Anthony Norman White - Freelance Writer

Historically Repetitious Inaccuracy Causes Generational Repression, Again

I was at a dinner party recently when someone almost 10 years younger than me exclaimed, “There’s no way I’m in the millennial generation. I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 16!” It was not received as anything but truth. Everyone agreed.

It had a profound impact on me. I left that party depressed, irritated, and sick to my stomach, despite the fantastic food.

If you were born between the years of 1981 and 1996, you’re a millennial. And it’s a soft border, meaning you might be a millennial if you are born on either cusp. The millennial generation has an odd and bizarre stigma attached to it that is more historically repetitious than accurate. But what that comment from the person at the dinner party illuminates is the control that the previous generation has over millennials. And it’s not Gen X, it’s the Boomers, the only other generation that has equal number of people enveloped inside and they feel threatened as every previous generation of Americans has felt since the 1600’s.

The first Jamestown colony on the New Land that Britain had acquired in what is now Virginia was largely a bust. No crop other than tobacco had grown successfully there and England’s premier tobacco provider was still Spain. Spanish tobacco couldn’t be overthrown by a successor until the King decided to make an announcement that the tobacco from the New Land was much better. This was in an effort to revive his investment and the marketing worked.

As production had to increase the workers that were sent to Jamestown in the first place needed help. They wrote to the King to send some new workers. The King, resourceful as ever, sent a younger generation there, in order to ensure that the farm system was taught to a new group, sustaining his investment long term. Not long after their arrival the letters started pouring back in to him.

King James
King James looking slightly like Tom Waits

The colonists wrote that the new batch of young workers he sent were lazy, unable to be trained, didn’t listen, and were practically no help. This began the American way of complaining about the next generation in order to preserve your own dignity and posterity, as a new batch of individuals is sent to take over.

My grandfather thought my dad’s generation was a bunch of lazy long haired, pot smoking hippies who were glued to their hi- fi stereos. They were, but they also were catalysts for change, ushering in an era where people stood together for what is right. Protests formed for peace, equal rights, and individuality around the country. These are the same baby boomers who are now repressing and propagandizing the Millennials in the same way that they were by the Traditionalist or the Silent Generation.

Make no mistake, not everything since the 1600’s is repetition. This current generation grew up in a socially different time that causes more time in front of a screen than in front of anything else. But what is seldom argued is that the Millennial generation’s world is the world, they grew up inherently global and so there views seem so completely different because they are the first generation to see what they want to see, have all information just a click away and seem generally accepting of all types of people regardless where they are from.

Much in the same way the baby boomer generation was ridiculed by their parents for spending far too much time and energy on rock and roll, radio, and television, this new generation is on their phone. The older generations didn’t grow up with things “going viral” and that term has a negative feel to it, and they themselves find they spend far too much time on their phones and on social platforms. If it’s addicting to them, it must be more addicting to the younger generation because they simply have less experience.

But it’s just not true. It’s always been in our hands and so we adapted much quicker. The issue isn’t addiction from the younger generation, but actually from the older. 62% of Facebook users are over 35, 20% is in the Millennial Generation, and 10% is over 65. All of these generations have had social media the same amount of time. And the numbers are actually pretty similar. The only exception being television. Millennials don’t watch TV they stream off their tablets, phones, and computers. Gen X and the Boomers still watch a few hours of TV every night.

Somehow the TV screen is lost in translation when compared to the cell phone screen.

The Millennials are the first generation to make inclusivity a priority, renewable energy a reality, and social media a tool. These initiatives were largely thought of by a previous generation that wanted to make things better for the next generation, but has now become irate and jealous that it is becoming a possibility. Fabricating things to complain about the next generation is a silly way to show support. But maybe a few of us will use that chip on our shoulder to break the rules all over again.

But how about instead of ridicule there is general support? What if we all worked together instead of drawing a line in the sand of who is right and who is wrong?

The Millennials themselves will be the first to try and weasel out of being part of their own generation. Where does that come from? Handed down from the previous generation trying to prove that their worth is still a worth. If you were born between 1981 and 1996 and you are saying that you are not a millennial you are only being beholden to the previous generations who paved the way and now have shackled you to a slower rate of growth, to their fears, and to their shadows disappearing as the sun sets. You’re buying into 400 years of historically repetitious inaccuracies fueled by tradition instead of truth.

Time to unshackle.

2018 marks the first year we could have a Millennial as president. Young leaders are being elected already. Justin Trudeau of Canada is 46 and Emanuel Macron is 40. The Millennial Generation is now larger than the Baby Boomers and that number will continue to grow larger as the years go by. We are in control. Not monetarily, but in populous and that means that we can start to dictate the direction of this great nation.

