Italian Futurism, Degenerate Art, and a Nice Pair of Sandals

Published June 17, 2014 by Sandee

futurism

guggenheim

Italian Futurism! How appropriately displayed at the Guggenheim — modernistic glorified violence, war, speed, technology! Zoom! – and the dismissal of women – with the exception of Marinetti’s wife, and a couple of others.

As someone who appreciates words I wondered what that “Words-in-Freedom” film there was about. It said on the wall that these “words” helped disseminate their manifesto projectile style. No adjectives — just verbs – exclamations! The film uses imagery with audio rendering rhythmic Italian exclamations: Sento e nom vedo – vampe vampe vampe! Zang! Alla, faccia, vostra, sputi, pernacchi!

From the top tier of the Guggenheim I looked all the way down to the first floor, and imagined diving into the futuristic abyss, head first into the fountain! — the ultimate performance art piece – “Conosuoooooooooooooooooono!!!”

Instead I went to the Neue Galerie next to see “degenerate art”, but the damn place is closed on Tuesdays. So I bought shoes – I wonder what kinds of jobs these nationalistic/fascist-minded people expected people to do in their society. Maybe there’d just be race car drivers, rapists and scientists? I mean, what? It was a really good exhibit though.

Bullies

Published May 28, 2014 by Sandee

I thought of my past as encompassing the sundry experiences of youth, until fixating on headlines about bullying, about young people who go to therapy and take antidepressants, those who do self-destructive things and hurt other people because they had been bullied.

Nowadays, they have the bully-patrol in schools, and public service announcements about bullying.

It’s very scary. I’ve also read articles about adult bullies. I need to be on the lookout for bullies too?

“I didn’t know I was bullied. That was bullying that I experienced when I was in junior high school? Wow, I was bullied,” I said to my sister.

The media says that being bullied causes people to have syndromes.

People reading about these syndromes can measure themselves up against them, eventually determining that they have these syndromes and begin manifesting other behaviors outlined therein. I did.

Maybe I was just naive, albeit, one who had been called “Skeleton Head” and “Chester” because I didn’t have any titties – but I just thought getting fucked with was comeuppance for me because I said and did mean things to kids too.

But on days I’m digging through archives, feeling sorry for myself, I can focus on having been called “Chester”. Then I can watch Dr. Phil and learn even more about me.

The media influenced me to feel sorry for myself. It made a lot of money doing it. It defined me when previously I had no idea that I even had any syndrome.

I thought I was evolving into something new and different everyday. But now I’m in a cubby-hole, marked with an indelible stamp: “The One Who Was Bullied”.

At the end of this I realize it’s good to draw attention to bullying so that we think about it and grow eventually, as a culture.

But, could we tone it down a little, so that we can hear ourselves think?

 

 

Four Questions

Published May 21, 2014 by Sandee

Amy Reese from AmyReeseWrites.com asked me to participate in the “blog hop.”

I’m a party pooper when it comes to things like this but — how could you say no to Amy? So I had to answer four questions about my writing process. Here they are:

What am I working on?

I’m working on two stories, one about a woman who hides, the other is a story about a person who doesn’t exist. After that, I’ll reshape my novel and try to get an agent to represent it — yeah!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My work differs from other work in the same genre because I write through the lens of my special DNA — ha!

Why do I write what I do?

I write because I’m trying to reach out to other people’s spirits, to communicate. I’m saying, I feel this, see this, want this, hate this, etc. Can you relate? What do you feel, hate, etc.? Do you feel me?

How does my writing process work?

This is a cliche, but my process is like sculpting. I write very broadly first, and sometimes it doesn’t make sense, but I trust the process, and come back each day to shape it up until it takes form.

Black Jeopardy

Published March 31, 2014 by Sandee

I hate that SNL “Black Jeopardy” skit. Why do people perpetuate stereotypes of themselves? I saw an Asian comedian go along with the idea that they are bad drivers, and do a parody of himself by squinting his eyes. White comedians happily go along with the myth that they can’t dance. These examples aren’t true for all of the people in these respective groups, but some people embrace these traits as a mainstream way of identifying themselves.

