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Op Ed

Minor Rant in Stereo

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eclectic-novelty-signsI listen to a lot of music, much of it through headphones. Sometimes because I have to, like when I’m on the train or if my girl is watching TVBut a lot of the time I use headphones because I want to. I like the solitary feeling of that enclosed sonic space. It allows me to listen to the same song over and over again. Maybe I want to hear I Would Die For You by Prince on repeat my whole commute. Don’t judge my journey.

I have great memories of headphones going way back to my single digits. Dad had huge over the ear cans when I was a kid with a thick coiled wire that allowed you to go anywhere in our green shagged living room. I remember that blasting Santana’s Abraxas through those were like a portal to another world.

Years later in my teens I’d take long pouty walks listening to Synchronicity by The Police on my Sony Walkman. Eventually, the discman came along and I dug nothing more than cranking some Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Outkast, and They Might Be Giants at dangerously high volumes through my headphones. You got a problem with They Might Be Giants?

Every year it gets harder and harder to figure out which is the right and which is the left headphone.

Somewhere along the line something changed. I’m pretty sure it started with the iPod. Now, I love the iPod. I dreamed of being able to access the entirety of my music collection on a small device for years. When it finally came around, no one was as thrilled as me, but it brought with it a change to headphones that I just can’t understand.

leftI’m not talking about audio fidelity here. You can argue the pros and cons of compression till the cows come home. I’m talking about something a little more practical; labeling.

Every year it gets harder and harder to figure out which is the right and which is the left headphone. Take a look at your headphones after a few months of use. Can you even tell which is which anymore? Look at these Samsungs. Came with my phone. White, barely raised, tiny, hardly noticeable at actual size. Great setup for a penis joke but not a headphone.

Do I really need a flood light so I can tell which holes to put these in? I’m liable to stick them anywhere.

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I can’t understand who benefits from this.

When I wanna get to the bottom of something, I think about who benefits and reverse engineer from there. For the life of me I can’t understand who benefits from this.

Look at these pricey discontinued Sennheisers. Even zoomed in I can’t get a sharp picture of the indicator. That R looks like a dot at 100%, trust me. Especially bouncing on the bus, yo.

Maybe we’ll get to the point where everything is Bluetoothed right to your ear drums or hard-wired into our colons, but for now I need solutions.

20141221_144259micro1These Klipsch headphones have two indicators. It’s too bad you can’t read either. See the indicator on the headphone wire itself? Dark grey against a darker grey?

And can you even see the other indicator? Nighttime happens, headphones companies. And dimly lit afternoons. You’d have trouble seeing these in the clearest light of day.

Wait, maybe it’s eyeglass companies that benefit from this?

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And it’s not just in-ear headphones. These Velodyne’s over-the-ear cans have a small stamp in the metal on the inside of the headband that you can only see if you angle it towards Mecca.

Really? Do I have to draw large L’s and R’s with a permanent marker on all my headphones? How am I supposed to look cool?

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Listen, I know a lot of stuff is going on in the world that’s super-important. Maybe ISIS shot down a Russian plane over Egypt. Maybe our next President will be a billionaire xenophobe or a narcoleptic neurosurgeon. In the grand scheme of things, blogging about headphones seems like whiny hipster bullshit… but to paraphrase Plato, music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, and flight to the imagination. That’s some important shit right there.

Brooklyn's own MC Krispy E has an opinion about most things you can put in your ear, eye, and mouth holes.

Op Ed

WHO IS SAM NUNBERG?

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Sam Nunberg ran a one man blitz on the news circuit yesterday at a phrenetic pace that would make Trump’s tweets jealous. In a matter of a few hours he managed to get interviewed by multiple networks and increasingly displayed just how much of a shambles our political atmosphere is in. If you didn’t know who he is or just how much of a joke this presidency is….i’m sure you do now. His erratic behavior, off color remarks and see-saw style of communicating is a microcosm of how bizarre the “leadership” of this country has conducted itself.

