Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The AB.com RoundTable.

[Editor's Note - AB.com is an equal opportunity soapbox, thus the inclusion of frequent Guest Posts to keep things well-rounded, avoiding the echo-chamber effect. The AB.com Roundtable tosses out a handful of questions to our AverageContributors™ and runs the best replies. On deck today are Tunde, Ebonie, Greg Dragon, Michelle Huxtable, and my main man Modi from DCtoBC.com, a guy whom I aspire to be as cool as when I grow up. Show their blogs a lil' love then you get a moment.]

I usually edit the RoundTable responses for the sake of brevity, but all 5 contributors really bought it this time, so I'm running their answers in their entirety.

Question One - A week later, many are saying President Obama is being too light on Ft Hood shooter. Conservative outlets are even suggesting that Obama's hesitance to label this as an act of terrorism, or to call out Islam, is a sign of weakness and political correctness gone awry. Many even use him handling of the Skip Gates incident as proof that America (in this case the Army) is too scared to call a racial/terrorist spade a spade for fear of being labeled racist. Is Obama being as forceful in his handling of this incident as he should be?
Ebonie - Is Obama being as forceful in his handling of this incident as he should be? Even without knowing what was behind the Fort Hood shooter’s actions, some people are already speculating that this occurred because he was Muslim or suggesting that Muslims should go through more intense scrutiny to join the military than everyone else. So at this point with many facts of what led to the rampage unknown, I’m glad that President Obama hasn’t jumped to conclusions and started decrying the rampage an act of terrorism against America or some sort of Islamic threat.

Modi - Maaaaan, you ain't never lie! Did you hear Rush (Limbaugh) going HAM on Rocky? Oh, and quick sidenote: I call Barack Obama "Rocky" because he's the underdog. People always criticizing and chastising, praying for the man's downfall, yet he's still standing. But I digress. Rush was getting on Rocky for not calling the Ft. Hood massacre an act of "terror". I think Barack just doesn't want to say anything crazy before he knows his facts. He runs a freaking country for Christ's sake. He'll call a spade a spade when he has all the facts, but until that happens, he's got to be as diplomatic as possible.

Michelle Hux - Regardless of how he handles it he'll be chastised. If he doesn't call out Islam, the people claiming Obama is a Muslim will have a field day. If he does, he'll be labeled a racist. I think the way he handled it with caution is how he is supposed to handle it.

Greg Dragon - How about we ask, do a lot of us Americans need something to do? I will say yes, can brown Barry breath? Forceful or not, anything that man does will be seen as bad.

Tunde - I can seem some people's concern on Obama not calling this an act of terrorism but what is calling out Islam going to do besides piss of Muslims in American and around the world? If he does that, one thing you can bank on is an increase in terrorism attacks. Yes this was one man, who happened to be Muslim, but how can you condemn a whole religious sect based off the actions of one individual? Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Question Two - Writing tell-all books seems to be the latest hustle, but how much do we really care? Recent weeks have seen President Obama's half-brother outing Obama Sr. as a wifebeater, and Andre Agassi admitting he was a meth-head.

Are these folks truly "cleansing their souls" or just out to get dough?
Tunde - I really think I'm going to write my own tell all book. Its going to be called, "Scandal, Sex and Halle Berry: The True Story of Our Love Affair". Of course all of it will be exaggerated but if everyone else can make money off selling tell all book then so can I. I wonder what publishing company would buy the writes to my book.

Michelle Hux - I'm not a cynical person but let's be real. As far as Obama's brother, he's doing it for the money. His dad is dead so it won't evoke a sense of shame in him causing him to apologize. His mother is no longer alive so it isn't for her closure. President Obama already revealed that his dad was abusive in his own memoir. So the point... is money.

Ebonie - It’s about the money. All of these “cleansing my soul” tell all’s get a big side-eye from me. Especially President Obama’s half-brother. During a TV interview he gave recently, he kept insisting that the main purpose of the book was to bring light to the issue of domestic abuse and it was bigger than him. Uh huh. Just keep it honest and admit you’re trying to cash in book sales by being a relative of President Obama.

