Friday, August 20, 2010

You know, i see creation to be like what a father does with his children, from the first engendering efforts to the shaping of personhood through modeling of character and acts of encouragement and provision.

Likewise I see goodness as the quality which encapsulates all of how family is, from its expansive narrative and all its subtextual joys and frustrations, all of marriage's pith (from its creation of a whole unit from two fractured pieces, and how it relatively redefines the individuals as more than a mere individual and single pieces), all of parental-child pith (with all the dynamics and all the identity-forming "recursive-ality").

It really is the case that a table is set before me, in the presence of my Enemy, for me to be a father.

You know, however, i do have to ask, "why is it as a father i am surprised by this sense? "

It would be entirely too easy, and altogether too ubiquitously banal to dwell on the characterizations and social attitudes (portrayed in entertainment media) regarding fathers and men. If you are a man, you know there is not a lot of positive press we get, no great identity-affirming-destiny-imparting attitudes out there. That pretty much goes without saying.

But why is it even what is good to a man and a father isn't more prolifically praised, touted, proclaimed? Why don't we have stories from father's perspectives that give utterance to how incredible awesome our gifts of family are to us? Heck, why don't we even have current-era "John Waynes" portraying the grateful and committedly loving attitudes of fathers for their children, men doing whatever for their family and offspring? It isn't because there aren't men that feel that way towards their family. It isn't because every father is a shmuck. It does seem that every movie with a father is about how much or how relatively little a failure that father is - thus is about the father, not from the father.

I mean, would i as a father who knows how much he fails his children desire to see a movie that paints fathers in general as failures? No. Would i want to see a movie about a father that loves his children and does what he can, all he can, for his children? Well, Hell yeah! I don't mean the father seeking vengeance motifs either - that too is banal and ubiquitously present and absolutely irrelevant.

It isn't because such a movie or such an article would ferret out some quintessential notion of identity for me that i have struggled to find. Nah, it would just be something with which i could identify, and finally something with which i could identify.

The real question is why we as a society don't seem to clamor for such a form of perspective in media, or why we are so seemingly obsessed with slamming men and fathers as failures. Hell, lets put a finer point on it: slamming white men as failures, because i doubt such a movie that slammed absentee african-american fathers would fare any better than Cosby's "Pound Cake" speech in the general "politically correct" environment of media reviews.

Gotta say, take note, that i did not say the "Pound Cake" speech was valid, nor that movies about absentee african american fathers should be made, nor that political correctness in reviews was off-base. But neither am I saying the opposite. All i am saying is that the issue of positive vantage points (those vantage points of fathers whom love their family) are not racial-based, whereas the negative portrayals of fathers are uniquely racially oriented, and are so in an environment that would not accept such if directed at other races. But man, all that is a digression, huh.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Leaving aside the fact that I update this blog about as frequently as I do my tetanus shots, and that my follower-base is about as expansive as my athletic ability (and how both these facts preclude the intent) one supposes a blog like mine is meant to be a vehicle for social redress, a platform for speech and rhetoric and ideas, a venue for intellectual pow-wow, a veritable 21st century marketplace or city gate.

But I just now finished reading an NPR blog about the "Rules for the "N" word" (a quipping addendum to the already prolific outcry over Dr. Laura's faux pas), and for the life of me I can't see how such can be the goal of any national media outlet, nor how one might want otherwise.

Simply put, the allowance of response to sensational blog news pieces (and by sensational i mean "inciting") is mercurial savvy, if it is anything. I mean, post a hotbed topic, and get folks riled up, then let them debate about it with a sense of having a voice (a la comment posting) - thus having them returning to the site repeatedly to follow the responses to their responses - all the while inundating them by ever changing advertisements in the margins. Ingenious, devilish, but ingenious.

This medium allows folks the opportunity to adopt their virtual personas and hash out topics sans any fear of personal reprisal for their inconsiderateness or rudeness or lack of empathy. It even seems that the blog arguments that arise (even which chasten such rudeness) only serve to fuel the the goal of increasing visitors, and thus more eyes subject to the advertisements.

Hey, this is great for me, since I am a freelance writer and any media outlet picking up my story will likely allow the response section and thus generate notoriety for me as an off-shoot of the debate. But here is the sticky question, I mean, with no cup of hemlock waiting for contributors at the end of posts, can i really convince anyone of the importance of taking the issue beyond verbal banter? Has media - once a papyrus abstraction from the city gates, now a virtual obtruseness - lost its significance for social dialogue, especially since it is driven by advertisers' scrolling flash illustrations of the "good life", and warped around the fancy of secrecy-birthed personas wanting the satisfaction of venting and being heard in the ether?