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“Where We’re Going We Don’t Need Bridges…”

Friends,

A lot of you didn’t know me back in 2012. It was a rough year for me and something of an awakening process. I was becoming aware of just how profoundly screwed up society is at a fundamental level, predicated as it is on the maintenance of artificial and unnecessary scarcity to maintain high levels of profit and a dependent, compliant workforce….but I digress. The upshot was that I was very argumentative both IRL and OL.

It was bad.

The benefit of such dissatisfaction is that it spurred my creativity and caused me to blog quite prolifically, albeit angrily, and I was never at a loss for what to rant about.

Fast forward four years and I am a much happier dude. My convictions haven’t changed, but I realize that rather than smashing my face against the keyboard to spur along the change I want to see, it’s better for me to become a living example of what I’d like to see. As such, I never get into heated arguments in-person anymore and only occasionally online, and even in those latter cases I am not so emotionally invested because I realize that if either party is saying anything truthful it will sink in and take root over time. Trying to FORCE someone to see your POV is like screaming at a seedling to make it grow faster.

******

So why this pre-amble? Well, a few weeks ago I had a cathartic relapse which even now, a month and a half later with a clear head, I struggle to feel remorse for. A (former) friend and colleague of mine went on a militant SJW rant basically declaring war on anyone who made off-color comments around her. I find such righteous indignation and vitriol on behalf of ostensibly progressive ideals ironic and all-too-common. I suppose the basic underlying premise is that the best remedy for misanthropy in the world is a great big helping of misanthropy. Who the fuck knows?

In any event, I wish I’d screen-capped the whole conversation (FORESHADOWING ALERT: She deleted fucking everything and unfriended me, cause ya know, that’s how adults roll) cause it was a pretty terrific example of…well, something. Not sure. But I laughed.

It basically unfolded with me calmly and respectfully explaining that when I read her post it made me want to spout off some horrible shit for a laugh then have a solid eight hours of sleep while she racked her brain putting together a thousand word diatribe of hatred which I would ultimately never read. I softly suggested that she might sway more people with calm and sober discussion. Naturally I was accused of tone-policing, which I guess is a new buzzword which means “suggesting that people don’t scream at you like assholes.”

*******On a related note, I swore in front of my dad once when I was a kid and he “tone-policed” me upside the head. I think we really water down the meaning of the word when we apply it all willy-nilly like she did, but I digress because as an adult who knows how to speak to people respectfully I have little chance of people telling me to modulate my tone so I really don’t have a vested stake in what constitutes tone-policing.

In any event, my gentle suggestions must have smelled like blood in the water to the lurking wolves…sharks….w/e, and they pounced. All of a sudden they were lighting me up left, right and center for being against the cause of human progress (I guess), telling me I had no right to tell aggrieved groups how they should talk, and jumping to my former friend’s defense, a defense which for the record was wholly unnecessary because up that point I had been nothing but civil.

Here’s where I made my only mistake: I remained calm and explained respectfully that I hadn’t told anybody what they had to do, only how they could more effectively reach me, and I suspect, many others. This was only perceived as further weakness and I was roasted for my level-headedness. I decided to just pull out of the conversation and let jackasses be jackasses. Even this was seen weakness:

Male SJW: “Oh what? No response? Is that cause a straight white male chimed in or because I’m right? Or are those two things the same to you?”

Me: “Actually its because I’m jerking off to pictures of the holocaust so can you fuck off while I get this nut?”

The beauty of this line was that they immediately realized that I no longer gave a fuck how I was perceived by them.

Me: “Oh what, no response? Is it because you have a problem with the extermination of millions or because you have a problem with the sexual gratification of a straight, white male? Or are those two things the same to you.”

You ever watch an MMA fight and one fighter gets punched square in the jaw and for the rest of the fight he’s just clinging to consciousness trying not to get hit instead of hitting? It was like that, and I’m not ashamed to say that I relished seeing these paper tigers fold. I had even endured so much abuse up to that point that I was like, “Fuck it; I’ll double down!”

Me: “Male SJW I bet you’re the kind of guy who apologizes to a girl after having sex with her. You fucking cuck!” (lol, “cuck” is one of my new favourite words)

Female SJW (Friend of OP): “I bet Male SJW only apologizes to women he has sex with for making them come too much.” (I wish I made this up but the twat actually said this. I don’t think I could cringe harder if my mom walked in on me masturbating and offered to help).

Me: “Relax Male SJW; just cause she’s jumping to your defense to show solidarity doesn’t mean she’s interested in sleeping with you.”

I don’t remember much of the details beyond these lines, but I remember how I felt when I decided that I didn’t care what these people thought of me. I felt FREE. I felt POWERFUL. And I felt UNENCUMBERED.

