Tag Archives: satire

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How To Talk To Those With Whom You Disagree

Inspired by my friend Erika and her resolution to be a living example regarding the issues she cares about, I decided to launch a personal crusade to get people to stop using the term “the race card.”

Jon Sanders, Townhall columnist and conservative policy analyst for the John Locke Foundation, was the first person I decided to take to task for using the phrase.

What follows is an exchange that I feel is both insightful and instructive. In short, this is how to have an honest, direct conversation with someone with whom you disagree. If more people did this, they might discover the same thing that I discovered — that we agree about more things than I thought.

Here was my first email:

Mr. Sanders,

I read your column, and if I’m understanding your thesis correctly, I understand — and even agree.

The power of the social construct we know as race has been not only polarizing, but unifying, and while Senator Obama has experienced both intense support and intense backlash because of his ethnicity. The fact that such a relative political neophyte such as Obama could take down stalwarts such as Edwards and Clinton is impressive, no doubt.

But I take issue with your loaded language, particularly your use of the phrase “the race card.”

This phrase has nefarious origins (the O.J. Simpson trial) and it has almost always served to advance the interests of those who wish to disdain any attempt by Blacks or other non-Whites to address instances of racial bias and/or prejudice in whatever forum it might exist.

The idea that as a Black man, my racial identity can be reduced to a “card” that I can play at my convenience is both laughably ludicrous and morally repugnant.

If I could truly use this card (or keep it safely tucked inside my wallet) at my own discretion and prevent my ethnicity from becoming a problematic obstacle during inopportune situations like during job interviews or applications for bank loans… believe me — I would do so.

Unfortunately, that is not the way the world works.

But your use of the phrase “the race card” insinuates otherwise, and I strenuously object to your continuing to use it.

Please do yourself and your readers a service by abolishing this term from your arsenal of go-to phrases. It will elevate your writing beyond the stale and predictable, and honor the complexity and nuance of racial relations in America today.

Thanks for your consideration.

Jon’s response:

Dear Jelani,

Thank you very much for writing and for your courtesy. Let me address your criticism with respect to the issue of loaded language vis-à-vis the phrase “race card.”

I cannot speak for others’ uses of the term, let alone its supposed origins. My use of the phrase – all three, actually; you did not see fit to take issue with “gender card” or “class card” – is to mock what I perceive as ad hominem argument that seeks to elevate or insulate or, conversely, to negate or silence an individual on the basis not of his ideas, but circumstantial matters such as his genetics, his birth, etc.

This inference you have made with respect to the phrase being used to “disdain any attempt by Blacks or other non-Whites to address instances of racial bias and/or prejudice in whatever forum it might exist,” if you wish to suggest that it applies to my column (your phrasing is equivocal), you would be quite mistaken, and I would find the suggestion offensive as well as 180 degrees out of phase.

I agree with you that racial prejudice is repugnant. Because I believe so, I think it is wrong to focus so entirely on people as members of racial groups. My thinking is that one cannot train one’s mind to value someone as an individual if one is instructed in seeking to categorize an individual according to race, gender, class, religion, etc.

You and I cannot change the way the world works, as you put it; people are going to notice these things, and some people simply are jerks. Nevertheless, we can promote the idea of valuing people as individuals as opposed to representatives of genetic (and other) groups. If one has a political objection to Obama, for example, our default assumption should be that this person is telling the truth and really does object to Obama on his stated grounds, not that his objection is secretly rooted in his dislike for black people. (Along those same lines, if someone has a political objection to McCain, our default assumption should be that this person is telling the truth and really does object to McCain on his stated grounds, not that his objection is secretly rooted in a marked underappreciation for McCain’s time in a Viet Cong prison camp.)

Furthermore, I find this deplorable devaluation of the individual compounded in the present political context, where supposed valuations (after first taking pains to point them out, of course) of a person according to his race, gender, and so forth are merely contingent upon that person’s being in political agreement – disagreement leads to the facially absurd contention that the person is not “really” a member of the groups that align with his genetics.

It is a risible notion in operation that I spoofed, for example, in a December column.

