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Monday, February 28, 2005

EL BUNCHO GOES TO THE 2005 OSCARS!!! (Well, in his mind anyway)

So here I sit once again, beer in hand and chicken wings at the ready, for the annual SuperBowl of the movies, the Academy Awards, but this time I am allowing my imagination to place me in the audience at the show, gaily bedecked in my Sonny Chiba t-shirt, silver tuxedo jacket and ninja shoes. Let the fabulousness loose!!!

My vote for most visually disturbing star on the red carpet goes to the once cutely-humpable Renee Zellweger; I don't know what the fuck happened, but she looked like shit with those squinty eyes and sallow, hagggard features. Hey, where did my erection go?

As you know, Chris Rock was the host; the suits wanted him because people like him, I know that I certainly do, but I felt that much of his humor was innappropriate for the Oscars hoo-haa since the majority of it was aimed toward a specific demographic that goes for the whole dis-laden black standup thing and that I felt didn't neccessarily work for the Oscars, but opinions will no doubt vary. I grew up black (SURPRISE!!!) and have watched the Oscars since I can remember, and if anything it is a show about the fabulousness of Hollywood that all cultures should be able to have fun with since it's all about artifice, and Rock's monologue was basically a bitchfest — a mostly funny one, mind you — about the black take on movies and such. I very seriously doubt that he willl be back to host again.

Admittedly, the music of the luscious Miss Knowles is not to my taste, so while some people may have dug it I put the sound on mute and cranked "Last Man at the Gang Bang" by Dick Delicious and the Tasty Testicles" (while the image onscreen was of Beyonce and an innocent-looking boys chorus), Iron Maiden's "Flight of Icarus," and Nina Hagen's "TV Glotzer" masking the maudlin nausea of "Believe," an excercise in duet-style "I Believe I Can Fly" sappiness with some non-descript white boy, all of which are hilarious when they seem to be coming from the mouth of a hot black chick in a selection of ball gowns.

Chris Rock introducing Halle Berry: "Our next presenter is an Oscar winner for her role in MONSTER'S BALL, and she will soon be seen in the eagerly awaited CATWOMAN 2. Miss Halle Berry!" When she walked out you could tell that she was fighting hard not to Slash Chris Rock's throat with the sharp edge of the envelope.

I really hate this development in the ongoing efforts to make the show shorter than the running time of BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ (look it up on the IMDB to get that joke); they make teams of nominees in such categories as sound editing, visual effects and so on wait in line so they don't have to waste multiple camera shots on each person as they sit in the audience. Sadly, the resulting visual makes them look like a bunch of bums in thrift store suits waiting on line for a handout of free, watered-down Campbell's soup.

THE INCREDIBLES walked off with the statue for this category, and I am elated to see that the Academy didn't roll over for the insanely overrated piece of shit that was SHREK 2, a film that just floated there like a turd unless Puss In Boots was onscreen.

Pierece Brosnan came out — accompied by the strains of the James Bond theme, a tune that still kicks ass even after forty-forty-three years — to present the award for costume design but apologized for what was obviously a hoarse voice (I think it was for real). I was prepared for a pathetic presentation when who should stroll out to save the day with her trademark coolness but a Pixar-rendered Edna Mode, the "designer to supers" from THE INCREDIBLES! The timing of the interplay between her and Brosnan went on without a hitch and Edna did about 98% of the work, including reading all of the nominees with her signature asides. This kind of thing has been done several times over the years with varying and often disastrous results, but the technology has finally caught up with the conceit. Fuck it, I say have Edna host the whole goddamned shebang next year!

Adam Sandler and Catherine "I give my unspeakably fine pussy to a corpse" Zeta-Jones were announced as co-presenters, and Sandler's no-talent ass shows up alone and announces that Zeta-Jones can't make it (boners across the nation instantly go back to sleep) so Chris Rock comes out and reads her script portions in character as her. Everything "she" says is met with Sandler smirking into the camera and uttering variations on how her dress looks sexy or how she should be on display in the museum of sexiness... Hello? Is this thing on? Those in attendance gave some truly pathetic courtesy laughs and then Rock left the stage and let Sandler present whatever award it was.

"Ladies and gentlemen, comedy superstar Jeremy Irons!" to which Irons responded "So good to finally be recognized."

The director of the best live action short accepted her award, promised beers to all when she returned home and described the award thusly: "As we say in England, this is the dog's bollocks." Take that, FCC!

Introduced by Salma Hayek and her mouth-watering sweater munchkins, the two celebrated bean gods performed the theme song from THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES and did a great job, but Antonio's hair looked stringy and so fucking greasy that you'd think he had stuck his entire head into an economy-sized tub of petroleum jelly. Plus, his haircut made him look like an Iberian Emo Phillips, and Carlos came off like a douche since he annoyingly chewed gum or tobacco throughout the performance, making him look like he was thinking "Where's my fucking check, you gringo scumbags?" This song won the little gold nekkid dude, and the award was presented His Royal Badness himself, namely Prince, and when the composer accepted the statue he dropped to one knee and kissed the Purple One's hand out of obvious reverence.

Hey! It's Magical Mister Mestopheles! Oh, shit! It's Annnette Benning! And she's got a bad Laurie Anderson hiarcut! AAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!!! Aw... there's Christopher Reeve and Ossie Davis (*SNIFF*)...

