When I was a really young kid, all the black super heroes had the word “black” in their name. Black Lightning, Black Panther, Black Goliath, Black Vulcan, etc. Heck, even the superhero show they watched on episodes of Fat Albert featuring a black superhero was called “The Brown Hornet.” The only black super hero not named “Black Something-or-other” that I knew of was The Falcon.
At some point someone gave me a box of Mego super hero dolls (we played with dolls back then…not “action figures”…it was the 70s..idiots hadn’t decided the word “doll” was “gay” yet). One day the little black kid who moved in next door, Evan, came over to play. We took the box of Megos into the backyard and were picking which ones would be on each of our super hero teams. We choose one at a time: he got Hulk, I got Batman, he got Spider-Man, I got Captain America and so on. Then he grabbed his next doll and he says “I get Black Falcon.” And he pulled out the Falcon doll.
I was absolutely sure he was wrong. “That’s the FALCON.”
"Yeah. Black Falcon!" He chirped.
"No, not BLACK Falcon. Just FALCON." I knew this because I had the Captain America and the Falcon Power Records set which was a comic featuring the two fighting Baron Zemo (in the guise of the Phoenix) and a vinyl record with an audio version of the same adventure. He was THE FALCON, dammit.
Evan was adamant that I was wrong and the toy was a little plastic replica of someone named Black Falcon. I think we argued about it briefly then forgot why we were fighting and then did something stupid kids did in 1979. Probably something with Disco, bell bottoms and Star Wars…who knows, it was a long time ago.
But while I don’t remember every detail of life from that time, I have always remembered that argument about that toy. I knew it was wrong that it happened…that a kid, especially a black kid, would automatically assume ANY black super hero would HAVE to have “black” in their name. It took me years to realize we don’t call Batman “White Batman.” I think it was the 90s before I had a real understanding of how messed up that all was.
So here’s the thing: if some 6 year old black kid goes out next year (or whenever this new Fantastic four movie comes out) and he sees someone on the screen that looks like him shooting fire balls at Dr. Doom, and this little kid sees a character whose name doesn’t start with “Black” but instead starts with “Human”…well that a good thing.
And if you are a 40 year old white guy who sees a Black Johnny Storm on screen and you are uncomfortable or angry about it…well, you have bigger, more deep-seeded problems to deal with.
The Champions Classic #1, 2006, cover by Gil Kane and Dan Adkins
I’m funny. I know you’re not supposed to say that, but I am. I don’t like going through life like one of those incredibly attractive people who like to pretend they aren’t hot in a effort to seem humble. False humility is worse than being arrogant….at least arrogance contains truth. I’m funny.
Not every joke lands and I can be esoteric as hell while still essentially making a joke about dooky…so maybe every so often you need a decoder ring to decipher my comments and sometimes I should have workshopped a joke in my head a bit longer. But the jokes tend to NEED to fly out of my mouth quickly or else my brain gets cluttered and full of ideas. The jokes are like little bugs desperately clawing their way out of my skull-cocoon. So I think it is that specific desperation that accounts for my lack of filter.
That being said, I DO have some sort of filter. Because often the funniest things I think of no one ever hears or reads because they seem incredibly mean taken out of context. And make no mistake, that IS humor…someone or something has to be the target of our little joke-missiles. Poking fun means something is being poked…and not in a good penis way. People say such vulnerable, stupid things sometimes…and those things just SCREAM to me to make a joke…sometimes amazingly perfect ones. But I tend to sit on those, because I’m not a completely uncaring asshole.
And I think that is the distinction between being funny and just being mean. A joke sometimes can seem cruel out of context or when received by one either lacking in a sense of humor or overly sensitive. But if it is illuminating some sort of connective tissue previously unseen by others, it is valid. A joke can seem like a cheap shot, but humor is about pushing ideas away from comfort areas. Both can shine a light on truth. Sometimes they are not mutually exclusive. Its only when the cheap shot is the intent and the humor is secondary that it becomes cruel. Where the demarkation between the two exists is debatable. And intent is an important factor in that determination.
