Monday, January 31, 2011

Better Be Good: Black History Mumf 2011 Is Here

A message from your friendly neighborhood Odienator: For the fourth time in a row, I have hijacked this blog. Resistance is futile. Not even the Tea Party can take this blog back, and my birth certificate actually IS invalid, thanks to a corrupt New Jersey county’s record keeping.  The front door of this blog is protected by Terry McMillan wielding a big bottle of hot sauce, so nobody’s getting in here but me. Sit up straight and, as always, look presentable! Black History Mumf is back! And you can’t blame the proprietor of Big Media Vandalism, Mr. Steven Boone, for anything I say. He reads this series at the same time you do, so he has no idea what I’m doing until it’s done.  It’s just you and me, folks, until the end of February!  If you’re unfamiliar with the game, start with 2008’s entries here. Otherwise, join the party that starts tomorrow.

“One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter.” –James Earl Jones

“Nigga, please!” –Mark Twain (well, maybe not...)

When I started this series in 2008, I made fun of the Black History Month curriculum we were fed every February in grammar school.  I wanted to make my own version of that curriculum, using movies and TV and events from my life to fill in all the holes where public school was lacking. All they told us, in a nutshell, was that we were slaves, we were freed by Abraham Lincoln, and then Martin Luther King showed up. This happened every year, usually sponsored by Budweiser. Boy was I snarky about the lack of depth and detail back then! But now I’ve been humbled, because as anemic as it may have been, at least they told us the truth and didn’t try to change it.

Segregation was a terrible regime for Blacks to live under, my fifth grade teacher told us during Budweiser Black History Month, and after it was abolished, things got even more hellish. Our teacher would have known: She was a woman in her 60's from the South, and she was telling us this in 1978. Not so, according to a prominent Mississippi politician! Abraham Lincoln was the President who put an end to slavery, we were told in class. Not so, according to another prominent politician who in the historical facts department makes You Betcha Lady look like Marilyn vos Savant. The Founding Fathers fought until slavery was abolished, she told us. Well, the Founding Fathers did something to slaves that’s four letters long and begins with F, but it damn sure wasn’t “free”. Walk through any Black neighborhood; if you don’t fall over a bunch of Washingtons and Jeffersons, I’ll eat my hat. Hell, Jungle Fever is why they put Jefferson on the $2 bill and not on something people actually used. That'll learn him!

History is written by the victors, so we are told. History is now being rewritten as propaganda designed to hide historical facts to make America look better and more refined than it was at the time. Unfortunately, the majority of these rewrites distort or damage the history of my ancestors. In one fell swoop, the aforementioned Constitution-lovin’ prominent politician shat on both my Black and Irish ancestors. (I didn’t get red hair from the mailman, folks.) When people came here, they were treated equally? Even Blazing Saddles knew better: “We’ll give some land to the niggers and the chinks, but we don’t want the Irish!”

It gets worse.  A noted Twain scholar has published a version of Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn wherein he removes all instances of the N-word and replaces it with the word “slave.” Apparently, there are 219 instances of the N-word in Huck Finn, making it The Chronic of American lit.  Had Mark Twain been around today, in response to this he probably would have said the words I put in his mouth at the top of this piece. (Yes, I know he didn’t say “Nigga Please,” so don’t write me in the comments  about it or I swear to God I’ll delete your comment.)

This new edit was done, in so many words, to protect the “children.”

Yes, the “children,” those little fictitious bastards I first mentioned here in my Boondocks piece. They don’t really exist, except in the minds of people who want to impose their own will via fear. If we don’t protect the “children” from things like runaway Black titties on the Super Bowl or tame profanity in The King’s Speech or a Prince song featuring the word masturbation, the American civilization will collapse! Meanwhile, ACTUAL children need protecting from far more dangerous things than a nipple with ninja star on it: things like abuse and disease and starvation. But that’s not sexy, so off the cable news channels it goes in favor of this bullshit.

Full disclosure requires I admit two things: One: I didn’t like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Granted, I haven’t read it since 1984, but I recall being bored out of my mind. Perhaps a re-read is in order. You can read it by clicking that link.

