The Surreality, Hypocrisy, And Futility Of The “Serious” Internet Argument


There is a strange type of popularity that comes with being a well-known blogger. It’s almost surreal. While a (very, very, very, very small) percentage of the general population is very familiar with you and your work, an even larger percentage isn’t even aware that the medium you derive your popularity from exists.

You can be an obscure author, comedian, or rapper with a small but very passionate and very engaged fanbase. What separates blogging is that even if most people haven’t heard of that particular author, comedian, or rapper, they’ve at least heard of books, comedy, and rap music.

Let me put it this way: I’m sure many of you reading this have, within the last couple of years, had explain to someone what a “blog” was. If not, you were probably the person someone explained “blogging” to.

I’m not complaining, mind you. This surreal strain of “fame” is just a reminder that the internet world, while limitless, is very small—and very exclusive—and that helps keep things in perspective.

That said, when it comes to internet-based arguments and debates, this perspective tends to get lost pretty frequently by many people…including me.

To wit, Panama and I had a 1500 word long discussion last week about street harassment that led to over 800 comments. This discussion was prompted by a burgeoning national conversation about street harassment that doesn’t seem to be losing any steam.

But, I doubt the men who are online all day pushing back against the anti-street harassment movement are actually the ones on the street catcalling women. I’m also sure that the women arguing with these men are aware of that. What you end up having is an impassioned internet argument that doesn’t really serve any lasting purpose besides teaching people how to win or lose an impassioned internet argument.

You also see this whenever any internet conversation about dating starts to get heated. Despite the fact that many (if not most) people offline seem to have had good relationships and generally feel good about their relationship future, online the dating world turns into World War Z. I had a friend tell me a few years ago that she didn’t even know she was supposed to feel bad about being single until she got on the internet.

And please, don’t let the topic be interracial dating. Aside from Rick Santorum and Black barbers with bad haircuts, no one offline gives a damn about who you date. Online, though, you’ll find Black men who’ve had nothing but positive interactions with Black women offline referring to Black women as hoodrat bedwenches, and Black women who, despite the fact that they have Black fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, nephews, and friends they love and Black sons they’ve produced, consider Black males to be the bane of all existence.

Now, although these internet arguments don’t have much of a direct effect on or connection to what happens offline, they’re not completely purposeless. I was aware that some men catcall and randomly proposition women on the street, but I never thought to consider how dehumanizing it could be and how unsafe it could make women feel until reading a few pieces about it.

Also, I’m aware that I’ve led a (relatively) “easy” life so far, and these serious internet arguments—as hyperbolic as they can get—tend to increase certain awarenesses for people like me. Maybe things aren’t as bad as the internet would tell it, but extremes help reiterate the fact that different people have had different experiences, and these different experiences create different ways of viewing the world.

Still, the next time you find yourself in the middle of a heated internet debate about a topic that only 0.000000001% of the population would even consider discussing, do me a favor. Log off, take a walk, tell the first person you see in the street about the nasty argument you had in the comments section of VSB about passport stamps, and study their face when they ask you who and what the f*ck you’re talking about.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Blue Ivy Carter: The First Black “Celebrity Baby”

Everyone reading this can probably recall two or three news events that impacted you so much that you’ll always remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard about it.

These occurrences, forever etched into our consciousness, can be split into two different types, and both types have to do with how we felt when we first became aware of them

Type 1. “This is some historic sh*t.”

Type 2.Damn. I didn’t realize it at the time, but earlier I witnessed some historic sh*t. I should probably make sure I remember this.”

For instance, I was sitting on the couch at my parent’s house during the infamous Pacers-Pistons brawl, and from the moment Ron Artest jumped into the stands I knew I was watching something I’d always remember. I immediately knew it would be a landmark event, immediately knew it would dominate any conversation I had for the next 72 to 96 hours, immediately knew it would have a transformative impact on the NBA, immediately knew that I’d always remember exactly where I was when it happened, and immediately knew it would cement Ron Artest’s status as the highest-functioning crazy motherf*cker on the planet.

On the other hand, the “etchededness” of 9/11 — an event I’m sure would be on most American’s lists — wasn’t as immediate. Sure, I remember exactly where I was when first hearing that tower one was hit by a plane, but it wasn’t until later that morning that I realized exactly how historic of an event that would be. (The first thing I said after my roommate woke me up to tell me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center? “They need to stop letting Harlem n*ggas in flight school.”)

The news of the birth of Blue Ivy Carter does neither. I will not remember where I was when I first heard saw it trending on Twitter, and if anyone outside of the Carter/Knowles circle has “Where I was when I first heard Beyonce had a baby” forever etched into their brains right now, they must have some sh*tty-ass brains.

With that being said, I wonder if, 20 to 25 years from now, the birth of Blue Ivy Carter will be an historically relevant moment. I realize this seems like hyperbole — she’s not even two days old and it sounds like I’m already reserving her star on the Walk of Fame — but she’s already made history. She’s the first African-American ever who was famous before she was even born.

Think about it. There have been black child stars (Michael Jackson, Emmanuel Lewis, Raven Symone, etc), black stars who had children at the height of their fame, famous children of uber-popular black people (Malia and Sasha Obama) and even established black stars who had children while at the height of their fame and saw those children become famous while they were still children (Willow and Jaden Smith).