Puffy Daddy? At the fucking Academy Awards?!!? Too bad Ol' Dirty Bastard is taking the dirt nap because that would have been one hell of an introduction, Jack!

You GO, self-admitted trailer trash! And her thank you to Clint Eastwood was really cool; how often do you get to thank "the Man With No Name?" And if you ask me, she deserved a second Oscar on general principle for BOYS DON'T CRY because that performance was so agonizing and brave that one statue wasn't enough, so I chalk this one up to cosmic justice since that boxing shit was routine in every way. Aah, fuck you if ya don't like what I said.

During Rock's opening monologue, he commented "Who is Jude Law?" and made fun of the Limey replicant's onscreen ubiquity. Those remarks came back to haunt him when Sean Penn took the stage to present the award for Best Actress and pissily stated "I would like to address our host's question of 'Who is Jude law?' Jude Law is one of our finest actors who..." blah, blah, blah, go drink some whiskey, ya fuck! It was a JOKE. When he later retook the stage, Rock fired back with the equally childish "Hey, Sean Penn! My accountants would like to have a word with you." In other words, fuck yo' momma, white boy! Great, just what the Oscars need, a half-assed pissing contest.

Simply put, the best thing to come out of Africa since negroes. And I'd like to put some Africa back into her, if ya know what I mean.

Clint Eastwood's win for directing, also known as Martin Scorsese getting it up the ass without lubricant from the Academy yet again. Did those motherfuckers even see TAXI DRIVER, GOODFELLAS or, most of all, RAGING BULL? What the fuck?!!?

The win for MILLION DOLLAR BABY, sending the so-called surefire bets made worldwide on THE AVIATOR rocketing down the bowl.

Chris Rock's show-ending "Goodnight, Brooklyn!!!"

And that's all from the 77th Academy Awards ceremony! Oh, and here are the results on the awards that anyone actually gives a shit about:

BEST DIRECTOR-Clint Eastwood
BEST PICTURE-"Million Dollar Baby"
BEST SONG-the Spanish language theme from "The Motorcycle Diaries"
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY-"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
BEST MAKEUP-"Lemon Snicket's A series of Unfortunate Events"
BEST COSTUME DESIGN-Pierce and Edna, "The Aviator"
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE-"Finding Neverland"
BEST DOCUMENTARY-"Born Into Brothels"
FILM EDITING-"The Aviator"
BEST PORNO TITLE OF THE YEAR-"Huge Black Cocks with Pearly White Cum"
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM-"Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside)"

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


This past Saturday night I fulfilled one of the goals of my life. In much the same way that many music fans longed to meet Elvis or the Beatles, I have harbored a desire to meet any of my favorite musical performers. The thing is, most of my faves fall into quirky or niche realms of the general musical experience and as a result are not easy to encounter in the flesh. Devo seldom tours anymore, the Damned are in England and only show up when they need cash to cover car payments, Bow-Wow-Wow shows are rarer than tits on a tarantula and Frank Zappa is sadly taking the dirt nap. But this past Saturday, a beautiful thing happened.

I met Blowfly.

And who, you may ask, is Blowfly? Good question, bunky! Blowfly is the incredibly foul-mouthed (and minded) alter-ego of sixty-something song writer/session musician/producer Clarence Reid, best known to the mainstream music fan as the writer of '70's soul hits "Cleanup Woman" and "Rocking Chair," but it is as Blowfly that he really has fun. During his days on the plantation of the legitimate music biz, Reid would get together with the musicians who performed on many of the classic soul and R & B recordings after they were through for the day, and they would record filthy parodies of the songs that they had just done straight. The result of this lunacy is an alternate career that has spanned some forty (!!!) years and just as many nasty recordings, yielding such standards as "Too Fat to Fuck," "Show Me a Man Who Don't Want to Fuck You (And I'll Show You a Faggot)," "Electronic Pussy Sucker" and his tribute to the Incredible Hulk, "The Incredible Fuck." Not exactly as witty as Oscar Wilde, but there's room for all tastes.

Blowfly advises Pope John Paul II.

So I see that the master is on tour promoting his new album for the Alternative Tentacles label — the label that gave the world such great acts as the Dead Kennedys — and I round up Hughes and Eddie for the ride, along with my former roommate from my days on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Jessica. The venue was the conveniently located Southpaw, a fairly recent addition to the gentrification of Park Slope's Fifth Avenue that happens to be only eight blocks from my apartment, and I really dug the place; it was spacious, dark, had restrooms that were fit for use by humans, and featured decor consisting of old album covers all over the walls, lending the place the feel of someone's basement hangout space. The drinks were reasonably priced and the clientele was diverse and friendly.

The opening act was a bunch of faux collegiate types in matching orange letterman sweaters, and while they were pretty tight they were not very interesting. The best they had to offer was a cover of the tried and true "Oo Poo Pah Doo," but it was too little too late. Besides, Blowfly was up next and the opening act was just a tad too genteel for those who came for outright filth.

At length Blowfly took the stage, bedecked in an spectacularly idiotic super-hero outfit with cape and cowl, following a drunkenly profane intro provided by some fat white guy who follows Blowfly on tour like some Deadhead of days gone by. The fat dude grabbed the mic and rambled on, addressing the audience as "motherfuckers" and regularly let fly with the N-word, an act that at any other show in this neighborhood would have gotten his melanin-deficient ass handed to him on a platter.

