Bill Cosby Scandal. His Defenders Have A Point?

In regards to allegations surrounding Bill Cosby, something is fundamentally wrong if the only positions valued are ones that advocate on behalf of the accusers. It now seems taboo to suggest Bill Cosby might be innocent. Responses to such suggestions have included personal attacks, character assassinations, charges of sexism, and declared assumptions that thinkers are hooked to Bill Cosby’s celebrity contributions. Frankly, I find such attempts at psychologically decoding discourse participants to reflective of a hostility towards critical interrogations, opinion diversity, and argumentative logic where facts should be weighted alongside gut-feelings.

What seems dominant is a paradigm of bandwagon activism that valorizes emotions. Seas of emotions have gathered, not to discover facts and motives, but to share moods, trade anger, and declare resentment to opposition and critical questions. This development is reminiscent of McCarthyism: if you are not with us, you are against us—your views make you dangerous and you should be eliminated with whatever means necessary.

Such McCarthyist crusaders forgot that communism was merely trying to find a sociology of advancement as violent religion, capitalism, and plutocratic structures continue to do. Exploring theoretical questions of political and governmental structures was necessary. Nevertheless, politicians overlooked that necessity and branded a whole ideology and its practitioners as political violence. However, the reality ignored the fact that the political violence was largely Russia’s and America’s, both of whom wanted to colonize the globe. To this day, not enough people are admitting that branches of Marxist ideology enabled the rise of civil rights, queer, nationalist, anti-imperialist, and feminist movements. One need not champion the diverse tenets of Marxist, which is indeed imbued with major flaws, to accept its contribution to ideological developments. Today, what the average person will tell you of Marxism is simple: it wants to control people.

So much for knowledge!

In the same way, this sort of McCarthyist paradigm is resolving the controversy involving Bill Cosby. Persons who avoid the emotional-driven bandwagon are vilified by others acting as psychiatrists. This medical set seeks not to address questions, but to decode personalities of persons contributing to discourse. So, since psychological decoding is in process, I too will mimic its operation and share a view:

As I see it, many people who resent opinion diversity and logical argumentation acquire a sense of moral pride with their emotion-activism. Wrapped up in historical guilt—men raped women and made them fearfully silent victims—many of these people think and speak without clarity. With a load upon their brains—guilt—they seek to unburden themselves. For many of them, it isn’t about justice. It’s about them: their guilt; their inner antagonisms; their need to feel inducted into some effort or viewpoint seems just.


I guess, “just” because its ways are loud and angry—just mob justice.

Whether or not Bill Cosby is guilty, it is clear he has become a victim of a culture resolving its guilt. If I’m wrong, why is it inappropriate for anyone to argue that we should remember Bill might be innocent? Without a court decision, why have TV networks pulled the plug on Bill’s productions? I’m not saying they shouldn’t have; I’m just highlighting my point that cultural guilt is giving the women a media platform while it denies it to Bill, though the evidence haven’t been analyzed.

The expertise of our media has been the courthouse. With the little controlled evidences it produces to keep us talking, to keep its profit, to recruit our anger, and to harness our guilt, it has been able to make us (myself included) jurors and medical professionals.

So let me continue my psychiatrict analysis of society—trying to release its guilt, our culture rehearses the manifestos of gender violence as a precursor to presenting the accusers’ viewpoint. That precursor forces an audience to expect the women to produce nothing more than their accusations. But what about the view of the other side? Are these women operating with secret motives? is a reasonable question. Why are their testimonies so shaky? Why do they appear uncertain of what they remember?

Laden with the weight of history’s guilt that gives cultural spokespersons moods that decapitate argumentative capabilities, they hastily argue that such questions are dangerous. The claim, therefore, is that such questions could never produce any sort of evidence that sheds light on the issue at hand. Such questions, they argue attack victims. But who are the victims, we might ask. The victims are the women, their statements make clear, the victimizer is Bill Cosby.

Where is the evidence? we then ask.

Many women have come forward, they reply, Women in the past were afraid to come forward.

That is the evidence.

