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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bill Cosby and the Mysteries of Jell-O

"When a product is perfectly matched to its seller, you cannot tell which thing you are being sold." - Anonymous.

Jell-O was always a mystery to me growing up. What held it together? Why did it wiggle and how come other foods were not nearly as shiny and fun.

Well, Bill Cosby's recent scandal forced me to not only deal with the nightmarish revelations of over 30 women, it also caused me to finally find out what the hell Jell-O is.

Jell-O is gelatin and gelatin is: animal bones and skin ground up, treated with acid, then boiled. The top layer of gelatin is skimmed off the surface. Flavored and colored water fills in the spaces between the polymer chains and in that state, it's jiggly, shiny, fun and desirable.

But if you heat the Jell-O, you break the bonds that hold the protein together and it becomes what it once was, a dead animal's carcass.

Bill Cosby's scandal is literally like heating Jell-O. It has broken the bonds holding together his image and turned his legacy into skin and bone because no matter how we celebrate Cosby's life and career, after he is gone, there will inevitably be a discussion of this scandal, which makes his whole life's work look like a dead carcass.

The accusations of over 30 women casts a spell on the life and work of Bill Cosby and forces the imagination to recast him in our memories: 

Chet Kincaid, the impossibly positive and helpful physical education teacher of the first Bill Cosby Show, can now be seen lusting after young school girls and cute teachers in that Los Angeles high school, spiking their milk cartons in the lunch room and their coffees in the teacher's lounge and doing unspeakable things in the janitor's closet.

Alexander Scott the intrepid tennis pro of I Spy is fighting the cold war, but also date raping women across Europe, leaving dazed and confused heiresses and the occassional countess in hotel rooms, groggy and unable to  remember what happened to them.

And of course, Heathcliff Huxtable is not just a dad and physician, but a skillful predator who uses that cover to assault women throughout New York, while raising his lovable kids with jokes.

And in reality, we had Bill Cosby the man, the lovable, intelligent icon, a man who stood tall from the oppression of Jim Crow and rode the new racial enlightenment as an example of hard work, talent and perseverence. And now we are told that all during that glorious journey, he was drugging and raping women, in a constant pattern and in numbers that were consistent with his famous work ethic. 

And while this is still technically an allegation, the volume of the it have stifled all doubt. But this notion should not totally surprise us because--

Wasn't there always something creepy about Jell-O?

I mean, it moved like it was alive and then you ate it while it was still shaking on your spoon. Not cool, man, as Chet Kincaid might say.

I do not know how the Bill Cosby story will end, but I am sure it will not be good. And for years after he's gone, people will argue whether he was a predator or the victim of an incredible and terrible conspiracy of lies. The latter seems very unlikely and the former will probably never be conclusively proven to everyone's satisfaction.

But one thing is sure for all of us now. 

Jell-O is no longer a mystery.

And neither is Bill Cosby. 

copyright 2015.

Friday, February 13, 2015

THE PARABLE OF THE WORTHY HEART

God called Michael and Gabriel to him for they had been arguing about Man and Love again.

“Humans do not deserve Love,” said Gabriel. “They are weak and will squander it on carnal waste and sin.”

“Love cannot be quantified,” said Michael. “It is spirit and so is its own reward to cherish or to lose.”

And so God made them both mortal and endowed them with pure loving hearts and sent them to earth to live for a year to prove their arguments.

And God said: “Bring back your hearts to me in a year's time and I shall decide which is the more worthy.”

And so Michael and Gabriel went to earth. Gabriel lived as a pious soul, shunned sin and pleasure and used his heart only to worship God and caution men to be good. Michael engaged people and life, found and lost love, was taken advantage of and cast asunder by the vagaries of man but he endured.

In a year, they returned to God who bid them to remove their hearts to see.

Gabriel took out his heart and the light was blinding. Bright as a hundred suns, it was so good and pure that it floated on currents of air.

Michael removed his heart and it filled his hands in dim pieces, each one telling a tale of use, love loss or triumph. It was broken you see and could not be whole again.

“Who is right?” asked Gabriel. “Surely, my heart is the more beautiful.”

“But mine has been useful,” said Michael. “And isn’t that what a heart is made for?”

And God said: “You Gabriel held grace but your heart remains unworthy because you feared using it. Michael's heart though damaged, was sacrificed for the cause of life so freely given but always in My Service.”

“But how can this be?” asked Gabriel with shock. "How does a man attain Your Grace when he must fall to achieve it?”


And God said: “Man's heart is a seed which grows the Tree Of Life which in turn produces the fruit of his eternal soul. If the tree does not struggle to grow, then it bears no fruit and the seed, the miracle, is wasted. So thus, The Worthy Heart is given in Grace but earned by Love.”



