Actual Things People Have Said To Me

Posted in Actual Things People Have Said To Me, Dogs, Print, The 80's, Uncategorized with tags , on January 10, 2017 by Lupa

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I had the following exchange today with someone I know and consider a friend:

Friend: Is he (Spuds Mackenzie) still alive?

Me: I don’t know, I’ve never met a 30 year old dog before.

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Other than the mistaken belief that dogs can live longer than Jimi Hendrix my friend made another mistake: Spuds Mackenzie née Honey Tree Evil Eye was female.

Well the character Spuds was definitely male – a guy’s guy and perhaps the Most Interesting Dog In The World – but the actor was female.  And you thought she was good at her craft before, but so convincingly being able to play a different gender is nothing short of remarkable.

Honey Tree died at the age of 9 of kidney failure in 1993.  Was she perhaps getting high on her own supply?  The immense pressures of stardom can not be understood by those of us who have not experienced it first hand.  It has no comparison.

If you are like me and see a reference to something from your childhood on the internet and then google it to find out more and to experience it as an adult, Mental Floss has a typically interesting article on Spuds.

 

 

 

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.

30-45? Don’t buy the Mini NES

Posted in Op/Ed with tags , , , on November 22, 2016 by Lupa
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The actual thing

 

To everyone sweating/offering to buy my mini Nintendo keep in mind a couple things. I’ve played the thing for hours on end and have news for you. When the nostalgia wears off, you’ve got nothing. NOTHING! The best part of Zelda is the theme music. Have you ever seen 8 bit graphics on an HD big screen TV? It’s depressing. It’s like putting on your glasses to look at Steve Buscemi. I don’t know how I beat these games back in the day, but they are HARD. Any second now I will be googling the cheat codes.

And how quickly you forget what those physically disagreeable controllers do to your fingers after playing for 4 hours. No you are not 10 years old anymore, yes you will mind the blister starting to form on your left thumb.

And the games don’t age well. Your kids will think they suck because they actually do suck – and these are the classics – try putting them to play Ice Climber!

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They were kind of bullish on NYC in the 80’s…I’m sure two white guys named Billy and Jimmy Lee with pompadours would be up to the task

The truth is it was cool THEN but now you are just hopelessly trying to recapture a part of your life which is forever dead; when you were a kid with no responsibilities engaging with what was then high end technology. Sure you can have ice cream for dinner now but when it dawns on you that you are doing that same shit for fun you did 25-30 years ago a part of you inside will start to feel uncomfortably numb. You might as well break out your He Man sword and beat the shit out of Skeletor (your little brother) with it.

So go ahead and spend hundreds of dollars on something that costs 60 bucks. When you need a respite from your adult life of plotting to fake your death to get out of credit card debt but taking on a new identity with the phonetically same but grammatically different name (because Loopa is the same as Lupa) it will be there for you. But like bargain booze after the warm feeling wears off you are in for the nauseating, unbearable hangover which is that you will never be a kid again. EVER.

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You will be

P.S. It’s not even mine, it’s my roommate’s (roommate def (N) person you live with who is not your family/friend who you don’t sleep with). I pretended it was mine because life is meaningless and satisfaction hard to come by. I can’t even believe that after 40 + roommates in my life I still have them. Sure I live a short subway ride away from the greatest island in the world, but from time to time I have to find another man’s used sock on the mantle and raise the toilet lid to find another man’s unflushed shit. MY socks and shit are fine, but another man’s will subtly eat away at your essence like that drop of bleach that accidentally got in with the colors.

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
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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.

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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. 

 

Batkid Should Be A Character Other Kids Play

Posted in Ethics/Morals, Print, Society with tags , , on April 9, 2014 by Lupa

It's B-B-B-Batkid bitches, get down on yo knees!

The one they call Batkid is back.

Miles Scott, a 5 year old former cancer patient and Make A Wish recipient, once again donned his cape to throw the first pitch for the San Francisco Giant’s home opener.

In a previous post I was critical of the event.  I felt it was unnecessarily exclusive to Miles, overly elaborate and the cost to taxpayers, which was later revealed to $105,000, should be billed to Make A Wish.

I was absolutely positive we had not seen the last of Miles playing Batkid.  That was one of those stories everyone felt restored their faith in humanity, as nauseatingly overused an expression that is. Something that captivates the public in such a way is bound to resurface somehow.

That first pitch should have been thrown out by a child that actually was currently ill so he/she could experience something Like Miles got to experience that day.  The only reason Miles was brought back was self serving.  It’ll make headlines and everyone can relive that warm, fuzzy feeling they they originally had.  That’s selfish, not selfless.

