Entries Posted in "December 2004"
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The Wish Creed
December 23, 2004
I know I said I'd never speak of it again, but I must've goofed up the wishlist link. Now I must rectify this situation and give the correct link to my wishlist immediately, lest people think that I actually listen to Green Day. Heavens No!
Thanks Alex, for finding the right link.
Blowin' this Popsicle Stand
December 22, 2004
Alrighty peeps. I'm off to the East Coast for some much needed (that's an understatement) rest and relaxation although with the cooky family members around, that relaxation part seems a bit sketchy.
Because my grandparents have refused to move into the 21st century and have email accounts which they don't use and still have dial-up and....I can barely bring myself to type it....A-O-L, a company which I believe to be from Satan, posting will be sporadic if not non-existent from the Friday the 24th- through the weekend most likely. Yay for free time! Oh the wonderous and glorious things I shall do with free time!
On another note, I cannot be held accountable for what I'm about to say. It has been suggested to me by one reader who goes by the name of Alex, and makes funny comments like "My lip-size-to-melanin ratio often gets me stopped at airport security", that I post my wish list or a paypal link so people can buy me stuff and bless me. Hey I'm all for blessings! This site is free and will always be free, but since he emailed me to point this out, I will comply. Ain't no shame in my game.
If you've ever wanted to donate to this site, you can do so by one of the following ways:
- My Amazon Wishlist is Here (link now fixed people!! No Ambra doesn't listen to Green Day!!)
- My paypal account is firstname.lastname@example.org
- And last but not least, it would be a direct blessing to me if you would donate to my sister Amelia's cause. I need to update her site for her, but she's still fundraising nonetheless. Thanks to those who donated already.
There Alex. I did it. Now I shall never speak of it again. Except maybe my sister's website. See you all on the flip side.
Know Your Rebels: Adam Hunter
December 21, 2004
Rebel: Adam Hunter
Representing: Somerset, New Jersey
Status Senior Double Major in Political Science and Economics at Howard University in Washington D.C.
Why you should fear him: A son of Democrat parents, and a student at a historically black (and by default staunchly Democrat) university, Hunter is familiar with going against the grain of political thought. He is the founder of the Howard University College Republicans. He has helped grow the membership to over 70 students in its first year. This is the largest College Republican chapter at any historically black college in the country. He is currently working with the College Republican National Committee as the Director of African American Outreach and is the Vice Chair of the DC Federation of College Republicans.
Adam is also involved with student government at Howard. He is the Student Advocacy Coordinator and was last year's Director of Internal Affairs for the Howard University Student Association.
Hunter gained national recognition this year when he was a finalist in MTV's Choose or Lose essay Competition. He's even appeared on Fox News. Plus he's a Howard University Bison. That makes him cool.
Noteable Quote: "Within the Republican community, they don't understand hip-hop. Republicans are trying to marginalize the hip-hop experience. They think it's just music and don't understand it's a full-fledged culture. It's the way people communicate. And it's not specifically an African-American culture. Most people who buy hip-hop are white."
Essays: Choose or Lose Essay
Press: Interview with District of Columbia Republican Committee, Home News Tribune
Jesus A La Carte
The spiritual history of the black community is deep and wide. In black music especially, there has always been a connection with the church. Today, your average multi-platinum black vocalist (booty shakers included), grew up singing in their local church. Nearly every single one. These people will generally be the first admit this and give all the credit to God for their talent. And while very few individuals have chosen to honor God with their lives, there is yet a certain degree of respect for Jesus Christ that is fairly common among those in the black community.
For this reason, it was no surprise to me that rapper Kanye West's song "Jesus Walks" has gained much hype over the last couple of months. The song was recently nominated for "Best Rap Song" and "Song of the Year". If you're not familiar with the song, lyrics can be found here.
The two Grammy nominations were heaped on top of the pile of acclaim and praise the song received from half of the Western Hemisphere. As though Kanye West is the first person on the entire planet to invoke the name of Jesus in a song. Although I can share in the sentiments of his album title "The College Drop Out", I'm not at all fond of West's song.
The Sun-Herald reports:
Moral values are turning up in the strangest places these days. Among the songs most honored in this year's Grammy nominations is a rap tribute to Jesus Christ -
a catchy, beat-driven rhyme that has garnered unexpected critical and commercial success in a genre best known for its profane promotion of sex, money, drugs and lawlessness.
Music critics are hailing the author of "Jesus Walks," songwriter and producer Kanye West, as the hottest new voice in rap and suggesting that his in-your-face embrace of religion signifies a break with tradition and the maturation of a musical form that has been narrowly defined by its outlaw culture.
