8:14 (95)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2018 by darryl zero

I’m sitting in silence for no reason other than I have neglected to put anything on to listen, and thus, the only thing in my head is Meshell Ndgeocello’s cover of Ralph Tresvant’s “Sensitivity.”

I went back through previous 8:14s to get worked up for this, because the format is actually really fun and neat and I hate myself for not sticking to it as much as I ought to have.  It’s fun to do this–the time is so odd and (if you don’t know me) arbitrary, and remembering that I thought of this the year I turned 30 (and expected to write one of these every day, and the fact that after damn near eight years, I haven’t broken 100) makes me laugh.

My lack of follow-through will kill me in the end.

I’m here now because I am sad, I am tired of carrying weight and being saddled with others who are incapable of doing so.  Maybe that’s a rude statement; I’m able-bodied and able-minded and, while I’m not a young man anymore by any stretch of the imagination, I am able to carry myself  with enough energy to delude people into thinking I am one, so maybe it’s impolite to wish everyone else would just carry themselves for a while.

I’m tired of carrying the weight of people not caring or appreciating the work that goes into doing what I do, which isn’t really that much of a thing (again: able-bodied, etc.), but nonetheless somehow seems to be more than what others are capable of doing without aggressively blaming others for their lives not turning out the way they want them to be.  Being a dad, being a strict parent, being a supervisor, being a caretaker, being Black, being a Black man, being the Black son of a white parent, being the Black parent of a white-passing Black son, being the Black parent of a non-white-passing son, living around white people, living with white people, working with Black people, navigating Blackness, working with strippers, working in the strip-club industry, working in bars, keeping dancers safe, keeping customers safe, keeping my day job clients safe, keeping my day job colleagues safe, keeping my friends safe, keeping my kids safe, keeping my wife safe.

Keeping myself safe.

All of this is a load I chose to carry, and it’s heavy, and I’m okay with it.  But it’s heavy, and difficult, and I’m sick of people ignoring that weight and trying to add to it because they’re angry about the weight they have to carry.

Time’s up.


#realtalk : #metoo and White male discomfort

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13, 2018 by darryl zero

#UnpopularOpinion :
Henry Cavill is totally right in feeling uncomfortable dating post-#MeToo.

I find it funny that it’s such an objectionable position to want so badly not to be accused of impropriety that you just don’t try to date anybody.

Ladies–what did you think would happen? If a standard of justice catches and punishes even those unwittingly guilty, can you blame anyone for not wanting to even so much as be perceived as trying to victimize anyone, especially someone in a position of power consciously trying to avoid being perceived as exploiting that power?

I hate the “if you don’t want to be perceived as a rapist, don’t rape anyone” narrative–as any Black man will tell you, it’s pretty easy to be perceived as “predatory” regardless of how you conduct yourself. I get that it’s hard to get your head around the notion of white cis men needing to chiggedy-chiggedy, but that’s not a bad thing.

We want rich white dudes to be afraid to even be perceived as doing something nonconsensual. If you’re really all about “time’s up,” this is what that looks like. And they’re going to complain, because they’re used to doing whatever the fuck they want. Let them be uncomfortable. Change is.

Just don’t be disingenuous and suggest that it’s somehow not the drastic paradigm shift you were looking for.

8:14 (96)

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2018 by darryl zero

I used to feel something on the 4th of July, some kind of resonance other than the fact that my maternal grandfather and two of my friends have birthdays today.  When I was younger, I actually felt something about being “an American,” something that not even carrying the genetic memory of centuries of oppression nor the education I grew up with could completely shake.  I couldn’t necessarily explain it at the time other than in the platitudes I often grew up with.

It was not unlike how I grew up with religion; in retrospect, I understand that’s precisely what it was.  Patriotism, nationalism, whatever you want to call it–it’s all religion, with the whitewashed history of the place you were fortunate enough to be born as the scripture and the deity being the pride at not being someone or somewhere else.  Regardless of who I was and what I knew, I still clung to that, maybe because it was something to keep me from being too angry or too cynical.

Who am I kidding?  It was a childish thing, something that took a little longer for me to put away than anything else.

Nationalism now rings completely hollow, the celebrations and rituals increasingly desperate and devoid of meaning other than as opiates to make us feel useful or special, love of country little more than invocations articulating an increasingly-desperate need to cover up the fact that everything we have, everything we are is a celebration of our selfishness and myopia, and even the excuses of “I’m not celebrating my country; I’m just celebrating the chance to stay with my family” or some such are just exhausting sidesteps.

