Month: December 2009

A Christmas Present at the Movies

With my carolling song book packed away for next year, my Dickens Fair costume tucked into its moisture controlled box and my crush on Jude Law firmly in place, I spent a lovely Christmas evening enjoying Sherlock Holmes. 

Not only was the movie itself great–old London, great pacing and direction, a beauty standard I could never live up to–but I got an extra special surprise during the previews before the film even began.

Now, it is important to note that the expectations for the box office draw for Sherlock Holmes were high. Execs were counting on just bunches and bunches of people seeing this flick, so it was important to front load the feature with trailers that would appeal to most people–i.e, trailers that reflected what most people would want and expect to see from a quality film. 

The trailers did not disappoint and once again, reinforced how much and why we Oreos don’t want to be black. Please allow me to break down the films based on the trailers shown tonight for you.

Season of the Witch – Nick Cage battles an evil lady.

  • Things White People Do In This Movie: Be intriguingly in league with thedevil, intelligently discover what is going wrong in the town, find the right man for the job, assemble a group of capable men, belong to the group of capable men, save the day.
  • Things Black People Do In This Movie: n/a (judging from the trailer, there appear to be no black people appearing in this film.)

Date Night – Tina Fey and Steve Carrell love each other and get into mishaps.

  • Things White People Do In This Movie – be in love, work on their relationship, take care of their TMJ, have children who love them, go to fancy dinners, have enough money to be wanted by thugs, lead each other on a clever cat and mouse chase through the streets of a major city, be gorgeous even when poverty stricken, look super hot in their high tech apartment.
  • Things Black People Do In This Movie – Scare people. According to this trailer, there’s one black guy in this film and he has no lines in the trailer. A quick analysis of movies means this is probably because he has few lines in the movie at all or because his lines are inappropriate for a trailer. So he’s either foul or unnecessary. Either way, I don’t wanna be that guy.

Iron Man 2 – Robert Downey, Jr. is sexy.

  • Things White People Do In This Movie – Be sexy, invent world-changing technology, run courtrooms, bring a room to its feet, tease each other andmake cute jokes about other movies about white people, fly, grace the covers of magazines, fight badassly in impossibly tight costumes, win.
  • Things Black People Do In This Movie – look pensive, fight, replace other black people. Instead of Terrance Howard, we have Don Cheadle in this sequel. And according to the trailer dons an Iron Man suit himself. Again, he has no lines in the trailer, so it’s hard to tell what his attitude is except one of support and service to his white buddy, Rob. 
  • Things Other People of Color Do In This Movie – Threaten the safety of America.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Nick Cage has another movie??

  • Things White People Do In This Movie – Be a relatable everykid, conjureexciting things, train an up and comer, drive fancy cars, fall in love, leave reality behind, save the day.
  • Things Black People Do In This Movie – n/a

Clash of the Titans – gorgeous, amazing badassery set in ancient Gre

ece.

  • Things White People Do In This Movie – Have amazing abs, be royalty, bravely battle terrible beasts, be deities, demonstrate superb underwaterbreath control, have layered emotional journeys, survive incredible odds, have sex.
  • Things Black People Do In This Movie – n/a

Cop Out – Tracy Morgan lowers the bar.

  • Things White People Do In This Movie – Explain the “right way to do police work,” prepare to take care of themselves, baffle the black lead, silently criticize, remain cool under pressure, high five.  

    Better times with TM

  • Things Black People Do In This Movie – ruffle feathers, say “hell no!”, get bothered by high school pranks, use Barack Obama to justify questionable judgement, high five. 

Now, some might argue that there are some logistical issues like the fact that black people didn’t exist in Ancient Greece, but you know what else didn’t exist, Krakens. However, I do suppose a giant, underwater, half-god hellbeast is more believable than an of color in a respected position of power and authority. It’s the movies, after all, not total make-believe. 

Either way, I’m totally getting up early tomorrow to see Did You Hear About the Morgans. Hugh Grant is a favorite. I know it was ages ago, but he could have chosen to pay to have secret sex with anyone and he chose to pay to have secret sex with a black girl….so it’s like he paid to have secret sex with me.

It was very special.