If you are already using phrases like “the kids these days” and “back in the day” you are already cementing into place the same repression and historical inaccuracies that previous generations put in place. But it’s not supportive and won’t help us all out long term. The younger generations should use their time and effort to connect with the older generation, to learn where certain things went wrong, and where things went right and accept that wisdom and learn. If everyone was willing to work together we could all be part in making the future of this great nation much brighter.

As long as everyone puts their phones down long enough to listen.

The Art of Drunk Food

It’s late night and you’re wandering with a few friends. You had dinner around 6pm but a blurry check of your watch shows that it’s now just past midnight. The last IPA you guzzled left your mouth dry and you can feel that shot of Tully sloshing in your guts as you trod clumsily along.

It’s Time for Drunk Food

The question is, to what degree of greasiness will you be willing to go? Pizza? Cheeseburgers? Nachos? All of it?

There is an art to drunk food, a je ne sais quoi if you will, from conception to plate. Certain things seem less appealing, like an arugula salad with a pair of soft boiled quail eggs, although at 6pm that would seem like the perfect option. But it’s after midnight now and you’re hammed. Arugula and quail eggs can go straight to hell.

No, it’s time for something double fried, dripping with grease, topped with cheese and soggy with mayonnaise. It’s time for a heart stopping, artery clogging mess that you are certain will give you plenty of time for regret as you perch upon your porcelain throne time after time after time the next day.

Why Do We Do it to Ourselves?

It’s for the sake of the art, of course! Someone put together this creation much in the same way that you came around to eating it. You can imagine the chef coming home late, drunk as ever, looking helplessly around his fridge for something to annihilate. There are sparse ingredients, but just enough to pique the curiosity of the blotto culinary creator. A dish is born, and with certain delight it is consumed in pure gluttony, its ephemeral existence quantified by the inhibition-free state the spirits have created while swimming through your bloodstream.

It’s pure bliss. The next step is finding a place to stare into space for a few minutes until your head hits the pillow. Before you know it you’ll be waking up looking for water, your shriveled prune like body devoid of water, saturated with salt, and dreaming of an ice cold Grape Gatorade.

 Personally Speaking After Going Ham

I’ve drunkenly roamed late night in Boston, New York, D.C., Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Toronto, Baltimore, and smaller cities like Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Kingston, Manchester, Raleigh, and West Palm Beach. I have eaten late night meals in pretty much all of them. Regretted some more than others, but never hated on how great a night it was.

Here are the 3 meals unique to a specific area that I would go back for:

  1. Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh –  Absolute carnage. If you have never had the privilege of eating a sandwich there, its meat, coleslaw, and French fries on the sandwich itself, all piled up and delicious. I had pastrami, with swiss, and I added onions and an egg. I ate it greedily, obsessively, and without breathing. It was the perfect end to a great night.

    primonti bros
    Primanti Brothers Sandwich 
  2. Pat’s King of Steak in Philadelphia – Do me a favor and spare me the “the best cheesesteaks are not at Pat’s or Geno’s those places are for tourists” speech. I was in Philly and I was a damn tourist and the first time I ate a “Whiz Whit” I damn near cried. Tender steak and cheesey goodness was enough to send me to cholesterol bliss. Great night in Philly, too, complete with a memorable 3D Avatar porn experience and Monk’s Café Sour Flemish Ale. Not at the same time.

    pats cheesesteak
    Pat’s Cheesesteak
  3. Dog Town in Rochester – Despite its namesake, The Garbage Plate is delicious. Home fries on a plate topped with mac salad, a hot dog, and a cheeseburger, drowning in spicy meat sauce and speckled with raw onions. Sound gross? Come to Rochester and spend a few hours with yours truly walking around Monroe Avenue and then see what you think. You’ll cave in and then have to sleep for a week.

    garbage plate
    Garbage Plate on an actual plate

What it All Means

I’ve had late night hot dogs and slices of pizza in New York, grabbed after hours meals in Boston, and had a soft shell crab poor boy once in Baltimore that blew me away. But it’s not just what it was, it was the nights that surrounded the first time I had these specific meals, what I was doing, who I was with, and the meal just hit me. It hit me in a spot inside my mind that I can’t describe.

I went to school for a while in New Paltz, New York. I remember a little pizza joint that was on my stumbling walk home from the frat parties. It was called “Italian Supreme”. It’s not there anymore. I remember they had stuffed pizza slices, which were basically just two slices of pizza stacked on top of one another creating a “stuffed slice” effect.

I’m not sure if that pizza was any good. But at the time, at eighteen years old, with friends, drinking cheap beer and whiskey and smoking Natural American Spirits, it was the best pizza ever. We ate it like we were kings, sloppily sucking the sauce off our fingers and laughing till our heads fell off.

The art of drunk food is not just how the meal will satisfy your uninhibited hunger, it’s how that meal will entice your memory to go back to that spot in time and relive it all over again.

