I’d Love Hate F*cking You

***Before we begin today, I wanted to give some love to VSB vet and neuroscientist—yes, she’s a motherf*cking brain scientist—Ivy St., who, after successfully defending last week, is now Ivy St., Ph.D. She is the shit and shit, and I’m proud of and happy for her.***

Yea, I don’t care either

I first fell in love with Stacey Dash before I was old enough to realize why exactly I had fallen in love with her. As Richard Pryor’s teenage daughter in the much worse than it could have been but much better than you probably remember it being “Moving,” Dash was impossibly, almost intentionally cute. It was almost as if the purpose of each of her personal characteristics was to somehow enhance her overall aesthetic. The only reason she had elbows or a sense of smell was to somehow make her cuter. She was cute because she was Cute. She wasn’t just the definition of cute, she was the actual word, like how God is Love and Aretha is Titties.

As the years passed, Dash unfathomably continued to get better looking, culminating in her and her nipples starring in Kanye’s “All Falls Down” video, also known as “the best 4:05 of my life.”

That Dash has recently done a 180 in my mind would be an understatement. It would also be a lie. To do a 180, one has to be the complete opposite of how you felt about them before. And, to be perfectly honest, until her bizarre pro-Republican rants before the election, I had no opinion of Stacey Dash other than “Stacey Dash looks like she was somehow bred by a basket full of mangos.” But, between her obsession with Paul Ryan and the fact that she seems to be the single worst actress to work with in Hollywood, Dash—while still bathwater-level beautiful (“bathwater-level beautiful” = ummm, nevermind. That’s a bit too gross to print)—does not seem to be someone people would actually like if she wasn’t bathwater-level beautiful

(And, if calling her the worst seems harsh, think about this. Actors and actresses talk shit about each other all the time, but it’s usually off the record or dismissed as a rumor. In Dash’s case, though, people are excited, gleeful and shit, to go on the record with their names, addresses, and social security numbers to let everyone know how much of a dick she apparently is to work with. Like, when they’re done talking about her, you can almost feel them wanting to say “…and you can tell that bitch I said it!!!”)

Yet, despite all of this—her apparent vapidness, her tone-deafness, her inability to get coworkers to like her, and, since she hasn’t aged in 22 years, her apparent deal with the Devil—I still wouldnt kick her out of bed. Actually, let me stop playing. I would drink her bathwater…after a Zumba class…and a marathon…while she was on her (Yes, I’m about to say what you think I was about to say. If you don’t want to read this next word, just scroll down to the next paragraph) period¹.

If anyone needs any proof of God’s sense of humor, look no further than the fact that He made it so that we could be very, very, very sexually attracted to someone who we don’t actually like—people we’d love to hate f*ck.

You already read about mine. People of VSB.com, can you name anyone who you kind of sort of hate but would still give them the business like it’s 1999?

¹Told you it was gross

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Liberals Are Smart, Conservatives Are Stupid, And…Well, It’s Not That Simple

Liberal!

There are several interesting findings in “Republicans Like Golf, Democrats Prefer Cartoons, TV Research Suggests” — a recent blog in the New York Times that studied “(TV) programs by how they performed with registered voters of either party (as well as independents) compared to a base of all registered voters” and basically proved that we’re just as polarized with pop culture as we are with politics.

For instance:

1. Democrats skewed heavily towards the NBC sitcoms (“30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation,” etc) and “adult” cartoons — basically, the types of satirical/metafictional comedies that require the viewer to “work” a little more. You could also say that multi-layered dramatic series such as “Mad Men” and “The Wire” — both of which are also favored by Democrats — do the same thing.

2. Republicans, on the other hand, overwhelmingly preferred competitive reality shows such as “The Biggest Loser,” “Survivor,” “American Idol,” and “The Amazing Race” — programs that provide a cathartic release (you invest in a character, and someone wins at the in) but don’t require as much effort from the viewers.

3. There were no surprises when it came to how we view sports, as the Republicans (predictably) skewed heavily towards college sports (football and basketball), golf, and NASCAR, while liberal sports fans seem to be smitten with the NBA, which “… accounted for no fewer than five of the top 20 cable shows on the Democratic list.”

(There was no mention of the NFL, which leads me to believe it’s one of the only things that liberals and conservatives adore equally. Well, that and Beyonce.)

At first glance, some of these findings seem like they could be attributed to geographical differences more than anything else. Take the NBA, for instance. Basketball is a city game with deep roots in highly populated urban areas. Since liberals tend to migrate to and populate cities with large populations, it makes sense that they’d (generally) enjoy NBA basketball more than Republicans, who tend to be more rural. (You can also make the racial argument here — basically, out of all the major sports/professional sports leagues, the NBA is the one where Black players are the most prominent and wield the most power, so it makes sense that conservatives wouldn’t be big fans — but I’ll save that for my upcoming NBA preview.)

Also, most of the satirical/metafictional comedies have protagonists who are obviously liberal — with shows that either take place in large cities or deal with the protagonist being a fish out of water — and it’s easy to see how liberals/people living in large cities would relate to them.