Two: I completely understand why this gentleman thought he was doing the right thing. Huck Finn was constantly banned for this language, which came as a surprise to me since I’d read somewhere that it was banned because some religious asshole implied that Jim and Huck were fucking. (I’m not making this up. Apparently there’s a passage about them drifting down the Mississippi butt ass naked on the raft, but that’s because it was hot outside. This person implied that Chris Hansen and Nancy Grace should have built The African Queen and paddled down after them.) Still, he’s dead wrong, and not because Adventures of Huck Finn is considered a classic, or because Twain has no say because he’s dead. He’s wrong because, no matter how much he and the NAACP want to get rid of it, the word nigger exists in our universe. And it’s read-only, so you can’t delete it. Gangsta rap records would be a lot shorter if you could, and Dr. Dre would be bankrupt as hell.

You can’t get rid of racism by censoring certain words or leaving out crucial parts of the Constitution when it’s publicly read or by making slaveowners abolitionists when it suits you. The Bible says the truth shall set you free, and confronting said truth is the only way we can rise above race and class issues. But facing the truth is hard as fuck, so instead we get replaced words in classic books. Truthfully, if you REALLY wanted to get rid of racism, I’ve a plan: Put Oprah Winfrey on our money. If you put Miss Sofia on the $100 bill, the Klan won’t spend her. They won’t spend ANY $100 bills because they’ve been tainted by the association of Blackness. All the White Power groups will go as bankrupt as Dr. Dre will when they finally ban the N-word. Sounds stewpit? It’s no less dumb than anything real I’ve mentioned.

"It's not about the Benjamins, It's about MEEEEEEE!"

Black History may be being rewritten, but Odienator History remains the same as it ever was. No matter how embarrassing it is, I’m not rewriting it because I can’t change what’s already happened. This is why we have another edition of the Mumf, and why within it, I review and discuss Blaxploitation movies and other things that may not be as whitewashed as reader comfort would like. This is really about me, and how I saw people like myself on the screen and on TV. If it affected me, I put it here, and damn if that bothers you. As always, I stress that this is not a scholarly discussion. I am not politically correct. I cuss. If you are offended, I say so what. And if I review Fred Williamson’s The Legend of Nigger Charley (and I’m not saying I will), I’m going to replace nigger with Mister. If you got that, welcome home. If you didn’t get that, you’re still welcome here and I’ll explain it to you later. The Mumf is open to everybody, as it has been the past three times I’ve busted my ass to bring it to you.

Creep with me through my neighborhood.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Our resident James Bond, Odienator, is back for another go round of Black History Mumf at Big Media Vandalism. If the third time was the charm, this fourth time is cause for alarm. Double-O-Odie’s License to Kill has been revoked, so he’s going rogue. Seeing David Duke dancing on the Soul Train Line would be less jarring than what Odienator has in store for you in 2011.

Without his license to kill, Odienator will have to rely on something more sinister: his Token Power. He can’t escape being the only Negro at

a) most of his programming  jobs
b) a party 
c) a movie screening. He was once the only Black person at a Tyler Perry screening!!!

Run Odie! I gotcha covered!

Now THAT my friends is power. ‘Tis a blessing and a curse, and should explain the skewed perspective of not only this series but the man himself. When you're Wookin Pa Nub in all the wrong places, you're bound to be real messed up in the head.

Tastier than fried chicken, and just as bad for you, Black History Mumf 2011 continues the tradition of cinematic and television nostalgia mixed with history lessons and brutally honest confessions. And it’s open to everybody. We don’t care what color you are, so long as you dress presentably, aren’t easily offended, and don’t act trifflin’. If you don’t know what trifflin’ is, perhaps you should start at the beginning of the series and work your way through all 80+ pieces beforehand. We’ll wait.

The Tea Party ain’t the only ones rewriting Black History, except we actually have the truth as part of our recipe. See y’all on Monday, January 31st, 2011!

'Y'all come back now, y'hear?"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Best of Everything Chapter Two: Fool's Gold

Emotions bigger than a flippin' truck...

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Causing Trouble With Odienator: Odie-Tune the News 2010

 By Odienator

Tired of the 2010 roundups yet? How about one more to start your year on the right note? It's time for yet another episode of Causing Trouble With Odienator, where I remind you that, without the ability to laugh at life, you may as well kill yourselves because the world really sucks.

