philosofunk

what if the worlds/were a series of steps/what if the steps/joined back at the margin


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Domestic Violence and the Law

“Every Fucking Day of My Life” is an HBO documentary about an extremely disturbing case of domestic violence that ended in the homicide of the abuser by his two of his victims, his wife and his son. Wendy Moldonado and her seventeen year old son Randy made a hasty decision to end the life of their tormentor after a night of abuse by Aaron Moldanado. This was a common and familiar occurrence in their home and that night, the two made an impulsive decision to stop Aaron forever. They perpetrated the crime together and Wendy immediately called 911, admitting to the homicide on the phone with the dispatcher. When the dispatcher asks “Did he try to hurt you”  she replies “Every fucking day of my life”.

Sadly, Wendy was sentenced to ten years in prison and Randy was sentenced to seventy-five months, or just over six years. The scope of the horror that the family endured at the hands of it’s patriarch were so extreme and horrifying it is difficult to accept justice in this case in regards to sentencing. The truth is, under justifiable homicide laws in Oregon, this case did not qualify. To meet the standards of justifiable homicide a person must feel that their death is imminent and the only way to prevent this and any greater harm that could occur at the hands of another individual is to kill them. When a case involves domestic violence that has occurred over the course of years and the threat of death is gradual instead of immediate, it does not meet the standard set by the law.

Should a person be able to commit homicide in the case of extreme domestic abuse? Why were other alternatives where the abuser lives not used? The truth is that domestic violence is a complex web of psychological terror designed to keep victims in their place. Other alternatives Wendy had may have included divorce, although both parties must consent and it is unlikely Aaron would have, or simply fleeing, but she may have had to leave her children behind which is not necessarily a wise decision in the best interest of her children. Abusers like Aaron also threaten to inflict harm to the victim’s family if they leave the abusive situation. In Wendy’s case, Aaron threatened to kill her entire family if she left. This is a logical deterrent from leaving because Aaron very well may have carried out his threat. Wendy says she knew she was “screwed” when Aaron told her that he fantasized about being a serial killer who would keep his victims captive for days and then rape everyone, including any men because “I’m not a fag but I’d fuck a man to prove” his point, as Wendy relays in the film.

This man sounds like an absolutely terrifying individual and from all accounts he was. It is not unreasonable to think that a person who says that they want to be a serial killer would terrorize his own family to the point of death. It is feasible that Wendy Moldanado’s death was likely, although perhaps not at the moment of her crime, eventually he could have killed her. He even wrote a song about her with the lyrics “I love you/I killed you always/see your bloody body/lying on the floor/looking toward a new life/a life of torture/have I sealed our fate dear/self murdered bitch I killed”. He literally fantasizes about murdering her as if it were a form of an acceptable love affair. That there is no way for her case to meet the standard of justifiable homicide is absurd. The threat was gradual, there was a level of endurance to the violence. When violence escalates, it is reasonable to assume fatal bodily harm could happen to an individual. An escalation of violence seems to have been the norm at the Moldanado’s. The threat of death omnipresent. When weighing the reality of Wendy’s situation, it is hard to come up with an alternative to her actions because of the atmosphere Aaron created.

The law has often been lagging in relation to the reality of domestic violence. At one time, it was legal for a man to beat his wife with a switch no larger than his thumb, hence the term “rule of thumb”. Post-feminist movement America is a different world however it is far from perfect from addressing the reality of those who suffer in domestically violent situations. When the police would arrive, the Moldanado family could not complain about Aaron because he had surveillance set up outside of the house so he could monitor what everyone did and said. This is an enormous level of control that took away any ability Wendy had to make healthy decisions concerning her life. She would have to send the police away while being beaten upon return was still a threat. Neighbors complained to the police but it fell on deaf ears, ears that were not tuned to the sophistication a predator like Aaron can conjure up. The children were so traumatized that after his death they kept “looking over our shoulders” as Randy describes their paranoia of expecting Aaron to return from the dead.

The lack of documentation on the violent state of their marriage may have contributed to Wendy’s long sentence. However, the reality is that domestic violence victims may not be able to make reports because of the controlling nature of their abuser, like in Wendy’s case. For these victims there is little recourse in directing their futures. Wendy could not direct her future and had to accept time in prison in order to free herself from her chains. Her actions were not premeditated, she says that it was two minutes before she killed him that she made the decision to do so. Justifiable homicide laws simply do not address extreme cases of domestic abuse in a realistic manner that protects the victim. If the criminal justice system were justly dealing with domestic violence, Wendy would have gotten a lighter sentence or not even one at all. It is time for the legal system to catch up with this disturbing reality.


