East Of Eden
James Baldwin, left, and Bobby Kennedy. (Google Images)
By the time Robert F. Kennedy was killed in 1968, he had come to be viewed by many as a politician who cared deeply about Civil Rights, poverty, and oppression.
But it wasn't always that way. In fact, just five years earlier, at a private dinner party he hosted in NYC with some of Black America's most elite, he was decidedly unwoke.
In Lawrence O'Donnell's new book, Playing With Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics, he recounts some of the events of the ill-fated shindig:...
Image and caption from PTL.
When PTL fell apart, I was just 5. I didn't know about the sex scandals, but I do remember my parents discussing the Bakkers' outsized lifestyle. The mansions, the cars, the blingy lifestyle- it came up repeatedly. What stuck in my mind, besides how disappointed my mom was (she was a SAHM of 3 and Pentecostal; of course she watched the Bakkers), had to be the air conditioned dog house. We didn't even have AC in our house. We depended on a series of electric fans for three more years, and that little yellow Cape Cod got very hot during the summer months. Yet, their dog chilled in cool comfort. Yup, decades later, I still remember that.
The lobby of the Heritage Grand Hotel. (Photo Credit: Robin...
Jim and Tammy Faye (Image Source)
It was thirty years ago that the tremendous house of cards that Jim Bakker had constructed out of TV ministry, millions in donations, and a Christian theme park, collapsed. It was a tremendous and precipitous fall, and when the dust settled, the ministry was gone, Jim was behind bars, and Tammy divorced him, ending their more thirty year marriage.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself. With the end of Part 1, the Bakkers and PTL was just beginning to get huge. It was the late '70s, and America was primed for some religiosity. The 1960s, that decade of hippies, an ever-burgeoning American middle class, and the collapse of Jim Crow was simultaneously a decade of assasinations, political...
Jordon Knight gave it to us back in '99- the baggy cargos, the long sleeve turtle kneck sweater, the racially-mixed back up dancers.
Seriously, besides a love of belly shirts, glittery eye shadow, and overly large (but super comfy) pants, 90s singers loved them some amusement park backdrops (or at least the music video directors hired to make it appear that way).
Mariah Carey rollerbladed in daisy dukes, serenading us about her "Fantasy" of rollercoaster rides and on BET and urban radio, rapper O.D.B.
Mya snuck out of her overprotective father's house to canoodle with her bad boy... on a giant ferris wheel....
Jim And Tammy Faye Bakker in all their 1980s glory. (Image Source)
I started composing this post months ago. I stopped partially because my blogging, as a whole, slowed way down at the start of the schoolyear (Z is now in second grade, and homeschooling demands more and more time). But mainly, I didn't finish this particular post because reading up on Jim Bakker pulled me into some kind of weird online hole.
Really. Do a quick Google search, and you'll see what I mean.
Complicating things further, Jim is the first subject in this The Preachers series who is actually living (his ex-wife Tammy passed away a decade ago after a long battle with cancer). He's pushing 80, has been in some form of ministry for over half a century...
My face is literally that of Mase every. single. time. I've heard this song over the past two decades. (Video screen capture via YouTube)
Twenty years ago, Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs shot to the top of the charts and became a household name when he crossed over from the world of hip hop and onto the pop charts in the wake of Biggie Small's murder. His tribute to his slain artist and best friend, "I'll Be Missing You" was the number one song for most of the summer, only losing the top spot once Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" was released after Princess Diana's tragic death.
...was so angry in the 1988 video for his hit song, "Nite and Day". Like Dude snarled through the whole thing... and he probably growled, too, but the track drowned it out.
The video opens with the sun rising over the NYC skyline, and we see Al atop a roof watching... and looking unusually angry. Then a trio of video girls pass by and we see Al again, winking... with something like aggression. He tilts his head so hard when he does that wink, I feel my neck starting to spasm. It's reminiscent of that Michael Jackson "Thriller" zombie-neck move, actually.
