The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Mother Lode

Got a meeting at 8am with the Assassin’s Creed people at Ubisoft. Notes on my book “The Invisible Imam”—apparently they liked it. Good. Man, I wrote it in 3 months while I was moving, and simultaneously driving back and forth to Moonview a couple of times a week (a 4-hour round trip minimum). MAN was that stressful. Stress is currently diminishing…
There is definitely an apparent reduction in the amount of sleep I need. I’m going to be very, very cautious about this—sleep is what protects my body from illness. As long as I get my 8 hours, I never even catch a cold. Needless to say, Jason has put a crimp in that…
Readers implied that it was a double standard to hold Don Imus to a higher standard than rappers in general, in terms of language. Well…I don’t really think he is being held to such a standard, although I can see why one might think so. Consider:
1) Imus is a major media personality. The “reconciliation” meeting with the Rutgers team took place at the governor’s mansion, for goodness sakes! Bigger targets are more visible, easier to hit. That’s not a double standard—just a fact of perception. A black DJ at Imus’ level of fame making the exact same comment would indeed have been in trouble. As much? Probably not. But then…

2) Bobbe talked about my “all in the family” comment. And noted that in his orphanage, people called each other "Nigga" with impunity. Yes. BECAUSE YOU KNEW EACH OTHER. Because you were family—with a bond that went beyond race. But you know something? I bet anything that if a new guy showed up, if HE immediately fell into an insulting verbal pattern, there was more tension than there was once you got to know him.

3) Inter-group violence (verbal or otherwise) is always treated differently than intra-group violence. And so far as I know, this is a universal. It was notoriously true that two black men stabbing each other got one level of attention from cops—while a black man stabbing a white man was punished more severely. And a white man stabbing a black man was punished less severely. If I’m not mistaken, to this day if one does a comparative analysis of the arrest, conviction and incarceration rates, there is still a difference in the way violence WITHIN groups is treated as opposed to that BETWEEN groups. Note that during riots, the police react differently if the rioters leave “their own” neighborhoods. When people wonder why black rioters mostly burn their own neighborhoods, the simplest answer is that if they burned white neighborhoods they’d be shot. Therefore the explosion of violence attacks those things symbolic of their rage within reach: businesses in buildings owned by whites, but in the black community. Toxic, yes…but roughly analogous to damaging one’s own body by cutting or morbid obesity in reaction to sexual or emotional abuse.

4) It isn’t completely valid to say that rappers are getting a bye. Yes, it looks like it, but look again, sorting for “inter-racial” as opposed to “intra-racial.” How long has it been since you heard much rap music that was angry with or proposed violence toward white people? Does anyone out there remember where rap started? Grand Master Flash, anyone? Political rap? All gone. Market forces, managers pushing it off the radio, harassed and arrested rappers…you’d better not kid yourself that when black rappers spoke politics of anger toward white people, they were shut up damned fast. Bought off. Arrested and harassed. Both carrot and stick were applied, to the point that Ice Cube, Ice T and Snoop Dogg are all pretty much broken into media tools. (Geeze—I still can’t believe Ice Cube making family comedies! How bizarre is THAT??) At any rate, does anyone think that black men aren’t angry with whites? Where is it? This is all very very understandable, if you ask the question: "how does this fit into common, universal human behaviors?"

5) Imus misused his terminology. In general, when rappers say “ho’s” they are specifically referring to the women with whom they have sexual relations, or those who wish to have them with the rappers (gyrating in music videos, etc.) THIS IS STILL LOATHSOME. We’re not talking about what is “good,” in a moral sense. We’re saying that it is their word for women who are sexually available, or want to “jump on their jocks” to be close to the money. No, rappers don’t refer to all black women this way. There is definitely some Madonna-Whore action going on: they almost universally revere their mothers. When Imus used the term “Nappy headed Ho” was he referring to these women’s sexual availability? Based on what? Women’s basketball players have never, to my knowledge, been accused of being overtly or inappropriately sexual as a group. In fact, the stereotype is exactly the opposite: that they are disproportionately not interested in men at all, if you know what I mean. They were college girls who like basketball, not sexual targets or predators. The very definition of "good girls." Rappers would want their sisters and cousins to be like this. If rappers use this term to denote behavior, the term “Ho” means “Whore.” But what exactly did Imus mean? If he was not referring to behavior, I suggest that he was treating the term “Ho” as if it meant “Black woman.” Adding “Nappy Headed” just hammered his point home. Remember that the same words have different meanings to different people. I cannot read Imus’ mind, so I can’t say for certain what he thought those words meant. But if you can’t see how it is REASONABLE for someone to believe that he was simply using a derogatory term for ALL black women, not just those who are sexually available (again, this is terribly sexist, and in no way am I excusing rappers on this count—see my previous postings for evidence of this) then I think you are closing your eyes to some basic truths of human nature: what is said or done INSIDE the house to and between family members is NOT treated the same as what comes from OUTSIDE the house toward those same brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. All people behave this way, so far as I can see. The reactions might be more or less severe, but they are always different.
On to other subjects! It hit me hard last night that I.F. frees up AT LEAST three hours a week in meal times, for the average person. Welll…wow. That makes me want to use the “Golden Hour” approach.
We could call this the “Lifewriting Diet” or the “Enlightenment Diet” (that last is mostly kidding.) In the three hours you save each week, you have a minimum of three "Golden Hour" sessions in which you could do:
1) 15-30 minutes of exercise (yoga, FlowFit, kettlebells, Tibetans, etc.)
2) 15-30 minutes of meditation (Heartbeat, spiritual Autolysis, Core transformation, Chakra etc.)
3) 15-30 minutes of planning and goal setting. (Lifewriting, Timeline, etc.)

You know what? If you concentrated on getting more and more out of each of these three arenas, you could make very serious progress in only three hours a week, thereby completely trashing many of the excuses you’ve used for not taking care of yourself.
I mean, here we have an approach to personal development that simultaneously opens the door to body, mind and spirit—by investing the saved time in personal development.
By controlling your physical appetites, I submit that you are knocking on the door of adulthood. Note that children allow their emotions to control their hungers completely. Learning to control, or separate yourself from physical appetite demands control, discipline, clarity. Those voices are LOUD.
But note that since Ketosis doesn’t set in for 48 hours, you aren’t really hurting yourself at all. To the contrary, the list of positive benefits for I.F. is astounding—including health, fitness, fat loss, life extension, energy, sex drive, mental clarity, saved time (and money!)
Could I bribe you to spend some time working on your true self, if I offered these things in return? What would it take to run out of excuses, and be ready to engage with your existence on a deep level? What would you accomplish if your map of reality was more accurate? That calibration is available to anyone who takes responsibility for their mind, body, and spirit as they manifest in the material world.
There it is. My mind is kinda blown. The whole nutshell: health, happiness, energy, sanity, love, success. In a single practice. Man, I think we may have hit the mother lode.


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