[time’s up, but I’m going to continue:]

The pastiche culture of the United States is forever attached to the lecherous and exploitative colonial nature of the dominant social paradigm, and because of that it will never truly have any value other than “this is what we stole.”  Its moral bankruptcy found its apotheosis in the past twenty years, in which people who had the information and inclination to examine, expose, and repudiate it instead stuck their heads in the sand and retreated into memories of a time in which its excesses and glory came without the immediate reminder of their costs.

I’m neither here for it, nor do I have any interest in humoring it.

Darryl Zero’s Albums of the Year List – 2016

Posted in Uncategorized on March 27, 2018 by darryl zero

I never finished this.  I gotta get the 2017 list started, though, so here ya go with an unfinished post.
So…2016 was actually a really good year for music.  I can’t lie; I was pretty content with a lot of stuff.  Don’t even have a ton of stuff to say other than that, really.  I’m still kinda sad about the state of hip-hop, pop or otherwise, and black metal is still kinda annoyingly ubiquitous, but there’s a lot of great stuff out there.


Vomitface – Hooray For Me * (This would have been higher, but the band’s Twitter account became a really stupid, insulting Hillary Clinton shill feed after the election.  Bad politics get you kinda bumped.)

10) Oddisee – The Odd Tape

9) The Mercury Program – New Myths

8) Oddisee – Alwasta

7) Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas – Mariner

6) Emma Ruth Rundle – Marked For Death

5) Zeal & Ardor – Devil Is Fine

4) Vodun – Possession

English bands are notorious for fusing other forms of music seamlessly into pop punk or metal; from Black Sabbath, Bow Wow Wow and The Clash to the Noisettes and that unnamed Damon Albarn/Simon Tong/Tony Allen/Paul Simonon thing, Afro-Pop, soul, and blues have always been fair game for Britons to adapt and use to their advantage.  Vodun goes one step further by examining the iconography and culture of the West African religion from which their name comes and cramming it into a busy tapestry with psychedelic heavy rock and R&B.

3) Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us

Unsubtle, brutal, and demolishing, Nails is a far more interesting band than their pretty straightforward approach would suggest.  This might be the apotheosis of HM-2 worship (apologies to Iron Reagan), to be honest. Not a lot to say; this speaks for itself, and I love it.

2) Helms Alee – Stillicide

I think the most telling part of Helms Alee’s fourth full-length is that its first track, the heavy-footed intro “More Weight,” directly reprises the last track on their first full-length (“Wild Notes,” off of 2008’s glorious revelation Night Terror).  That album’s careening, teetering-on-the-edge of control sound informs this one more than the band’s previous two, more ambitiously diverse releases.  That aside, the band’s formula is still the same–deceptively challenging arrangements, dynamic shifts and the interplay between all three members’ distinctly different voices.

1) Sumac – What One Becomes

Yep.  Better than Helms Alee’s best album in years.  I don’t know how else to explain it.  The Russian Circles/Isis/Baptists supergroup is easily the best thing ex-Isis frontman Aaron Turner has touched in years (which, considering how prolific he has been since Isis went defunct, is saying something).  Taking the ponderousness abstractness of Khanate and cramming it into the ferocity of early (think Red Sea) Isis with the virtuosity of PacNW post-hardcore and letting it all fight out was the best idea anyone ever came up with; Kurt Ballou’s mix allows all three musicians to operate in space.  Turner sounds as monstrous as he’s ever sounded here, and his and Brian Cook’s Electrical Guitar Company axes crush.

no; I’m in control.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 9, 2018 by darryl zero

I want so desperately to be understanding and logical when it comes to things.