Blowfly launched into his set with the aforementioned "Too Fat To Fuck" and the torrent of ludicrousity and offensiveness only intensified from there. The master was shocked to see how many young people in the audience knew his body of work, and delighted them with his dirty grandpa persona. The guy is in his sixties and a born-again Christian, but the power of vulgarity is an envigorating thing and the nasty senior citizen proved in no uncertain terms that he could get down with the best of them. Eat yer heart out, Luther Campbell!

A pleasantly shocked Jessica took off right after the show ended, but myself and the Beer Police boys stuck around and got to meet the legend himself. Blowfly emerged about twenty minutes after the show ended and the majority of the crowd had dispersed, and talked with the faithful who remained. He made dirty jokes, told equally filthy stories and came off as an all-around genuinely sweet old man who did the twisted stuff simply for fun and profit; ironically, his efforts as Blowfly have proven to be far more lucrative than his "legitimate" endeavors and as a result he milks the Blowfly persona for all it's worth. After all was said and done I looked at my buddies and wistfully said "I wish Blowfly was my dad..." And I meant it, too.

Eddie, yours truly, and Hughes with the godlike awesomeness that is Clarence "Blowfly" Reid.

THE MANDINGO PROJECT-part two: chapters 6-14

Back for more, are ya? Well here's a summary of eighty-six more pages:

After being badgered by his father Hammond reluctantly agrees to marry a white woman and use her as a broodmare to generate an heir to the majesty that is Falconhurst, and in order to keep the bloodline as pure as possible he sets his sights on his second cousin, namely sixteen-year-old Blanche Woodford of the Crowfoot plantation. Hammond has not seen her since she was a toddler so he barely remembers her, but since he intends to go to the Coign plantation to borrow Big Pearl's father for stud work on his own daughter, he figures that he'll stop off at Crowfoot since it's on the way and “go sparkin'” after Blanche. Since it's a matter of custom for him to still have bed wenches, it's no skin off of his nose and all pretty much a business arrangement since white women physically repulse him. Also, Hammond's desire for a fighting nigger percolates…

Mem attempts to convince Hammond not to whip him for his recent transgressions, but his pleas fall upon deaf ears. Young Meg's obsequiousness continues to grow and he begs to be the one to apply the burning pimentade to Mem's raw wounds after the beating to come; Meg's hatred of Hammond's bed wench, Dite, begins to ferment and he tells Hammond in no uncertain terms that he wishes that his master would “pleasure” with him like he does with Dite. Hammond is thoroughly disgusted at that prospect and his reaction prompts Meg to wish that he were a girl so massa would fuck him.

Hammond finally gets around to Mem's promised whipping, aided by slaves Napoleon - Pole for short - and the ever-obsequious Meg, and the beating with a leather covered paddle is savage and damaging indeed, made worse by Napoleon mocking Mem's obvious misery. Meg is disappointed to see Hammond relinquish the actual task of the beating to Pole, thereby somewhat diminishing his fantasies of being beaten into near oblivion by his master. What remains hidden from the slaves is the fact that witnessing such “necessary” punishment makes Hammond ill, prompting him to call a brief halt to Mem's agony so that he can leave the barn and collect himself; more so than for his slaves, Hammond sought to prove his ruthless master role to himself and began to realize that he was too soft for the corporal punishment responsibilities of his job, or as he says to himself, “not cut out fer threshin' niggers.” That realization does not stop Hammond from resuming the beating, and Mem is whipped until his ass resembles bloody, pulped hamburger meat. That indignity is compounded by Meg happily applying the caustic pimentade to the gory wounds, a substance full of ground pepper in a solution that allows it to stick fast to the gaping lacerations, causing Mem unimaginable, screaming agony. Hammond then retires to his room and guiltily cries himself to sleep.

The young Maxwell soon embarks on his quest to borrow the old stud Mandingo from Coign, but first he stops off at Crowfoot to put his incredibly awkward moves on cousin Blanche. Blanche is the epitome of the southern belle found in many an antebellum romance fantasy; curly blonde hair, pretty as a peach, whiny and petulant until she gets her way, basically an obnoxious, drawling princess who you just can't wait to punch square in the gob. And Hammond's appraisal of his cousin/intended isn't exactly flattering:

He would have to get used to the whiteness of female flesh. Its pallor seemed to him not quite healthy, somehow leprous, cold. He knew the beauty of blondeness, but failed to appreciate it. He knew, moreover, that if he was to have a wife he would have to tolerate that she was white.

While riding to a church meeting Hammond and Blanche are caught making out by her older brother, the scrawny, “gotch-eyed” and obviously inbred Charles, and he is rather irate at the sight. He threatens to tell their father but Blanche wields a powerful hold over her brother thanks to “something he did” to her three years previous; he defers to her, but reminds her that they were both equally guilty - and more importantly, consensual - of their unnamed transgression and that there was nothing anyone could do about it anyway… Once Charles leaves, Hammond proposes to his cousin with a lack of enthusiasm that is truly staggering, and while she is clearly into it she suggests that he ask her father first.

Major Woodford tentatively agrees to let Hammond wed his daughter, provided that the elder Maxwell will lend him $5000 until harvest time; it turns out that the opulent Crowfoot plantation and all of its assets are mortgaged to the hilt and the banks are about to come crashing down on the Major. Hammond promises to have his father fork over half of the money in cash the minute he returns to Falconhurt.

