Thursday, August 30, 2007

Afrogeek Mom and Dad review Chris Rock's "I Think I Love My Wife"

Inspired by Alison and my's review of "Becoming Jane," Brian and I bring you a review of Chris Rock's "I Think I Love My Wife." The basic plot is that Rock's character is married with two kids, not having sex, and allowing himself to be tempted by the sexy, available, willing woman from his past.


Conseula: So, my constant refrain throughout this movie was "grow up!" Actually, I used a little more profanity than that, but this is a family blog. I spent the majority of the film being absolutely infuriated with Chris Rock's character (and maybe that's the point), but I'll come back to that later. What I really want to talk about is the pop culture's erroneous notion that married couples don't have sex, primarily because married women lose all interest once they get a ring on their finger.

Brian: Personally, I don't know anything about married women and sex, or anything about single women and sex. Actually, I don't know all that much about sex. [Indeed, the two children are a mystery.--C] What I do know about is horror movies. This movie scared the fluids out of me. How is it that Conseula can't sit through a decent flesh-eating zombie movie, but she can watch a relationship movie without flinching? I shivered, huddled deep under the covers watching the train wreck that was Richard's (Chris Rock's character) life bearing down on him. I think that the most frightening part of the movie was that I could see Richard's doom approaching, while he seemed to be completely oblivious to it. I identified with the male lead, and I saw his fate as my own. (Not that I'd ever consider infidelity. I'm sorta attached to my man parts, and I want to keep it that way.)

Conseula: (He's totally not kidding about the shivering and the huddling. It was kind of cute.) While Brian identified with the male lead, I couldn't really identify with the female lead. Well, there were moments of identification, those moments when Brenda (played by the always stunning Gina Torres) called Richard on his bullshit. But mostly I didn't get this sexless, domestic goddess content to go months on end with no intimate contact from her husband. I'm also really annoyed with this notion of marriage as the place you go to die. I mean what could be better that than finding the one person you want to talk to every single day of your life and then committing yourself to that person? That's not misery, people. That's amazing. And I guess that's the point the movie eventually got to, but the idea of marriage took quite a beating along the way.

Brian: Actually, the marriage thing is working out well for me. [That's good to know.--C] I was never one of those sex-god-use-women-up-like-tissue-paper guys. I guess that is because I always saw women as people with feelings, and for that reason I saw that there was more to them than simple objects of sexual release. In the little dream sequence where Richard fantasizes that he's consuming women like popcorn, I was a little embarrassed. I can't even fantasize about women without their permission, how could I possibly be a serial boinker? Being in a committed, stable, relationship with a woman I actually respect, who I can actually talk to, is a relief for me. It's much easier than trying to live up to some false, Mandingo pipe-slinger persona.

Conseula: And there's my public service to women everywhere--saving them from Mandingo pipe-slinging Brian. I do what I can.

Brian: So, in conclusion, committed relationships are good. Nostalgia for the single life of 20 year olds is okay, and normal. Acting on that nostalgia is always stupid. And I Think I Love My Wife was an okay movie.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Parenting Season

This space has been quiet for a while, primarily due to the start of the new school year. Brian and I like to think of mid-August to early-June as the official Parenting Season. Unlike in the summers, when we certainly have to entertain children on an almost constant basis, we are, neverthless, free to do that entertaining in our own fashion and on our own schedules. Today we might go swimming, tomorrow we may hit the museum, the next day we may spend an afternoon eating ice cream and watching Nickelodeon. Plans can be made and changed at the last minute. Routines can be altered (though not too drastically lest the tightly wound among us freak out). Time can be frittered away as we master Jedi powers in the Star Wars Lego Playstation game.

But then mid-August comes and school begins and we are back on the treadmill. Make no mistake--Brian and I, and parents every where I am sure, breathe a great big sigh of relief that first school morning after children have been dropped off (there really is only so much Nickelodeon a person can watch and I'm sure whatever ancients invented mancala didn't intend for me to play it for hours at a time). But every fall I am struck with how quickly time gets eaten up with homework and PTA meetings and soccer practice and choir performances and Halloween costumes and birthday parties. And how little deviation there can be from the routine lest the whole thing come crashing down. In any case, here are pictures of the girls (affectionately called The Monkey and The Barbarian at home) as we begin the 2007-2008 Parenting Season.

