**SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST AND THEN READ UPWARDS!!**
So, the election is finally over. After a hard fought battle, 2 billion dollars spent on the campaign trail, and 340932409229 twitter jokes too many, Barack Obama has emerged as the victor. It is now time for the world to look past some of the campaign rhetoric and concentrate on what really matters: the specific details of economic and social policy. LOLOLOL JK. If historical precedent has taught us anything, the world will forget about politics and go back to being apathetic within a week. That being said, there is one thing about this election that I want to make sure everyone remembers vividly; Donald Trump’s call for a revolution. Yup, you read that right. Donald Trump, displeased with the results of the election, tweeted “More votes equals a loss…revolution!” Donald Trump. Yes, that Donald Trump; probably sitting in one of his several private jets, eating caviar, wearing a ring with conflict diamonds on it, called for a revolution. Do me a favour; take a second, close your eyes, and conjure a mental image of Donald Trump standing in front of a blazing fire, hair piece blowing in the wind, yelling “let the shackles of society fall.” Something about that mental picture just doesn’t seem right, does it? A revolution spearheaded by the same man who decides which celebrity gets to stay another week on “Celebrity Apprentice?”
Though not an easy feat to accomplish, calling for a revolution may just be the most obnoxious thing Donald Trump has ever done. Keep in mind, this guy has done a lot of obnoxious shit in his lifetime. This is the same guy who once said the words “Mac Miller is the next Eminem.” That being said, within the last two weeks, Donald Trump’s level of idiocy has reached an all time high. A couple weeks ago, he put out a youtube video saying that he would donate 5 million dollars to charity if Obama released his passport and college records to the public. “Frankly, it’s a cheque that I very much want to write” Trump said in the video. No, Donald. It clearly isn’t a cheque you very much want to write. If you very much wanted to write the cheque, you’d have written the fucking cheque. What was the point of filming that video Trump? You knew Obama wasn’t going to release his college and passport records to the public. It’s almost as if you wanted the public to think that it was Obama’s fault that some poor charity was being deprived of 5 million dollars. No Donald, it wasn’t. Unless I’m mistaken, you’re the one who controls that money. But, of course, Trump never had any intention of donating that money. I’d call it an empty promise but that would be unfair to the reputation of empty promises. The only thing emptier than that promise is the hole where Donald Trump’s soul should be.
Plain and simple, this election was not kind to the reputation of Donald Trump. Frankly, I’m surprised that some PR person didn’t go out of their way to forcibly remove twitter from all of Trump’s electronic devices. Towards the end of the election, I’m sure even Mitt Romney was like “hey dude, it’s cool if you endorse me, but maybe don’t feel the need to talk about it so much.” All of this, of course, culminated in Donald Trump’s angry call for a revolution. Now, maybe I’m missing something here, but why on EARTH would Donald Trump want to overthrow the system? The current system has been disproportionately, irrationally kind to Donald Trump. Donald Trump’s father, a real estate mogul worth about 400 million dollars at the time of his death, took Donald into the family business right out of University. Since then, Trump has been forced to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for no less than three of his organizations. It’s a wonder to me that he believes that he is credible enough to publish business books. Meanwhile, despite his business failures, the dude is still worth about 700 million dollars. I repeat: why on EARTH would Donald Trump want to overthrow the system? Right about now is the point where some smart ass is probably going to point out that when Trump called for a revolution, he wasn’t actually calling for a full scale overhaul of the system…he was just saying that Romney should not have lost the election while he was still ahead in the popular vote. Granted. But then, why the hell did he call it a revolution? I’m sure he wasn’t calling for a “revolution” when the same thing happened in 2000. Unfortunately Donald, this is the way elections in the United States have always worked. It’s something that people might expect you to understand given that you were planning to run for President at one point. Remember that? LOL. What’s even funnier is that, in the end, Obama did win the popular vote. Trump didn’t even wait until results stopped funnelling in to call for this revolution. Of course, all of this makes sense when you consider Trump’s life trajectory. Dude is a trust-fund baby who has never been deprived of anything in his entire life. For some reason (tax credits), he really wanted Romney to win and when that didn’t happen he threw a tantrum. The whole system should change so that little entitled Donald can get his way! He had no hesitation when invoking the violent imagery of revolution. It did not occur to him that “revolution” is something people call for when they lack basic necessities, when they are willing to die for their cause. Donald Trump probably has no idea what a revolution even looks like.
