Archive for the Current Events Category

Thank You Hipsters

Posted in Current Events, NY/NJ, Op/Ed, Print with tags , , , , on January 8, 2017 by Lupa
hipster

You’ve done us a great service

It’s not often that New York City hipsters get the (positive) credit they so rightfully deserve.  Whether it is because they are bereft of contributions to the city or they have such a negative stigma attached to them no one is willing to go on the record to heap praise on them I can’t tell you.  What I can tell you is that they have removed a small burden from my shoulders.

They have made me not hesitant to tell native New Yorkers I am from Jersey.

While I can’t define exactly what a hipster is for you succinctly, it would be argued by most that New York City natives are incapable of being hipsters.  I wouldn’t argue that.  Exhibit A Lena Dunham, no more questions your honor, I rest my case.  The consensus however is that the prototypical NYC hipster is from the Midwest.

(And on a side note for all intents and purposes a full fledged native New Yorker is someone raised in Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx  or Queens.  Staten Island is arguably more Jersey than Jersey and too remote (no train to the city, no bridge or tunnel to the city and mostly suburban Italian).  Long Island and Westchester don’t count.  Yonkers gets an honorable mention because they pay for it.)

ANYHOO, before New York became such a sought after, desirable destination for mass amounts of non Tri State area transplants people from Jersey were the number 1 object of scorn and ridicule for people living in Manhattan.  Traditionally NYC was, for most intents and purposes, Manhattan.  Manhattan is the Big Apple, the city so nice they named it twice, the City That Never Sleeps, what Frank Sinatra wanted to be a part of and Gotham.  To this day when you say “the city” you are exclusively talking about Manhattan.

At this time being from or living in the outer boroughs was the object of its own derision.  People from Brooklyn and Staten Island were mockingly referred to as “bridge and tunnel” though that term was favored by Manhattanites  (well to do residents of Manhattan.)  This contempt was mutual, as made evident in Saturday Night Fever. There was nothing “cool” at all about being a guido, though to be fair there still isn’t.

I consider myself a naturalized New Yorker.  I’m not from New York but I’ve legitimately earned the right to call myself a New Yorker.

My first distinct memory of New York City was in the late 80’s when I rode the Staten Island Ferry all day during the filming of the Let The River Run video by Carly Simon because my brother was an extra in it.  After that I was sporadically in the city to visit my father, but that was limited because it just wasn’t worth the risk.  I remember my father asking a cabbie what the most dangerous place in New York was with him suggesting it was “Alphabet City.”  The cabbie politely let him know it was the South Bronx, where I would coincidentally later live off and on for a period of 10 years.

In the mid 90’s which coincided with New York becoming significantly safer as well as me becoming old enough to do things on my own I started coming here more often taking the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor line to see my father or go to concerts.  By the late 90’s I was already coming strictly to sin like when I went to the first Million Marijuana March, smoked trees with some guys I met there and then we all went to buy porn.  Yes kiddos, we used to actually have to get porn in a store and actually pay for it.  Then I got into raves and the sinning in NY got out of control.  This was when a fake ID that I got at the Rt 18 flea market could get me in anywhere no problem at all.

In the early 2000’s I went to an audio technical school in the city and was there daily while living in Jers.  I didn’t officially become a New Yorker until 2004 when I briefly rented a room from a Jamaican couple in Harlem, the only time I have ever lived in Manhattan.  When I moved in the husband helped me move all my shit upstairs but they kicked me out because they had to let a repair guy in my room and saw the condition of it.  Suffice to say they watched me carry all the shit downstairs when I moved out.

In my mind though I became a New York resident when I lived in Jersey City a couple years prior in an area that was more NY than plenty of places in NYC.  There was no discernible difference.  Everyone had NY accents.  In fact someone I know from Queens recently told me that was the most hood place he’s ever been to.  Of course this was when you could tell people in NY you lived in Jersey City and those that knew where like damn.

