Tag Archives: THE RATIONAL POST

The RATIONAL POST – SLANG HUGH “Invisible Bully like the Gooch”

Invisible Bully like the Gooch

It was lunch time and all the kids had filed out to the playground. Some to the slides, others to the monkey bars, a few avoiding the physical activity altogether and laid under a tree making animals out of the cloud formations in the sky.

I was trying to avoid my own version of physical activity. See Scott (I can’t remember his last name) who was slightly bigger than me back then, I had yet to grow into my current 6’2, 230lbs frame, had decided he wanted to fight me. And just like his last name I can’t remember why. I’m sure it was an adolescent sized conflict. Something as world ending as, I lost his favorite marble, or I had beat him badly in a foot race. Whatever it was, Scott had centred his world war 3 sights on me. I don’t even remember why I didn’t want to fight. My guess is I had the same attitude then, I do now, and I’m not trying to get punched over foolishness. Plus I’d never been in a real fight before that, the ones with my sister over the remote control for the TV don’t count! And had no desire to test my Daniel Son crane kick that day.   Scott however was very ready, too ready in my opinion, and maybe that made me even more wary of the fisticuffs. His aggression and my passivity resulted in a slow speed chase around the playground. Him goading me with “C’mon!! Let’s go!! C’mon!!” and me avoiding with the “I don’t want to fight, leave me alone!” as I speed walked away from him. He gave chase and when he caught up to me, made the move that placed the straw on the camel’s back, he knocked my hat off and it landed in a muddy puddle. And it was on!!

Needless to say I lost that fight that day, it was a quick one, with a trip and a punch to the eye. But Scott never bothered me again, I think because I eventually stood up to him. In hindsight if I had continued on that slow chase around the playground, into the soccer field and thru the marble games, and avoided him until the bell rang for us to go inside, it may never have stopped.   He probably would have waited for me at 3pm to finish what HE had started.

After school I didn’t run home and tell my parents another kid at school bothered me. Not because I was strong and secure as a child that I didn’t need them to console me or give me advice, but simply because it was a normal. In my mind this is what happened at my age, this is how little boys sorted out their problems. All my friends had been in fights. The older guys, a couple of grades higher did the same. We fought it out in some lame tussle which didn’t have much punches or pain involved, and was quickly parted by mutual friends. And when it was done, you both shook hands and moved on or you didn’t speak to your opponent for a solid week, which back then seemed like a year!

Even TV shows of the era displayed this same mentality. Popular Diff’rent Strokes character Arnold Jackson had a long time, very covert, adversary in The Gooch. A character we never seen on the show, but his scary presence in Arnold’s life was established. I don’t remember Arnold ever telling Mr. Drummond about the Gooch, or that he needed counselling as result of the trauma the Gooch caused him. There were no scenes of little Arnold looking into a mirror one morning and deciding that suicide was a definitely better than going to school that morning. The most he did was told his older brother, or come up with schemes to outsmart his nemesis. Now I can’t speak for Arnold, but I know that my situation made me stronger. That was the last time I had a bully. I learned quickly to use my words in combat, and whether through making you laugh or feel too ashamed, I’d find a way to make you leave me alone!! It didn’t hurt that my Grandfather’s genes kicked in at age 16 and I sprouted to 5’11.

Nowadays instead of Arnold and the Gooch, kids are watching, shows like 13 Reasons Why. A show that some are saying, is glorifying suicide and making it an appealing method of revenge to teens. While others think that it’s a good conversation starter.   I can see both sides have valid arguments. However the former, rings with a little more truth than the latter. Especially in this day and age, pun intended. It seems that our youth have gotten increasingly more sensitive over the last couple generations. And I’m not sure why this is. Have we coddled them a bit too much? Did we give them a false sense of self, to the point of weakness, when the intent was to build strength? Did we not warn them of the pitfalls of life and teach them how to cope? What happened? I think we taught them that weakness is ok, and it is, but we forgot to tell them that they would have to overcome weakness, or succeed in spite of it.

