Category Archives: Our Glass Nation

A few jokes here, but I’m not joking with you. Catch my drift?

FRQs: A Rant

… but it’s not here. OneChele asked to write a guest post over at her eCrib, so I obliged. Check it out. It’s about over-analyzing racism like Martin’s character did in Boomerang, except taking it a a tad bit too far.

Anyway, the five questions:

1. Did you give up anything for Lent? If so, what?

2. “Takeover” or “Ether”? Why?

3. What is your favorite restaurant ever?

4. If you had to give yourself a rap name or name a band, what would you choose?

5. “love is a circle….stay in it or around it…….just dont end up out of shape.” Does the aforementioned  quote make any sense to you?

Apology Scorecard

We all know Tiger Woods came out of seclusion for a few moments on Friday morning to apologize to the world (and prove that he’s capable of taking over television on days other than Sundays). Some of us watched it, and then some of us followed watching it by watching it again so we could better form opinions of what it meant, and whether or not he was sincere.

Then we (read: I) took to reading/viewing the opinions of others over the next few days, trying to see if everyone saw Tiger’s 15 minutes the way we saw them. Of course, they didn’t. A million people can see the same thing a million different ways.

For some reason (probably because I want to see him swing a golf club soon and pump his fist), I saw sincerity. Many others, full of skepticism, saw orchestration and a robotic-like performance from a well-oiled machine who was groomed to look nervous and stumble over his words.

Then I came across this. It’s the best piece I’ve read on Tiger’s 15-minute, Friday-morning peek-a-boo. It scanned the spectrum on the apology and got me thinking.

Short of hooking someone up to a lie-detector, how do you really judge an apology? Not just an apology broadcast to much of the free world (These are a dime a dozen at this point. see: Mayer, John), but even one that only your ears hear? How do you know whether or not to trust the words, “I’m sorry” when they’re uttered, by anyone?

“And then, like Olympic judges, we are left to rate his performance. On sincerity: 9.1. On emotion: 9.3. On artistic inerpretation: 9.0. His technical score: 8.7. Oh, the Spanish judge really scored him low on that one.” ~ Posnanski

That’s about what it feels like, judging a figure skating competition the first time you watch it. That’s how I feel whenever I’m receiving any apology. I’m always looking for sincere signs of sincerity (whatever that means). But I’m not sure what to believe. Hell, I’m often just in shock that someone is even apologizing to me because I find it rare that people own up to their screw-ups in the moment when they’re confronted about their wrongdoings.

Though I hate apologizing, I don’t have a problem with it. But I rarely show much emotion when I apologize, even if I do care a lot. I often just want out of that moment. No matter how minute or troubling it is, it always seems like someone is towering over you when they’re searching out an apology.

So I’m sure I don’t come across as sincere too often, though, I almost always mean it. But that easily could be Tiger, just uncomfortable knowing that the world has him and his words, even as he’s reading them, in a Petri dish. At least his wife understands that he can’t prove his words true in that light or any other.

Elin told Tiger that his “real apology will not come in the form of words,” as Tiger said on Friday early in his apology. That was the only part of that 15 minutes that matter to me. I suppose the hereafter is the only part of any apology that really matters, the only part of one you can accurately score.

FRQs: Tiger Woods, Y’all

Tiger’s talking today. Then going back to rehab. I had thoughts about the first sentence. Then the second one came along on Thursday night and kinda left me flustered. Everyone’s talking about things being orchestrated and I’m trying to understand why you’d make a statement in the middle of treatment. I thought he was coming back to play golf, like next week.

Kinda confusing, eh? I guess we’ll all find out what’s going this morning.

Anyway, the FRQs:

1. What’s the first thing you do when you get in the car?

2. How do you keep yourself from losing your mind when someone pisses you off?

3. Which cell phone provider, other than yours, do you think people say is the worst?

4. What NBA player would you pay to see play basketball first?

5. If you were Tiger, what would you say, if anything?

We Are What’s Wrong

I watched “We Are The World 25” one time and it was a waste of eight minutes of my life. I’ll never watch it again. It’s not that it’s bad. It’s just that it’s not “We Are The World” or anything close to it, which makes it horrific.

Lil Wayne and T-Pain blazing “We Are The World” with autotune laced tracks makes me believe that Michael Jackson would have burst into fits of spelling out L-O-V-E every minute he was in the studio with the people included in the remake.

And the actual rap addition including Kanye was laughable. Whoever thought it was a good idea should be banned from recording, writing and even thinking about music for the rest of his life. And if that’s Quincy Jones, it’s OK. He’s made enough great music to last a lifetime.