These days I live in ungentrified Brooklyn and literally have no one in my life I see in New York on any kind of regular basis, even once in a blue moon, that didn’t grow up in NY or spent decades here.  Some, if not most, natives will never accept me as a New Yorker even knowing all the previously stated, particularly “hood” New Yorkers.  But I feel more comfortable in NY than Jersey and New York accents, which initially were quite jarring to me, have now become the default accent to my ears; standard American English is what has an accent to me now and it sounds out of place.  But I get it, no part of my childhood was spent living in New York.  Not only that I didn’t even grow up living in an urban environment.  It was basically geographically and with people like you see in the movie Clerks, which is one of the greatest and most authentic depictions of non northern NJ life ever.

I don’t know when it became okay to be from Jersey or at least not as bad but let’s peg it at 2010.  By then everything hipster, it’s accouterments, it’s locations were well and long defined.  In fact I am able to concede my entire argument is simply my perception and there’s probably many New York natives laughing their ass off at this heresy.  But they just never gave it thought.

What the hipsters did was show that New Yorkers have way more in common with typical Jersyans than not and that they all have a reference point for Jersey which they lack for the Midwest.

What New Yorker has never been to the Jersey shore or Atlantic City or Giant’s Stadium?  I don’t think I know any that can say that.  Don’t tell me NY pizza is great because of the water because Jers has completely different water and bangin pizza is easy to come by.  They have the same local TV stations, watch the same local news.  If you watched Channel 9 back in the day you were watching a Jersey product.  And while New York was out of control back in the day, there is nothing in NYC as dangerous as Camden and a lot of Newark.

The two places have ironically traded places.  In large swaths of NYC it feels generic and unauthentic.  It feels fake.  But most of Jers doesn’t feel like that.  It feels like it always did, at least to me when I go randomly once in a while.  It’s still undesirable to people not from there.  Ask a hipster in New York they’ll tell you.  They would NEVER live in Jersey.

Many NY natives have never even lived anywhere else, but I spent a few years in Denver.  Believe me once you go far enough from the tri state area they see no difference in people from NJ and NY at all.  People would ask me if I was from New York and I would say I was originally from NJ and it didn’t even register to them.  To them it was like what’s the difference?

Don’t get me wrong, we know how different NYC and Jersey are and how different the people are but its because we’re looking at it under a microscope.  Go to Cali and they are looking at it zoomed out a million times and to them they can’t see the different details.

So thank you hipsters.  When NY natives ask me where I’m from, even though most people think I grew up in Queens, I don’t have any qualms or dread about telling them I’m from Jersey.  It doesn’t matter if they even see me the same as a hipster and break my balls.  New York has changed so much not only because so many other types have moved here, but so many New York natives moved away, that the goalposts have changed.  I may not be a touchdown, but I’m a field goal and at the end of the day sometimes you just need any score to win the game.

Baltimore: Thug Passion (Is The Word Nigger Effectively Alive and Well?)

Posted in At The Races, Current Events, Ethics/Morals with tags , , , , , , on April 30, 2015 by Lupa
1371215990_thug-life-receta

Thug Passion baby, feeeeel me!

Smokin blunts in the driveway
My 4-5 screamin fuck tha police when we fly away

thug till I die

you wonder why I’m made this way
I wasn’t turned out
I was raised this way

As 2pac might stylize it: all eyez are on Baltimore.

If you haven’t heard about the unrest in Baltimore yet, not to worry my friends.  There are many places for you to acquaint yourself with basic facts on this story. 

This isn’t one of them. 

If you have an interest in this situation and have some working knowledge, I make an earnest, humble recommendation to allow me a moment of your time.  There might even be a timeshare in it for you at a very nice price. 

R2746_352x171!!Esplanade_Suites_Wildwood_NJ_USA_pool

It might or it might not be this timeshare in Wildwood, NJ. But if you are interested in a timeshare in Wildwood you’re probably my kind of people.

It is being posited by some, accepted as fact by others, that using the word “thug” to describe rioters, violent protesters, looters, arsonists, criminals in action – whatever you want to call it – is analogous to the word “nigger”; a socially acceptable veneer in which racism can be transmitted without conscious detection.  It’s the parental advisory, edited for TV version.  It might not be explicit, but make no mistake the real word in the thought – the semantic meaning – is nigger. 