The irony is that in an age of social media, where our kids and teenagers keep selling their peers a bag of goods, when it comes to their image. All insecurities and shortcomings seemed to be emojied, memed and filtered out. In an era that says as long as you can take a pic of your new Jordans and post statuses of how many Zero Fucks You got left to give, you must be strong and got it all together. But the reality is suicides are on the rise. “In 1980 50 females between the age of 10-19 committed suicide, in 2008 the number rose to 77”. And that was 10 years ago, so we can imagine what its like now. Perception however is key in this.   While we’ve seen a rise over the last 10 or more years, the 1950s and 60s were a lot worse in this regard. This was back when there was no PSA commercials about mental health, no campaigns by charity to start the “war on Bullying”, none of that existed. Now we seem to have a microscope on teen angst. To the point where the suicide rate is becoming a chicken or egg theory in itself. Are we creating awareness for a major problem? Or creating more of a problem out of the awareness?   This is what people have taken issue over in shows like The 13 Reasons Why. We may be pouring more gasoline on the fire by showing these young adults and younger adults the imagery of a glamorized irrational state of mind set too cool music and hip lingo laden script.   We may be teaching yet another generation that it’s ok to be mentally or emotionally weak (which is not the problem), and kill yourself as a result (which is a MAJOR problem)! By no means am I downplaying depression and its effects, I’ve been on the edge myself in my adult years, so by no means can I judge someone who is contemplating ending their situation by ending their life.

However, there is a difference between creating awareness and promoting, and the line may be very thin in 2018. I once saw a video that spoke about depression and it pretty much sums up my view, the brother, whose name I can’t remember started with “you are not depressed, you are suffering from depression.” What he meant was that we often make our circumstances define us rather than the other way around. You are not depressed, that is only a state of mind. I saw a lot of criticism for this theory. People saying he is making a mockery of mental health, or softening what it can cause people to do. To which my question is simple. Do you believe your mind is strong enough to get you into depression but not out?!? If that answer is yes, then you might also be in full agreement with this anti-bullying campaign. I recognize not everyone is the same and some of us need more help than others, but sometimes we are a part of the problem more than we are helping it.

But hey Diff’rent Strokes for different folks, and I just rather more Arnold Jacksons than Hannah Bakers in our High schools and Universities.

– SLANG HUGH

Slang Hugh can be found on instagram @slanghugh

Advertisements

THE RATIONAL POST – SLANG HUGH – ONE BALL ISN’T ENOUGH

Not Enough Balls…

Genius. Albert Einstein. Steve Jobs. Michael Jackson. Michael Jordan. Eccentric, rare and often misunderstood. Often dismissed as crazy.  In my opinion, crazy is a necessity for a genius.  Greatness isn’t forged from used molds.  It’s created with a unique spark, an uncanny ability to look not only recognize the Matrix but find a way to write new code. Make new rules.  Your own rules!
Now trailblazers aren’t responsible for the trees that are chopped down and left in their wake.  Their eyes and efforts are focused on the prize, clearing a new path.  Any damage caused is collateral.  It’s a path to the dream, and if you’re not on the yellow brick road, easing on down with the Dorothy the genius, then maaaan, fawk ya, let the wicked witch have your visionless ass.  Enemies will be made along the way.  Simply because the way one thinks is different from anyone else’s.  One man fits the criteria.  One man may be eligible for the title he has already bestowed upon himself.

Genius. Albert Einstein. Steve Jobs. Michael Jackson. Michael Jordan…. and LaVar Ball? Yes, you read that right LAVAR BALL!!! Is he polarizing? Yes. Is he off putting? Yes. Is he different? Unique?  Creating enemies? Blazing paths?  The answer is simple and it’s not A, B, or C.  It’d D ALL THE ABOVE.  YES!!

Is he a genius? Before I answer that question, let’s examine the man.

A black man in America, who has managed to raise, 3 sons who ALL have full scholarships to a top division 1 university. Not 1. 3! His eldest Lonzo is projected to be top 3 2018 NBA draft pick, after having a very successful year at UCLA.

Let me repeat, A Black Man in America!  The chips are already stacked again him and the bad cards have been dealt before he even sat at the table.  The big boys of the game already are looking at you with the “who are you again?” Face.  Yet Lavar boldly spits in that Face of authority while yelling “I need 2 billion!!”. To Nike. To Adidas. To Reebok. To whomever.

And while we laughed at this man and told him he was crazy.  He smiled and told himself he was a genius…a genius with a plan!! A father with a plan for his sons.  A blueprint for the empire!  Their empire!! Doing the very thing that any father should try to do.  Make a kingdom for their princes to one day rule over.  in the case of the royal Ball brother it’s not a crown they have been passed but a shoe company. Understand this, that $500 shoe – that even I will admit is a bit steep for my lower middle class pockets – is a crown jewel in the cap of King LaVar’s cap.   He has made his first born, the FIRST black athlete, not with his own shoe.  His own shoe Company!

The only draw back to genius is that its not recognized until results are shown. And the Ball family’s genius title rest heavily on the shoulders of its eldest son Lonzo. In the words of Skip Bayless, Lonzo has the target of a tattoo bigger than Lebron James’ “chosen one” emblazoned on his skin. Will he be able to carry that mantle? Will he be able to meet his father’s lofty expectations and predictions? Will he be better than Steph Curry and Lebron? Either way I’m not so sure he has to be THAT good, but he must be DAMN good!! But only time will reveal if the son truly must pay for the sins of the father.

