Tuesday, August 03, 2004

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Crouching Stanley, Hidden Gangsta. Ta-Nehisi's explanation of Stanley Crouch's bitchslapping of milquetoast literary critic David Peck in the Village Voice is instructive as well as amusing:

"This was not a moment of hot-headed indiscretion. Crouch may use his perch at the Daily News to inveigh against gangsta rap with all deliberate fury and alarm ('Hip Hop's Thugs Hit New Low,' 'Hip Hop Gets The Bruising It Deserves,' or 'Morally, Allen Iverson's a Bad Guy'), but his habit of violent exchanges with writers and editors puts him a notch above Snoop on the ne'er-do-well scale. In most cases gangsta rap is just talk�Biggie and Tupac are the exceptions. But while Crouch has yet to peel caps, the gangsta ethos is realer for him than it is for your average gun-talker.

"'The thing is that Stanley will get gangsta on you,' says Nelson George, who worked with Crouch here at the Voice, in the 1980s. 'There is nothing more gangsta than just walking up and pimp-slapping someone. Not even punching them, just slapping them, almost as a sign of disrespect.'"

Just putting a touch of sting on the cheeks. Cupping the jawline. Brushing an errantr knave's ear with a limp backhand. A Palm extended to allow for maximum surface contact rushing, cleaving the air. Flesh-on-flesh percussion, a macabre symphony. It all sounds so cruel. Or so I'm told.

The receiver is brought low. His cheeks flush with that "homemade rouge." Most significantly" the speechless audience, who, breaking the silence, collectively utter the gutteral, "oooooohhh." Or so I'm told.

Truer words have never been spoken (The Corsair ruefully rubs his cheek, and stares with fish eyes at a picture of a smiling Stanley Crouch). And speaking of disrespect ...

Out: Now, I don't mean any disrespect by this. This is not meant to be personal. The "well-tailored suits and crisp shirts" are fine. But the Gotti hair is ... it doesn't quite ... it isn't ... uh, forget I ever mentioned it. Please.


In: David Chappelle is rich. He renewed his contract for a reported $50 million. He's rich, bitch! (My sister, the most excellent Elizabeth Mwangaguhunga, sent me that link). Comment here or on VH1's Best Blog Ever.

Out: The speculation over James Bond. According to ITV.com:

"Speculation over whether the Troy star has been officially offered the role has been hotting up over recent weeks, but that hasn't stopped bookmaker William Hill making him evens favourite to take on the super spy mantle.

"Brit actor Clive Owen has been relegated to second favourite to become the famous martini stirrer at 9/2, followed by Hugh Jackman at 11/2.

Hills then offer 6/1 Colin Farrell, 10/1 Orlando Bloom, 12/1 Jude Law, with Robbie Williams rank outsider at 100/1."

Maybe you have to be a Brit to understand this, or even contmplate betting on this, but -- who-the-fuck-cares?

In: Gawker Stalker sightings. We love the Gawker stalkers, Choires' minions, roaming the street, cell phone cams at the ready, and today is no different. The B-Listers are so much more amusing as stalker-prey than the A-Listers (this coming from a committed C-Lister himself, namely, me):

"... saw Little Stevie [Steve Van Zandt] in full gypsy scarf regalia on the roof bar of the Maritime Hotel at 12-1 on Saturday night. He was mellow, laughing with a larger guy (would he actually have security??) traversing the catwalk between the 'VIP' section (a total of 15 bored looking people were there...) toward the hopping main bar. No sign of any other E-Streeters or Sopranos people (except maybe the big guy with him), sadly. "

How about, in the case of Little Steveie, MIP, for Mildly Important Person.

Out: Paris Hilton. In the beginning Paris and her friends accused Nick Carter of her bruises. Then, for some reason, she wanted it to all just go away, after she fanned the flames. Now, she claims it was all -- teehee -- part of a photo shoot that took place days ago. Paris is out. So out. But not before Defamer gives us a tour of the odd things going on on her body.

In: The First Lady as Paragon of America's Soft Power. This is a notion I came up with a while ago, and Gina Belanfante's article on First Ladies sort of bears it out:

"Teresa Heinz Kerry has presented herself to Americans as a multilingual free spirit, a woman with a taste for a 70's-era Jacqueline Bisset coiffure and a habit of tossing a sweater over her shoulders, as if her political outings demanded no more of her than patio luncheons in Nantucket. Her gold tank watch rests loosely on her wrist; her favorable position on millennial-era cosmetic enhancements remains a matter of record. Were she to take up residence in the White House as first lady in a John Kerry administration, no one would expect her to fade into the chintz."

Out: Clinton Sex Rants from Stuffy Democrats. There is something a bit creepy at the ferocity in which stuffy Dems go after Clinton's sex life. Sure, he was a jerk, but why go after him like a rabid pit bull in an intellectual journal years after the fact? What? Hillary can forgive him but the NYRB can't?

It almost -- almost -- gives off a faint scent of resentment ("How come that bastard got away with cheating and I've been trapped for decades ..") , or, at the very least least, a profound stuffiness that is alien to educated and socially sophisticated liberals that read the NYRB. Gary Wills in the August 12, 2004 New York Review of Books huffs like a schoolmarm:

"Clinton, like his mother, is a gambler. he does not, as she did, play the ponies. He dares the lightening. He knew he had numerous hunters and trackers circling about. He knew that he already had to cope with Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey. The young woman he was adding to the list was not likely to be discreet-- she boasted of earning her presidential knee pads, and wrangled thirty-seven entrances to The White House, and snapped her thong, and preserved the candied semen. (DNA technology is still a comparatively young discipline, but it is not likely for some time to get a stranger excercise than testing testing the effluvia of presidential fellation.)"

The exceptional vocabulary aside, the eminent New York Review of Books, home of some of the most sophisticated minds of the last half century, really came off just now sounding like the exact opposite of its subscriber base.

No comments: