I’m Dreaming (of a white President) by Randy Newman
I’m Dreaming (of a white President) by Randy Newman
These are the questions I get asked too often. The ones that get under my skin. Asked by people who are either trying to piss me off or they don’t know better. I made a list. So now you know. (and knowing is half the battle… G.I. Joe)
1) Where are you from? (Regional)
Implying- You must not be from around here because the people who look like you in this neighborhood aren’t as (smart, well-spoken, talented, motivated) as you are. You must be from somewhere else.
This is not a compliment. You are insulting an entire race of people and using me to do it. Fuck you.
2) Where are you from? (Global)
Implying- I don’t recognize your accent. or You speak English so well you must be from another country.
Not as accidentally racist as the first one but still pretty bad. Also you must only watch reality shows because you can find people who speak English without a regional accent on The News or Talk Shows.
3) Are you okay? (Judgmental or Compassionate)
Are YOU okay? I know you’re asking about ME but it’s obvious that you’re concerning yourself with my life as a way of neglecting your own. How about you get your shit together before you offer help to someone else. Don’t use me as a way to avoid your own life. Also, if I’m not gasping for air or waking up from being unconscious, the question is annoying.
4) What’s your name? (Conversation Starter)
Do I know you? No, wait. That’s not the right question…
Do I want to know you? That’s better.
If we’re introduced by someone else that’s cool. If we start talking and hit it off there will probably be a point where we learn each others name. But if the first thing you have to say to me is “What’s your name?” I have to tell you, that is too personal a question for a complete stranger in the internet age. Take a step back.
What’s my name? My name is leave me the fuck alone. That’s my name.
5) What size shoe do you wear? (From Any One Except A Shoe Salesman)
Everyone who grew up in an urban area recognizes this question. When someone asks you what size shoe you wear it is a way of saying “Give me your shoes” or “I’ll be taking them from you later” or if you’re living on the street, it’s a way of saying “You will wake up tomorrow without shoes.” (Why a lot of homeless sleep on them)
But the best answer to this question is always “Your size. They’re your size.” and then you give ’em the death stare.
6) Where do you live? (For Any Reason Other Than “Let’s go to your place and have sex.”)
If what you mean is “Do you live around here.” (also a Sex Question most of the time) then say that, please.
Where do you live? is something you ask a lost child. (“Do you know your address? Let’s go find your mommy.”)
7) Do you work here? (Retail)
I don’t have to work here to help someone who needs help HOWEVER this nametag with the store logo on it and my name under that, should serve as a hint.
But I know why people do this. It’s because they want to avoid the asshole answer.
Here’s an example exchange:
“Excuse me. Do you know where the blah blah blah is?”
Turns slowly. Makes a snotty annoyed face and says. “What do I look like, I work here?”
“No sir, I just thought you might know where it was. I’m sorry to bother you.”
“Actually I think it’s over there.”
“Oh. So you DO know where it is. Then why the attitude?”
“I don’t know. I’m sorry about that.”
“It’s okay. You wanna make out?”
“Sure. You live around here?”
8) Why can’t you act normal? or What’s wrong with you? (An Insult)
They think this is an insult.
And that’s what I say to them.
“Wow. You think that’s an insult. That’s kind of sad. And it says more about you than it says about me. Now please move out of my way. I need to continue with my silly dancing. It’s Autumn, you know.”
9) Can I help you? (Instead of May I help you?)
Not a grammar thing, but a difference in implication.
May I Help, is someone who wants to help who is asking for permission. Very nice.
Can I Help is several things. All bad.
You look like you need help and I can’t stand watching you fumble around in the darkness of your ignorance.
or What are YOU doing here? and How can I get you to leave?
Some people are able to say CAN I while actually meaning MAY I and vice versa. It’s really an attitude thing.
And the last question I do not like to be asked…
10) What do you do? (All day, With Your Time, For A Living)
The only thing I do all day is breathe. I breathe for the entire day. Non-stop.
The greatest chunk of my time is spent sleeping. I sleep away a third of the day. I can’t seem to help it.
