Why I Continue to Remain Hopeful Despite Evidence to the Contrary

Photo from interview on ABC.com

By Mark Naison
Professor of African American Studies and History
Fordham University
Author of White Boy: A Memoir

Today, I am oddly hopeful that some, perhaps many, people will not accept the grim future being prepared for them–a future of austerity, low paying insecure work, relentless surveillance, crushing debt and elite monopolization of the nation’s wealth and income. I say this not only because of the movements that occurred last fall, and now are reinventing themselves off the radar screen, but because of hundreds of conversations I am having with people, some in person, some through email and social media, which suggest that a society where the few control, manage and  exploit the many is not their idea of what America is  or what they want their own future to be. And this is a feeling which crosses party lines, and divisions of race gender and age. Many people look at where their lives are heading and feel profound dismay. And they may be angry enough and proud enough to do something about it.

I am not suggesting that their dissatisfaction will always be expressed peacefully, or constructively. I think we are likely to see all kinds of violent outbursts, some individual, some collective as life becomes more insecure for a growing number of people. But–and I believe this with every core of my being–we are going to see people coming together to prevent themselves from losing what little they have while the few live untouched by hardship.

For the next few months, our attention will be diverted by the drama of elections, with peoples hopes and fears being projected onto political candidates. But once the elections are over, and current trends toward immiseration and economic stagnation continue unchecked, and quite possibly, accelerate, you will begin to see people decided to take their future in their own hands, in their workplaces, in their neighborhoods, in their schools, in the streets, and in city halls, state houses and the Congress.

And this time, it will be much more broadly based than the Occupy movement and much more difficult to suppress, peaceful, militant, but with an undercurrent of rage embodied in violent outbursts that will be occurring spontaneously because of the pressure that people will find themselves under.

I plan to be there with the peaceful protesters, raising issues and demanding solutions, but I will not  not turn my back on those, who in frustration and desperation, turn to violence, or allow authorities to use their outbursts to justify a further expansion of police power and the prison industrial complex that is already the largest in the world.  

These will be hard times and challenging times, but the greatest danger is silence and compliance, not resistance. And I think more and more people are ready to accept this.

What do you think of No Doubt’s new song?

By Spin‘s Marc Hogan:

The title track of No Doubt’s first album in more than a decade, Push and Shove (due out on September 25) has premiered via Ryan Seacrest, and once again, it’s hella good — or at least, much better on early listens than we would ever have expected back in 2001. “Never play it safe / No relapse,” Gwen Stefani sings with a Caribbean lilt in the ska-flavored opening verse, and that about sums up a genre-shuffling track that bassist Tony Kanal described to Rolling Stone as “our ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.'”

Personally (this is Gina here) I love it, although it’s very different from what I’m used to for this band. Sure, as a solo artist, Gwen Stefani played with a variety of different genres, but this is all of No Doubt on a dance song I can hear at a club. Sort of.

Read more about the track via Spin here.

[kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/388452/1693917&tbid=473116&p=&height=436&width=416]

New videos: Juan Bago and O

Cannot. Stop. Laughing.

Uptown Manhattan’s spoofmeisters extraordinaire are back with three new videos.

“Hooked on Hookah” has me bopping at my desk. (Update: This is a spoof of a song called “Papa Dios Me Dijo” by a Dominican artist who goes by Secreto. I’ve seen Secreto’s name on flyers of the various clubs my brother and his DJ friends spin at, but I wasn’t familiar with his music.)

The chorus is so damn catchy:

Están esperando que se apage este fuego, pa prender el otro.
Prende la hookah; dale mas plomo!”

I think my favorite part of the song is O’s sheer passion when he sings about hookah flavors. Ha! He is SERIOUS about his manzana y tamarindo.

And fresh off Dominican parade Sunday, enjoy “Quisqueya,” which has Juan Bago displaying some Zumba-like dance moves.

Finally, this duo has become quite astute at spoofing Kanye West songs. Here, they share their version of “Theraflu” with an ode to the Latino cure-for-all, Vicks Vapor Rub. But we Latinos don’t call it that. It’s “Vivaporu.” Read an interview with Bago and O on Univision’s Tumblr here. Video below.