 

Anthony N. White is a writer currently living in Rochester, NY.

He can be heckled on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @Ruthieshusband

Or on Facebook, of course.

 

What This Shit Means to Me

It’s so much more than a petrified piece of poo. It’s a sharp reminder that life happens fast and you should never take shit from anyone, especially if it’s something that you truly believe in. It’s a putrid reminder that sometimes shit rolls downhill, that there’s always shit on your mind, there’s always lots of shit to do, and you’re always looking for ways to escape all this shit. But it’s also funny, because sometimes shit is funny.

This shit reminds me to stay patient that sometimes you have to wait for shit. That shit doesn’t come easy. Not all shit that does come easy is bad shit, sometimes quick shit is easy and good, but waiting and being patient for shit usually pays off the best. The best shit makes you wait and that shit feels good when it finally arrives.

But most of all this shit reminds me of my Grandfather. He put this very same fake shit on his head when I was a kid and walked into the room. He got my attention and I looked at him and saw the shit, but thought that shit was real and I was so disappointed in him. All I said was, “Oh, Papa!” and everyone started laughing. Then I found out the shit was fake and I realized that sometimes it’s funny to play a practical joke and that he really didn’t let a big dog shit on his head. And I learned a little something about comedy and love.

But it also shows some humility too, that you’re willing to take some shit because sometimes you have to and sometimes you have to be willing to give a shit, even when nobody else does.

I keep this shit on my desk when I’m writing. I look at it to remind myself to dig down deep into the shit and to be as real as possible. It’s a little reminder that you have to get all the shit down while you can, and you better love the shit you create, but never take that shit too seriously.

This shit is important to me and so is writing. So I keep this shit to remind me of the past, the present, and the future.  It reminds me that I’ll never be scared shit-less, no matter what shit I face.

Thanks for reading this shit.

 

Anthony N. White is a writer currently living in Rochester, NY.

He can be heckled on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @Ruthieshusband

Or on Facebook, of course.

Racial Injustice and Televised War Creates Counterculture Rock Zeitgeist, Again

If history repeats itself then the next big rock and roll movement will be here soon. It will be very short lived, powerful and strong, and its popularity will not be denied. It may have already started and we just haven’t realized it yet. No telling where it will come from or what it will sound like when it gets here. But it’s coming.

Fads move faster than ever in recent years. This includes movements in art, music, or pop culture. What is here today may literally be gone tomorrow. Certain things seem to stick around and become part of our cultural fabric while others quickly vanish into the oblivion and show up on VH1. It has been a while since rock music has seen an intense movement, but the ingredients are here, and the temperature is right, and we’ve had just the right amount of time; 25 years.

The first great movement in Rock and Roll was in the early 1960’s.  Although the first rock and roll song was credited to 1951’s “Rocket 88”, Rock and Roll wouldn’t take on the form that we know it to be today; free, strong, moving, powerful, until the middle 1960’s brought to us via the British invasion. The second great movement came through underground bands in the 1980’s but exploded on MTV in the early 1990’s as Seattle grunge sound.  It is unclear whether the ingredients brought together the perfect meal or whether the public was so hungry they would have eaten anything.  But regardless, both major, important, and popular rock movement has been preceded by two awful things that seep into the public conscious, poisoning our collective well, and splitting the public; racial injustice and televised war.

The accounts of racial injustice to people of color throughout early American history have been many. But a few incidents around the mid 1950’s seem to stick out as a throbbing beacon of inequality.  Around this same time the Vietnam War was officially started and America’s involvement would increase in Vietnam and similarly here in the states the war on racial justice was slowly reaching its acme.  Resentment towards the government grew for being involved with the war, towards conscription, and with inaction towards the ethical treatment of all people.

In recent news the sign that commemorated the life of Emmet Till was shown to have been punctured several times with bullet holes.  The story of 14 year old Emmet Till is a brutally sad and sadistic one. Till was murdered in Mississippi for talking “familiar” with a shop keeper while visiting cousins from his home town of Chicago.  The two men charged with the crime were acquitted by an all-white jury after only 1 hour of deliberation.  An investigation 7 years later found that most jurors believed that the 2 men who faced the charges were guilty, but didn’t want to convict them because life imprisonment for killing a black boy seemed unjust and only months later the killers would confess their crime in a story run in LOOK magazine. The killers were paid $4000 each for the story.

The year Emmet Till died was 1955, just one year after the Vietnam War was officially started.  Stories of injustice were often worded strongly in favor of white supremacy.  War and death, domestic injustice and perceived international justice were plastered across the newspapers and televisions and radios around the country.  People started to become divided; those who supported the war and those who didn’t and those who supported desegregation and those who didn’t. The public was inundated with horrifying stories of young men dying for their cause, whether in a fight overseas for war or a fight here on our own soil for segregation, and sides continued to mount. The racial divides would come to their acme with the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.