If you didn’t know who he is or just how much of a joke this administration is….i’m sure you do now


Sam began his day with words of bravado defying the subpoena issued by Robert Mueller’s office.  Followed by insults to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Corey Lewandowski, Carter Page, Donald Trump and a slew of other characters associated with the administration. He saved his kind words and admiration for the two “stand up guys”, Roger Stone & Steve Bannon, we’ve all grown to love (SARCASM).

Sam Nunberg is also the same individual that was hired by the Trump campaign, then fired, then rehired just to be fired again. He was later sued by Trump for 10 million dollars (which was settled amicably) but remains a supporter despite disliking him for poor treatment. Does that have your head spinning yet? If not, there’s more!

During Nunberg’s later rants in the evening, he suggested that the FBI does have some damaging information on Trump and that he would end up cooperating with the investigation afterall. Yes you just read that change of heart in the same article.

Believe it or not…this is the reality show we are living under in America these days and this is the worse one yet!

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Op Ed

SHIT HOLES?

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Everyone is up in arms about a shitty person calling a couple of countries shit holes. But the most relevant news is not the insult from the Juvenile in Chief but the opportunities that could no longer exist for thousands of productive individuals. The words are hollow but the effects are real, and can be very impactful to our country’s future.

Immigrants are the driving force behind a growing nation and prosperous country. To put it bluntly there is no future without immigration. As this nation gets older we need the younger population to take their place in the economy to uphold the promise of this nation to all its tax payers.

The program is based on contributions that workers make into the system. While you’re employed, you pay into Social Security; you receive benefits later on, when it’s your turn to retire

Not surprisingly the immigrants that Trump negatively targeted are people of color. African countries, El Salvador and Haiti drew the ire of the “leader” of the free world. In his racist views he believes the aforementioned places don’t add value to America, but a nation with predominantly caucasian citizens like Norway do.

Not only are those assertions racist, they’re incorrect! If the President had the common sense, capability or inclining to think before he spoke, he could have just googled “what group of immigrants have the highest level of education in the u.s?”. That simple task would have saved him the embarrassment of finding out that the people he chose to disparage are exactly the type of people who have the aptitude we supposedly require.

A disproportionate percentage of black students at elite universities are immigrants or children of immigrants. Nigerian immigrants have the highest education attainment level in the United States, surpassing every other ethnic group in the country, according to U.S Bureau Census data.

So for all of those worshippers and followers that continue to hide behind their blinders while vigorously defending the Racist in Chief. I hope you are taking enough time to develop your own defenses when history reminds us of all the shitty people that help turn this country into the United Shithole of America.

 

 

 

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Op Ed

Fuck VSB

mrmarlonrice@gmail.com'

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I read the absolute most horrible blog article of the year this week, a piece written by a male named Damon Young, titled Straight Black Men Are the White People of Black People. It took me a couple of days to actually read the article, because the title is so disrespectful. In fact, it’s more than disrespectful. It is irresponsible.

To attempt to make a snarky comparison between the acute and despicable damage that the white race has inflicted, not just on Blacks in America, but on all peoples of color across the world, to even try and somehow equate this with the complex relationship between Black Men and Black Women is completely irresponsible. Completely Irresponsible. Either this Damon Young doesn’t know the history of White people, or he doesn’t know the history of Black people, or maybe he doesn’t care either way.

These new generation bloggers value cuteness over substance, and because the weaponization of tolerance in this country has decimated the ability to check anyone on their ways and actions, clowns like Damon Young get to write unmitigated bullshit without having to answer for it.

These new generation bloggers value cuteness over substance.