I am here to tell you that is a specious premise worthy of overall practical disregard.

Language is fluid and the understanding of words can change over time.  There becomes a point when society deems a word to have permanently altered, it’s original meaning considered old fashioned, or after long enough archaic.  This is a gradual process that must involve a consensus of people who have a thorough knowledge and application of language.  If the change comes absent of this it becomes an informal meaning, slang, esoteric or auxiliary.

The point in time where we as a society alter the use of thug to imply racial epithet simply is not here.  This concept is being put forth by a handful of people, none of whom have any special authority to deem such a thing. 

For starters, thug is a common word in our discourse used to describe, well thugs.  American and foreign English news media outlets with a sufficient amount of credibility regularly or readily use the word thug to describe a violent person of any demographic.  Let us focus on print media as it is devoid of subconscious triggers and is not affected by the voice or sight of the communicator which  may affect interpretation.

Within the past month alone there are examples of the media referring to non African American groups as disparate as ISIS, Russian gangsters, aging British football hooligans, Mexican drug cartel members, The Black Joke rioters of 1863 NYC and Gambino crime family associates as thugs.

This established and commonly accepted use of the word is not negated by a few people who wish to hijack it’s meaning. 

I think it is worth noting that I do believe there are people who say thugs in public when referring to blacks who in private might just as easily say niggers instead, though this is hardly a reason to call Oxford.

If this argument is used to attempt to substantiate the supposition, it is society and good people acquiescing to the desires and whim of nefarious bigots.  It also is a convenient, expedient polemic to launch against those who say it can’t inherently have tangible proof of not being true. 

The irony is that I think the embracing of the word thug by young ethnic minorities adds to this idea.  Ask the average rap fan under 25 to name you a dozen references of the word thug in rap for a million dollars in under 30 seconds and you better get that person’s social security number.

one-million-dollars

What I will send any person who can name 12 thug references in rap. in under 30 seconds.  And Reagan was definitely a thug.

Of specific influence in this phenomenon is 2pac, the man whose song title I borrowed in this piece and who I am quoting in the intro.  This is a black icon, on par with people under 40 with as much status, esteem and legend than any other prominent black figure in American history.  Yes, even those guys. 

Pac talked about “Thug Life” and even permanently emblazoned it on his stomach in case he forgot it.  To his credit, he did have a thoughtful, compelling exposition for embracing it. 

To the superficial or casual listener, 2pac might not have seemed particularly or exceptionally intellectual or thoughtful over any other “conscious” hip hop artist of the time, however the truth becomes clear through his interviews. 

2pac had an amazing grasp of abstract ideas and could whittle down a subject to it’s simplest, most critical elements.  Any rapper can make a witty commentary on social issues in a song, but 2pac had a deep understanding of them not widely seen in hip hop.  He also had a knack for getting his point across with an abundance of charisma.  As he succinctly articulates here, this is what Thug Life means to him:

“The Hate U Gave Little Infants Fucks Everybody.  Meaning: what you feed us as seeds, blows up in your face.”

Tupac

I imagine in 2015 2pac would be ridiculed for having such rudimentary tattoos by rappers who got them as a perquisite to launching a serious rap career.

The inference of those two statements is considerable and poignant.  To him Thug Life is the inevitable outcome of purposeful generational inequality.  It is a statement on how there are those who thought blacks could be marginalized and put on the fringe without consequence to those outside the community.  It doesn’t speak to morality, it speaks to desperation.  It’s not proactively implemented it is an inevitable involuntary action, not random but by design.  Perpetuating this to ensure it happens as, has happened time again in American history, will ensure this consequence is felt by all.  Pac would point to Baltimore as exhibit A right now. 

I could easily go more in depth analyzing it.  To have such condensed semantic value is not common. 

I believe 2pac’s influence and legacy in both the black and white communities creates a narrow avenue where a segment of blacks and their bigots coexist.  In other words, if you venerate someone so associated with the word thug and make rampant use of it in music you are commonly associated with, then it seems logical to outsiders you self identify as a thug.  It inadvertently influenced how bigots could attack blacks by providing racial venom to a word with no historical or previous contemporary specific connection to black Americans. 