But, never has there been a child produced by an African-American couple while both mother and father were A-list celebrities; a baby whose potential first name, last name, size, facial features, complexion, future, inherited traits, musical talent, business acumen, connection to the Illuminati, and existence (Remember, there was an actual debate a few weeks ago over whether Beyonce was even pregnant.) was discussed, debated, joked on, and theorized about by hundreds of thousands of people before she was even here.

With all that being said, I have no idea what all of this means. I have no idea if her birth is truly the most “post-racial” moment ever. I have no idea if Blue Ivy Carter is truly the most post-modern baby ever. I have no idea what her birth signifies, or if it even signifies anything at all. .

And, aside from the likelihood of Blue Ivy Carter being the first African-American baby to cause a multi-million dollar bidding war for the rights to print her pictures first, I (obviously) have no idea how the life of the first black celebrity baby will play out. I know it won’t be “normal” but I’m not going to assume it’s going to be completely abnormal either.

But while I don’t know what any of this means, I do know that the birth of Blue Ivy Carter definitely matters. How, you ask? I don’t know. I know that it matters/will matter, but I don’t know why. Ask me again in 20 to 25 years.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Double Take.

So apparently Beyonce uses a body double when convenient.

Really!? (*rubbing chin*)

Now, clearly some people would be up in arms to find out that they’d been duped by the Creole Knowle who found it more enjoyable to go off shopping than make herself available for a personal special tour of a museum. Granted, it’s kind of dumb to send a look-a-like to your OWN special tour, which to me sounds like something you set up in the first place. You’d think that if you didn’t really want to go to your OWN PERSONAL TOUR of something, you’d call and cancel. But oh well.

She opted for the road more travelled and went shopping instead, but who can blame her?

I can just see Beyonce saying to her mother, “Forget the art museum, send Sheyonce. I don’t need to see no art. B*tch, I am Sasha Fierce art.”

By the way, did you all see the pink pants that Chad Johnson wore to the premier of Spike Lee’s documentary on Kobe Bryant? Fashion has just gone to damn far now. Anybody else noticed that rappers and athletes are starting to dress like the guys that rappers and athletes would beat up back in the day?

But I digress.

So Beyonce having a look-a-like, though devious, actually seems like a good idea. Think of all the demands made of Beyonce’s time. It stands to reason that if you could make it happen and get away with it, you’d snag a little time for yourself and send your clone to do the crap you really could live without. And if the trip’s in Mexico, you ALWAYS send your clone.

I think the bigger scandal here is this: Beyonce actually HAS a look-a-like that travels with her? This was in Austria, not Austin. That makes it sound premeditated. Then again, actually searching for and locating your clone makes the entire thing premeditated so, whatever.

This whole shenanigan (does the singular form of “shenanigans” actually exist? Like do people commit one caper then graduate to shenanigans? These things keep me up at night.) got me to thinking about a bunch of other people who could benefit greatly from having a clone.

Such as…

Barack Obama – Barry O spends more time on television nowadays than he does in the Oval Office. You can’t get work done if you’re always on TV. So what if he could send a clone to do all the speeches he’s been doing while he’s in his office pushing buttons and increasing spending making major decisions. Who’s to say he doesn’t have one already? What with all the random blunders (he actually said continulously, on air, this morning while thanking Arlen Specter for defecting to joining the DNC) we just might be witnessing a clone of the President who’s so often lauded for being so well spoken. Plus, it would give him more time to spend trying to kick Rush Limbaugh’s ass that smoking habit of his.

Michael Jackson – It might be hard trying find somebody who looks like an alien’s rendition of a human being though.

Britney Spears – She’s spent so much time in court the past few years, wouldn’t it be great to just say, “f*ck it, I don’t feel like going today, send Clone#2 to offer up my guilty verdict and I’ll just follow the proceedings on twitter.”

Captain Kirk – He got into so many shenanigans in his heyday and had so much alien cookie thrown his way he probably need a clone or four just to handle his smutload. By the way, smutload is one disgusting sounding word.

Eddie Murphy – After that whole transvestite prostitute thing, wouldn’t he have benefitted greatly if he could have been like like, “naw, homey, that wasn’t me, that was my look-a-like out there scheming on them hehoes. I have my OWN man-looking woman at home to deal with.”

Puffy (I refuse to call him Diddy) – Actually, one Puffy might be all the world can deal with.

Brad Pitt – That way Jennifer Aniston can get her a second shot at having his love children.

Namata – Just because he could make twice the amount of terrible music if there were more than one of him. Can you imagine this man and OJ Da Juiceman making a song together? You can…can’t you. (By the way if you can’t access those youtube links, you are truly missing out on f*ckery at its highest levels.  I actually thought dude was Flavor Flav’s singing alter-ego for a while.)

My guitar gently weeps for sanity.

(By the way, and not to take shots at Memphis or anything, but when I first heard of OJ Da Juiceman you couldn’t tell me he wasn’t from Memphis. His entire swag says Memphis to me. Speaking of bad swag, meet Mr. Hit Dat Hoe.)

So, who else could really use a clone?