#Realtalk 1: The Affordable Care Act

Posted in Uncategorized on January 16, 2017 by darryl zero
I’ve decided that #Realtalk is going to be what I call unpopular opinions I have.
I’m not a fan of the Affordable Care Act, which apparently is something you’re not supposed to say because that makes you a conservative or whatever.
But I’m not, and I’m really over people trying to say stupid stuff like “you just don’t care about other people” when I say I’m not a fan of it. I’m over this hard-on the nominal left has over Barack Obama and his presidency–completely overlooking the substance of his policies and who they ultimately benefit in favor of “SEE?!?!! WE HAD A BLACK PRESIDENT WE WERE MAKING CHANGES.”
Because I’m pretty much going to have to deal with this bullshit for the rest of my life, I’m just going to put this here.
I’ve said, repeatedly, that the Affordable Care Act accomplished some nice things in the short-term: that more people are insured now than ever before, and that insurance companies can’t use preexisting conditions to not cover people.  That was cool in 2011, when the Marketplaces opened up and people who had to buy insurance rushed to find it, because insurers wanted a piece of that money and kept their prices manageably low.  However, the fact that the ACA is basically just a Republican wet dream made reality by a Democrat president made me constantly aware of it, and why it’s not a particularly good idea in the long run.
The mandate itself is the worst part, because all it mandates is that Americans be able to purchase health insurance.  That’s it.  It mandates that insurers not use pre-existing conditions as a means to deny people health insurance; it doesn’t, however, mandate that insurers offer everyone affordable insurance, nor does it mandate that health care providers accept that insurance.  The fact that premiums for Marketplace plans are rising makes the one saving grace of the plan–the fact that more people are insured now because of it–something of a hollow victory.  But, then, hollow victories are kind of the Democrats’ stock-in-trade.
Am I concerned that the Act is about to be repealed, with no clear replacement in sight coming from our new Republican overlords?  Sure, but I’m not especially heartbroken about it.  The nominal left and Democrats should have seen it coming, frankly; they couldn’t maintain a Congressional majority with arguably the most popular President in history, and spent virtually no time trying to make the Affordable Care Act something that would do much more than make insurance companies rich.  If the Democrats had, for instance, left the public option in, they’d have basically made a repeal-proof piece of legislation; there is literally no way the GOP could have denied people health care and torpedo so many government jobs without losing the White House for the rest of our natural lives.  But, with the way the law is presently written, the GOP can spin a repeal to make them look like heroes.  Fortunately(?), they seem more interested in just repealing it, which would hurt them if the Democrats weren’t so interested in blaming Russia for everything these days.  Shit, they might even blame Russia for this.
But the bottom line is that, despite the terrible things that can and will likely happen if/when the ACA goes away, I’m not heartbroken about it.  I’ve got a grim outlook on things in general.
“How can you be so callous?”  I hear from the nominal left.  To that, I say again: where were they when people that look like me run the risk of dying in random traffic stops?  Where is their liberal outrage when that was on the line?
Funny, how triage seems so cruel when you’re on the other side of it.

Ode on a Prospect of Botched Election

Posted in politics, race on November 12, 2016 by darryl zero

I haven’t been this entertained being wrong since Guardians of the Galaxy turned out to be Marvel’s best film.
I probably seem mean or dismissive when I talk about the election. I know a lot of people are legitimately afraid of the aftermath of Drumpf’s ascent to the Oval Office. I am too, but, unlike a lot of you, I had reason to be afraid based on the strength of his candidacy alone, and just as much to be afraid of even if Clinton had been elected.

Violent racists and white supremacists are a threat to my very life in places where they feel emboldened. Now, thanks in large part to a Clinton campaign that helped lift Trump to the GOP nomination, those scumbags feel emboldened just about everywhere.

It’s a nice feeling, knowing my already-endangered life was further threatened as part of a campaign strategy, especially the campaign of a woman who had already placed a low value on my life in the first place. Some of my fellow people-of-color were able to overlook Clinton’s extremely callous disregard for our well-being, but a fair enough amount of us, myself included, were not.

The smugness of Hillary Clinton supporters, from the OGs relentlessly condescending to Sanders’ impressive group of followers to the shrugging line-followers who fell into place like good little mice to the reticent holdouts that claimed to be holding their nose in anticipation of a time more conducive to actually having the fucking balls to stand on unpopular-yet-right principles, did Clinton absolutely no favors. Sanders supporters were told, essentially, to shut up and do what they were told, that the “people” spoke (despite all the evidence of blatant election fraud), and their needs were simply not the will of the electorate, but that it was subsequently their duty to get behind the candidate who pretty clearly embodied the very institutions they were attempting, through Sanders, to topple. Third-party voters, progressives in particular, were greeted with outright derision if not blatant intimidation, constant invocations of the 2000 election–an election, like this one, tipped more by the outright rejection of a pro-business, center-right, career politician trying to ride the goodwill of the Clinton Administration with an overt conservative as a running mate than any other factor–were often paired with aggressive, superficial-if-not-outright-false takedowns of candidates the inescapably disaffected would inevitably turn to. This, paired with a lazy campaign whose sole defining stance was, at its core, equal parts condescension and threat–I’m not THAT guy. Do you really want him? Look at who’s voting for him. Come on; children are watching–essentially told millions of potential voters that their values, supposedly the lifeblood of American society, were less important than Clinton’s belief that she should be President.

