the most privileged of all African Americans in light of their economic standing (and the willingness of the white Establishment to employ them), they often pretend to be at a social disadvantage vis-a-vis other black people–most especially “heterosexual black men.”
The writer is familiar with these kinds of privileged blacks because he attended high school and college with them. He knew (and still knows) a lot of them personally. So when someone such as Damon Young writes that “Straight Black Men” are the white men of Black America, he just rolls his eyes to the ceiling of his room and says, “here we go again.”
Yep, here we go again. There are no shortage of articles in print or on the internet that deal with this very same subject: the supposed savagery of the Black Male. I compiled such an enormous amount of data researching it that I decided to tackle the subject of Black Male Savagery from an entirely different historical context and in an entirely different nation: French Algeria.
“Beneath the patrilineal pattern of Algerian society,” Frantz Fanon writes, “the (French settler) specialists described a structure of matrilineal essence…The Algerian woman, an intermediary between obscure forces and the group, appeared in this perspective to assume a primordial importance. Behind the visible, manifest patriarchy, the more significant existence of a basic matriarchy was affirmed. The role of the Algerian mother, that of the grandmother, the aunt and the “old woman,” were inventoried and defined.
“This enabled the colonial administration to define a precise political doctrine: ‘if we want to destroy the structure of Algerian society, its capacity for resistance, we must first of all conquer the women; we must go and find them behind the veil where they hide themselves and in the houses where the men keep them out of sight.’ It was the situation of woman that was accordingly taken as the theme of action. The dominant administration solemnly undertook to defend this woman, pictured as humiliated, sequestered, cloistered…The behavior of the Algerian was very firmly denounced and described as medieval and barbaric. With infinite science, a blanket indictment against the ‘sadistic and vampirish’ Algerian attitude towards women was drawn up. Around the family life of the Algerian, the occupier piled up a whole mass of judgments, appraisals, reasons, accumulated anecdotes and edifying examples, thus attempting to confine the Algerian within a circle of guilt.”² (Italics mine)
If Fanon’s words sound eerily (and nauseatingly) familiar to an African American reader, that’s because they are familiar. Since the end of Reconstruction we have heard similar rhetoric not only from our avowed enemies but even from liberal and even left-leaning whites and blacks who call themselves our allies. From Elizabeth Stanton to Joel Chandler Harris to Charles Carroll to Robert Shufeldt to Susan Brownmiller to Alice Walker, Ann DuCille, Sapphire, Mark Anthony Neal, bell hooks, Bill Cosby, Cornel West, Kevin Powell and lately Barack Obama, Robert Lashley, Jemelle Harris and others we have heard variations on this same tiresome theme. It would be a waste of our time to trudge through all of their paternalistic nonsense–I invite the reader to do this independently–but to sum it all up their words toward black men (particularly heterosexual black men) can be summed up with a few words: stop acting like a nigger savage and act like we tell you to.
We are not that stupid. We know that VSB is a subsidiary of The Root, which in itself is a subsidiary of Univision, a white Cuban-American owned TV station. The Root is really rootless. (Univison pretends to be non-white whenever it has to deal with Dolt 45 and the alt-shite. When it deals with African Americans or Afro-Latinos, it puts on blackface and makes monkey noises.)
Although not entirely without merit, The Root has a long history of condescending to rank-and-file African Americans. Nearly ten years ago The Rootwas roasted by Ta-Nehisi Coates for insinuating that African Americans were an anti-intellectual people. The author of that article was right on many accounts but Mr. Coates was even more correct in calling the author into question. It was the same old black bourgeois condescension towards the unwashed black masses that we have been hearing for God knows how long, and quite frankly we are sick and tired of hearing it.