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A Hate Crime in a Case of Mistaken Identity

Hate crime legislation did not always exist because the concept that a group of persons of minority status deserved special legal protection was not a popular sentiment until the 1990’s. Racialized tension has always been a historical American problem of epic proportions that has been dealt with many failures and some successes.

Documentaries are permanent time pieces that capture the essence of a person, place, or event. The Public Broadcasting Station produces many fantastic documentaries about a wide array of subjects. To find a documentary that is a few years old and genuinely well done is an exciting feat for a documentary junkie. Who Killed Vincent Chin is one of those documentaries rarely found, a diamond in the rust.

https://vid.me/SzO/who-killed-vincent-chin-1987

The premise of the documentary is the murder of Vincent Chin by Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, his stepson. Chin was a Chinese-American man who lived in Detroit during the 1980s and was engaged to be married. During the 1980’s the American car industry, located in Detroit, suffered a number of set backs as they industry honchos mismanaged changing demands of the consumer while car producers in Japan appealed to the desires of car drivers in American markets. This caused the car industry in America to plummet, leading to a decrease in jobs in American car manufacturing plants, and as a result, it became that there were many angry unemployed working class people living in Detroit. Unemployment is a problem because it causes a decrease in self-esteem, motivation, productivity, and overall quality of life.

There has always been a problem of racism within the American frame of mind. Making wild generalizations about an ethnic or racial group is a disdainful American tradition, and white solipsistic perspective often erases ethnicities within a racial group. For example, Vincent Chin was Chinese-American but died because he was suspected of being Japanese. For Ronald Ebens, the man who bashed Chin’s head in with a baseball bat, this was explanation enough for the attack:

whokilled

Racine Colwell was a dancer at Fancy Pants, a Detroit strip-club that was frequented during the evening by the working class men of the auto plant industry. Chin and Ebens had had a verbal spat at the club that then carried into the parking lot. Instead of continuing the verbal spat, the disagreement turned into a hate crime because of Eben’s prejudice against Chin for being of Asian descent.”You little motherfuckers” is the phrase that is contentious as to whether or not this attack was a hate crime at the time of trial. Appallingly, Ebens was not convicted of murder despite the attack being witnessed by two off duty police officers, but plead guilty to second degree manslaughter while serving no jail time, instead being fined several thousand dollars. Many in the Asian community felt that this was a clear instance of white privilege at work keeping a white man free of the confines of jail or prison while an entire ethnic and racial group was failed by justice.

In the 1980’s, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was recently enacted legislation that dictated protection for discrimination based on racial prejudice. Social change is not the same mechanism as legal change but both are affected by one another and both are gradual processes that require compromise and understanding of nuances. Legal change is an instant moment that can be measured by victory and success or failure. Social change is a story based around millions of lives interconnected by a narrative thread. Understanding of the Civil Rights Act is not the same landmark event as the accomplishment of passing it.

Ebens was given wide latitude by the police and the legal system because of the historical standing of white male privilege. Hate crimes were common events in areas like the South and bodily violence against non-white bodies was common, and as current events across the country exhibit, is still common today. In the documentary, Ebens himself expresses surprise that he did not go to prison for murder. There is clearly something off in this case, something working toward the expression of Eben’s liberty at the expense of justice for Chin’s murder. The police did not interview the dancers from the club who saw the verbal altercation. The District Attorney downgraded a senseless murder to manslaughter, a charge that in layman’s terms mean’s “this person didn’t mean to kill anyone it just happened”. Killing someone with a baseball bat, bashing a person’s skull in like you were hitting a home run is not an accident. It is intentional, there is malice, and there is hatred. It is a personal way to kill someone, to express rage.

There is a point in the film when public rage was expressed by literally bashing Japanese cars with sledgehammers. There is a curious correlation between violence done to people and violence done to things. For example, during the Nazi era, there were public book burning that were held in order to express fascistic rage at liberal or communist ideas. The idea that there is a correlation between burning books and burning people by this group of radical fascists is logical. In Detroit, it went from people smashing Japanese cars to smashing Japanese bodies. Racialized hatred is a clear act of defiance of peace. Violence is an expression of hatred.