Is it really any surprise, then, that more people elected to stay home than play a game that they’d lose regardless?

Apparently it was to Clinton followers, who frantically began to scramble to find anyone else to blame for what was arguably the most embarrassing defeat since John McCain’s inability to beat a Black guy with the middle name “Hussein” (something with which Clinton herself was intimately familiar). The Stein finger-pointing immediately fell flat as the Green Party barely mustered 1% of the popular vote; even more desperate was the screaming at Libertarians, who were spared all but cursory hit takes by Democrats in the campaign because they were more likely to steal votes from Trump. And they did; Johnson managed to pick up 3% of the popular vote, to no avail to the Dems, who suddenly decided they were even somehow entitled to votes cast for a man who considered himself too fiscally conservative for the Republican party.

The comedy wrote itself. The DNC spent inordinate amounts of time and money to orchestrate Bernie Sanders’ defeat and elevate a man as unqualified and unlikable as he was likely unwilling to be President as the opposition to their preferred candidate, used the awfulness of that opponent to keep progressives, young people and minority groups from voting for candidates that actually spoke to their interests, and propped up a candidate who could only spoil the opponent. With a pathway that clear, you can understand how someone like me would assume the fix was in; nobody as unpopular as Clinton could so obviously manipulate things in her favor unless she was merely guaranteeing no one would challenge her mandate, right? I mean, would she have so completely and utterly spat in the face of nearly half her base if the outcome hadn’t already been decided? Would one of the country’s most intelligent political minds actually try to take on racism, sexism, and anti-establishment sentiment in a straight-up fight?

[I’m on my phone and driving right now, so I can’t format it the way I’d prefer, but if I were at a keyboard, you’d see a collage of stuff like LeBron James or Chicago Cubs fans holding 3-1 signs or Casey At The Bat depictions. I’ll have you use your imaginations.]

As much as I want to be the better man, as incumbent as it is on me to be kind and gracious in a shared defeat, I…just fucking can’t. All of the self-righteous, haughty, moral-imperative-izing Hillary Clinton supporters, belly-up and vulnerable, legitimately destroyed by the one thing this cycle they couldn’t justify or rationalize or philosophocally assail, left to squirm and grasp at solutions like the Electoral College, and the ruthless zeal with which they belittled, attacked, and otherwise attempted to discredit anyone who dared believe in anyone other than their chosen candidate, self-righteousness spent in a broken heap on the floor…I gazed upon then in their agony and terror and I just fucking laughed. 

The Clinton voters had wasted their votes on someone who wouldn’t win.

The Clinton voters had stupidly chased a fruitless dream; if they’d only used their votes on a Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, they’d have been able to help get matching funds for both of the most prominent third parties.

The Clinton voters had backed a candidate whose agenda had been thoroughly repudiated.

The Clinton voters had shit-talked all of their opponents’ voters, relying upon a campaign of “America is better than that, “ only discover America didn’t think they were better than the alternative.

The schadenfreude warmed my soul enough to forget, albeit temporarily, the weight of what it all meant.

Astride the utter delight at watching white liberals fail miserably trying to capitalize on shaming people into act against their own self-interests for the greater glory of someone neither great nor glorious, however, was an exhausting dismay that makes me sag in the saddle like the old man I am. Being a dad does it; I am unafraid to explain to my sons what happened, but the knowledge of what they face five, ten, twenty years from now has me on that Thomas Gray ish:

Ambition this shall tempt to rise,

         Then whirl the wretch from high, 

To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,

         And grinning Infamy.

The stings of Falsehood those shall try,

And hard Unkindness’ alter’d eye,

         That mocks the tear it forc’d to flow;

And keen Remorse with blood defil’d,

And moody Madness laughing wild

         Amid severest woe.

The road ahead is, to be nigh-delusionally gracious, grim. The battles to be fought may, in fact, have to be fought by me and people like me. When the amusement fades, I remain, as ever, a target, and to be honest, while I have to be sure my sons will have a better world, I don’t have a ton of hope.

But a man without hope is a man without fear. So that’s a start.