We, the unwashed negroids, are surfeited with privileged blacks scribbling this stuff on high for Harper’s, or the Huffington Post, or from The Grio or The Root telling us to “clean up our act” and “pull up our pants” or some such shit. And in the case of Mr. Young–well, it isn’t so much what Damon Young said concerning allegedly heterosexual black men vis-a-vis “black people”–one wonders which “black people” he really has in mind–but how he said it, and how he framed his narrative concerning black machismo. He generalized about an entire subset of the American population and not-so-subtly stigmatized them as The Enemy.
It is white paternalism disguised as black brotherly advice. Damon Young talks of black heterosexism³ and “patriarchy,” parroting the language of the white liberal academy, which doesn’t give a shit about blacks one way or the other. The white liberal academy’s job is to make sure that African Americans are sufficiently divided and compartmentalized so that the white political establishment can manage them better. Some have suggested that Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas was being satirical. He isn’t being satirical; he is doing the white liberal’s dirty work, like Robert Lashley before him, and Mark Anthony Neal, Kevin Powell, Randall Kenan and countless others before that.
Mr. Young’s piece is getting accolades from wannabe black establishment writers who foolishly believe that this is actually a subject worth talking about. “I thought Damon did an excellent job tackling a difficult and complicated issue, and I was happy that he used his male privilege to help tell our stories,” a Dr. Kristian H. wrote in the Huffington Post. “Black women have not been allowed to be both Black and female. Historically, we have had to choose our race over our gender, and we have not had the space to express the challenges we face as women. We have not talked about our pain in order to protect our Black men’s dignity. We have not been able to be truly feminist, for fear that it disregards, or contradicts, our shared Blackness. We are so worried about the repercussions of discussing our issues with toxic masculinity that we ignore them.”
Of course, when Kristian H. says “we” she is referring to her own subset of black middle-class women who go through the same trauma and pain she describes. I’m not going to say that the pain is all in her head, but she is pointing to the wrong source of that pain. She can at least gently protest Damon Young’s whitewashing of “heterosexist” black men by saying his basic analogy is “divisive and hurtful,” but in her elite feminist angst she goes on a tear and contradicts herself: “You are not absolved of the responsibility of both acknowledging and uplifting your Black women. Black men have a heavy burden to bear, and you have been taught and conditioned that it is somehow acceptable to dump that burden on Black women. Black men have historically only had power over Black women, so you’ve made us suffer to help ease your pain. You have disrespected us, you have degraded us, you have silenced us. Yes, slavery, oppression, colonization, and dehumanization can take its toll on your psychological well-being. We get that you are in pain, we are too, and we want to support you. But being in pain is not an excuse to cause pain; we must stop the cycle of abuse.”
Kristian H. continues: “Black women are often harassed on the street by Black men who objectify our bodies,* and we are taught to be polite and smile to ensure our safety from a young age.º We are taught victim blaming, we internalize it, and we try to dress a certain way because only “respectable” women deserve respect. I am sorry, Damon’s piece is not dividing Black men and women; Black men are dividing us with their own actions, of their own accord. They are doing that when they refuse to date Black women. They are doing it when they call us aggressive, argumentative, or a feminist (which is apparently a bad word) for talking about these issues.” (Italics mine)
If I were white, I might believe Kristian H’s rant. But I am not. I can only remember my mother decades ago frequently putting my father firmly in his place whenever she felt he had said something she disagreed with. (I owe my razor-sharp tongue to my mother as well as my father, by the way.) I can only recall black women on the streets of Washington D.C. in the eighties, nineties and 2000s wearing skin-tight latex pants and not too worried about the “heterosexist male gaze;” if anything, they appeared to relish it. They made up the majority of black women in that city then and still do now. Kristian H. does not. She is a product of a fake white liberal academia that is so paternalist in outlook that it thinks it can not only manufacture our history and identity but also–absurdly enough–imagines it can dictate the exact terms of our own oppression to us.
Fanon himself has been accused of sexism on more than one occasion. Yet in spite of this we should listen carefully to Fanon’s words here, in light of Damon Young and Dr. Kristian H. We have seen all of this before and not just in America, not just in colonial Algeria. “Colonial society blazes up vehemently against this inferior status of the Algerian woman,” Fanon writes, and a French feminist-settler is quoted in the book as saying, “We want to make the Algerian ashamed of the fate that he metes out to his women.”