And I do what everyone else does to stay alive; What ever they have to do.
I AM NOT WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING
But if what you wanted to know is what do I LIKE to do, then you should have asked that. I can talk about that all day.
But I’ll tell you what I don’t like to do…
Answer annoying questions.
On the street where I grew up, in the early 70’s, there was a young man named Nigger Brown. He was my friend.
His parents had given him the first name Nigger, over the strong objections of a shocked and, his mother liked to say, offended young nurse in the prison hospital where he was born.
It was just his name.
They named him Nigger for a reason that they never told him.
It was just his name.
His father was serving a life sentence for murder and he was conceived in the conjugal room of the state penitentiary, so perhaps it was some kind of statement or a protest that missed the mark.
His mother was arrested for selling knock-off Cartier watches in Times Square while she was 6 months pregnant and gave birth to little Nigger behind bars. So maybe his parents wanted him to grow up hard.
He was conceived in one prison and took his first breath in another. So if that was the case, and they had wanted him to grow up hard, then it surely worked because Nigger Brown grew up hard.
People who knew him either called him by his full name, “Niggerbrown!” just like it was one word.
Or if you knew him well, you called him Big Nig, Sweet Nig or just plain old Nig.
“What up Big Nig?”
And in that deep booming baritone he would answer, “Sup?”
But anyone of any official capacity, social workers, teachers, his campaign staff, they just referred to him as Mister. They called him Mister Brown. As if Mister was his first name.
Some well-meaning low-level government employee along the way, in a state of panic, entered the letter N then an asterisk in place of his first name. So that was what it said on most of his official documents. Except for his Birth Certificate and his Social Security Card which both read Nigger Brown, all of his official paperwork read N* Brown.
And no one, not anyone, ever called him by his full first name alone, Nigger. It never happened. Not because he minded it or anything. It was just his name. A name that got him into trouble time and again, but just a name. A name that was more than a conversation starter, halter, ender, but just a name. It’s just that nobody ever used it in that way. Out of respect, maybe, or fear, I suppose. But he had told me one day that he didn’t mind it, being called Nigger. He only hated to be called boy. He did not like that at all.
“My name is Nigger Brown.”
When he introduced himself to people, he would call himself Nig since everybody else called him that. And on work applications he would write Nig but it would always end the same.
“Does this say Nig?”
“N – I – G?”
“You mean like as in,” then in a hushed tone. “- nigger?”
“Exactly like that.”
“And you’re going to tell me that’s your real name?”
“Yes it is. It’s my real name.” Opening his wallet. “And this is my Social Security card. I just want a job man.”
“Well… I will…” standing up, “keep your résumé on file and um…” showing Nig the door, “we’ll call you if something becomes available.”
His father was choked to death by a prison guard before Nigger had started school. He was awarded a huge settlement from the state that he couldn’t touch until he turned 18.
A week after his 18th birthday his mother overdosed on cocaine & diet pills leaving him alone with all that money. People had suggested to Nigger after she died that he have his name changed to something less shocking, less offensive but in his parent’s honor he refused.
Nigger is stubborn.
Nigger turned fifty-five early this year and still…
– Nigger has never held a steady job.
– Nigger always thought the odds were stacked against him or that the world was out to do him wrong.
– So Nigger had a bad attitude.
– Nigger never had a real relationship but I don’t think he really wanted one.
– Nigger never learned to trust anyone.
– And Nigger never took shit from anyone.
– But after the lessons of his parents’ deaths, Nigger never broke the law
– And Nigger never took drugs in his life.
– However for some, and some would say obvious, reason Nigger was always being harassed by the police.
– So Nigger had his lawyer on speed dial.
– Still Nigger always had some grand scheme, some big plan that he was working on even though he never followed through.
– Nigger always gave up too easy.
But Nigger was not lazy. He volunteered. He helped out in the community. He always kept busy.
Which is why it didn’t surprise me when I learned that Nigger Brown was running for the state senate.