I turned 40 in 2010, and if life truly begins at 40, my first year of life was filled with items that made me even more cynical, jaded and distrustful of humankind. Considering I am a programmer by trade, and all programmers and information technology professionals are cynics to the nth degree, I must congratulate the players of 2010 for accomplishing this feat. Everytime I tried to get out of my cynical funk, they kept pulling me back in. Politics, movies, news, and just plain human idiocy all played their parts, so let's look at some of the things that threw gas-soaked coal into my cynicism's furnace.

Repetition Doesn't Make It So

In 1976, Rankin/Bass brought Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer back to TV in a sequel to his eponymous 1964 classic cartoon. In Rudolph's Shiny New Year, Rudolph is tasked with saving New Year's Day, which is depicted here as a really cute baby with big-ass ears. The baby has gone missing, and without him, the year won't increase by one. Antagonizing Rudolph is a vulture named Eon, whose way of life (and his very existence) depends on keeping Rudolph from finding Baby New Year before midnight on New Year's Eve. If Rudy succeeds, it will usher in a new "eon," and the old Eon will freeze to death like Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining. While Eon does everything in his power to prevent Rudy from his mission, Baby New Year's ears cause mass laughter and scorn whenever he appears, giving him a serious complex about ruling the New Year.

Sound familiar?

2010 was just the dress rehearsal for 2012's political shenanigans and madness. The Mayans didn't say 2012 was the end of the world, but they probably implied that you'll wish it were after all the commercials and vitriol. All that Tea Party screaming about "wanting our country back" and "taking the country back to its roots" made me think of Eon and his unwillingness to let go of the past, almost as much as Baby New Year's ears made me think of you-know-who.
Save me, Rudolph!
There's a creepy--and incorrect--nostalgia permeating political discourse. While Tea Partiers claim they are talking about going back to Reagan and Bush, they really pine for that old American chestnut of "the good ol' days," the 1950's. I've talked to people old enough to remember the 50's, and every one of them told me shit was fucked up back then. And these are White people I'm asking! Asking a Black person if the 50's were messed up is like asking my ass if it's aware there's a crack in it.

I went to a Tea Party rally in Ohio earlier this year and, when approached by a guy screaming at me to get mad and "help us bring back the good old days," I looked at him cross-eyed. He looked like a 12 year old Justin Bieber. When he told me he was 17, I almost hit him with my fist. "Muthafucka, you were born in 1993!" I said incredulously. "Clinton was President! A DEMOCRAT!" I stressed the political party for emphasis. Then I asked "What do you want brought back from 1993? Parachute pants?" He couldn't tell me one thing he wanted "brought back," nor could anybody else I spoke to at this rally. Most people looked at me like "oh my God, a NEGRO!!!" when I approached them. There was genuine surprise I was there, and as far as I could tell, I was the only minority in a group of at least 200 people. The only feeling I got was that people were pissed that there was an HNIC in a place where there's always been a HCIC. Truthfully, I was as "skeered" as Willie Best in The Ghost Breakers. But this was in Ohio, so perhaps the reaction to me was an isolated incident. Maybe my appearance would be less shocking at a Tea Party rally in, I dunno, Utah or something.

Probably Not.

What makes me most cynical, even more than the Democrats being a bunch of pussies (more on that later) is the recent political attempt to rewrite history. From the Texas schoolbooks eliminating crucial historical facts to Haley Barbour's comments on segregation not being so bad in Mississippi, people seem willing to be deluded on what really happened or is happening. We have an ungodly amount of information at our fingertips, and we're dumber than ever. Hell, when I needed to look something up, people my age had to get off their asses and go to the library. All you have to do now is click to do your research. So there's no excuse.

It's as if politicians on both sides of the aisle and right-wing pundits think that, if we keep saying erroneous things over and over, they will come true. When not shooting Santa's reindeer on her show, You Betcha Lady told us that Michelle Obama was "against dessert." This isn't true, but right-wing radio ran with it. (In the GOP's defense, folks like Mike Huckabee defended the First Lady.) Mrs. Obama was just stating the obvious: America is fat as fuck. So perhaps somebody should be telling you to eat healthier and less.

The Gov'ment Should NOT Tell You What You Should Eat! Telling you whom you can marry and what God you can worship is perfectly fine, tho'!
According to my doctor, I am 15 pounds overweight. I am not blaming my Mama or America or the White Man (except those White men who brought me food)

Y'all Know Who Y'all Are.
All kidding aside, I blame myself. Nobody held me down and forced me to eat, though I admit that might be hot in a 9-1/2 Weeks sort of way. Mrs. Obama isn't against dessert, but perhaps my fat ass should be a little less tolerant of it. So should yours.

