Category Archives: Uncategorized

Uncategorized

Why #ImSoPortland Matters

imsoportland

(Editor’s Note: This post began as an addendum to something I wrote in April about life in Portland as a black person. For more context, or if you’re not intimidated by a 3,000-word post, check it out.)

 


 

 

My social media feed has been blown up with old school nostalgia.

I’m seeing a ton of mostly black Portlanders throwin’ up the #ImSoPortland hashtag and reliving a lot of memories from back in the day. I’m not sure what started it, but a basic search for “#imso” on Twitter showed me hits for Memphis, New Orleans and Chicago, so I know it’s not just a local thing. I’m not sure why now as opposed to any other day, maybe it’s just radio and news stations getting people engaging with a harmless meme on a slow news day. Or, … maybe, like the big bang theory, it just sort of… happened.

Uncategorized

I Loved Everything About 24 Except This

24 LAD 1

DO NOT READ THIS POST UNTIL YOU’VE SEEN THE FINALE EPISODE OF “24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY.”  

SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW.

 


So I’ve been a 24 fan since day one (or rather, “Day One.”). Back in 2001 when it debuted, everything about it was fresh and original. Dennis Haysbert and Penny Johnson Jerald were the original Barack and Michelle. There were all these split-screen action sequences, and this bright yellow clock that kept pounding, pounding, pounding away. There was literally nothing else like it on television.

remember this?
remember this?

 Now, 8 full seasons, one movie, and one 12-hour miniseries later, watching “24″ feels familiar and comfortable, like elephant ears at the county fair. It might not be the most mindblowing or sophisticated taste, but you know what you’re gonna get, and you love it. Explosions, betrayals, terrorists, government intrigue, fleeting romances, computers and communication gadgets galore, car chases… and guns. PLENTY OF GUNS.

And I loved it.

Uncategorized

You Done Messed Up, A-A-Merica

KeyAndPeele substitute teacher

Right now, Christena Cleveland and Keegan-Michael Key are two of my favorite people in the world. Though they operate in different disciplines and run in very different circles, they are both excellent at what they do. And I often find myself highlighting their work on social media.

christena clevelandChristena Cleveland, a social psychologist with a focus on overcoming racial and cultural divisions between groups, blogged recently about a phenomenon she refers to as the white male industrial complex. Adapted from an Emily Rice quote about the “ally industrial complex,” it’s her term for the ways in which Christian social justice work, like everything else in American society, tends to be oriented around the tastes, whims, and emotional climate of white men. (More on this later.)

Keegan-Michael Key is the taller, lighter-skinned half of Key & Peele, the incredibly funny sketch comedy duo on Comedy Central. And his brilliant comedy chops are the key to this, one of their most popular, sidesplitting sketches, entitled “Substitute Teacher.”

Behold…

Uncategorized

Flame & Lecrae sued Katy Perry… Wait, Really?

lecrae flame katy perry

I hate to beat an old comedy trope to death, but in this case, I couldn’t muster any other appropriate response. I just saw the story by Robert Patrick of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Flame, Lecrae and Da TRUTH have filed suit against Katy Perry and Capitol Records for copyright infringement. In a stunning reversal of musical tradition, these Christian emcees are claiming that someone else took their style — specifically alleging that Perry’s 2013 single “Dark Horse” bears a more-than-coincidental resemblance to their 2008 hit “Joyful Noise.”

REALLY?!?

This lawsuit is a ridiculous embarrassment, not only for these emcees specifically, but for all of Christian hip-hop.

Uncategorized

This Song Is What’s Right With America

Gangstagrass 5
(Editor’s Note: with all the talk about the polarizing SCOTUS ruling on Hobby Lobby and birth control, I thought it might be good to talk about something that brings people together.)

 

So I’ve thought a lot about it, and I’ve decided that this song by bluegrass hip-hop band Gangstagrass, is more than just a fun, infectious tune. It is the antonym of the common hyperbolic lament about our fair nation; “All For One” is, for once, what’s right with America.

Read no further before watching and listening:

The only way this song could be more thoroughly American would be a cameo appearance by a flag-draped America Ferrera. 

Uncategorized

Watch Dogs: The Game That’s Not A Game

Watch Dogs 1

 

WATCH_DOGS, the latest blockbuster title from entertainment software company Ubisoft, is an interesting case study in duality.

Because on the one hand, it’s the ultimate digital urban playground, and gamers who enjoy open-world sandbox-style games have a veritable cornucopia of content to sink their teeth into — physical and digital puzzles, weapons and cars galore, augmented reality games, even chess or three-card monte. On the other hand, there’s something sadly self-fulfilling about an idealized hero who spends most of his time doing what pretty much all of us do a daily basis — looking down at the screen of a cell phone.

(I imagine the video game character labor unions have spent years lobbying for more work like this. No spinning blades? SIGN ME UP.)

Uncategorized

Tomorrow’s Lesson: Dying Is the Way to Live

EdgeOfTomorrow

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.’”
– Matthew 16:24-25, New International Version 
And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour? For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you. And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus—if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, ‘Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!’”
1 Corinthians 15:30-32, New Living Translation
“I hope tomorrow will bring / a better you, a better me”
– Siedah Garrett (lyricist), Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me)

Thanks to the good people at Klout, I attended an advance screening of the Tom Cruise / Emily Blunt sci-fi action film “Edge of Tomorrow,”  and what I found surprised me.

First, it was good. Like, really good. Plenty of good old-fashioned action, but smartly paced and edited, moderated by a delicious time-travel premise, and magnified by two AAA-grade performances by Blunt and Cruise. If “Groundhog Day” and “District 9″* ever hooked up, had a child, and then hired F. Gary Gray’s “Italian Job” remake to babysit on the weekends, that film would grow up to be “Edge of Tomorrow.”

Uncategorized

Yes, There’s Diversity in Racism Too

diversity in racism

Modern day America has a problem with racism.

But the problem is not that Americans are not against it. On the contrary, you’ll have a hard time finding anyone who won’t come out against racism, or at least who won’t vigorously deny being racist.

The problem is that we don’t understand racism enough to get past the outdated caricatures of what it is and how it works. Guess what, people? There’s a lot of diversity in racism. 

Uncategorized

There Goes That Man

050614-Sports-Golden-State-Warrior-Fire-Head-Coach-Mark-Jackson

The firing of head coach Mark Jackson by the Golden State Warriors left shockwaves throughout the NBA. But underneath the high-profile accomplishments of an NBA coach and celebrity pastor, Mark Jackson is still just a man, struggling under the weight of high expectations.

And that man could use a mirror.