Yet, even after controlling for geography, it’s hard to ignore that in this study, the “liberal-loved” shows tend to be much “smarter” than the programs conservatives enjoy, a fact that reinforces the stereotype that (generally speaking) liberals are typically smarter than conservatives.

Now, before I continue, I have to admit that I’m not particularly objective. While I wouldn’t call myself a liberal — on the Santorum (0) to Steinem (100) scale, I probably rate around 65 — I do believe that liberals are (generally) smarter people than conservatives. Better people? Maybe not. But, definitely smarter.

With that being said, I don’t think the breakdown in preferred viewership is due to intelligence as much as its due to the fact that liberals seem to “value” intelligence more than conservatives. And, in this sense, “value” means “are more likely to do things that “prove” how smart they are.”

Along with gravitating towards shows that you have actually watch to follow and have to be “smart” to truly get, this also includes frequent incorporation of snark and sarcasm in your daily lexicon — devices that imply you’re smarter than the person it’s directed towards — and being more attracted to the types of occupations (law, academia, publishing, etc) where you get daily opportunities to show off your brain. Perhaps the emphasis placed on “smartness” — it’s really a liberal’s most valuable currency — causes many to overcompensate; self-consciously choosing to partake in “smarter” activities to make themselves seem smarter.

You know, the best way to describe my feelings about how liberals and conservatives view intelligence differently would be that if given the choice between being the most successful (success in this sense = financial success) person in the room or the smartest person in the room, while it seems like most conservatives would choose the former, I’m just as certain that the majority of liberals would probably choose the latter. Yet, as smart as we (and yes, I’m including myself) claim to be, when you think about it, that seems like a very stupid decision.

  —Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

***If you haven’t already, check out “A Tale of Two Tapes” — my latest at Ebony.com.***

***Make sure you tune in to The Blaq Out Show tonight on BLIS! Panama Jackson and the crew are talking about finances from 8-10pm. Tune into www.blis.fm/theblaqoutshow or http://blisonline.streamon.fm and let the good times roll!***

Why I’ll Never Vote For A Republican

"Sorry for missing your party, big guy. The invite must have gone to my spam folder or something"

I live approximately a mile away from Ava/Shadow Lounge — a popular local venue that hosts everything from hardcore hip-hop to “hipster music” shows, houses numerous parties and community events, and seems to have hidden forces determined to make it the area’s latest gentrification casualty. It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve been there at least 100 times (and possibly as many as 200) in the last five years.

It nests on the corner of Baum Boulevard and Highland Avenue. If you stand on Baum and Highland and look a block down the street, you can see Capri Bar, another venue that houses numerous parties and events. And, this block distance isn’t one of those New York City-esque two mile long blocks, either. I won’t lie and say that it’s so close that I can throw a football from Ava/Shadow to Capri, but Cam Newton probably could.

Yet, despite the fact that Capri usually has decent DJs, always has available parking, draws decent-sized crowds, and has a couple distinct advantages over Shadow/Ava (they serve food, and their bar has TVs), I’ve been to Capri maybe five times in the last three years.

Now, I know the owner of Ava/Shadow pretty well, and I’m also pretty cool with many of the bartenders and bouncers, but that alone doesn’t explain why I’m 50 times more likely to attend an event there than one at Capri. It — my less than positive feelings about Capri — all comes down to the fact that I just don’t like the crowd Capri usually draws. Like I mentioned before, the venues and the weekend events held at each venue aren’t really all that dissimilar. And, they’re only 70 yards away from each other. But, something about Capri attracts a crowd that’s just a little sketchier than the typical Ava/Shadow crowd, and I don’t feel as comfortable there.

Now, if you read today’s title and also at least managed to graduate from middle school, you probably surmised that this Ava/Capri conundrum is a long-winded analogy for my feelings about the Democratic and Republican parties. You’re correct. It is. You’re probably also assuming that I’m going to preface the rest of this piece by saying something like “Even though that analogy is far from perfect, I still think that….” If you made this assumption, you’re incorrect. The Ava/Capri conundrum is in fact a perfect representation of my feelings about both parties, and perfectly encapsulates why I’d never vote for a f*cking republican.

Becoming moderate usually means that you’re either moving from right to left or from left to right. Basically, most people don’t really become moderate, that’s just where they happen to currently be as they make their move from one side of the political spectrum to another. For as long as I’ve been politically aware, though, I can’t remember ever leaning liberal or conservative. I was born sitting on a fence, and I’ve neither seen nor heard no good reason to jump off any time soon. No wonder why I’m so bowlegged.

Perhaps the main reason why I’ve been able to entertain arguments and theories (well, intelligent and reasonable arguments and theories) from both sides is because, well, I just don’t think (intelligent and reasonable) democrats and (intelligent and reasonable) republicans are all that different. It’s popular to make it seem like choosing between the two is a life or death proposition, but, from a sheer policy perspective, it’s really no different than deciding between Red Lobster and The Olive Garden.

