Left on the CBS Radford lot before the great rains of 2010 were upon us. If the recession, and unemployment and various bubbles bursting haven’t completely sapped all of your rancor for the rich…give this motherfucker a whirl.
Archive for the 'Books' Category
From time to time I get an e-mail or a MySpace message from a stranger telling me that they enjoyed the book. This is the first time someone has taken the time out of their day to contact me expressing the opposite opinion. Today, I got this e-mail:
|XXXXXXX XXXXXX <firstname.lastname@example.org>||Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 1:36 PM|
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
I stumbled upon your book Making Friends with Black People, the other day while browsing at the bookstore on the campus of Prairie View A&M University. I quickly asked the manager to pull your book of the shelves, or at least put them on the bottom shelf. I don’t believe in stifling free speech, but truly this type of “literature” shouldn’t be promoted, and doesn’t help our community as whole.
So you don’t believe in stifling free speech, but you want my book pulled from bookshelves. Do you believe in irony? The point of this type of literature-or any type-isn’t to “help our community.” The point of literature is to entertain the reader. If you’re looking for something to validate your self-worth, or uplift the race, I’d suggest that you don’t look toward the “non-fiction humor” category next time. Something from the T.D. Jakes catalog, perhaps?
I know the Lord as [sic] blessed you to have great financial gain from your book, but even still he allows corrupt politicians, liars and abortionist to keep their jobs as well. So lets not look at your sales as the work of the Lord.
Of course, you have no idea how much money I’ve made from the book. Also, you don’t know that the Lord had anything to do with it. You don’t even know that such a being has ever existed. I agree. Let’s not look at my sales as the work of the Lord. Let’s look at my sales as the work of a man who put his ideas on paper, an agent who found someone interested in publishing those ideas, and a publisher who thought that there might be an audience for such a book.
Also, corrupt politicians, liars and abortionists don’t exist because of the benevolence of any higher power. They exist for the following reasons: power corrupts, human nature, and the need and/or desire for women to terminate pregnancies. Since you clearly don’t have a fundamental understanding of the non-fiction humor genre, perhaps you also don’t comprehend how politics, lying and abortions work, either?
What were you truly trying to accomplish from this book? It’s a mockery of true literature.
Holy shit, you accidentally made a point! Kind of. Mockery is defined as “ridicule, contempt, or derision.” There are definitely aspects of traditional literature that are ridiculed in the book, so pat yourself on the back. It took you a few paragraphs and some creative thinking on my part, but you finally made a little bit of sense.
When one reads, one should be able to complete said works and see the contribution that it has in our society. I was left dumbfounded that one could pen such stupidity. And your editors, they allowed this? God help us.
When one reads, one should be able to complete said work and have been entertained by it. Period. That’s it. That’s the goal. Everything else is extra. And if you haven’t grasped it yet, God definitely isn’t going to help us. If he were, I’m sure he would have started by preventing me from getting this inane e-mail.
Mr. Adams, I respect your craft of being a comedian, but I do really seek to know that your intentions were with this book? It doesn’t’ help race relations and it only sets up back to what they expect from us.
If you’re this bewildered and pissed off by my book, I doubt very seriously that you’d respect my stand-up act. And if you still don’t understand what my intentions were by publishing a non-fiction humor book, I doubt that my explaining it to you again would help much.
I feel as though you have let down those before you such as James Baldwin, Richard Wright and others….
I pray that this is your last book of this type.
Baldwin and Wright were both true artists, and intellectual firebrands. As such, I’m sure they would relish a Black man with a decent grasp of the English language, a sense of humor, and a strong point of view putting his thoughts and ideas out into the literary ether to amuse and entertain. And even if they didn’t find my book clever or thought-provoking, they would have the common sense to understand that it wasn’t doing harm to the foundation of Black society.
I really hope you’re an incoming freshman. If not, Prairie View A&M University has failed you miserably.
Left outside AOC early this afternoon. Suggested to me by my man Jim. Luckily, I watched One Bright Shining Moment not too long ago, so a lot of the people and events were still fresh in my mind. In my current hyper-pessimistic state, I’m not sure it was a good idea to read a first hand account of how when America came to a crossroads, they decided to take a hard right. Still, it was an entertaining read.
One of my favorite jokes of all time goes like this.