The British invasion and rock music exploded at nearly the same time the civil rights act was passed in 1965.  The timing may have been coincidence, but it could have just as well have been alchemy.  The people had spoken and the war was beginning to end, segregation was beginning to end, and a feeling of freedom left the public feeling liberated.  1969 was the summer of love and what was started in the 1950’s with the Beat Generation had culminated into liberation at a high (no pun intended) and deep level. Woodstock was anti war, pro unity and all about the music and love.  The consciousness had changed and the nation was ready to accept the proliferation of rock, social awareness, and a peaceful, incorporated ideology. What was once counterculture was now accepted American culture.

jimi-hendrix
The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Unfortunately that feeling wouldn’t last long. The 70’s ushered out a feeling of freedom and love as the 80’s brought in a “normalcy” and “prosperity” period. Although this piece is directed towards rock and roll and its two major movements in particular, failure to mention Punk Rock and Hip Hop here would be an epic failure. Both sounds were invented in the underground, paralleling general American sentiment at the time with a counter culture from the packaged 80’s pop music that dominated the airwaves. Punk and Hip Hop were sown from deep emotions from real people without the white wash (pun intended) of corporate America. The movement was strong yet largely ignored by the mainstream for years. Turns out punk and rap did more than just invent music; they both respectively spawned variations of their sound and generated billions of dollars in revenue and actually helped to shape the landscape of American vernacular. Although this music wasn’t considered rock music, rock had its deep roots in both form and cultural aesthetic.

As these genres gained popularity and current pop music was starting to meet its demise in the late 1980’s, a new sound started to emerge. Again, this new sound seemed to be enveloped in racial injustice and a televised war overseas. The sound was raw and powerful and had integrated lyrics to match the noise. It brought on a different type of social awareness, one that seemed more forceful and boisterous than the last one in the late 1960’s. This one was more morose, slightly more deafening, and its messages of peace, love, and understanding were backed by anger first before acceptance.

The Grunge movement in rock and roll could have started with The Replacements and Husker Du in the 80’s or just as easily with the Pixies or arguably REM depending on the critic. But its sound was made most famous by the explosion that was known as the Seattle sound; Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots just to name a few were the bands that made the sound the most famous and took over the airwaves.  Grunge’s peak of popularity happened to again coincide with racial tensions here in America and a war overseas.  Oddly, the culmination was eerily similar and exactly 25 years apart.

layne-staley
Layne Staley of Alice in Chains

Again racial injustice started to build years before any major event would capture the nations attention. On December 20th, 1986 23 year old Michael Griffith and two of his friends were chased down by a group of white teens in Howard Beach, New York and brutally beaten. Griffith, while trying to flee, ran into oncoming traffic and was struck and killed. Griffith’s friend, Cedric Sandiford, continued to withstand the onslaught even as his friend lay dying near him. He survived. Although the case would eventually receive interference by Governor Cuomo, the initial charge for the teens was reckless endangerment. The teens eventually faced stiffer sentences.

On August 23rd, 1989 a similar occurrence deepened the ruts of racial injustice when 16 year old Yusef Hawkins and some friends were walking through Brooklyn when a group of 30 white kids of similar age gathered around them with bats and clenched fists. One of the boys was apparently upset as his love interest would not date him because she had a current boyfriend who happened to be black. These particular teens had no connection but the mob set upon them anyway. One of the kids in the mob had a gun and Hawkins was shot twice. He passed away at a nearby hospital. Justice did not come swift for the man with the gun, and over a year later he received his sentence.

These two mob mentality stories are cleverly forgotten as 1991 brought us one of the most memorable scenes of our lifetime. March 3rd of that year, Rodney King did not pull over for Los Angeles Police and led them on a short high speed chase. After the officers got King out of the car and subdued him, they beat him relentlessly. The entire thing was captured on camera and released upon the world. Racial tensions flared across the country, people gathered over a line in the sand and again took sides. The Gulf War was brief but officially had ended only days before on February 28th. The images of US Military intervening and winning plastered heavily over the news. Sometimes the stories ran back to back on the evening news expertly intertwining perceived moral obligations while clashing with human rights. A year later the cops involved were found not guilty and Los Angeles was enveloped in riots.

August 27th of the same year the icon Grunge band Nirvana released their most popular single and one that would become synonymous with the Seattle Grunge sound forever “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. It is to this day a dystopian anthem that blends a dark and foreboding sound with the perfect blend of pop. It’s opening line a requiem for the country and the world at that time “Load up on guns / Bring your friends”. It sang to both sides of the spectrum. As the “Alternative Sound” grew so did its popularity and it could be argued that Woodstock was brought back to capitalize on the moment and line pockets or that 25 years later that feeling of freedom had returned, ushered in by war and racial divides and then played out through guitars, melodies, and emotion.