That night Hammond bunks with Charles, who displays a friendlier aspect than early in the day. His earlier rudeness was due to realizing what Hammond would be getting into by marrying Blanche, and he informs Hammond in no uncertain terms that his sister is “pizen” and a manipulative bitch, to say nothing of the fact that she would never allow him to have a fighting nigger. Hammond doesn't care that she may be childish since all he wants her for is to bear his children, and he plans to use the fact that his father is bailing her family out of a major financial mess as his leverage against any of her uppity behavior. This reverie is interrupted by the arrival of two bed wenches, and Hammond is appalled to discover that Charles is a kinky motherfucker who seriously gets off on beating his wench before fucking her, and she of course feigns enjoyment of the abuse, but also enjoys her status as Charles' steady squeeze. Their obvious romantic attachment grosses Hammond out since it implies equality between master and slave, but while Hammond enjoys pleasuring with black women he looks upon it mostly as “a duty without pleasure and little satisfaction; mere detumescence, a voiding of accumulated waste.” Hammond uses his bed wench out of respect for his host's hospitality, but he is put off by Charles' lovemaking, and when he finishes with her he kicks the poor girl out of the bed and forces her to sleep on the chilly floor.

The next day, despite Blanche's tantrums, Hammond leaves for Coign, unwillingly accompanied by Charles who craves to see the world beyond Crowfoot. Needless to say Charles turns out to be immature to a fault and a royal pain in the ass, but for the time being Hammond has no choice but to put up with him since it would eat up a good deal of time to return to Crowfoot and drop him off.

Hammond and Charles are overwhelmed by the charm of the Coign and its owner, the decrepit Mister Wilson. Wilson is a pretty mellow old man who is quite content and resigned to the fact of his impending demise, and he is constantly attended by Old Ben - hands-down the most erudite and dignified slave character in the whole book - a servant whose bearing and excellent diction make Hammond feel inferior. Ben also happens to be Wilson's son, and only seventeen years his junior.

After initial pleasantries, Hammond gets to the point of his visit and discovers that the old Mandingo buck he wanted to borrow - Xerxes by name - was gored to death by a bull three months prior, but Wilson offers the services of a much superior specimen. The young Mandingo in question is Mede - named for Zeus' male love object, Ganymede - and he is a slave-fancier's wet dream; built like a Michelangelo work, smart (and fairly articulate for a character in this book), adoring of his master and thoroughly obedient. In other words, everything Hammond would want as both a stud and a fighting nigger. He agrees to purchase Mede for $2750 in cash that he will have sent from Falconhurst, and Wilson is quite amenable to the arrangement since he also needs money to cover the sizable debts incurred by his estate. Once the deal is sealed it is time for bed, and Hammond and Charles are offered the “use” of complimentary bed wenches.

The wenches arrive and are declared to virgins; Charles is excited by this prospect but Hammond is indifferent. He ends up with a plump, pretty light-skinned girl named Ellen and soon his indifference turns to genuine attraction. Ellen is sweet and smart, and most importantly she is not put off by his bad leg. An evening of some exploration is hinted at but it is made clear that Hammond did not take Ellen's virginity. The same cannot be said for the poor, scared girl on the receiving end of Charles' attentions.

The next morning Hammond readies to leave and offers to buy Ellen as his personal bed wench; Wilson agrees upon a $1500 price tag and throws in Ellen's “delicate like a wench” brother, Jason, as a present to the elder Maxwell. END OF CHAPTER 15.


By the end of chapter fifteen, all of the major players in the narrative have been introduced; there will be a few more who need to make an appearance, but all who figure into the real meat of the piece are now present.

Hammond's character becomes more pathetic with each page. The reader sees that he is a fairly decent guy but he has been ruined for life by his relative lack of education and growing up as a privileged son of the top of the slavery system food chain, and despite his oft-cited sense of his presumed natural superiority by nature of his whiteness even he realizes that he ain't all that. He's ignorant and his hygiene is terrible, a fact pointed out by mention of his not having bathed in a week because his father taught him that regular baths are unhealthy, nasty motherfucker…

The sequence in which Charles explains his enjoyment of beating wenches before having his way with them is stomach-churning to the extreme, and even Hammond is offended. When coupled with the knowledge of Hammond's squeamishness when dealing out corporal punishment, this scene really drives home the damage done to most of the white characters since virtually none of them would have taken umbrage at Charles' behavior, and Hammond's disgust over it makes him a bit more sympathetic to the reader since he too is a casualty of the system.

After his appalled contemplation of the offensiveness of Charles' intimacy with his at-home bed wench, Hammond's sudden ardor for Ellen comes as a bit of an odd twist, but much will occur as a result of it.

Mede is truly the stereotype of the "super-nigger" buck, and as if that's not bad enough he's also the equally-inbred brother of Big Pearl, a fact that Hammond decides not to reveal to either Mede or Big Pearl. Hey, what does he care as long as he gets a healthy "sucker" or two out of their incestuous coupling?

NEXT: The road trip back to Falconhurst and the plot sickens.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

THE MANDINGO PROJECT-part one: chapters 1-5

Well, folks, here we go. This entry gives you the mercifully condensed contents of the first eighty pages of Kyle Onstott's sprawling 1957 anti-epic MANDINGO.

