Bangin’ on BET (Butts Every Time)

BET (Butts Every Time)  has been in the Hall of Shame of Suck for so long now that it’s not even worth bangin’ on them anymore.

But they’re such a big, fat target I can’t pass up a chance to do it one mo’ time.

Fortunately I was at work the other night when the  BET Awards show was on so I missed out on how horrible it was.   Strictly amateur night, but what would anyone expect from a network with a budget of $100 and a coupon for a bucket of extra crispy Kentucky Fried Chicken?

I’m all for supporting Black businesses, but I’m not supporting anyone or anybody that serves up garbage, the worst of stereotypes and just general buffoons and coons as entertainment.   When BET was just a shuck and jive piece of crap owned by Bob “Bobcat” Johnson, I could just hate on it for him being too cheap to invest in decent programming.   But BET is part of the Viacom empire and if anything it sucks even harder than it did when it was Black-owned.

When Bob Johnson launched his feces factory of a network his formula was to program a lot of videos because they were cheap and canceled television shows like Benson because they were almost as cheap.   BET soon became the place to go to see ugly, mush-mouthed rappers wearing chains big enough to tow trucks pouring “champagne” in slow motion over some video ho’s ass.    Every now and then they might mix in a news show or some public affairs program like the critically acclaimed “Teen Summit,” but Johnson’s heart and soul was always in the gyrating butts and bump n’ grind of bad rap videos.

Activist, writer and unsuccessful Congressional candidate Kevin Powell told the New York Times in 2006,  “I’m on the college circuit a hundred times a year, and people always ask me what is wrong with BET. We have to stop participating in the one-dimensional portrayals of ourselves. And BET as the premier television network for black people has to take the lead on that.”

There were some vague hopes when Johnson took his billion dollars from Viacom and shuffled off to show he knew as little about putting together a good NBA franchise (Charlotte BOBcats) as he did programming a television network, his right-hand woman, Debra Lee might be an improvement.

Meet the new jigaboo.  Same as the old jigaboo.

Meet the new jigaboo. Same as the old jigaboo.

That was three years ago.  Ain’t a damn thing changed.   Except that BET  became even more unwatchable.

The line-up for Tuesday, June 30, 2009  features such fine television as the following:

  • Two hours of Smart Guy, a sitcom starring Tahj Mowry that ran two seasons and was cancelled ten years ago.
  • Two hours of The Game, a sitcom starring Tia Mowry Hardict, Taj’s sister.   The show was canceled by the CW network and BET picked it up.
  • An hour of Judge Hatchett, a reality “law” show.  One episode is entitled, “Your Orgy Party Made a Mess of My Home.”
  • The BlackBuster Movie:  Beauty Shop.   Miss it at 8:00 pm and you can catch it again at 11:30 pm.
  • 106th and Park.   A video clip show.  I say “clips” because even though the show is 90 minuts long you don’t expect them to show complete videos do you?   The show also features the singer Ashanti to talk about her Broadway show, “The Wiz.”   Immediately followed by…
  • Access Granted:   “Tune in for a BET all-access behind the scenes look at Ashanti and her role as Dorothy in the Broadway musical, “The Wiz.”

The rest of the day’s programming consists of lousy reality shows,  another Black-themed flick,  and two hours of religious programs from 4:00 to 6:00 in the morning.

That’s all you get from BET.  No news.  No sports.  No public affairs.  No health, business, politics or lifestyle programs.    Just 24 hours of  the same old numb, dumb bullshit EVERY DAMN DAY.    Wash.  Rinse. Repeat.  Just how raggedy do you have to be in 2009 when there’s a Black president not to offer one minute of news or politics?

I got a reality show for Debra Lee’s tired ass.  Hey D.L.  check this out:

What do you think my chances of getting “Big Pimpin’ with Barack” on BET?

Another mind warped by watching BET.

They Don’t Really Care About Him (but it’s great television).

The many faces of the man in the mirror.

The many faces of the man in the mirror.