Watch Bago and O’s other spoof videos, including favorites, “Pan con Queso” and “Dominis in the Heights,” on Vimeo, here. A link to the pair’s YouTube channel is here.

Musica: Mixes of the week

(Smut Lee at Que Bajo in 2011. Ignore the person in the foreground.)

It occurred to me today that although I’m one hell of a SHARER when it comes to music, they aren’t always easily found. I typically share using Twitter and Facebook and although the internet is FOREVER, my posts can get lost down below since I continue to add to my news feed and timeline. (We all know I’m addicted to social media.)

So, in an attempt to become a better curater, I’ll post a roundup periodically on this blog. Here we go:

Grab some remixes of Los Rakas by San Antonio super producer, Sonora, here.  (And check out Los Rakas while they’re on tour. Link to tour info in the Sounds and Colours piece by me.)

Watch this awesome Q&A with Thornato by my amigos up north at Dos Mundos. Then download Thornato’s mix because it’s VERY good.

What haven’t I said on Twitter about London’s Smut Lee!?!?? I first heard the smutty one at Que Bajo in the summer of 2011 and I’ve been a big fan ever since. His dancehall mixes are always the shizzzzz *and* this one samples Lonely Island character Ras Trent (by Andy Samberg.)

Finally, K. Sabroso, the Indianapolis DJ and producer shared an exclusive mixtape with Sounds and Colours. It includes Colombian electro/champeta groups Palenke Soultribe and Systema Solar alongside salsa greats Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe and Celia Cruz.


We’ve got to do better for U.S. Veterans

A car bomb in Iraq in May 2007 left Ben Richards, then a captain, with a severe concussion. A second concussion left him with debilitating injuries. (Photo by Ben Richards)

War Wounds


IT would be so much easier, Maj. Ben Richards says, if he had just lost a leg in Iraq.

Instead, he finds himself losing his mind, or at least a part of it. And if you want to understand how America is failing its soldiers and veterans, honoring them with lip service and ceremonies but breaking faith with them on all that matters most, listen to the story of Major Richards.

Read more of Nick Kristof’s heartbreaking piece here.

Technology: A Work Email Blackout? Par-ty! Par-ty!

Photo via The Telegraph

I get experts placed in the news and I write some news, so it’s a rarity to read a quote by me in the news.

A reporter was looking for expert commentary on one corporation’s decision to shut off work email after hours. When I responded to her with information about Fordham’s Communications professors, I mentioned I’d freak out if I couldn’t access work email after hours. She ended up wanting to quote me.

Here are the two pieces in which I’m quoted and they’re good reads that show there is certainly a bit of a smartphone/technology addiction these days. Guilty as charged. Read on …

Vote: Would You Like a Work Email Blackout?

By Cindy Perlman, CNBC

Do you check your work email on an iPhone or other smartphone after-hours?

Join the club: More than 80 percent of workers say they continue to work from home even after they leave the office, according to a recent survey from mobile-research firm Good Technology. Nearly two-thirds said they check their work email before 8 a.m., and a whopping 40 percent admitted to checking email at the dinner table!

Read more, including my quote, here. And the other piece in which I’m quoted, also by Perlman, here.

Lyrics: ‘Keepsake’ by Gaslight Anthem

Photo via AUX.tv

I’m very fortunate to have grown up with both parents. I didn’t always see it that way. As a kid, I can remember sometimes wishing they’d divorce when they fought because I hated arguments and I figured I’d be allowed to hang out with friends more that way! (They were strict about letting me go anywhere without my brothers.)

I feel guilty for even thinking that way. But I was young and naive. I definitely cherish having them both together and around to this day.

I’m going to assume Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon grew up, in part, without his dad. The lyrics to Keepsake give me goosebumps:

It’s been thirty-one years
Since she’s been in your arms
But don’t worry about Mama
Mama’s got a good heart

And I’m not looking for your love
I’m only sniffing out blood
Just a little taste of where I came from

And at the bottom of this river
Is where I put you down to lay
So I can live with it
And in my heart there are these waters
Where I put you down to lay
While I learn to live with it
Until I’m free

And it’s been all my life
I’ve been wondering on the inside
What we could’ve had
If you’d had a part in my life

Buy the album, read the rest of the lyrics or just listen to the song, here. And in this interview with AOL Spinner, Fallon discusses honesty in his songwriting.