But again it makes me wonder, when do you actually try to raise the bar and do something better or better yet, something that hasn’t been done before? Instead of just striving for something, why not strive for greatness?

Idk. There are some people who don’t quite get it, those who believe that this is OK, if not on par with the actual recording. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, but if you think this is acceptable, you’ve let your standards for good music go over the course of the last 25 years. They could have done better. They failed.

Anyway, here are three things in entertainment I’d love to see redone because I believe they could be enhanced.

Hav Plenty. I really wish this film would be re-made because there’s a powerful message that’s lost because of just how horrific the acting is in many moments. If it could actually be re-written in places and given an actual budget, I think it could fall in line with some of the other classic black romantic comedies.

Mario’s “Let Me Love You.” One of my favorite contemporary  R&B songs of the 00s. But Mario’s voice doesn’t quite do the song justice. My favorite remake of the 90s is Mary J. Blige’s take on “Sweet Thing.” I feel as though there’s some artist who has the voice to make this well-penned song (Ne-Yo wrote it) come to life again at some point this decade.

When Harry Met Sally. I know, it’s already a classic. But this film is sorta like the Superman of romantic comedies. The themes that are explored in the film are timeless. And I’d be curious to see what contemporary Harry and Sally would be like. Would they spend the majority of their time texting each other instead of watching the same old western together over the phone? Idk. But it would be interesting.

Anyway, what’s something you would like to see remade?

FRQs: V-Day

Yeah, Happy Singles Awareness Weekend.

This is how men feel on February 14th: Pressured.

The five questions:

1. What’s one thing that always has tended to annoy you in a relationship/marriage?

2. What’s your favorite Winter Olympic sport?

3.  What one city would you move to (not your current city or hometown) if you had to live there for the rest of your life?

4. What movie, every time it comes on television, do you always stop and watch, no matter what happens?

5. Worst Valentine’s Day story you’ve ever heard/experienced or the best Valentine’s Day gift you’ve ever received. Go.

Mayer Says What He Needs To Say

“No, I’m not colorblind. I know the world is black and white. Try to keep an open mind, but I just can’t sleep on this tonight.” ~ from John Mayer’s “Stop This Train”

If you’re late, John Mayer took the lyrics to his song “Say” quite literally to his lips in an interview with Playboy (nsfw). When I finished it, I was confused as to why Mayer spent so much time ranting about John Mayer, and so little time talking about anything else of importance. That’s what troubled me, that he was so narcissistic and borderline sociopathic at spurts.

Not because he proved that skimming key words while avoiding substantive material will cause one to test out at the reading comprehension level of a second grader (He said he knows he doesn’t have a “black” pass, no matter how often he was offered one. That’s it. And, for those who needed it, he apologized). Not because he compared his personal member’s choice to a white supremacist (yeah, it was dumb. And…Rush Limbaugh breathing is way more detrimental to black people). And not because he called my life’s love, Kerry Washington, white-girl crazy (I don’t know what that means. Someone please define this.) and a mastermind of “Heartbreak Warfare.”

Mayer.

He says his struggle might be comparable to one black dude’s….  Yeah, he’s the white Kanye West, more self-absorbed than SpongeBob Squarepants. And this is what sent the Internets atwitter…… Next.

What interests me more is his desire to shape himself as the douchebag that he claims so many see him as with such accuracy. He spoke with candor about everything from his porn addiction to his party-of-one high school jam sessions that led to his fame to his immaculate description of Jessica Simpson’s bedroom performance.

Seriously, I believe he did more for Simpson’s fading star in a matter of 100 words than sex tapes did for either Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian (I’m mad I know how to spell that). There are guys who will replace their bedtime thoughts of their girlfriends, wives and/or beneficial friends with Simpson because of Mayer choice words. And Mayer, he jokingly infers that he’s thought about brokebacking Brad Pitt & Nick Lachey while sleeping with Simpson and Jennifer Aniston, whom he admits to still loving but lampoons as a control freak amid his lust for Simpson.

All this while forcing you to weave through his off-brand humor as he gives a vivid depiction of who he sees himself as and who he wants to be. Suffice it to say I’ve never been this entertained by a celebrity interview. No hyperbole.

It’s strange because we say we want celebs to be straight shooters who give us their uncut thoughts. We don’t like that they often seem as if they were packaged and shipped to us right off a conveyor belt. We want to know who they are. Yet, when one decides to tells us, we flip out because he’s being too honest. But this, this is far better than any 60 minutes of Hilton or Kardashian reality you’ve ever seen and I’ll be damned if you’ll ever get to know who Beyonce even purports Sasha Fierce to be through her words.

