July 30, 2007

I Ain't Sayin' She a Gold Digger.

And now for an excerpt from a song by Kanye West:

Now I aint sayin she a gold digger
But she aint messin wit no broke niggaz

Other excerpts reveal that "she" has four children by another man or men. The narrator lampoons men who love women in spite of public opinion and advises them to insist on prenuptial agreements. Then he advises women to 'stick by the side' of hard working men with "ambition," and "stay right" even though inevitably:

when you get on he leave yo ass for a white girl.


Popular radio bleeps out the word "nigger" when this song is on the air.* Because of this the internet is of course wild with copious commentary on the nature of language and the evils of censorship, including this wonderfully obtuse little footnote:

"deductive arguments are only valid if they are tautologies - useful for eliminating obfuscation or 'unpacking' meanings in complex symbology." Richard Noggin, "the Explainer," at http://fray.slate.com/discuss/forums/thread/14575.aspx (June 2007, Fray.Slate.com).
In my view what's missing from the online dialogue is gender politics. Within the song's rhetoric a single mother who does not "mess with broke niggers" is by definition a 'gold digger' and on the other hand a man who works hard and has ambition deserves the commodity of womanly support until he can trade up for "a white girl." I interpret these lyrics as farcical. An attempt to make human tragedies seem comic. If so, the real target of the lampoon is not the gold-digging woman but the hapless man who falls in love with her.

One response to the gendered warfare described in the lyrics might be that mutual objectification is deserved. (Never mind that a custodial parent has virtually no bargaining power to make a fair contract with the absent parent or potential step-parent.)

Another response might be compassion towards those who are (unfortunately) more comfortable with mutual objectification as a basis for relationships, rather than the partnership model. In that perspective 'gold digger' might be seen as a term of affection, mirroring the recent transformation of the word "nigger" in Caucasian consciousness from taboo to endearing (much to the delight, horror, and fascination of Caucasian America).

Just what is Mr. West attempting to do with this farce? Does he mean to call our attention to the inequities of single parenting? Is he asking us to broaden our minds to encompass nigger/gold digger partnerships as a loving and supportive alternative to traditional marriage? Rubbish. Rather, he is resigned and cynical, urging a continuation of (and winking at) what he thinks are the eternal, never evolving consequences of human sexuality, chanting "get down girl, go 'head get down." Mr. West understands that the listening public is also resigned and cynical, ready to step up and hand over money for confirmation that its feelings of cynicism and victimization are justified.

Do these lyrics make people angry? They do because they use the word "nigger," but so far I haven't seen much debate over Mr. West's less than generous treatment of families and human sexuality. Is that because we're more resigned and cynical about gender issues than we are about race?

* Americans know how to spell "nigger."'Soulful' or trendy pronunciation and spelling merely supply nuance to the meaning of the word, nothing more.

July 24, 2007

One who verbs is an associated noun.*

One who buys is a buyer.
One who sells is a seller.
And most importantly at this moment, companies that sell insurance are insurance companies, with all the rights and duties thereunto appertaining. Except when they aren't.

Mere policing doesn't result in officer status.
But mere selling does result in seller status, licensed or otherwise. Complete with associated fines.

*Scott is a dreamy fount of useful quips.

July 23, 2007

Metaphors on a Monday Morning

I broke a crown. (Much preferred to breaking a tooth!)

I was eating . . . um . . . how d'ya call 'em . . . we ought to have a P.C. word for them because they're so delicious but as far as I know, we don't. (Can anyone assist?) They're the brown, unpopped kernels in the bottom of the popcorn bowl. Wikipedia unabashedly reports the "popcorn industry" refers to them as "old maids" but offers no other term for them, instead linking us right to the article on "spinsters."

I love the English language because of its rich opportunities for metaphor. I broke my crown while trying to crush an old maid, you see.

I don't mind going to the dentist because I have a really good one. :)

July 19, 2007

Maybe she's already awake . . .

I'm at "the office"* today, unsupervised and contemplating the nature of adult responsibility. Is 'adult responsibility' intrinsically good? Shifting via pun to another knowledge domain, is 'adult responsibility' actually just a public good?