Today we know that the colonial French were completely full of shit. When Algerian women refused to fall for the bait, the French colonial patriarchs and matriarchs alike declared a “nigger-hunt.” After November 1, 1954 the French liberals and feminists decided that an Algerian was an Algerian, feminist, patriarch, gay, straight, light, dark, rich, poor, or otherwise. The events of that day (and subsequent ones) showed French colonialist liberals that their attempts to forestall Algerian independence had been in vain. Nonetheless, they kept at it:
A strand of hair, a bit of forehead, a segment of an “overwhelmingly beautiful face” glimpsed in a streetcar or on a train, may suffice to keep alive and strengthen the European’s persistence in his irrational conviction that the Algerian woman is the queen of all women. (Fanon, p. 43)
Algerian women were not falling for it. After 1955 Algerian women were allowed to fight in the war for independence. Whatever Djamila Bouhired thought of Algerian patriarchal machismo she was not chipping in her lot with French liberals and certainly not writing sob sister stories to center-left French magazines, detailing her abuse at the hands of macho Algerian men. Nobody is dare suggesting that such men did not exist: they did. But that is not the point.
One million Algerians lost their lives in a fight against the kind of liberal fuckery that Damon Young and Kristian H and Kevin Powell and Robert Lashley childishly spout. Understand that the aforementioned negroes are only concerned about their own personal glory. They want literary prizes, they want book contracts, they want to see their names on the New York Times bestseller list. But they don’t want to look like obsequious alt-right colored bootlicks like that lump of shit, Jesse Lee Petersen, or those two gold-dust twins Diamond and Silk. So they take a route which they imagine is more honorable: calling out black men on their abusive and irresponsible behavior. And not just any group of black men, mind you, but straight black men.
But Black liberals do not understand gay culture, whether black or white. The black liberal image of the black gay male is just as condescending as its image of the straight black male: whereas all straight black men are priapic crotch-grabbing machos, apparently all gay black men are limp-wristed, faggoty snap-queens who look like RuPaul. As a heterosexual black male even I have to call bullshit on this. But you know American liberals–they, like their supposed enemies on the far right, also live in a world of cheap stereotypes.
Most of these violent black machos–and there are many of them–are either heterosexual failures, or actually gay. A few of them have been caught wearing dresses, as this lovely example clearly shows. Many of these ultra-macho black (c)rappers are rumored to be gay, and according to Suge Knight himself at least ninety-five percent of them are. Now American society does not give a shit about black gay men, but they see some of them as useful tools in beating other black men in the head with; they imagine that the black gay man–because he has been ostracized from his community (and let’s face it, he often is)–will be useful in ridiculing and beating down the rest of us.
Anyone who has spent time in Black America knows who the real “white” people are in our communities. They are the pseudo-educated black males and females or they are black male pastors, drug dealers, entertainers, politicians, pimps, cops and of course, thugs. The irony of this is that in real time–not in Harvard’s make-believe ballroom time–black women are far more likely to avoid jail, to get employed, to choose whichever mate they wish to be with, and in general they are single out of choice (no matter what some liars may say).
Black American women in general prefer men they perceive to be glamorous, and that perception is unpleasantly skewered towards outlaws, bad-boys, thugs, etc. It is one thing to accuse the black heterosexual male of being a thug and quite another to ask who made him that way. The Harvard liberals won’t go there for a reason. They know that it was that black thug’s mammy who made him the way he is and they also know that black women (generally speaking) prefer black men to be thugs because they—well, many black women think that’s sexy.
