I'm still smellin' crack in my clothes...
"Still smellin' crack in my clothes"? Come on, now! Does Jay-Z really expect me to believe he hasn't bought any new clothes since '88? Pssssh! Anyway, on with the bullshit...
- Ugh: Dad boxes with three year old son because he’s scared the kid is gay… winds up killing him. Good job, you fucking idiot.
- Prayer: A hilariously awesome study about the effects of prayer. Sounds like something out of the onion. Maybe these people just weren’t that good at praying.
- Guess Who’s Bizzack: That Queens-bridge bol with the short temper and best all-around game in the NBA is back on the court. God speed, son. By the way, Draft Express is nuts. If you’re an NBA dork, that place is for you. If you’re a streetball dork, you’re probably all about the EBC classic poppin’ off right now. The fuck is Gilbert Arenas thinking? Oh, and good ol' Larry Brown pulls the same ol' bullshit we've come to expect of the "classy" guy. Fuck him. Best coach in the NBA? Check. Hall of Famer? Check. Piece of shit? Check. Fuck that guy.
- Mashpolitik: Wayne waxes on mashes/mixes/blends. A bit long but some important stuff to think about.
- Lyrics Born: A good article about a rapper I used to really be into but now couldn’t really care less about. Written by Eric Arnold.
- Vinyl Sales Up: Via grand good, 7” record sales are up in the UK.
- Dorks are the New Jocks: So, apparently, dorks are cool. I’d just like to say I pioneered that campaign back when I was coming-up in my school days: I was dorky and got good grades, but everyone still liked me because I had a mean twenty-footer… except girls, of course.
- Ebonics: Sheesh, this only took, what, eight to ten years for people to realize the legitimacy of Ebonics? Hopefully, this will allow Ebonics-speaking kids to transition into Standard English better because, let’s be honest, you need to learn Standard English in this country if you want to be successful. To be sure, Ebonics is just as legitimately a “language” as Standard English is, but which of the following is a more feasible goal: (a) instituting educational programs that will teach our Ebonics-speaking children that, yes, Ebonics is a legitimate language, but not one that is acceptable in the American business world, or (b) convincing non-Ebonics-speaking White America that Ebonics is a legitimate language that needs to be recognized and accepted? I hope more programs like this are instituted across the country, and I hope supremely dumb motherfuckers like Bill Cosby shut the fuck up about it.
- White Lies: I bought Maurice Berger’s “White Lies: Race and the Myth of Whiteness” on a whim yesterday. It’s a memoir-esque, firt-person account of a Jewish kid growing up in the projects on the Lower East Side with a racist mom and a relatively open-minded (but schizophrenic) pops. Some interesting anecdotal insights about race/racism, random quotes of interest, and some interesting facts. It’s good. Stupidly predictable title, though. Still, it’s good.
- Interesting Thoughts about Tobacco: Here’s a really interesting take on smoking and why Corporate America approves of it in the work-place. You could probably sum it up by re-contextualizing the famous Marx quote about religion: “Smoking is the opiate of the masses.” It’s from Wikipedia's tobacco entry ...
For another take on the moral aspects of smoking, see David Krogh's book "Smoking: the Artificial Passion" (Freeman 1992). Freeman documents a strong case for tobacco's uniqueness as a "drug" and accounts for the fact that in the past, many moralists who disapproved of "recreational" drugs approved of tobacco.
Krogh shows how tobacco is not like alcohol or so-called controlled substances including marijuana a recreational drug. He shows how smokers use tobacco to normalize their feelings within the narrow band necessary for functioning within an industrial society, where energy levels have to be carefully rationed according to expectations.
Krogh's analysis is unusual because it explains why workplaces prior to about 1980 actively encouraged smoking through the provision of ashtrays and vending machines and even today, smokers in nonsmoking offices are usually allowed generous breaks far in excess of nonsmokers. Krogh shows how cigarette smoking (unlike alcohol or marijuana, but perhaps like "speed" and "crystal meth") reconciles people to dull jobs by narrowing their physical, and hence psychological responses to fit within an expected range: not so depressed as to be subpar but not overenthusiastic or so angry as to cause fear in fellow employees.
This range is naturalized as normal but in fact all industrialized societies have had to train their lower-level cadres to dampen their response and it appears, given Krogh's narrative sociology, that smoking was morally neutral before about 1980 because it fulfilled this necessary function.
The zenith of smoking's moral approval in America was the Second World War and the postwar era where vast numbers of people had to operate technical apparatus while dampening down feelings of fear and despair which were normal given the facts of the war and subsequent period of "cold" war. But to the extent that since this era, metropolitan and developed countries had (until September 11) almost complete immunity from the immediacy of wartime conditions, smoking has probably fulfilled less of a socially necessary function in metropolitan societies...while in marginalized war zones it continues to enjoy positive approval.
As a narrative sociology, Krogh needs to be taken with a grain of salt. It may be that prior to modern restrictions on tobacco advertising, public relations was able to create the illusion that a harmful activity was morally neutral or even a *mitzvah* (Jewish commandment).