You will perhaps object to my title (, which is admittedly sensational but also, I hope you will see, the reductio ad absurdum of that notion. My approach is humor, but there are serious points behind them (as Aristotle said, a jest that will not bear serious examination is false wit), and I trust that you as someone cognizant of nuance and complexity will appreciate them, regardless of whether you will agree with them. After all, people may share the same values and still differ over how best they may be achieved.

Best regards,

Jon

My rebuttal:

Jon,

Thank you for writing back so quickly and eloquently. Yours was a meaty response, which I had to take my time to understand and digest.

(Plus there were two Latin phrases and an SAT word – risible – that I had to look up.)

Allow me to answer some of your questions and statements in the order that they were made.

You are wise to avoid speaking for others’ use of the term “the race card” because you don’t know what others mean when they say it, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook entirely.

I have an on-again, off-again relationship with the word “pimp” precisely because it’s still difficult to maintain a consensus on the entirety of that word’s meaning in the vernacular of today. Is a pimp a flashy dresser who is popular with the ladies? Is a pimp an unbelievable lowlife who exploits women sexually and financially? Is pimp a verb, which means to bedeck with ornate accoutrements? Or is it another verb, to aggressively hawk or promote a product?

The answer, of course, is yes.

Pimp means all of those things.

Which means to use it casually in one way could be seen as an affront to abused women everywhere, while to insist on its absolute banishment could be seen as an attempt by the P.C. police to unnecessarily regulate harmless speech.

In my own writing, I’ve chosen to give up trying to dissuade people from saying the word ‘pimp’ primarily because in the general vernacular it’s moved too far past its original meaning. It feels futile to try and lecture someone on the evils of pimping if I first have to explain that Snoop Dogg stole his whole schtick from Antonio Vargas, who played Huggy Bear on “Starsky and Hutch.” After awhile it just feels like too much water has spilled from that particular dam.

But I still don’t use the word much, and I try to be careful when I do. Maybe you exercise that same level of care when it comes to loaded terms, and I don’t know because all I see is the finished product – your column.

I chose to challenge your use of “the race card” because I don’t think that same evolution of meaning has taken place. Your use of the phrase is not AS morally offensive because I agree with your general premise, which means no, I don’t think my characterization of its typical use applies as much to your column in question. Because you were not using it specifically as a bludgeon against the idea of vigilantly recognizing and regulating our own cultural biases — as opposed to the legions of talking heads who use it in the manner I previously described – I understand your choosing to use it.

But like I said before, that doesn’t mean you’re totally off the hook.

I fear your continued use of the phrase will inadvertently lend credence to the unspoken assumptions that some of your readers may mistakenly assume you have in common – namely, that “the race card” is an unfair advantage, the societal equivalent of a “Get Out of Jail Free” card that liberals use to shame regular people into kowtowing to the demands of rabble-rousers and trouble-makers. I understand your need for a comedic device, and I think that one works on that level, but at what cost? Ultimately, I think it lowers the bar more than raises it.

I didn’t call out your use of the phrase “the gender card” or “the class card” because I regard them as derivative phrases you (or someone else) invented to make your point, phrases which are neither as pernicious or popular as the original. If I felt called to be more of an advocate for the poor, or if I were female, I might feel otherwise. This might be hypocritical of me, I don’t know. I just choose to speak up on the things I care about.

Moving to some of the broader similarities and differences in our outlooks on life…

I also agree that “it is wrong to focus so entirely on people as members of racial groups.”

For me, though, the operative word is “entirely.” Having a balanced outlook on our society as a whole requires concurrent understanding of people as both individuals and members of interlocking groups. Family groups, social groups, industry groups, regional groups, even ethnic and cultural groups. I am all for taking the time to stress individual accountability as long as that is balanced by an understanding of corporate culpability. The ramifications of our actions are equally important in both contexts.

By the way, I thoroughly enjoyed the December column you referenced, because I was also entertained (and appalled in equal measure) by Andrew Young’s attempt to disqualify Sen. Obama as not being black enough. That’s part of the reason why I have such a strong sense of personal identification with Obama, because I spent most of my formative years (middle school, high school, and college) trying to battle the horrid fallacy that intellect and analysis is somehow anathema to authentic Blackness. I’m almost ashamed to admit that there were plenty of times growing up when I would’ve traded all of my A’s for a jheri curl and a pair of Air Jordans if it meant I could fit in with some of the cool kids who weren’t as smart (or the others who were, but wouldn’t dare admit it).