For the record I don’t advocate aggression for its own sake but when you are dealing with people of low-intelligence they won’t respect you unless you display some. Thankfully, I deal mostly with people of higher intelligence so I very often feel like my life is similar to floating on a cloud made of whimsy and good humor. But every once in a while a dumb motherfucker doesn’t appreciate such good-natured detachment and so I gotta flex nuts. C’est la vie. And I’m not even saying that these people are low-intelligence in any absolute terms, I’m simply saying that within the context and circumstances we conversed in they bore all the earmarks and behaviours of low-intelligence bullies and so I had to treat them like the retards they were being in order to shut them up.

But what does this whole encounter point to more broadly? Well, I wanna not give a fuck and I am actively working toward that level of serenity and enlightenment. It’s something of a process but I feel I am making good progress. The last four months of traveling have actually been very good for me in that regard because removed from the toxic, politically correct climate of where I live, I have been able to find my own voice and speak more freely with less care of repercussions. As well, coming into my own as a film-maker is helpful because not only does it allow me to tell the stories I want to tell, it also makes me less dependent upon others for work than I was when solely an actor. Let’s face it, actors though they may have the coveted autonomy of a self-employed contractor, are still dependent upon others for work, and these others may have feelings and get offended by realness.

Ultimately though, I don’t want to box myself in, whether career-wise or life-wise. I look back on old posts from like 2008 and cringe at the dumb, reckless shit I used to say but at the same time I smile at how little I gave a fuck. I wanna get back to that zero fucks level but this time be informed with the better taste and judgement I have accumulated over the subsequent years.

Some people may see this as a regression. Fuck them! Their path isn’t mine and what they eat doesn’t make me shit. I have attained a level of freedom, mobility and financial security that is the culmination of years of work, ongoing discipline and a reflection of righteous values. And the benchmark for how successful I am is how happy I am. So how happy am I?

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Note: “Shake ya Ass,” while a great tune is not actually on this playlist. I just happened to be listening to it causelike I said; great tune.
Note 2: I welcome suggestions for songs to add to this list.

That’s right: I actually have a whole playlist devoted to those times where I sit and reflect on how awesome life has been so far…UNHAPPY PEOPLE DON’T DO THAT!! So solipsistic as it may seem, that’s all I need to know to know that I am on a righteous path.

So in closing I am going to keep testing my own courage to say what’s on my mind and when someone calls me on it I am going to endeavour not to be fazed (I may even snap back) because my fear of other’s perceptions is and has been the great limiter and inhibitor of my adult life.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo
#justmightbeok @dreguan

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HA HA! DATING!

“I have infinite hate in my blood; it’s mainly cause of the game of love.”
-Eminem, “Love Game

Friends,

A few months back I found myself newly-single. It wasn’t a bitter event; just two people who had simply grown apart. But for the first time in five years or so I found myself back in the dating game, and I was determined to be more mature and respectful about dating than I had been been as a walking hard-on back in my mid-20s. After all, you can’t be a jackass your whole life.

lemon
Or can you?…

Honesty (General)

Now I have to confess, relationship endings are often blurry affairs so I was already talking to and getting to know some people while still technically in a relationship. I guess I needed to fill that vacuum of companionship that had developed as me and my ex had grown apart. But the upshot was that psychologically I already had a little bit of momentum when I became single for realz, as opposed to previous break-ups where I basically found myself suddenly alone and feeling adrift and desperate. So with said momentum, the break-up came like a starting shot for a race, and I was off!
But like I said, I’m more mature than I was five years ago and I had a different set of priorities vis a vis relationships. I realized that I didn’t (don’t) want a traditional monogamous relationship as I have known thus far. Instead, I wanted (want) beautiful experiences with beautiful people. Some people call that poly-amory or other things, but anyone who reads my blog knows I’m not big on labeling things. So while I don’t know what to call what I want, romantic relationships for me must meet four important criteria:

1) Fun
2) Comfortable
3) Loving*
4) Not Possessive

And boy oh boy, have I ever taken flak for this. I have met some lovely, yet jaded women who see me as what is wrong with the dating world. Basically a guy who doesn’t want to make a commitment, and who wants to perpetually date or hang out. And for these viewpoints I have some sympathy, but only to a point, because I am not against commitment, or as I phrase it, making an investment in someone. However, I don’t want said commitment to preclude a beautiful experience with someone else.

If you’re fine and you won’t front, I don’t wanna be your man but I’ll hook ya up.”
-Coolio (NOT 2-Pac), Rollin’ With My Homies

The problem to me ultimately comes down to scarcity and abundance. Perhaps as a result of our competitive, scarcity-based socio-economic market system, people often go into the world of dating with a scarcity mind-set, worried that they can’t give away too much of what they have (vagina, money, etc.) without getting a commensurate amount in return. And, if you are in a relationship with that person, you are expected not to give too freely of what you have as they have proprietary rights to your sexuality,flirtatious overtures and even money.
Fuck that noise! I’m operating with an abundance mindset and what I have to offer to romantic partners I have in infinite supply (not money lol) so why would I (or they) share that beauty with only one person? That external restriction/ownership/scarcity mentality has fucked up everything else in the world, are we really gonna let it poison relationships?
Well yes apparently, as I have recently found out lol.
Another fairly major change between me now and last time I was single, is that I am not interested in hooking-up (sex) just to say I did or to get “my number” up. Mostly I don’t like the feeling of emptiness I’ve been left with during past one-nighters, but a big part of this is number 2 on my criteria list: Comfort. If there isn’t comfort as a result of familiarity not only will it not be enjoyable, but more often than not I will have trouble performing (as certain ladies reading this might be able to attest to :-S). So I am very up front and honest with people at the outset about what my priorities and desires are because I don’t want a relationship predicated on a lie. Someone will be unfulfilled, hurt or both.

Honesty (Specific)

On the topic of being up front and honest with people is also not being ashamed of particular desires. If there’s a certain way you like to fuck, that you might have grown accustomed to, but that might be a little outside the realm of normative sexuality (as if there is such a thing) bringing it up to a new partner can bring some anxiety. Rather than getting into the best way to bring things up in the bedroom (or my own personal tried and true method of bringing kinks up lol) I will just say that I have learned to be just as open and up front about these predilections and desires as I am about my broader relationship objectives. Life is, after all, too short for mediocre sex.

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Pretty much this exactly…

Work Ethic

I don’t really love using the word “work” in relation to dating and relationships but it takes discipline to put yourself out there and in my experience “out there” is where the adventures happen. For example, when I found myself single I began to challenge myself to cold-approach at least one girl a day. For those not in the know, a “cold approach” would be chatting up a random girl in public. It’s a hard sell, especially with the feminist backlash against cat-callers and other harassers, but overall I find that approaching earnestly and honestly perhaps segue-ing into it after making conversation is a safe bet. I often (okay, usually) won’t get a number, but I have yet to be accused of patriarchal oppression. #GreatJob!
I have a few other things to say about cold approaches so bear with me:
Like many men in the early to mid 2000s, I read Neil Strauss’ book, The Game and was captivated by it. Having read it before a planned backpacking excursion to Australia, I joined the Mystery Method forum which the book told of (now The Attraction Forums) and put up an open ad saying that I was a Canadian sarger (or pick-up artist) traveling all around Australia and I wanted to work with different members in different cities. And WORK we did. We hit the bars hard and challenged to ourselves to chat up every group we could. It was scary. But then something happened; it stopped being scary. By getting over approach-anxiety I was able to have more natural, less contrived conversations with women which I can only imagine they appreciated more than some nervous guy stuttering some canned opener. Sure, every night we needed to warm up and the first few “sets” as we affectionately called them were always a crapshoot, but by and large we ended up talking to many gorgeous and wonderful women who might otherwise have been too intimidating to approach. Simply put, we spent so much time outside of our comfort zones that they grew to accommodate us (our comfort zones, that is). To get back to my point in a roundabout way, I am in the process of getting back to that serene place where I can approach any woman regardless of my insecurities (of which there are many) or her physical beauty or social standing. If you think about it, those latter two things are really superficial and stand as an impediment to genuine and meaningful human relations, so training myself to disregard them is actually a service to humanity.
And yes, to answer your next question, I do in fact, believe all my bullshit. 😀
The other thing I wanted to say about cold-approaching is that I have often brought it up when speaking with other actors, making the point that it is analogous to auditioning; The more you do it the less anxious you are, the less anxious you are, the more you put the casting directors at ease and everybody is happy. And in both auditions and cold-approaches sometimes you can do everything right and still not get the role or the phone number. Maybe they wanted a different look or she had a boyfriend and maintains a steadfast devotion to monogamy beyond the point of reason. Who knows!? It happens, but you can still learn from these experiences and walk away with a satisfaction that you only get from laying yourself bare and truly connecting with someone.

Age May Be Nothing But a Number, But it’s An Important Number

A peculiar thing happens when you chat up girls on the street and not just in bars. You see, the real world has no bouncer making sure everyone is of age, so very often you find yourself talking to someone who is “south of proper” with regard to age. I don’t know if its a really uncomfortable rite of passage or what, but you will never forget the first time you find yourself talking with a girl and upon some romantic/suggestive word from you, she reveals that she is underage. All you can really do is smile and eject from the situation. In fact, it would be really handy occasion to have a smoke pellet to facilitate escape.

