The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Friday, March 03, 2006

I'll Tell You Where You Can Put Your Love

Being a journalost can lead you to being in some strange situations. Accordingly, in my mere three years trying to earn a living by writing, I've found myself in some of the most abnormal and ununsual situations imaginable, ones that will inevitably fill up an unbelievable novel one day. In general, I don't discuss them on the blog because it prolly isn't appropriate to discuss my assignments (I'm sure my editors would be none too pleased and if by chance one of them reads this I love you all) and also because I don't want to ruin the weirdness that will inevitably ensue when I put these irregular experiences down on paper.

But occasionally while on assignment, I come across something too surreal for me to not be able to share it with the few readers that still tune into my rants. So the other night, I'm covering a charity event at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. , the unbelievably gorgeous and hopelessly opulent hotel forever embedded in the public's memory as "the hotel from Pretty Woman."

The event was for some cancer charity, which one I'm unsure, to be honest all the charity events that I go to blur together. There's nothing that these rich folk like more than paying $5,000 a table to go to a charity event and hobnob with "celebrities" while simultaneously assuaging their white liberal guilt. Everyone wins! This event in particular was particularly star-heavy, featuring speeches from Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, congratulating Melissa Etheridge on her bravery (I think the event was in her honor).

It even had a "comic" monologue from Ellen DeGeneres. I hesitate to use the word comic when discussing DeGeneres because I'm pretty sure that she's never made me as much as crack a smile. Needless to say, her routine included such hilarious topics as "granite, parrots and pirates." The woman makes jokes for lobotimized and overweight women in Des Moines, Iowa who think it's edgy that they're watching "lesbian comedy." Nuff said.

So picture the scene. This Black tie event, the most casually dressed attendee wearing an Armani suit. Not a person of color in the place. All elderly white men and their younger silicone plaything third wives OR their first wives who have taken on the typical Jewish middle aged woman look: i.e. they look like a sack filled with potatoes.

All of us are dining on filet mignon and unlimited wine and liquour and chocolate souffles made by Spago. I'm relatively certain that I wasn't even supposed to be eating at the event, but fuck if I was going to let all that good food go to waste. Seriously, when you don't work full time, you'll take free food where you find it, particularly gourmet free food. So there I am feeling terrifically uncomfortable, talking to two other journalists who surprisingly weren't abject swine (not to demean journalists, it's just that it's Los Angeles and I'm generally wary as to why anyone would want to be here if they didn't HAVE to be).

Then it happens.

"Ladies and gentleman...we now present your entertainment for the evening...the Black Eyed Peas."

Oh no, I think to myself, this CAN'T be happening. But it is and suddenly, a thunderous roar of applause emerges from this elderly crowd who I'm pretty sure have no idea who the Black Eyed Peas are. Now I'm sure one can infer my opinion on the Black Eyed Peas without me having to say so, but if you're interested check out this post I did a while back. Needless, to say, I'm not a fan.

Predictably, they got things started with, well, who woulda thought? "Let's Get it Started." The four Peas ran onstage like a Benetton Ad gone terribly terribly wrong and started rapping to the crowd. But at first, the reception was a bit staid. The old white people didn't know what to do, save for about 30 or so young men and women who rushed the stage. The dancing men looked like they list date raping as a hobby, real Patrick Bateman "American Psycho" types with slicked back hair and a lust for "accidental" breast grabs. The women were a tribe of blonde banshees with glazed eyes and ambitions to be "the bestest publicist in all the land." But as for the rapacious robber barons in the expensive seats, they were playing it cool.

For the next thirty minutes, the Peas waged an all-out assault on my ear drums, terrorizing me with their hysterical shrieks of toxic bubblegum rap. I can't even believe that people can write lyrics that bad. I don't even think I could if I tried. At one point, Fergie started interpolating "Sweet Child O' Mine," into a song, doing Axl's solo. Because clearly, nothing says rock n roll more than a chick who pisses in her pants and goes by the name "Fergie." Nothing. And as for that Taboo character in the group. I'm not sure what he does. He might've rapped about 10 words all night, most of the time just doing dance moves that could prolly only be best decribed as "doing the Humpty."

In between songs, Will I. Am., the leader/Kool-Aid distributor of the group started delivering messages to the crowd about cancer and the state of the LAUSD. At one point he told them, "we need to do something about these high schools. Because the children are our future and without
them we won't have any more doctors and scientists and then we can't cure cancer." To which the crowd responded with an emphatic "Awww.." and every rich white man whispering to his bejeweled wife and prolly said something condescending like "that young African-American lad is right, by jove, he's right."

But then it started to happen. Slowly but surely, the crowd started to come alive. One by one, people started getting out of their seats and dancing. And when I say dancing, I mean doing a body heave set to a drum beat. These phonies were loving it. By the time the concluding song, "Where is the Love" came on, you would've thought that you were at Soul Train. If the people on Soul Train were all white, elderly and somehow even had less rhythym than Don Cornelius

It was horrifying. I saw one presumably 63 year old bespectacled Jewish man get behind his wife who was built like a wheelbarrow and start grinding against her. All across this swank Art Deco ballroom, people in tuxedos started flailing spastically off beat to these musical charlatans. It was truly appalling. At that moment, I just wasn't ashamed to be white, I wasn't just ashamed to be Jewish, I was ashamed to be human.

I slowly retreated out of the door, holding my head down, shaking it uncontrollably at the idiocy of our nation, of the lack of talent that rappers are seemingly allow to coast on, on the record industry for allowing glorified minstrel shows like the Black Eyed Peas to sell millions of records at the price of their own integrity, and I slowly walked out of the doors of the hotel, only to enter my car, turn on the radio, to hear, what else, "My Humps." But inside my head, there was only one song title that continued to waft through my consciousness, a kind little tune by a great rapper named the Notorious BIG, it's title: "Somebody's Got to Die." Because for this abomination somebody's got to die. Seriously. I don't care who, but somebody needs to be held accountable, damnit. If anyone needs my help in meting out punishments to the guilty parties, I will be available, just look for the whiskey-besotted 24-year old with wild hair screaming "Why!! Why!! down Sunset Blvd.


At 4:44 AM, Blogger Nate said...

So presumably Eli the Barrow Boy is about that 63 year old bespectacled Jewish man getting behind his wife and grinding her like a wheel barrow. It all makes sense now. Damn that Colin Meloy is profound. And stop frontin. Although I am not a fan of the Peas either, I know you, as well as other peeps (including myself), bumped joints and jams from the Bullworth soundtrack.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

I will only confess bumping Ghetto Superstar. That Pras...never saw that guy's solo career not taking wait everyone saw that happening.

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Sam Dalembert is the Pras of the NBA. They both are Haitian and both are overpaid underachievers.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Ian said...

"You comin' so wack, you sound like the Bulworth soundtrack."

- Kool Keith, "Lost In Space"

Which is not to say either of you are wack. I just like that lyric. And no one can deny bumping "Ghetto Superstar," or at least having it completely own every high school graduation party you went to in 1998.

At 4:55 PM, Anonymous a lee said...

i recently cancelled a date with a really cute, well dressed and successful guy because i overheard him listening to the Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get Retarded" on his headphones at the gym... Then again, i also refused to date a pro athlete because he preferred American Idol to the ingenious Arrested Developement, which he said he "didn't really get."
(These poor guys are probably still wondering what went wrong...)

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

But what if he'd been playing "Where is the Love." It would've shown him for the sensitive soul that he was.


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