That there is a closure on and hostility toward evidence gathering, how could we ignore the role of culture’s burden to resolve history’s guilt and emotions as dominating the cultural psyche? Indeed, there is a place for emotion in every facet of argumentation. In the Bill Cosby context, it should certainly be relevant. My contention, however, is that there is something worrying when emotions and gut-feelings are situated as the ultimate and most critically needed to resolve questions of guilt and innocence.

Posted in Politics Education, Race Matters

Return to the Gym

I have been attending the gym only once a week these days. It worried me a bit but not enough because my body isn’t looking like a cane truck yet. But a friend visited me on Sunday and started playing music from his phone. Hearing his sound tracks, I remembered the power of music and the days I used to live in the club, dancing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We used to open and close the dance floor. We, Monster Man and others, were the dance floor.

Memory reminded me why I hadn’t been going to the gym often as I used to. My music has not been working properly for the last two months. The headphone I use with my iPod has been making the music sound like echoes. Music is my gym steroid so I’m sure you understand I can’t work out without it.

After my friend left, I bought a headphone that CNET reviewed as one of the best on the market. I should get it today. To ensure all goes well, my friend recommended I stop using my iPod. Use your Samsung S5 phone as your player, he suggested. He then set up the SoundCloud app on my phone and created a dance playlist.

Thrilled, I listened sections of the playlist, but not all of it. I want to experience the full thrill, the fresh thrill, the blood thrill, the nerve thrill, the thoughts thrill, when I hit the gym and hear the beats for the first time.

Gym, I’m on my way with my music and my attitude; I hadn’t abandoned you.

Posted in Life Talk

Scandal — Time To Feature Olivia Popes Uncontrolled By Sex

In Scandal’s Episode 8: Thou Shall Not Forsake Thy Father, Mellie Grant finally lets her hair down and dishonored a marriage that had long ignored her. Meanwhile, Olivia Pope cried crocodile tears on the phone to get her father to attend a restaurant in order that Fitz and Jake would serve vengeance; or justice, perhaps. Scandal’s ending saw Rowan Pope’s violence and power at the restaurant as he revealed to Olivia his awareness of her efforts to capture him. Rowan’s message to Olivia highlights his understanding that Olivia’s actions too often result from her intimate associations. Indeed, we might want to ignore Rowan’s analysis, but I wonder to what extent it applies to most women characters in Scandal.

Olivia’s attitude toward sex and professional business make decoding her character difficult. The show’s first season introduced a savvy strategist with a goal to grow a law empire. Then, Olivia skillfully navigated the blurring lines between profession and intimacy. Now Olivia seems disturbed about what she fundamentally wants. Two members left her law firm. There has been no new hire since. The show features less scenes at Olivia’s work place which used to be a site of political strategizing—a site once important that government surveillance programs prioritized it. At the same time, the show features the president mostly inside the White House, Olivia’s father mostly in his own office, the attorney general mostly at an office. But Olivia is all over place—rarely returning to her own cultivated grounds to analyze what the streets revealed to her.

Obviously, the office—the symbol of law and resourcefulness—no longer grounds Olivia’s character. Olivia seems unstable, always in transit. Even her catwalk that once appeared powerful is now reminiscent of one who is about to fall down. As Olivia’s unstableness spreads like a curtain across the show, she barely has control over the business she built. Of course, she still gets things done, but notice that even her staff members no longer have the same reverence for her. Olivia couldn’t stop Huck from breaking child laws when he had his child in the office without the mother’s knowledge—a very serious offense. Any lawyer with integrity and a career dream would have addressed it. But not Olivia. She has new values. She is no longer in charge of business, because Olivia is busy trying to figure out her sexual desires.

Perhaps the big questions with which viewers no longer contend include—What is the next goal for Olivia’s law firm? Will Olivia’s political power expand? Newer questions would more likely include—What motivates Olivia? What does Olivia Pope really want? Sex from two men? Love (of which one?)? Political Power? Love and admiration of her father? Family?