That being said, those pants make it look like you sat on a wedding cake before you got dressed this morning.
Everything cancelled because its gonna be cold?
When I was a youth, it was cold everyday, even when it was hot! I had to walk uphill both ways to school, except I couldn’t because we had to eat my legs for dinner…everyday! Our snow was made of fire and Nazis and we died…every….single…day. If any one of us got whiny, Jesus would show up and beat us up until we were American again.
Toughen up, commies!
1) Religion: I’m an atheist, so the Jesus-y stuff (or even the Mithra stuff or any other pagan deity associated with this time of year) does nothing for me, naturally. Pushing religion down a secular nation’s throat seems wrong to me, as well. We ain’t got no claymation Ramadan specials. “I’m Incredibly Hungry, Charlie Brown.”
2) Buying shit: Rampant commercialism is disgusting. Always was, always will be. Much the same way diamond dealers spent decades tricking people into thinking the only way to express love and devotion was by making a foolhardy purchase of a price-controlled rock, so too has society been trained to spend their money for “love” (when all they are really accomplishing is lining the pockets of cynical billionaires). I like to get things for people, but it feels better to me when its natural and about the thing you found being right for that person, than “its X time of year, so I must get them a piece of shit thing or I am bad for reasons.”
3) Lying to children: I know people think this is “cute”, but it is pretty child abuse-y in my book. It also devalues to idea of “giving” when the monetary sacrifice made to buy things for children is done so under the pretense of “magic.” Giving is sacrifice…I give to you because I care about you. Once that part of the concept goes away it no longer teaches the child anything of real value other than “be good for presents.”
4) The damned music: enough already….no more xmas songs. Again, most of them were made in attempt to cash in where other have before: by tying their product to a false sense of nostalgia, thereby masking their innate cynicism and cash lust.
5) Elves are gay: not in the good, homosexual way. The bad way. The way 12 year kids say “gay” but aren’t thinking of dongs.
6) Familial facade: many dysfunctional families put on the nice face and suffer under the pretense that they are a happy unit, merely because its Xmas. Its very sad to see people using a BS holiday to pretend to be happy instead of doing to real heavy emotional lifting year round in an effort to BE a little nicer to each other. You don’t need a tree or a circled day on the calendar to get together.
7) Fruitcake: fucking fruitcake.
8 ) Cycle of work and disappointment: it seems like in America, xmas comes, then goes, then people spend the next year just working towards to goal of it being xmas again. Maybe Sisyphus and his boulder would be a better xmas holiday mascot than Santa?
9) The decorations: the frickin’ lights waste so much energy this year…the impact on the environment (which, y’know, is the thing that makes us NOT DIE) is MASSIVE. Wasteful, polluting, and ugly.
10) Santa Clause is a creepy child stalking bastard: “Hey, kid…an old fat man in red pajamas watches you. All. The. TIME. He also judges you and sneaks into your house. You are so fucked, kid.” Terrifying.
Oh my fucking christ: the wingnuts are now spreading a video featuring Ashton Kutcher lecturing people about the value of hardwork. This mother fucker has never worked an honest day in his life. He has such a strong work ethic that his first job as a teenager was third-degree burglary. Oh, wait? Thats NOT a job?
Then he had a part time job one time sweeping floors for an ENTIRE SUMMER (what a workaholic, right?). He was then plucked out of obscurity for having the amazing talent of being a pretty lady boy, was a male model for a year, then was given millions of dollars to be on TV where he employed his unique brand of “YELL “Acting”” (“acting” has two sets of quotes for obvious reasons).
Listen teabillies: the next time you want to lecture poor people for being “lazy” (read: not having the privilege of being born male & white), please use an example that doesn’t seem like it was written ironically by the Onion.
Also: fuck you.
We’re gonna need a larger slice.