MANDINGO takes place in the antebellum south of 1820 at the Falconhurst slave-breeding plantation, an establishment known throughout the land for turning out blacks of the highest quality for heavy field work or whatever whims the buyer may have (no matter how sick or twisted they may be, as we shall see). The place has definitely seen better days; the ground has petered out thanks to over-farming of cotton, the mansion has fallen into disrepair, and despite the plantation's intended purpose of breeding slaves there are more of them around than the proprietors know what to do with.

The patriarch of Falconhurst is Warren Maxwell, an irascible old fuck who treats his “niggers” as one would a mildly disobedient dog; he seldom has a kind word for them and displays a shockingly superior attitude for one so staggeringly ignorant. Plagued by crippling rheumatism - or “rheumatiz” as he would put it - Maxwell drinks corn whisky-laden hot toddies from the moment he wakes until the moment he retires at night, essentially rendering himself Shane McGowan-level drunk all day long. The one true joy in his life, aside from his toddies, is his only son, Hammond.

Hammond is eighteen years old, and by all measure of “bodice ripper” fiction he is fairly handsome, but is physically flawed with a permanently stiff leg, an injury incurred during childhood after being thrown from the saddle by a stroppy gelding (after that incident Hammond's father grows to loathe geldings of both the equine and human varieties, leading to a plantation policy of never gelding either a horse or slave). Being the heir to the plantation and general administrator since his father is hobbled by his “rheumatiz,” Hammond is pretty much a prince, flush with cash and the master's right to fuck any of the slaves as he sees fit, whether they like it or not, since as his father claims “nigger wench crave her master for her first time.” It is made very clear that Hammond has rampantly impregnated slave girls since he was fourteen, siring many offspring in the process (including one being carried by his two months pregnant bed wench, Dite, which is short for Aphrodite), offspring who are immediately categorized as potential sale items, made all the more valuable since they are “half human.” An unexpected side effect of Hammond's virulent jungle fever is his utter lack of attraction to white women, a very important plot point that sets the main meat of the story into motion in chapter six, but more on that when we get to it.

Anyway, the first five chapters cover a period of roughly twenty-four rain-soaked hours and introduce us to the Maxwells and their staff of house slaves, chief among whom is the requisite fat mammy stock character so common to tales of this ilk, this time dubbed Lucrecia Borgia; in this and subsequent books in what became the Falconhurst series it is clear that Lucrecia Borgia - always referred to by her full name - is the real power behind the Falconhurst hierarchy, and while the Maxwell men may give orders and such, they grudgingly respect and trust Lucrecia Borgia and allow her to handle all of the house matters and much of the concerns that extend beyond the big house. She also displays a cruel enjoyment in watching slaves of lesser rank - which is basically everyone else on the plantation with a trace of melanin - receive corporal punishment, especially when personally meted out with a whip or paddle in her hand with the full approval of her owners. Part of her status stems from her prodigious reproductive capabilities, an Herculean fecundity that yielded at least ten sets of twins, but when the story begins she is described as “pretty much bred out.”

Also of note are Alpha and Omega (Alph and Meg for short), the youngest of Lucrecia Borgia's brood, tweener scalliwags engaged in a fierce war for the attentions of their respective masters; Alph is forced into spending much of his time with the elder Maxwell's feet pressed against his belly in an ill-informed attempt to drain the rheumatism from the old man into the young boy, while Meg obsequiously sets out to fulfill Hammond's every minute whim or need out of an apparently homosexual/masochistic love for his master, even to the point of demanding regular beatings from Hammond that he interprets as proving his master's love, beatings from which he derives an obviously sexual pleasure.

The other important Falconhurst slave is Agamemnon (Mem for short), the thirty-something houseboy who is the object of constant abuse from everyone around him, slave or otherwise; Mem is the classic lazy nigger who only shapes up when threatened with physical punishment for his sloth, and while having no choice but to put up with his station, he is the only slave to flat out realize that his situation simply sucks ass. Upon being caught stealing whisky after a number of other minor infractions, Mem is sentenced to be hung up and given thirty lashes, a sentence that is delayed after Hammond sadistically administers a near-fatal dose of syrup of ipecac as an extra bit of punishment intended to heighten Mem's pre-whipping misery. Hammond realizes his vindictiveness nearly cost Mem his life, but he has no idea that that act has sown the seeds of impending tragedy…

During the aforementioned twenty-four hour period, the Maxwells play grudging hosts to Brownlee, an ignorant and ultra-sleazy slave trader (with whom the elder Maxwell makes an exchange of two slaves from Falconhurst for two so-so specimens of Brownlee's and a little cash to make up for the difference in quality), and the three men “treat” readers to in-depth discussions of the intricacies of the flesh trade, their philosophies on slavery and other subjects, along with their twisted medical “knowledge” in regard to the veterinary care of niggers.

The plantation's prize wench, a girl of pure Mandingo blood named Big Pearl because of her sturdy and statuesque build (who is the intentionally inbred offspring of her grandfather and his daughter), appears to be ailing, so a slave is sent out to fetch Doc Redfield, the local veterinarian. Upon arrival, Redford diagnoses Big Pearl as being “hipped,” in other words she's in heat and craves for Hammond to fuck her. Hearing this, Hammond admits to being intimidated by her size and the fact that she, like all niggers we are told, is “powerful musky.” Working with a suggestion provided by Brownlee, it is decreed that Big Pearl will be bathed in a strong solution that “renders niggers right sweet smellin' for two, three days,” and Hammond will soon come over and do his masterly duty. After the men return to the house for yet more booze and overblown prose, Brownlee drunkenly requests a bed wench from Mem, but when Mem wisely doesn't supply a wench without the permission of his masters Brownlee sneaks out to Big Pearl's cabin with every intention of taking her virginity for himself. Her irate mother, Lucy, alerts the Maxwells to Brownlee's sniffing about before anything can happen, and Brownlee is unceremoniously asked to leave Falconhurst. END OF CHAPTER FIVE.