If Make A Wish wants to do the right thing, they will establish Batkid as a character other kids play and any time Batkid is “needed” a different kid should get to be called up.  End of story.  There’s no reason Miles should have a monopoly on being Batkid and keep doing all those extraordinary things that could be devoted to the endless amount of more deserving kids.  He had his wish already and he is currently healthy with no debilitating illness.

Another part of me is hoping they just keep using Miles, but that’s the side of me that laughed when I saw his pitch.  I mean, I know he’s 5 so obviously he’s not going to make it to the plate, but failure is funny.  Hell I probably would hit the dirt like half the ceremonial first pitches that are thrown.

Evil Lupa, the one that laughs at children, would love to see him in 20 years still playing Batkid at 25.  Lets set him up for life as this character and make him wear the same size costume.  Why try and make it as inclusive as possible so other kids can have a little of the magic Miles got?  We are a society that values the individual.  Lets exalt him to make ourselves feel good because that’s more important than being as inclusive as possible to the group of ill children.  Being inclusive would dilute the feeling we had when he originally captured our hearts and that would be bad.  Fulfilling the wishes of kids that are going to die soon is totally all about us.

 

 

What Do Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly & Glenn Beck Have In Common and Why? Lady Gaga Because…

Posted in Hollywood, Music, NY/NJ, Politics, Print, Society with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2014 by Lupa

 

 

Poke Her Face

Poke Her Face

A number of well known conservative men have an affection for Lady Gaga. How do I know?  Let’s skip the appetizer and head to dessert, shall we?

On Don Imus’ website is a listing of guests who have provided them with a list of their 5 favorite songs of all time.

Can’t say I’m a fan of the I-Man, but his indelible radio legacy is undisputed.  In any event, assuming this information is accurate, the selections of the individuals are fascinating and ultimately very telling. You can tell a lot by what a person listens to.

Music preference is the number one medium or artform from which some derive their entire identification.  You aren’t what you eat, you’re what you listen to.  Punks, hip hop heads, ravers, jazz heads etc are all collectives based on music preference elevated to a lifestyle.Lady Gaga

I thought it interesting then when going through the list that I saw a song by Lady Gaga among the selections of Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.

What is a person who is perhaps the gay community’s favorite artist and advocate doing on the list of the all time favorite songs by some stuffy, older conservative guys?  For context, lets look at these individuals self described 5 favorite songs. (Links source to the Imus lists)

 Donald Trump 

For someone like the Donald, it’s hard to know if he ever does anything sincerely, unless sincerity is what is needed for self aggrandizement.  If this is an honest list I think the most noteworthy thing is that all the songs attempt to express an emotion.  For someone who seems robotic and alien, it puts a human touch on Trump.  You’d think he’d listen to John Cage experimental music or to white noise, but to him it would sound like the Beatles.

Bill O'Reilly

Bill will get you the O, with apparently less

Bill O’Reilly

Bill in contrast to Donald we can say with confidence is a terrestrial human being.  Most of his choices are feel good and upbeat, with the exception of the Elvis song, though it’s not like Kentucky Rain is Seasons In The Sun.  I’m thinking he arrived at this by figuring out what he bumps on his ear buds after hitting the sack drunk on a Saturday while his producer – I mean wife – sleeps next to him.

Beck

Guess what I’m gonna do with this finger?

Glenn Beck

Not that I particularly enjoy his picks, but Beck clearly is the biggest music fan of the bunch.  His list is entirely contemporary which might indicate he believes music is getting better as time goes by and that possibly if he were asked in ten years what his favorite tracks are they could be all different.  I think the exclusion of a single song from his youth indicates a bit of fraud however.  Even Trump included a song from the 60’s, which I guess is the farthest back he’s comfortable with being nostalgic, probably because he was still a relative peon then.

What does it all mean?

It certainly is a tad ironic Lady Gaga would show up on these guys’ lists. It’s almost like if Ted Nugent showed up on Rachel Maddow’s list.  I think they genuinely like the songs, but I believe there is a psychological explanation.

The brain can connect the senses with a memory that coincides with when the song was heard.  This can produce vivid memories and intense feelings associated with the song.  It’s why whenever I hear Girls, Girls, Girls by Motley Crue I’m transported in my mind to a random strip club.  I believe all these men use Lady Gaga in the same way, to conjure up a pleasant memory.

They say men are only as faithful as their options, and these guys have a lot of options.  For one they are filthy rich and two they are famous and work in entertainment.  Those two qualities ensure these men’s options will be as prolific as spheres in a ball pit – worldwide day or night; a gold digger can smell money on other planets.

My theory is that Lady Gaga is the favorite artist of these men’s side pieces, aka goomars aka mistresses and as a result they associate Lady Gaga with being knee deep in a 23 year old that without the money and fame would feel awkward shaking hands with them.  Every time they hear these Lady Gaga songs, in their mind they are laying pipe in an exclusive neighborhood when under normal circumstances they would be on Tinder with their college photo talking about their great personality.  Or chilling with wifey, assuming they’d still be married.  Keep in mind the subjects we’re dealing with.

