Being as I am a crotchety old fart, I know what's best for everybody including me. So I keep my ass on the straight and narrow and protect my soul from undue influence. You know. From the Element. But it's easy to find and sometimes it sneaks in and jes grows. Not much you can do but convert like Sir Nose. It's not like I never learned to swim or can't catch the rhythm of the stroke. It's just that once you've swum the English Channel, it's time to move on. And so I did, and every once in a while crack wise on those who are just knee deep, and even those who are totally deep. Swimming ain't all of human locomotion. Sometimes you have to bike. Sometimes you have to climb. Sometimes you have to run.
So I strayed off the path for a bored minute - waiting for a download to complete - and wound up at the NYT, which remains in my bookmarks but is low on the visit priority. I watched a few of the front page videos. One about a happy young couple. One about a dude who draws subway commuters with his fingers on an iPhone. One about Chinese head banging mosh boys. Eclexia about somewhat extraordinary people all over the world. Then I drifted over through other sections. The NYT is an enormous and unfocused enterprise, as are most newspapers. They do too much to be authoritative, but at least they have a system. I landed at the critical section and watch AO Scott talk about 'A Perfect World'. I remember that movie. It was that good. I like Eastwood, he's the generation of man I learned from. You don't think of him as part of a happy young couple, a head banger or somebody who does digital fingerpaint. If the Times did more stories about men of Eastwood's stature, they'd be a smaller business, and better in my estimation. But, there is a need for frills.
Baraka Flaka Flames is a satire video that can be appreciated for what it is, but is better appreciated for what it almost is. It's a multileveled parody of Barack Obama, hoodrat culture and rapper Waka Flocka Flame. I didn't know any of these 'oka nouns until this morning, thanks to the Times. Sometime since I used to hang out there between 1979 and 81, they have changed the name of The Jungle to The Jungles. My estimate is that is because Bloods have split it up. It was still one jungle when Denzel did his movie and the cliche of the hard ghetto backdrop still has currency. The last time I paid attention to such a music video and let it jes grow on me was the introduction of a cat whose name I forget, but who made ... you know, that big hit with all the people dancing in the street and bouncing lowriders and him in the middle of the crowd with his crew... You must have seen it. Seriously, I can't remember. (diligence). Nelly. Country Grammar. Wow, that was a while back. Seems tame.
But the harder rap that Waka Flocka Flame presents is unquestionably in the mainstream of gangsta. What could be more gangsta than being the leader of the mu'fuckin' free ass world?
James Davis, who plays Obama in the video cites as inspiration 'Fear of a Black Hat' and Dave Chapelle, the two most brainy parodies of hiphop and black hoodrat culture. I think he deserves to be in that pantheon in the short subject category.
Over here at Cobb, we mock overserious liberals and their progressive agendas. It doesn't matter what Davis' politics are, he's got the parody smack dabbed. Living in that shadow world of hood-adjacency, in it but not of it, this one rises above and delivers something inescapably wry. It's crazy enough to have a rapper with a name like Waka Flocka Flame, but inspired to take it to this next level. It reminds me of the old crufty mixes of the 70s when somebody would mix in a goofy reporter's fake questions with answers cut from the popular songs of the day. While in some eyes, this might qualify as 'negative images', it will be interesting to see how opinion forms around this video and all that it sends up.