Because of 2pac the confusion becomes plausible.  It’s a bigot’s dream; a seemingly masochistic group which takes pride and pleasure in being thugs, something universally understood as being negative and morally wrong.  Free refills for everyone because not only can I call you nigger with impunity, you love it. Few things can satisfy more than validation.

Here’s the bottom line.  Are there those who use thug as code for nigger?  Yes?  Is it mainstream, endemic or otherwise able to be confused or even perceived as such in it’s regular context in every day situations by the average person?  Without question that answer is no.

Focusing on the value of this word denies full exploration to the underlying issue of disharmony in race relations and discrimination, especially in light of it’s blandness.  Let’s not supply a minority of racists ammo in which to lob pathetic racial attacks, which given the apparent modernity of our existence, should have been eradicated long ago.

Start a dialogue with people if you question their use of the word thug in relation to black people.  Don’t make assumptions which when put under scrutiny are untenable.

Our language is not a Wikipedia entry anyone can just edit as they please.  Willful overlooking of the facts constitutes race baiting.  Thug has an accepted and thoroughly established non racial association, period, end of story, print it up.

Sometimes a twinkle in her eyes is just a twinkle in her eye and sometimes a thug is just a thug. 

 

De Blasio De Dunce & Wise Wilhelm

Posted in Current Events, General, NY/NJ, Politics, Print, Society with tags , on March 22, 2014 by Lupa
New Yorkers keep electing guys from Massachusetts and wonder why this happens...

New Yorkers keep electing guys from Massachusetts and wonder why this happens…

Bill de Blasio has been mayor for 80 days, which is technically 115,200 New York minutes.

As eager he is to tell you about his “tale of two cities” he is less enthusiastic about telling you the tale of two mayors and two standards.

This isn’t because he literally became a different person.  Some might not be aware Bill de Blasio was born Warren Wilhelm Jr.  I have no issue with his name change reflecting his mother’s last name and what he was called growing up, however it can not be overlooked his legal name change coincided with his initial run for NYC office, and he couldn’t make up his mind after the first time he changed his name.

Wilhelm sounds Naziesque, and just sounding Nazi related is no good in New York.  That had to go.  Regardless of his motives, as I haven’t mastered mind reading yet (fingers crossed), the figurative imagery is undeniable; this is a person that is willing to become someone else for political expediency.

Yeah he whipped ass in the general election, though he barely made it out of the primary.  The fact he could ultimately crush up his competition is only indicative of how weak the field was.  Not to mention only 24% of registered voters actually voted, down from when 93% of registered voters voted for mayor in 1953, and 57% in 1993 when Giuliani first got elected.  That wasn’t de Blasio though anyway, that was Wilhelm the real brains behind the operation.

De Blasio is just the proxy in which Wilhelm comes through.  Wilhelm is the pragmatic one, he knows what he has to do to get something he wants.  He also knows now that he has power – for lack of a way of saying it I enjoy more – nobody can say shit to him.  He’s our Daddy now.

De Blasio meanwhile is the supposed populist ideologue with a black, former lesbian wife who will mend the divisions which create the two cities.  He’s the public relations veneer.  To whatever extent de Blasio’s success is, Wilhelm will have engineered it.  Like opposite sides of a coin de Blasio is the face and Wilhelm the foundation.  He’s the one who knew his made for TV son Dante would ingratiate him to a city which prides diversity.  He’s also the one whose level of scruples includes exploiting, I mean utilizing, his teenage son for his own professional gain.

Consider his tale of two cities refrain, a dish rich in irony and actually first served up by Chef Fernando Ferrer in 2001.  The economic and social disparity which exists aside, regular citizen Wilhelm could never speed and run through stop signs with impunity, let alone an officially sanctioned NYPD speed racer like Mayor de Blasio does.  Did I mention this speed adventure was preceded by the unveiling of Vision Zero, a campaign to reduce traffic fatalities, two days earlier?  Puppet Master Wilhelm knows that having the job is different then when you are trying to get it.  After all there might be two cities, but there’s still only one mayor.

