a thousand words

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Monday, May 4, 2015

THE COLOR OF BALTIMORE

What do you do when a black boy dies in the hands of black power?

"WAKE UP!!"

We all remember Laurence Fishburne yelling this famous line from the Spike Lee movie, School Daze. I can remember the discussions about what it meant in terms of social order and cinema.

Now, I hear that yell every time I read about Baltimore.

Another black boy has been killed by police, only this time, he died in the hands of black cops and black political power. Finally, the issue of race has not hidden the bigger picture and problems of our people (the Black people) and the nation.

Three of the six officers were black, the second degree murder charge is on a black man. The mayor, police chief, council chief and prosecuting attorney are all black. And no one in our media is talking about this in a meaningful way. They mention it as if it's some kind of ironic twist or a piece of lint on a lapel that can be brushed off.

Well, it's not. It is the most important fact in this tragedy. And to treat it as such, focuses attention on things that could actually lead individuals to change.

Victims like Freddie Gray and killer cops are not born, they are made by our system of government. When you have an economic system that must always have a mass at the bottom of life, they must be kept there against their will and eliminated if they get out of hand. We know this, yet we are in some kind of denial about it.

Black elected officials are no different than white elected officials. They all serve the same master and do what they are told. The presence of black faces in government does not ease poverty, unfair world trade or corporate greed and avarice. Baltimore saw that and now all of us do as well.

But will we wake up? Will we move beyond the silly and circular arguments about race and see that it is but one link in the chain that binds us? Will we arise from our slumber and face our citizenship in this nation which makes war in the name of a freedom which is not granted to its own citizens?

Please let us not use Baltimore to prove that the evil white man is behind it all or that the incompetent black people caused it. Baltimore's black faces prove that race is not the issue here. The consistent lack of humanity in our atequated system of government and economics is the real evil.

Or is it the fact that we are still asleep?

copyright 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015

THE UNITED STATES OF SLAVERY

America has many notions of freedom but one basic economy.

Our Founding Fathers were smart men but they created a nation that, like an aphid, was born pregnant. America carried the germ of it's own disease at its birth. The desire for complete freedom was belied by the utility of violence, greed and ignorance of their fellow man's humanity.

America thus gave birth to the children of genocide, the business of slavery, the culture of violence and more wars than we all care to remember. It cradles itself in denial and a religious hypocrisy whose foundation was formed by notions of racial supremacy. As a result, this nation is now home to an economy which always seems committed to some part of its people being defacto slaves.

Throughout history, the American business paradigm boasts how it's based on free markets but it was really based on subjugation, murder, thievery, cheating and the oppression of workers. Our banking system, Wall Street and even union labor have created markets wherein a few control the many and keep people from truly being united by promoting disunity in the name of solidarity.

After we ended chattel slavery, we continued other forms of it because America knew no other way and other economic models based on merit would surely combine with the skill set in the Negro community or the flow of skilled immigrants to create an economy rooted in freedom and fairnes and who wants that? 

So Blacks were enslaved again by Jim Crow. Then again by legal discrimination in housing, education and employment. Immigrants were similarly held back and only allowed acceptance into the dominant culture if they adopted the prevailing prejudices of the time and dilute their swarthy skin by intermarriage.

We had another revolution in the 1960's, which pushed back against these earlier practices, only to be re-enslaved 20 short years later by the mass incarceration of black men and prisons for profit. And at the same time, all Americans were duped into allowing the elite to suck up most of America's fiat wealth and then squeeze us all into states of poverty, fear and despair such that when it is released, we will all gladly accept whatever new form of slavery is offered here in the millennium.



This time, it will be technological and informational slavery, a world where from cradle to grave, your government will limit and control everything you do and in return, you will get to live, eat and divert your mind with whatever distractions our culture programs.

Countries don't change much over time. Most nations are still at heart what they always were. England is still an empire, fading and pathetic but trying to hold on. Germany is still a nation of proficiency, Japan a spiritual based tech machine and America is still a slavery nation, evolving new ways to own the fruits of humanity without compensation.

Copyright 2015




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