I’ve also observed the ridiculous extent to which those on the left have contorted themselves with an Olympian caliber of mental gymnastics when it comes to aligning their political choices to their assumptions about race and class. That’s part of the reason why Senator Obama has been such a lightning rod for criticism on all sides, because his story and political ascent don’t fit into most of the prevailing narrow preconceptions about race and class that have long been unchallenged. This is also why it was inevitable that he would have to part ways with Dr. Jeremiah Wright. A Scripture regarding wine and wineskins comes to mind.

Finally, I also agree with your final statement, which has formed the basis for my wanting to write this blog. People can, and often do, share the same values and goals and still differ on how best to achieve them.

It’s my hope that more people would use the forums at their disposal and be intentional about keeping that conversation going, keeping it respectful, and resisting the urge to let the need for attention hijack our collective capacity for civility.

Holla back…

Jelani

His rebuttal:

Dear Jelani,

Thank you for your well-considered response. I certainly understand the frustration of using words that have slippery meanings. I have, for example, maintained an objection against using the word “liberal” to describe someone who favors a strong central government, but it is nigh on impossible to discuss politics without it and not sound stilted, so normally I will put “liberal” in quotations on first use.

I would suggest, however, that you are overlooking context; a word may have many different meanings, so the context in which it is used becomes an important part of defining it. The English language has a particular tendency toward such words.

I think you have no reason to fear my use of “race card” because it is done in the context of mocking the idea of it being used as a “get out of jail free” card. I doubt I could simultaneously lend credence to something I am spoofing.

I am very precise about word choice. That’s not to say I don’t make mistakes, of course; there is invariably at least one thing in each column I regret or wish I had changed. Sometimes many considerations go into a decision over an individual word or phrase, and I cannot expect you to share them all nor give them the same weights as I.

As for your discourse on having a balanced outlook, I will say that I had set forth a general principle that is intuitive, but one of the problems in trying to flesh out an intuitive principle is that words fail to anticipate what discernment can navigate. My concern in this context is foremost the primacy of the individual, and I ratify the principle that all of us, each of us, are created equal in the eyes of God – we have many differences, of course, but we have the same inner nature. If one hews to that principle, then any prejudicial treatment will be hypocrisy — something counter to one’s belief. On the other hand, racism is the logical end of a principle of mentally sorting people first by race.

I wish you all success with your struggle. You seem to set a strong personal example in favor of your chosen path. I cannot imagine it failing to yield fruit; may it be bountiful.

Jon

So my final analysis is that Jon Sanders seems like a good guy who probably still has a lot of different ideas than I do about public policy, although he is probably a lot more qualified to speak on policy than I am, being a policy analyst and all. He values the primacy of the individual, and likes long walks on the beach at sunset.

He also likes satire, which makes him a good guy in my book.

I’m not sure I achieved my primary objective (to get him to stop saying “the race card”) but I did achieve my second objective (to demonstrate that those who think differently aren’t necessarily idiots).

My only regret is failing to ask him about “Lost” (since he works for the John Locke Foundation.)

This was so much fun, I’m gonna try it again with someone else.


Thanks to Jon Sanders for mixin’ it up with me.

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Latest 9/11 Conspiracy Theory: It’s All R Kelly’s Fault


That’s one of the many statements given by potential jurors to the R. Kelly case, according to this Chicago Tribune story.

Of course, if it were me, I wouldn’t need to come up with an excuse. I’d just tell the truth.

Your honor, there’s no way I could be an impartial juror in this case. I haven’t liked a song of his since his first album in ’92, and I’m generally embarrassed by the extent to which many Black people have unconditionally supported him. It’s worse than middle-aged White women and Michael Jackson.

I’d be home before lunch, I guarantee it.

