Thug Kitchen Cookbook Thumbs Down!

Thugs Gotta Eat, But This Is Ridiculous


Image source: theplanetdaniel

The recipes are mundane, but the white authors’ racist stereotypes and insults are hair-raising. Think about it for a moment: How is this funny or a good idea? With spicy language, as with spice when cooking, it’s good to know when enough is enough.

Call me persnickety, but I’m put off but the word “shit” repeated throughout a recipe or other discussion of something I’m planning to eat. Which raises a larger point, these are some tin-eared white folks when in comes to black English (and certainly not all are). They have a remarkably limited vocabulary and zero gift for improvisation. Profane does not equal black. It doesn’t even equal Thug. Sharing food should be a bonding, empathetic, joyful experience. This book is  is mocking and exploitative.

No Pumpkins, No Peace. Looting Lacoste

Keene, New Hampshire, Pumpkinfest riot. Just kids being kids. Ruffians, not thugs. No risk of being shot dead. No armored vehicle police battalions — pepper spray, tear gas and some arrests. White privilege at its finest.



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Admitting to Nerdgasm Here

From the Open Culture Site


Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate

21 Years Ago Today Toni Morrison Received The Nobel Prize for Literature. 10343017_10152109245264058_8664006753028362288_n

A FEW years before that, I organized a program in her honor at the African Meeting House on Beacon Hill in Boston, when she came to town to receive an honorary degree at Harvard. I was the curator at the Meeting House, and was able to arrange Toni Morrison’s visit thanks to her close friend, Florence Ladd.

There was a line of people around the block. Camille Cosby was there, sociologist Kenneth Clark, other notables. We ran out of space and sadly had to turn some away; fortunately we made a video. Morrison said she would be pleased to attend, but that she would be too tired, after all the Harvard events that day, to make any remarks beyond acknowledging the gathering. So we had a symposium on the raised podium area with excellent talks by Marcia Lloyd, Clyde Taylor, and others.

I gave the welcome, and Museum board chairman, the late Henry Hampton, spoke. I also made that the occasion for the donation of a signed first edition of Phillis Wheatley’s poems. It had originally been offered to Morrison, but I lobbied for it to go to the Museum and she VERY graciously agreed. Student intern, Kelly Stupple, received the volume for the collection.

AND THEN: when Morrison came forward to deliver the few words we expected, she went to the podium, said how moved she was by the evening, and that she would like to read something she was working on (!). She read for about ten gorgeous minutes. Followed by an extended standing ovation, of course. The feeling in the room was wonderfully festive and congenial.

Some months later, when I read her new book as soon as it came out, I discovered, along with others, that we had the incredible honor of hearing the beautiful final section of “JAZZ” as it was still coming into being.

Benjamin Carson, MD

k3693774I really hate that Dr. Carson, whose medical career was genuinely spectacular — he saved the doomed, developed revolutionary surgical techniques, worked tirelessly, and left a legacy of hope, possibility, and compassion — has this horribly unfortunate political world view, and that cynical righties are exploiting him and probably laughing behind his back.

I admire him enormously for all he did as a doctor, and have to talk myself through separating the brilliant scientist and surgeon from the political jackass. And I hate that so many of his views are entrenched in his religious convictions and therefore not subject to much discussion.

For years, I had a yellowed, curled-edge newspaper article about him among the things we all post on the fridge, as an object lesson for my kids. Taking it down was kind of a poignant moment — the children are grown now. But there is no detracting from the greatness of his medical career.



About Those Book Lists…

A few people have asked me to join the daisy chains of listing favorite books, and things I’m grateful for. Total silence on my part. It took me a while to sort of figure out not listing books.

I think it’s that I connect books and context in ways that are part of their significance for me. James Baldwin somehow suffuses my life at moments expected and unexpected, the essays above all, but Sonny’s Blues, and some of the novels at times. images-1

I developed food cravings while pregnant all those years ago, but I also found
myself devouring every word by Edith Wharton I could get my hands on.


Or being a student wandering rather aimlessly around Europe reading Penguin editions – Alberto Moravia, Amis pere, and not Penguin, but volumes of the Alexandria Quartet on trains, and on Ibiza when it was only mildly decadent.










At a black lit. conference at Yale years back, we passed around the single copy of Their Eyes Were Watching God that was available to us, and looked at each other with “wild surmise.” It’s like that.

As for gratitude: beyond all imagining.


Race Has NOTHING To Do With It…


Awful news is cops seem to be trying to outdo each other in taking out unarmed black men, women and children and getting away with it. (Almost wrote “getting off.” That too.)

Hopeful news is so many people are on video alert; half the country is walking around with their phones in their hands and start filming scuffles and police action almost as a reflex. Plus security cameras are everywhere.

Weird news is that cops seem oblivious to greater than 50-50 possibility that they will be caught on camera doing this shit. Not that grand juries will weigh it as they should. But SM is galvanizing public response.

And people lose sight of the fact that even if these uniformed shooters and beaters get off on criminal charges, they often end up costing their municipalities millions in civil judgments.

Gorgeous Cat Picture

Gorgeous 1646 Head Of A Cat by Wenceslaus Hollar available at Boston’s excellent Childs Gallery. Go ahead, cat lovers (and others) give yourself a treat.