Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Reader's Diary #258- Oni The Haitian Sensation: Ghettostocracy (FINISHED!)

Until recently, if anyone asked me my opinion on the female artist vagina fixation, I'd have said it's been a cliche since somewhere around the mid-90s. But I was stunned to find recently that there was still a controversy over the Vagina Monologues. Point taken. I accept that there is still a need.

But please, do something wittier than George Bush jokes. We get it. The current president shares his last name with female pubic hair. How obvious and overdone. It's less offensive than comparing Obama to Osama, but no more clever. Peaches did it with her album, Impeach My Bush, naked women protesters seem to constantly holding placards reading "Bush against Bush" or some variation on the theme, and Oni gets into the fun with "Push For Peace":
Make love, not war,
and shave your Bush!
I shaved my Bush like Ghandi,
Shame on Bush, and pray for Condi?

This is not clever, original or effective.

And there are plenty more almost as lame poems throughout. "Who Gives a Flux" could have retained an ounce of respect for the initial play on words had she not milked it in almost every line for a page and a half. Who gives a flux what I think? ...Flux with me and I'll flux you up...If I got any fluxing child support payments, I'd be so fluxing glad...and so on. The "less is more" idiom should have been applied for sure. (Especially when a couple of the only good poems in the entire book are only three lines long, "Black Women's History" and "Metaphors" specifically.)

Since my last post about this book, I obviously climbed down from the fence. And while I know I'm being harsh, it's necessary. Her bursts of arrogant hip-hop swagger demand it. In "I'm a Poetic Shit Disturber" she writes "I'm a black sheep: I don't bend!/ Status quo is for average Joes" yet she herself has sunk to the status quo with bad Bush puns. If you can't back up the boast, don't bother.

At the end of "Shit Disturber" she also declares "If you don't like it, I'll kick your ass." My ass has thankfully been hauled all the way up to Iqaluit, safely out of foot's reach.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Not even having read this book (and not likely to frankly),I agree with being irritated with the whole I'm so bad I can talk about my nether regions politically thang.

People really should be forced to use the rule of three when it comes to using puns or plays on words. And if you've got to tell people how cool and bad you are, you ain't cool and bad.

I do like Peaches, though. She is much more than Impeach My Bush imo.

Fearless said...

Wow, that's some bad fucking poetry! Oh, sorry that some bad fluxing poetry! Who the fuck read this shit and went, "We need to publish this."

Oh yeah and Peaches blows goats! One trick pony that is long since played out.

John Mutford said...

Barbara, I don't really know much about Peaches. I've heard a couple of songs and that's it.

As for telling people how cool and bad you are, I think I get it from a hip hop perspective. It seems to be part of the genre, and sometimes I think it serves a purpose (though it's starting to become predictable). Oni borrows heavily from hip-hop. My problem is that she makes claims to have ill skills, and they're not even remotely sick.

Fearless, She's won a lot of slam poetry competitions and has George Eliot Clarke has her mentor. I'm not surpised that she's been published. I am however surprised that's won poetry competitions and has George Elliot Clarke as her mentor.

Allison said...

"My problem is that she makes claims to have ill skills, and they're not even remotely sick"...that might be my favourite sentence of the week.

Peaches scares me quite a bit with the too much 'tude thing, or thang, I'm just not cool enough to get away with saying that.

John Mutford said...

Thanks Allison!

I remember seeing an interview with Peaches when she first started getting recognition. She was bragging about choosing not to work with Madonna on her "Hollywood" song because it was awful in her opinion. At first I thought it was credibility. Then I heard her repeat that story in countless other interviews. She made turning down Madonna a part of her bad-ass image and it worked. I'll give her credit for business savy, but still it soured me on Peaches the person. Again though, I don't know much of her music.

Unknown said...

If you keep in mind that her work is meant to be spoken aloud, is intended to be playful and irreverent and contemporary, it might be possible to look at it with a less jaundiced eye.