He called me at home and said he wanted me to write a story about his campaign. He didn’t say much. He just told me to come to the old neighborhood and interview him.
And there he was on campaign fliers, attached to telephone poles and in familiar store windows. Our own Sweet Nig.
There he was, that same face, a few decades older. I hadn’t seen him since his mother died. But there he was under the words: FOR STATE SENATE.
The same face but smiling.
The same eyes but softer.
The same Nigger but older.
There he was, pictured in a beautifully tailored pinstripe suit right above the words, the bold red words:
VOTE for NIGGER BROWN.
This is my FUCK-IT list.
This is a list of things I have wanted to do at one point in my life but realize now that I will never do.
While there are still some things I hope to get to do before I die, these are the things about which I just have to say FUCK IT I’m not going to get to do them.
1. Be Wealthy
I wanted to be rich only once in my life, for about 20 minutes one Autumn night in the early 90’s. I wanted to buy more crack but had little money and I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great to be rich and be able to buy ALL the crack.” That feeling passed. I had never wanted be rich before that or since.
2. Have Sex with a Movie Star
I’ve had sex with two different people (a man and a woman) who have done porn after I hooked up with them but never before we had sex. The girl just did an amateur but the guy was pretty big for a while. (that sentence just happened). But I never got a chance to say, “I’m fucking a porn star RIGHT NOW.” And actually that doesn’t really count as a movie star. I always wanted to be a star fucker but never got the chance.
3. Bring Someone Back from The Dead
I’m not talking about superpowers. Medical professionals do it all the time. I’m talking about someone who is about to die or who just died and I breathe life back into them. ” Don’t you die on me!” Never done that. I have seen 4 people die in front of me. (Not a large number considering… my life) I tried to comfort two of them, just watched one die, unable to move and actually made fun of the fourth (I thought he was faking. He was a bit of a dick. I’m not proud) I couldn’t have saved these people even had I been a surgeon but it didn’t stop me from wanting it.
4. Learn To Fly
An aircraft under my control or my power or even just a controlled free fall. I’ve been in planes, helicopters and a hot air balloon but always as a passenger. I want to fly. But flying lessons at this point would be a waste of money. I could jump out of an airplane but it takes 10 times before they let you go by yourself. Maybe I will be a bird in my next life. Maybe I’ll be Birdman, Attorney at Law.
5. Play Music for an Adoring Crowd
Who doesn’t want to feel like a rock star? I’ve played music in front of small crowds, sometimes they even paid me but a stadium full of screaming fans… that’ll never happen.
6. Travel Into Space
Low orbit or better yet deep space, maybe go to the moon. Recently I have wanted to go to Mars. Perhaps once I leave this flesh anchor behind I will be able to visit the stars.
7. Be Celebrated
This is akin to the rock star fantasy but a little more grounded. This is about being loved for something I’ve done. Something I’ve written or created. The critics love it. The people love it. I’m doing all the talk shows. Attracting a substantial amount of haters (that’s when you know you’ve done something). Maybe a few awards. Oscar, Pulitzer, Peabody… Nobel? It’s not about the money. It’s more about respect. But this will never happen because in most cases it begins with talent. I have an abundance of ego but a shortage of talent.
8. Play For or Manage a Professional Team
This one expired a long time ago, a dream for the young, but I always wanted to play baseball. Play on or manage the Mets or the Yankees. And coach football. never wanted to play American Football. (playing football is just crazy pants. why would anyone want to do that to their body?) Guiding the Giants or the Jets to another Superbowl though would be cool. Or to win a pro (video) gaming tournament. However once again I have no talent. But I still think I could coach the team better than most of these numb-nuts.
9. Inspire World Peace
Yeah, I said I had an ego problem.
I wanted to sit down with world and religious leaders and bring the tough love. You know, smack ’em around a bit in the name of peace. (“What’s that Putin?” SMACK “Shut your mouth. I’m talking about peace.” “What are you laughing at Your Eminence? Don’t make me come over there and smack a bitch.”) But that’s not gonna happen now.
