Thoughts Roundup 8/1/22: Hot Cinnamon Spice, Genocide & Juice, The Killer’s Shopping List, Don’t Get The Job, Police Brutality

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One thing I’ve been thinking about the past year is death. In the past year, I’ve seen multiple deaths or near-deaths of people in my family within 10 years of my age and that honestly really fucked with me. One morning I was thinking about my cousin who was shot and murdered in his mid 30s not too long ago and thinking “man, that’s so young, I could have been him.” That same day, I was informed my godbrother was killed walking home from work down the street from me by a drunk driver.

It quite honestly made me feel like shit. And for some reason, I kept his obituary tab open on my phone’s browser for a while. I’m not sure why, because for a good while, every time I saw that tab while regularly browsing, it would sting me a little. Is that some type of survivor’s guilt? Some self-inflicted mental harm to make me feel better? Who knows. I don’t want sympathy for feeling any of this, but I find whatever drove me subconsciously to never close that tab to be an objectively interesting phenomenon.

That’s the end of my general thoughts for today. Here’s my thoughts on some tea, television, games, music, and writing below:

Tea:

If I had to recommend one black tea from Harney & Sons, I’d recommend their Hot Cinnamon Spice. Absolute banger of a tea that I just re-upped on. It’s a perfect blend of cinnamon and natural sweetness that kinda swims around your mouth that I fuck with heavily. It also blends with other teas really well. It may not be fancy, but as far as cheaper readily-available teas go, I have yet to find better.

TV:

The Killer’s Shopping List

I love murder mystery stories, and this K-drama show’s premise interested me: What if you could narrow down a serial killer by their shopping list? The main character of this show is a grocery store clerk who attempts just that on the trail of a murderer. While I found this show to be a bit predictable at times with an honestly lackluster ending, I’d still recommend it. I love the quirky characters, including the main character’s probably-too-attractive-for-him-because-shes-played-by-a-kpop-star cop girlfriend who is strangely attracted to men with freakish memories and observation skills like the main character.

This show also has some really heavy-handed pro-trans propaganda in it, which honestly, wasn’t even distracting to me and I found it to be really nice that it took time to humanize a trans character.

Music:

Genocide & Juice — The Coup (1994)

I actually really love Genocide & Juice. I think it’s one of the better politically-charged albums in rap history. It starts off with a fun story on Fat Cats, Bigga Fish where Boots Riley’s character raps about hustling to get by and plots robbing a nearby party of rich folk who are on a plot to hustle of their own:

“Our real estate firm says opportunity’s arousing
To make some condos out of low-income housing
Immediately, we need some media heat
To say that gangs run the street and then we bring in the police fleet!

Harass and beat everybody till they look inebriated
When we buy the land, motherfuckas will appreciate it”

A rather realistic fictional story, Boots paints a picture of American elites plotting to exaggerate gang presence to justify higher police presence in black neighborhoods and gentrify them on top of it. It’s a sharp political consciousness in 1994 that remains relevant today in 2022. And refreshing but also depressing when you compare it to Jay Z’s lamenting about not gentifrying his hood on Story of OJ.

At the end of Fat Cats, Bigga Fish, Boots’s character is overwhelmed by what he overhears and proclaims:

“…Ain’t no one player that could beat this lunacy
Ain’t no hustler on the street could do a whole community

…“Puddin’-Tane” is my middle name, but I can’t hang
I’m getting hustled, only knowing half the game”

On the following track, Pimps (Free Stylin At The Fortune 500 Club), The Coup rap from the perspective of American elites, specifically verses from the perspective of David Rockerfeller, Jean Paul Getty, and yes, Donald Trump. If you could pick it up by the title, their verses liken American elites to pimps and the verse from the perspective of Getty makes the metaphor clear:

“I’m getting rich off petroleum wars
Controlling you whores, making you eat Top Ramen
While I eat shrimp, y’all motherfuckas is simps”

From bringing up the fact American wars often are fought from the basis of extracting resources to linking Donald Trump with said crowd, this aged pretty damn well from 1994.

Games:

Don’t Get The Job is a browser-based game with a very simple premise: don’t get the job. You’re on a job interview and you have to tank it as much as you can and ensure you don’t get hired. It sounds like a simple task, but these interviewers are insanely tone deaf and oblivious, so even when you insult them, they might take it in a good way. A funny game and quite different way to spend 15 minutes or so.

Articles/Essays:

He Never Mattered - Poor Black Males and the Dark Logic of Intersectional Invisibility by Tommy Curry

One of the biggest questions I had about the mainstream Black Lives Matter movement was the claim I’ve seen that police violence focuses too much on black males.

As Curry states in the essay above: “…In fact, even after explicitly documenting that Black men were 248 of the 258 deaths among Black Americans in fatal police shootings in 2015 and 223 of the 243 victims of fatal police shootings in 2016, the comments on my paper said nothing about whether my interpretation of the data was correct and showed both that Black males comprised well over 90 percent of the victims of fatal police violence

I’ve always wondered, what is the point in claiming black men are overrespresented when it comes to police violence? Is it suggesting that as activists we give too much energy towards men instead? Are we suggesting we provide an analysis of racial justice that goes beyond police violence? Cause I’d listen. I think there’s very much room to talk about broader issues of race, whether we’re talking about from a class point of view or bringing attention to the fact black women are three times more likely to die in pregnancy than white women, or whatever issues we could grab out of the vast ocean that is racial injustice in America. But why simply distort the fact that black men are often the hashtags and given attention for police violence simply because…they are the majority of the victims of it by far?

Curry explores this notion brilliantly, I’m glad I wasn’t alone in questioning that narrative.

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