Now to our present date; the cusp of 2017, 23 years later from that 1994 Woodstock and a movement that shaped and changed our mainstream pop culture, fashion, and vernacular. Our conflicts in the Middle East have now been present on our television screen and personal devices steady since 2001. The war has been alive for 15 years and counting and not a moment has gone by that we aren’t reminded of it. Racial tensions have again flared, this time over countless senseless acts of violence from police from around the world. Again the line has been drawn and the public stands on one side or the other. From kneeling for the national anthem to Donald Trump the lines have been drawn and there isn’t much middle ground. Nobody wants to be a little bit right or a little bit wrong. It is all or nothing. It looks as if the perceived moral obligations abroad have nestled into our everyday thinking. You are either with us or against us and there isn’t much else in between.

Art imitates life. That feeling of drawing a line and taking a stand is a very raw emotion and one that brings courage and deserves valor. We are again approaching the 25 year mark and the ingredients are again available. Will 2019 provide us again with ground breaking music? 1994 was the epitome of the alternative and grunge movement. 1969 was the epitome of the Rock and Roll movement (now considered “Classic Rock”). 25 years before 1969 we had 1944 with the beginning of the end of WWII and Miles Davis moving to New York City to find Charlie Parker and the beginning of the wild “Bop” era in Jazz music. All the ingredients are here and the timing is almost right.

25 years, war, and racial divide are here again and who can know where it will lead.

 

Anthony N. White is a writer currently living in Rochester, NY.

He can be heckled on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @Ruthieshusband

Or on Facebook, of course.

Twizzlers and Solace

Battered sidewalks of diesel are still better than the hospital rank stuck to my shirt collar. Its dark now but just 5:30pm and there is nothing else to do but listen to the rubber of my sneakers complain against my heel. There’s few things to set the mind right, but raw brown liquor and cold sudsy beer should at least be a start. It’s no wonder many seek solace in the spirits, they offer liberation of thought, deep intangible waves of synapses slowed to the gentle lap of a canoe’s wake in a stream.

A shot of whiskey enters and its warmth is comforting. Today there is more to worry about than politics, more to think about than right or left, plenty of other things to occupy my wandering mind other than the most recent Facebook post of an angry Hillary supporter. There is real hurt in this world, real pain, and deep suffering that can only be understood when experienced, and can only be empathized with if you have actually been there yourself.

My life is lived like a fly on the wall, an observer,  a reporter to the way things look in my eyes.  Whether it is sports or culture or both I can only tell the story as I personally see it. Today we have a divided country, not by what is only seen nightly on CNN, but listed on social media, portrayed by everyday people that you and I follow. The “right” won and they seem to incessantly wave an indignant finger in the face of the “left”. The “left” posts on how upset they are by the atrocities of our president elect, followed the next day by their recent outing to a professional sporting event. The smell of rotten privilege comes from both sides, a sickening sweet smell, potent and rife across the country, as unguents and oils are spread on our faces before we gas up our SUV.

Truth is, severe situations will make you think a little harder. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone will spellbind you into thinking a bit differently. I know my role and I am comfortable in it, I would jeopardize all but my own family to get where I know I want to be. I am passionate about my lot in life and although I strive to make it better, I strive first to make it mine.

If you are truly interested in changing this country, if you are interested in education, if you are currently upset with the general zeitgeist of America then I would shut off of the Facebook App and get involved. There are plenty of places and institutions to become involved with, plenty of groups that promote equality and individualism in safe environments. The key is education to those who never had the opportunity to be educated before and there are excellent programs in place for you to become involved with to help spread the word and do some good in your hometown, in your state, in your country. Whatever you are most passionate about there is a place for you. If everyone got involved a little we could all help a lot.

While the whiskey was warm the beer is cold and relaxation washes over me. I have to go back to that room, stand with my hands in my pockets and sweat and bite my nails. I know everything is going to be alright, but I’m not sure how I know. It’s just inherent, like I know the sun will rise, or that I’ll probably finish all the vodka at Annie’s later.

It just means it’s Twizzlers for dinner and solace in writing.

 

Anthony N. White is a writer currently living in Rochester, NY.

He can be heckled on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @Ruthieshusband

Or on Facebook, of course.

So What If We’re All Equal?

In the last 6 months I’ve had more people admit their racism to me than ever before.  It literally happens every week.  I come into contact with a lot of people for part of my job and I never bring up any politics, race, or religion.  I barely bring these things up with family.  It’s just something that you shouldn’t talk about unless you’re ready for a fight and especially when you are representing another company it should never be uttered.  So I don’t bring it up, but it keeps coming up and I find it very strange, irritating, and tiresome.

