That said, every now and then a subject of my clownin' discovers what I've written about them and reaches out to me. These encounters aren't always nice. The father of a child (also a frat brother of mine) whose step show routine I mocked contacted me about some of the things I'd said about his son cane-bopping to "Wipe Me Down". The babymother of a maligned NBA player blasted me for making some supposedly misguided statements about her choice of sexual partners. An AP reporter openly mocked me on my own boards for pointing out some inconsistencies in one of her stories. I've had low level staffers of politricians ask me to remove posts (which I didn't) that they felt painted their bosses in an unsavory light. In short, folks know how to Google themselves, and thanks to the interactive nature of Al Gore's Internet, will clap back if they feel they've been talked badly about.
On the flipside, I've also been contacted by the survivor of a grizzly car crash who thanked me for the prayers. A family member of a black woman who went missing and got little media attention thanked me for being one of the few people on the web keeping the story alive. A kid whom I used to mentor, but fell out of contact with, figured out who I was (although this site is semi-confidential) and reached out to tell me how he'd been (he's a college grad about to get married) in the ensuing years. Slept-on artists and DJ's whose work I give shine to always contact me to say thanks. So, it's a mixed bag, usually more good than bad, but still.
A few weeks back, I was sent a video link for a viral sensation called "I Been Had Polo". Just in case you were under a rock last month, here it goes.
When I ran the video, I added a bit of personal commentary to provide some context to this case of "Negro Nonsense". I didn't necessarily say anything bad about the star of the video, a fella named Jose Hustle, but I likely set the tone, which lead to some pretty bad comments that questioned the young man's intelligence, common sense, lack of fiscal foresight, and priorities.
Little did I know, but "I Been Had Polo" was a spoof of another viral video called "I Been Had Money", which had lead to followups like "I Been Had Bagel Bites" and all sorts of knockoffs. At face value "I Been Had..." is little more than a celebration of conspicuous consumption. If you were in on the joke (as I wasn't), this was a stroke of comedic brilliance.
This being the internet and all, the subject of the video (who is a regular reader of AB.com) got at me to explain the story behind the story. Jose Hustle is actually named Rasheed, and while he does actually own all the clothes in the video, he's also a college student (Tuskegee), with excellent grades, an internship, and a bright future. At face value, this looked like a case study in niggnorance. In reality, it was just a college student with a lot of time (and a lot of Polo) on his hands, getting in on a joke that went over the heads of most thirtysomethings.
The joke was on me.
Since Jose initially reached out to me (he wasn't mad, actually pretty excited that a site he liked was running his video), I've apologized for anything sideways I might have said, and the kid's shown himself to be a far bigger man. He even sent me a cool Jose Hustle TV shirt (get one of your own here), and gave me a shoutout on a recent video called "Messed Up Situations". I get my props towards the end.
I need to keep with one hunned with ya'll, silly as these videos might seem, reality is if there was YouTube in 1991 (dang I'm old!), I prolly would have put up something faaaar worse. Imagine the possibilities.
I Been Had Spades.So, no need to knock the young brother, especially when this was all a pretty elaborate joke.
I Been Had Tecmo Bowl.
I Been Had Sunoco Wings.
I Been Failed ELEN110.
I Been On Academic Probation.
I Been Set Off The Barbee Hall Fire Alarm Sneaking Out The Side Door At 3am.
I guess the point of this whole post is to have us all consider how we form misconceptions of people and things in this 24/7 cable news/blog/talk radio-centric world. It's easy to write people off based on a 20 second soundbyte, but behind every misconception is a real, live person. I can't say this changes the way I blog, but maybe it should. What do ya'll think?
Question: Do you think Bloggers sometimes are overly judgmental and jump to uninformed conclusions about the people and topics they cover? Do you do the same yourself? If YouTube was around when you were 18, what sorta mischief would you can posted? Have you Been Had Polo, or do you prefer Lacoste?
Jose Hu$tle TV Channel [YouTube]
The "I Been Had" Anthology [CodyClarke.com]