10. Be Forgiven by Everyone I’ve Wronged
This one became impossible after the first person on that list died. And as more of them passed and it also became obvious that there is nothing I can say or do to change what people feel about me, I’ve become aware that it will never happen. I will not be forgiven. Maybe one of these days I will be able to forgive myself but I will never be able to control others or change the past. Not without help. (And by that I mean a Time Machine, Mind Control or Alternate Reality. You know, the big three)
And with that I put these 10 fantasies to bed. And I say Fuck it. I will not get to do the things on this list. But beyond these…
Anything is Possible.
I still have lots of time.
Directed by Gary Ross
Hunger Games was so much better than I expected it to be. (I don’t know why I was thinking Running Man meets Twilight but it wasn’t that) It’s a pretty decent dystopian drama for half of the film (I list my favorite dystopian future films here) and then… and then the children begin to kill each other and it gets awesome.
Jennifer Lawrence is still over-rated in my opinion, but she is beautiful and she can carry a film on her shoulders which is all that counts. (Loved her in X-Men: First Class as a young Mystique) I loved the action sequences in Hunger Games and also the televised spectacle. All of the performances are great, including Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks & the delightfully sardonic Stanley Tucci. And I can tell that the book, with more time to map out the 12 districts and the stark contrast between the privileged and the poor, is probably a lot better but I sincerely can’t wait for the next film.
Snow White & The Huntsman
Directed by Rupert Sanders
This a beautiful film. Charlize Theron is magnificent, so wicked & so tragic in her isolation created from her vanity and her greed. The best portrayal of the evil queen so far.
Snow White has great effects creating exquisite imagery. Stewart and Hemsworth are both very good. But the title kind of gives away a part of the story. There is a love triangle and there is no suspense about who she is going to pick. The damn thing is called Snow White & the Huntsman. But it’s really good and with its amazing cinematography, is only enhanced by a higher state of consciousness. Meaning: This is a film to watch stoned. I kid you not.
Directed by Peter Berg
This movie is awful in so many ways. It is awful. Just awful. Fucking awful.
Directed by Gareth Evans
The Raid: Redemption is surprisingly good for a low-budget martial arts flick shot entirely in a mob run drug den in the Jakarta slums. The fight choreography shines in this film even if it is a little light on story.
The Indonesian fighting style of the film is fluid and brutal in starts and stops. It’s gorgeous and acrobatic. The two main fight choreographers, the star Iko Uwais and one of the main baddies, Yayan Ruhian meet for one of the best movie fights I have seen in a long time. This movie is the story of a botched police raid on a mob controlled building. As the cops go from floor to floor looking for the kingpin, they meet overwhelming resistance ( I’m talking Zombie Apocalypse kind of resistance) and have to battle their way up and fight their way out. It’s very violent. But very very good.
2 Days in New York
Directed by Julie Delpy
I love Julie Delpy… with a passion. Like most people, I fell in love with her after seeing Before Sunrise (and later Before Sunset) before finding everything she’s ever done as a director & actor and just devouring it all. Then watching interviews and behind the scenes stuff and… She is just amazing (head-over-heels in love).
And I love this movie. Chris Rock is good and the rest of the cast including I’m guessing her father (as her father) is very funny. It’s kind of a slice of life. Very Woody Allen. Basically two days in this couple’s relationship when her family visits from France. It’s very french in style and very funny.
But Julie is fantastic and can do little wrong in my eyes. THIS is storytelling. THIS is filmmaking, THIS is a very good movie. Julie Delpy rocks.
And in conclusion
– If you like Art House Films rent 2 Days in New York
– If you like Trippy Action Films rent Snow White & the Huntsman
– If you like Martial Arts Action Films rent The Raid: Redemption
– If you like good movies where children savagely beat each other to death then rent The Hunger Games
-And if you want to spend 2 hours banging your head up against your living room wall mumbling over & over, “Why? Why did they make this movie? Why Hollywood? Why?” then illegally download Battleship because giving these people any of your money is a crime against art, nature, decency… I could on.
and that’s it.
So, how did I do Katniss?