Your average straight black man in America is not considered desirable because he is “a broke-ass nigga,” as anyone will tell you on the street. He has no real money and drives a shitty car. He is unemployed or underemployed. He does not own anything. He does not manufacture anything. He does not print the money. He does not head any army or any navy. He has a flag which, at the moment, does not stand for much more than angry ressentiment. Above all he has zero control over black women, who will tell him exactly what they feel about him in no uncertain terms. These same women will insult him, reject him, beat him up, jail him or even kill him. He has no privilege other than that which exists in the heads of Anglo-Saxonized negro feminists, racist Asians, racist Latinos (especially Mexicans), racist white ethnics, and toothless redneck trash who think “niggers” are stealing their jobs and women. In fact he is collectively what white men used to call “the lady of the races,” and for good reason: he is nothing in the eyes of America, nothing in the eyes of the world, in the eyes of his wife, girlfriend, mother, father, children and finally even his own.
Negro-Saxons and their lot are not interested in talking to this man. They have already decided that he is not really a human being. They are too keen on playing leap-frog over this man to get to the top of the Anglo-Saxon’s totem pole. They don’t give a shit if this black macho is systematically dehumanized and depersonalized. They don’t give a shit if his actions have less to do with privilege and more to do with his having been turned into a man-child after four centuries of slavery. And more importantly, they certainly don’t give a shit if millions of black women really do get beaten and killed by these machos–as long as they can’t write a book about it and make millions.
Damon Young “clapped back” when thousands of angry writers responded to his ill-thought out article. He now pretends that “moist” is worse than the word “nigger.” Damon is entitled to his opinions, but he needs to stop treating black Americans like children. Not just STRAIGHT black American males–we don’t need anymore of these stupid colonial-style divisions–but African Americans, full stop. Everyone is implicated. Any mother who has raised a straight black male child is also implicated, because that mother largely made him what he is. Mr. Young, Mr. Lashley and Kevin Powell are either too ignorant, too confused or too contemptuous of African Americans as a group to see that when they attack “heterosexual black men,” they are also leveling the gun at themselves.
They are too short-sighted to see that articles and theories such as these are used as alibis by the white public to socially ostracize black men on sight, regardless of their sexual orientation. When a cop, or a white woman or man sees a black man in a predominately non-black social setting, the first impulse will be to have him singled out and then detained. We know that white society makes no distinctions, and when the shit hits the fan in a few years Damon Young just might find himself in the gas chamber before most of us—if only because he is more visible and more prominent than the rest of us. But—like those Jewish collaborators for Adolf Hitler– he might get lucky and join some future Neger-rat that will protect his ass from immediate death.
Sterling Brown once said, “Harvard has ruined more niggers than bad liquor.” He was right. And ditto for white liberalism.
¹Written in 1868 for The Revolution, a suffragist paper funded by Irish-American Democrat and arch-racist George Francis Train.
²Fanon, “Algeria Unveiled,” Studies in a Dying Colonialism, p. 35-45
³White people call it a “jock mentality.”
*How quaintly Victorian of her.
ºSpeak for yourself, Kristian H. Most black women we see on an every-day basis are as in-your-face and rude as they see fit. Of course there are exceptions, but we don’t see too many of them.
When I think of the word “Jazz” I am reminded of the music I love the most, which is why I generally have a positive reaction to the word. Not that I have really cared too much about the word in and of itself. It is a very silly word. Actually, it’s stupid and insulting. Imagine someone referring to Chopin’s Nocturne in F-Sharp Major or Beethoven’s Violin Concerto as “fancy-schmancy” or “longhair” music, and you get the idea. Admittedly some of this Music, because it really is cheap, superficial, flashy and overblown for its own sake really does deserve the childish moniker of “Jazz.” Louis Armstrong’s West End Blues, on the other hand, or Miles Davis’s Tempus Fugit, or Sidney Bechet’s Summertime, or Gillespie and Parker’s Groovin’ High (1945) however, simply do not deserve to be categorized by such a word. Many of the greatest practitioners of this music have always detested it. “It’s a nigger word,” railed Miles Davis, in a rare 1980 radio interview. “While (we were) playing in St. Louis, the white folks wouldn’t even listen to so-called ‘jazz’ because they thought of it as niggers fuckin’ and all that shit. So since then, that’s a nigger word, a nigger thing.” Clarinetist and soprano saxist Sidney Bechet considered the word to be superfluous; he preferred to call the music “ragtime” throughout his life. To him Jazz was just “a name the white people have given to the music. There’s two kinds of music. There’s classic and there’s ragtime. When I tell you ragtime, you can feel it, there’s a spirit right in the word…But Jazz, Jazz could mean any damn’ thing: high times, screwing, ballroom. It used to be spelled Jass…”.