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NINJA, VANISH!

I don’t know what it is, but this shit never happened to me until I started approaching 30 and it got especially creepy. I will say two final things about this: 1) the reality that you could chat up a girl who is criminally underage creates an imperative that you approach women respectfully and perhaps not be too forward at the outset. Not only is it more tactful but you might avoid committing a crime, and 2) Always know the age of consent.

Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number: Part II + Avoiding the Hatred Pitfall
But here we got off on a tear about jailbait when there are actually much more sublime implications to age as it pertains to relationships. Like, for example, the difference between a girl who is 20 and a girl who is 28. By and large I find the latter much more receptive to my particular brand of honest, sincere and deliberate intention. And, old maid anxiety notwithstanding, older women are usually more comfortable about exploring relationships outside the conditioned norms. On the other hand, younger girls frustrate the shit out of me. Remember at the beginning of this post where I said I wanted to approach dating in a mature and respectful way? Well, some motherfuckers aren’t gonna respect you unless you’re an asshole to them. Or they flake out on you if you make yourself too available. The shit can be infuriating. I know I should probably avoid people who force me to use artifice and cunning in the pursuit of them, but what can I say, sometimes my dick is in the driver’s seat and doesn’t want to stop at the gas station and ask my brain (or heart) for directions. However, I’ve been pretty successful at not hating these people, although I think it’s an easy trap to fall into. I think every guy reading this has had a revenge-fuck fantasy about some girl who snubbed him and that’s not really the route I wanna go, tempting though it may be. I wanna deal squarely with everyone, hard as that may be sometimes.
One thing I find works for me is always blaming myself for the success or failure of any interaction. At the end of the day I can only affect my own behaviour after all, so if a girl isn’t feeling me I evaluate how I could alter my approach for next time. It doesn’t matter that she may be nuttier than squirrel shit and an all-around unpleasant harpy who delights in the misery of men, that’s her business. My business is what it has always been: dealing with her and everyone else more lovingly and meaningfully. As soon as you take responsibility for the outcome of every interaction you have, you make it very difficult to hate other people because you’re constantly asking yourself what you could have done better, not “why are they so FUCKED?!”

Murkiness vs. Full Disclosure

Guys, have you ever asked a girl out expecting that she knew it was a date? You go out and get along swimmingly, you may even pay for everything to sweeten the deal and then she tells you she has a boyfriend, or doesn’t invite you in, etc.? Of course, we’ve all been here, and its even worse when you try and take it to that romantic level and it makes her uncomfortable and the rest of the time together becomes shitty and awkward. Let a girl know ahead of time where you stand even if it means risking “the friendship” because if you don’t you’re basically living a lie and putting unfair pressure on her. What are we really afraid of? When I think of every girl I’ve been friends with but also attracted to, not one of those friendships was too precious to subject to the light of truth and my actual intentions, and I regret past instances where I wasn’t forthright when I should have been.
Bottom line: if you are going to meet up with a girl and you have any doubt that she knows for sure its a date, let her know. You will save yourself approximately a metric shitload of heartache and you’re doing her a service as well because it lets her better plan which underwear to wear and whether to shave or not 😉

The Company Ink

Just kidding! there’s only company ink if you have an actual job. I on the other hand am an actor, or a freelancer if I wanna sound marginally more respectable. That said, I have probably fallen in love with at least 90% of my female co-stars and a goodly number of the crew members as well. I can’t help it! They’re fucking hot! And like me, they’re driven and aspire to something greater than the slow death of an ordinary life. What’s not to love? The people I work with on set are, by and large some of the most inspiring people I have ever met as they reflect back to me all of the things I like best about myself.
Buuuuuut, people talk and nobody wants to get the rep as that sleazy guy who hits on everyone on set. That’s not to say don’t hook up, but I’m not sure what my particular line is or if I even draw a line. On some level I am a creature of opportunity, and if some hot starlet was feeling me and was “bout it, bout it” I might find it difficult to focus on maintaining my reputation, such as it is.
*Note to female co-stars, past, present and future: I’m probably “into” you and would be amenable to getting to you know you better.

Moving Forward

Things are going okay I guess. But I’m realizing something very profound: these types of relationships I’m pursuing are not static. That is to say you don’t just have a couple of relationships that more or less take care of and maintain themselves. Instead, things are in a constant state of flux, and you’re only “with” someone when you’re with someone.