Federally, Ebens was convicted of federally violating Chin’s civil rights and given a twenty-five year sentence that was later overturned on a technicality. Hate crime legislation did not yet exist, so the idea that minority groups have a special status of protection within the law was not a legal concept. The film contains many allegories that Ebens was not in any way a racist  man because he either worked with racial minorities at the auto plant, or because his daughter had tutored an Asian boy in school. These are instances of white nonsense, a way to whitewash making racialized hatred normal by virtue of interacting with racial minorities. This is illogical and attempts to appeal to emotional manipulation. Nitz’s girlfriend even contends that he was even happy to be on unemployment because he could “collect all this money” while doing things like taking trips and apparently, beating up Asian men.

Meaningful social transformations must be supported by legal action and accomplishment. Hate crimes are a necessary legal protection in order to ensure that groups who are minorities have the correct protection from unnecessary aggression.


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American Police Racketeering

Whenever there is an opportunity to connect a favorite media of mine and real life, I take it with enthusiasm. Today while talking to my beloved father, he enlightened me to the idea that the Ferguson Police should be indicted not on civil rights violations, but on federal racketeering charges. This blew my head open and made my jaw drop, “But of course!” I replied. This then speed my cerebral neurons firing off, making me think of “Breaking Bad” and the descend of Walter White into the criminal underworld. One of my favorite moments of “Breaking Bad” is when Walter White’s brother-in-law, DEA agent Hank Schrader, is describing Mr. White, or rather his alter-ego Heisenberg, “He runs the biggest meth racket in the Southwest”. This is a feat, an accomplishment for sure because the Southwest is absolutely huge, absolutely wild, and meth is incredibly dangerous.  Hank is irate, irritated, and outraged when he says this. Racketeering from his own brother-in-law enrages him and he must put a stop to it. The show “Breaking Bad” is perhaps one of the best examinations into how taking on the identity and persona of a criminal works, the intricacies and delicacies of dominance that must be displayed in everyday life and applied to one’s work, the secrecy, the orgasms of power, the sheer unadulterated selfishness and point of view that everyone else’s life is expendable. Racketeering is defined as “refers to criminal activity that is performed to benefit an organization such as a crime syndicate. Examples of it include extortion, money laundering, loan sharking, obstruction of justice and bribery”. Hank and my reaction were similar when we realized the truth about who is capable of racketeering.

In my time on this Earth, I have known several individuals part of crime syndicates. I have known racketeers and other criminals. These are highly intelligent, skilled, fearless, dominant individuals who are always dangerous. They are cunning, and they always tell the truth even when they lie (Scarface said that about himself). If they reach any level of legitimate racketeering, they have looked the eye directly in the eye and pissed in that eye. These are not individuals who fuck around by any means.

The Ferguson Police Department, however, fucks around an awful lot to not be considered a crime syndicate. In fact, their actions line up more with a crime syndicate, and while clearly incredibly guilty of crimes against American civil rights, they are guilty of federal racketeering as defined by “criminal activity to benefit an organization…such as obstruction of justice and bribery”. This definition could consider “bribery” to be more expansive, a bribe by way of skin perhaps. Consider the introductory paragraph the in the New York Times about Ferguson’s police activity: “Ferguson, Mo., is a third white, but the crime statistics compiled in the city over the past two years seemed to suggest that only black people were breaking the law. They accounted for 85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of tickets and 93 percent of arrests. In cases like jaywalking, which often hinge on police discretion, blacks accounted for 95 percent of all arrests.”

Perhaps bribery in Ferguson is bribery of skin. Bribery that if a white person is fucking around, it is not as dangerous as a person with black skin fucking around. What harm will be caused by a black person jaywalking, as opposed to a white person? Will a black person’s black skin harm more people while they are jaywalking than a white person’s white skin, while jaywalking? There is literally no logic or reasoning to these statistics, they clearly reflect a bribery of skin color.

There is another significant aspect to police racketeering, which is something called “civil forfeiture”. Civil forfeiture occurs when police find cash on a person and take that cash into custody. The person must prove a legitimate source of where this cash came from within a specified amount of time, otherwise the state claims this money and it goes into the public coffers. Recently, many police departments around the United States have been abusing the authority of civil forfeiture to jam up poor persons, persons of color, and other easily targeted individuals in order to accrue more money for their police departments.