Copyright Gary Hardwick 2015






Monday, February 2, 2015

Interstellar Civil Rights and the Gravity of Slaves: Another Conversation

This is the continuation of a real conversation with a friend (who still will not let me use their name) about cinema and the relative position of our people. As usual, the conversation may not have been this witty but it's how I remember it.

Again, we met at the Starbucks in No Ho.

FRIEND: I hate you.

GARY: For what? I haven't even made a condescending remark yet.

FRIEND: You messed up my brain.

GARY: You can't give me set ups like that. Too easy. So, what did I allegedly do now?

FRIEND: You made your evil analogy about the movie Gravity and 12 Years a slave and how black folk are stuck in some kind of cinematic time machine while everyone else gets to be fully human. blah, blah blah

GARY: I believe I actually made a temporal analogy to the future versus the past and--

FRIEND: Whatever.  I went to see Interstellar and they showed a trailer for Selma. 

GARY: Oh. Well, that would be more of the same, actually.

FRIEND: I know! I thought, shit, how many civil rights movies are we gonna do? And then I sat and watched three hours of white people traveling through the fifth goddamned dimension.

GARY: Well, good.

FRIEND: No, it's not. I couldn't enjoy the movie and now I'm feeling some kinda way about Selma.

GARY: See, how dangerous thinking is?

FRIEND: Black men are getting killed, police are getting away with murder, the President is being insulted, there's protest and I'm supposed to go sit and watch two hours of historical pain?

GARY: Maybe we need a lesson, to be reminded what this is all about.

FRIENDS: No, I don't. I know my history and it's humanity that's missing, the same humanity that we don't see in the movies.

GARY: What about Beyond The Lights and Top Five? They're both good movies they depict us fine and they are not historical pieces.

FRIEND: Not Oscar movies.

GARY: Man, you have come a long way. Look, just go see Selma. It's worth seeing.

FRIEND: I did see and it was good it but where is our space movie? Where are we counted for in the future? No, something is wrong.

GARY: There was a black scientist in Interstellar.

FRIEND: They killed him and at the end of the movie, there were no black people in the fifth dimension future.

GARY: Well, I have nothing left to teach you, grasshopper.

FRIEND: What?

GARY: Nevermind.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fixing Ferguson

Predictability, the tragedy in Ferguson has gone from, shock to grief to rage and then, singing, chanting, praying, crying and preaching. Funds for the dead and the shooter pour in as blacks and whites once again flex their hatred of each other through a national issue rather than honest dialogue.

And now, politicians and pity professionals will bring you the next step and that is to solve the problem with the same old tired strategies.They will talk about how many blacks there are versus cops and then someone will say "We need a program to get more black police."

But you can't fix black society by fixing one job. We must end the efficacy of racism.
To make racism fall, you must end the power of white supremacy and to do that we, the black people, must divest from it in thought and deed. And to do that, we must fix the broken relationships between black men and women and family, which are the foundations of our culture.

And to do that, there must be truth, honesty and clarity in a dialogue about sex, marriage, feminism, manhood, racism, family and how we withstood centuries of mistreatment by using love, self-respect and devotion to our future generations.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Elasticity of Hope

Black Americans have much to be angry about but one choice to vent that anger has not surfaced and it is not likely that it ever will.

Many political pundits and writers are asking why Black people do not seem to hold President Obama accountable for our current state. Despite the so-called recovery, Black America is at its worst point in half a century according to some.

Journalist don't seem to want to answer this question. then again, "journalists" these days can't find their own asses with a GPS.

So, here's the answer:

To so many of us, Obama's Presidency is symbolic of our acceptance by this nation and just like many of our lives, his six years has been one struggle after another, always having to overachieve just to be branded a failure surrounded by smiling, grinning faces that mask subversiveness and resentment. He's been insulted, threatened and disrespected as a politician and as a man. Therefore, this intractable opposition that seems, at its core, to be rooted in race, can explain any failure.

And tell me, can anyone say that Black have no basis to believe that even a Presidency could be hobbled by prejudice and racial discord? We all know the history, so there's no need to go over it here. But when oh when will America look at itself and just admit who we are? When will we stop all the flag-fucking and talk about exceptionalism and count the bodies in our past and the abandoned lives in our present? Until we do, Blacks will always have a basis to countervail the missteps of any Black person holding high office within the power structure.

And so it it this is the elasticity that these pundits feel. Black America embraced the President but our condition has not gotten better and yet we still support him at 90 some odd percent. It is the nature of politics to fight dirty, name-call and work against the opposition. But to Black people, how can we tell when it's just politics as usual or the filth of racism? We cannot and not knowing the answer is sometimes more frustrating than knowing it.