“Ma, our time together is our time together, and our time apart is our time apart.”
-Jay-Z, Girls, Girls, Girls (Remix)

It’s good in a lot of regards. It creates an imperative to “stay sexy,” and you don’t get bored of and stuck with people. Most importantly, its a constant reminder that life, like your relationships is in a constant state of flux, and the illusion of permanence is just that. So don’t hold onto things and people that no longer serve you. Instead, move forward righteously in the pursuit of beautiful experiences.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

*I am very loosey-goosey with my use of the word love. That’s not to say I use it in vain; in fact, I am very deliberate in my use of it but I recognize that it comes into play in more than just familial and long-term monogamous relationships. I think you have to love everyone and on some level I do, even a girl I just met. And if me and someone else can’t be loving to each other, even from the outset then we really got no business being with each other.

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Filed under blog, discussion, gender, opinion, sex

Shameless Self-Promotion

THE REDDIT LINKS. PLEASE CLICK AND GIVE US AN UPVOTE

http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/2drf72/the_expendables_3_live_performance_in_toronto/

http://www.reddit.com/r/CanadianForces/comments/2drea6/got_out_of_the_army_last_summer_after_ten_years/

http://www.reddit.com/r/Dance/comments/2drfqj/though_primarily_a_dancer_i_got_hired_to_do_this/

http://www.reddit.com/r/movies/comments/2drfsd/my_team_and_i_promoting_the_expendables_3_with_a/

Friends,

Yesterday while at my BG agency to pick up my cheques and pay commissions, I got into what ended up being a three-hour conversation with my agent, interrupted only by a coffee-run. While she has been very supportive of my principal acting projects and has watched me develop, she levied the criticism that I don’t promote myself well enough.

“Hmmm…” I mulled this over for a minute and determined that she is a master of understatement. In my own words, I chronically undersell myself, which can be a big no-no in the entertainment industry.

For whatever reason I have never tried to develop the self-promotion skill-set as I hang onto the naive belief that the work should speak for itself. That said, my agent’s words came at a time when I was faced with a serendipitous dilemma/opportunity. You see, last weekend I performed at Toronto’s Tast of the Danforth festival in a live-action show to promote The Expendables 3.

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Me, about to get knocked the f*&k out by Jet Li

And, just yesterday, the official video for the performance hit youtube. Due to all of the team members promoting it heavily, we blew past our day one target and are well on our way to hitting our day two marks. But I want MOAR!!!
So going beyond the traditional “share on facebook, and get your parents to click ‘like'” I have decided that I want us to go above and beyond with a full-court press consisting of the following strategies:

1) Reshare the shit out of it every day this weekend. Usually I share things only once and hope for the best. Not this time. Im cramming it down the throats of the people who made the unwise decision to friend me on social; media.
2) Tweeting celebs. I have never gone this route but I figured I would join the rest of the team in doing this because they can only ignore so many tweets that call them out personally.
3) Press release: This is foreign territory to me and I only got the idea from my marketing-savvy brother Adam, but it makes sense. Right now he is editing my draft and when its all said and done Im gonna submit it to certain publications and hope for the best.
4) This blog post. If you are a follower and you are reading this I ask that you click this link. Enjoy it. Like it. Share it. Repeat. xoxo
5)Co-ordinated Reddit push. I conceived of this last night and have been working to co-ordinate many team members who are not familiar with Reddit. But at 8pm Eastern time tonight we are going to be posting a link to the video to various subs in the hope of gaining some traction. We would love it if you could join in this push and I will be publishing the links to the various threads once they go live in just over an hour.

Ultimately, the way I reconcile myself to this whole process is avoiding self-deception and also the deception of others. I know a lot of people would call this spamming and I don’t deny this but I think I want to find out for myself what merits there are (or aren’t) to being your own biggest fan. And, at the end of the day, I console myself with the fact that we aren’t “shining up shit and calling it gold,” but rather we are making sure an entertaining video that we worked our asses off to make gets the exposure it deserves.

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Us…post-“asses being worked off”

Hope you like the video

Best,

-Andre Guantanamo

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My Top 9 Rap Lyrics

Friends,
This post has been a long time coming.  As something of a hip-hop fan I have latched onto many lyrics over the years which I feel neatly encapsulate my own experiences.  They don’t have to be standout lines, or famous rhymes, but they are the ones which make the listener feel like he and the artist are in on the same joke that nobody else gets.  Here are my proverbial inside jokes with a smattering of rappers.