In 1970, the late, revered poet Gil Scott-Heron released his classic spoken-word piece entitled “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” In Donald Trump’s likely conception of the revolution, it would probably be a fucking pay-per-view event; “The Revolution: Brought to you by Trump Real Estate.” He’d buy billboards to promote the revolution and put his stupid, fucking face on them. Worse yet, Trump would probably find an asinine way to incorporate the revolution into one of his celebrity apprentice challenges. I can see it now; “the team that recruits the most rebels will receive immunity and the team who loses will have to face…the boardroom.” In the boardroom, Trump would probably give an obnoxious speech about the proper method of recruiting rebels before firing the project manager for not having the foresight to go after disenfranchised youth or something…..Of course, this is no more than a fairy tale concocted within the deluded mind of Donald Trump. It baffles me that Donald Trump does not realize that in any real revolution, he would likely be the first person to die.
**Disclaimer: By no means am I advocating violence against Donald Trump. It’s a shame that I have to disclaim this, but a lot people on the internet are stupid and might take that last sentence the wrong way.
A couple months ago, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who spent a good portion of her life living in The Ukraine. Due to some weird need I have to try and hear as much music as humanly possible, I asked her to send me some popular Ukrainian music. Much to my surprise and eventual misery, she sent me a rap song. Though it’s not in humanity’s best interests for anyone to have to see this, I’m going to post it here to provide some reference.
In recent times, I’ve tried my best to reserve judgement on other peoples’ music tastes. Partly because I want to seem less douchey/elitist, but mostly because I lost that right when I started listening to Waka Flocka Flame unironically. In the case of this particular song however, I am going to make an exception. If you like this song, you are objectively a horrible person. I hope all your electronic products have terrible battery lives and I hope your shoelaces are always wet. Full disclosure; I have no idea what this song is about because I don’t speak Ukrainian or Russian. In fact, I don’t even know if the song is sung in Ukrainian or Russian. I’m making all of my judgements strictly off of the music video. Note to self: Be less ignorant.
Anyways, watching this music video got me to thinking. These Ukrainian artists haven’t developed this view of hip-hop arbitrarily. They didn’t just wake up one day and say “We should put a bulldozer filled with money in our music video….Yeah, that’d be crazy. Then we can get a woman to rub the money on her titties” Even if it were satire, it’s badly written and painfully obvious. But this perception of hip hop has to have come from somewhere. Unfortunately, the painful realization is that this view must have come from hip-hop in North America. Is this what hip-hop looks like to foreigners? Do these guys look at Rick Ross and not realize that he’s playing a character? Separated from the context of the culture, it just seems cheesy and obnoxious. But then again, how relevant is hip-hop culture to a guy like Rick Ross? Most hip-hop was born of a very distinct culture. The black experience in America, being marginalized, the necessity to compete for survival, the feeling of succeeding when you’re constantly at a disadvantage; A desire to channel all these experiences artistically was the conception of hip-hop. When a rapper talked about how much money he had, it wasn’t because he wanted to brag. Rather, it was because he was overcome with joy at the fact that he was able to succeed in a world where he wasn’t supposed to. When a rapper then rapped about how much more money he had than you, it wasn’t because he wanted to rub it in your face, it was because life had always taught him that you must compete to survive. Again, full disclosure: I’m a 21 year old, suburban, Canadian kid of Indian descent talking about hip-hop culture. Take all of this with about 20 grains of salt. To be clear, I’m not saying that these things don’t still exist in America. Of course they do. But, are they as relevant to Rick Ross as they were to Ice T? Is it possible that the culture has been diluted over the years? I mean, the mere fact that I love hip-hop and I can relate to zero of those experiences must say something. I can recall a day when I was listening to the song “Clap” by Saigon and jamming along to the part that says “Clap your hands if you’re tired of hearing gunshots” when I realized that I’ve never heard a single gunshot. Unless you count white people racistly imitating Jamaicans and going “boop boop boop” …which I don’t think you can. So, this must speak to the fact that hip hop is no longer strictly about that culture. Like everything else in popular culture, once hip-hop became successful, people decided they’d capitalize off of its success. Many people who hadn’t lived the hip-hop culture decided they’d try to emulate it. This is how you get people like Mac Miller, an upper-middle class Jewish guy, rapping about how much money he has. Or Rick Ross, a documented former correctional officer, talking about selling kilos of cocaine. I’m sure their intentions aren’t to make a perversion of hip-hop culture, but in essence, this is what they are doing. But can they be blamed? It’s not like they’re the first people to do this. They’re simply following people who have done the same things in the past.