His dance moves are jerks and whips of his limbs. His nostrils flare. He stares down the camera, all while mouthing lyrics like, "Believe me when I say that I do care, I can tell you"
Happy Sunday! It's been a couple of months since my last "Some... Stuff", so let's kick off the start of Fall with some links, shall we?
First up, this Motherboard story that rebuts the claim that Toys "R" Us's recent Chapter 11 filing is due to the company being anti-tech. On the contrary, Toys "R" Us has historically embraced advancements in toy techs, being a huge seller and promoter of video games going back to the 70's. From the story:
The rise of digital gadgets and the ease with which they've both replaced physical toys and made the physical toys people do want easier to ship may have led to Toys"R"Us into massive bankruptcy—the third largest in US history....
Note: This post first appeared at my old blog, Far Above Rubies, on October 4, 2010. ~Alisha
I'm sitting in the local diner writing this on my laptop, the diner being every good Jersey girl's version of "The Max" that Zack and Slater hung out in "Saved By The Bell." But I'm by myself, sans Lisa and Screech, so I guess this would be like a deleted "Jesse studies alone” scene that wouldn't even make the DVD collection. Of course, circa 2010.
I've got "Eat Pray Love" with me, which is pretty sad because I've been lugging this now worn book around for a month and Liz is just in India. Considering I typically devour books the way I just devoured the tuna triple decker I ordered, quick and easy, my inability to read...
There's a lot I've just found out about Albert Einstein. For example, who knew old Al was quite the ladies' man, a master at science and charm?
But another fact that I somehow missed about Einstein was his stance on civil rights. He so abhorred racism, he publicly spoke out against it. From Snopes:
In May 1946, Einstein made a rare public appearance outside of Princeton, New Jersey (where he lived and worked in the latter part of his life), when he traveled to the campus of Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University, the United States’ first degree-granting black university, to take part in a ceremony conferring upon him the honorary degree of doctor of laws. Prior to accepting that degree, he delivered a ten-minute speech to the assembled...
Note: This post first appeared on my old blog, Far Above Rubies, on March 9, 2012. ~Alisha
If you clicked on this post expecting a piece on platforms, sorry, not getting that. But stick around anyway, okay?
On Wednesday, as I rushed to grab a clean diaper for Z, I banged my heel against the side of our platform bed. I yelled out a rather loud, "Oww", which is much better than the four letter word I could've hollered.
I felt irritated. I leaned against Z's crib with my right arm and lifted the throbbing left heel to observe the damage. It was quickly turning red. "Augh...".
I put my foot back down and got the diaper. Even as I changed Z and continued on with my day, the thought of my banged up foot...
Billie Holiday the d’Orly airport, Paris, photographed by Jean-Pierre Leloir, 1958. (Photo Image and Caption via Abongond)
I was listening to "On The Media" a couple of weeks ago and the episode was on the topic of America's long and costly War on Drugs. One of the segments focused on Harry J. Anslinger, the first commisioner of the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics. One of the hosts, Brooke Gladstone, interviewed Alexandra Chasin, author of Assassin of Youth: A Kaleidoscopic History of Harry J. Anslinger’s War on Drugs. Here's part of the interview transcript:
BROOKE GLADSTONE: From the late 19th century into the 20th, most opiate addicts were middle-aged middle and upper class women but, as would happen...
Note: This post first appeared on my old blog, "Because Thou Mayest", on April 27, 2016. ~Alisha
Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy Cavendish (Source)
I just wrapped "Kick Kennedy: The Charmed Life and Tragic Death of the Favorite Kennedy Daughter" by Barbara Leming and narrated by Eliza Foss via Audible. I totally love this company, by the way. It's been great being able to listen to books while still doing other things (Look Ma, no hands!).
Never hearing much about this particular Kennedy kid outside of her early death at age 28 being part of the supposed "Kennedy Curse", I found Kick's story to be particularly interesting.