I don’t think Republican/conservative policy is inherently racist or sexist or stupid or wrong, and I also don’t believe that “a person with Republican/conservative beliefs” = “a stupid or sexist or racist person.” It’s just a difference in beliefs, and I can think of numerous occasions when I listened to someone like David Frum or George Will or even Andrew Sullivan and thought “Damn. That was a great point.”

I realize my opinion isn’t exactly universal. I’m sure there will be many staunch democrats reading this who think I’m absolutely, categorically wrong, and that voting for republicans is like voting for syphilis. But, despite the difference in perception, our actions are the same. The staunch liberal thinks “Republican” = “burning urination,” and they never vote for republicans. I think “Republican” = “unlimited salad and breadsticks,” and I also never vote for republicans.

Our actions align because of one simple point: My issues with republicans are all about people.

Whether it’s the message or the policies or the platform, something about the modern Republican party just continues to attract people like Todd Akin and the type of people who’d still vote for Todd Akin and the type of people who think so little of Black people that they’ll brazenly throw peanuts at Black camerawomen at densely populated events. And, I will never willingly align myself with people like that.

I realize “never” is pretty extreme. And, as I mentioned before, I know their parties probably aren’t all that different than the parties I usually attend. Still, republicans could be passing out free pancakes and p*ssy at the door, but until they do something about the type of people their parties attract, I’ll keep my ass across the street.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Herman Cain: Uncle Ruckus or The Realest Motherf*cker Alive?

There are numerous things I actively do (and don’t do) to avoid potentially and unnecessarily violent confrontation. While others honk at and flip off motorists who’ve upset them, I smirk, shake my head, and take solace in the fact that my car would literally f*ck their car up if I wanted it to. I don’t date women with accent marks or hyphens in their names. And, if your nightclub has undergone three name changes in the past two years, you probably won’t find me there.

Why do I go through these lengths? Well, one of my goals in life is to be a 60 year old black man. And, from what I understand, it’s very difficult to be a 60 year old black man if you get shot to death before you reach 60, so I try to live in a way that decreases the likelihood of that happening.

Now, 60 isn’t an arbitrary age. It’s important for me to get to that point because I want to shake hands with a Martian (I figure we’re around 30 years from making that happen) and, more importantly, I want to enjoy the same filterlessness that my dad currently does.

As anyone who has a 60+ father, uncle, or grandfather in their lives will tell you, 60 is the age when men (black men in particular) lose their filters and any sense of self-consciousness and will say anything they want to about anybody at any time. I desperately want to make it there too. I literally cannot wait for the day when I’ll be able say things like “Does your mother know that she raised an idiot?” to a city council man’s face and be able to get away with it.

Anyway, this filterlessness makes for entertaining conversations. So, you can imagine what I was expecting to hear the other night when I asked for his opinion about Herman Cain.

His answer — “Well, I have to say that he hasn’t said or done anything really stupid yet” — stuck with me for two reasons

A) The bar for politicians is so low that “Well, at least he’s not an idiot” is a ringing endorsement. Seriously, can you imagine if other industries had the same low expectations? Can you imagine seeing a Chick-fil-A ad that says “Well, at least you won’t get Salmonella“?

B) My dad, a revolutionary who occasionally rocks black berets and still says things like “solid on down,” isn’t turned off by Herman Cain

My mom — who’s not quite as revolutionary as my dad, but possesses the most potent bullshit detector on Earth — entered the room soon after. I asked for her opinion, and she basically said the same thing.

Now, I realize that this could just be some type of mandatory kinship speaking — a mandate from high (or Morgan Freeman perhaps) that when any black person 60 or over is doing anything remotely positive, every other 60+ black person must immediately give them the benefit of the doubt. But, the feelings from my Black Panther-ass parents made me rethink my own thoughts about Cain and why I possess them.

I have to admit, I hadn’t even considered giving dude an honest chance. Part of it has to do with his name (“Herman” is just a silly f*cking name to me. It feels like something someone should name a dog.), but the main reason why he was thrown in the “Don’t even consider this n*gga” pile is that The Tea Party people — you know, those cats who generally seem to abhor us and think the president is from Jupiter — seem to love him, never a good sign. Also, with the exception of Colin Powell and (maybe) Condi Rice, every black republican I can think of just seems to have a general aura of lame around them. It’s like they’re perpetually engulfed in a spiderweb of wackness.

Cain may very well be the Antichrist. But, it’s not fair to him for me to immediately assume that he’s the spawn of Satan just because he’s black and he happens to belong to the 2011 GOP, and it’s not fair to me to be so intellectually apathetic when deciding on a leader. There’s absolutely no chance in hell that I’d actually vote for him (Seriously. If you’re a close friend of mine and you don’t vote for Obama in 2012, you might no longer be a close friend of mine. Yes, it’s that serious.), but I can at least listen to what he has to say.

I mean, he is a 65 year old black man.  That guarantees that he’ll at least be entertaining.

Anyway, people of VSB.com, I’m curious: What are your feelings about Herman Cain? Is he Uncle Ruckus, another republican reactionary, or the realest motherf*cker alive?

Also, did the fact that he’s a black republican influence your opinion about him before you even heard what he had to say?

—The Champ