Ghetto Superstar: That Is What You Are

President Obama is not gettng re-elected. Sorry to bust your bubble folks, and I will most CERTAINLY eat my words if he is. (I ate them after I said he wouldn't win--for once I liked being wrong.) But I don't think so. With that said, I wish he would turn into Warren Beatty's Senator Bulworth. I don't think he can, though, because something tells me Obama believes all those hope and change woof tickets he's always selling. He genuinely has faith in the American people (I can hear my mother yelling out "YOU JACKASS!!!", something she yelled at me way too often). It's admirable--sweet even--but it'll be his undoing.

I'd be less cynical if Obama just started telling you the unfiltered truth, as if he were possessed by WikiLeaks. You're not getting re-elected, so why not show your ass? I would! I'd light a Newport and come on TV warning the FCC that they will be fining me before I'm done. The President won't do it because he's too much of a politician, always thinking of the repercussions, and neutering himself in the process. The other side isn't censoring itself, and though the past few weeks have presented a commendable sense of compromise between both parties, it'll be business as usual come January. I was always told not to stoop to someone else's level, but goddammit, sometimes you have to. But before he can even address the other side, Obama should have a meeting with his own party and remind them that unless they put up as strong a united front as the GOP usually does, he's going to break his foot off in their whiny punk asses.

If he gave this look more often, shit would get done.

He won't do it. My heart gets blacker.

Tweet The News

Abe Vigoda is not dead, but everybody else apparently is. This past week, we've had death notices reported for Owen Wilson, Aretha Franklin, and Mr. Fuck You Man, Eddie Murphy. This is due to people believing what they read on Twitter. Even the news media has been suckered by this, which makes me most cynical of all. Would Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow have run a story they got from Benita Butrell, The Neighborhood Gossip without substantiating it?  I once wrote that the creation of CNN kickstarted "the destruction of intelligent America." I stand by that because before there was 24 hour news coverage, outlets took a little longer to get things reported. Now with the constant "me first" mentality of the news channels, they'd rather run with bullshit than be first with facts. And just like those old newspaper retractions they'd run in an obscure corner of page 58, retracting something that was on the front page for 3 days, the media outlets pay mere whispered lip service to their boo-boos. This may partially explain what I said earlier: We've got all this info within reach of our couches and we're dumber than ever.

And last but not least:

Fuck You, David Fincher

Until Christmas Eve, I refused to see The Social Network. Sure, the critics were falling all over it, but if you think I do things based on somebody else's opinion, it's obvious you haven't been reading this blog. My rationale was "why should I pay $12 to see an asshole programmer? I see them every day." (I even see one in my mirror.)

I am not a witch. I'm you, Odie!
On Christmas Eve, I discovered that the praise was justified: The Social Network is an excellent, though slightly flawed work. Where my expletive above stems from is that Fincher and company have exposed to the masses the dirty little secret about programmers:  

We hate you.

Watching Jesse Eisenberg's performance, and listening to him expertly deliver Aaron Sorkin's dialogue, I thought "shit, this guy sounds like ME." Those of you who know me may find this hard to believe, as I am generally even-tempered and social and sweet, but that's the robot I send out to meet my public. Spend a day with me at work, and you'll learn I have my own Zuckerberg split personality. All programmers do, and it has less to do with some girl that dumped us (that entire subplot of The Social Network is bullshit, and beneath the talents of all involved) and everything to do with the fact that, growing up, you guys were all mean to us. Zuckerberg didn't invent Facebook because he got dumped--he invented Facebook to get you addicted to his brand of crack so he could exact revenge on your ass later. Mark my words.

The greatest scene of the year is when Eisenberg reacts after the Facebook has launched. I've tried to explain to people the rush I get when a program of mine compiles and does what I wrote it to do. Fincher and company nails this feeling, as well as the general attitude of all us I.T. people out there in the dark. I suppose this shouldn't make me any more cynical--after all, Fincher told you the truth--but I felt kinda naked and exposed after watching this movie. So fuck you, David Fincher! (And by fuck, I actually mean "thank.")

Here's to a great 2011 folks! Happy New Year and I wish you all the best life has to offer.

See you in February. Y'all be cool.