I vowed that last year’s Black History Mumf would be my last, but it was so protracted that I had to come back this year to make amends. Every time I got momentum in 2012, somebody would die. Don Cornelius, Whitney Houston, Elmo. Well, Elmo didn’t die, he just got a personality transplant. Nevertheless, I wrote about him, thereby cursing the poor red Muppet. I also wrote about Don King, but so far as I know, he and his Buckwheat-inspired ‘do is still around.
This year, I hope to be both more lucky and more prolific. This is my second year as proprietor of Big Media Vandalism, so I’ve got to do this site right. This is my sixth Opening Shot, which is the piece that sets the stage for what is to follow. I’ve said some crazy shit in these pieces, some of it crazier than anything I’ve said in the pieces that have followed. Let’s see if I can exercise some restraint in 2013…
President Obama keeps costing me money.
And no, I don’t mean in taxes or “ObamaCare.” I’m talking about with the bookie. Because I keep betting against Barry O, and twice he has almost gotten my kneecaps broken. I fondly recall Wesley Snipes’ famous line in Passenger 57—“always bet on Black,” but you see where that got him. My cynicism, both about Snipes’ ghetto luck and American attitudes toward race, clouded my judgment about anything Nino Brown advised. “Always bet on Black” worked for Passenger 57, but I didn’t think it would work for President 44.
The first time I violated Wesley’s advice, I ran a retraction in 2009’s Opening Shot. You could forgive me for calling that election wrong. We were in unchartered territory, but the gambler in me should have realized that lightning can strike anywhere, even in the direction of a Black History far more important than my microcosmic world here at Big Media Vandalism. Further clouding my judgment was the American public’s desire to elect someone “just like them.” Most Americans weren’t prisoners of war, senators from Delaware or Harvard Law graduates. More Americans were closer, in mindset, temperament and action, to You Betcha Lady. A stint doing I.T. technical support will prove this to you.
At the casino, good gamblers bet with their heads, not their hearts. When it comes to matters not controlled by logic nor the Mob, the inverse is the wiser decision. I read too much logic into the situation, downplaying just how fast my heart beat when Senator Obama unleashed his Barry White sexy rhetoric on me. It seemed to work on a lot of people, folks who swooned so much that the Other Side started calling him the Messiah. (“See, told y’all Jesus was Black!” yells the ghost of the old Black Nana who haunts this website.) People swoon now, I thought, but they won’t have that sexy speechmaking on full blast at the polling place. In the privacy of that curtain, America will vote for the hot, winking lady and the crotchety old man.
So, I bet money against Obama in 2008, and I lost.
"Make that shit out to CASH, Odie"
Cut to 4 years later. President Obama had, depending on whom you asked, either made history or run the country into the ground by putting everybody (except me, apparently) on food stamps and WiC checks. Even if you were somewhere in the middle of this belief spectrum, you weren’t going to fall for the game Obama ran in 2008. That Billy Dee shit was not gonna work on you this time. His first term was like that guy you met, who looked oh-so-chocolatey good, said all the right things, bought you all the right flowers and trinkets, wooed you right out of your panties, then presented you with some strictly menza-menza dick.
“He cute and all,” said the American public, “but I wonder what else is out there.”
Everything was going as the Other Side had hoped, but they couldn’t get their shit together. The gambler in me saw this, but I figured by this time, our Literally First Black President wasn’t going to win no matter what he did. I’m known for saying “I’ll try anything once, within reason.” My cynical head looked at the election as just that, a Larry Graham-worthy One In a Million Chance of a Lifetime. My sentimental heart beat otherwise, beaming with pride for an America that had finally come together in sweet racial harmony.
Of course, that shit lasted about 30 seconds:
"Post-racial America is bullshit dreamed up by a marketing department that should be executed with extreme prejudice. Who decided I didn’t want to be Black anymore? Give me their address so I can go kick the shit out of them. It’s not like I can forget anyway. Even if I didn’t have a mirror, Fox News pundits and the right-wing fringe groups won’t let me forget." -Yours Truly, The Opening Shot, 2010
Anyway, my heart returned to sentimentality, and figured that a second term for Obama would prove the first was not a fluke. My cynical head also believed that, and immediately bet against Mr. Michelle. Because if we could elect a Black president twice, anybody could be President. The floodgates would open! We could next have as President a woman, a Jew, a Hispanic, a homosexual or, heavens to Mergatroyd, an atheist! (OK, scratch that last one.) I thought “This must scare the everlasting gobstopper shit out of the Establishment! They’ll never let THAT happen.”
I called the bookie to bet MORE money against Obama.
For a hot minute, things got interesting. The prospect of two Black men in the race for President instilled all manner of crazy thoughts in my head. I imagined Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper staring at a blank, colorless US map on election night:
“Did any of you motherfuckers vote?” asks Wolf incredulously.