This interview isn’t horrific. Sure, it’s nuts. But it’s also enlightening.

This dude decided to give a couple of candid interviews (See: Rolling Stone). Sure, he’s a wordsmith and, for the most part, knew exactly what he was saying. Sure, he manipulated some of what he said (see: Aniston, control freak amid describing Simpson’s freak). Aware of who he is, he chose to paint himself without so much as mirror while letting his unkempt words serve as his brush.

The funniest thing is that at the end of the interview, Mayer says he doesn’t care what people think of him, doesn’t care that people see him as a douchebag. But it’s blatantly obvious through his scotch-induced words that he cares…maybe too much, maybe more than even he understands. He wouldn’t try so hard if he didn’t.

Anyway, it’s fascinating. On some level, most of us are like him, narcissistic at our cores, momentarily unabashed, unashamed of our naked thoughts. We might actually get somewhere if all of us were like this all of the time (It’s how we learn). Though, it should be obvious that somewhere will never be over a post-racial rainbow. You’d have better luck finding a four-leaf clover on the person of the tooth fairy.

Black Love…In Film

I’m sitting on a interesting panel this week. My friend Shawn Edwards, a film critic for FOX 4 Kansas City, is piecing together a documentary The Movies We Love: The 25 Most Romantic Black Movies (Ever), which will premiere this summer.

Tuesday’s panel, Black Love Stories in Film: Where is the Romance?, precedes the documentary and should provide for a lively dialogue. Shawn puts it best in this column by my friend Jenee Osterheldt: “Where are the black love stories?” It’s a good lead into to that holiday that’s gonna have men lined up outside of floral stores in about a week.

The highest grossing black love film ever?

I’ve done some mulling around in recent months, trying to find answers as to why the black love story has all but disappeared from film. Really, just for my own knowledge. What overwhelmed me were the numbers. It’s just a hypothesis: But it seems like the black love film seems to have disappeared because they don’t do big money.

Most of the black romantic comedies that popped up after, say, The Best Man — there are a slew of them — seem to have a grossing peak of $30 million. The Best Man grossed around $34 million. Conversely, if you look at say, Closer — maybe my favorite film centered around relationships — you see that the studios tend to throw around more money. Closer was made on a $27 million budget and grossed nearly $115 million. Last year, The Ugly Truth, a terribly horrific film, grossed nearly $200 million on a $40 million budget.

The thing those two films have that the black ones don’t? Star power (Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler). If you think it through, the most bankable black actors rarely do films that are based around black stories. I’m don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. It’s just interesting that the last time a bankable black actor starred in a black romantic comedy was Boomerang in 1992. Guess what? It grossed $131 million on a $42 million budget…in 1992.

Yup, you can take the Taye Diggs black love film catalog (How Stella Got Her Groove Back, The Wood The Best Man and Brown Sugar), add the figures together, and it still doesn’t gross what Boomerang did. Crazy. I don’t think that says anything bad about Sanaa, Omar, Morris, Nia and friends. But it makes you wonder what would happen if Will Smith and Halle Berry did a black love film together.

But it also, I think, potentially puts in perspective why black love films aren’t flying out of Hollywood left and right like they were around the turn of the century. The potential return is too low. Idk. I wish the producers would realize that there’s still a market to be had and make more of these films.

What I do know is that this is a big part of the reason why Tyler Perry is swimming in money like he’s Scrooge McDuck these days. But that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, here are my favorite black love films (the numbers they did at the box office), the ones that I think genuinely stand the test of time.

Love Jones (1997, $10m production/$12m gross) Probably my favorite because of all of the questions that are asked and explored in the actual dialogue. I can’t stand Nina’s best friend, though. She’s the root of every problem in the film.

Boomerang 1992, ($42m/$131m). There are plenty of black men who will not date a woman with jacked up feet because of Marcus Graham’s philosophy. Feel like this is the film where Halle Berry became “Halle Berry.”

The Wood (1999, $6m/$25m). A tale of innocence and reminiscent of a childhood so many young black kids born from say 1975 to 1984 know extremely well. It really does make you long for your youth. 

Brown Sugar (2004, $8m/$28m). Compelling story of opposite sex best friends falling in love with other people and maintaining their friendship, then falling in love. I could watch the “*ting, ting* ‘My divorce!'” scene a 100 times over and laugh every time.