Of course, any story related to the ongoing saga of R. Kelly and his child pornography and statutory rape charges inevitably makes me think of the masterful episode of The Boondocks that skewered Kelly, his fans, and Black people in general:

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A True Christian Would Never Read This Post (Or Use Sarcasm to Make A Point)


Which means that if you’re reading this, you’re are one of two kinds of people:

1. You’re one of us, meaning you are a believer of Jesus Christ who just can’t measure up to the super-spiritual standard we see in evangelical culture, and you’re looking for a little more levity and authenticity in life,

OR

2. You’re not a believer in Jesus Christ, but you DO enjoy seeing what all gets all the Godheads’ undies in a bunch.

In either case, I have another fun site to promote.

And honestly, what surprises me is not that this site exists, but how long it took me to find out about it.

In the spirit of Stuff White People Like, and Stuff Educated Black People Like, I give you:

Stuff Christians Like.

Oh. My. God. Goodness.

Between this site and the whole Jesus People thing (thanks to Dan Ewald for leaving a comment!) I’m finding more encouragement that other people are thinking about the kinds of things that I think about.

Like, for example,

Fake swear words/phrases.

Mediocre graduation gifts.

Judging people out jogging on Sunday mornings.

Or, on a more serious note, Letting Porn Win.

Not only do I find myself being somewhat of the same mind as o’ Prodigal Jon (who writes the blog) but it geniunely made me laugh out loud. And not in the way like most people write “LOL” after a mildly funny post/email that a friend of their wrote, so as to not be a stick in the mud. But it actually made me laugh, many many times, very very loudly. I work from home (mostly) and I’m kinda glad, as the maniacal laughter coming from the kitchen where I’m typing on my laptop would’ve drove any theoretical coworkers in my imaginary vicinity quite homicidal.

But I digress.

Oh, and bonus points for his breakdown of the film Man on Fire, which he found to be a much more gripping portrayal of God’s redemptive power than The Passion of the Christ.

I was about to say that I’m not sure how much I agree with his assessment, given that I’ve seen Man on Fire about four or five times and The Passion of the Christ only once.

But I think the fact that I found the former engrossing enough to watch several times and the latter I watched once, out of a Christian sense of duty, says more than enough.

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Jesus, These People Are Scary


Umm. Yeah… wow.

So there are times when I feel like I’m starting to progress in my artistic and leadership development, times when I’m starting to get a handle on what it means to be an independent businessman and a worship artist at the same time.

It’s for times like these, and for people like me… (no, not Black people… you know… professional Christians) that these videos were made.


You thought the Lark News was cutting edge? Then apparently you haven’t seen any of the “Jesus People,” a web-based mockumentary about a Christian pop group called … wait for it… Cross My Heart. (They’ve even got a tongue-in-cheek myspace page.)

Available on various websites (a brief Googling popped up hits on Youtube and FunnyOrDie), this series, the brainchild of Dan Ewald & Rajeev Sigamoney, is the most brutally spot-on send-up of evangelical Christian subculture since “Saved!” hit the big screen in 2004.

Upon stumbling onto the first video, I was at first pretty reluctant to give it a chance. I assumed it would be rigid, inaccurate, and mean-spirited, all traits that prevented me from enjoying “Saved!” more thoroughly. (The Onion’s AV Club review of “Saved!” essentially called it just as self-righteous and condescending as its intended target.)

And it certainly looked that way to me, at first glance. But having watched a few episodes, I think it was just hitting a little too close to home. Because, like “Saved,” Jesus People manages to get many of the details right. The fading 90’s crooner derailed by a sex scandal. The overly judgmental hard-ass (I’m sorry, I spent 30 seconds trying to think up a better term but I couldn’t). The token Black guy, trying in vain to inject a modicum of street cred into the proceedings.

I’m telling you, the longer I watched this, the scarier it got for me. Because I grew up around these people. I went to summer camps and college with these people. I worked in a Christian bookstore with these people. And, sadly, sometimes I am these people.

(Lord Jesus, did I really act like this? Have mercy.)

Which is why I wasn’t surprised to find that Dan Ewald has a few bylines in the archives of ChristianityToday.com, because I think only a true believer in Christ — or someone who grew up around believers in Christ — would be able to come up with this.

