Madea’s Big Dumb Publicity Stunt

madea benjamin

“Listen to me! I am a well-meaning idiot and have many important things to say and I must say them at the top of my lungs!”

Wherever the president goes the sideshow follows.   Vendors set up tables to hawk their t-shirts and buttons.  The press descends on the place hoping for a juicy quote, an off-guard mistake and even to cover what he says.  If it’s a public event, people make plans to come hear and see the president in hopes they might get close enough to snap a picture and maybe even shake his hand if he ventures near the crowd.

Other folks get excited too.  These are the professional protestors whose calling in life is appearing where politicians, CEO, celebrities and other famous people can be found so they can yell loudly, wave banners, and call undue attention to themselves.  President Obama has faced his share of heckling coming from this critics on the Right, but he gets it in the ear from what passes as the lunatic fringe of the Left too.  During his national security speech on Thursday, Obama came face-to-face with one Madea Benjamin,  a founder of the anti-war activist group Code Pink  interrupted the president several times before she was hustled out of the building.

Toward the end of Obama’s address, a woman identified in the White House pool report as Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of the anti-war organization Code Pink, implored the president to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and otherwise criticized his foreign policy.

Through three separate episodes, the president traded words with the woman, asking her to let him finish and succeeding — at least momentarily — twice.

“Why don’t you sit down, and I will tell you exactly what I’m going to do,” Obama said, ending their first exchange. “Thank you, ma’am.”

But soon, Benjamin was back, apparently not happy with Obama’s comments about sending detainees to other countries, pleading with him to “release them today.” She was again quieted, and Obama even acknowledged her opinion was valid.

“Okay, Madea. I’m convinced. I’ll release the prisoners at Gitmo and lock your ass up instead.”

Tickled pink (Sorry. Couldn’t resist) Benjamin rushed to celebrate her little stunt plastering the web with a series of self-congratulatory stories, including “Medea Benjamin Calls President to Account”  By Medea Benjamin if there was any question who deserved the credit.

Like most zealots, Benjamin believes completely in the righteousness of her mission and is repulsively self-righteous in how obnoxious she is in shoving it in everyone’s face.

While I have received a deluge of support, there are others, including journalists, who have called me “rude.” But terrorizing villages with Hellfire missiles that vaporize innocent people is rude. Violating the sovereignty of nations like Pakistan is rude. Keeping 86 prisoners in Guantanamo long after they have been cleared for release is rude. Shoving feeding tubes down prisoners’ throats instead of giving them justice is certainly rude.

At one point during his speech, President Obama said that the deaths of innocent people from the drone attacks will haunt him as long as he lives. But he is still unwilling to acknowledge those deaths, apologize to the families, or compensate them. In Afghanistan, the US military has a policy of compensating the families of victims who they killed or wounded by mistake. It is not always done, and many families refuse to take the money, but at least it represents some accounting for taking the lives of innocent people. Why can’t the President set up a similar policy when drone strikes are used in countries with which we are not at war?

Benjamin makes some valid arguments, but can’t she find a way to make them without screeching like a cat with it’s nuts snagged on a fence?  Yelling at the president isn’t speaking truth to power.  It’s only publicly making an ass of yourself like getting drunk and urinating in public.

Madea’s Big Happy Protest Parties are all-purpose.   Here she is fighting for her right to dance at the Jefferson Memorial.  Why does anyone want to dance at the Jefferson Memorial?    Aren’t there all sorts of clubs, ballrooms, country bars and living rooms for that sort of thing?   Of course there is, but the right of the people to shuffle around  like zombies with tired feet shall not be abridged by a capitalist running dog lackey.

I grew up with Martin Luther King and the Freedom Riders marching for their civil rights and catching hell.  I was around in 1968 when college students took to the streets to protest the Vietnam War and drive Tricky Dick Nixon insane.   I saw the Black Panthers strut  around in public with loaded rifles daring the cops to start something.   You think I’m impressed by some ditz in pink flitting around like the world’s oldest fairy princess acting like a diva because she can’t twitch like a spastic at a national monument?    Is this what passes for the Left in this country has been reduced to?    Protest cabaret?

Welcome to the full-time malcotent.  George Bush had Cindy Sheehan (and a guy who tossed a shoe at him) and Obama has Madea’s Big Dumb Publicity Stunt, but while  this isn’t a Tyler Perry production it is another bad comedy.   This woman is a dunce who is impossible to take seriously and her clown act only serves to lessen the chance her causes will be taken seriously either.

Protestin’ ain’t easy.  At least not the way dummies like Mad Madea do it.   She doesn’t just give activism a bad name.   She makes it a bad joke.   Madea may actually be sincere in her beliefs, but the way she chooses to express them to the world is by acting out like a spoiled brat thrashing around on the dirty floor of a Wal-Mart embarrassing themselves.

"But..but I don't WANT to go to Gitmo."

“But..but I don’t WANT to go to Gitmo.”

Madea’s Big Unhappy Beef With Spike Lee.

Should a good Christian crossdresser be telling someone to "go to hell?"

Filed under the category of “Why you bringin’ up old stuff?”  Tyler Perry took advantage of a press conference for his latest magnum opus, Madea’s Big Happy Family to resurrect a two-year-old beef with Spike Lee over comments Lee had made about Perry’s films being full of  “coonery and buffoonery.”  Which they are, but that’s beside the point.  Here’s what Tyler’s point was in response to a question about his least favorite tormentor:

“I’m so sick of hearing about damn Spike Lee. Spike can go straight to hell! You can print that. I am sick of him talking about me, I am sick of him saying, ‘this is a coon, this is a buffoon.’ I am sick of him talking about black people going to see movies. This is what he said: ‘you vote by what you see,’ as if black people don’t know what they want to see.” I am sick of him – he talked about Whoopi, he talked about Oprah, he talked about me, he talked about Clint Eastwood. Spike needs to shut the hell up!”