The "Personal Jesus" trend is not new, it's just repackaged every couple of years for comfortable consumption. On the most fundamental level, West's song speaks to the universal need for Jesus. The chorus is a simple lament (not exactly Davidic, but a lament nonetheless), asking for God's strength, protection, and guidance. All of those statements are true. Things get murky around West's definiting of walking with Jesus. The medium has changed, but the "live like you want and Jesus will still endorse you" message will always be accepted as long as it's easy to swallow.
The flowery message goes as such:
To the hustlas, killers, murderers, drug dealers even the strippers
To the victims of Welfare for we living in hell here hell yeah
Now hear ye hear ye want to see Thee more clearly
I know he hear me when my feet get weary
Cuz we're the almost nearly extinct
We rappers are role models we rap we don't think
I ain't here to argue about his facial features
Or here to convert atheists into believers
I'm just trying to say the way school need teachers
The way Kathie Lee needed Regis that's the way yall need Jesus
So here go my single dog radio needs this
They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes
But if I talk about God my record won't get played Huh?
Well let this take away from my spins
Which will probably take away from my ends
Then I hope this take away from my sins
And bring the day that I'm dreaming about
Next time I'm in the club everybody screaming out
There has been much respect given to West for pinpointing the ills of the music industry which considers the word "Jesus" to be profane and offensive while all other lewd and inappropriate language is permissible. This is the spot on truth and it needs to be shouted from the rooftops. Proving himself the "trailblazer" West's song has done tremendously well in spite of its content. I even read recently that "people" have compared Kanye West to Mel Gibson in that West fronted $1 million of his own money to produce three music videos for the song in order to generate more popularity. I suppose that infers that West is spreading the message of Christ through his song. My next question is, what message would that be?
When the small start-up company "Teenage Millionaire" came out with the infamous "Jesus is My Homeboy" t-shirts, they were all the rage. While these t-shirts were less popular among young hip hoppers than they were among urban hipsters, it is certain that few if any donners took great personal and spiritual connection with the suggestion Jesus was anything more than a regular man in the Bible. The agnostic young adult population in particular took such a liking to them that the shirts became one of the hottest items of the year. Even celebrities were spotted wearing the shirts right along with their hip Kabbalah bracelets (to further add to the confusion).
Whereas I too once defended the concept behind the t-shirts and the etymology of the word "homeboy", on a grander scale of things, my tune may be slightly changing in light of the fact that we must examine such things against the backdrop of a culture that is hostile and arrogant towards God and what it means to serve him. The "agnostic young adult population", are those, many of whom are my peers, whose actions clearly dictate that they exist in some state of limbo as to whether or not their life is their own. There is a certain degree of action that comes along with the belief that God is who He says He is. That "belief" is severely hindered by a watering-down of the identity of God (and subsequently, our own identities). One of the manifestations of this takes place in the music industry.
There is the general belief among many artists that it's okay to live one way and drop in the name of Jesus al a carte. We've all heard the award acceptance speeches over the years:
"Yes I know I just took most of my clothes off and shook my butt on the stage while singing and simulating dry sex on the dance floor, but thank you God, the head of my life for allowing me to make this album and blessing me with my talents."
Then there's my personal favorite which goes a little something like this:
"First I want to give honor to God for helping me to make this album which diametrically opposes everything moral or righteous and allowing me to continue to make money in spite of my filthy lifestyle, DUIs, arrests, and complete and utter disregard for human life. I love you Jesus."
Meanwhile, we sit on the sidelines and applaud these people like they're doing big things for the name of Jesus. The Stellar Awards nomination committee didn't think so. They pulled "Jesus Walks" off the list of songs nominated for a gospel music award when they found the rest of West's album objectionable in content.
There is a fundamental problem with "Jesus Walks" and "Jesus is My Homeboy" and every other pop culture fad that attempts to water down the person of Jesus Christ. The message is faulty in that the Jesus presented requires nothing of the individual. It takes little effort on our part to acknowledge that Jesus is our friend, our homeboy, and walking with us every day. That is a given. If it weren't so, we'd all be dead by now. But Jesus never told us to wait for him to come walk with us. Instead, He asked us to walk with Him. Big difference.
Tastes more like cough syrup next to the sugar-coated message that's so popular in a song like "Jesus Walks".
Walking with Jesus requires something of the individual. No one in the Bible ever encountered Jesus Christ and remained the same. Their countenance and their lifestyle changed drastically. I know mine did. We continue to spread a misleading message to a dying culture when we make it seem as though Jesus is just another concept at the "Pick 'n Grab Store". Jesusfreak one day, bedroom freak the next. Jesus at the club? Jesus on the side? Jesus on the half shell? Baked, fried or broiled? This choose your own Jesus recipe stuff is killing people off.