The other part of this is that when civil forfeiture, drug busts (however small or large), and other money generating busts occur, that police department receives more federal money, meaning, that those police officers salaries increase. That is, police are stealing from citizens, legally, under the law. Similiarly, the more rip and runs a drug dealer preforms against his fellow dealers, the more he can expect to make from his theft and subsequent financial transactions from that stolen property. The difference is in how easy it is to get justice from these thefts: it is a lot more dangerous to run up on a cop than a drug dealer.

But that is not the purpose of civil forfeiture. The intended purpose is to assert control over how money is used. In the United States of America, a person does not own their money. The Federal Reserve owns the money, and the federal government borrows the money and makes it expendable to the citizens. This is not ownership of the money by way of the government or the citizenry. To put it another way, that dollar in your pocket is not really yours because the government can take it if they have reason to believe that you came about that money in an illegal manner. Maybe you’re a weed dealer. Maybe you’re Walter White. Maybe you’re a dude whose car broke down and you had a couple hundred dollars that you didn’t have the bank receipts for and the cop decided that hey, you’re wearing a Grateful Dead shirt, you’re clearly part of the hippie mafia (yes, the hippie mafia exists. Where do you think the LSD comes from in this country?). That is most certainly racketeering by police against citizens and it should be regarded as a federal crime.

Continued harassment of African-Americans citizens by way of disproportionately arresting, detaining, jailing, fining, and “jamming up” those citizens is more than a civil rights crime. That’s basically what the old school Italian mob did when store owners wouldn’t pay their dues, they would jam them up. Bribery against the mob was paying your fines. Bribery against the Ferguson Police force is having white skin.

I am aware that there are legitimate law enforcement agencies and officers. The Ferguson police department is no different than a street gang, and in fact, any given street gang may or may not have better ethics. It is at least a possibility.

In the words of one of my favorite ridiculous rappers, Riff Raff, the Ferguson police department is trappin’ like a fool. Here’s Riff Raff to proclaim the truth about those brothers in blue:


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Is the United States Drug Policy High on Cocaine?

TV Junkie (2006) is one of the most disturbing documentaries I have ever seen in my entire life. As I have watched A Film Unfinished which features among other otherworldly documentations of human suffering, starved dead bodies being thrown into a pit, so when TV Junkie left me clutching my throat and gasping, I was surprised to saw the least. The cliche “watching a train wreck” was completely applicable. But the back story of why this documentary is more significant than Rick is what is so tragically and ironically incredible.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/569438

According to Rick, he interviewed George HW Bush about the dangers of crack cocaine and drug addiction while high on crack cocaine. This means that the white people who were importing the raw cocaine that was then distributed throughout the country, the white people who held corporate jobs and got off on being “adrenaline junkies” while outsourcing the real dangerous illegal black-market narcotics jobs to African-American inner city men (Rick attests several times to going to “the hood” to buy crack cocaine) were creating propaganda about the evils of cocaine while both personally benefiting and destroying themselves. George HW Bush is an evil man. He is a man who saw a way to manipulate a black market for his political benefit at the calculated expense of untold millions of lives and then denied justice, liberty, and freedom, and safety to humanity. Rick is not an evil man, he is human, fell victim to becoming a monstrous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde where the overwhelming chemical dependency of cocaine distorted his character and integrity. While interviewing the very man who controlled The United States of America, who secretly was importing cocaine, this man interviewing him, who was secretly using crack cocaine, were creating a distorted reality that has had unending consequences for billions of people. The hypocrisy of Rick’s actions is ironic, disgusting, and all too human when a person has a drug addiction. The interview makes us watch these two be Master and puppet, president and press, importer and user, truth and escape.

Some people can use drugs such as cocaine in a recreational manner. Some cannot. Rick drank and used cocaine, which caused volatility in his personal life. He hit his wife in front of his child and scarred his pre-verbal baby so that at his first birthday party he cried when everyone yelled “yay” because he had seen his parents fight and yell right before his father was taken away by police for domestically abusing his mother. But Rick engaged in a cycle of hypocrisy, dominating others at the expense of both them and yourself, like using crack cocaine while interviewing the president about the evils of this drug. I cannot help but see his identity as a straight white man being the pinnacle of why this disaster was allowed to go on for so long. He was portrayed in his media career as an “adrenaline junkie” and that made him a fun, edgy guy! This was also during the ’80s and ’90s, when it seemed like white male news anchors were somehow viewed as somewhat infallible people. But there was such darkness, and because of his position of power people were willing to overlook his abuse of crack cocaine because he was so talented within his industry. For the black kids in the New York City projects who he bought the crack from, no one ever argued for their futures because of any talent they may have had. No one in the media gave merit any alternative narrative George HW Bush and American politicians of both parties were asserting that prohibiting narcotic substances and causing them to become black market products is a better policy than regulation, and certainly not good ol’ Rick. Why would he rock the boat?

