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This post is inspired by Cliff's latest freestyle and by the continuing saga of the Black Mamba. I was actually on the cusp of developing a completely different post but, luckily, I visited two of my favorite online destinations and decided to wing it a bit. Here are a couple of things I'm thinking about. I dedicate this to Breez whose great misfortune it is to suffer fools, and to Cliff - I see you sitting on that porch, brother. Keep doing your thing.
Recently, Bill Cosby's been running from talk show to talk show sharing his latest 'This is What's Wrong with Black America' musings - this time in order to promote his new book. I caught a portion of him on Oprah, Meet the Press and Larry King Live and two things became instantly clear to me. The first is that he is losing his vision (no, I literally mean his eyesight). The second is that he is losing his mind.
Some of you may already be familiar with my reaction to Bill's reinvention of himself as a cultural critic so I won't go into that. What I will say is that Cosby has obviously contracted what I like to call "Grandpaitis." Grandpaitis has taken effect when a person reaches a point in his or her life at which he or she suddenly finds it easier to tell everybody EXACTLY what the fuck he or she thinks is wrong with them than it is to say nothing at all. This condition is easy to misidentify. Many people mistake it for "telling it like it is." Still others confuse it with senility. Just for the record, senility is when you forget shit. Grandpaitis is when you forget nothing at all. Hey, this isn't an insult. It happens to many people. My grandfather, who I've mourned to one degree or another every single day since he's been gone, was stricken with an acute case a few years before he passed on. Since my dad's side of the family still nurses that Old School respect for patriarchy, no one really attempted to correct Big Pop when he got you into a corner and told you a few things about yourself that he thought you should know. Far from it. A couple of the things that we did do, however, was keep him away from strangers and from live mics. If Bill Cosby was my grandfather, instead of detailing the shortcomings of poor black people on national television, he would be detailing the shortcomings of my uncle Willie to an audience of about ten or twelve.
I recently saw an extremely disturbing picture of El DeBarge. At this moment, many of you who aren't black are asking yourselves, "Who the hell is El DeBarge?" Those of you who are black are saying, "Where's the picture?" It is here. In it, El is holding on to his little brother Chico for what appears to be dear life. Apparently, Eldra (yeah, I would have gone by El too) DeBarge is one of the many DeBarge brothers to run afoul of the law. He's been battling drug addiction and was recently arrested for domestic abuse. Sad.
El's issues made me ask myself a question that I will now ask you. Who would have thought that of all the eighties black radio mainstays Prince would be the one who aged gracefully? More accurately, Prince (at this point I should probably admit I've been a fan of his for 75% of my life and feel that he is vastly more talented than anyone who's ever attempted to pick up an instrument or sing into a microphone) is aging magnificently while El is looking for a fix, Michael is on self-imposed exile, Whitney is cracked out, and Rick James is gone. I can't say that I saw that coming.
Finally, there's this. I HATE it when people refer derisively to so-and-so as a "one hit wonder." I was at Starbuck's and I overheard one of the cashiers say, of the guy who made that annoying "You're beau-tifuuul" song, "he's just a one hit wonder." Now, as much as I hated that song, I had to think to myself (yes, to myself, I don't have grandpaitis just yet) 'That's one more hit than you've made you smug ignoramus. I'm sure you're in a much better position behind the bar of a Starbuck's than he is wiping his backside with beau-tifuuul royalties.' What I actually said, of course, was "I'll have a large...sorry, a grande caramel latte." I'm sure Bill Cosby would not have been proud.
Edit: I have to admit that some episodes of Grandpaitis are nothing short of brilliant. I found this exchange particularly amusing..
Larry King: Do you support Barack Obama?
Bill Cosby: Do you ask white people if they support white candidates?
Larry King: Ummm..
Bill Cosby: ANSWER THE QUESTION, LARRY!!