While all of this gives us a very clear and thorough insight into the mindset of white male participants in the slavery system, it also points out the fact that the writer really needed an editor since this stuff takes up five dense chapters, made all the harder to wade through because the reader has to get used to deciphering the southern colloquialisms, slang and general bad grammar issuing from the characters' mouths.

The ignorance of the whites is really incredible to read, but one must take into account the fact that in the early 1800s in rural areas such as that depicted here people pretty much had contact only with their families and those encountered during excursions for provisions due to how far away everyone was from one another; your nearest neighbor was about eight to ten miles away if you were lucky.

The majority of the Falconhurst slaves have names derived from classical mythology, famous historical figures or biblical characters in an attempt for the Maxwells to show off how cultured they are(n't) by coming up with such high-falutin' and pretentious monikers. Yeah, way to go with "Lucrecia Borgia," dude!

With the exception of Agamemnon, all of the slaves at Falconhurst worship the Maxwells, especially Hammond, as devotionally as the ancient Greeks revered the occupants of Mount Olympus, cheerfully reveling in the squalor of their lives and happily acquiescing to Hammond's priapic needs. These are the NC-17 versions of the kind of slaves who populated such works as GONE WITH THE WIND, and each and every one of them makes me sick. They have accepted their status as little more than pets or objects and not one of them are in the least bit sympathetic. They are there to solely to take it up the ass from life with little or no complaint, both figuratively and literally.

Particularly offensive are Alph and Meg; horrid little turds to begin with, they swiftly mutate into the worst kind of toadies, especially Meg, whose inner monologue on the magnificence of Hammond and his desire to love him in all ways reeks of NAMBLA fantasies from the late 1950's. The kid demands that Hammond beat him to show the world that he is “Masta Hammond's nigger, an' no one else'ns,” for fuck's sake!!! And don't get me started on Alph, pressganged into being a “rheumatiz” sponge after the elder Maxwell hears from Brownlee about “nekkid Mexican dogs” who can drain off joint pains if you apply your feet to their bellies as often as possible; the image of James Mason doing this to a little black boy in the film has gone on to well deserved cinematic infamy and is so outrageous/hilarious that you won't know what to think when you actually see it.

One final note of importance is Doc Redfield's mention of his use of a painless poison to end the lives of slaves who are too old to work or be of value anymore, an illegal practice, but the poison is untraceable. This bit of information will become of major importance during the novel's last act…

NEXT: Hammond searches for a wife, goes shopping, finds true love in an unexpected place, and returns home with the black version of Superman.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Last night while enduring yet another lonely day of hearts, flowers and chocolates (with that misery compounded by really shitty weather) I finally had enough and decided to get out of my apartment and drown my sorrows at a local bar until midnight, in other words the time when Valentine's Day ends. I hate many of the bars in my neighborhood and the only options that I have not tried are Jackie's Fifth Amendment — a hardcore alky watering hole for people who are straight out of a Bukowski book — and O'Connell's, a very sleazy looking establishment that is roughly ten blocks from my apartment.

I opted for O'Connell's.

From the outside O'Connell's looks like a faceless brick bunker identified by neither number or name; the rotting sign blew away months ago during a storm and the management didn't think it was important enough to shell out the money for a replacement. On the inside the place is a classic dive bar that remains pretty much as it was when it opened in the late-1950's, a fact all too evident from the utter lack of any sort of maintainence or attempts at modernization. The ceiling was full of holes that exposed the deteriorating infrastructure and probably provided a suitable breeding ground for bats.

I met my friend and roomate from over ten years past, Jessica Goldberg, there at 9PM and we shared a couple of very inexpensive drinks while listening to the excellent jukebox, a contraption loaded with old rockabilly, psychedelic rock, r & b compilations, and the first album by my beloved Devo (note: if it were my bar, I would go with their second album, "Duty Now For the Future," but to each his own). Jess eventually split since she has to work in the morning, and I spent the rest of the alotted time discussing music with the very knowledgeable bartender, a personable guy from England named Trace.

By about 11PM the place cleared out and only Trace and I remained. Thus freed of his bartenderly duties, we had a lot of time to shoot the shit and get to know one another, and let me be the first to tell you that he's a really together guy. Sorry ladies, but he only works Monday through Wednesday... Soon Mark showed up; Mark is an fifty-something black dude who is a hardcore gambler and is apparently a regular who is easily the most articulate old school wino I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He ordered a glass of cheap red wine and two triple shoots of Wild Turkey, and regaled us with tales of his adventures playing "African Golf" — for you white folks out there that's shooting dice — actually claiming to be making $800 a night during these marathon gamaes of chance. Since Trace now had some company, I ventured home at 12:30 AM.

So, the point of all of this is that I have finally found my favorite neighborhood bar, something that would have happened sooner if I had gotten off my ass and ventured more northward toward Flatbush Avenue. Now if only I had the balls to check out Jackie's Fifth Amendment...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


So here it is, Black History month again - and don't think I didn't notice it's in the shortest month of the year, motherfuckers! - and for once I have decided to do something scholarly in its honor.