***

“Aint no right or wrong in this game called survive”
Song: Keep Your Hands High ft. The Notorious B.I.G.
Arist: Tracey Lee

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You might have missed this song when it came out.  More likely you are familiar with Jay-Z’s recycling of parts of it on his song “What More Can I Say?” from 2003’s The Black Album.  (Or, if you’re only the most casual of fans you likely heard T.I. sample from “What More Can I Say?” for his 2004 hit, “Bring ’em Out“)
In any event, the line dispels the notion of the duality of right & wrong, or more to the point, good and evil.  These qualities are powerful myths which serve as expedient yet detrimental explanations for human behaviour. They don’t paint a true picture of why people (criminals in this case) do things.  What Tray-Lee is really saying here is that people in the game don’t do dirt because they’re evil; they do it out of necessity.  All of that murder, exploitation, theft and corruption, it’s all a natural outgrowth of the struggle for survival.

***

“And God made dirt, so this dirt won’t hurt.”
Song: Shook Ones: Part One (by: Mobb Deep)
Artist: Prodigy

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Obviously this is closely related to the last entry but it deserves mention because of the almost throw-away manner in which it is uttered. It’s a blink-and-you-miss-it type line which bears more truth than perhaps any other part of the song.  It also addresses the fallacy that certain behaviours are “unnatural” in any absolute sense; all behaviours are reinforced by the environment which the organism creates for itself.  It’s like Omar says in The Wire, “All in the game, yo…”

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“We all gon’ die, we bleed through similar veins.”
Song: Thug Luv (by: Bone Thugz n’ Harmony)
Artist: 2-Pac

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2-Pac really spells out the unity and sameness of all human beings here in spite of the fact that he seems to be making a threat.  Still, there is profound existential awareness in his imagery; we all do, in fact, bleed through similar veins and if this shared mortality and vulnerability can’t bring us together, then what can?

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“Ran through what we scared of; what was we afraid for?
Song: Awnaw (by: Nappy Roots)
Artist: Big V

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I love this line because it is a an expression of that feeling you get after going through adversity. It’s like, everything you haven’t done yet seems scary and impossible, while everything you have done seems not only do-able, but rather common and passe.  When it comes to the plausibility and possibility of any given endeavour, the biggest factor in determining your confidence is whether you have already done it or not.  That’s it.  So go out and do things. Then, doing more things will only seem more do-able.

***

“See things how they are, and not how you like ’em to be”
Song: Mistakes
Artist: Immortal Technique

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Who among us hasn’t told themselves a comforting lie at some point in their lives. I’ve been awake for five hours and I have probably already told myself ten.  But Tech is saying that wish-thinking, delusion, and all other forms of self-deception will only keep you in the invisible prison of ego because you are actually only lying to protect your ego.  The true self doesn’t need comfort, it doesn’t bruise and it wants the truth that will make the ego writhe and squirm.  Feed the ‘self’ with truth, and starve the ego of lies.

***

“Can I walk a righteous path holding a beer?”
Song: Resurrection (Large Pro Remix)
Artist: Common

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This is a big one for me. After all, I know there are things/vices I shouldn’t be doing as they serve as barriers for personal growth…but they’re so much fun.  Nobody seems more aware of this than Common, who, at this point in his career, was also probably puffing a blunt and grabbing an ass.  But does that mean he’s a bad dude?  Some would say ‘yes.’  I would say again what I said earlier, that good and bad are just myths. Still, every time I cloud my ability to think with a chemical I can’t help but think that perhaps I am mistreating my biological hardware.

***

“What you eat don’t make me shit.”
Song: Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)
Artist: Jay-Z

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If you’ve ever worked in a job, a blue-collar one especially, you have probably had co-workers complain about how much/little work someone else is doing.  The irony is that their bitching is almost certainly taking up paid time that they should be using to work.  I get it if someone’s performance is directly making yours more difficult; definitely solve the problem at the lowest level possible without making too much of a stink about it.  However, live and let live; you don’t have to be the police for your co-workers, and by extension other human beings.  Don’t feel the need to expose someone who is getting to the same place you’re getting by taking a different route that isn’t hurting anyone. That’s hater bullshit.

***

“When I catch up to these fiends, Imma knock ’em on they ass.”
Song: Can I Live? II (by: Jay-Z)
Artist: Memphis Bleek

Memphis+Bleek

You gotta approach this world knowing (not thinking) that you’re already a star but that nobody knows it but you.  Bleek gets it, even if noone else does.  And while you could make the argument that he still hasn’t caught up with these “fiends” (read: mainstream superstardom) he is still certain that he would “knock them on their asses” (read: blow them away with his lyricism) if he did.  Prove him wrong!