It’s a little like the first time I saw the series of GEICO cavemen commercials. They worked so well at depicting twentysomething yuppie/slacker archetypes, it came as little surprise that they were created by recent twentysomething yuppie slackers.

But to laud the writing too much would be damning the actors with faint praise, because these folks are funny. Most (if not all) of them have backgrounds in comedy, and many of the cameo appearances are actors in other, more popular comedies (including “The Office” and “MADTV”).

But don’t take my words for it. Watch my favorite episode so far:

Jesus People Episode 3 on FunnyOrDie.com

If that didn’t do it for you, check out their myspace page and play their horrendously bad single, “Snatched Up.” If you’ve ever worked in a Christian bookstore, you’ve probably heard something that bad. At least this time it’s a joke.

If you still want some great entertainment value, and you have any friends who are Christians and like music, find the one with the snobbiest tastes, the one who can’t resist an opportunity to bash Christian music at any opportunity… and play your new favorite song for them.

UPDATE: The time stamping on the myspace page is from May of 07… why didn’t I hear about this sooner? (First “Lazy Sunday“, now this.) I guess I’m losing my hipness quotient, or I’m too far out of the loop on what’s funny these days. Maybe I’m becoming immune to viral video… ?

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Educated Blacks Also Fair Game for Satire


Like any good meme, the trend of what certain kinds of people like/dislike is spreading like wildfire.

Thus, I give you: Stuff Educated Black People Like.

This site makes me laugh big time… at myself.

(That is, when I’m not laughing at White people. The latest one to slay me: #88, Outdoor Performance Clothes.)

But seriously, this site may be illuminating to many White folks who know Educated Black People (EBP) because it puts into a context some of the deeper reasons why we tend to enjoy:

  • Neo Soul
  • Baked Chicken
  • Business Cards
  • Poetry Slams
  • Talking About Uneducated Black People

And much, much more.

What’s really interesting to me is examining all the intersections between the two sites. There are a lot of commonalities, actually — Barack Obama, for example. Or how Atlanta is the new Canada.

(Bonus points for whoever designed the masthead image to StuffEducatedBlackPeopleLike, which I’ve included at the top of this post. Besides being identical in style and form to the original and their overt comparison in the “About” section, you’ll notice a small tribute in the form of a picture of some Black folks in a fraternity step show. In the background is some kind of poster ad — for sushi. Classic.)

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A Field Guide to White People



Are you surrounded by White people, at work, school, or in your community? Do you have White people in your family? Perhaps you yourself are, in fact, White.

Have I got something to show you.

In the grand tradition of satirists from The Onion to Lark News, I present to you the funniest blog I have seen in a good long time, Stuff White People Like.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, mostly among White people. I’ve gone to mostly White schools. My wife is White. That doesn’t mean I know what it’s like to be White, but I’ve been hanging around (and being socialized by) White people for most of my 30+ years on this earth. Which is why I love this site. All you White folks who freely watch/read The Boondocks or Chapelle’s Show without apology, this is for you.

Feel free to check yourself against this growing list of things things that White people (okay, mostly young liberal White people) like:

  • #82, Hating Corporations
  • #63, Expensive Sandwiches
  • #8, Barack Obama
  • #38, Arrested Development (the show, AND the hip-hop band!)
  • #80, The Idea of Soccer (as opposed to soccer itself)
  • #53, Dogs
  • #41, Indie Music
  • #75, Threatening to Move to Canada
  • #71, Being the Only White Person Around

et cetera.

By the way, the #1 thing that White people like, according to this site:

Coffee.

I should have known.

WARNING — Stuff White People Like is not for the easily offended, or those with serious irony deficiency. Please consult a person of color before reacting in anger.

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Gospel singer moonlights as exercise instructor

[DISCLAIMER: the following story is intentionally satirical in nature, and should no way be construed as an attack on any particular person or ministry.]

* * *

DETROIT, MI – Maurice Patterson never intended to become a leading face of the billion-dollar fitness industry. He was just trying to stir up some passion in his people.

Leading worship in a small nondenominational East Lansing church, Patterson was getting desperate.