And so, finally, I’m getting around to my point. The caricaturization of hip-hop; why those Ukrainians had the perception of hip hop that they did. As time passes, hip hop becomes diluted at an exponential rate. You have people like Rick Ross who are emulating other people but then you have people rapping today who are emulating Rick Ross. Kids grow up today with Mac Miller as their influence. The longer this chain goes on, the further the artform deviates from its original state. We’ve taken something that was once true, reproduced it so many times, each time perverting it a little bit more. Because it’s so far from what it once was, everything begins to look like a satire by default. To give an analogy: think about the current Hollywood obsession with vampires. It has somehow reached a point where they’re making a movie where Abraham Lincoln is a vampire hunter. Does that not seem like a satire? So basically, I’m saying that Rick Ross is the “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” of rap music. To be clear, I’m not trying to hate on Rick Ross. The dude is a very talented rapper and I like a lot of his music. However, to further prove my point, imagine a scenario where Rick Ross wasn’t a famous rapper. Imagine you encountered Rick Ross at a restaurant and he was playing the exact same character he plays as a rapper. You would probably find it hilarious. You would tell all your friends about that fat guy you met who was clearly a correctional officer but tried to convince everyone he was a drug dealer. You might love him ironically but, by no means, would you take him seriously. And this is my point: That Ukrainian music video looked like the worst satire ever because it was emulating so many other things that looked like satire.
Editorial disclaimer: I’m not some annoying backpacker, rap purist who wants to go back to 1994. I’m not too sure why I wrote this. These were just some random thoughts floating around in my head that I wanted to get out.
If you know me at all, you know that one of my favourite things to do is to hate things. It’s like a pastime of mine. Some people paint, others play a sport, whereas me, I like to develop hatred towards any arbitrary thing that catches my attention. It’s very healthy. At least, that’s what I’d imagine a therapist would say about it if I were to ever consult one. Perhaps the only thing in this world that I don’t hate is when people tell me to “stop sippin’ the haterade.” Because really, who could get mad at an amazing turn of phrase like that?! Speaking of turns of phrases (an immaculate segue if I do say so myself), the point of this blog is to hate on a very different turn of phrase. The phrase I’m referring to is one that has caused my level of hate to rise to a point so high that its altitude is unmatched by almost anything else I can think of (except perhaps current gas prices. HA! topical, right?). The expression I’m referring to is “life’s too short.” These three words when used in this order have caused my blood to boil to such an extent that I have no choice but to write a blog about it that no one will read. (I really have to work on a more violent way to express my anger.)
If for no other reason at all, I hate the phrase “life’s too short,” simply because it’s cliché and completely devoid of any real meaning. Perhaps someone should tell people who say the phrase “life’s too short” that life IS too short. Life is definitely too short to be an unoriginal douchebag who says things like “life’s too short.” Yeah douchebag, life IS too short. It’s too short for you because, if there was any justice in the world, you would be killed immediately for using the phrase “life’s too short.” By the way, I’m aware of the painful irony of using the phrase “life’s too short” to make fun of those who say “life’s too short.” But I’ve never claimed to be anything other than an unoriginal douchebag, so it’s okay.
Of course, this rant isn’t going to end here (though I suspect you might wish it did). My problems with this expression extend way beyond its banal nature. I hate the phrase “life’s too short,” mostly because I hate the people who use it. In my experience, the people who use this phrase are optimists. These optimists are usually attempting to shrug off some sort of negative experience, or alternatively, attempting to persuade others to shrug off a negative experience. Did I mention I hate optimists? What the fuck is there to be optimistic about in this world? Next time you’re feeling even slightly optimistic, think about a starving child and put your shit back into perspective. But this is a discussion for a different time. My problem here is that people who use the phrase “life’s too short” aren’t even good optimists. Like, if you’re going to be optimistic, be optimistic. Marry a kitten at 5 in the morning or do whatever the fuck it is that optimists do. Don’t just continually remind yourself and others of their impending doom. By saying “life’s too short,” you’re basically saying “you’re going to die and so will all of your friends and family” This is a wildly inappropriate thing to tell someone when they’ve just had some sort of negative experience. Could you imagine if you were to come to me and tell me “I lost my job today,” and I was to respond by saying “Don’t worry too much man. You and everyone you know will die.” I’d imagine the reception to this would be a lot less welcoming than if I were to have said “Don’t worry too much man. Life’s too short.” MEANWHILE, I’M SAYING THE EXACT SAME THING. As an optimist, I’ve completely failed. A much better way to approach this would have been to respond, “That sucks. But go ahead and dwell on that as long as you want because you’ll get over it eventually and then you’ll have the rest of eternity to do other shit since we are all immortal.” Of course, I’d be lying, not to mention speaking in run-on sentences. But let’s be honest, aren’t all optimists liars anyways (to themselves)? I’m kidding. Sort of.
