Mailbag! Here’s a brief rundown of some of the wide-ranging mail I’ve gotten in the past week:
- A press release from rtMark/the Yes Men on their latest stunt.
- A really inappropriate holiday greeting sent by the guy in charge of alumni relations at Hampshire these days. Why the hell haven’t they fired this asshole yet?!
- A note from a ten-year-old bidding on one of my My Little Ponies. “I love your auction!” she said. Love my auction?! Kids these days… Turns out the kid lives right in Pasadena, too, so I delivered the pony to her door. This happens sometimes with eBay… Jessamyn knows someone out in rural Vermont who found out his winning bidder was right down the street, so he delivered his package by hand to his startled neighbor. What are the odds on something like that happening… It’s a funny way to meet people in your hometown, an indicator of the sort of rearranging of neighborly relationships that the Internet has effected, as further evidenced by:
- An immediate and lengthy reply from Toshiya Endo in Japan, who runs the African music discography site I linked to the other day, addressing my questions about perceptions of Africa and popularity of African music in Japan (he didn’t answer any of my questions about DDR, alas.)
- A response to my questions about the Crip Walk. I’ve been fascinated by some of the comments posted to my site, which seem to be written by people who have not understood in the slightest what I was trying to say (witness the comments on my post about Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen — or rather the comment; I know I had another, similar one at some point but I thought it was so stupid I took it down), so when someone posted who actually sounded like he’d read what I wrote, I wrote back. And here is the first-person ethnography Chris George, a 22-year-old guy from Columbia, Maryland, responded about the Crip Walk:
I am from Columbia, Maryland in Howard County. It is a very unique community. It was planned in a way so that people of all economic classes and different ethnicities can live in the same area. There are neighborhoods where houses selling for 280k are directly across the road from subsidized housing (my immediate neighborhood starts in the low 300s) . There are no real gangs here. No drive-bys, or anything like that. Most people here are very open minded. There are so many different cultures here, no one stands out at all. Groups of friends might have a nickname for themselves, or people give a specific group a nickname to easily identify them. But they are NOT gangs at all. Now that I think about it, we kind of categorize people and groups of friends in a General-to-Specific way. Kind of like this, General first: High School, Village, Neighborhood, Extended friends, close friends. And in Howard County , you can’t always guess the socioeconomic status of a neighborhood, it might not be all the same. My general neighborhood housing go from apartments that are 800/month to 500,000 houses!
That’s the best way I can explain my area. But, in Columbia, you won’t see some kid start C-Walking on the side of the street spontaneously. But in the clubs, you will. It’s not aggressive at all. You won’t see anyone fighting over a C-Walk circle. If a certain song comes on, and it has that specific tempo that you can C-Walk to (i.e. Dr. Dre “Next Episode,” Clipse “Grindin’,” Xzibit “Get your Walk on” — to name a few.) You might see a person start Walking. Now, this is not a dance that you do in one small area. You gotta give a person AT LEAST a 10 foot radius to really do their thing. Someone else might want to Walk too, but in the same circle. If that person just wants to do it, and be done, he’ll ask “Can I get mine?” or, “Can i walk?” or “Can I get some light?” The person originally Walking will let that person go and do their thing. You are not going to be walking for 3 minutes. I dont care who you are, your calves and legs will be sore. People usually can get all their good moves in 30 seconds.
BUT, if someone is on a competitive vibe, they won’t ask to jump in. They will most likely stand on the inside of the circle and stare at the person’s feet, kinda like an inspection of skill. The person who is currently walking will let that person go when he sees him. When the new person goes, he will most likely brush his shoes with his hands and show what he’s got. If the original guy who was walking thinks he is better than what the second guy could do, he’ll give it another shot. Some people spell their names with their feet. If anyone else wants in, they will do what the second guy had to do to get in. You know who won when the last guy in the circle stands uncontested. All the people who walked in that circle will dap (shake hands) for mutual respect, and go their own way. There won’t be 30 dudes tryin to Walk. Maybe 4 if you’re lucky. If a guy steps in that is an expert, no one will jump in and embarrass themselves. If someone is at a Baltimore club wearing Converse All Stars or “Chucks,” that is originally a West Coast style. So in a way you are implying that you can walk on a expert level and be ready to fascinate the crowd. And if you come weak, you will get made fun of. Because, if you wear Chucks and can’t walk, that’s like someone saying they are a doctor, but they dropped out of high school. It’s a phony front. If someone is wearing Chucks with blue shoestrings, that’s a Crip. Red, a Blood. White, neither.
- Just another maxi-pad ad forwarded by Jenn Pozner? No! It’s the Genius Lady, “The product which allows womens to urinate from a standing position”! “It will be… your fellow-traveller!” Hey! How deeply #1! And yet how deeply #2, because this is not the first of its kind — I found a similar product from the 70s in Kim Edel’s basement just the other day. Someday soon I will scan it in and put it up, because the heavily-perfumed promo copy on the packaging is priceless. When will these people learn to say VULVA? Or even CROTCH? (Note, mind you, that these are neither ingenious Japanese gadgeteers nor Puritanical, disease-phobic Americans selling the Genius Lady — this is an Italian product.) Never mind, I want one anyway; peeing on my feet when I go camping got really old years ago.
(Hey, what’s that phrase again? Fellow Traveller! Does anyone remember the McCarthyist connotation of this phrase?? Is it consigned to being just another piece of dot-com jargon? (I want to be an “Extreme Fellow-Traveller!” Sign my ass up!) Oh, how hip — it applies to nasty parasites, too!
- A questionnaire from Glamour Magazine, whose poll list I am on, asking me the following, among other things, about my orgasms:
12. What’s as good as an orgasm?
A. A chocolate brownie sundae
B. An amazing shopping find
C. An exhilarating workout?just you, the road and your sneakers
D. Nothing is as good as an orgasm.
My response? Performing open-heart surgery with my bare hands beats orgasm! (Yeah, Xephreniaq, you know what I mean.)
I think I need to start writing to more strangers. The response from the guy in Japan, in particular, made me realize that I’m not really taking advantage of the Net. (Of course, I ought to get better about writing back to my friends first.)