Of course that’s just conjecture as I’m not a mind reader (and I don’t need another day in court).  Occam’s Razor would tell us that removing all assumptions we should take them at their word though that is technically assuming they were being forthright about their favorite songs.  I don’t trust a razor I can’t shave with anyway.

In all fairness these guys distort the truth to millions to the tune (wink) of millions every day for self enrichment and involuntary notoriety interpreted as sanctimony to some, verity to others.  What’s a little marital infidelity in comparison?

While there was no lack of interesting tidbits from Imus’ page, here are a select few:

Chris Christie picked 5 Bruce Springsteen songs.  Ultra fan boy CC couldn’t bring himself to even consider another artist having better songs than Bruce.  I never understood the phenomenon of  getting intensely attached to one group and seeing them play over and over again.  In fairness, he could have done a lot worse.  A lot.  This essentially reveals however that Christie is loyal to what he wants to be, not necessarily what he should be.  I mean, he didn’t even throw in a Southside Johnny song.  Nope.  Every New Year’s Eve Christie cries himself to sleep playing Glory Days.

Cesar MilanDavid Patterson, Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace all had Empire State of Mind by Jay Z and Alicia Keys.  Andrea Tantaros, Jeanine Pirro and Mike Tyson also listed Jay Z songs.

Hulk Hogan picked three songs by his daughter Brooke.  Yeah OK Hulkster.

One of former Governor Mike Huckabee’s favorite songs is Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix.  Mike buddy, you DO understand it’s about drugs right?

 

You Can’t Say That! (Part 1)

Posted in At The Races, Ethics/Morals, General, Print, Race, Society, You Can't Say That! with tags , , , , on March 29, 2014 by Lupa

Shhhh

In today’s knee jerk politically correct society, one where context is considered superfluous, certain words have been thrown in the linguistic equivalent of incarceration.  The words are referred to by the letter they start with, part of the process of debasing them like a prisoner’s inmate number.  They also have to sit in the corner and think long and hard about what they’ve done.

Does one have true freedom of speech if one feels external pressure from society to never say these words, regardless of semantics?  To me it’s a rhetorical question.  One of the unique, irrevocable features of humans is the freedom to choose the words to express him or herself.  Even in prison one can still choose to communicate, or not communicate, in any manner one chooses.  The placement of some words in an area where the effect of their use is predetermined regardless of the user’s nuance undermines every individual’s right to autonomous self expression.

There is no word that is too vile to ever utter or write because that excludes the possibility of the discussion of why.  If every word is inherently unnatural, the man made high fructose syrup of human communication (as opposed to laughter, the sugar which is found everywhere and in everything), then these words don’t simply exist, they became.  Knowing how something became is commonly known as… oh yeah right, history, something kind of important I guess.  The following is my thoughts on some of these words.

Gay/Faggot/Fag

As is commonly known the word gay is accepted appropriate vernacular to refer to homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality.  As your grandparents and drunk uncles on Christmas will tell you though, gay once referenced happiness.  How or why the transition occurred, I don’t know.

In addition to the “legitimate” use of the word gay there exists a second definition considered a slur, which is gay referencing things/people which lack appeal or things/people which act in a variety of disapproving ways including but not limited to underhandedness, lamness and a lack of fortitude.

In my opinion the word gay can be used in the negative respect for numerous reasons.  First and most direct to the point, it has already made a nonsensical evolution from happy to homosexual.  That’s what is commonly referred to as a precedent.  This precedent aside, I use it to make comparisons in a simultaneously literal and satirical sense.  Allow me to explain.

I have no issue at all with homosexuality.  I consider it a valid, healthy lifestyle and am appreciative of the discrimination gays face.  I believe they should be able to marry and do anything else that a heterosexual person can do.

That said however, the sight of male homosexual acts, even relatively benign ones, makes me uncomfortable.  It’s visceral.  Seeing two men kissing provokes an uneasiness in me.  I would consider it an act of torture if I were forced to watch gay porn, no exaggeration.  Torture.  I can assure you I would throw up.  If this makes me defective in some way, well that quality will have some company along with my other deficiencies.

Consequently when I use the word gay negatively, I am meaning something is so far from what I would accept or enjoy as to be absurd.  It makes reference to something I reject by way of its association with gay acts, not the abstract gay existence; the act of sodomy not two men falling in love.

In this regard it lacks any hateful qualities to make it a full fledged slur.  I’m not saying it belongs in most areas of the public sphere, however it has it’s place and that place has a right to exist as my intent is not to denigrate gays, but the gay acts.  Faggot on the other hand is an entirely different story, depending on who you ask.