Duke Ellington (with whom Bechet played briefly in 1925) himself said as much concerning “Jazz.” The word seems to have rubbed him the wrong way and he used it reluctantly, out of lack of choice for a better word. “By and large, (this music) has always been like the kind of man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with,” he once wrote. “The word ‘jazz’ has been part of the problem.”°
Indeed. “Jazz” has the stink of Storyville all over it. Since its closing in 1917 a huge amount of legends and fantasies have grown up around Storyville, fed in large part by the embellishments of musicians who once played in its establishments. For the record let it be known that, aside from solo pianists such as Tony Jackson, Kid Ross or Ferdinand Mouton (or LaMothe or LeMott) no jazz band (nor any other band) ever played in a Storyville brothel: most whorehouses were ill-equipped to house a six or seven-piece band on their premises. Joe Oliver, Freddie Keppard, Manuel Manetta, Edward “Kid” Ory, Johnny and Warren “Baby” Dodds, Lorenzo Tio, Jr., Peter Bocage, Henry Zeno, George “Pops” Foster, Alphonse Picou, Armand Piron, Sidney Bechet and their ilk plied their trade in grungy cafes and dance halls such as Pete Lala’s, The Big 25 or Tom Anderson’s cafe for distressingly long hours and for insultingly low pay. These establishments were often hot, sweaty and stinking of armpits, bad breath, wet farts and God knows what else–which explains why New Orleans’ Union Sons Hall, a popular dance hall among black New Orleanians, was cheekily referred to as the “Funky Butt Hall.”
In any event, the music that the above musicians were shaping between roughly 1890 and 1915 was very rarely, if at all, referred to as “jazz,” let alone “jass.” To Sidney Bechet and Louis Nelson DeLisle, it was always “ragtime music.” To others it was simply “The Music.” The shady origins of the word jazz–indeed, the very cheapness of the word itself–appeared to impress even in the minds of its creators that what they were doing was cheap, dirty, and disreputable–“jungle music,” as Rudy Vallee once insinuated on his radio program. If early jazz musicians plied their trade in ratty joints, it was certainly not out of choice.
“Who draped those basement dens
With silk, but knaves and robbers
And their ilk?
Who came to prostitute your art
And gave you pennies
for your part?”
–Duke Ellington, excerpt from text of Black, Brown and Beige
There are dozens upon dozens of other explanations for the origins of the J-word and all of them are rather ridiculous. Jazz, in 1912, was simply an adjective used to describe something spunky (as was jasm, a word dating to at least 1860) screwy and off-the-wall–the way Portland Beavers pitcher Ben Henderson described his latest (and unsuccessful) method of pitching. As for “jass,” speculations abound as to whether or not it is a derivation of “jaser” (the French verb to jabber on and talk shit) or a reference to the scent of jasmine (which the whores of Storyville allegedly wore) or whether it was simply cooked up by white New Orleans musicians (such as Tom Brown¹) once they made their way out of the South and towards Chicago, San Francisco and New York.