It’s funny to see on the music channels (MTV, VH1-Classic, BET) it’s all Michael Jackson videos all the time. You see so many of the same riffs repeated endlessly.

1. Michael dancing solo? Check.
2. Michael “gang-dancing?” Check.
3. Celebrity guest stars? Check.
4. Crotch-grab? Check.
5. MJ as a gang-member/gangster/bad boy? Check, check and check
.

By the time you get to his last music video, the atrocious “You Rock My World” guest-starring Chris Tucker, Michael Madsen and a massive Marlon Brando, even a lethargic Jackson seems to be just going through some tired motions.

What does it say when he was alive Michael Jackson forced MTV to start playing videos by Black artists and now that he’s dead he’s forcing them to play music videos again?

Not this one so much. 

[Meanwhile on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and Headline News, it’s round the clock saturation coverage with experts, musicians, celebrities, acquaintances crawling over Jackson’s corpse with their meaningless platitudes, remembrances and theories of what happened while some clueless reporter does a live stand-up outside of a building in Los Angeles or Neverland ranch.

This is going to be a ratings windfall for the cable channels proving yet again it’s a ill wind that doesn’t blow somebody some good.

For some reason I’m hearing Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” in my head.

Which begs the question, how should the press cover Michael Jackson’s death?

In proportion to it’s true news value.  Not that that’s going to happen anytime soon.

If some facts emerge instead of idle rumors and baseless speculation, that’s news. Meanwhile there is stuff going on in the rest of the world that’s being drowned out by the din of All Michael Jackson, All the Time coverage.

The desire not to miss out on a breaking newsflash should be tempered with the ability to discern when the press is basically addicting the viewer with junk news and then constantly feeding the habit.

This is starting to look and feel a lot like the “Anna Nicole Smith is dead and Paris Hilton goes to jail” dog and pony show all over again and that was nobody’s idea of good journalism.  

But the 24-hour news cycle doesn’t care about standards of journalism and the consumer’s need for endless, and empty entertainment must be met.

It’s just ugly that it’s being done over Michael Jackson’s corpse..

Jackson was imprisoned by his fame and notoriety.

Michael Jackson’s Human Nature

Michael Jackson vs. The King of Pop

Michael Jackson vs. The King of Pop

I’m three years older than Michael Jackson.   I grew up listening to him.   I bought his albums.   Both of us grew older but only one of us seemed to ever grow up. 

When I heard Jackson had died I wasn’t shocked or even that surprised.   He had seemed to be fading away for a long time. 

 MJ was the man-child who had spent the majority of his life growing up in public.   First as the most talented member of the Jackson 5 and then as the young man who broke away from Motown, his family and everyone’s expectations of him by becoming the biggest and best known entertainer (and eccentric)  in the world.

It is not only entirely possible to admire and enjoy the music of Michael Jackson the Artist while still being disturbed or disgusted by the life of Michael Jackson the Man,  it’s the only honest way.

Still bad, but not yet dangerous.

Still bad, but not yet dangerous.

If there was ever a more suitable candidate for intense psychological therapy than Michael Jackson, I don’t know who it would be. If he seemed trapped in perpetual adolescence even at age 50, it was because he was so terribly abused as a young boy.

You can’t grow up in public the way MJ did and not carry some deep scars into adulthood.

His skin grew paler, his nose thinner and his body thinner and frailer.  Jackson morphed into some bizarre reverse caterpillar.   He went from a precocious and cuddly-cute child to a fit and handsome young man and ended up a pale, sickly, wig-wearing androgynous freak.

He made great music and did some terrible things. He brought joy and happiness to thousands of children but was accused of destroying the childhood of others.

Was he The King of Pop or Wacko Jacko?  Like most men, he was a little more complex than simplistic labels. He was smarter and more sophisticated than his carefully conceived image revealed. The perpetual Peter Pan persona aside, Jackson was known as a savvy businessman who worked hard to get and stay on top.

