Category Archives: Chief Keef

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Saturday

THE QUOTE

“The beginning is always today.” — Mary Wollstonecraft

Wollstonecraft

A TEABAG BY ANY OTHER NAME

Check out Mobutu Sese Seko’s take on all the premature obituaries for the Tea Party in yesterday afternoon’s Gawker.

The Tea/Me-ers aren’t going anywhere, Seko insists, because they’ve always been here — only under different monikers and flags.

And BTW, this Seko is not that Seko. That one is dead. Glad to clear that up for you.

Seko

That Mobutu Sese Seko

Anyway, Seko quotes extensively from Richard Hofstadter (no, not that Hofstadter, this Hofstadter), whose landmark article in the November, 1964 issue of Harper’s Magazine essentially defined the right-wing-nut movement then and for all time. The article, entitled “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” may well have served as a blueprint for the Tea/Me-ers.

Hofstadter

That Hofstadter

It begins, “American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”

Hofstadter goes on to list and define all the conspiracy theorists, psychotics, true believers, anti-Papists, Gold-Standard-ists, Masons, Illuminists, Birchers, and others who, today, might find a comfortable nest within the Big Tent GOP.

Funny how those moderate Republicans who two decades ago put out the call for the party to become a Big Tent might react had they known it would be one equipped with padded walls.

The Tea Party, according to Seko, sells doom — and in this holy land, doom has always sold well. “These guys,” he writes of the Tea Party, “can sell an apocalypse of anything.”

Once you’re finished with Seko’s take, wait a couple of days for Rick Perlstein’s Monday debut offering on his own The Nation blog. He says pretty much the same thing.

(And, believe me, I feel for Perlstein: There’s nothing worse for a writer than for another writer to beat you to a topic or a bon mot or a brilliant conclusion.)

THE KING OF AMERICA

Here’s more required reading for you. Bill Wyman writes in last week’s New Yorker about Michael Jackson’s life and his place as the ultimate crossover pop artist. Jackson, Wyman writes, virtually became America.

No, not that Bill Wyman, this Bill Wyman.

Wyman

That Wyman

Anyway, doesn’t it seem as though we’ve pretty much forgotten Michael Jackson since all the folderol over his death petered out?

Lost in all the oceans of ink and streams of electrons devoted to the King of Pop’s reputed sex life is the fact that Jackson achieved what hundreds — nay, thousands — of black pop and genre musical acts strove for since the mid-1950’s. That is, pure, total, and unadulterated acceptance by white America.

Wyman deftly weaves Jackson’s physical metamorphosis in with his ongoing assimilation into the mainstream. He became white at the same time he was becoming white.

Wyman also apparently buys into the notion that Jackson died a virgin. That is, he not only never had government- and religion-approved sex with a woman, but he never actually had sex with all those little boys. Nevertheless, his non-orgasmic peccadilloes with pre-adolescents were unforgivable — or so goes that train of thought.

In any case, read the piece.

WYMAN TALES

A little anecdote about this Bill Wyman — and then a little anecdote about that Bill Wyman or, more accurately, his band, to follow.

This Bill Wyman was the music critic for the Chicago Reader for much of the time I was writing for that one-time indispensable alternative weekly. In the late 1980s, a pretty and talented woman named Alison True was in the process of climbing the ladder at the Reader, an ascent that eventually saw her become editor, a position she held for nearly 20 years.

True

Alison True

Alison True had blue eyes, dimples, light brown hair, and was tough as nails. Trust me, I once overheard her set some boundaries, fortissimo, for a recalcitrant immediate underling in what they thought was the privacy of the fire stairs at the Reader’s North Loop headquarters. “This is my paper,” she roared, “and we’ll do it my way!” A few moments later, she passed me on the way back to her office and flashed me a dimpled smile hello. You have to love a boss like that.

From 1983 through 2002, I was part of the sizable stable of Reader freelancers. Occasionally, we’d get together for a mixer or at a party thrown by some common acquaintance. At each of these, we’d ask each other if Alison True was going out with anybody, as if she’d deign to mix with the likes of us. No one could ever offer indisputable confirmation of her availability.

Then one Saturday night at a party thrown by jazz maven Neil Tesser, we freelancers watched, agape, as she entered, hand in hand, with Bill Wyman. Trust me again, Wyman rarely let go of her hand throughout that night. None of us blamed him. All of us loathed him from that point on.

Now, then, the other Bill Wyman. My old pal Eric Woulkewicz, as unique an individual as can be imagined happened to be walking down Milwaukee Avenue one late summer morning.

Just to give you a picture of the man that was Eric Woulkewicz, he once went for an entire several-year stretch with nothing in his wardrobe but second-hand jumpsuits and Aqua-Sox. Also, at this time, he lived in an old dentist’s office on the Near West Side, complete with reclining chair and spit fountain. A true friend, he offered me sleeping accommodations in the dentist’s chair one time when I needed new digs in a hurry.