That’s the first thing that came to mind yesterday when I popped into my neighborhood Borders Books to do some writing and pick up a copy of the new Percival Everett novel. Yes, I shop at Borders. No, I don’t feel particularly good about contributing to the further big boxification of America. I’d much rather go to Skylight Books once a week and spend some time with Lucy, but Borders is two blocks from my house and Skylight isn’t. So, it’s either contribute to the already sphincter clinching traffic that lurches across LA’s surface streets during the day, or make a 2 minute walk.
I’ve been on a strictly non-fiction kick for well over a year and I’m looking forward to breaking the string. And why not do that with a multiple award-winning writer with 15 novels under his belt, a distinguished professorship in the English department at USC, and the distinction of writing one of my all time favorite novels, Erasure? Without thinking, I navigated my way to the Literature section and began scanning the Es. When I got to the Fs without seeing his name, I realized my mistake. Percival Everett just happens to be Black. As a result, his newest book sits on the shelf as such:
I have mixed feelings about this. I’ll go on record right now as saying that I’m a big fan of 69 and *69. Both are incredibly simple, yet criminally under appreciated. Also, although I’m a happily married man, I understand that perhaps further study of and dialogue in the art and application of booty calling is still necessary. In a fit of uncharacteristic optimism I even held out hope that this was someone’s satirical take on the entire genre of ghetto fiction. Maybe naming a book Booty Call *69 was the same kind of hyper-absurd lampooning of the culture that we saw used to such devastating effect in movies like Fear of a Black Hat and CB4? No.
“Taking urban erotica to dizzying heights and culminating in an earth-shattering climax, Erick S Gray spins a sexually charged, coming of age tale. The drama in Booty Call *69 revolves around a promiscuous young woman, Shana, who is so seductive she easily captures any man she glances at. After breaking up with the equally self-indulgent boy-toy, Jakim….”
You get the idea. It’s cheesy, genre fiction for Black people. Which, in and of itself, I don’t have that much of a problem with. White people read that stuff too, right?
The difference is that Philip Roth doesn’t have to share the same shelf. Those in the literary realm who actually sit down at the keyboard with the intention of writing the great American novel are held to a higher standard and held in higher regard. As such, their works are shelved separately. As long as they’re white. Then it’s off to that out of the way corner right next to the Gay & Lesbian section. One is treated seriously, and the other isn’t.
What’s that you say? It’s done that way because both books deal with African-American themes? Yes, imaginary white person voice in my head, some of Percival Everett’s work does deal with specifically African-American themes. Also, many of them don’t. Further, who in their right mind thinks that these two writers share an audience? All value judgments aside, the person who reads one is not going to read the other regardless of what color their skin is. In the way of further explanation, here’s part of the Publisher’s Weekly review Everett’s novel, Glyph.
“…off-kilter academic spoof about an infant with an IQ of 475. Grandiosely reminiscing, at age four, on the tumultuous first few years of his life, Everett’s hero, Ralph, recounts his manipulation and eventual imprisonment at the hands of a group of nefarious, constantly squabbling adults. "My father was a poststructuralist pretender and my mother hated his guts," declares Ralph, who at roughly 10 months confounds his parents by composing hyper-sophisticated poems about the human anatomy.”
Putting someone who writes this kind of fiction next to someone who writes urban erotica is like having Lil’ Wayne open for Wynton Marsalis just because they’re both black. By placing his work in the African-American fiction section what Border’s is essentially doing is ensuring that someone who is browsing the shelves looking for a meaty new novel is not going to stumble upon The Water Cure.
How can white American make up for this affront? Go out and buy a book written by a Black author. Yes, buy one just because it was written by a Black person. If you’re going to support racial profiling of authors, why not support affirmative action for them too?
EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT GOD IS WRONG!
This massive book systematically reveals the distortions, myths, and utter weirdness that have been shoved down our throats by organized religions of all stripes, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, new religions, and others who want to keep their lucrative franchises intact.
Russ Kick has assembled an unprecedented arsenal of writers, reporters, and researchers to invade the inner sanctum for an unrestrained look at the wild and wooly world of organized belief.
(Full disclosure: A piece that I wrote about necrophilia is included in Everything You Know About Sex is Wrong.)
Stop trying to convince yourself–and me–that Justin Timberlake is actually a recording artists worth paying any fucking attention to.
Stop watching MTV thinking, “They have to play something good eventually.” They don’t.