The thing is nobody stays on top forever. While Thriller made him the biggest star in entertainment, it also forced him to chase its success. Bad wasn’t as big as Thriller. Dangerous wasn’t as big as Bad. Invincible wasn’t as big as Dangerous.

MJ caught lightning in a bottle once in 1983 and spent the next 26 years trying to repeat the feat.

Taken in totality, Michael Jackson ranks right up there with The Beatles and Elvis Presley in his impact on music and if you doubt it, just ask Justin Timberlake whose moves and act he stole.

It’s quite easy to both love the music Michael the Artist and loathe Michael the Man.   After reading the transcript of his 2003 60 Minutes  interview with Ed Bradley it’s damn hard to come away from it without feeling at least a little sick.   The indelicate truth is despite being acquitted in 2005 on 10 counts of lewd conduct with children,  procuring alchohol for children and conspiracy, there are reports the singer paid millions to settle other  lawsuits of improper sexual relations with young boys.

Off-stage and behind closed doors there was a unsavory side to Jackson that tarnished his stardom.   To be certain, Jackson was hounded mercilessly by the media, but having lived his entire life in the spotlight, he seemed determined to cater to the weirdness by way of his appearance and the oblivious response to the many controversies.

But there’s a time for those who hated the bad decisions made by Michael the Man to air their grievances and it’s not while he’s lying on a cold metal table in the Los Angeles Coroner’s office.

I always thought that “King of Pop” tag was really jerky.   It was also inaccurate.   At his peak, Michael Jackson was the King of Music.   Nobody was bigger than he was after Thriller.    A lot of other artists have made hit albums and better albums than Thriller.   But at sales between 100 and 109 million copies sold, nobody made a bigger album.    

Was Thriller’s success the final straw in Michael Jackson’s downward spiral?  Somebody that knew the man can answer that question.   I was never more than a fan so I’d only be making a wild guess.

The man is gone.   The deconstruction of his carefully crafted image will be relentless.  The music is immortal. 

Sha-mone. Hee-heee. Woo!

And what would his people back home want if they ever learned just how far from them he’d really gone? He broke from them, and then he broke from himself. I’d never seen a man so broken up and ripped apart.

 

~ Captain Willard/Apocalypse Now

Never take your foot off a snake.

Wanted: Dead (hes already lived too long).

Wanted: Dead (he's already lived too long).

While supposed “news” outlets were breaking their necks to be the first to report Jon and Kate were divorcing  (and this matters to me…why exactly?) they missed a story perhaps a wee bit more significant.

Al Qaeda offered the United States a truce.

Yep.   That Al Qaeda.  The same guys who brought you September 11, 2001 and the worst act of terrorism on American soil.

Abu al-Yazid, also known as   Abu Saeed al-Masri, said al Qaeda will continue “with large scale operations against the enemy” — by which he meant the United States.

“We have demanded and we demand that all branches of al Qaeda carry out such operations,” he said, referring to attacks against U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The militant leader said al Qaeda would be willing to accept a truce of about 10 years’ duration with the United States if Washington agreed to withdraw its troops from Muslim countries and stopped backing Israel and the pro-Western governments of Muslim nations.

Asked about the whereabouts of al Qaeda’s top leaders, he said: “Praise God, sheikh Osama (bin Laden) and sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri are safe from the reach of the enemies, but we would not say where they are; moreover, we do not know where they are, but we’re in continuous contact with them.”       — Newsdaily

Got a message for you al-Masri.

I can see you working here.  When Bush was in office he decided to turn the CIA loose on Al Qaeda and The Taliban by unleashing missile strikes against them.   Obama took over and he hasn’t backed off at all with the bombing campaign.  Surprise. Surprise.

So tell Osama and Ayman this the next time you’re chatting about the weather in the mountains this summer.

The hell with a truce.

When your enemy is down flat on his back, with your foot on his throat as his eyes bulge, allow him a moment to gasp out a plea for mercy as he swears he will lay down his arms and “negotiate.”