He once concocted an idea that he was certain would keep him rolling in dough for the rest of his life. He owned two junky vehicles, a sedan and a Plymouth minivan. Making sure neither ran out of gas was, at times, his primary occupation. He planned to equip the sedan with a camouflaged pinhole camera and have it trail the van on a drive through Skokie, at the time a suburb notorious for its police officers stopping cars driven by black men for no good reason other than their color. He would drive the sedan and his friend named Mustafa, a large black man with waist-length dreadlocks, would pilot the van. Eric was banking on the Skokie cops pulling Mustafa over for no reason. Then, Eric would present village officials with photos of the stop and demand a cahs settlement, which he and Mustafa would split.

Eric even had a name for the camera-equipped van — the Freedom-mobile. Sadly, the scheme never got off the ground.

So, on the late summer morning in question, Eric was walking down Milwaukee Avenue and just as he was passing the Double Door, a hip live music venue near the North/Milwaukee/Damen intersection, he saw someone taping a handwritten sign up in the window. It read, “Rolling Stones tickets on sale at noon. $7.”

Double Door

The Double Door, Chicago

Eric asked the guy what it was all about and was told the Stones were to kick off their 1997-98 worldwide tour in Chicago with an impromptu gig at the 475-capacity venue, just a lark on the part of the mega-band. Eric figured, hell, even if it’s all a scam, tickets are only seven bucks apiece. So he decided to wait until noon when he was the first person in line to buy two. The line, by that time, stretched around the block.

Oh, it was the real thing. Eric proceeded to sell his pair of tickets for $1000, a 14,2oo-percent return on his investment.

The wise financial strategem allowed my pal Eric Woulkewicz to keep the gas tanks of his junky sedan and Plymouth van filled for months.

UPDATE ON THE CHIEF

Looks like Chief Keef isn’t gracing the streets of upscale Northbrook, Illinois after all. At least not as a citizen thereof.

Chicagoans held their collective breath as news trickled out earlier this week that the under-aged hip hop star had purchased a home in Northbrook.

I, of course, added to the hysteria with my own smart-assed take on the relo.

Now, a Cook County Juvenile Court judge has ruled there is no credible evidence CK has taken up residence in the heretofore white haven from the dark inner city. A move by Chief Keef would have amounted to a violation of his parole for the crime of being way too hip hop.

From Spin Magazine

Northbrook No More

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Tuesday

THE QUOTE

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” — Albert Einstein

Einstein

HAPPY N. Y.

Things I hope for this year:

◗ Barack Obama makes it through all 365 days without a serious attempt on his life.

◗ The gamesmanship between Iran and the West peters out.

◗ Someone (besides me) comes up with the bright idea of imposing an embargo on gun manufacturing for at least a year. We’ve got plenty o’guns already; let’s chill on making new ones for a while, no?

Guns

Plenty

◗ The Loved One continues on in sterling health.

◗ My faulty cardiac cellular structure does not betray me and go haywire just yet.

◗ Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, et al continue to make positive strides in their remaking of the entire Chicago Cubs organization.

Image by Kyle Terada/US Presswire

Hoyer (L) & Eptsein: My Happiness Is In Their Hands

◗ Certain friends who suffer right now from mental and emotional distress can find relief.

◗ We move significant steps closer to:

  • Universal affordable health care
  • Universal affordable safe, secure housing
  • Universal affordable access to education, including colleges and universities

◗ Thousands — nay, hundreds of thousands — of new visitors to this communications colossus.

Multi-cast Tower

The Electron Pencil Tower, Outside Beautiful Bloomington

THE ELECTRON PENCIL COVERS THE EARTH

How cool was 2012? I’ll tell you how cool.

The Electron Pencil drew readers from 176 countries on this mad, mad planet. I mean, we even got readers from such exotic outposts as Suriname, Cameroon, Tajikistan, Papua New Guinea, and Moldova. Truth. That’s what WordPress tells us.

TajikistanOur Most Loyal Tajikistani Reader

Whoever you people are, thanks.

Our next goal? Mars.

NICE GUYS FINISH….

The hell of professional sports is that the best people are far too often the worst coaches.

For instance, Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith was fired yesterday after leading the team to an overall winning record of 81-63 in his nine years at the helm. He even led the Bears to a Super Bowl, where they were demolished by some guys wearing blue from Indy in 2007.

From all accounts, Lovie Smith is one of the calmest, most compassionate, most dignified men in the entire sports world. That’s quite an accomplishment when one considers the typical NFL field boss has the morals and character of a mafia don.

From the Boston Globe

“Good” Isn’t Good Enough

But poor Lovie apparently lacked the cutthroat necessities to push his players and entire organization past the point of fairly good to that of dominant. He wasn’t a killer, as the term is defined in the uber-biz of games for pay.

Lots of folks who cheerlead for high school and college sports programs claim that participating in the games is great for the moral and character development of young men and women. Team play, they say, prepares youngsters for success in life.

My response? Man, I hope not.

Amateur sports have bought into the win-at-all-costs mentality of the pro games. Most states’ highest paid employees are the coaches of their university football or basketball programs. Character? Hah! Just win, baby.

Scene from "The Godfather: Part II"

The Next Bears’ Head Coach?