My own view is that this lack of clarity into Olivia’s personality is deliberately designed. It sweetens the plot. It upsets viewers who usually think they admire empowered characters. The producers have done a good job developing Olivia’s goals as fuzzy. If the show had continued to portray Olivia as fully empowered, her character would have become predictable, uninteresting, and unreal. Viewers would have struggled with zero questions about Olivia’s psychological interior. Having no question-task to complete, Scandal viewers would have disappeared.

It is reasonable to suggest that viewers are also concerned about who seems to be the most formidable person in Scandal at the moment. I would say Rowan Pope. He suffered a temporary fall in the past. But even within that time frame, he waged significant power. What we should expect, given the tradition of film writing is that, Rowan Pope’s power will soon decline. The producers will have to do this if they hope to negotiate the characters’ balance of power.  Aristotle in Poetics suggests that characters must face forces more powerful than themselves in order for them to have opportunities to experience fear, reveal their weaknesses, and gain our empathy as we desire their victory. Characters must also grow so we can celebrate them and believe we too can triumphant similar struggles.

To further balance power, Scandal’s producers would have to reconsider the plot and ensure the woman protagonist remains powerfully visible. If Rowan’s power continues to dominate the show even more so than President Fitz Grant’s, Scandal will become another film site characterized by male-power dominance. Rowan will become the interesting character; not Olivia. Of course, I know the show attempts to portray societal male dominance structures as it is. But I doubt that in our world, an African American waged so much power over any president and America’s White House.

By featuring Rowan as both a power player and an institutional structure, Shonda Rhimes creates an historical imaginary. What is America with an African American who can assassinate even a president if he wishes? We can better imagine that question—one perhaps far from our thoughts before now. And we can do so by accessing the hints Scandals provided us about how the political structure operates in manipulative and disguised ways.

Yet why does Scandal fail to feature a woman with judgment unclouded by sexual desires? I ask even though I admire the thoughtfulness that goes into the show’s production. If the show seeks to represent gender diversity, it is important to not just present women with power; carefulness must also reflect in the contexts that show how women amass and execute power. Rowan has power, but sexual desire isn’t a dominant player in the history of his accomplishments and professional conduct. However, when it comes to women, it’s troubling to note how sexual relationships cripple women’s professional judgments.

In the past, we felt Olivia’s power. The clothes she wore had power. Her runway pumps had power. The sassiness of her tone revealed power. The way she listened and made the last say revealed power. The physical speed she used to break security and enter rooms with her voice revealed power. But Olivia’s power falls within a certain shadow: her weakness to sex—or intimacy, if you chose to call it that.

Certainly, Olivia isn’t the only character facing this natural life experience. Both men and women confront it. But it seems sex histories do not significantly shape the men’s past and professional desires. Fitz is president whether or not Milly loves him. Cyrus Beene continues to operate even though the joy of his life, James Novak, died. And in a second, Cyrus will sever any relationship that threatens his professional life.

On the other hand, look at former Vice President Sally Langston. She lost her mind and her professional composure after responding to her husband’s sexual conduct. To be noted is that even the morally upright Sally lost her way due to an issue that involved sex. We also see Quinn Perkins initially portrayed as an insecure person. Overtime she developed confidence and combat skills. Nevertheless, if we pay close attention, this only happened after she engaged sadomasochism with the mentally deranged Huck who wields power even in his untreated psychotic state.

No doubt, grounding Olivia in the shadows of sex is good business for Scandal. It keeps viewers returning. But given Scandal’s failure to expand the notion of gender diversity and contextualize at least one woman outside of sexual desires, I wonder whether Scandal reinscribes the gender stereotypes it hopes to culturally dismantle.

Posted in Book Review, Race Matters

A Book I Should Put Together

It occurred to me on November 6th that I have focused so much on editing my novel that I hadn’t realized I could put together a non-fiction collection. I have consistently posted stuff on Facebook for at least 7 years; plus I have articles on my blog. I could edit all those posts, write more, and bring into being a book that captures my moving moods, growth, and the queer and race politics I confronted. Published friends on my list who are familiar with my writing, if you can connect me with a publisher for this book, let me know. I wouldn’t want to start working on such a project, given my busy schedule, without knowing it’s heading somewhere.