***

“Too bad you couldn’t do good at marriage!”
Song: Renegades (by: Jay-Z)
Artist: Eminem

eminem1

Oh man, this song and this line specifically resonated with me like crazy when I was a teenager.  It seemed like my parents were only too willing to point out my shortcomings and failings when they were fucking up left, right and center.  Eminem cut through this bullshit in a way that struck a chord with white, teenage boys in step-families in the early 2000’s; we knew things were fucked up and that the idyllic veneer of perfection and tranquility that coated our suburban world was simply that, a veneer.  We saw the cracks, the flaws, the violence, and the fights behind closed doors, and then the smiles which were plastered over faces when there was company over.  We knew the truth and Em let us know we weren’t alone.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

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Don’t Judge a Book by RAPE BITCHES KILL PEOPLE

My Friends,
   A few weeks back I was riding with my younger brother and as he was driving we were listening to the songs bumping the joints on his ipod.  One group he is really into of late is Odd Future,

and particularly their frontman, Tyler the Creator.

I was aware of the group prior to this motorcar ride but he played me some stuff I hadn’t heard.  Specifically we listened to a few tracks from Tyler’s most recent album, Goblin (2011).  The songs he played were received well by me; haunting, grimy beats complemented by thought-provoking, if explicit, lyrics.  All in all, I resolved to download the album when I got home.
   Now perhaps I am a bit jaded as a rap enthusiast; I have listened to Necro, Ill Bill, a ton of Eminem, Cage, Apathy, etc…, and any shock I may have had to Odd Future’s raw lyrics has effectively been used up by these predecessors and others.  However, I could see how the uninitiated might be a little taken aback at first. But really, only a little taken aback.  After all, they’re not saying anything that hasn’t been said before in a song and they are certainly not using words that everybody hasn’t used before.  I therefore find it a little disappointing that I heard about the group last spring due to the controversy surrounding them rather than because of the merits of their music.
   It seems we as a society can’t seem to leave the issue of content in music/movies/video games alone.  It seems ridiculous to me that people still feel that expressions of the culture precede the culture itself.  If you’re gonna criticize lyrical content you have to criticize the societal conditions which produced the discontent leading to such lyrics first.  But a bunch of foul-mouthed black kids make a much easier target than society at large, so all too often the suppression of offensive free speech is the cause championed by so-called “do-gooders.”
   However, the unfair persecution of those who use cuss-words in music is only half of the problem.  The other half of the problem is that the cuss words are the only thing critics hear.  Its like when rapper Cam’Ron was on The O’Reilly Factor and Bill O’Reilly introduced him as a rapper whose album was about “pimping & bitches.”

Also a Satan-worshipper it would seem

The album in question, Purple Haze, did have its share of explicit content but to say it was about pimping and bitches isn’t just reductive, its wrong.  Still, I understand that Bill O’Reilly is simply a troll to incite conservative America and bait the liberals, so he said what he said for calculated reasons.  However, other seemingly more enlightened individuals have also made the mistake of prejudging as well.
   Back in the early 2000s for example when Eminem’s Marxhall Mathers LP was at the peak of its populairty and the subject of many news reports, my father caught a radio report talking about the controversy surrounding the album.  Without actually listening to it he stopped us before leaving for school one day and asked us if we knew Eminem.  When we said “yes” he told us we were not to listen to him anymore.  Thankfully, this was never enforced but the fact that he presumed to tell us what to listen to infuriated me, and not least of all because he hadn’t listened to the album and didn’t know what Eminem was all about.

…he don’t know you like I know you Slim, noone does…

But more than infuriated I was embarrassed for him.  What he was betraying by saying this was complete ignorance and a willingness to be scared by reactionary fervor.  
   In any event, we went on listening to our music with impunity and some years later, my younger sister of all people played Eminem’s third album, The Eminem Show for him.  Specifically she played the track Hailie’s Song, which details Eminem’s long battle to get custody of his child.  As my dad had also been through a custody battle or two, the song resonated with him and he came to me some time later and told me that he had listened to Eminem and realized that he was just a guy and not the devil-incarnate.  All it took for him to come to this realization was to hear more than what was publicized on the news and to find a bit of the artist’s work which he could relate to.
   With regard to Odd Future, one of the song’s in their repertoire has a disclaimer/PSA before it urging white America not to take the song seriously or blame the group for anything negative that happens as a result of the listening to the song.  The song in question, Radicals, certainly sounds scary: ominous haunting beat, Tyler screaming the vocals and the other members screaming “KILL PEOPLE BURN SHIT FUCK SCHOOL” over the hook.  But after each round of the hook the beat drops out and Tyler talks to the listener giving advice, presumably the same advice he urged the listener not to follow during the disclaimer.  Some highlights are:
-“They want us to go to they schools and be fuckin miserable at they fuckin college studyin that fuckin bullshit.  Fuck that.”
-“Do what the fuck makes you happy.  Cause at the end who’s there? You!”
-“I’m not saying go out and do some stupid shit, commit crimes.”
-“Do what the fuck you want; stand for what the fuck you believe in and don’t let nobody tell you you can’t do what the fuck you want.”
-“Imma fuck a unicorn and fuck anybody who say I’m not.”
I think its ironic and appropriate that the disclaimer precedes such advice.  Ironic because the advice is positive, and appropriate because the advice is perhaps more subversive than all of their raps about murder, rape and torture.  Fortunately, the parents, politicians and pundits won’t hear this actual subversion because they’re too hung up on the use of the f-word.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo


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Its my Party and I’ll be Apathetic if I Want to

My Friends,
   It’s my birthday tomorrow.  While I don’t necessarily dread being another year older, I find that I have a hard time getting excited about this milestone.  27 is not a particularly exciting birthday and I have thought back about how far I have come since I turned 26 and the answer was disappointing.  Not to say I have been slacking off the whole time; I did make some headway in this obstacle course called life:

-graduated with a B.A. in History (finally)
-got my firearm possession/acquisition license and my pistol
-was accepted into an M.A. program at Royal Military College
-made a lot of positive lifestyle changes => eating & exercise habits

Still, I can’t help but dwell on what I perceive as my inadequacies; the things I have yet to do or have not even come close to doing.  But I have a bad feeling that the things which I have yet to do may still not give me the satisfaction I crave.  It seems like I spend all my time in pursuit of various goals and once I achieve them they are not as fulfilling as I hoped they would be.  

Is this what success all about? A bunch of niggas actin like bitches with big mouths?
-Jay-Z

What do I think of success? It sucks; too much stress…
-Eminem

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
-Biggie
While these quotations, pertaining to fame and fortune, don’t directly deal with my specific situation and achievements, they do convey a disillusionment that comes with success.  I can only imagine that the disillusionment is proportionate to the success in some way.  However, I don’t deceive myself into thinking that the rich are necessarily unhappy i.e. the old adage that “It is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable.”  In fact, I am sure there are a great many happy, wealthy persons.  I think the problem is that a greater ability to purchase and consume has nothing to do with happiness, and a wealthy person trying to find happiness in material possessions is on a fool’s errand.  Conversely, someone who is poor does not necessarily have a better chance at happiness simply because they have been deprived the means to consume without limit.  They have other impediments to their contentment, like basic survival for example.
I’d rather be rich and unhappy than broke and miserable” 
-A far more apt dichotomy I should think

Apply this same line of reasoning to achievement and not wealth, and a similar pattern emerges.  If there was lasting happiness to be had in achievement, accomplished people would quit while they were ahead.  Instead, happiness is fleeting and must be constantly pursued.  It seems that the more you do in the pursuit of happiness/contentment/satisfaction, the more you need to do.
   And it gets no better for the unaccomplished (sic) either; prior to going to Afghanistan I sorely wanted to be one of those guys in my regiment who was idolized by the younger privates and corporals.  I felt very inadequate for not having done a tour of duty.  I couldn’t even conceive of how a term of service overseas could not be the be all and end all of my life.  Now I have been there and done that (thankfully unscathed) and I feel no different.  The adulation of teenage boys has done less for my self-esteem than you might think.  What I realized is: You don’t actually need any of your achievements, but you have to achieve them to realize how little you need them. (apologies if I have stated this before in a previous entry)
   So, armed with this hard-earned knowledge of how fleeting the satisfaction of achievement is, what do I intend to do? Why, “follow old Obi-Wan” as it were.
Translation: Go on “some damned-fool idealistic crusade”

I know that hitch-hiking around the world won’t bring me all of the happiness to be had in life.  In fact, the chances are very good that it may cause me some stress afterwards as I struggle to get my life back on track and deal with how the people I know have changed or moved on.  I worry that some opportunistic young soul may try to woo the woman I love while she is at her most vulnerable; missing my companionship.  I understand that I may miss births and deaths and I will feel sharp pangs of loneliness around holidays particularly.  I accept this because it is preferable to the alternative: dying slow, or what you might call day to day life.
   I’m starting to think happiness can go fuck itself.  Perhaps there is a benefit to my being perpetually dissatisfied, or at least a reason for it. (inb4: whiny bitch)  Dissatisfaction more than anything has accelerated what drives me.  If I was perpetually happy, well there would be no reason for me to leave the house would there?  So, with this in mind I am resolved to move forward in pursuit of this elusive jackalope called happiness.

This is Chad the jackalope; Happiness is his brother

And even if I don’t catch it, at least I have achieved something.

Stay Thirsty
-Andre Guantanamo

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