The truth is that “Jazz” was slapped on The Music as a way of selling it to the broader white American mainstream. The earliest known reference to “Jazz” in a musical sense dates from July 11, 1915. This very revealing article, written by Gordon Seagrove for the Chicago Tribune, features a caricatured “darkie”² alto saxophonist woo-wooing away on his horn. So it is perfectly clear that as early as the summer of 1915 The Music–a potent mixture of blues, ragtime and secularized spiritual harmonies–was already being referred to as “Jazz.” The word was insulting, but it sold the music and helped to get some of these musicians out of Funky Butt Hall. (Note the two Z’s and not two S’s. It is not entirely clear as to how or why Tom Brown, Johnny Stein or Dominic La Rocca came up with “jass.” In my opinion, Jass sounds a lot like Ass–indeed, most of the records put out by the Original Dixieland Jass Band and its many imitators (between 1917 and 1920) sound like “ass,” and certainly not in a good way.)
I have already noted that New Orleanians generally disliked the term. Northerners were not much different. To James P. Johnson and Eubie Blake it was still Ragtime. Ellington’s own preference was for the term Negro Music. “I am not playing jazz,” he stated in 1930, in reference to his musical ambitions, “I am trying to play the natural feelings of a people.” Ellington had once counseled bandleader and arranger Fletcher Henderson on the matter. “Why don’t we drop the word ‘Jazz’ and call what we are doing ‘Negro Music’? Then there won’t be any confusion.” Reportedly, Henderson was not too keen on dropping the “J” word, assuming he himself had ever used it.
Of course, negative reaction to the J-word was not always limited to black musicians.³ Much of this resentment was echoed even by white musicians themselves, such as Red Norvo, who once said in 1944 “I certainly hope it isn’t jazz we’re playing, because jazz to me represents something obnoxious, like that Dixieland school of thought…the musicians it stands for are corny by today’s standards.”
Dave Tough, one of the core members of the white Austin High Gang, eventually gravitated to more modern sounds and remarked of Dixieland that it was “nowhere,” requested by slumming “snobs” on a nostalgic kick in 1940s Manhattan. “Those Dixieland characters come here to live their youth all over again,” Tough railed. “They like to think it’s still Prohibition and they’re wild young cats up from Princeton for a hot time. All they need is a volume of F. Scott Fitzgerald sticking out of their pockets.” Tough dismissed “Hot Jazz” as harmonically infantile, “a bad copy of the music that white Chicago musicians played who were in turn doing bad imitations of the music that they heard from the musicians who came from New Orleans.”
Charles Mingus, in 1969, said: “Don’t call me a jazz musician. The word ‘jazz’ means nigger, discrimination, second-class citizenship, the back-of-the-bus bit.” John Coltrane, a few years before his death, told an interviewer that “Jazz is a word they use to sell our music, but to me that word does not exist.” Anthony Braxton (like the late Ornette Coleman) will tell you the exact same things, and not mince words about it. In fact Braxton is deeply skeptical of many of the current trends in “Jazz,” particularly those inaugurated by the Marsalis Brothers under the tutelage of Stanley Crouch and the late Albert Murray; he sees in the current “Jazz” revival a “freezing” of what was once an innovative and living musical language in stoneª so that it remains locked forever in an American (and in this instance, Southern) past which we ought to have placed far behind us. Braxton assumed that Marsalis’s music was simply a comfortably nostalgic accompaniment to the increasingly toxic racism and reactionary politics of the Reagan, Clinton, and Bush “administrations,” and on a very real level he is right: as pleasant as Marsalis’s music can be at times, it speaks very little–if anything–of our contemporary world; the harshness and dissonance that one can find in his music is the harshness and dissonance of another, simpler time. Sadly, even in that “other time” (say, the 20s and 30s) much of the music did not reflect the temper of that time but simply glossed over it with the phony 23-Skidoo slush of The Clambake Seven or, God forbid, the horror that was the Andrews Sisters.
Today, the most vociferous opponent of the word “Jazz” is trumpeter Nicholas Payton, who has made it his mission to assassinate not merely the J-word but everything else associated with it.† To this end he has promoted the term #BAM, short for Black American Music. “There is no such thing as jazz,” he wrote in April of 2014, completely negating the idea of any sort of “Jazz tradition.” “(A)ny idea of what that might be is false. It’s impossible to build a tradition upon something that was never a designed to be a true expression of a community. The very existence of jazz is predicated upon a lie, just like racism.”