Cate--who is never happier than when she's a wearing hat and glasses, spinning around in a circle and yelling "awesome!"

And Frances, future rock 'n' roll scientist and champion of PacMan World Rally.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Brian McCann is not the babysitter

Brian is in this month's issue of Skirt! magazine. And, as usual, his modesty prevents him from saying anything. Go check him out.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Punch Drunk at 2am

It's moments like these when I question my chosen profession. I have reached the end of this seemingly never-ending marathon that is the process of writing this book on James Baldwin. While I realize there will still be changes and proofing and indexing to be done once the editors see it, the backbreaking, soul-sucking, mind-numbing work of writing it will be done shortly. (I am just about done proofreading the last chapter.) But before I turn it in tomorrow, last commemorate the process. The following pictures were taken in my family's den. For the last three months my children have been unable to eat a proper meal at a proper table because my stack of James Baldwin stuff has gotten increasingly larger and higher.

Here are a mere portion of the books I have been using. Notice Stratego at the bottom of the pile? Brian and Frances had cleared a space on the table to play, and I kicked them off in a fit of writing inspiration.

Here's what my workspace looks like right now. Underneath all this paper is the draft of the next book, which needs to be at the publisher's in a few short weeks.

Here's the corner of my den. There are many, many, many corners of my place that look exactly like this. We've had to clear out kids' toys from our living room to make way for all my Baldwin crap.

I have been informed by my whole family that they will be happy when this is done.
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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

International Blog Against Racism Week

I hunker down for a few days to finish this book and when I pick my head up, the whole world has gone mad. The NAACP is following up their burial of the N-word with a defense of Michael Vick. Al Sharpton is calling for a National Day of Outrage. Barack Obama is in Vibe Magazine (he is looking pretty hot, though).

But are any of them talking about this:
In September 2006, a group of African American high school students in Jena, Louisiana, asked the school for permission to sit beneath a "whites only" shade tree. There was an unwritten rule that blacks couldn't sit beneath the tree. The school said they didn't care where students sat. The next day, students arrived at school to see three nooses (in school colors) hanging from the tree.

The boys who hung the nooses were suspended from school for a few days. The school administration chalked it up as a harmless prank, but Jena's black population didn't take it so lightly. Fights and unrest started breaking out at school. The District Attorney, Reed Walters, was called in to directly address black students at the school and told them all he could "end their life with a stroke of the pen."

Black students were assaulted at white parties. A white man drew a loaded rifle on three black teens at a local convenience store. (They wrestled it from him and ran away.) Someone tried to burn down the school, and on December 4th, a fight broke out that led to six black students being charged with attempted murder. To his word, the D.A. pushed for maximum charges, which carry sentences of eighty years. Four of the six are being tried as adults (ages 17 & 18) and two are juveniles.

Or this:
After dark on June 18, the police say, as many as 10 armed assailants repeatedly raped a Haitian immigrant in her apartment at Dunbar Village and then went further, forcing her to perform oral sex on her 12-year-old son. They took cellphone pictures of their acts. They burned the woman’s skin and the boy’s eyes with cleaning fluid, forced them to lie naked together in the bathtub, hit them with a broom and a gun and threatened to set them on fire.

Gina, from my newest favorite blog, What About Our Daughters, has expressed my outrage and frustration much better than I can (check out her list of the Immorally Indifferent), so I'll just say this: in honor of International Blog Against Racism Week, I encourage you all to do something about racism. Bitching about rap music you don't get doesn't actually do anything about the degradation of black women in this country. Burying the N-word in no way addresses the structures of racism that makes the word still carry so much weight.

Instead, make some noise. Write your congressman. Donate some money. Donate some time. Call out racism when you see it (we live in Charleston people--we see it everyday). When someone tells you you're doing something racist and thoughtless, stop it. When you see someone doing something racist and thoughtless, make them stop. Step outside of your comfort zone and realize that changes you make in the way you live your life everyday--in the way you talk to and treat people, in the decisions you make, in the jokes you tell, where you send your kids to school and where you choose to live--can make a difference. It's not marching to Selma or refusing to give up your seat on a bus, but it matters.