The organists’ power chords weren’t working, and neither had any of his previous selections. Faced with a sparsely-attended congregation whose enthusiasm was flagging by the second, Maurice Patterson stepped out in faith, hoping against hope that the flock would follow his lead.

“Touch your neighbor and ask ‘em, ‘Are you ready to praise the Lord, or what?!’”

As the members of the fleeting congregation began to crack themselves up with such a witty remark, Patterson sensed hope. His moment of levity had started to break the ice, but he knew that wisecracks alone wouldn’t get the job done. These people need some movement, he thought.

So as the band cranked out the opening riff of the next tune, Patterson continued.

“Okay now, high-five the people on either side of you, and tell ’em ‘It’s time to get our praise on!'”

As the high-fiving commenced, the crowd began to energize itself.

Maurice was getting pumped. So as the band continued to jam in the background, Patterson capitalized on the momentum by barking out an impressive barrage of commands, not stopping to think or catch breath.


“Lemme see you raise your hands up, and wave ’em all around!”

“Step back and stomp on the devil’s head!”

“Lean down, touch your toes, and thank the Lord for His goodness!”

“Now come on and jump!”

“Get in the Spirit and work it for Jesus!


By this point, Maurice was on a roll — the only thing left to do was just go with it. He led the praise team through a 30-minute medley of exuberant music peppered with what would later become his trademark style: short, staccato calls of exhortation with commands of movement. By the time he was done, not only was the presence of God thick in the sanctuary — but everyone involved had worked up a good sweat.

An outpouring of support for Patterson’s newfound style led to more high-energy worship. Soon, the traditional church couture of designer suits and fancy hats gave way to warm-ups, sweat-suits and headbands. What had started as a desperate ploy to garner support became the catalyst in a revolutionary modern gospel movement known as kinetic worship.

Patterson, 33, is now the head pastor of Praise Jump International, a megachurch in suburban Detroit. PJI is unique, in that they eschew the typical church format for what they say is a more streamlined approach.

“The feedback we were getting was that the whole sermon-after-the-music thing was getting in the way of people truly experiencing the high-energy worship vibe they’re after,” said Patterson in a phone interview.


“So our board got together to meet about it, and we decided ahhh… we don’t need it. So it got axed.”

Shortening their services to 45 minutes (two 20-minute sets and five minutes for an altar-call) made it easier to accommodate the busy lives of people in their target demographic, according to Chico Alfonso, Patterson’s personal assistant and trainer. As a result, they’ve expanded to five services on Sundays, four on Saturdays, and three on Tuesdays through Thursdays. One of the weekday services includes a 6:30am service for those who choose to worship before their workday starts.

“One of the things we’re most excited about,” beams Alfonso, “Is the rollout of our new satellite services.” In an effort to reach nonworshipers outside their immediate geographical region, PJI has secured a number of smaller, strategic venues for worship services in a variety of time slots and locales. Some meet simultaneously and participate by receiving a live satellite feed of PJI services, while others take advantage by showing consecutive installments of the award-winning Praise Jump!™ series of exercise DVDs.

To bolster a sense of connectedness and participation, PJI is in the process of recruiting and training mainstream fitness professionals to become their new satellite kinetic worship leaders.

“Obviously, nobody can do it like Mo does it,” Alfonso admits. “But with the new staff we’re adding every week, more people are gettin’ their praise on every day.”

One such staffer is Rebecca Dean, who leads a Praise Jump! service at the local YMCA. “People are asking me now, ‘What’s it like working for a church?’ And I have to say, I like it.” Dean has a phys-ed degree from the University of Michigan, and she’s held down a variety of fitness-related jobs before becoming a kinetic worship leader for PJI. “I thought people might not be as responsive to me, since I don’t hold their Christian beliefs, but they’ve been very welcoming to me. I think it’s because I’m a pretty spiritual person – after all, I used to be a yoga instructor.”

Johan and Karla Nodanova have been steady attendees of the Sunday service at Praise Jump International’s main suburban campus for well over a year. “At first, it was pretty strange for us,” says Johan. “It wasn’t like anything we were used to, and I guess it took us awhile to adjust.”

“Amen to that,” says Karla, as she sips on a fruity energy drink.