Posted in Life Talk

Too Fast: Reading fast, Walking Fast, Writing Fast

Posted on Facebook on October 4th:

Lately, I’ve been moving fast. Too fast. Reading fast. Walking fast. Writing fast. Speaking fast. I need to slow down. I have to slow down. I realized I’ve been exploiting the pool of energy I acquired from living healthier over the last months.
My time away from Facebook allowed me to seriously focus on my career. However, this very break has made me narrowly focused. All that concerned me in the last two weeks seemed to be my schoolwork and how to effectively keep up with my busy schedule. I have been successful at both, but at a cost.

Since September when school started, I have not attended the gym consistently. I go once or twice a week. Then I barely work out. As well, I have been eating Popeye’s chicken every night, and fried chicken for lunch every day, things I never used to do. However, I have kept up with my small-portion servings. I have still been having lots of fruits and vegetables. I have not messed with any processed drinks or processed foods aside from fried chicken and tap water and orange juice the other day when I was getting sick. But the fried-food fancy needs to go.

This morning I got up, it was raining outside. I felt lazy. I felt sad. I haven’t felt seriously sad in about two months. I wondered if I needed sex. I wondered if I needed a relationship. Am I lonely? I wondered. I went through my phone to see whom I could call for sex. I have not had sex with anyone since the early part of August. I hadn’t desired it. I put a profile on a website. Getting laid will make me happier, I thought. But soon, it occurred to me that I was hunting to satisfy a personal problem. I was seeking others to provide my life a temporary solution.

I will still leave my profile on the website. Most of us need to get laid now and again. I can’t go wrong if I get lucky. I however decided I wasn’t going to fix my problem with my penis. I diagnosed my problem. I felt lazy and sad, not because I was tired, not because I was mentally overworked. It was because I abandoned my commitment to the gym.

Revelation forced me out of the bed. I went to Starbucks. I sat down. I knew I should go to the gym. I began to make excuses. I told myself I needed to finish schoolwork. Clearly, school work and writing assignments have been eating up my life. Rather than center me, career goals have also been decentering me. I have not been balanced. My life needs fixing. Immediate fixing.

I talked to a woman in the coffee house about traveling, how getting away freshens people’s lives. She told me she went to Alabama and did some crazy things for summer. With the energy she got from there, she returned to New York and started a healthier life. She began to juice fruits and vegetables.

She looks great. But she admitted that she fell off her healthy schedule in the last few weeks. She yearned to get back on track. I saw the characteristics of my own yearnings within her expressed yearnings. This was a moment of revelation. I gathered the inspirations. I declared Saturdays my health day.

On Saturdays, I will remind my body to remember its health commitments for a week. I will use Saturdays to clean my house. A clean house, rid of clutters, influences mood and peacefulness. I will wash my clothes, slowly oil my scalp, meditatively scrub the soles of my feet, take a bath, and massage body sometimes. Saturdays will be the day to shop for health foods, stock up the refrigerator—a day to cook, pack a whole week’s food in containers. Saturdays will be the day that supervises my other days. My Saturday will begin tomorrow, Sunday, and return next Saturday.

My friends, we will be strong. We will take care of ourselves. We won’t allow career desires to murder us. Time out. Time out. Time out so we can clock in healthier habits.

Posted in Life Talk

Response to Joan Rivers’ Death

Response I posted on Facebook on September 5th:

I’ve always been a fan of Joan Rivers, but no longer since weeks ago when she made a cold statement regarding dead Palestinians. Today Joan is the one dead and we aren’t sure if she died trying to fix a problem related to her plastic surgery, a very different death from many besieged Palestinians who died running away to find safe spaces to live.

The practice of celebrating evil people when they die isn’t something I admire. In fact, I think the world is a better place when people like Joan Rivers take the quickest flight to a place where the comforting smell of graveyards would become more of a problem than their potent words.