I am white.  My last name is White.  My mom is full blooded Italian but my dad is a typical American mutt with a broad array of nationalities.  I look like a typical white American man.  And for whatever that is worth, recently people have started to expose their racism to me.  Most of them are complete strangers, or at very best people that I come into contact with only a few times a year.  They’re doing it in such a way as if I’m supposed to agree, as if I’m supposed to go along with it, as if I was thinking the same thing and they’re just the ones that happened to say it.  They’re not waiting for the subject to be broached, but rather launching into soliloquies without provocation.  My ‘whiteness’ must be a beacon for self-assuring validation.

I want to get angry.  I want to lash out.  I want to bring up examples and points to show that they are only being brainwashed by a giant propaganda machine that has snuck into their brain.  I want to explain that racism is not a gene but learned.  They learned to be a racist over time and they could unlearn.  I want them to know that they are the profligates, the minority, that intelligent people don’t think that way.  They never did.  Scared people think that way, people scared to lose money and power.  They’re the ones that started these lies and you’ve bought into that fear and it’s ruining your life.  I want to tell them that one of my best friends is black and I was with him when a whole family degraded him for his color, how mortifying it was for me, and how he had to let it roll off his back.  No one should have to do that because of who they are.  It seems to me that is an un-American thing, prosecuting someone for being themselves.  Isn’t that why we left England in the first place?

I don’t say any of this because I have come to realize that it is too deep a part of their life.  My anger is only going to add to theirs.  They have physically sewn themselves to their misery and fear and walk around with it as their cross to bear.  To talk about it makes them feel a little better, relieves their anguish and anxiety even if just for a little while.  When other people agree with them about their fear of other colors or cultures, it rationalizes their very being. When they find an unvetted propagandist website they proudly post it on Facebook, showing the world they have company, a team of troglodytic lemmings to ban together and validate themselves as rational. But it only proves their insecurity, insecure to be white, scared that another race, color, or culture might be better than them.  Why should anybody be better? Is it possible that we are all humans and equal? And, so what if we’re all equal?  Why is that so bad?

I don’t want to give my examples of the racism that I have encountered.  I don’t want to put it into words because I feel like it just helps spread the hate, insecurity, and irrationalism.  But without going into detail I recently saw a racist meme on Facebook. It was an unlearned suggestion that degraded black people in particular and relied heavily on an inaccurate depiction of history.  It did not have many likes, but it did have some.  Underneath the meme, the first commenter agreed by adding an exclamation point after his comment.  But the proof of a lack of education lies in the commenter’s choice of vernacular as well as their appropriation of the English language.  The commenter simply wrote “Word!” meaning, as I imagine, a term of agreement with the meme.  This is just a tiny example of why racists are not very cultured, intelligent, or aware.

By using the word “Word” what the commenter was trying to say is “I agree with this statement.  It is true”.  You will often times in hip hop culture hear rappers and other artists say “word” on recordings or TV.  Only “word” is not spelled the same as the Microsoft product or the things you are reading right now.  “Word” is actually spelled “WERD”.  It was the call letters to a radio station in Atlanta owned by Jesse Blayton, the first black radio station owner in American history.  He purchased the station in 1949 wanting there to be a station that could speak to the black population of the south.  By the 1950’s and early 1960’s Mr. Blayton had become synonymous with helping spread the messages of civil rights, giving Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists air time.  Jesse Blayton was a pioneer and literally the first of his time.  When someone says “WERD” it is synonymous with “TRUTH” because that’s what WERD in Atlanta stood for: TRUTH.  So when I read some racist commenting on a racist meme and incorrectly using WERD while also referencing WERD I have to laugh out loud.  You’re using an empowering term incorrectly while referencing the very culture you’re trying to degrade.  It’s simply not intelligent.

I guess I’m not surprised.  I have yet to meet anyone believing in racist propaganda that seems to have much intelligence.  Even those who don’t think they are racist can be racist.  If you have ever started a sentence with “I’m not a racist, but…” then you most certainly are a racist.  Please don’t excuse yourself ahead of time for the terrible thing you are about to say about another race or culture, although I certainly appreciate the warning so I can zone out while you are talking.

I feel terrible for people who can’t seem to break the spell.  Almost the same shame and sadness I felt when my friend was degraded in front of me, in my home town, by a whole family of racists.  We are given this one life to live and there is so much that is wonderful and beautiful in the world.  There are so many good people to friend and learn from, to share love with and to laugh with.  But some people choose to live angry, to live in complete fear of all people of color, in fear of different cultures, petrified of strange far away religions.  They have sewn themselves to misery, only living to validate their fears by being around other people who also feel the same way.  They will never venture out and learn about these other cultures on their own, never be surrounded by anyone that they don’t understand. They will only live this one life, petrified of everything that could be and not amazed by what actually is.  They have chosen to live their life in misery and fear and will die in the same vain.