Since blacks in America were brought here very much against their will and subjected to every form of degradation the human mind could conceive, slavery remains a hot button issue and one that touches very raw nerves when discussed in any format. Many pop culture analysts will tell you that the first major work to really present the myriad horrors of slavery in realistic and uncomfortable detail would be Alex Haley's multi-generational saga ROOTS, and more importantly its 1977 television dramatization; the TV miniseries hit the airwaves like a blowtorch to the stomach and forced white viewers to see the torture, mutilation, rape, forced separation of families and other such details of the human chattel system that fantasies like GONE WITH THE WIND gloss over to an alarming degree. Not only did it shake up adults across the nation, but it was also the first time that most non-black American kids really understood why slavery was an unmitigated evil that was inadequately explained in the woefully skewed history schoolbooks of the era. By the time the second episode aired, I had many of my classmates come up to me apologizing for atrocities committed by their ancestors some three hundred years past. Needless to say, that shit got old fast, but it was a strange thing to witness.

The impact of ROOTS was and is undeniable since it is still frequently discussed and referenced today, but for my money it was not the first pop culture hit to unflinchingly detail slavery for a mass audience. My vote for that distinction goes to Kyle Onstott's massive 1957 novel MANDINGO.

First edition cover for MANDINGO, perhaps the worst book cover of all time. Seriously, somebody got paid to produce this!

You have probably heard the name and associate it with lurid interracial shenanigans during the plantation era Old South thanks to the outrageous 1975 movie version, but most people don't know the film was based on a lucrative bestseller that was the literary equivalent to Hiroshima and Nagasaki when it hit in the late 1950's, an era of post-war American prosperity that reveled in the secure knowledge of white superiority in all things and a barely acknowledged awareness of any wrongs committed on the historical road to getting the US to where it was.

MANDINGO was an anti-epic, replete with scalding violence and then-shocking interracial sex - or rape, in most instances - peopled with characters that ranged from the pitiful and obsequious to the downright reprehensible. The core of the story centers on the daily goings-on at the Falconhurst plantation, an establishment for breeding and selling slaves, and the tawdry intrigues set into motion upon the young master simultaneously acquiring his cousin as his wife, a new “bed wench” slave girl who becomes the real love of his life, and an ultra-studly fighting slave of the title bloodline. None of the characters come off as admirable for a variety of reasons, and the narrative squarely points out that slave-owner, slave-breeder and slave were all victims of the foul system in no uncertain terms. So why has MANDINGO gone on to be universally hailed one of the most infamous and offensive concoctions of the twentieth century?

The blame for that falls largely on the movie, a film released nearly twenty years after the book's publication; despite its documented status as a runaway bestseller at the time, there was absolutely no way that MANDINGO could have been filmed and not seen every single person involved in its translation to the big screen arrested as twisted sadists and pornographers. Even after the advancements of the civil rights movement the book was still simply too hot to handle and though there was no screen adaptation there was a flourishing genre of potboiler paperback sequels that cheapened the literary impact of Onstott's original work until the series became sort of bodice-ripper drugstore fiction with as much sex and violence as the law would allow. By the time the feature version of MANDINGO hit screens in 1975 much of its content had become fodder for rip-off novels and porno films, and many people had not read the book in its unabridged form, so much of the character and sociological insight found therein was utterly lost. The film version simplified the complex 659-page source novel to fit within a two hour running time, dumbing it down to nothing more than an overacted, ludicrously-scripted S & M/soft-porn GONE WITH THE WIND parody filled with wall-to-wall nudity, torture, bloody violence, and an overwhelming blast of unbelievable bad taste. I personally relish the film for its balls-out insanity and tastelessness, parts of which convulse me with laughter every time I sit through it, and in my opinion it remains the single most offensive film ever released by a major motion picture studio. And there is absolutely no fucking way that film could have been made today without riots breaking out in the streets. Believe that, Jack!

Sadly, the film has tarnished the considerable merit and bravery found in the novel, a book that to the best of my knowledge is out of print today, and what stands amid the rubble is perhaps one of the most misunderstood books in all of American literature. Most people have never read it, and if they have they've only seen the abridged version - admittedly, Onstott's uncut version is a trifle unnecessarily long-winded - and read it only to glean what thrills can be had for those who get off on misery and master/slave sex fantasies.

After seeing the movie during the late-1980's I tracked down the novel in its abridged form and read it, marveling at just how raw the book was for a mass-market item of its time, and determined to find the uncut version just for the sake of comparison. Thanks to eBay I recently acquired a first edition hardcover of MANDINGO and am in the process of reading it from start to finish with the intent of analyzing it both as a book and as a statement about the dehumanizing aspects of slavery. The novel runs for fifty chapters but as previously stated the unabridged version tends to ramble, so I intend to review the book in sections since sequences that cover twenty-four hours of time can go on for as many as six chapters. So when next I write on this, I will cover chapters one through five, in which we meet the Maxwells and their supporting cast of (mostly) adoring slaves.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


Last night I wandered out among the slowly melting glaciers festooning the Brooklyn streets and made my way to Spanish convenience store/meat market supreme Jany's in search of a bar of soap and some roast pork egg Fu Yung from the Chinese joint next door, and as I approached I saw what was unmistakably a junkie looking for a handout obscuring the entrance. The guy was a tall and scrawny early-twenty-something who twitched a lot as he nervously declared “Yo, man, I don't wanna axe nobody for no money an' shit; I just wanchoo ta buy me suntinta eat. I just got outta prison, yo…” He grinned and held out a hand, but I told him that I was broke and unemployed too, so no. He cursed and let me pass.