I acknowledge faggot/fag is deeply offensive to many and it’s casual use is anathema to them, however it’s utterance in the negative light is not necessarily a blanket determiner of bigotry.  In a very simple way faggot is a derogatory slang reference to a man who commits homosexual acts, but like “gay”, not necessarily a bigoted, hateful exposition of the homosexual lifestyle.

What any individual attempting to use these words in their disputed or disavowed definitions needs to keep in mind is that regardless of one’s intent, these words set many people off.  An individual will meet deserved scorn in society for attempting to use these words in that way without a substantial amount of discretion.  In other words, what you say for whatever reason with your friends is in a private cache of words and discourse, similar to how you really feel about your boss.  In a public arena or among strangers your personal nomenclature doesn’t apply anymore than any random word you assign a new meaning to.  Keep this usage for those you know will understand the context of your meaning, straight or gay, don’t assume or face the consequences.

 Nigger/Nigga

In contrast to the above words, nigger does not refer to a set of actions, it is a direct insult to the inherent nature of a person.  It is entirely existential.  It strikes a person’s constitution, not their actions or decisions.

There are no uncontroversial uses of nigger or nigga and many believe there is no real distinction between the two words.  Without parsing this subject, I’ll paraphrase 2Pac and say niggers are black people with ropes around their neck hanging from trees while niggas are blacks with gold ropes around their neck hanging out in clubs.  Pronouncing niggER is seen as having universal connection to its original racist intent, while niggA is commonly seen as the co-opted version of the word with the potential for positive or neutral connotations.

No person of any race can refer to another as a niggER in a positive light, as that word in that pronunciation has no accepted positive inferences.

The usage of nigger by any individual in a non hateful way is limited to academic discussion and well designed/executed satire.  The purpose of satire is criticism, whether that is good-natured or not depends on the implementation.  Every word considered to be at the extreme of bad taste has an application in academic discussion and in ironic use.  You are either discussing why it is what it is or using it’s influence to affect a different point.  Let me make clear this is definitely not fodder for a public display of using nigger ironically or academically by anyone.

Nigga has a more convoluted existence.  To some groups, primarily blacks, but to lesser extents other minorities and to a further lesser extent whites, nigga is not only acceptable, but indispensable.  I once tasked a teenager I knew to go the rest of our discussion without saying nigga and the concerted effort necessary was easily apparent.  Just like some people can not speak without saying words such as “like” or “you know” nigga as filler material is as much stuck to some.

In order to use nigga in the public sphere in a non-ironic acceptable way (to the extent it can be and to those who will accept) is first to be either black, mixed with black or generally all other ethnic minorities to a lesser extent.  Other than that, there really isn’t any other limitations to being confused as being racist other than saying something else racist in tangent e.g. “I hate black niggas, they never work” or “Gay niggas should die.”  I’ve never seen a white person say nigga with no irony and it be completely accepted, if only because I didn’t accept it.

In my opinion the word nigga today is more related to ghettos and the social/economic retardation there than to African American vernacular.  Educated blacks, older blacks and middle/upper class blacks use it in nowhere near the same frequency as most segments of ghetto populations.  Neil Degrasse Tyson is from the Bronx, but it’s hard to see him greet his friends with a “my nigga!”

Part of it’s popularity stems from entertainment depicting a predominantly narrow, unflattering segment of the black experience.  Perhaps hip hop embraced it as they did in part due to the Blaxploitation movies of the 70’s they grew up watching.  It didn’t introduce the word to them, but it provided a glamorous reference point.  Whereas the real pimps and gangsters of the neighborhood were using it much like others, these characters have the benefit of being characters, living however their writers imagined them, not bound by reality.

These characters functioned as essentially realistic superheroes for these kids, people able to overcome the ghetto through subversive methods, get filthy rich at the same time yet remain in the ghetto and be an integral part of it, all in a conspicuous flashy manner and ending happily or gloriously.  The rapper archetype is a natural progression, though the rapper unlike the pimp before him had the benefit of being in a legitimate industry and having a product that eventually became as mainstream as any other commodity.  They also reaped the benefits of newer media, allowing them to travel further faster than a locomotive.

My final thought on this is I encourage everyone to see 12 Years a Slave to get a loud and clear depiction of nigger/nigga’s intended vulgarity.  “My nigga” meant MY nigga.  Ownership.  Property.  It’s use in subjugating the slaves and denying them humanity was instrumental.  They weren’t people, they were niggers; subhuman forms of life that need a word created for them because they are an abomination in a perfect white world.  Rather poignant stuff.

Check back soon as I continue this dissection of society’s most taboo words such as bitch, retard and tranny.

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