So, it took me a couple of days to read the article. I wanted to ignore it, just like I ignore most of the corrupt verbiage you find on social media. But, what I began to witness in my newsfeeds and timelines was what always happens when some irresponsible full-of-himself prick writes something that low-key reinforces the white supremacist strategy of tearing apart the Black family. Black men and women were beginning to have public heated debates and arguments about the article. You see Damon Young, our Brothers and our Sisters are damaged by a litany of issues, some self-inflicted, and others systemic. Emotionally hurt and damaged people will always start their personal healing process with finding someone or something to blame. It’s called the blame game, basic Psych 101. It is always easier for a person confronted with the truth, that things aren’t the way they should be, to blame someone else for what is wrong, rather than to look at themselves. Humans do it all of the time. This is why it is so important that those of us who have created a voice in our communities and in our common spaces use that voice responsibly. As soon as I began reading the arguments on Facebook, I knew for true that Damon Young had done no such thing.

Our Brothers and our Sisters are damaged by a litany of issues, some self-inflicted, and others systemic.

I will use plain and direct words to describe my thoughts on the article. The first thing that I want to say is that I do not disagree with the assertion that misogyny exists in our culture. Yes, misogyny exists. Our sisters are constantly under attack in our communities, whether from perverts and aggressive attention seekers that push for our sister’s acknowledgement when she just wants to get on the train and go to work, or from the popular music of our culture which continues to glorify the objectification of our women as nothing more than strippers and promiscuous women of advantage and deceit. This is the absolute truth of us. Our culture is misogynistic. I have a mother, two sisters, two daughters and two nieces that all live and experience the misogynistic side of our culture every time they step foot out of the house. Denying its existence is also irresponsible, and no man should ever try to downplay or minimize these issues as women see them. I learned from a woman that if a person feels wronged in any way, even if you don’t fully understand how they were wronged, it is still in bad taste to deny to them that they have been wronged. This action is called compassion. I have a great deal of compassion for my sisters, and would never look to write anything that takes away from their plight as women, living in a patriarchal society bereft of justice and equality.

Black men are the White men of absolutely nothing.

My problem with the article is Damon Young’s weak attempt to draw parallels between the way he feels about Black Man/Woman relationships and the privilege that White men specifically are able to exercise in this society, and it is that attempt that sours this article. I feel weird having to even address why this parallel makes no sense. Even more, Damon admits that he didn’t even make the term up. He says he read it somewhere. So, he read this silly phrase somewhere and accepted it? Says a whole lot about him. Black men are the White men of absolutely nothing. There is no Black man privilege, no place where our Black masculinity is enough to part waters or change policy. Your own article proves the fallacy Damon. When have you ever wrote anything as stirring and vehement regarding White men? This diatribe you posted, masked as some form of progressive journalism, speaks in way too many plural pronouns. We aren’t all included in your assessment of what Black men aren’t doing, and if you were a Black man you’d know that. We aren’t all turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the literal and figurative issues that our sisters face on a daily basis. We aren’t ignoring misogynistic language or going blind to domestic abuse. And, we are certainly not resistant to discussing these issues with Black Women, and offering our unwavering support and security. No, I and others like me are not included in your we. Your generalizations are amazingly narrow-minded, and better suited for whatever males you hang with, but with all due respect, don’t ever in your life speak as if you’re speaking to or for the whole.

Instead of serving as a basic buffoon, ready and eager to use a broad stroke to point out issues in such a polarizing manner, issues that in truth can only be repaired as a whole, together, and not by taking sides, you should be using your vehicle to build bridges, and not to throw a certain group under the bus. That connection you guys have made with The Root recently has you acting like them now, politely backslapping Black men whenever you see an angle to do so. Maybe that’s what your check writers want from you, I wouldn’t know. However, your article serves as a perfect example of why dudes like GFK and KRS-One used to look for Hip Hop journalists in these streets to offer corrective advice to when they felt it was needed. You have a responsibility as someone who has a voice to use that voice in a responsible manner. Calling out Black Men as being the White people of Black people is irresponsible, not to mention dangerous to whatever gains we’ve made with regards to our complex and layered relationship with Black Women.

By using your article to reinforce stereotypes in such a blanketed fashion, you’ve done more harm than good. So, hold that Damon. And, be prepared to stand firm on your ideals when confronted.

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