Human Rights stand a better chance without the power of people like Joan Rivers cheerleading ethnic cleansing and standing as road block in the way of human conscience.

As far as I see it, there is no memory of Joan Rivers without memory of her evil words in the last weeks of her life, words that didn’t care one damn about the many innocent children ripped apart by Israel’s bombs, words that have served as cultural capital in places like America where politicians, lobbies, college presidents, and big corporations flock to support the career and words of people like Joan Rivers.

“You’re dead, you deserve to be dead,” said Joan Rivers of the Palestinians. “Don’t you dare make me feel bad about that… They were told to get out. They didn’t get out. You don’t get out, you are an idiot. At least the ones that were killed were the ones with low IQs.”

Well, you’re dead Joan Rivers. Goodbye! Thank You for taking away your evil sooner than I expected! Good luck!

Posted in Politics Education, Race Matters

Richard Wright’s Racism on African Soil

A response I posted on Facebook on September 7th:

Feeling lazy, but am about to start reading this 200–page book for an African Theory class on Wednesday: “The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge” by V.Y. Mudimbe. The blurb at the back sounds interesting.

Last week, we read Richard Wright’s “Black Power” (1954). Wright’s writing was amazing but racist. It was very clear that Wright, when writing this particular book, came across as sexist, elitist, and he didn’t consider his African brothers and sisters as his equal.

I don’t know enough about Wright’s history or all his books following the publication of this book, so he could have changed. I am only sharing the impressions I formed after reading this book.

In the book, Wright visited Africa in the early 1950s at the invitation of Ghana’s leader Kwame Nkrumah. At the time, there were decolonization agitations across Africa. Countries wanted to free themselves. Ghana’s president mobilized the Ghanaian people to reject English control of Ghana.

Soon as Wright’s ship reached African shores, the tone of Wright’s narration changed. He said the sea became choppy, the sky and sea had no line of separation. Everything became suddenly gloomy, as Wright saw it. Even later when the people gathered at political rallies and shouted “Freedom” in celebration of Kwame Nkrumah being possible president, Wright spelt it as “Freeeee-dooom.”

I don’t believe Wright was trying to emphasize the celebratory tone of the people. I believe Wright was trying to say that Africans were freeing a process of doom (or they are doomed no matter what they do), though he claimed he was there to support the president. I take all of that to be Wright’s way of suggesting that Africa was a cut-off continent, axed from civility.

Noticing the occasions Wright came in contact with polite natives, his own attitude was just disgusting. At one point, he blamed a man for selling him to Americans as slaves. Of course, nobody had sold Richard Wright, who was African American; but that was his way of showing disrespect to fellow black people; his way of holding them in contempt, even though he claimed the purpose of his journey was to empower the black Diaspora.

Throughout the book, Wright treated women, just like many black male writers and leaders of the time: with utter disrespect, arrogance, and act as if women were invisible. Each time he saw a woman, if he didn’t ignore her, he made reference to her nakedness and her breasts. Wright even said that some of the women’s breasts were so long and flat that they could throw the breasts on their shoulders and the baby would suck as they continued to work at whatever they were doing.

For those of us familiar with 15th century literature, we know that Wright was lying. We know that Wright took that observation from the mouths of 14th-16th century English travelers who visited Africa, and to make their travels sound interesting, they used travelogues and lied saying, African women threw their breasts over their shoulders and nursed their babies. This was England’s way of trying to associate the black female body with that of an hard-bodied animal.

Indeed, Wright did admit that flat long breasts revealed African women’s fertility, but he still mocked it openly. They weren’t as long as Wright said. Another point of concerning is Wright’s tone when Africans were dancing at a funeral. It was just uncomfortable for me to see how Wright narrated it. He acted as if he had never seen such a thing in his whole life.

Seriously! How could an educated man who wanted to write about black people, not know that African Americans themselves in the North and South and Afro-Caribbeans had the same ritualistic, revivalist, energy at funerals and wake.