As for the father, I often wonder what our real problem is with LaVar. Is it because he dares to defy the rules? Is it because we in the norm can’t comprehend what goes thru the mind of a mad man aka genius? Is it because we rarely see the image of a black man, demanding respect, commanding power, from those that he may be worthy to challenge, all while building a future for his family that is already making history? The irony is, he may be unworthy in the eyes of John Public, but in his mind and effort he is worthier than us, who dare to criticize. And that makes it clear to me, that there are not enough Balls in the world!

 

Genius. Albert Einstein. Steve Jobs. Michael Jackson. Michael Jordan. Eccentric, rare and often misunderstood. Often dismissed as crazy.  In my opinion, crazy is a necessity for a genius.  Greatness isn’t forged from used molds.  It’s created with a unique spark, an uncanny ability to look not only recognize the Matrix but find a way to write new code. Make new rules.  Your own rules!
Now trailblazers aren’t responsible for the trees that are chopped down and left in their wake.  Their eyes and efforts are focused on the prize, clearing a new path.  Any damage caused is collateral.  It’s a path to the dream, and if you’re not on the yellow brick road, easing on down with the Dorothy the genius, then maaaan, fawk ya, let the wicked witch have your visionless ass.  Enemies will be made along the way.  Simply because the way one thinks is different from anyone else’s.  One man fits the criteria.  One man may be eligible for the title he has already bestowed upon himself.

Genius. Albert Einstein. Steve Jobs. Michael Jackson. Michael Jordan…. and LaVar Ball? Yes, you read that right LAVAR BALL!!! Is he polarizing? Yes. Is he off putting? Yes. Is he different? Unique?  Creating enemies? Blazing paths?  The answer is simple and it’s not A, B, or C.  It’d D ALL THE ABOVE.  YES!!

Is he a genius? Before I answer that question, let’s examine the man.

A black man in America, who has managed to raise, 3 sons who ALL have full scholarships to a top division 1 university. Not 1. 3! His eldest Lonzo is projected to be top 3 2018 NBA draft pick, after having a very successful year at UCLA.

Let me repeat, A Black Man in America!  The chips are already stacked again him and the bad cards have been dealt before he even sat at the table.  The big boys of the game already are looking at you with the “who are you again?” Face.  Yet Lavar boldly spits in that Face of authority while yelling “I need 2 billion!!”. To Nike. To Adidas. To Reebok. To whomever.

And while we laughed at this man and told him he was crazy.  He smiled and told himself he was a genius…a genius with a plan!! A father with a plan for his sons.  A blueprint for the empire!  Their empire!! Doing the very thing that any father should try to do.  Make a kingdom for their princes to one day rule over.  in the case of the royal Ball brother it’s not a crown they have been passed but a shoe company. Understand this, that $500 shoe – that even I will admit is a bit steep for my lower middle class pockets – is a crown jewel in the cap of King LaVar’s cap.   He has made his first born, the FIRST black athlete, not with his own shoe.  His own shoe Company!

The only draw back to genius is that its not recognized until results are shown. And the Ball family’s genius title rest heavily on the shoulders of its eldest son Lonzo. In the words of Skip Bayless, Lonzo has the target of a tattoo bigger than Lebron James’ “chosen one” emblazoned on his skin. Will he be able to carry that mantle? Will he be able to meet his father’s lofty expectations and predictions? Will he be better than Steph Curry and Lebron? Either way I’m not so sure he has to be THAT good, but he must be DAMN good!! But only time will reveal if the son truly must pay for the sins of the father.

As for the father, I often wonder what our real problem is with LaVar. Is it because he dares to defy the rules? Is it because we in the norm can’t comprehend what goes thru the mind of a mad man aka genius? Is it because we rarely see the image of a black man, demanding respect, commanding power, from those that he may be worthy to challenge, all while building a future for his family that is already making history? The irony is, he may be unworthy in the eyes of John Public, but in his mind and effort he is worthier than us, who dare to criticize. And that makes it clear to me, that there are not enough Balls in the world!

– SLANG HUGH

Slang Hugh can be heard as part of the Podcast “The Man Dem” alongside Sir Toks –   and found on instagram @slanghugh 

“I can’t Live Without My Radio” – the Rational Post – Slang Hugh

“I Can’t Live Without My Radio”

The club or the radio is no longer the place for good music… sorry let me rephrase that. The club or the radio is no longer a place for GREAT music.

