Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On Vanity Deaths, Larry David and Jesus' Good Fortune..

On May 5, 2087, the moon's first colonists are paid a visit.

OK. So this week I was dead set on creating the best, most thought-provoking, stylishly written post in Blaxplanation's short history. Then I realized that I'm kind of lazy and that, like many Americans, I'd rather watch television than do any real thinking. So this freestyle is what those of you who choose to read this blog are left with. Enjoy it if you can.

As most already know, Kanye West's mother, Donda West, died a few days ago. It is suspected that Dr. West's death was caused by post-op complications after she endured a botched plastic surgery. The only photo that I've seen of Jan Adams, the doctor who performed the surgery, is a mugshot that was taken after he had been arrested for a DWI. At the time of this writing, the portrait that is being painted of Adams is that of a Beverly Hills Butcher who has a history of disfiguring his patients.
One of the most disheartening parts of this unfortunate incident is the criticism of Dr. West that I've been hearing for the past couple of days. Supposedly, Donda West was initially advised not to undergo surgery because of concerns for her health. She, apparently, balked at the idea that she would have to postpone her surgery and sought another opinion - that of Dr. Jan Adams. I've spoken with more than one person who feels that Donda West brought this on herself. They liken her demise to that of those who, emboldened by their own "celebrity," foolishly court death. Her's, according to this opinion, was little more than a vanity death. Also, she was an educated woman. Shouldn't she have known better?
Well, to me, even if the rumors of her being forewarned are true, this is a pretty rotten and judgmental rationale. Was the decision to ignore a doctor's advice and press on with elective surgery a good one? Obviously not. But most of us have acted irrationally at some point during our lives and are fortunate enough to not have died as a result. I don't doubt that one of the main reasons that some people feel this way has to do with the fact that Dr. West elected to have plastic surgery. Many people assume the moral high ground when it comes to this procedure. They claim to believe that one shouldn't alter one's appearance if one doesn't have to. This strikes me as oddly judgmental, considering the fact that the number of elective plastic surgeries climbs significantly every year. Also, many people in general, and women in particular, have a terrible self-image when it comes to their bodies. We're living in a world in which the quick fix has become the norm so it shouldn't surprise us that a wealthy woman, doctorate or no, would find a way to get a perfunctory tummy tuck. I guess I also shouldn't find it surprising that some folks would find a way to blame the victim.

According to a newly-released study from the Pew Charitable Trusts, if you're a young black person, you're broker than folks were at your age. The Washington Post reported that - while the black/white income disparity has decreased - black Americans are actually less prosperous now than their parents were. No wonder my mother is still mailing me birthday cards with money in them. So much for the growing black middle class I've been waiting so anxiously to join.

On Sunday night the last two minutes of the season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm moved into that rare stratosphere of comedic genius.

A couple of representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints paid me a visit a few days ago. I wasn't expecting them. However, after I found out who it was, I answered the door for two reasons. The first is because I'm a relatively hospitable dude. The second is because, like Inigo Montoya, I've been waiting years to say something to the next Mormon proselytizer that I came across. Here's exactly how it went down:
LDS: *Ding, dong*
ACT (answering door with the Book of Mormon in hand): Hello! Are you guys LDS?
LDS (looking genuinely surprised): Ha! Yes sir we are!
ACT (chomping at the bit): Great! Well I know why you're here and I just want to say that I've had many conversations with members of the LDS church. Now, before you begin, I think I should tell you that you might want to consider using your considerable powers of persuasion on someone else.
LDS (trudging right along): Well, we've come here to..
ACT (going in for the kill): Oh no. Believe me, I know why you've come - to spread the *tapping meaningfully on the Book of Mormon* Good Word. Well, like I said, I've already heard it and until one of you guys can explain why 2nd Nephi chapter 5 verse 21 - a clear cut celebration of white supremacy - is included in your book of worship then you should probably keep it moving. Take care.

Which brings me to my last thought. If you had to die in order to save the world would you do it? I was about to go to surveymonkey to establish a poll on this when I realized that I didn't need to. It's a no-brainer. Of course most of us would. Only a selfish, misanthropic bastard would choose himself over 6 and half billion people. Why then do the Jesus groupies with whom I occasionally come into contact act as if Jesus did something so noble? He was lucky. If I gave you a choice between a) dying an agonizing death to save the souls of every single person who will ever inhabit the known world, for which you will be eternally recognized and worshiped or b) working for 30 thankless years in a middle management position, which would you choose? That's not even taking into account the fact that millions of people have succumbed to deaths that were at least as tortuous as Jesus' for nothing at all. Am I the only one who feels this way?

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At 7:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I pretty much enjoy reading your stream of conciousness... now if only I was in my office when you stopped by... one of these days.. one of these days. Glad you were amused that I saved your quote. :)

At 3:31 PM , Anonymous Viece said...