“its almost euphoric, hard to speak because of the rush type high. it becomes a very sexual in a way, not in a good way in any means, very raw, very animalistic, very lustful, a very primeval sort of way. at least in my experience with this rotten drug how can something so euphoric and good be so terrible?” Rick is not a sympathetic character. And his insistence of documenting his ever spiraling out of control reality, including abusing his wife and smoking crack cocaine a whole bunch of times, his complete divorce from reality is even more exacerbated than the average crack head. He is completely obsessed with documenting his life. And with all these documents of reality, he cannot see that the source of his addiction lies somewhere in his constant desire for adrenaline. He cannot sit with his sons in day to day life, he gets clearly depressed while sitting around in what looks like suburban bliss. He takes his anger and frustration out on his family in extremely scary ways. Apparently, he has press credentials for the Dallas police despite the police being regularly summoned to his dwelling for domestic disputes. The Dallas police most likely knew of his drug abuse, yet he continued to have press credentials.

The documentary is bizarre to say the least. Between his obsession with crack cocaine, complete inability to cope with real life, obsession with documenting his every waking moment, the moments of dark honesty of what drug abuse does to a family, and how privilege works in a way that does no benefit to those who hold the privilege and those who suffer as the result of not having the privilege (in this case, I believe Rick’s privilege as an educated talented charismatic white male helped in the cause of his ultimate downfall because so many people were willing to overlook his horrific behavior due to the standard of how white men are treated in this society) the film is a mindfuck.

People with serious addiction issues such as Rick’s must be dealt with in a medically appropriate manner where both physical and mental health are rebuilt. Rick constantly talks about the shame of drug use. The abuse against his family is horrifying and unfortunately, completely normal for them. Rick is able to get around law enforcement consequences because of his status within the community. Treatment for drug abuse is piss poor in America. Crack cocaine has been described to me as a “full body orgasm” which explains why people who do it sit for hours constantly smoking. Watching Rick struggle with this addiction is as brutal a reality as a documentary can portray accurately.

This documentary would later be used as a “Don’t Do Drugs, Kids” message. The documentary ends extremely awkwardly, with Rick speaking to a group of random graduating high school seniors that he used to do drugs but he doesn’t now and isn’t that great don’t do it kids look at my children here they are. His two sons, around ages 9 and 13 it looks, awkwardly come out on to the stage, let their father embrace them, and then run back off stage. Tammy, Rick’s wife, is also present. It is as painful and bizarre as the rest of the documentary.I felt like they missed an opportunity here. Just like everything else in his life, Rick uncritically excepts the status quo narrative that has been presented to him, and misses his opportunity to create any positive change and effect.

Tammy eventually divorced Rick, and with the use of Google I haven’t been able to figure out what Rick is up to if anything at all. There is an incredible number of documentaries about drugs, because fascination with altering states of consciousness is a normal part of being human. Unfortunately, this is recognized now globally in a very limited way. As a direct result of the United Nation and United States of America, narcotic substances are a billion dollar underground economy, the likes of which are never taxed, the reality of which never goes away, and the destruction of lives like Rick and his family and all the dealer’s who dealt to Rick is monumental.

The argument that global prohibition of narcotic substances is a working policy is a destructive delusion. TV Junkie shows this completely accidentally, in one stroke of the irony that sometimes the universe swirls upon the unsuspecting people of the world.

I wonder what happened to Rick’s little boys, one of whom screams “why did you hit my momma?!” during one of Rick’s tirades. But most people know what happens to young black boys who end up in the narcotics trade: dead, jail, or reformed, and people in power are more inclined to engineer the first two instead of the third.

Cocaine makes you feel euphoric, aggressive, egomanical, and a little delusional. A lot of cocaine makes you all those things and the worse version of yourself you’ve ever known. I think the United States’ global policy on narcotics is clearly high on blow.


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Violence in Prisoners (2013)

As I have stated before, this blog has become something of a study in violence. Which is interesting, because apparently studying themes of violence is a theme in my very family.