Standing Out Gets You Back In

Being an Oreo isn’t just fun and easier on the ego, it is also amazingly practical.

For example: Tonight, I went to another staple of non ethnic entertainment: improv comedy.

I handed my giant, red and laminated ticket to the nice ComedySportz doorman and then realized that I forgot my Moleskine Notebook in my car. I asked if I had time to run back and get it. The doorman said that I did and then added:

“Don’t worry about needing your ticket to get back in, I’ll remember your face.” 

“Yes, you will,” I said, vocalizing my wager that I was the only black person in the audience. 

He blushed a bit as people often do when I point out this bit of obviousness. But how great is it that I stood out so. Otherwise, I’d be just another blonde or ruddy headed woman with a purse and he’d have to go through all kinds of mental notes to remember exactly which was I was. Or if there was another black person in the audience, surely he’d be confused if say that person stepped out to go to the bathroom while I went to my car. How would he tell us apart? But because I was the only one of me, I was granted free and easy passage to and from, however often I desired. 

I left him with a smile and went to my car to retrieve my journaling tool. 

When I returned, he was all smiles. “You were right!” he said and seemed surprised.

I was not.

You do not get to be an Oreo of this standing without knowing what kind of door your about to darken…and that you’re going to be the darkest thing on the other side of that door.

…Except for that sketch about the sociopathic sea urchin. That was was a pretty dark round of “Forward and Reverse.”

Are You Alone?


Always Control Your Perimeter

 

As we have discussed, it is important to be the only person of color in the room at any given time or event. Having more than one of us around can lead to all sorts of miscommunication, embarrassing run-ins and tempt either of you to discuss common race-related issues that might trigger a long latent desire to read some Nikki Giovanni.                                                                             

But sometimes a room is crowded, dark or split-level. So how do you both determine if there are any of colors in the vicinity and relax enough to proudly show off the pictures from Inverness on your iPhone?

Instead of prowling from corner to corner paper bag testing everyone you come into contact with, just look for a few key things to see if you are safe.  

  • 1. People never seem to quite finish the sentences: “So…you’re here with…..” or “You must be here to see…….” or “You must know Carol from……..”
  • 2. You are at the Viper Room.
  • 3. The DJ suddenly changes the music from relatively ambient Slowdive and Neutral Milk Machine and includes a random cameo like Baby Got Back. Then a dance circle forms around you. Don’t panic, after they see your first perfectly precise box step, they’ll get the idea.
  • 4. People ask you oddly practical questions out of the blue like “Excuse me, do you know where the bathroom is?” “What time does are you closing tonight?” and “Can I give you my coat?”
  • 5. You cannot quite find the words to describe your complete and utter sense of relaxation. 

If these elements are in place, enjoy your party! And be sure to try the tapenade.

Can You Paint With All the Colors of the Rainbow? Of course not, silly!

Thanks to Anna for sending this article today. Posted on http://contexts.org/socimages/, the article describes how First Lady Michelle Obama’s dress was described by an Associated Press reporter.

The Associated Press, a news service subscribed to by news outlets all over the world,distributed a story about the first Obama Administration State Dinner. In the story, sent in by Elisabeth R., Samantha Critchell describes Michelle Obama’s dress as “flesh-colored.”

gown2

[Thanks to Madeline T., Anne Marie, Therese S., and Drugmnky for the screencap!]

Gee, what could possibly be wrong with calling this dress “flesh-colored”?

APTOPIX Obama US India

This is what happens when white people are considered people and black people are considered a special kind of people, black people.  “Flesh-colored” becomes the skin color associated with whites and darker-skinned peoples are left out of the picture altogether.  We see this all the time.  Bandaids, for example, are typically light beige (though they rarely call them “flesh-colored” anymore), as are things like ace bandages.

Obviously, I was saddened by this coverage. Understanding that what covers my bones is not “flesh” exactly, is…well, it’s why I fly the Oreo flag. It’s why I sing Jewel at karaoke. It’s why I’m gaining the proper certification to breed Devon Rex cats.

It’s also why I’m pushing for a “burden-colored” crayon, band-aid or fabric swatch. There really should be something in the rainbow for all of us.