So what does 2nd Nephi say??? I don't have a book of mormon -- keep forgetting to pick one of those up.

At 4:48 PM , Blogger Another Conflict Theorist said...


Anon: One day, when the moons are perfectly aligned, I'll drop by and you'll actually be there. See you soon.

Viece: Here you go..
"And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."

At 11:07 PM , Blogger Tha L said...

*Snickering my ASS off* at the LDS encounter. You are my hero...they don't come around my hood in Vegas, only the JoHo's. And if I could just get the courage to open the door when they come knocking...

At 4:30 PM , Blogger Sara Rosell said...

Wow, so much to think about. I am not comfortable with the whole plastic surgery thing, but either way, I wonder if they did research on the guy. I don't know what to think, I only know what sources like TMZ are saying and they aren't any good for reliable people-of-color reporting. I love how the mugshot is of some dui arrest...what a way to ghetto-tize him. Oh and supposedly he used to claim he got a degree from Harvard?

By the way, if only we could all pull off those kinds of religious confrontations. What a classic moment!

At 7:20 PM , Blogger Coffey0072 said...

Man. What a thought provoking stream of, well, thoughts...
Firstly, I feel horrible for Kanye, that his beloved mother died. It's unfortunate that this cult of personality's sick obsession and distorted views on how women should look, prompt some us to even consider... let alone actually go through with, butchering ourselves. We can do all the research we can on plastic surgeons... vanity still comes with huge risks. It doesn't matter that Dr. Donda West "should've known better" ... I think if someone's a practitioner in the medical field, whether plastic surgeon, heart surgeon, or physician... they are essentially responsible for people's lives and should carry themselves accordingly, in such delicate matters.

Men seem to happily traipse along the beaches in tight speedos... bellies flapping in the sun... never even considering having a tummy tuck or any surgery of the like... because society doesn't put them out to pasture for aging or putting on a little weight. I'd rather live with the excess flab and cellulite if it'll buy me another decade alive.

As far as your encounter with the LDS... HOT! hahahaha.

And in reference to your last observation... not only am I self absorbed and self serving, but I'm a practicing sinner and would rather burn in hell than martyr myself for the sake of humanity.
I think I may need therapy.

At 11:24 AM , Blogger BLESSD1 said...

Ooh! I am SOOOO using that verse from the book of Mormon next time I get a knock from them! Great post, ACT

At 5:22 PM , Blogger Dana Dane said...

that was a gereat post and yes millions of others have died for nothing at all or perhaps maybe even for something they thought was nothing

At 5:24 PM , Blogger Dana Dane said...

my stepdad used to use that verse on our neighbors who were mormon and they informed him that the church does not think that

At 5:36 PM , Anonymous pink_pedicure said...

I'm not going to front like I would give my life to save the world. Maybe a lot of other people would, I'm not sure but I know my answer would be hell no.

As for Kanye's mother, I truly feel bad for her. I agree that so many people have been hypercritical of her decision to have plastic surgery. Even if it's not the decision we would have made, do we seriously think that she thought she would die as a result? I doubt it. Who knows what assurances the doctor gave her.

At 1:41 PM , Blogger Breez said...

I keep coming to comment and getting distracted.

Okay, re: Dr. West, I agree that whether she knew better or not is immaterial. People "know better" than running red lights, but if they die in a collision, is it still not a tragedy? People really need to get off their high fucking horses.

Don't get me started on the state of finances. I already told you, IT'S ILLEGAL NOT TO BE RICH! You are in violation of Federal law!!! You better recognize!

Very interesting re: the LDS. I'd heard about the views, but I didn't realize it was actually IN the Book of Mormon.

I don't know homie, I think there are actually quite a few selfish, misanthropic bastards in this world. You can start with the "leader" of the U.S., who has willingly sacrificed the lives of thousands, yet never sniffed combat himself, basically for the self serving purposes of the wealthy. That being said, regardless of the circumstances, to sacrifice one's life for the good of humanity is actually quite noble across the board. Particularly to us Jesus groupies. :-)

At 2:42 PM , Anonymous Viece said...

Ok. Here's the thing. God Himself would have to present himself by way of a burning bush or talking donkey or something in order for me to save the world. I'm not talking one of those "i think i hear the voice of jesus telling me to..." NO. I would have to have a purple sky, some pink grass and maybe someone straight from heaven dragging me kicking and screaming to save the world. Selfish? maybe, but my question is, what would i be saving the world from? EXPECIALLY (catch the ebonics in there?) if i had to die the WAY that Jesus died. ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Here is what i would die for: my faith, my family & my friends --- in that order. Including ACT and his family as well. BTW, if you recall, in the last minutes Jesus was praying to be taken out of his situation as well.

At 9:29 AM , Anonymous said...

I wish I had a photo on those guy's faces after you dropped the bomb.

RIP Dr. West.

There are many I would give my life for - but many I would not. My children of course. The evil empire - nevah!


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