When I headed next door to the Chinese takeout joint I was surprised to see that the beggar was nowhere in sight and I breathed a sigh of relief. I entered, placed my order and began to read a book that I had to review for Publisher's Weekly when the junkie walked in. He noticed me and knew better than to hit me up for grub, then sidled up to the counter and attempted to look cool, but his disheveled look fooled no one and the cook looked at him with weary disdain in anticipation of the inevitable pitch.

“Yo, nigga, gimme some food, yo!” he said, displaying his apparent inability to distinguish an Asian from a black person. The cook attempted to dismiss him but he persisted and began to whine and plead pathetically, “C'mon, nigga! Gimme some food, yo! I teyya what, I trade you my bike for some food, man!” Before the cook could say anything the guy shot out of the storefront and quickly returned with a rusty, presumably stolen mountain bike with two flat tires.

He displayed this bit of vehicular refuse as though he were a spokesmodel — no pun intended — at a high-end bike show, attempting to convince the obviously uninterested cook that it was a quality piece of equipment while begging for some rice and chicken. The cook appraised the bicycle and offered a trade of a quart of chicken fried rice for the item when another black customer walked in.

The junkie went into his “I'm outta prison” spiel and found a sympathetic ear in the new customer who handed him five bucks. After the customer picked up his phoned-in order and departed, the cook suggested that the junkie just give him the cash instead of the bike; the junkie pretended that he had no cash, but then admitted that he needed to hold onto his money and the cook would have to take the bike. As this exchange volleyed back and forth another cook emerged from behind the kitchen's impenetrable bank vault-like door and swiftly whisked the feeble bicycle back among the woks and racks of spare ribs for a thorough appraisal.

The junkie attempted to protest, saying that he intended to keep the bike and return with a better one, but the cook wasn't having it. He calmed down the junkie by sending him into the night with an order of chicken fried rice, two fried chicken wings and some beef lo mein — which the beggar insisted was for someone else — with no utensils. Those would cost him cash, said the cook. The junkie just picked up his bag and bailed.

Ah, the barter system, legacy of our pioneering forefathers…


As you may have gathered from the title of this entry I am utterly fed up with America Online and after almost two years I have parted ways with the worthless motherfucker.

During my time at the DC Comics gulag, the parent company - namely Time/Warner - merged with AOL and the company promptly shifted their email service to that of their new corporate bedmate. Presently it became apparent that the wares of the new partner were lousy with service problems, and just as quickly as we got AOL we kicked the sorry sack bastard to the curb in favor of another service. What does it tell you when the company that merged with AOL doesn't even use their own system? And wouldn't you think I'd be smart enough not to use it when I activated my internet service at home? Well, guess again.

After I got let go from DC I received one of those AOL startup plan discs that offered me three free months of service so I figured I'd use it since it was free and eventually move on to something more efficient, such as sticking my head out of the window and shouting into the ether for whomever I wished to contact. But, as these things often go, I got lazy and just left it as it was despite a high number of shoddy service incidents during my daily search for work, loose women and intoxicants.

What finally drove me to remove AOL from my list of stress-inducers was the fact that my man in England, Chris Weston, kept attempting to send me files of his stunning artwork and any stuff that he thought I might find interesting and those documents were endlessly fucked up by AOL and would open only as a display of cyber-code gibberish. At the recommendation of computer whiz and old college pal Smoky I switched to Earthlink and found myself quite pleased since it is hella cheaper and eleventy-jillion times more efficient than AO-Hell.

Then came the night when I called the bane of my internet existence and declared my intention to cancel my service; this statement was met with one of those fucking foreign outsourced “customer service” drones who would not listen to what I had to say and attempted at all costs to keep me on AOL. After being asked over and over why I was canceling my service and hearing me give the same answers each time, the unwelcome Hadji repeatedly pointed out how often I used the system and how she was willing to lower the monthly cost. At that point I started screaming like the crazed, scary Negro that I can occasionally be: “LISTEN TO ME, GOD DAMN IT! I HAVE TOLD YOU TWENTY MOTHERFUCKING TIMES THAT I WANT TO CANCEL MY SERVICE AND I AM ABSOLUTELY FUCKING TIRED OF TELLING YOU THAT! I WANT TO BE OVER AND DONE WITH THIS FUCKING AOL BULLSHIT RIGHT FUCKING NOW! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME, YOU STUPID BITCH?!!!?”

Finally having gotten my point across, I was redirected to the standard “sorry to lose you” recording and told that my service will terminate at the beginning of the next billing cycle, in other words in four days. Then I was told that they hoped I would change my mind and return to their fold in the future.

Well let me tell you, that has all the likelihood of happening as that of a burning and naked Jesus Christ jumping out of my distended browneye and fucking the nearest parking meter with his six-foot, turgid heliotrope and puce tallywhacker.

Trust me, ass-fuck your own grandmother as she undergoes kidney dialysis before signing up with AOL, dear readers. That experience would be far less scarring.