My anger is over.  Some of my friends can testify to times I have almost been in fights with strangers for being racist in public.  I took it as a personal attack to my very being.  I’m done with all that.  I thought that I was leading by example, standing up for what is right, being the moral super hero and fighting the evil forces that bring hate into the world.  I realized I myself was bringing hate into the world.  So instead, I’m offering my condolences to those who believe that one race is better or worse than another.

Their grip is slipping.  More and more people in America are casting aside previous racial stereotypes and accepting each other for who they are.  I believe I’m seeing an increase in admittance to racism as an unconscious survey, to see how many white people are still going to band together for supremacy, irrational fear, and blind hate.  Count me out.  I don’t buy into it and just because I’m white doesn’t mean you’re able to bring this up, even casually, because I know you’re not bringing this up in front of people of color on account of your fear.  I will no longer retaliate in anger, but rather offer a sad shaking of my head and a pat on the shoulder for condolence.  You have lost.  And not is some battle for racial supremacy, but in life, for you have wasted yourself in anger, deteriorated yourself with lies, and will live in the shadows of the rest of us.

You never liked the sun anyway.

 

Anthony N. White is a writer currently living in Rochester, NY.

He can be heckled on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @Ruthieshusband

Or on Facebook, of course.

baseball vs football

Baseball is Timeless

It’s playoff baseball season but you probably didn’t notice.  Maybe you saw a passing story line in the runner on the bottom of ESPN, a quick blurb that indicated that teams have been chosen.  But it’s difficult to notice baseball buried deep under the NFL’s teeming headlines, every injury report, every power ranking, arrest, comments, analysis, drama, and every single little side note taking precedent over all other sports.  The NFL is king of ratings and the talk around most water coolers every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.

Each NFL fan tunes in on Sunday’s in fall and winter, a crucial time in advertising for the holiday season. If they sit for all 3 games on a Sunday, that’s about a 12 hour day.  Every NFL game contains around 100 commercials, according to The Wall Street Journal, accumulating around 75 minutes of air time per game.  The same NFL game will contain around 17 minutes of official review and only around 11 minutes of actual football game action on the field.  If you sit for 12 hours of games you will have watched over 300 commercials totaling almost 4 full hours.  You will have watched an hour of officials reviewing calls and about a half hour of actual football game action.  The other 7.5 hours leftover in those 12 will be spent watching teams huddle, referees line the ball up with chains and sticks, players milling around waiting for a call from the sidelines, and analysts discussing various players and strategies.

It’s playoff baseball season, but you probably didn’t notice.  Most NFL fans aren’t Baseball fans.  The game is too slow they say, not enough action they claim, not enough excitement, and the game is way too long.  The average NFL game is around 13 minutes longer on average than that of the average baseball game.  Baseball’s time of action rings in around 17 minutes compared to the NFL’s 13, and due to the nature of the game only stopping for inning changes, the average amount of commercials is around 50.

This doesn’t equate to baseball being more or less “exciting”.  The question is why is baseball considered boring and why isn’t the NFL?  Baseball has fewer collisions and less serious injury. Maybe the clear and present danger of a season ending injury looming over the head of an NFL athlete is enough to keep the viewer more engaged?  The NFL also has only a few games in comparison to baseball, and it could be argued that every NFL is extremely important, while in baseball not every game has the weight of the entire season.  But starting an NFL season 0-2 usually results in missing the playoffs. Why watch your team after week 2 if they probably will not make the playoffs? (NFL teams have a 10% chance of making the playoffs if they start the season 0-2)  Starting 0-3 makes it even less likely.  Could your season be over by the end of September?

The game of Football is very intense.  We are told that every play, every single down matters in a season because the season is short and tough.  Everyone plays at 100% all the time which means you have to be tough in will and endurance.  It is not a game for the weak and so its fans are just as intense, burning their eyes not to blink, not to miss a game, never to miss a play, to be there for their team; if the players must act like gladiators then so must its supporters.  The time clock in the corner of the screen forever reminding you that the game is short, like the season, and that it is imperative that you must win, you must conquer the opponent, give your body up for the glory of another “W”.  The season is ticking away.

So much of life runs on a clock.  There are always deadlines to meet, business hours, commute times, call times, wait times, conference calls, meetings and everything running on a time clock.  We count down the days to the weekend, to vacation, to our next big project and so on.  It makes the day nerve wracking, the weeks fly by, and the years seem like hours.  Baseball is a beautiful and graceful game played with no clock.  There is no time ticking down and away, no deadline to get the next point or score.  It’s just a game.  To watch its best men and women play is like watching ballet or an artist at work; you can see the years of practice, the time that it took to build their skill, their repertoire and you can lose yourself in it.  These things are priceless and timeless and it’s meant to be relaxing, not boring, it’s meant to be graceful, beautiful, artful.  Its nuances aren’t pointless, they’re poetry.  Baseball is meant to be enjoyed, at a summer’s pace, with your friends and family, at ease.