John King would be banging his head into a wall while Candy Crowley danced the Charleston. Anderson Cooper would just stare into the camera with come-hither eyes.
"You know you want this."
Flipping the dial, I’d discover that MSNBC had become a test pattern, and Fox News merged with BET. “For the first time since the forming of the country, the United States has elected no one as President,” says the BBC in their snooty accent. “Nyaah, you traitorous bitches!”
Alas, Obama’s presidency wasn’t the only thing with menza-menza dick problems, so my doomsday scenario went South. Instead we got Al Green and Sophia Petrillo from the Golden Girls against Scrooge McDuck and Ayn Rand McNally. That last guy was to the GOP what Clinton was to the Dems, and the Dems themselves didn’t seem to be passionate about coming out to vote. So I emptied out my rapidly diminishing 401(k) and bet it all on Scrooge McDuck. I was betting with my head, not my heart.
On election night, Obama beat my ass and took my lunch money.
"Bitch, haven't we been here before?"
You know who lost a lot more money for gambling with their heads and not their hearts? The Grand Old Party. I at least have the courage to blame my dumb ghetto ass for my mistakes. Come to think of it, so did the GOP! They blamed my, and many many other, dumb ghetto asses for their loss. Forget about the shit they said about women, self-deporting Latinos (I imagined George Lopez on the border with a catapult going “NEXT!”), and gay men who needed Jesus in their hearts. Forget about trying to suppress shiftless niggas who might commit "voter fraud." Nobody was listening to any of that stuff! After Karl Rove pulled a “Mortimer Duke at the end of Trading Places” on Fox News (“turn those machines back on!!” screamed Don Ameche), pundits came on to tell us that Obama won because suddenly America was filled with brown people “who wanted something.”
If I were White, I’d be offended by that statement. Because if you’re on this Earth and you don’t want anything, you’re an idiot. Even more idiotic is the concept that, overnight, America was struck by rampant Watermelon Man disease and turned uber-needy and brown. If I were White, I’d be pissed about that shit too. “Why didn’t I turn brown if everybody else did?” I’d demand.
Oh wait...never mind!
The GOP bet with its head, not its heart. And just as he did with redbone yours truly, Obama beat their ass and took their lunch money. I can’t lose any more money on Obama—he can’t run again—but the GOP can certainly lose more money unless they start thinking differently.
There will always be more women, more brown people, more minorities, more gays and more immigrants of every stripe. They're always going to be turning 18. And they all have a right to be treated nicely by any party that wants to win an election. Because Bulworth was right: We are fucking each other and we’re all gonna become the same color in the US. That color’s going to be brown, folks. You can’t escape it. We’re taking over.
I think THIS is what Obama was talking about when he mentioned The Audacity of Hope.
So here we are. President Obama starts his second term, and since it is eventually a lame duck one, I am hoping he’ll finally drop the Lando Calrissian and bring out the Dolemite. It’s a safe bet he won’t do it, so you can call your bookie and drop some dough if you desire. A surer bet, however, would be to follow Wesley’s advice and bet on black, specifically THIS Black. Black History Mumf is once again in full effect (for the SIXTH time!), and this time I’m not going to promise a piece every day. The writing gods of fate don’t like that; when I’ve done it, I’ve been stricken with pneumonia and busted knees and family problems and work aggravations. So instead, I’ll just tweet the shit out of each piece so you know when I’m on duty. As always, I warn that this is not a scholarly conversation. I cuss. I will probably offend you and not give a fuck. And though I am no Quentin Tarantino, I’ve been known to say nigger once or twice here, but always in the context it deserves.
Once again, I’ll take you through the Black cinematic places that have shaped me and continue to do so. The Mumf is for everybody, though if you (like me) kept fidgeting with a comb every time you saw that Hushpuppy girl in Beasts of the Southern Wild, you might get a little more out of this series than others. No matter. The Mumf is for everybody, and if you're new to the show, I have 100+ instances of what you're in for during your stay. As I’ve said 5 prior times:
Creep with me through my neighborhood.
"You know, that Odie boy need his ass beat."
"... pundits came on to tell us that Obama won because suddenly America was filled with brown people “who wanted something.”
If I were White, I’d be offended by that statement. Because if you’re on this Earth and you don’t want anything, you’re an idiot."
Hilarious comeback. Part of general Compulsive Objection to Overt Neediness Syndrome is the effort on the part of some of us to assure the powers that be that we don't want anything-- or not too much, really.
I remember once rushing into a store, asking the proprietor for a napkin, to address my suddenly runny nose, and his launching into a speech about how my people always want something for nothing-- "Always party time!"
I did my best within the bounds of the law to show him that the party was over.
With an electorate full of folks like that angry white guy, I can't blame you for betting against (but, of course, not voting against) Obama each time. Sometimes it seems like the armies of the ignorant replenish a lot faster than the brown Bulworth babies in your beautiful vision.
Really excited to see where your thoughts roam from here this month, brother.
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