A friend of mine has posted an entry about her inner female triumvirate: girl, lawyer, and mommy. She writes of putting the girl within into a coma. My response is sadness. The girl within is a spark of glory! The girl within is the real person. The lawyer and mommy roles are extra limbs grafted on, like Shiva's. Let the girl go! Wake her up so at least she can watch. Life is a grand, sparkly opera.

"The Buddhist tradition teaches the truth of impermanence, or the transitory nature of things. The past is gone and the future has not yet happened, so we work with what is here -- the present situation. This actually helps us not to categorize or theorize. A fresh, living situation is taking place all the time, on the spot. This noncategorical approach comes from being fully here, rather than trying to reconnect with past events. We don't have to look back to the past in order to see what people are made out of. Human beings speak for themselves, on the spot." - Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

* Internet Cafe.

July 16, 2007

Gym. Office. Home.

Today's itinerary: gym, "the office," tour of a possible new apartment, Chez Scott for more "office," then dinner.

My gym has fancy new lockers which will cut down on the line that forms at the front desk - we no longer have to wait for a locker key. I go to a nice gym. It has all the trimmings including a vast, burgundy leather, S-shaped sofa in the locker room, ironing boards and irons, Q-tips, cotton balls, organic hairspray, a dedicated full-time nametagged human being who monitors fullness levels of said supplies, and a special cooling water filter from which to fill one's water bottle. Grabbing my complimentary cup of gourmet coffee and surveying our fancy new panels of convenience and joy, I overheard a nicely-dressed lady not budging in her strong opinion that, since she's "been a member here for 13 years" and was attached to her old locker, she no longer has a use for one. "I won't have one of those" she said to the unfortunate and apologetic nametagged girl who came along to show her how to use her new locker. Looking around at my hurried compatriots, jamming themselves into or peeling themselves out of gym clothes, I noticed them noticing the non-budging lady's comments but not smiling. Rather, they seemed to be looking sidelong at one another in a sly sort of poker-faced silence. Me, I smiled. Just like this: :o)

It isn't so hard.

When I say "office" I generally mean internet cafe, but I might also mean my place or the back lanai at Chez Scott. Anyplace that has power and connectivity. Why? Because I'm a tele-commuter. The price of gasoline being what it is (unknown because I've quit looking at the price when I fill up), I avoid driving to the little office in the little mountain town where my boss works. (Unless the teleportation unit is broken and I have to *gasp* look at the actual file. Praise Jesus for pdf.)

I'm thinking of moving to a new apartment, closer to Chez Scott and less expensive than the bat cave. Much as I love the bat cave, that "less expensive" quality becomes significantly more important the longer I go without finding a Job. Also thinking of finding a gym with fewer trimmings. In Denver these are the options I've found: pay a vast sum for a palatial gym with tons of equipment and amenities, pay a vast sum for a crowded, so-so gym with a medium amount of equipment and no amenities, pay almost nothing for a hot room full of sweaty guys and equipment that smells like rust, or . . . pay almost nothing for an okay gym without the one piece of equipment I vitally need to keep my bulging disk from . . . um . . . bulging. It might be worth to simply buy that piece of equipment, no? Hmm . . .

July 4, 2007

The Price of Freedom

By titling this entry 'the Price of Freedom' I don't mean to invoke weighty thoughts about liberty and death. Only to refer to the title of my previous post, 'Free at Last.'

My temporary job at M.L.U. ended at the end of May, leaving me 'free' throughout the month of June to pursue a Job. The kind that's permanent, salaried, and comes with benefits. More rare than one might suppose for those who are new to the profession. I fall into this popular category: looking for the job that I actually want and flattening my spending to near zero while I wait for the ink to dry on my Bar Exam results. Law firms don't hire people with wet ink. 'Two years of experience' seems to be the standard for strangers.

Grateful though, that my law clerk position has been upgraded to contract attorney. Still in discussion: how much work and for how much money.

In the meantime I am writing a little something about corporate veil-piercing. Good fun. Even get to include a little about reverse veil-piercing, a spicy and delightfully arcane little concept, and I love that.

Also very, very grateful for my beloved fiance', who continuously encourages, supports, lightens, entertains, and feeds me.

On July 4th I am celebrating my freedom with ironic zeal - still not fully employed but reveling in my freedom: hanging out with my man, going for long runs at the gym, reading "Harry Potter" just because I can, and playing W.O.W.