I know what you’re thinking now. You’re probably thinking, there’s NO WAY he has MORE to say about this topic. And like the clairvoyant individual I am, I’m right. Unfortunately, however, you are not. I still have a shit ton to say about this topic. Why, you may ask? Well, your answer is as good as mine. The next reason I hate the phrase “life’s too short” is because it presupposes effective time management skills; something people do not consider when they say it. Go ahead and say “life’s too short.” Sure. Just recognize that if you’re going to do so, you must be prepared to defend your use of every minute of your life. What the fuck do you do with your time anyways that’s so important that you can’t take some time out to experience a negative emotion that could potentially help you grow as a human being? I’ll go so far as to say that if you’ve ever watched even five minutes of MTV programming, the phrase “life’s too short” is off limits to you. Otherwise, the implication of this is that you’re aware of your mortality at all times and yet you STILL chose to watch that episode of Jersey Shore. By saying, “life’s too short” one is basically saying that every moment he/she has ever spent on this Earth has been devoted to something profoundly important. If this is the case, I relinquish you the right to use the expression “life’s too short” without any sort of judgement. I doubt, however, that such a person would want this right. There’s no way that such a profound individual would say a shitty phrase like “life’s too short.”
I’m almost done. I promise. For now, you’re forced to continue reading because you’re pretty much pot-committed. Anyways, my hatred for the aforementioned expression reaches its most tenacious when the expression is qualified with a specific condition. From time to time, I will see a statement that says something like “Life is too short to ____________ (insert something stupid here). When this happens, I get angrier than Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie from Saved By The Bell) must have been when her film career didn’t take off after all the distasteful nudity in “Showgirls.” And yes, I’m going with that ridiculously outdated, obscure movie reference because I can’t think of anything better. Recently, I saw a caption on someone’s facebook picture that actually said the words “life is too short to be anything but happy.” The level of stupidity of this caption is actually what inspired this blog post. First of all anonymous person, why is this the caption to your picture? Is this really what the picture is supposed to convey? This exact sentiment? Did you think it would portray an image of you as being a cute, fun-loving individual? Or, was it a misguided attempt to be deep? I DON’T UNDERSTAND. In any case, WHAT THE FUCK DOES IT EVEN MEAN? Life is too short to experience a full range of human emotions? Huh? I want to sit down with this person and explain to them how emotions work as if they were three years old. I want to explain to this person that emotions work based on a sense of relativity. Does this person not understand that, without ever experiencing unhappiness, she wouldn’t understand what it means to be happy? If happiness is the only thing she ever feels then she won’t be able to appreciate it and she’ll just be an ungrateful asshole. If this is the existence she wants, she should just plug into the fucking matrix and leave the rest of us alone. I wonder what this person must think about people who suffer from depression. In her opinion, are depressed people just not aware enough of their mortality? I can imagine that, in her mind, she must think that crippling depression just shows up to someone’s door and has a conversation like this:
Depression: “Hey, I’m here to greatly hinder your progress as a human being for the next little while”
Human: “Fuck off depression. I’m dying in 60 years”
Depression: “Damnit! Another person who knows how short life is. We’d be able to get so many more people if it wasn’t for that girl’s caption on her facebook picture!”
How does she not understand that emotions are not dictated by one’s awareness of their mortality? To take her conclusion further; if life is too short to be anything but unhappy, she clearly does not experience sadness. This means that this girl has no empathy. She probably watches World Vision commercials and feels the same emotions she feels while skipping rope (simply because life is too short to feel anything else). This leads me back to the conclusion that this girl is an ungrateful asshole. Clearly this girl is a horrible person and not worth talking about anymore.
So, in conclusion, please don’t use the expression “life’s too short.” There is, of course, one exception. If you are using the phrase “life’s too short” to describe why you didn’t read this blog post, I’ll support your usage 100%
Allow me to first begin by saying that I have the utmost respect for what Invisible Children has accomplished. The agency’s ability to create a message effective enough to penetrate through the apathetic walls of today’s youth is a feat that deserves recognition. In addition, their overarching goals to bring an evil man to justice and to create awareness for political strife in Uganda are both admirable. I would also like to disclaim that I am not criticizing simply for the sake of criticizing. I am criticizing because I see a need to further question something that many people have accepted at face value. I’m not claiming to have the answers to all the questions I will raise but I think it’s important to ask them anyways.
