I’m gonna say, right out the box, this might not be a column you
want your children to read—or maybe you will. I know my publishers
usually don’t like profanity laced commentary, and Lord knows black
people have had a reason to cuss lately, but I’ve always been one
to push my First Amendment rights (as well as push the love my papers
have for me) so hear goes…The last couple weeks has been a little
much as it relates to our “confrontation culture.” I’ve never been
one to tolerate a bunch of dumb sh*t, and really hate watching it
play out. I hate even more the residual conversation about it.
okay to confront legitimate issues in our society if it goes to
benefit the betterment of society. But to confront stuff just to
confront stuff really irks me. The “shock” culture has lost its
shock value. It’s like listening to people who like to hear themselves
talk, or people who complain just for the sake of complaining. When
there’s really something to talk about or when a legitimate complaint
surfaces, you have heard so much dumb stuff that really don’t pay
attention to what is being said. There are bigger problems in the
world than sports and entertainment. In fact, sports and entertainment
offer a release from the troubles of the world—or at least they
are supposed to. That’s when dumb sh*t becomes really aggrevatin’.
week was dumb sh*t overload when Serena Williams threaten a lineswoman
and Kanye West snatched the microphone from an award winner because
the person he thought should have won, didn’t win. Now, I consider
myself a rebel, and I rebel with the best of them, but what was
Serena’s and Kanye’s objection to, at the end of the day? It was
all much ado about nothing. Serena didn’t even challenge that her
foot crossed the serving line. So, was she mad that she did it,
or mad that the lineswoman saw it? And was it enough to forfeit
the game over? I’ve seen Serena Williams come from two sets down
to win a match. One point down (with her serving) wasn’t anything.
really think Serena was having a bad day, and her reaction appeared
real out of character. Still, her reaction to the call, though in
the heat of battle, amounted to some real dumb sh*t. We have never
been disappointed when either Williams sister lost, because they
play their hearts out and some days it’s just not their day. But
I was real disappointed with the way Serena lost that match
because it was so unbecoming of her. No match was worth tarnishing
her image. Yes, Serena is a rebel. She rebels in her dress, her
intensity and her ability to overcome unwarranted criticism. Yelling
at the linesman “John McEnroe” style doesn’t become her. Hell, it
didn’t become him. It was dumb sh*t when he did too. You just shook
your head and hoped it would be over soon. I hope I never see Serena
act that way again. I like her too much.
West, on the other hand, has made a career of saying dumb sh*t and
doing dumb sh*t. I think I’m at my dumb sh*t limit with Mr. Kanye.
I think he’s a very talented artist and I even like some
of his stuff. He’s edgy and his reverse psychology on the education
advocacy was original. His “matter of fact” outspokenness in an
industry that tends to mute artists, even hip-hoppers, is to be
commented. As Frederick Douglass once said, “Truth is proper and
beautiful at all times and in all places.” Kanye’s unforgettable
outburst during Hurricane Katrina, about President Bush’s failure
to respond and his perception of the President’s feelings about
black people, was priceless and right on point. Kanye said what
everybody else was thinking. It was a truth that was proper and
beautiful at the right time, about the right place. Other Kanye
“truths” have been more opinion than fact, particularly as it relates
to who he thinks should win awards—himself included. That stuff
is entertaining, and may have its merits, but doesn’t really represent
a “truth” in the context of what is really important in the world.
Any kind of conversation about who won award shows or beauty pageants
is a subjective engagement in visceral rhetoric. Whether Taylor
Swift deserved a video award more than Beyonce is no more of any
consequence than whether Denzel Washington deserved to win the Oscar
in the years he did Malcolm X or Hurricane Carter than in the year
he actually won it for playing a rogue cop in Training Day.
At the end of the day, in either year, it didn’t make the world
a better place. In fact, it was just another diversion to take our
minds off the world.
made Kanye look stupid, because I surmise that he is not a dumb
man, is that nobody really cared and he took a moment from someone,
a moment that significant to them, for some dumb sh*t. I
haven’t found one person yet that thought what Kanye did was pertinent
nor relevant to anything anybody really cared about. If Kanye wants
to have a public conversation about the integrity of award shows,
have it before the show or after the show. Or boycott the show like
Marlon Brando, the ultimate rebel, used to do—whether he
won or not—if you want to send a message. But just when I thought
Congressman Joe Wilson had “*sshole of the year” locked up, along
comes Kanye to snatch it from him just like he snatched the mike
deserved it because what Wilson did shocked the Congress and a national
television audience with the one of the greatest “disses” of all-time
(to use Kanye’s analysis) on a subject that mattered in the context
of our President trying to change the state of the nation’s health.
Yet, Kanye West now gets my vote-and he should hold up the “*sshole
of the year” award. What Wilson did was more indignant than what
Kanye did because he disrespected that nation’s Chief Executive
on national television over the issue of the day, health care reform—where
it was distasteful even to his own party—but what Kanye did was
absolutely repugnant because he did it over something that means
absolutely nothing in the larger scheme of things. Dumb sh*t personified.
Kanye not only embarrassed himself-he embarrassed his industry at
an improper time with an absolutely irrelevant truth, if it was
a truth at all.
is never a proper time for dumb sh*t. Shock television and other
forms of rude and crude behavior have lost their shock value. It’s
all just a bunch of publicity grabbing dumb sh*t now. And now that
dumb sh*t is reaching an all-time low, it’s the proper time to call
it out and put a stop to it.
Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, is a national columnist, managing director
of the Urban Issues Forum
and author of Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom.
His Website is AnthonySamad.com.
to contact Dr. Samad.