I'm sorry, but this fluffy stuff is not going to be what gets this generation from where we are to where God needs us to be. Does Jesus love the world? Absolutely. He loves pimps, hos, prostitutes, corporate extortionists, murders, liars, thieves, adulterers, and even I. But God's intention was that we would recognize His love, repent (change our way of thinking), and live our lives in a way that pleases Him. We crucify Jesus every day when we fail to properly acknowledge His sacrifice. This isn't a game. People are dying and it's going to take more than some shallow messages of Jesus that stroke us and make us feel better about our sin and lack of obedience.
Yeah Jesus walks, but will we walk with him?
December 19, 2004
The Changing of the Guard
Thanks readers and commenters for supplying me with material for this article.
Overheard Whilst Moving
Ambra: Daddy trust me, we're gonna need a really big truck.
Parental Unit Male: But Ambra, you only lived here for two and half years, and it's a studio apartment. You can't possibly have amassed that much stuff.
Ambra: Silly mortal, you underestimate my powers.
There is an amazing phenomena in America called "excess". 'Round about box number 15 full of crap for which I don't forsee an immediate use, I had to stop and say to myself, "Self, you have too much stuff."
And then I went shopping. "Consciousness" is blissfully temporary. Now that you've been enlightened, go forth and throw something a way.
December 17, 2004
I found the following from the blog "Acme Mindlabs" to be particularly amusing:
Hollywood Pundit - A Recipe
Take one celebrity full of righteous indignation,
with a bit of socialism and a hint of professional frustration,
For detachement from reality, 2 pints of Ollie Stone,
A sprinkle of Martin Sheen for whine and [complain] and moan,
For hypocrisy and ignorance, one 1/3 cup of minced Sean Penn,
A dollop of Bellefonte to set the cause back a year, or ten,
To obscure the facts and twist the truth, a pound of Michael Moore,
Then a touch of Barbra Streisand for arrogance and stupid quotes galore,
For pretentious condescension, a liberal dash of Robbins and Sarandon,
Although if none's available, Robert Altman's an OK stand-in,
A dash of Alec Baldwin for general stupidity,
And perhaps some Woody Harrelson for lack of credibility,
Carefully mix half-truths and a pinch of outright lies,
Put it on TV and let it bake to rise,
Remove it from the spotlight, to vent carefully prick the surface,
When prepared as indicated will serve: no particular purpose.
In other news, "L-Breezy", aka La Shawn Barber discusses Hollywood's hatred for Christ
One of the books at the top of my reading list is the new release from 20-year-old conservative wunderkind, Ben Shapiro. Love him or hate him, when I heard of his first book, "Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth" I was salivating from day-one. This is the first book of its kind to address these issues from the perspective of a young person. Move over crusty curmudgeons, there are new critics on the block.
The fact that American universities generally tend be liberal breeding grounds isn't a new revelation, but you'd be surprised just how-off-the-hook colleges have become. The collective stories told by the younger generation about what really takes place on campus is nauseating.
Call it personal ambition, but this is a topic I've delved into quite a bit. My bookshelf is littered with books on this very topic, most of them written by people who haven't been in college since Ted Koppel had hair. One of my favorite books on this topic is "Imposters in the Temple: The Decline of the American University" a dry read by Senior Hoover Institute fellow Martin Anderson. In his book, Anderson, a Conservative, takes issue with the big-business colleges have become and the corporate-like salaries and perks awarded to tenured professors whose classes are mostly taught by graduate students. What I love is that Anderson is disliked by both Liberals and Conservatives alike. In his book, he doesn't take sides, but he holds both ends of polical philosophy accountable for a morally corrupt college sub-culture.
What may come as fairly shocking news to many is that most of America's top universities (as in the places where we get the so-called "top leaders" of society) are overwhelmingly liberal, including the entire Ivy League. Within his book, Shapiro examines some of the following realities:
- Exit polling data that shows students become more liberal as they progress through their college career.
- 9% of Ivy League professors surveyed voted for Bush.
- After eliminating moral absolutes, professors are free to advocate anything - even murder.
- Student groups, from the Muslim Student Association to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, from the African Student Union to MEChA, receive funding to push perversion and hate.
- Some actual Quotes on campus from Professors regarding September 11: "Anyone who bombs the Pentagon has my vote," "the people who caused 9-11 might fit into Locke's definition of justified resistance".
- Campus sex columns in the student newspaper encouraging casual sex and same-sex experimentation, forays to strip clubs for university credit, pornographic acts for art finals, and the "America as terrorist" theory.
- Actual Classes: Black Marxism, Same Sex Desire in Modern Literature, The Poetics of Palestinian Resistance, The Sexuality of Terrorism, and How to Be Gay: male Homosexuality and Initiation. One university actually offers a Marxist Studies minor.