And in the most amazing irony of all, our unwavering support of Obama comes in part from the fact that we give a loving pass to other Blacks, empathize with their struggle and look outside of the race for much of our validation and their criticism.

And so I don't wonder why there isn't more anger toward the White House. It is as clear as the skin on the President's face. But it does leave me to wonder if we are saving our wrath for skin of a different color.

Copyright 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Interview With Ebola: "The Bad MotherVirus"

He's baaaack. 

The CDC confirmed that the ebola virus has been detected in a patient in Texas in the good old USA. I wanted to sit down with the virus and talk. I was a little nervous of course, so I wore a full HAZMAT suit.

ME: Hello, excuse me if I don't shake hands.

EBOLA: Oh that's so funny. Never heard that one.

ME: Sorry.

EBOLA: It's okay. It ain't easy being me.

ME: So, why come here to America after all this time?

EBOLA: First, let me tell people who I am. I am the sole member of the Zaire ebolavirus species, and the most dangerous of the five known viruses within the genus Ebolavirus. In other words, I’m a bad mothervirus. The Grim Reaper saw me and ran. I am in America because I'm tired of killing Africans. A lot of them are already half dead and shit. Where's the challenge in that? I wanna kill me some fat, healthy, Americans. 

ME: Why Texas?

EBOLA: I hate Texas.

ME: I feel you on that. But we have a cure for you now.

EBOLA: Do you? Or do rich white people have a cure? Come on man, as soon as a white man gets it, they have a cure? I ain't worried about that. 

ME: So, what's your plan?

EBOLA: The usual. I'm gonna infect a few people and while they chase them, they will soon realize that I had a sub-infection going months ago. I spread exponentially, you know and by the time they focus on this one guy, I will have infected two, four, sixteen and so on...

ME: I'm getting scared just thinking about it.

EBOLA: Yeah and that suit doesn't really protect you by the way.

ME: What?!

EBOLA: I'm just fucking with you.

ME: That's wrong, man.

EBOLA: I'm a virus, nigga. What you expect?

ME: What's next for you?

EBOLA: To fight "virus-ism." People see a virus and automatically want to kill it. I feel like a black man in a Walmart wearing a hoodie and playing his music too loud. And it's wrong. There are a lot of human beings who behave just like a virus and people don't kill them.

ME: Like who?

EBOLA: L'il Wayne. He LOOKS like a virus or at lease like he's got one. Then there's Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, most of Congress and that bitch in Target checkout line who knows her credit card is overdrawn.

ME: Well, that's all the time we have. I can't wish you good luck but I hope I never see you again.

EBOLA: Yo, if they don’t stop this shit in Texas, you will be seeing a lot of my ass. Believe that.


copyright 2014


Thursday, September 25, 2014

FAMEASS

Who is Amber Rose and why must I always be looking at her naked ass?

This what I asked myself after seeing this woman for the umpteenth time and realizing that like a lot of so-called celebrities, she has no discernable talent. She can’t sing dance or act or even write. She’s not even famous for doing a porno that got “leaked” by some unscrupulous black man.

Then I noticed something else. On my AT&T newsfeed, along with the stories about murder, inhumanity and fake viral videos there is always a daily list of celebrity women who wear no clothing. Seriously, there are at least three stories each day whose sole point and reason for being is some woman that wore something we can see through. “J-Lo Amazes in see-through top. You won’t believe what Rihanna wore! And Arianna Grande’s short shorts should be illegal!  And no, Arianna Grande is not a vegan drink at Starbucks. She’s a “singer.”

There is a brand new category of no-talent notoriety in the digital age. Youth and beauty are worshipped in America and we have become so shallow that now just for having those two attributes you can be on TV and all over the Internet if you are willing to be all or partially naked in public or constantly wear tight or sheer clothing.

In this regard, these women are not famous.

They are fame-ass.

FAMEASS - 1. (adj.) To have notoriety for showing your naked or partially naked body in public or private situations which are made public. 2. (noun) Ass that is attached to a famous person.

I say again that a nation’s pop culture says everything about it. What does it say that we have not only fake celebrities but men and women who are famous for being nice looking and sleeping with people and taking off their shirts or wearing ass-less chaps?

I know America is prudish by world standards but seriously; do we have to reward people for showing their pubes and areolas?  We’re even clowning Obama because Russia’s President goes shirtless.

Where is this going, people? Will we start selecting our leaders and icons by their beauty, breast size and penis girth? Don’t laugh; we’re damned near there in some people’s feeble minds. 


The Internet is slowly showing us who we are and it is harsh, ugly and endlessly fascinating. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go give a fuck about Amber Rose.


Copyright 2014 gary hardwick