Of course de Blasio, the facade, will purport to believe he is not superior or exceptional to the average citizen.

He is so committed to his propaganda, er beliefs, he included shoveling snow on his official mayor’s schedule, including the cameo by NYC’s favorite well coiffed and afroed teenager.  While the snow shoveling was planned I doubt the asinine act of shoveling with sneakers was intentional, though he managed to have the inadvertent audacity to dole out snow shoveling advice.  His zeal for fronting overcame his common sense.  People like a hot plate of BS that tastes good, but when the ingredients of the dish become apparent, people want a refund.  

De Blasio’s tendency to bait and switch or act hypocritically is a well stocked bar.  He brought Police Commissioner Bill Bratton back even though he is an architect of stop and frisk, a practice de Blasio constantly railed against and made a centerpiece of his campaign.  Perhaps my favorite flavor of his proprietary duplicity is the increase of jaywalking tickets by almost 800% while having no problem jaywalking with his city paid security team.

This guy is a piece of work, or maybe not.  His rule is the product of being the last person standing amongst a field of cripples.  The honeymoon period of “anyone else but Bloomberg” is over.  Like the day after a one night stand fueled by inebriation, New Yorkers are cracking their eyes open at 9A and finally getting a good glimpse of what they went to bed with.  And it’s a lot different than the guy buying us drinks while trying to get in our pants.

Interview With A Non Violent Torpedo

Posted in Current Events, Hollywood, NY/NJ, Politics, Society, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 8, 2011 by Lupa

Charlie Sheen’s My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not An Option tour hits Radio City this weekend and it’s worth noting he could have done better with that title.

I mean, aren’t all torpedos intrinsically violent?  Do they make pacifist Ghandi spewing torpedos?  Isn’t that like saying my sweet lollipop or the wet water?

Some of his crackhead ramblings are kind of interesting from a grammatical standpoint, but this is just loco right?  Not so.

The Cartel was contacted by a WWII torpedo from Sweden named Erik who said I have it all wrong.   He, in fact, is a non violent torpedo, there are others like him and it validates Sheen’s show title.  I had a chance to speak with Erik, someone who speaks fluent English.

Lupa:  Thanks Erik for talking with us.

Erik:  No problem Alex.

Lupa:  So tell us how you came to be a non violent torpedo?

Erik:  Well Sweden was a neutral country during WWII, but they weren’t a stupid country.  So they made torpedos, and all sorts of other weapons, that they never really planned to use.  We were just pawns in a huge posturing manuever.  It’s like the virgin that carries a rubber in his wallet.  You’re not using that son, you’re frontin.  So that picture I gave you is an artists rendering of me in the air.

Lupa:  You almost seem solemn when you talk about it.

Erik:  Fuck yeah Alex.  I mean I’m a fuckin torpedo.  I want to be shot, and I want to fuck some shit up.  I feel like the little boy born with a mangled dick so they cut it off and dressed it up like a girl.  But I was born with a dick Alex, and I want to fuck with it!

Lupa:  You seem angry now.

Erik:  Are you fucking stupid?  Of course I’m angry.  These Swedish fucks disenfranchised me.  I should of fucked some Nazis up, but they were too pussy to get involved.  Shit, I would have been fine fucking the allies up to.  I’m a torpedo, that’s how I get down.

Lupa:  Well thanks Erik for taking the time to speak with me.  I hope to shed light on your plight and the rest of the unused weaponry of pussified neutral countries like Sweden.

Erik:  Thanks Alex.  YOU are the man.  In fact, you’re the BOMB.  Get it, you are the BOMB.

Lupa:  I do Erik.  I do.  And you are the torpedo.

Mr. Met Seriously Hurt After Sheen Mistakes Him For Yayo

Posted in Current Events, General, NY/NJ, Society, Sports with tags , , on February 10, 2011 by Lupa

Right after my story on Charlie went to print, The Cartel received some disturbing Sheen related news.

It seems that in a cocaine and booze induced psychosis, Charlie sliced Mr. Met’s head with a razor blade thinking his head was a big rock of blow.