In January, the Smithsonian Channel included her as part of their series "Million Dollar American Princesses"
(Image Source: Inverse)
It's mind boggling to me, but back in the 1930s, during the height of the Great Depression, the federal government paid a then-unknown, and very young Orson Welles to put on a play... featuring an all Black cast. But this did indeed happen, although it's not well-remembered (and when it is, it's more in the context of what made Welles a wunderkind on his way to "War of the Worlds" and "Citizen Kane" greatness).
Founded in 1935 as a part of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, the Works Projects Administration was an arm of the New Deal with one task: put millions of unemployed Americans back to work. While the WPA was more expensive than...
John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Dick Gregory. (Image Source: Yoko Ono's Twitter account)
Dick Gregory, comedian, entertainer, and civil rights activist, died last Saturday, August 19th, at the age of 84. There are many, many, many... MANY stories to be told about Gregory. His barrier breaking success as a Black comedian popular with White audiences over fifty years ago; his friendships with Civil Rights Leaders Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X; his vegetarian and nutritional lifestyle that helped him beat cancer. But today, I just wanted to highlight his contribution to John Lennon's "Imagine", one of the most famous songs in Pop Music History.
From The Beetles Bible:
Widely regarded as John Lennon's signature song, Imagine...
Note: This post first appeared at my old blog, Far Above Rubies, on May 8, 2012. ~Li
As I mentioned, somewhat in passing a couple of weeks ago, I resigned from my full time job. It was hard. So very hard that three weeks later, I still feel at a loss for words. It's not because I loved my job. Because quite frankly, I had no warm feelings towards it. The people- my boss, the coworkers and the students I helped, yes, very much so. But the filing, memos and meetings- eh, not so much. It was far better than the previous job, but it was still just a job. I don't mean that in a disparaging way. If it weren't for those jobs, I wouldn't be who I am today. I'm extremely grateful for them. I mean they weren't part of the career I had...
Kathleen and Eldridge Cleaver in the early 1970s. (Image Source)
I'm currently reading "PTL:"The Rise and Fall of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's Evangelical Empire" by John Wigger. Spoiler alert: my next entry in "The Preachers" series is on the long, tumultous ministry of Jim Bakker. While reading about some of the PTL's guests from the late 1970s, I came across a passage about Eldridge Cleaver, former Black Panther. While I knew he had made a huge swing to the Political Right in the 1980s, I wasn't aware that had come about years after a jailhouse Born Again Christian conversion in the 1970s, including hobnobbing with various Evangelical notables of the day.
To fully appreciate the magnamity of Cleaver's 180, let's briefly go back to the...
Note: This post originally appeared on my old blog, Far Above Rubies, on July 31, 2012. ~Li
After posting this last week, I felt conflicted. Well, maybe more than just conflicted. I think it's safe to say I felt scared. My number of hits for the piece were actually better than most of my stuff lately, so people were checking it out. But... aside from April and Don, no one made any comments. On the FAR Facebook page, it didn't get a single "Like". Sure, a number of my posts don't get feedback. That's why in that little "About Me" bar to the right, I "HINT, HINT, HINT" that comments are welcome. I felt this was different, though. It wasn't so much disinterest (especially with the higher amount of views) as sheer dislike. Had I...
Yet... away from the heat and burning in the Northeast and Midwest, out in San Francisco, things were much cooler... things were groovy.
From The Week:
How did the Summer of Love begin?...
Note: This post first appeared on my old blog, Far Above Rubies, on July 30, 2012. ~Li
A long, long time ago, back when Clinton was still president, Diddy was still Puff Daddy, and Victoria Beckham was most famous for being oh so posh, I studied Machiavelli, St. Augustine and Plato in my senior year of high school.
Last week, I started thinking about Plato's Allegory of the Cave which is from "The Republic". If you're unfamiliar with the story, here's an excerpt from SparksNotes (you should the full thing out check it out, though... if 16 year old me could get it, so can you!):
Socrates describes a dark scene. A group of people have lived in a deep cave since birth, never seeing the light of day. These people are...