Modi - Well, let's deal with Obama's half-brother real quick. Barack Obama's "Dreams From My Father" was required reading for the class of 2009 coming into Boston College. In fact, he spoke at our convocation, and it was incredibly inspirational. In the book, he never claims his father to be an angel. He was a drinker, and he was abusive. We already knew that. So homeboy doesn't really have much to say beyond what we already figured out through inductive reasoning. Of course that man is BS'ing. Just look at that his picture! Agassi is a completely different story, dude. Nobody just spills every little minute detail to the world for no reason. This is something that every other human in the world has - personal, embarrassing stories. I think that the money is cool, but it wasn't for it. He's lived a lot of his life in the public, and he probably felt guilty that he put up such an act or a front for so long. Lying to his supporters for so long can't sit well on your conscience. It's either that, or he's shitting all over people very discretely. "I was on crystal meth and I was STILL making millions." That kinda stuff. Highly doubt that's the route he's going though

Greg Dragon - Lol it’s the newest hustle going… AB answer me this, it is very obvious that folks don’t like reading and probably a huge reason why the rich stay rich while the poor don’t read and learn…(that’s another discussion). So who the hell are the “readers” buying these books for it to be even seen as lucrative? Wouldn’t a sex tape bring in better money?
Question Three - The DC Sniper was executed late last week. If you're from the DC Metro Area, and remember that terrorizing Fall, what are your feelings about seeing a man put to death?
Modi - The Dc Sniper was probably one of the scariest things that has happened in my lifetime. One of the shootings was right by my house at a place that I frequent, so Lord knows that could have been me. You had to live in fear, not knowing where these bastards would strike. It even stopped our homecoming weekend celebrations at Sidwell that year, and nobody even complained, because they knew how serious the situation was. I don't think I can even answer this question. Taking lives shouldn't be punished by death, but then again, what is a just punishment? Life in prison? You're still living, which is a blessing. I couldn't even give you an answer to this. I just think it's very sadistic to see people get excited over an execution like they were the day the sniper was to be executed.

Tunde - I'm from the DC area and I was a junior in college when the killings took place. I remember it like it was yesterday. I personally don't believe in the death penalty. How can a person decide if another man lives or dies. For all those who are for the capital punishment, how many of you would have the heart to physically pull the lever or inject the needle?

Michelle Hux - I'm from the DC area and I read an article about how execution gives a sense of closure. It doesn't. It doesn't change the fact that our lives were truly changed. My brother's football games were cancelled (as were most outdoor activities at his school). Killing the DC Sniper doesn't change any of that. Seeing a black man be put to death in general just makes me feel some kind of way. I've always been one to think that a shot and a few last breaths is an easy way out so I feel like he hasn't been punished. I feel worse for his teen accomplice who is serving life in prison.

Greg Dragon - I am pro death penalty, and watching the interview with his wife drove home more reality to me of this man, he needed to be put down a long time ago, he was a ticking time-bomb. I think the situation was held down very quietly given the damage this brother did. The abuse (mostly mental) that he did on his black wife, combined with his struggles as a black militant trained to fight under a white president’s lead is a case study in itself. Even his execution was silent, no real coverage on it etc. Is serial killing so normal here that we have become desensitized to it? It freaks me out how no-one cares.
Question Four - Are there double standards in cheating? It was recently revealed that Shaquille O'Neal has been having an ongoing affair with the fiance of fellow NBA player Gilbert Arenas. Most comments in the blogosphere seem to be slamming the young lady for being a tramp, while simply giving Shaq (who was married) a free pass. Do people generally perceive a cheating woman as being less moral than a cheating man? Why?
Greg Dragon - There's a double standard in most things male/female, this can be blamed on the respective roles we have only shed in the last 20 years. Now that everything is nice and even between the sexes, you have to expect that there will be remnants of the past brought to light. Women used to be at home, the trampy ones were in Saloons, Brothels and the like, a man could sew his seed and come home to business as usual. For most of us swapping that scenario makes the man seem weak and the woman immoral. Not our fault we think this way, we have the media, parents and the past to blame. Any cheating is wrong be it man or woman. NBA and NFL players are like Military wives…

Michelle Hux - I guess for other people there is a double standard but when I first heard about this I thought Shaq was just so triflin. First of all not that I condone cheating but out of all the groupies in the world, you have to choose a fellow brotha's fiance? Really, Shaq? Really? I don't see a woman cheating as less moral than a cheating man. They're both ridiculous people who were too cowardice to leave their significant others to engage in sexual activities with someone new.