My initial question asks whether or not the majority of people who have seen the Kony video have conducted further research beyond the scope of the 29 minute video? If yes, and you have made an informed decision to support the Invisible Children foundation, then you may stop reading here. If not, and you are one of the people who hit the ‘share’ button on facebook before the video even ended, then I think you need to seriously re-evaluate your idea of what it means to be informed. You have done nothing except for watch one video, created by one agency. Did you even stop to think about the bias that is being presented? At this point, you are no more informed about Uganda than a person who has watched a conspiracy theory documentary about the moon landing is about Nasa. To be clear, I’m not saying that the KONY video is a conspiracy theory, I’m simply saying that it has an inherent bias. Have you investigated Invisible Children’s financial statements and reviewed how much money the company spends on aid and assistance vis-à-vis how much it spends on marketing, filming, and promotion, etc? The numbers may shock you. Might you want to donate or give your support to another agency? Perhaps. To be clear, I’m not saying Invisible Children is an evil organization; I’m just saying, you might want to do a little more questioning. Here is the link to the financial statements for reference: http://c2052482.r82.cf0.rackcdn.com/images/737/original/FY11-Audited%20Financial%20Statements.pdf?1320205055
Another problem I have with the video is its call to action. From what I’m to gather, the video has asked us to lobby our politicians in hopes that they’ll militarily intervene within Central Africa. Aside from the fact that U.S. operations aiding the Ugandan government already exist, I wonder if anyone thought about the implications of this. Did anyone stop to consider whether the Ugandan government wants military intervention? More importantly, do the Ugandan people want military intervention? Does it not sound a bit like intervening in Iraq to find Saddam Hussein? Also, did you consider that the LRA might not be the only guilty party? To be sure, the Ugandan military has also committed many human rights atrocities during the course of a long, bloody, complex civil war. What about the fact that a full scale military intervention would put an end to any peace talks that currently exist, albeit even though they are filled with rhetoric?
Of course, there’s also the issue that finding Kony may not be the best way to contribute to productive development within the region. Sure, let’s say hypothetically that we find Kony; then what? The LRA disbands? Not necessarily. Even if it does, does this put an end to deep-rooted hatred that has existed between two groups of people for many years? Would it maybe be more productive to focus our efforts on dealing with the inherent problems in the region that led to the beginning of the conflict and those that have facilitated its long term persistence? Again, to clarify, I do believe that Kony being brought to justice will have a positive impact, I’m just unsure as to whether this is where all of our attention should be focused.
In my opinion, the Kony 2012 campaign falls victim to the same problems as many internet fads. Though it is a bit course to call this a fad when it has sincerely touched so many people, the truth of the matter is that it’s accurate. When looked at objectively, it is a bunch of people who have focused their collective consciousness on one event for a short period of time, stopping only to gather the minimal amount of information needed, because it will be gone from our consciousness before we know it. I mean, I even saw an Antoine Dodson picture about it. If that doesn’t make it a meme, I don’t know what does. Of course, we can prevent it from going the way of so many other memes by bothering to actually get informed. Please don’t take my word on anything I’ve written here. Feel free to conduct research yourself and argue with me. In fact, I encourage it.
Do you remember Valentine’s day as a kid in elementary school? I do. One thing that stands out in my mind is the rule that the teachers announced every year. Each year, a couple weeks before Valentine’s day, the teacher would stand in front of the class and say, “Just a reminder, if you’re going to give out Valentine’s cards, you have to give one to everyone.” This was, of course, to teach us the very accurate life lesson that everyone is equal and that everyone loves each other equally (*cough*). The result of this rule, it seemed, was that greeting card companies had a field day mass producing shitty, low quality, Valentine’s day cards for kids, with every possible, recognizable face on them. I remember receiving Valentine’s cards with Spiderman on them. These cards had stupid slogans on them like “My spidey sense is tingling…with love, Happy Valentine’s Day!” or literary genius like “I’ll catch you in my web…of friendship, Happy Valentine’s Day!” It didn’t seem to matter to these greeting card companies that Spiderman has nothing to do with valentine’s day; they were simply trying to find a kid-friendly face to put on these cards. Though I haven’t seen children’s Valentine’s day cards in a very long time (A fact I’m surprisingly okay with), I’d imagine today’s cards are similar, except with the faces of pop icons like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. With Hip Hop becoming increasingly affiliated with the mainstream, I began to wonder if, somewhere, there were Valentine’s day cards with rapper’s faces on them. After thinking about this for 3 seconds, I realized how stupid of a thought this was. Even if such cards existed, there’s no way they’d be allowed anywhere near a 3 km radius of a primary school. I took the liberty of making some examples. Oh, and I made one with Amy Winehouse for good measure. Just to prove that girls can be offensive too! Enjoy!