This comedy is lazy and perpetuates stupidity. And black people definitely get the short end of the stick in stereotypes. But I don’t mind a dig in the area of a stereotype if it’s clever. Maybe black people embrace stereotypes more readily, because for the most part our national identify began in the American South during slavery, so when we perpetuate the stereotype ourselves, it might help us feel more connected, by unifying our identity. I am not ashamed of my history, but you have to be clever about making a parody out of this culture.

There is a lot to imply that black people are stupid in that SNL “Black Jeopardy” skit. The comedians in it joke that we only have $20 in our bank accounts. The skit also illustrates that we don’t respect that we should speak the language properly. Kenan Thompson and Sasheer Zamata, who participated in this skit, help undermine the culture. This lays groundwork for younger black people who don’t have strong role models to use this as an example.

When you portray these ideas in the media, they get branded into our brains. And the stereotype in some cases becomes actualized.

I rarely use the word racist. Of course black people should continue to fight injustice, etc. But while I know that racism coming from the group that holds more power is more pernicious, I think everyone is racist. If black people want to control racism, we need to admit when we’re being racist, and promote the same values we want white people to have. And we need to stop playing tit for tat, that game of, ‘They do it to us, so we should do it to them’.

I’ve seen a few stupid and racist black stand-up comedians. That Wayans Brothers movie, “White Girls” was racist. Too bad, because I think the Wayans Brothers are funny and talented. Nick Cannon doing “white face” was racist. It all illustrates a double standard. Why should some white people stop doing what they’re doing when they insult us, when we do the same thing?

We should all have the balls to stand up for the qualities of decency and mutual respect.

I don’t fling my racism accusations around loosely. But, SNL is racist. I enjoyed SNL for years. The talent on the show was brilliant. I didn’t care that there were few black people on the show. I close myself off from the world when I don’t partake of something just because there aren’t any black people involved. It’s dumb.

However, when I saw that almost half of their negative reports on that comedic news segment included black celebrities, while there were only a couple of black people on the show, it didn’t sit right with me. Then I had read how Ellen Cleghorne, one of the few black women on the show, had problems with the white cast, and it made me uncomfortable, though I don’t know the story behind it. There were also other skits that didn’t portray black people positively.

I can take a joke and laugh at myself. I have heard white comedians make fun of black people and have laughed, but I began to see SNL in a different light after this, and stopped watching it. It’s not funny anymore to me anyway.

Now in the media, SNL made this huge deal about hiring this black woman, the first one since Ellen Cleghorne, in over two decades. Sasheer Zamata wasn’t even funny to me, by the way. She’s in that horrible “Stepin Fetchit” styled spoof on “Black Jeopardy.” Thanks for taking it back 100 years SNL. I don’t know why Kenan Thompson and Sasheer Zamata would even “co-sign” on this bullshit.

I know several black doctors. I know black scientists, stockbrokers, RNs, business owners, lawyers, homeowners. The first millionaire I ever met was black. Have any of you heard of The Black Wall Street in Oklahoma? While I’m no great proponent of capitalism, I do want to celebrate intellectual power.

I’m tired of seeing the athlete, musician, and singer/celebrity held up as a role model in the black community. Why not the scientist or mathematician? My nephew is in a minority of black kids in his class and his teacher says that he excels in math. His father is an engineer. And though he’s from sub-Sahara Africa, he doesn’t like it when it’s too hot. So that blows that stereotype out of the water.

Why can’t we embrace this instead of embracing big dicks and dancing. I know white people who dance much better than blacks, and I know first hand that all black men don’t have big dicks. It’s a myth. I think it’s dumb to embrace these stereotypes. ‘Yeah, I have a big dick and I can dance, but I can barely read and don’t have any money in the bank.’ It’s also mythology that we can’t swim, and that we all like watermelon and fried chicken. But thanks to the SNL skit, we can all help to keep these myths alive.