Then remember one day in September when innocent men, women and children found to their horror the airplanes they were on had become lethal missiles that fanatics were employing to send thousands of their fellow citizens to their deaths.

Think about the people in the Towers who faced the impossible choice of being burned alive or jumping to their deaths and chose to fall and the sickening sound their bodies made as they hit the ground like bags of wet sand.

The Falling Man

The Falling Man

Remember those passengers on Flight 93 that knew they were probably going to die, but chose to fight back rather than meekly submit to their tormentors.

Recall how you felt that night after that morning was done.

Then don’t press down on his windpipe. Stomp on it.

When you have a snake trapped under your foot, you don’t negotiate with it. You kill it.

No truce. No negotiation. No betrayal. No mercy.

Not with Al-Qaeda. Not ever.

The Neutering of Michael Steele (to be continued…)

H.N.I.C.

“I’m very introspective about things. I’m a cause-and-effect kind of guy. So if I do something, there’s a reason for it… It may look like a mistake, a gaffe. There is a rationale, there is a logic behind it. I want to see what the landscape looks like. I want to see who yells the loudest. I want to know who says they’re with me but really isn’t.”

~ Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele

Michael Steele loves the sound of his own voice.  Since taking over as chairman of the Republican National Committee, Steele has issued proclamations, postured for the cameras and proudly proclaimed himself as the leader of the Republican Party.

For what that’s worth.

Apparently, not too much.  A recent Gallup poll revealed most Republicans believe the “leader” of the party is Rush Limbaugh.

The question was put to national respondents, “Who do you think is the main person who speaks for the Republican Party today?”

Limbaugh grabbed 13% of the vote, followed by Dick Cheney (10%),  John McCain and Newt Gingrich tied (6%).

Steele came in at a whopping two percent along with fellow bottom feeders House Republican leader John “the Boner” Boehner and Williard “Mitt’ Romney.

That means the self-described leader of the Grand Old Party comes in far behind a corpulent, Oxycontin addicted talk show host,  an ex vice-president who misled the country into war against Iraq, a failed presidential candidate and a guy named after an aquatic salamander.

“Pass those chicken wings over here!”

Steele when given the news probably jumped up, broke into the Electric Slide screaming, “Sarah Palin didn’t even place.  Woo-hoo! Suck on that Sarah!”

If one of Steele’s stated goals is to make the Republican Party the supposed “big tent” that is open and inclusive of all races and creeds, now would be a good time for the erstwhile “leader” of the party to speak up and denounce the recent acts of bad taste and racism directed at President Obama and the First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Instead there’s only been stony silence.   Steele has said nothing about the recent rash of Republicans Behaving Racist against the Obamas.   Steele has spent his time whacking ABC for not accepting RNC ads during a planned news program broadcast on the president’s health care plans.

Douglas MacKinnon, the press secretary for former Senator Bob Dole wrote a column for the NY Daily News asking why the Republican “leaders” won’t stand up and confront the bigots in the party.

Two blatant and mind-numbing acts of racism by Republicans were just reported in the news — and unfortunately and unwisely, GOP “leadership” has chosen to remain silent. Why?

The first involved a former election commission chairman from South Carolina who, upon hearing a gorilla had escaped from the local zoo, posted on his Facebook site, “I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors — probably harmless.” The second involved the executive assistant to a Republican state senator in Tennessee who circulated a photo of all 44 presidents, with the picture of President Obama being an all black rectangle with two white eyes.

You would think, that as the complexion of America continues to change and as the GOP has discovered a desperate need to reach out to minorities, that at least some of those who purport to speak for the party might look upon these disreputable acts as a way to sincerely reach out to the black and minority communities. Sadly, that does not seem to be the case.

Even with the appointment of Michael Steele as the first black chairman of the Republican National Committee, the party is far from connecting with black and minority communities. Beyond that, some GOP leaders seem to be looking for every chance to undermine Steele’s efforts to create a more relevant and diverse party.