You will get the music that makes you move or makes you feel good, and as long as you have that, the content quality is irrelevant. Most of the people can recite the simplistic lyrics they hear not because they can relate to them, but because they hear it 80 times a day. How many of us screaming “BALLIN”, have ever had a tennis ball size of dollars to waste never mind the basketball sized dreams we shoot every time that song comes on. When is the last time you saw an ounce of coke that wasn’t covered with a red and white swirling label, and yet you are singing with great commitment on how much “IN LOVE WITH THE COCO” you are.

It can be argued that this music is so popular because it allows the listener to escape their reality. Much like a Sci-Fi action movie it is the window into a world that we aren’t familiar with and therefore are excited for the experience. To some extent I agree with this idea. I get that playing a game of musical dress up can be fun. Hell when I was a kid I moonwalked like MJ or did the foot shuffle like James Brown. Dressed like Bugaloo Shrimp or shaved my head with ONYX. Yet those days of role play seemed much less harmful to its listeners. What’s the worst that could happen when we emulated Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative dance moves? a hard slap from mom for being a little too exuberant with the pelvic thrusts? Exactly compared to our heroes these major radio play artists are the Cobra Commanders to our Lt. Hawks and G.I. Joes. And it has a generation of kids growing up wanting to be just like the misogynist, greedy, money chasing, sexually explicit, drug paraphernalia totting, violent advocating, entitled artists they hear and see every day. We can easily apply those adjectives to our youth of today. And how can you blame the product of Drug talk and Dollar throwing for trying get rich or die trying. To want what they want despite consequence. And that’s not exclusive to the evil dollar it includes the opposite sex and sex in general.

Ya ya I know we had Prince and Marvin Gaye talking about sex right? Well Marvin wanted sexual healing “wake up wake up wake up, let’s make love tonight.” And Prince is the one that we know as the King of Dirty songs, one of his worse lines “Take me baby, kiss me all over/Play with my love/Bring out what’s been in me 4 far 2 long”. Now let’s fast forward to the 2000s to the current reigning queen of Hip Hop Nicki Minaj “This dude named Michael used to ride motorcycles/Dick bigger than a tower, I ain’t talking ’bout Eiffel’s/Real country-ass nigga, let me play with his rifle/Pussy put his ass to sleep, now he calling me NyQuil”. In fact forget the lyrics, check the song titles, The Dream’s “P***y”, Estelle’s “Make her Say (Beat it Up)”, then go listen to the songs, and you won’t be surprised.

And I don’t want to act like the golden years of urban music lacked the 2 live crews and NWAs. Sex, drugs and violence has been and will always be a good seller. We all like to hear the degradative music at times. We all want to let go and just be for moments in our lives. The problem is the balance! Or lack thereof. We have far too many Ja Rules and not enough Tupacs, overwrought with Blurred Lines, with What’s Going Ons, far and between!! I remember going to places like Party center and hearing Public Enemy mixed with Tribe Called Quest mixed with King Tee, mixed with En Vogue, and the list goes on. Nowadays the DJs seem to be all plugged in to one universal podcast, in which one artist performs the same song to the same beat that sometimes has a remix on every 3rd song. The creativity is gone in our music, the intelligence gone in our lyrics. Shoot half the time we can’t even understand the words being said, and that’s not due to them being too complex either.

All is not lost, like I said the good music is no longer on the radio or in the clubs but it is out there! As much as the internet has all but destroyed the record companies, it has created a platform for the most underground, fresh, different, and even weird music. Nowadays the good music isn’t handed to you. You have to put on your Indiana Jones hat and go searching for such treasures. You’re not going to find Joey Bada$$ at the top of the sand pile, you’re not going to discover a Drew Anthuny or Ro James without using a flashlight a little bit. Part of the problem is that we wait for the hipsters to dictate to us what we are allowed to like. In some ways the radio and record companies have transformed into these bloggers and cool kids on the net that blow up certain mainstream artists such as Bey, J, Ri, Drake etc. while the others are forgotten and therefore largely ignored by the masses. As usual many artist break through that glass ceiling and cultivate a strong following to propel them to at least B list celebrity. And sadly by that time they have been changed to maintain that status.

Same old soup warmed up a little bit and we slurp it right up. No one to blame but ourselves, the good music is out there, it’s just for us to seek it. Like most good things in life, you can’t attain it without some work, just ask that winter body girl with the summer body dreams.

– SLANG HUGH

Slang Hugh can be found on instagram @slanghugh

Check Out Slang Hugh with TOKS on the podcast The Man Dem – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-man-dem/id1144116291?mt=2itunes.apple.com