I don’t feel sorry for Lovie Smith, the man. He made a pile of dough disappointing the very demanding Chicago football fans. Neither he nor his children will have to worry about their next meals for the rest of their lives.

Our mania for sports (of which I, a live-and-die Cubs fan, am all too much a part) teaches us too often that good, civilized men are failures. I feel sorry for us.

PROGRESS, SORT OF

When I was a kid, my Uncle Vince and his family lived in the tony Chicago suburb of Northbrook.

Uncle Vince (who’s still alive and kicking at the age of 96, BTW) bought his home in the late 1950s when Northbrook was still ringed by farmland. He got in when the getting was good. Within 25 years, Northbrook had become one of the meccas to which extremely comfortable white families could escape from the big, bad, scary (read, increasingly black) city.

My own family was still in the city — admittedly on the outskirts, but, nonetheless, my suburban aunts and uncles would constantly pepper my parents with pleadings to “get the hell out of that shithole where people live on top of each other.”

Uncle Vince’s Northbrook house was straight out of a real estate man’s wet dream. It had a broad front lawn. A garage door that opened at the click of a button from inside the car (a wonder in that day and age.) An automatic dishwasher. Air conditioning (we had windows.) A chime doorbell, as opposed to our raucous buzzer. Uncle Vince’s backyard was more than an acre which, in my neighborhood, would have covered some half dozen homes and yards.

Seemingly every time we visited Uncle Vince, my cousin Tony would be washing his brand new Pontiac Grand Prix on the big driveway in front of the house.

Pontiac Grand Prix

A Rich Kids’ Car

I always thought that Uncle Vince was as rich as the Rockefellers. At the age of seven, I figured his home was a mansion.

The one thing folks in Northbrook didn’t have was black neighbors.

This fact was brought home to me one day when I overheard Uncle Vince telling my father about a horrible, alarming incident that’d happened on the block the previous week. Uncle Vince spoke in hushed tones, as if loath to shake up the women and the kids.

A black man had been seen walking down the street.

Pete Seeger & Friends

Someplace Other Than Northbrook

Neighbor had consulted with neighbor. Certain high-ranking municipal officials had been notified.

Uncle Vince tried to put a good spin on the incident. Perhaps the black man was in Northbrook to do some menial labor. Or maybe he was lost.

Then Uncle Vince and my father fell silent, as if in contemplation of a too-horrible alternative.

Not that my family’s Chicago neighborhood was an integrationist’s dream, mind you. One day, a couple of years earlier, while I was walking to the grocery store with my mother, a black man had passed us by, the first I’d ever seen in the flesh.

I gaped at him as he passed. Ma clunked me on the side of the head and hissed, “Don’t stare!”

Still, the man fascinated me. “Ma,” I asked once I was certain he was out of earshot, “what’s wrong with that guy?”

BB King's Hand Photo by Mike McGregor

Why?

“He’s just going to work somewhere, I guess,” she said.

“Oh.” I pondered the situation and then came to a conclusion. The man had a job that made him extremely dirty. Perhaps he dug holes somewhere nearby. Why else would his skin be black?

“Ma?”

“What?” she said, edgy, aware of the Pandora’s box lid being lifted.

“Why doesn’t he just take a bath?”

She clunked me on the side of the head again.

Only later, when I was eight, did I learn what the man’s problem was. Mr. Mitchell, our neighbor from across the alley explained it. The man, he said, was a nigger.

I went inside. “Ma,” I said, “what’s a nigger?”

She clunked me on the side of the head.

Eventually, I learned to duck when asking tough questions. I also learned that black men stayed out of places like Northbrook and Highland Park and Palatine and Glenview. It was no more likely that a black family would live in any of those places than they would on the moon.

Times change, though.

Michael Jordan lived in Highland Park when he was the toast of the town. When I was small and Ernie Banks was Chicago’s favorite black man, he had to live in the South Side neighborhood of Chatham, which was black. Progress.

Ernie Banks

Not A Good Neighbor?

Today, I learn that the rapper Chief Keef has bought a big, comfortable home in Northbrook. Chief Keef is not white Chicago’s favorite black man. His first album, “Finally Rich,” debuted a couple of weeks ago on the Interscope Records label.

The album includes the songs “No Tomorrow,” “Hate Bein’ Sober,” “Laughin’ to the Bank,” and “Ballin’.”

Chief Keef won’t be 18 years old until August yet he’s already gained a startling reputation. He’s been busted on a weapons charge and is being investigated in connection with the shooting death of rapper “Lil Jo Jo” Coleman — a homicide which Chief Keef mocked on his Twitter page. He has posted a video of himself firing a gun at a shooting range, a violation of his juvenile court probation. He has threatened critics with violence. He has also posted an Instagram video showing him getting a blow job.

Chief Keef

Northbrook’s Very Own, Chief Keef

No, Chief Keef is not Chicago favorite black man. He’s not even a man yet.

He owns a home in Northbrook, though.

He’s made a lot of money in his short life so far. Money absolves a lot of sins.

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