The recent racist flare ups could have been a turning point.

Regardless of whether they intend to run for the White House or not in 2012, the likes of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Romney and any other “leader” of the GOP, should step in front of a microphone immediately and offer a sincere and deserved apology to Michelle and Barack Obama on behalf of the GOP — and let them and minorities across America know that not only do vile people who make such jokes not speak for the party, but they are not welcome in the party.

Palin asked for an apology from David Letterman for a joke that she said was an attack on women everywhere. He delivered it. Given these recent brazen offenses toward blacks, the GOP could learn from Letterman’s contrition.

Speak up, GOP leaders — and recognize this as a chance to do and say the right thing. If not, your silence will be analyzed and ultimately interpreted. link

Meet the same Boss.  Same as the old Boss.

Meet the same Boss. Same as the old Boss.

If David Letterman can apologize multiple times for bad jokes about The Palins, Michael Steele, who normally never turns down a chance to run off at the  mouth, should apologize to the President and First Lady for Republican racism.

Maybe he would.   If the real bosses of the RNC (Rush, Newt, Cheney) would let him.

As Elton John said, it’s a sad, sad situation and it’s getting more and more absurd.

G.O.P. stands for Good Old Prejudice.

Okay, Michael Steele.  Defend this!

Okay, Michael Steele. Defend this!

The Republican Party may not have a clear leader, but they still have some core beliefs and one of them is it’s fun to be racist.

A Republican activist and former South Carolina state senate candidate Rusty DePass made a comment/wisecrack after learning a gorilla had escaped from the Riverbanks Zoo:

“I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors – probably harmless.”

Classy, smart and all woman.  Just not in South Carolina.

Classy, smart and all woman. Just not in South Carolina.

DePass later apologized saying, “I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest.”

link

In Tennessee, Sherri Goforth, the executive assistant for Republican state senator Diane Black e-mailed the photo at the top to other legislative aides.

Christian Grantham of Nashvilleistalking.com interviewed Goforth.

I spoke with Sherri Goforth minutes ago to confirm she sent this email. She confirmed she had sent it and also said she had received a letter of reprimand from her superiors but said she will stay on the job.

When I asked her if she understood the controversial nature of the photo, Goforth would only say she felt very bad about accidentally sending it to the wrong list. When I gave her a second chance to address the controversial nature of the email, she again repeated that she only felt bad about sending it to the wrong list of people.

“I went on the wrong email and I inadvertently hit the wrong button,” Goforth told NIT. “I’m very sick about it, and it’s one of those things I can’t change or take back.”

link

Senator Black issued a statement that the cartoon “does not reflect my views” and that Goforth was reprimanded verbally and in writing, but no further action would be forthcoming.

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said, “I am calling on Sen. Black to reject this racist smear and fire this staffer who, on state government time, on state government computers, using a state government email account, launched this bigoted attack on our president.”

Goforth and Senator Black are both White.

Another day, another weak, half-assed Republican “apology.”

You have to wonder how long the Republicans can pull this kind of racist crap, but then you realize this is a political party that is made up of primarily Southern Whites who are hostile to Black people and it becomes very obvious, they’re going to keep it up every day Barack and Michelle Obama are in the White House.

Will playing Richard Pryor save Eddie Murphy’s career?

Who swiped Murphys mojo?

Who swiped Murphy's mojo?

It’s hard to remember now, but there was a time when a new Eddie Murphy movie was a reason to get’cher popcorn ready.

Hey man, Eddie’s got a new movie comin’ out.  We got to see that bad boy on Day One!

Not so much now.  A Eddie Murphy movie is a excuse to dump the kids off something that’s bland, safe and innocuous.   Mr. Murphy has mastered the not-so-fine art of PG comedies that provide a few scattered laughs and disappear from the memory like yesterday’s meatloaf.

Reggie Hammond and Axel Foley were trampled underneath the weight of a nutty professor, Dr. Doolittle,  day camp daddies, donkeys and a whole lot of fat suits.