“Coming to this church really took us out of our comfort zone. But now, with Mo Patterson leading the way every week, it’s great. He really gets us movin’ in the right direction and feelin’ good. Besides, our last church used to have service in a gym, so I guess this is just the next logical step.”

As the throngs of people pack the foam-matted auditorium of Praise Jump International, Maurice Patterson is in rare form. Leading from the center stage, he continues to shout instructions to the believers.

“Get on your knees before the Lord!”

“Get on your face before the Lord!”

“Now squat before the Lord, and feel His presence burn…”

As with any pop culture phenomenon, Praise Jump International has its share of detractors.

Harcourt Bainbridge, author of I Don’t Feel Like Touching My Neighbor, takes issue with Patterson’s brand of Christian spirituality.

“I’m sure he means well,” says Bainbridge, “but I go to church to connect with God, not to jump around in some funky mosh pit.” Bainbridge also contends that his problems with PJI are not only spiritual, but practical as well.

“I love God’s people just like anybody else, but would it be that much trouble to install a couple air fresheners in there?”

When confronted with these issues, Patterson readily admits that there are still kinks in the system, wrinkles that need to be ironed out. Even so, the people keep turning out in droves. On this night, with this crowd, it’s all in the movement.

As Maurice Patterson shows millions of people how it’s done, a generation is moving in a new direction.

“The Lord is calling is to move forward in our worship, so let’s go. Come on now, everybody take a couple steps forward. Okay, now the Lord says let’s take a step back. Okay, now the Lord says move to the right… okay now, move to the left… hey!! – I didn’t say ‘The Lord Says!’”

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Subtitles added to latest Kirk Franklin concert video

[WARNING – this post contains explicit sarcasm.]

In the tradition of The Onion and The Lark News, I bring you a news story I’ve longed to see for a long time:



Subtitles added to Kirk Franklin concert video


FT. WORTH – In response to growing concerns about the clarity of his verbal communication, Gospocentric Records has provided narration in the form of subtitles for Kirk Franklin’s latest concert video. Industry sources say its parent distributor Provident has been pressuring Gospocentric for years to make this move, citing consumer confusion among many factors.


“People don’t know what to ask for,” says marketing associate Randall Grayson. “I’ve had stores tell our reps that their customers keep asking for that ‘lemme-hear-you-make-some-Holy-Ghost-crazy-noise’ song.”


Christian bookstore manager George Leonard actually got in an argument about a Franklin tune after a customer insisted on hearing a song she thought was called ‘Friday.’ Said Leonard, “I’m like, ‘lady… trust me. The song is called Brighter Day. That’s what they’re chanting at the end of the song, ‘Brighter Day.’”


Representatives from the Gospel Lyric Transcriptionist Association affirmed the move overall, though with mixed levels of enthusiasm.


“Sure, it’ll help the consumer,” says LaQuisha Richardson, a GLTA staffer. “But I don’t know how we’re going to be able to meet that kind of demand. With Kirk, you’ve got a lot of lyrics to put down. Sure you’ve got the chorus, the verses, the bridge… but then there’s all this other stuff he be sayin, so it’s kinda hard to sort it all out.”


Gospel music archivist Llewellen Hodges is anxiously awaiting the latest videos to arrive with subtitles. “I’m hoping it will help me decipher the ‘Stomp code.’” Hodges has been working on trying to interpret a five-second section of the hit single “Stomp” where Franklin utters, in his trademark style of joyful abandon, a completely incomprehensible combination of words and phrases.


“See here,” he says, rewinding the audio for the umpteenth time, “It’s right before the cameo appearance by [Cheryl] “Salt” [James]… he starts with ‘young people if you don’t mind’ and then I can’t understand the rest.”


Hodges hopes he can use the subtitles to plug into his linguistic analysis software, in the hopes that he could form a composite interpolation of what Franklin intended to say.


Industry speculation has it that if the subtitles prove to boost enough sales, Gospocentric will reissue a special-edition DVD boxed set of his previous concerts with subtitles added. And if Hodges proves to be successful with his software, one insider said, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen with Fred Hammond or John P. Kee.”