The argument that football is more exciting than baseball could just come down to aesthetics.  Maybe football is just inherently more exciting because of all the things previously stated and not just one being more important than the other.  Maybe the time of year, plus the inherent danger, plus the weight of the season, plus the overall showmanship of the camera angles and slow motion replay make the NFL seem more exciting.  Mathematically by the numbers it’s not.  Or maybe that’s too complex.  Maybe it’s just the time clock in the corner of the screen, pushing the viewer to stay tuned, keeping them on schedule, forcing suspense onto the viewer as the game, the season, and the day ticks away.

There shouldn’t be a comparison.  They are two different sports meant to be enjoyed differently.  Take away time and there is no comparison.

 

Playoff Baseball: A Poem

Everyone says,

“Baseball is boring”

“There’s not enough action”

“Too many people standing around

Looking awkwardly at each other and

Talking at the bases with the other team”.

“Where’s the blood and chronic traumatic encephalopathy”?

“Where’s the comparison to gladiators and war”?

“Baseball is too boring!”

But they’re wrong.

It’s not boring.

It’s timeless.

They should be asking themselves

“Why does a time clock add so much suspense?”

To hell with time!

Let’s go watch some playoff baseball, dude.

And just for once, forget time exists.

 

Anthony N. White is a writer currently living in Rochester, NY.

He can be heckled on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @Ruthieshusband

Or on Facebook, of course.

 

 

Naked, I am.

In 1957, defending himself against a heckler while on stage, Allen Ginsberg took off his clothes and said, “Come up here and share your feelings.  The poet always stands naked before the world.”

In Ginsberg’s poem, Howl, he states that he’s seen the best minds of his generation “starving hysterical naked”.  It conjures images of a madman, a Kerouac-ian loaner, dancing naked in the rain, screaming anti-capitalist statements at the top of his lungs, maybe on Benzedrine, probably smoking tea.  But that’s not what Allen meant.  I get that now.  He meant the naked soul. Baring your body is nowhere near as scary as bearing your soul.  Kim Kardashian will forever get more clicks by baring her famous buttocks than she will for bearing her soul.  I get that now.  So here I am, getting naked.

2 years ago my wife and I had a child. He is my best friend, my closest family member, and literally the funniest guy I know.  We spend tons and tons of time together.  And I am no longer the same person.  My son taught me things I never would have imagined.  He taught me that I need to live out my life as best I know how, to provide for him and teach him.  I somehow understood something new about myself, just by looking at him, just by changing a diaper, from sleepless nights to quiet moments.  I decided to stop hiding and try to launch my writing career.  I needed to know what it meant to live out your dreams and to never settle in order to truly teach him that things can always be better.

I was scared, and felt stupid.  I didn’t know anything about promoting myself as a writer.  I had already let past successes in my writing career pass me by.  I was almost embarrassed to say that I was a writer, and I wasn’t confident enough to let it define me. Not yet anyway.  How would I make money? What would people think of me?  Would they tell me to get a ‘real job’?  I needed answers to these questions before I could dive in.  I needed assurance that my rebirth would be accepted by friends and family.  I was not able to cope with that in my mid-twenties, so I ran from it, buried it, grew long hair and played in a punk rock band instead. My forever rebellious attitude forever rebelling against myself.

I needed to make sure that I could provide for my son and wife.  I needed to get a good job that could pay the bills and settle into something that had a good balance between corporate and family life.  And I did.  But Parker needs to know that life is supposed to be hard, you’re supposed to struggle to get what it is you really want.  Nothing is handed over, nothing of any value anyway.  I knew I’d struggle to launch a successful writing career, but when I do it’ll show him what it is to truly achieve your dreams to the fullest, the only side effects being good work ethic, drive, passion, intensity, and emotion; even if I fail.  I need to teach by doing, not by telling.

I have always been scared to branch out, nervous to speak my mind completely; afraid of what others may think of me, afraid of what they may say when my back is turned.  But you can’t be a real writer until you bare it all. You have to strip away the layers of what others think and feel and communicate your real emotions, your truest and deepest emotions.  Only then can you be a successful writer.  Allen Ginsberg was right; the poet always stands naked before the world.  I know that now.

I am dad. I am son.  I am husband.  I am one.  I am brave.  I am weak.  I am strong.  I am meek.  I am happy.  I am free.  I am all.  I am me.

 

Anthony N. White is a writer currently living in Rochester, NY.

He can be heckled on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @Ruthieshusband

Or on Facebook, of course.