At my lovely institution, "we" (or rather, "they") had the notorious "C*** Club", a university-funded and supported student group that got together to celebrate female masturbation. There was also a dormitory on campus called "Heathen House" where the witches lived. I have stories upon stories. Far and wide, this is a taste of the nonsense going on in the halls of higher learning. It's not a game. We're talking a rapid decline here folks.
When I left Wesleyan University nearly four years ago, I was agitated and afflicted. I didn't leave because I couldn't hold up under the weight of the big bad liberals. Quite the contrary. I actually have reason to believe that if I had continued playing my cards as it was, I'd have been kicked out of my most of my classes for arguing with professors. I left because the school was a waste of my time and money. My affliction came in knowing that nothing on that campus was going to change without people there to change it. I wanted one of those people to be me, but purpose had a higher calling.
Compared to many, Wesleyan is aggressively liberal as are most New England schools. They are breeding grounds for philosophies and thoughts that leave students in utter confusion about their identity. To this day I am almost certain that my brief time spent in college was intended to show me the reality of what my generation is facing. For me, this is an intricate part of why I'm alive.
I think often the "Conservative" response to the university problem is to encourage people to flock to conservative schools. Last month, "Young America's Foundation" released their list of Top 10 Conservative Colleges. Among those listed were Hillsdale College (home to boyscout Hans Zeiger), Liberty University (Heart of the Falwell Reign), and the other "Wesleyan", Indiana Wesleyan University. Michelle Malkin, an Oberlin College graduate, noted that she wished she'd known about them sooner.
Well I don't.
Among the funny emails I get from those who've read my exaggerated bio was one that suggested (and quite seriously I might add) that I should've considered Bob Jones University. And yes we all know the racial history of BJU and they've had their share of issues, and yeah they're "Christian" and yadda yadda, but I can say with safe amount of certainty that Bob Jones University would be a "no" for Ambra.
Conservative and Christian universities are great and serve a tremendous purpose and we need them desperately. I myself nearly considered attending a Christian school post-Wesleyan, but I've studied them well and like all schools, they too have flaws. That's an entirely different discussion. There is no such thing as a perfect school and quite frankly, if there was, I'm not sure I'd want to go there.
The reality is that just as we need think tanks of truth, we need places for the modern-day Elijahs to enter and combat the ills of university culture. I appreciate people like Shapiro who are willing to buck up against the system and say what needs to be said. One thing I've always envisioned myself doing is speaking to university students on the realities of what a college experience should and should not be.
The brainwashing must stop.
Friday's Missive: What are you reading?
'Tis the season for me to catch up on my reading. With time off from work and a couple of long and weary plane rides over the next two months, this is usually the time of year when I read and finish all those books I've been putting off. Television has killed this society's love for reading. I'm not sure if my "love" was ever alive to be killed, but I can get fairly excited at the thought of an insightful book.
That said, I usually have to buy the books I want to read because I have this nagging need to highlight, annotate, and underline.
So I ask, what are you currently reading?
The Black Chick Reloaded
December 16, 2004
The site's been on the fritz today thanks to some incompetence on the part of people in Scottsdale, Arizona that I pay to in fact not be incompetent. If you're reading this, consider yourself one of the few. My post for the day was lost in the hubbub and I don't care to find it. It probably wasn't all that insightful anyway so on to less important topics.
I frequently get asked about this little black chick mini-me mascot, so here's the short of it. The black chick's been through about three phases. Phase one I won't even show, but the second phase can be viewed here and was drawn by yours truly when I had much shorter hair. My drawing skills lack so the third version was done by a professional graphic designer by the name of Heather of Lisette Design. She is an excellent illustrator that captures the playfulness that I adore. Hopefully she will also be re-designing black chick version 4.0 to be released with the next site re-vamp in '05.
Personally, I would've canned the fashionista broad a long time ago, except that people emailed me to tell me otherwise so I guess she's here to stay; kinda like a "Where's Waldo?" character.
I'll reflect on this officially in the new year, but January 1st is my "official" one-year anniversary of "blogging" or my "blogiversary" or whatever cheesy name they call it. I'm not about to get all sappy and say the time went by so fast and time flies when you're having fun and all that other fluff. Nope. While it has been fun, it's also been a very long and arduous process of settling in to my writing voice, becoming comfortable with it, being misunderstood, getting over the need to be understood, and trying to pry myself away from my computer.
Before I started my own blog, I was a reader of a few others and I must say, I have a higher respect for the people that have been doing this for 4+ years. Pushing out 700+ coherent, independent words every day is one of the most challenging mental exercises I've encountered as a writer. But I must say, I love it. I was once told that the late Chicago Tribune writer Mike Royko published 800 quality words, five days a week, for nearly four decades. This blogging stuff pales in comparison to that so I have few complaints. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger, and smarter (and more of a stress case) too.