The lie being, of course, not merely that “Negroes” are a simple, funky, sexual, violent and primitive people without a history, without traditions, without art, without minds and so on and so fourth–no point in repeating oft-repeated lies–but also the very lie that any such creature called a “Negro” exists. When Duke Ellington spoke to Fletcher Henderson of the need to create a “Negro Music” he was simply utilizing the current and frankly most socially progressive language of that time. Duke Ellington’s “Negro” was not the Negro of Tom Brown, Stephen Foster, Joel Chandler Harris, or the Original Dixieland Jazz Band nor even, for that matter, Mezz Mezzrow. Ellington rejected that image of the Negro publicly and was even more vehement in his rejection privately: “And was the picture true/Of you? The camera eye in focus…./Or was it all a sorry bit/Of ofay hocus-pocus?”
Ofay hocus-pocus, properly translated, is essentially what mainstream jazz or jass was and quite frankly, still is. Today that hocus-pocus (better known as bullshit) is simply dressed up in the robes or respectability and topped with a tasseled hat. But even the squarest of the super-squares, the rank-and-file men on the street, know that the vast bulk of contemporary jazz is remote, effete, elitist and un-listenable and that the back-asswards racism of many a “jazz classic” make even some of the best of jazz unendurable. Louis Armstrong’s theme song “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South,” for instance–a lovely melody marred by idiotically trite lyrics–was straight Stephen Foster, a fact he himself knew quite well and seems to have performed the tune largely in a satirical manner: On one early rendition of “Sleepy” (from December 1932) he twists the lyrics and sings, “when it’s slavery time down South.”
“To speak of ‘jazz tradition’ is like to speak of ‘racial justice,'” Payton continues. “It’s not possible to have justice within the confines of race because race was specifically designed to subjugate certain people to an underclass so that the “majority” thrives. Injustice is inherently built within the racial construct. There has never been any tradition within jazz other than to ensure Black cultural expression is depreciated and undervalued.”
As a staunch anti-fascist, I share both Braxton’s and Payton’s concerns about this thing called “Jazz.” I hate to look at The Music–my music–through the ugly prism of politics. Yet at some point such skepticism becomes inevitable. As much as I enjoy vintage jazz–I have to confess that it is the virtual soundtrack to my life–I see ugly political trends running in tandem with the current enthusiasm for ragtime, “hot jazz” and “swing.” It is a disturbing thought that the music of Blind Boy Paxton, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Craig Ventresco, Reginald Robinson, John Reed-Torres and innumerable other trad jazz and ragtime bands both in the U.S. and elsewhere could serve as a musical soundtrack to something else: the rise in far-right nationalism across the globe. Fortunately, it ain’t necessarily so: there is a German swing society located in Berlin which is vociferously anti-fascist and even Socialist in outlook. But I’m afraid that their progressive politics are, generally speaking, not shared by those who enjoy their music.
°‘I was recently held up again at a Dublin street corner by a small crowd who were listening to a young man with a strong North of Ireland accent who was aloft on a little Irish scaffold. / “Glun na Buaidhe,” he roared, “has its own ideas about the banks, has its own ideas about dancing. There is one sort of dancing that Glun na Buaidhe will not permit and that is jazz dancing. Because jazz dancing is the product of the dirty nigger culture of America, the dirty low nigger culture of America.”’ Myles na gCopaleen, from an extract of his Irish Times “Cruiskeen Lawn” columns (1944)
¹Tom Brown (1888-1958) was a tailgate trombonist who brought his band to Chicago in 1915, billing it as “Tom Brown’s Band from Dixieland.” Brown was the brother of pioneering slap-bassist Steve Brown and a pathological racist and anti-Semite who once confided to journalist Al Rose that Europeans and Asians (“them foreigners”) refused to listen to jazz unless “niggers” were playing it, that “niggers” weren’t smart enough to discern any sort of harmony because, well, they were “just niggers.” As a side comment Tommy also noted that these same “niggers” were riding on previously all-white tramlines, that “dagos” were getting all the good hotel jobs in New Orleans and that “Jews” were taking over Uptown–three notable developments in late 50s New Orleans which disturbed him somewhat.
