Catching Up... WAY Up!
My sister, my sister
Tell me what the trouble is
I'll try to listen good
And give the best advice that I can give
-- Monie Love, "It's a Shame (My Sister)" from CD, Down to Earth
One of the things you learned watching the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show (and yes, you did learn something!) was this:
ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES
Good consequences, bad consequences, indifferent consequences, it don't make no never mind; there are always CONSEQUENCES. The problem with Alicia Hardin was that she was so focused on getting her planned results that she forgot about the consequences. Even now, in claiming her confession to police was false, she is still indulging in some mean self-denial that she can still escape the consequences of her plan and still get the results she'd wanted.
Get better, Alicia. Fast.
It's actions like hers that have me considering completely off the wall things... like bestowing a FOOL Award. Inspired by Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper's GOOF (Greatly Overexposed Overhyped Fool), a FOOL would be for a Foolish Obnoxious Outrageous Lunkhead!
Ehhh, I'm still working out the kinks...
But now, on to the catching up!
FEBRUARY -- from the ridiculous to the sublime
For God knows what reason, Josh Levin wrote the story, Rappers and Bloggers: Separated at Birth! for Slate. Actually, it was Selfish Hedonist (and not Latentalent, I correct myself 05/17/05) who called my attention to it, because Uppity-Negro.com was honored with a mention within the story:
And don't forget those silly, silly names. Even if he didn't flaunt his devotion to pimping and pit bulls, you'd probably guess Snoop Dogg is a rapper. And Fedlawyerguy—yeah, probably a blogger. But the "blogger or rapper?" parlor game can stump even the nerdiest gangsta. Does uggabugga hate on wack emcees or wack Charles Krauthammer? What about Mad Kane? Big Noyd, Justus League, Uppity Negro, Little Brother, Cold Fury, and South Knox Bubba? (Answers: blogger, blogger, rapper, rap group, blogger, rap group, blogger, blogger.)
I know it wasn't a slam, and I'm not necessarily slamming him, but the story is... You know those nights when you're sitting around, alone or with friends, and you've been up way too late, and you've probably been drinking way too much, and (pop!) allofasudden you're struck by this thought, this idea, this concept, and youhavetowriteitdownrightnow, because it's so bloody brilliant, it EXPLAINS IT ALL! And you scribble it down in a fever and, when finished, collapse in a fit of intellectual exhaustion!
And then you wake up the next morning, all in excited glee to view it sober, and you do read it and you find it's the most ridiculous shite you've ever concocted and you really need to lay off all that damn peppermint schnapps at 3 am?!
Kinda like that.
But he'd already turned it in. And it'd been accepted. And it wasn't bad. It did make a reasonably valid comparison. But... it does have a faint yet discernible scent of peppermint schnapps.
But what do I know? Why, I'll bet Adam Curry loved the story's last line, where Levin joked that "maybe that podcasting thing won't be totally useless after all."
Anyway, Uppity-Negro.com and Aaron received a far more serious honor and rare distinction from the Perranoski Prizes:
One of the chief reasons I was motivated to do the Perranoski Prizes at all arose from the death of a fellow blogger who I wanted to find a proper way to honor, Aaron Hawkins of uppity negro. Not only was he one of the earliest blogs to rise in popularity to a celebrity status, but Aaron was genuinely - online and off - a nice and good-hearted man. In this world, too often, ‘nice’ and ‘good’ carry a sense of quaintness, of old-fashioned virtues quickly acknowledged and then dismissed as kind of square. There was nothing dismissable or quaint about Aaron. There is nothing easily accepted in losing his presence or his pleasance.
If I’d launched this endeavor and he hadn’t been nominated, I’d never consider taking this past this year. As it turned out, he was nominated and was one of the three Hall of Fame entrants for 2004.
I hope the folks at Wampum will consider taking on this category in the future. And here or there, I think we should broaden the name of the award to the Aaron Hawkins Hall of Fame Award.
Read more about the Perranoski Prizes, which "are named after Ron Perranowski, who was the best relief pitcher for the Dodgers during the Koufax era," which you'll see represented in the graphic of the award itself:
As I mentioned on the new Uppity-Negro.com Founders Page, Aaron touched the lives of so many people--and even with this, I think I still underestimate the breadth of his influence.
I was honored to be asked by Giles but ultimately had to decline representing Uppity-Negro.com in the Blogging While Black panel at this year's South By Southwest Interactive Festival. I can imagine that Aaron would have been most colorful (yes, I really said that!) at the panel, contributing any number of experiences encountered in maintaining this blog. He told me about a lot of it, but certainly not all of it. And even if I'd known more, I'd have only been able to relate second-hand stories--which every American court defines as hearsay. I haven't seen any front line action (unless deleting at least 300 trackback & comment spam messages every time I log in to this blog counts!), and I think it would have been unfair to pretend that I had. Giles did pass on an audio file of the panel, so I felt like I was there in a way. And Aaron was mentioned, which was very cool! As I told Giles, I especially enjoyed his explaining that after reading Uppity-Negro.com and Gunn that he "wanted to be a Negro, too!"
2nd gratuitous Adam Curry mention: SXSW Interactive had a panel on podcasting but did not, I repeat, did NOT ask Mr. Curry to participate. Huh??
These CEOs, man, to be that ruthless, you're a scary dude. I tell ya, now I walk past a little gangbanger, I don't even flinch. But if I see a white dude with a Wall Street Journal, I haul ass. Before I walk past the Arthur Anderson building, I'm cuttin' through the projects. Cutting through the projects, you might just lose what you have on you that day. I ain't never been mugged of my future.
-- Wanda Sykes, Tongue Untied DVD, Yeah, I Said It book
I got the opportunity to see the documentary, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, a kind of movie adaptation of the book, Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. Actor Peter Coyote narrates.
I would highly recommend this documenrary if you want to truly understand just how brutally greedy this company and its employees were and how it was able to bleed California dry (to the delight and for the entertainment of some of its traders), resulting in the election of the "governator." You get to see staff meeting and staff training videotapes, hear phone calls, watch snippets of the federal hearings. It's a fairly complete as well as maddening story. Along with the TV movie adaptation of Brian Cuver's book, "The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron," that starred Angel veteran Christian Kane, and the two columns, Joe Bob Explains Enron and Joe Bob Sings Enron, I've gotten a pretty full picture not only of the scandal itself and how it happened, but also why it happened--it really was uniquely American success run amuck!
My only quibble, if you can call it that, with the film were the choices made in the dramatizing of some parts of the Enron story. Vice Chairman J. Clifford Baxter's suicide is shown with what actually looks like a gun shot going off in a parked car. Enron Energy Services head Liu Pai's strip clubs visits put the viewer right in the middle of a topless lap dance by an anonymous blond performer (in case you thought it might be a good idea to take the kids as a kind of moral/educational admonishment of having bad business ethics). These choices do make the story more cinematic... if also nearly as graphic as a governator movie!
OK, this is me, Val, signing off... y'know, so I can delete more of the spam!