Flighty

All the outside-the-lines NFL drama in recent years has been the sort of stuff that ought to make any thinking person reject the game: the domestic violence cases, the chronic traumatic encephalopathy revelations, the smarminess of commissioner Roger Goodell [annual salary $44 million] and his minions, their maddening efforts to make an inherently unsafe game “safe.”

Justin Peters, Slate

In this cultural moment where powerful, mainstream Black artists like Beyoncé are telling their stories on their own terms, the white people who controlled the narrative– including how and when Black stories have been told– for the past 400 years need to sit back, shut up, and listen, listen, listen. You don’t like how white people are being portrayed? Spend some time thinking about why Black artists are portraying white people that way instead of demanding they adjust their stories to conform to your self-image as “the good guy.” We are not the heroes in these stories. We are not the intended audience. We are irrelevant, and there’s nothing people in power hate more than to be made irrelevant, but the fact remains that these are Black stories, by, for, and about Black people. You don’t like it? Don’t watch. But I recommend that you do, and give it some real thought. This is their truth. You do not get to dictate how Black artists see or portray their own lives.

Melissa Hillman, Bitter Gertrude

fabuloso compJesús watered the garden this morning and one bird, a wrennish looking character, flew from plant to plant enjoying the abundance of water on every leaf and spike. The landlords have moved the potted “shrimp” plant, a favorite of the hummingbirds, and one hummingbird flies about the plant’s former location atop the wall that separates this property from the neighbor’s.  The plant had been in the sun and now it’s in the shade, and the birds don’t like the new location at all. Neither does the plant as the stems all lean and reach for the sunlight.

I’d been trying to decide my next destination based on logic and the advantages/ disadvantages of each locale and I found myself incapable of making a decision. So I turned to fear-based decision making, which brought a result, but almost didn’t.  I looked at each destination and wrote down the fears associated with each, then ruled out the lesser fears.  The biggest fear was that, at this stage of my life, I would never again experience something significant.  I could take my things out of storage, those things I’ve been missing, and move somewhere in the U.S., but I know I’d then never get to Europe (or Asia) again, I’d never know the experience of living in one more country, I’d have no new textures, sounds, or smells to add to the existing store of memories.  The first day I tried to buy the ticket to Budapest online my fingers froze when I encountered the “purchase” option. Despite my newfound confidence in the “right” decision, I couldn’t do what was necessary. Then, yesterday, somehow the finger over the keyboard found its way onto the key that sent British Airways a chunk of money.

The art at the Pocket Theater’s gallery currently has portraits of Mexican women with various cleaning products (one of which is Fabuloso, as in the photo above). I tried to watch Bande de Filles (Girlhood) but left after half an hour.  The movie is striking and powerful and has a beauty about it, but the trajectory of the lead character was just too difficult for me to watch. The movie begins with two teams of young women playing American-style football, but unlike the American TV league that has women in skimpy outfits, these kids are in full gear—the juxtaposition of young French women of African heritage playing an American game in the suburbs of Paris caused the woman sitting behind me in the theater to question whether the correct film was being shown.

As I didn’t watch the game, I wasn’t going to write about the Superbowl, but there’s been a strong buzz on the internet regarding Beyoncé’s performance during halftime (and release of her new single the previous day). Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City (the man responsible for the attempted Disneyfication of Times Square) was disappointed by the content of her performance (as were other social conservatives—that’s my code for “old white Republican men”), but … Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe Rudy just wants the good old days, like when Up With People head-lined the half-time.

There are other takes on the events.  The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams’ helps put things in perspective here and other women, white and black, saw greater (and far different) implications and meaning in Beyoncé’s performance and music.

Regarding the footbally part of the weekend, the black quarterback Cam Newton was criticized and the white quarterback was quasi-deified. You might read:

Earth, Wind and Fire – Sun Goddess

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