Stop trying to remember the names, faces and music of the latest blue-eyed soul sensation. They’ll be gone in a year.
It’s time to find out about some new music. Rather, some old music that you don’t know about.
(Full disclosure: I wrote something for these guys that has yet to be published.)
But the reason I pitched them in the first place was that it’s just an amazing, amazing magazine. Here’s what the folks at the Utne Reader had to say when the gave WaxPo the 2005 Utne Independent Press Award for Arts/Literary Coverage.
This lovingly rendered bimonthly recaptures those grooves that were lost, both literally and figuratively, when jazz, funk, and hip-hop went digital. Like the vinyl recordings to which it pays tribute, the magazine’s mind-altering illustrations and kinetic photographs beg for a frame, while the prose crackles with truth and soul.
Remember when you were a kid and your parent’s friends came over for those grown up parties? Things started off calmly enough, but eventually your enjoyment of The A-Team was disturbed by their loud conversation, the blaring of the record player and that strange smell coming from the patio. This is the kind of music they were listening to.
Take it for a test drive with some of their free online content.
Oliver Wang–aka DJ O-Dub–started this audio blog which led to the production of the instant-classic CD compilation, Soul Sides Vol. 1, in 2006. Vol. 2 is coming soon. He’s also the editor of Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide.
My wife and I had the pleasure of seeing DJ O-Dub in action at Star Shoes recently. There aren’t a lot of things that could cause us to brave the traffic nightmare that is Hollywood Boulevard, but it was worth it. Any idiot can cue up a few James Brown songs and call themselves a DJ. Wang has that special knack that all good DJs share of being able to play the song that you don’t technically know , but once it gets going, it feels like it’s always been one of your favorites.
A perfect example, The Impressions: We’re A Winner.
Chef, best-selling author, and television host Anthony Bourdain took a turn at the keyboard on Michael Ruhlman’s blog recently. Bourdain gave his opinion of the talent on The Food Network. Clearly, his is not a Rachel Ray fan.
RACHAEL: Complain all you want. It’s like railing against the pounding surf. She only grows stronger and more powerful. Her ear-shattering tones louder and louder. We KNOW she can’t cook. She shrewdly tells us so. So…what is she selling us? Really? She’s selling us satisfaction, the smug reassurance that mediocrity is quite enough. She’s a friendly, familiar face who appears regularly on our screens to tell us that “Even your dumb, lazy ass can cook this!” Wallowing in your own crapulence on your Cheeto-littered couch you watch her and think, “Hell…I could do that. I ain’t gonna…but I could–if I wanted! Now where’s my damn jug a Diet Pepsi?” Where the saintly Julia Child sought to raise expectations, to enlighten us, make us better–teach us–and in fact, did, Rachael uses her strange and terrible powers to narcotize her public with her hypnotic mantra of Yummo and Evoo and Sammys. “You’re doing just fine. You don’t even have to chop an onion–you can buy it already chopped. Aspire to nothing…Just sit
That’s why we roll with Nigella in our house.
The folks over at Rolling Stone have been publishing some damn fine political journalism recently. Their cover story on the worst congress ever should be required reading for every American. (As well as their list of the 10 worst congressmen.) They’re keeping up that tradition with the proclamation in the most recent issue that
The ideal candidate for the Democrats may be the man who won the popular vote in 2000 — and who opposed the war in Iraq from the very start.
Personally, I’ve been of this mindset since I saw An Inconvenient Truth. A Gore/Obama ticket would be a liberals wet dream for obvious reasons. But conservatives would be able to reconcile their vote with the fact that Gore was right all along on what may be the two most important issues facing Americans today. Global warming and the war in Iraq.
If you’re a Gore fancier, you might want to click on over to Hayden-Harnett and check out their Friends of Al Eco-Tote. It’s a pretty snazzy looking tote bag and they are donating $25 from each sale to global warming charities and $10 to American Forests to plant ten trees to help reduce carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. My wife just got hers and she’s pretty excited about it. She’s a little bag crazy though, so take that with a grain of salt.
In other Rolling Stone-related news, they’ve thrown their hat into the reality television ring with the show I’m From Rolling Stone. I don’t do too much MTV watching these days, but I hear it’s a pretty interesting show. The paper of record weighs in here.
For more of their political news, check out the National Affairs Daily.