Modi - To answer your question, yes. People generally perceive a cheating woman as being less moral. Why? There is no explanation for that. It's just nature. Innate, if you will. And I don't think they're giving Shaq a free pass. We just already expect that from Shaq. In high school, I used to babysit for a woman whose baby mother was a player on the 76ers, and who actually got me and my man floor tickets to a Heat game through Shaq. The stories she'd tell about the guy were ridiculous. She paid me so well that you'll never heard those stories, but my point is, Shaq is grimey already. We've been embracing that. His wife has left multiple times, hasn't she? Gil's baby mother isn't even cute to me. She fucked up. Gil was treating her like a queen, he took her from whatever situation she was in and made her life wonderful. But uh, wouldn't it be brilliant if while Shaq was with Gilbert's baby's mother, Gil was kickin' it with Shauntie? That'd be the ultimate twist.

Tunde - First I wonder if Agent Zero will dap Shaq up when the Wizards play the Cavs. I do believe there is a double standard in cheating but in this case it make yougin look like a NBA groupie. The victim here is Arenas although I'm sure he's probably getting his in anyway.
Question Five - What started out as a simple BET Awards Show skit has been greenlit for production. Skank Robbers, starring Jamie Foxx as Wanda and Martin Lawrence as SheNehNeh will be hitting theaters next year.

Meanwhile, a serious drama like Precious struggles to even get shown on enough screens. What, if anything, does this say about the finicky tastes of black moviegoers?
Michelle Hux - I just don't understand why we keep doing this to ourselves. How often do black men have to dress up as black women in order to get laughs (I'm talking to you Tyler Perry.) There's a commercial with Evander Holyfield dressed up as a woman for Taco Bell. Taco Bell! It wasn't even that funny of a commercial. I like comedy as much as the next person but we should really support both.

Greg Dragon - It says that most of us would rather have a laugh than watch some depressing sh-t like Precious. They lost me at the light-skinned teacher consoling the ugly, fat, dark skinned girl right after her monologue of wanting a light skin boyfriend with good hair. As a moviegoer and reviewer, I have noticed a trend with theater audiences – I rarely see black folks unless it is a movie that is 90% black (read Tyler Perry), a horror movie (we come out in droves), or a comedy with an African American lead. Anything else and I am a raisin in a bowl of milk at the theater. So Precious doesn’t surprise me, it will be touted as a powerful black experience – by white people, it will not make record numbers and will be nonexistent in most Blu-Ray collections. For me its just another boring stab at Oscar-Bait and it will win too, just like Amelia… yawn.

Modi - Well, I don't know if it says anything about the taste of black moviegoers. It's pretty monumental to have Martin and Jamie in the same flick. But if we want to make an argument about their finicky tastes, we could make the same one that is made in music. You have artists like Nas and Black Thought / The Roots making progressive music (for the most part), but they won't sell like Soldja Boy. Black people want entertainment. Tyler Perry's movies are so heavily criticized, but they do great work at the box office because they are cathartic (yep, check that dictionary, I'm bringing out the words, baby), while portraying black culture in such an entertaining manner. People deal with enough seriousness in real life, movies (and music for that matter) is for people to get away from reality for a bit. There's a time and place for everything.

Ebonie - Why am I not even surprised that “Skank Robbers” is hitting the big screen? I’d rather see “Precious,” but as long as there’s an audience for movies like “Skank Robbers” they’ll keep getting the green light. If people are willing to pay for bad movies just because there aren’t that many black films on the big screen and they want to see black folks on film, then movies like “Skank Robbers” will keep getting made.

Tunde - Black moviegoers in general like to see ignorance and coonery. This explains why directors like Tyler Perry have a higher career income than Spike Lee. You can say I'm hating but the overall message of Madea Goes To Jail or Daddy's Girl can't be better or more powerful than X or Do The Right Thing. I refuse to believe that. Please go see Precious. I plan to.
Question: Is Obama being too PC? When are you releasing your tell-all? Skank Robbers or Precious? Wanna join the next edition of The AB.com RoundTable?

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