Murphy admits he’s not the wild man he once was.  The tiger has been tamed, the F-bombs rarely are dropped on-screen more and cranking out kid-friendly fodder is something he’s comfortable with.

“I’m such a square, but I’m supposed to be. I’m 48, and you’re supposed to be the square. I mean being a 48-year-old rebel is not cool. The one thing that’s remained consistent is my sense of humor, which has always been unique. But, I’m older than I was and I could never give off whatever I used to give off when, you know, I had on a red leather suit on stage talking shit. I’ll never be that guy again. But, at the same time, I’ve never stopped being that person. It’s just that I’m an adult now.”

“I’m just trying to do all different types of things. I don’t feel like I’ve made a transition to more family stuff. I feel like I’ve always, from the beginning, just done different types of things. I jumped over cars and shot my gun, and I cursed, and I did all kinds of stuff. But, I like that my kids and families can go see some of my movies too. Would I ever do action comedy or play a cop? Of course, but does it have to be Beverly Hills Cop 4? Not necessarily.” link

Murphy isn’t the first formerly actor with a ballsy persona that traded it in for the comfort zone of safe, dull roles and even safer, duller movies and he won’t be the last.   Maybe he’s right about 48-year-old rebels being something of an oxymoron, but does that mean he won’t try anything ever again that isn’t predictable as hell?

Looking at what Murphy’s got in the pipeline, the answer would seem to be “no.”

Among Murphy’s next three confirmed projects are The Incredible Shrinking Man and Shrek Forever After (which are both self-explanatory) and something called “A Thousand Words” about a man who is told he can utter 1,000 words before he dies.

Sounds hilarious.

As for Axel Fucking Foley, there is something called Beverly Hills Cop IV which if you get a lobotomy and forget the last two sequels might even be good.  I’m sure all the Judge Reinhold fans out there (both of ’em) will be very excited.

There’s also a remake of Fantasy Island with The Artist Formerly Known as  Mr. Fuck You Man threatened.  Kill me now.

Remember the brother who made Delirious and 48 hrs and was so edgy and funny and promising Siskel and Ebert devoted a show giving him career advice?   That Eddie Murphy would kick this Eddie Murphy’s ass for going softer than a ice cream cone in the Sahara.

It wasnt all that funny when Eddie met Richard on-screen, but it could be the key to saving Murphy from kiddie flicks.

It wasn't all that funny when Eddie met Richard on-screen, but it could be the key to saving Murphy from kiddie flicks.

Who among us though wouldn’t be a sell-out for big money?  What else could possibly explain cinematic shitstorms like Daddy Day Care, Meet Dave, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy,  or Norbit.

Eddie Murphy simply doesn’t matter any more.  He’s not on a losing streak of crap movies.  He is a crap actor who makes crap movies.

And that’s a damn shame because Murphy is one of the most naturally charismatic actors ever to step before a camera.    But if he doesn’t seem to care about what type of movies he makes, why the hell should I?

There are no good movies in Mr. Murphy’s future unless his Richard Pryor bio comes to fruition.   The bio-pic would reteam Murphy with Bill Condon, the director of Dreamgirls.   He was considered a slam dunk for a Best Supporting Actor award but lost it to Alan Arkin after Norbit killed off every ounce of the good will for Murphy’s first Academy Award bid.

Could Murphy play Pryor?  I say yes, even though their collaboration, Harlem Nights was a messy, but well-meaning misfire.  Though Murphy’s career arc has landed him squarely in Bill Cosby territory, his roots are in the slightly unhinged and far more controversial world of Richard Pryor.

I never could buy even a bulked-up Will Smith as Muhammad Ali.   I would totally be there for Murphy as Pryor.  There isn’t a physical resemblance between the two comedians, but down in the soul and essence of Pryor, nobody is more qualified to tap into it than Murphy.

For the chance of a return to the Eddie Murphy that was such a bad mutha I’d almost be willing to forgive a Fantasy Island remake.

Almost.