²Gordon Seagrove, writing in the Chicago Tribune (1915), begins his article by asking a young lady “what is the blues?” The young lady answers, loudly and enthusiastically, “Jazz!”
“A blue note is a sour note,” explains an unidentified Chicago pianist in Seagrove’s article. “(Blue notes) aren’t new. They are just reborn into popularity. They started in the South a half-century ago and are the interpretations of darkies (sic) originally. The trade name for them is Jazz.”
³Much of the resentment on the part of Black American musicians to the word “Jazz” is due to racist assumptions concerning the true nature of The Music. Even to supposedly liberal and sympathetic minds (such as John Hammond or Patrick “Spike” Hughes, himself a superb jazz arranger) jazz was essentially a happy, primitive, supersexual party music where bored upper-class whites violated their sense of propriety by getting drunk, getting high, or giving or receiving a blow job under a cafe table. Leftist jazz critics (such as Rudi Blesh) read into The Music an expression of Negro misery, anger and resentment of the Jim Crow status quo. While this is true to an extent it does not give the whole picture of what The Music is about, and in fact is simply the white left’s paternalistic vision of Black “jazz” as a proletarian, anti-elitist folk music–a vision which is just as limiting as the right-wing “happy darky” caricature of “jazz” music.
ªBraxton: “The whole jazz platform, everything that’s happened since the 1960s in the jazz world, in my opinion, has come about through the liberal sector, and that sector has postulated a concept of “we are with you in communion around trans-African matters,” while at the same time, what they’re really saying is “we’re with you, but you had better follow our concept of what you should be. We’re with you as long as we can say that jazz goes to 1965, and everything after that is not black.” By chopping off the restructural component of the music, what we’ve seen in the last 30 years has been that without the head you start taking from the body, drawing from stylistic influences. From that point, the musicians would start to go further and further back in time; now we’re back to the minstrel period, back to Stagger Lee. But it’s taken for granted in every other community that evolution is a point of fact….
“It is coming out of New York; they brought the South to New York. By Southern strategy in this context, take the blues, for instance. The blues is being posited as the legitimate projection for African Americans to function inside of. More and more, the blues is being defined as an idiomatic generic state as opposed to an infinite affinity state, which is what it really is. The blues, in my opinion, is being used as a way to marshal and limit, or define the parameters, of African American intellectual and vibrational dynamics. With the blues, they can say “this is black music.” If it’s not the blues, if you write an opera, they can say, “oh, this is not black music.” If it’s blues, it can be received and appreciated as consistent with what African Americans are supposed to be involved with.”
Braxton’s concerns about “reductionism” in so-called Jazz music echo Frantz Fanon’s own observations concerning the Moldy-Fygge Jazz junkie’s revulsion towards bebop: “The fact is that in their eyes jazz should only be the despairing, broken-down nostalgia of an old Negro who is trapped between five glasses of whisky, the curse of his race, and the racial hatred of the white men. As soon as the Negro comes to an understanding of himself, and understands the rest of the world differently, when he gives birth to hope and forces back the racist universe, it is clear that his trumpet sounds more clearly and his voice less hoarsely. The new fashions in jazz are not simply born of economic competition. We must without any doubt see in them one of the consequences of the defeat, slow but sure, of the Southern world of the United States. And it is not utopian to suppose that in fifty years’ time the type of jazz howl hiccupped by a poor misfortunate Negro will be upheld only by the whites who believe in it as an expression of nigger-hood, and who are faithful to this arrested image of a type of relationship.” Frantz Fanon, “Reciprocal Bases of National Culture and the Fight for Freedom,” Wretched of the Earth. Bold-face mine.