After completing the book, I was convinced that Wright didn’t visit Africa as a black man trying to empower black people. Wright went there because he wanted to be god–the black god among the black underclass.

Ultimately Wright gave the president his advice. He told President Kwame Nkrumah (I don’t remember if he was president at the time, but he was a political leader) to maintain African sovereignty by being suspicious of America, which was promising Ghana assistance. Wright said the only reason America was doing that was because America knew that Russia would stop by and try to befriend Ghana soon.

Remember, it was the era of the Cold War! America and Russia were putting their racism in the background in order to recruit Africans, who wanted to be liberated, for their ideology: capitalism or communism.

Knowing this, Wright also advised the president in his feedback-letter that he should be weary of Russia as well and the doctrine of communism. Even England and America weren’t on very good terms, because England wanted to keep Africa all for itself.

Much of Wright’s advice made sense, but they were grounded in a condescending tone towards Africans on a whole. As I see it, Wright was not speaking as another black man, he was speaking as an all-powerful American, using the lenses of racist, sexist, and xenophobic Americans and Europeans, but acting as if he was liberated.

How could I forget to mention that Wright’s main suggestion to the Ghanaian president was that he must militarized (or something like that) Ghana. Wright didn’t say, war-style militarization. He made it appear as if he was using the word as a metaphor; but it seems to me that Wright was suggesting force was needed to police the mannerism, “civility, past and future of Ghana.

I will keep you updated with the summaries of the books I read for certain classes. By writing, it helps me to remember them better

Posted in Book Review, Race Matters

Slow Down

Had to remind myself this morning to SLOW DOWN, even slow down the speed with which I move to show others I love them.

Posted in Life Talk

Appreciation for Facebook Friends

Hello my Facebook family, I feel compelled to say I appreciate you. Now that I have said it I feel my day will move easier because many of us need to remember that our peaceful presence, our expressed love, and our pauses to acknowledge others are what give our lives fullness, meaning, historical relevance.

There could have been no I, as I am now, without your presence. I say all this because this morning someone decided to get in my way, to tear me down on my strengths. But I kept my inner peace because I remembered my years with many of you. I remembered the many people who came like leeches and departed because they couldn’t comprehend my fire.

They arrived wanting me to operate like a lantern in their darkness. But they couldn’t understand that my light is clean, honest, and full of peace. Neither could they understand that I always walk with the pride of histories tickling my nerve endings, histories of love inscribed by the footprints of genealogical cultural fires. They couldn’t understand that I seek permission from no one to speak. They left.

You stayed. We still judge each other but we have been getting along, affirming each other in works and words. So when that person got in my path this morning, belittling me but saying s/he is reaching out to me privately because s/he cares, I had to return to memories of you.

In my return, I see the many pages of your affirmation of the very thing that person was attacking. Only then was I able to keep my peace and power and love. I ignored the person.

At this moment my mind rests on great things because my conscience is smiling. I’m fortunate, not only to have many of you in my life, but to also be able to remember the history and consistency of your love. Let’s claim our day, shift the tracks from the route of poison.

Posted in Life Talk

Those Bragging About Sleep Deprivation

I admire many of my friends who brag that they barely get 5 hours of rest each night because they are so committed to work, family, and career goals. The way some of them talk about it, it sounds like sleeping less is something we all should strive for. Perhaps it’s time we call for a sleeping less global movement with an international holiday as recognition to ensure more people sleep less.

I am wondering to what extent sleep-deprivation pride emerges from the culture of workplace dialogue. Have small businesses and corporations won the undeclared war over how we should think and talk about our relationship with rest and labor? Why is it more acceptable in social gatherings to brag about sleep deprivation while talk of sleep sufficiency makes persons appear like they have idle time on their hands?

I would like to brag that for most of my life, at least 5 days per week, I sleep for 8 hours each night. That’s how I was raised, a lesson I will not abandon. Sleeping well, I was taught, is a part of living well. Living well, I was taught, is something to feel proud about. Last night was another night that I lived well. Today I am enjoying the benefits: I am smiling without challenges.

Are you living well?

Posted in Life Talk

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