Friday, March 20, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and the Anxious

Yo, yo, yo, live from da Boogie Down B-R-O-N-X, it's ya boy boy, C-Sammy Sam, in da house!!! Feel me! Keepin' it real fo dose bustas!!!!...................Nah, I'm just kidding.

But could you imagine? Having to wake up everyday being that person? I mean…..could you think of a better reason to take a few cyanide pills?

At any rate, I've been hit with a most angering piece of reality the other day, and I filed it under a current running theme in my life: Anxiety. Prepare yourself, this post is super long.

The other day, driving to meet someone at a small indie Japanese café in very south Manhattan, I was listening one of 6 preset stations in my mother's car (Hot 97, Z100, 107.5), all tuned to Hip-hop/R&B/Pop inclinations, with the occasional side genre thrown in there somewhere. With that said, about a good 80% of the songs that were played was stuff that I've heard at least 10 million times, was extremely uninteresting, old, or all three, which would lead said songs into the category of offensive. So, to find release from the pop-conformist assault on my cranium, I turned to 92.3 for a good dose of heavy metal, alternative and punk. But lo and behold!

At first, my speakers started to tremble with bass, and I heard some subtle techno bleeps over a slow paced beat. I figured it was new material from alt-rock industrial one-man band Nine Inch Nails, but no…………it was southern rapper T.I.!! I don't find much wrong with T.I. (although what played was an old, heavily repeated song ("Whatever You Like"), but what the hell is he doing here?!??? My question was answered with an audio montage that followed the end of the song: "this is 92.3 now! Playing 10,000 songs in a row, commercial free!"* It was at this point that I was ready to turn the highway I was driving on into the scene from "the Matrix Reloaded".

People wonder why there are violent revolutions in poor countries, insurrections, civil wars, high school shootings and the like: it's all because voices are not heard and respected! I mean, don't confuse the segue I just put: the simple cancelling of a radio show is no reason to start blowing up cars and taking radio station staff members hostage. I was just exaggerating because that's how I express myself. But in larger and more serious situations, making any medium solely represent the popular idiocy and not the various taste in expression that actually exists is precisely the kind of situation that creates severe anxiety, which creates severe revolt.

Another anxious situation:
I am currently dating hanging out with a woman I met a little while back, and she is a pleasant being. A college counselor for high school students that lives in Queens, she is a generally uplifting and hopeful person who is focused on power in society and educating the lower class and respect for civil rights which is the way everyone should be, or dead!. Inevitably, over the course of our trips to the movies (see "Watchmen" below this post) and dinners at various places, our interactions turned into debates on the validity of being pro-black (which I am most certainly not, as this ideology goes directly against being progressive). In explaining "reality" to me (since I'm apparently naïve for not dwelling in the way things are instead of the way things should be), she gave me a bunch of blanket statements and stereotypes: Indian families prefer their daughters with white people instead of blacks. If a black woman dresses down (scarf on her head and t-shirt and sweats, things of that nature), white people will think she's some bum from the projects, all races think light-skinned are better than dark-skinned people. The usual.

But here's the anxiety: in first trying to explain that all of this was old news, and then trying to explain that by dwelling on these things she began to believe in them herself and based her own life on them, everything I said was just turned into one of her blanket beliefs in her mind and churned back out into something she thought I said:

Woman: The system fails lower-class citizens and exploits them. Capitalism is terrible.
Me: First of all, there's different kinds of capitalism. There's regulated and free market. There's a difference. Now, yes, I know that they're exploited, but are you saying that none of the American poor have had opportunities to pull themselves back up?
Woman: Oh, so now the poor is poor because of their own fault?? That's messed up, Samurai.
Me: That's not what I said at all. I know the poor is oppressed by the system and of course I'm all for programs and things to help them out and reach out to them, but you can't tell me that all of them were never given access to education or introduced to any social programs that could've helped them out, and they turned their back on those because they didn't like school or being surrounded by people of other races or some other silly reason. I mean, give me an example of exploitation.
Woman: What do you mean? Having to live hand-to-mouth everyday with jobs that barely pay their rent, having to feed their children with that same job.
Me: Those are living conditions. I said to give me a detailed example of exploitation. A direct employer to employee one.
Woman: You need to come to my job and see what I see. These people are poor. The libraries that they have have outdated books. People work all hours of the day and don't get paid anything. That's exploitation.

After that I gave up. That was as close to a logical answer that I was going to get. If she thought about it, she would've answered that privatized companies exploit people by paying below minimum wage and sometimes not paying employees for days in the week. But anyway, the point is that the details in everything I said was destroyed and filed into whatever viewpoint she had stored for her usage, making it very difficult. Ah well.

I would speak on A.ssholes
I.nstilled in G.reed, but they've pretty much already been covered in national media.

*That's funny. They said that it was commercial free, but every song they played was commercial (for a pop audience).


  1. "A.ssholes I.nstilled in G.reed."

    That is freaking HILARIOUS.

  2. hehe @ the AIG :P

    Your findings regarding people filing everything someone else says according to their own prejudices / preconceptions is the exact reason i hate talking to feminists.

    And I totally get you not being pro black. I'm not pro Indian, for the same reason...its counter productive. I'm more of a pro humanity kind of person (humanity to be read with a lauren hill pronounciacion :) Hu-Man-itee :)

  3. Reading about your conversations with the woman you are dating reminds me of how weird it was to be single.
    But don't get me's weird to be married, too.
    Just kidding.
    Not really.

  4. Lydia's comment made me laugh out loud. Debating is a good thing ... it gives you a picture of how they reason things out. You could have gotten her on a bad day ... plus debating means different things for different people. You could be just wanting to explore things. She maybe making a statement about her own personal value statements and sees any counter-thoughts as an attack on her personally -- who knows what goes through people's minds??? ...

  5. Don't Feed The PixiesMarch 27, 2009 at 11:05 AM

    Deprive a society of three meals and there will be anarchy

    Never underestimate how little it takes to make us feel uncomfortable - from the cancellation of a show upwards. A few weeks ago i was ready to go ballistic at my local bus company, and for what really? They'd still be useless and still not give a shit!

    NB: nothing intrinsically wrong with middle-of-the-road popularist music: its what they invented the off switch for!

  6. [...] rejecting ethic of individualism in society and in my church. A little while back, I wrote about a woman I went on a few dates with who claimed to be individualist, but was not this at all. And even in my church, though the majority of the congregation2 means well and does indeed welcome [...]


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