Therapy

Published March 25, 2014 by Sandee

Headbangers

Auntie Sandee has to find a death metal concert. The last concert I went to was a while ago on 14th Street in Manhattan. It was a theater that had auditorium seats sweeping upward, stadium style. At the lower level were the stage and the floor where the boys and girls were slam dancing – is that what they call it? My friend and I sat up up up, away from that shit with other oldsters – I respect old people who aren’t afraid of liking what they like in public.

It was cool looking down at the slam dancers from that level. They looked like Satan’s minions. It’s interesting that some of these bands are middle-aged while the audience is mostly youngsters. This was an Obituary concert. There were two bands I also knew who opened for them, Goatwhore and Krisiun.

Between sets the audio system played the same barrage of death metal groups I have on Pandora. I was in my element. When Obituary came on, fuck that shit, my friend and I ran down the stairs and hit the floor. I screamed my ass off, “Fuuck meeeeeeee!!”

Two days later — whip lash. Dummy me didn’t moderate my head banging. I wondered why the oldsters in the stadium seats seemed only to bang their heads just here and there. They knew better. Every time I think I might outgrow the music, no.

One day last week I was depressed, angry, anxious. I put the music on and it went away. I have it on as I’m writing this. It’s therapeutic. I have anger issues. When I went to that show I was home. So I need to find another concert. I can’t be in my apartment screaming like this and banging my feet on the floor. The concert has to be in the city though. If I had a band it would be this kind of band. I can’t growl, but I think my sister can. She’s young and pretty. She could front it.

At the end of that last show I went to they played Ol’ Dirty Bastard through the sound system – I loved that they crossed two extreme genres like that:

Vampire Cigarettes

Published March 20, 2014 by Sandee

Smoking

There was this pretty girl who starred in a vampire movie that we made in our high school film class. I was in that film too, sort of. I was the clapboard girl, the take one/take two person. Usually these people aren’t on screen, but the joke was on me. I learned later in a big way how much of a cow I look like when I chew gum.

The day the vampire movie screened in the school’s auditorium, I discovered that they had included me in the footage. My huge face took over the screen while I clapped that board, fiercely chewing, blasé as hell. The audience was hysterical. It was comic relief in intervals throughout the film. I guess the teacher thought it would be funny to include it. Yah, thanks pal!

Back then I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day – I smoked, chewed gum, suffered angst…  I bummed cigarettes from the vampire star of that movie sometimes. “How much do you smoke,” I asked her. “Two packs,” she said. “Two packs?!” A pack was too much, but two packs seemed over the top, especially for someone so young. We were 16, 17 years old. I had an uncle who smoked a carton a day, but he was much older and had mental illness. It probably gave him some kind of relief. At my exclamation, the girl explained that it was because she gave most of her cigarettes away.

Really?

That sticks with me to this day because it was so generous of her. Maybe that’s why she was the star of the film and I was just the cow chewing gum clapping the board. There were other kids I had grown up with who were generous, thoughtfully buying x-mas gifts for friends, nicely wrapped bottles of perfume, gift bags with trinkets of jewelry in them.

I admired this behavior. But gifts, for other kids? Not me. I probably did buy gifts for friends but only because I felt pressured. These other kids seemed to be doing it freely.

My spirit has shifted, I’m pleased to say. And I realize that giving isn’t just about material things, it’s about giving time, effort, presence. It takes me out of myself, especially when I get too self-centered. I don’t force give though – ha! It has to be organic.

I learn so much from others on this issue – the people who have helped me. I have a few great examples of friends who give thoughtful gifts and help other people, and there’s my aunt, an amazing woman with boundless energy that she uses to volunteer at organizations. My aunt doesn’t go around bragging about it either.

Yeah so, I need to erase some of that bad karma I created when I was younger. Anything I can help anybody with? – No, never mind, seems I’m not available — hahaha!

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