I am proud to say that I am the cousin of brilliant (obviously I am biased) Hollywood screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski. Aaron wrote Prisoners before he wrote the first film that was produced and distributed by a major Hollywood company, which was Contraband (2012). Both films are violent, and both films are studies in fatherhood, masculinity, family ties and obligation, illegal activity, drugs, and the distortion of humanity.

Where does my family get this fascination with the darker side of human reality?

Our great grandfather was an eccentric man. An intellectual, an enigma, something of a patriarchal myth and legend. The story goes, when acquired enough wealth, he bought property and constructed not only a house but also a man-made lake, and within this lake was a mound of Earth, and on top of this mound of Earth was a bathtub.

See, he was eccentric. He was not violent, as far as I know, but he was somewhat detached. Sometimes he communicated in short, simple sentences like the person he was speaking to had walked in on the conversation in his head. At least this is what I gather him to be like, I do not know for sure because I was there. A legend.

Aaron’s movie Prisoners has narratives that are eccentric, like the all the mazes and the pig’s head in the sink. But what really struck me while re-watching this movie, is that the anti-cathartic ending has a resonance within my perception of the world as well, possibly through my systematic study of human engineered violence, which is a theme explored in the film. When Aaron first achieved success, it coincided with my study of Leni Riefenstahl and her influential Nazi propaganda films, so as an experience for me, looking to cinema as an art form was an important thing to do if I was going to understand how societies worked.

One of the plot lines in the movie is about torture. Dover, the aggressive and out of control father of one of the abducted girls, himself abducts a one time police suspect and subjects him to similar treatment found in the CIA torture report, like the use of extremely cold water on the body, deprivation, beatings, and general psychological terror. Clearly, the characters in the film are not as sophisticated as the American government, but as I observed previously, there are only so many ways to torture a human being. In a similar frame of mind, Dover is a survivalist who believes that there is a constant threat to his safety, as seen in the beginning of the film when he tells his son that he has to depend on himself because at any moment the grocery stores could stop carrying food. When there is a threat to his family, he takes things into his own hands. This is a similar narrative as to why so many Americans are currently accepting torture as a status quo. If there is a threat to us, then we throw the rule book out.

In the film, Dover’s actions circle back to him. He becomes a prisoner himself, reaped of his own violence sown out of a heart filled with sorrow and pain and actions taken out of aggression and dominance. Dover’s own use of violence makes him a victim, literally of Holly, the psychotic character responsible for this whole mess, and causes his family’s own victim hood to continue even further with his disappearance. They are still traumatized, and the violence did not cause a catharsis.

Violence also interferes with the necessary understanding of nuance. While drawing the map, which appeared to be a maze, Bob Taylor, the only living and functional victim of Holly, appears to be fucking with Detective Loki. Loki doesn’t have time for this shit, and smashes Taylor’s face into the table. That’s it. Taylor decides, fuck it, I can’t talk normally, I can’t explain after all these years of being silent about the torture and the mazes and the abuse and I’m fucked up over it, I’m just going to grab this police officer’s weapon and commit suicide (Hollywood drama, sure, but it’s a great scene and shocking the first time). Some people just do not communicate like the rest of us. Taylor was indeed drawing a map, it was of a maze, and no one would take a moment to understand. Everyone just got violent instead.

My cousin’s work is fiction, but the narrative of violence is based within the truth about violence. The circular path just continues to show up until the cycle is broken.

How to break it without more violence? I think that’s the question we can’t answer, and possibly won’t.


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Chiraq: An American Colony

What is American violence?

Hakeem Muhammad

The vast disparities between the First World, which has vast wealth and technology, and the Third World, suffering from wretched poverty and poorblackmanunderdevelopment, is a product of the years of European colonization, exploitation, and genocide that built the current international order. The capitalist economic system is based upon the accumulation of capital; the gluttonous desire for more capital subsequently led to European nations invading other territories, gaining hegemonic control over their resources, establishing joint-stock companies, and utilizing the resources and wealth of other people for the exclusive economic benefit of Europeans.

cecilrhodes3The spiritually deficient materialistic nature of the capitalist economic system results in Europeans perpetually chasing “worldly gain,” which is characterized by endlessly chasing after material items. The current international order that runs on the dominance of the capitalist economic system continuously results in more and more wealth being hoarded by a tiny, rich and white elite. As a result…

