Saturday, June 16, 2007

Long Tall Sally

Massa Tom allegedly had 6 children (2 died in infancy) with his slave, Sally Hemmings.


And I am struggling with just one son!

Impregnating his slave 6 times does not seem to me to be momentary lapses of one's moral rectitude. It is a full blown commitment thang.

It has also been brought to my attention that Sally came to the Jefferson household with Tom's wife, Martha, and it may be that Sally was a half-sister to Martha, thanks to the randy father-in-law, John Wayles.

I think the Americans should be kind, understanding and ultimately forgiving to Tom's hypocrisy (it was the moral of the time) and rejoice in the fact that at least this founding father had a clear head and foresight in matters of state, thanks to his Suga Mamma at home.

Of course, it is a sad piece of history that Sally and her children have never been, and still are not, fully recognised as Tom's family or their decedents. Tom's hypocricy is one thing, but it is sad to realise that the people still subscribe to the same kind of hypocricy now.

Rush To The Center

As I watched TV with my son, this new programme from Cartoon Network hit my eyes.

Executive produced by and starring Andre Benjamin...

Andre...? 3000...? You mean Andre 3000 from Outkast? Like, that man in "Hey Ya!"?

Yes, sir. The very one.

The man is shrewed.

As I have said to some of my friends before, I think there is a huge void in the middle of mainstream American black culture left behind by Cosby Show.

During the years under Bill Clinton, the "Blackest President Ever", allegedly, the Black culture seemed to have gone to extremes to find the cutting edge. There followed the height of gangsta culture with all its excesses, bottles of 'gnac and "bootylicious" girls, leaving the middle ground to a little white trash like Eminem.

Now, rather belatedly, the brothas and sistas seem to have realised that they have neglected a huge section of their own audience.

I think the hit of the film "Dream Girls" heralds the American black culture's return to the center.

Tyler Perry may be jockeying for the pole position in this race. He consciously targets, even limits, his audience to the mainstream black American.

Will Smith and Jamie Foxx may be regarded "not black enough", but are big contenders.

Obviously, I am totally a wrong kind of guy to be exploiting this, but, as John Ridley says, there is the ascent of modern Black America that should open up huge opportunities at home for the Americans.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Upstate Cowboys

There was this Greek friend of mine at the university whose sister had married a rich stock dealer or something. My friend said that they had a lovely house in wonderful place upstate New York called Catskill Mountains.

Naturally, I had to check Catskill out whilst I was in NY.

As I did a bit of web research, an event caught my attention.

A dairy farmer's annual fest on the top of hill in Meredith, Delaware County, NY, just north of Catskill Park.


We rented a car and headed north.

Once in Catskill area, we quickly realised that the locals are not reliable when it comes to directions. It appears that they do not move around enough to know what is on the other side of hills. Weekend trekkers from NYC were much more helpful.

We somehow managed to drive through Catskill and reached Meredith and aforementioned "Top of the Hill".

As had been expected, ours were just about the only Asian faces in the crowd. However, somewhat embarrassingly, our son was the one who was most into the swing of things...

An old lady proclaiming to be from a local newspaper took some photos of our son. I wonder if this Oriental Cowboy made it to the press.

Nevertheless, I could not help noticing that there was this lone urbane brotha who was definitely feeling totally out of place amongst hillbillies.

Another discovery: a vintage Datsun Z from the late '70s, made to look like "General Lee".

All in all, a great family day out, although I lost my way on the way back and only managed to get back home at 11:00pm.

As for Catskill, I suppose it is a convenient nature getaway destination for New Yorkers and it is fairly pretty. Still, I would not go out of my way to buy a house there, unless I know that I am tied down to NY for the rest of my life. Come to think of it, my Greek friend's sister did divorce that man. I wonder if he has at least kept his house in Catskill.