The story goes that Mr. Met was in LA for an anthropomorphic baseball mascot convention when he encountered Charlie walking down the Sunset Strip.  Mr. Met attempted to get Charlie’s autograph when all hell broke loose.  Charlie, fresh out of his rehab, had apparently fallen off the wagon and mistook Mr. Met for fresh product from the heartland of Bolivia.

When I have more on this, you’ll get it.  Let’s pray for Mr. Met.  He needs a blood transfusion, but like Prince, we’re still trying to figure what exactly Mr. Met is.  His license lists an address in Corona, Queens, hopefully his family can shed some light on this.  I hope Lady Met and the little Met children have the strength to get through this tragedy.

Does Sexism Explain Why Charlie Sheen Gets A Pass?

Posted in Current Events, Hollywood, Society with tags , , , , , , , on February 10, 2011 by Lupa

In light of all the media coverage surrounding Charlie Sheen and his debaucherous ways, a fair and hard question emerges.  How come Charlie Sheen is largely getting a pass for all of this, but a woman like Lindsay Lohan who is doing basically the same thing gets vilified?  Is sexism involved?  The answer to this lies in the ever elusive context.

It only seems like they are doing the same thing.  That’s like you shooting hoops in the park and saying you do the same thing as Kobe Bryant.  Charlie Sheen is a veteran in the drug game, having sniffed blow and banged hookers before Lindsay’s opportunist parents conceived her.  He’s a 45-year-old grown ass man who came up in Hollywood, if Charlie doesn’t know the game, no one does.  Every time I party and it’s  5 in the morning and I don’t know why I’m up late wasted, I think of Charlie.  Then things become very lucid, and I feel completely at peace.

Next, the only real connection is drug abuse.  Charlie Sheen knows to have a driver, take a cab or walk.  You don’t see Charlie getting DUI’s.  That’s his fiend IQ coming into play.  And chain snatching?  Charlie Sheen is not about to engage in chain snatching.

Simply put, Charlie Sheen gets a pass because we feel sorry for him.  No one was there for him as a Hollywood brat growing up and he got caught up.  He was a fiend when River Phoenix died, but he was just blessed with great stamina. 

It also works both ways though.  He gets a pass because his life is so pimptastic.  Not only can he conspicuously engage in all this behavior, but he gets paid to reenact it on TV’s highest rated comedy.  In fact, he’s the highest paid actor on TV and his career has arguably never been better.  None of this has dented anything Sheen related in the least, in fact it’s probably enhanced it.  It’s called vicarious living, or maybe that’s just me.

Lindsay on the other hand might to show up to Chez Sheen and do indescribably sex acts to pay her mortgage.  It’s getting bad for her.  She’s convincing herself she actually is a lesbo so her girlfriend will throw her an 8 ball every now and then.  She’s working in Hollywood these days about as much as the guy who greenlighted Battlefield Earth.

So let us not compare Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan.  Until they both die.  Then we can compare them.  Chi-Chi, get the yayo!

Kim Kardashian’s Ass Is Blacker Than Prince

Posted in Current Events, General, Hollywood, Music, NY/NJ, Race, Society with tags , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by Lupa

In another exclusive to The Cartel, we have received a just released study that explains the plain old rudeness Prince displayed to Kim Kardashian at his concert at the Garden.

It turns out that, genetically at least, Kim’s ass contains more sub Saharan DNA than Prince.  The reasons are diverse, the study explains.

One, look at Prince.  We don’t even know what he is exactly.  He could quite possibly be the alien that abducted Travis Walton in Fire In The Sky.  Even the scientists couldn’t figure it out. 

Two is that for some strange reason, Kim’s ass retained many black properties descended about a hundred generations ago.  You see, if you go back far enough, everyone has a black relative; it’s just simple math.  If there were only 500 humans on Earth at one point and they were all in Africa, then you have a distant black relative.  

Three, but most critically the scientists noted, is that Kim’s ass has been the recipient of such a staggering amount of sub Saharan DNA by way of beef injection.  They are not sure, but they think that possibly at the time of the mega cum loads, she was also near a microwave.  It’s like the movie the Fly, kind of, but not really.

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