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Favorite Rapper Series #2: Ol’ Dirty Bastard [Part 1]

Ol Dirty Bastard was probably the first rapper I should have done, but instead I did Lil’ Kim. I was debating if I should do someone recent (ASAP ROCKY will be next) but Ol’ Dirty is my first foray into love for hip-hop, his style something I didn’t understand but craved. I first saw him on BET (Black Entertainment Channel) at aged twelve, in 2000, with this video:

Like the reaction I talk about in the post about Lil’ Kim, I distinctly remember that I did not know how to interpret it but instantly loved it. At age twelve for a young white girl in the white suburbs in a school district noted for elitism, I had little to no experience with Blaxploitation movies or the frank adult themes that the video explored. It would be several more years until I could understand the narrative he was presenting. But I loved it.

I knew Ol’ Dirty was making a commentary on what it was to be Black. I knew that he was making fun of something (Blaxploitation films, in this case). I knew that it had to do with sexuality (ODB fathered thirteen children, for one, for two Blaxploitation’s association with titillating themes such as prostitution and nudity) and acts of criminality (in this video, drugs, violence, and generally wild lifestyles which was widely mirrored by “Dirt McGirt”‘s long-term associations with criminality). All of themes, raw sexuality coupled with acts association with outcasted peoples such as violence, drugs, wildness were common in ODB’s work. He was a thoroughly self aware artist while refusing to give up the lifestyle that made him famous.
If you listened to “Baby Got Your Money” you can hear him rap about knowing the feds were watching him.

Indeed, in my own hometown, it is the legend that he used to come up to Bing and sell crack in the ‘hood even after the Wu Tang has made in mainstream music.

Ol Dirty was from Brooklyn, New York, and was a part of the Wu Tang Clan who mostly originated from Staten Island. He died in 2004 from a drug overdose. Primarily active in the 1990s but still recording up until he died, Dirty’s is considered an original gangster (OG) of rap music. His music is realistic within the experience of growing up Black and in New York City with dire economic experience. The auditory experience of Ol Dirty is one that recreates the places that made the composite of his life. In “Harlem World” he brings you into what is presumably Harlem during the 1980’s, a time of AIDS and violence,

Ol Dirty often has beats that are haunting and eerie. This is a creation of sound that carries into modern rap, in Drill music for example. The recreation of the chaos of the urban atmosphere is palpable and fills your head. It should be noted that Ol Dirty Bastard is the first of his kind within the sphere of his rapping style (extremely eccentric, bizarre, and outside what was typically heard of the era), and has an extremely distinctive sound. He got his name from the kung-fu movie “Ol’ Dirty and the Bastard” but Method Man has also been quoted as saying his name is significant to the fact that “there is no father to his style”. Indeed, he is considered something of a mythical Wu Tang member.

Often misunderstood for the constant recurrences of bouts of mental illness that manifested in bizarre behavior, frequent crack cocaine and other drug use, and occasional stints in jail, Ol Dirty is also the most misunderstood member of the Wu. A recent New Yorker Magazine article that chronicled the most significant figures in New York hip-hop ever (of which Jay-Z was featured on…how oddly capitalistic of you, Hov), dissed him with smugness. He is amongst the most irresponsible a citizen as a citizen can get, yet he is a respectable figure for the way he lived his life and his refusal to give up authenticity within the context of an artist being a manifestation of his art.

It wasn’t like he didn’t know his life was a mess. He mocks himself in “Drug Free”

He starts the song with “Don’t get High” and them immediately “Cocained-the fuck up/paranoid as a motha…yo I’m paranoid as a fucka!” followed by “nigga I’m tired of gettin’ high like that/stop fuckin’ with me”. Like what he was doing in the video for “Baby Got Your Money”, he reflected reality back at itself and then mocked it for the absurdity of it’s existence. Perhaps this is why he is so misunderstood; he is so advanced as an artist that there are truly so few artists that pursue his way of creating. The song ends with the lyric “Kids! Don’t! Do! Drugs!/drug free! drug free! drug free!” which ends with the infamous goodness of Dirty’s singing. He is entertaining in his insanity while also reflecting the duality of his reality; utter sadness and ecstatic energy.

As I get older I am more able to relate to Dirty and understand what he is mocking about life. I knew what he was doing when I was twelve, but (thankfully), had not had enough of life’s absurdity to understand what he was portraying. He has my heart ever since.