“I’ve never seen Jewish people attack Seinfeld and say ‘this is a stereotype,’ I’ve never seen Italian people attack The Sopranos, I’ve never seen Jewish people complaining about Mrs. Doubtfire or Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie. I never saw it. It’s always black people, and this is something that I cannot undo. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois went through the exact same thing; Langston Hughes said that Zora Neale Hurston, the woman who wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God, was a new version of the ‘darkie’ because she spoke in a southern dialect and a Southern tone. And I’m sick of it from us; we don’t have to worry about anybody else trying to destroy us and take shots because we do it to ourselves.”

What, this mess again?   Tyler, didn’t you get this out of your system when you went on 60 Minutes and tried to tear Spike a new one?   Let it go, bro!   If he needs to shut the hell up, you need to get over yourself. 

Isn’t  it bad enough the guy who dresses up as a 300-lb drag queen just equated himself with Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Huges and Zora Neale Hurston, (never mind Tony Soprano, Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman)?

It’s an established fact I do not like Tyler Perry movies. I don’t like Adam Sandler and Twilight movies either, but I would never think of imposing my tastes upon anyone that does. 

I do like Spike Lee movies, but not every Spike Lee joint is a good one.  Malcolm X, Jungle Fever, Get On the Bus, Do the Right Thing and School Daze are.  Girl 6, Crooklyn, ‘Mo Better Blues, Miracle at St. Anna and Summer of Sam are not.  Bamboozled is mostly bad slightly redeemed by moments of piercing insight.  Clockers is underrated.  Inside Man proved Lee could make a solid, if routine, bit of Hollywood entertainment.  Some of his documentaries like 4 Little Girls are brilliant.  She Hate Me is one of the worst films a critically acclaimed director has ever made.

Spike has made his share of lousy movies.  Has Tyler made any that wasn’t? 

Spike should be confident enough to know his body of work blows away everything in catalog of Tyler’s eye-rolling, Negro foolishness.   Tyler should be swaggering in the fact he’s the only Black director in the business with enough juice he doesn’t have to go begging to the studios for a buck before he can make a movie.  Spike hasn’t made a good movie in years, but Tyler’s still looking to make his first one.

Spike needs to get his groove back.  Tyler has the bigger problem. He needs to find one.

“For Colored Girls:” Tyler Perry’s Bid for R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Perfect, unblemished skin courtesy of Photo Shop.

I am a Tyler Perry virgin.   My eyes and ears have never been defiled by a Tyler Perry flick.  I have not seen Madea’s Goes to Jail, Why Did I Get Married, Meet the Browns, Madea’s Family Reunion and I won’t be seeing Madea’s Big Happy Family when it’s served up like so much fried chicken for Perry’s legion of loyal fans.

When I read Perry was directing the film adaptation of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide (When the Rainbow is Enuf),” that was a palm slap to the head moment.   I’m guessing when Perry signed on as an executive producer for Precious and saw the accolades that were showered on director Lee Daniels, he must have decided, “Hey, I’d like some of that too!”

Perry’s movies are small and cheaply made money makers, but they are critically reviled for the poor writing, direction and broadly-played and stereotypical acting.   What’s a multi-millionaire who sits upon his own entertainment enterprise to do?   Go out and buy a property that has proven difficult to adapt and try to make a “serious film” in a bid for some critical love.

Character posters for the newly titled shortened “For Colored Girls…” (well, at least it’s not “Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls”) to be released on November 5.  No trailer yet, but are you not entertained?

Or are you terrified of what kind of Negro foolishness the director of Madea Goes to Jail might impose upon Ntozake Shange’s 1975 play?   I know I am.  As a play, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide (When the Rainbow is Enuf)” was a fiercely feminist work about sex, rape, abortion and other subjects foreign to the typically sweet and sappy crap Perry usually serves up.

Perry usually casts his films with established actors paired with rappers, singers and athletes taking time out from their day jobs.  For Colored Girls is no different with Whoopi Goldberg, Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton, and Kimberly Elise duking it out with Janet Jackson and Macy Gray for screen time.  Mariah Carey dropped out of the production to be replaced by Newton which counts as an upgrade.

Now this is an odd couple if ever there was.

As I have said before,  I have nothing against Perry making movies for a specific audience that enjoys his work.  That audience just doesn’t include me same as the appetite for Woody Allen’s self-indulgent sludge is lost on me.  Based on his résumé,  Perry seems like the wrong guy for this kind of material. This is like the guy who drops the fries at Wendy’s trying to prepare a five-course meal of French cuisine.  My fears seem to be coming true that Perry would blunt the edge of For Colored Girls by making it commercial and safe, two things Shange’s original play was not.

If there’s a saving grace to this projects its Shange’s involvement as the screenwriter.

Some people say movie reviews don’t influence their decision whether to see a film.  However, when you have a director such as Perry who’s made his mark making homey, simplistic and corny comedies and melodramatic morality plays trying to serve up some serious Oscar-worthy bait, it’s best to be skeptical whether or not he can pull it off.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d be happy to be wrong and blown away by Perry’s bid to become an first-tier director.   The fact that he’s immediately slipping back into Madea’s padded bra after For Colored Girls indicates to me Perry isn’t going to stray far from what it was that put money in his pocket in the first place.