I used to play Alexander O’Neal to my potential beaus over the phone…when I was in 8th grade. The WHOLE song. What kind of loser was I? Something resonated with me in those songs even though I had less than half a clue what they really meant (that was later). I’m just glad videos didn’t means as much back then as they do now…cause me and Alex would have never gotten on….
This was my favorite:
And this one would have taught me that cocaine was a powerful drug had I known it was something other than what everyone fought about on Miami Vice:
And then this before Cherelle became Whitney’s “companion.” I wonder if she’s still Pebbles’s cousin, now that their career dust has settled:
You office workers will understand when I type the below:
Today was like a day from the damn ER.
First, let me tell you that I live with about nine personalities. At least three of them are mine. Four of them are Yaze’s and Harlem the dog gets two. Today, I woke up with mellow Tara with the period cramps…mild though, nothing like a toddler kicking you in your tummy. Not like that. So I was good. I got up early. Walked the dog. Had coffee. Lamented on the lovely sunrise….life was nice and easy. I even thought that Mellow Yaze woke up too.
Except he got switched with Cranky Yaze in the elevator when I wasn’t looking. Cranky I Hate Working Yaze drove me to work and we sat in a silence. I was Mellow Tara which also means Oblivious Tara. Having one’s period sometimes makes you about four steps behind the flow of things, you know. But you’re okay with that. Because you’re mellow.
First bee in my bonnet: cranky boss. My boss is a nice guy. He reads. We talk about books. He’s young. He makes jokes. Except when he’s cranky. And then he’s like a fussy baby. But Mellow Tara doesn’t get along with fussy babies. Because Mellow Tara like to stay in bed, drink wine, eat cheese and flip the remote seven hundred times. And that’s all. Nothing else. Cranky Boss likes to sigh and be exasperated. And Mellow Tara ain’t having it. So Mellow Tara turns into ‘Tude Tara. Which is fine considering what’s about to happen next.
In the midst of my scheduling a very very very busy executive’s calendar with about four million people who NEED to speak to me and him at that moment, Cranky Yaze writes a blog about our morning seen through his eyes which ‘Tude Tara hates for a few reasons: 1) He IM’d me about it like he was saying, “Hey baby, I just planted a tree…go on out to the yard and check it out.” 2) Some girl done already commented that it sounds like me and him need space from each other from what he’s writing. 3) I have never ever kever wever sever tever lever liked it when somebody puts me naked on stage. Dude, this is a plublic BLOG! That means everyone can read it. If you want a diary, write it down like the old folks used to do it. I mean do we think Jimmy Baldwin would write about his love life on the internet? NO! He’d be like, “Angela, if they come for you in the morning, then they’re coming for the rest of us at night!” (If you don’t get that, google James Baldwin and read his open letter to Angela Davis–edumacation section).
It gets worse. We fight. On IM. Which is the worst place to fight. Because one of us might as well be typing Greek and the other Korean because NOBODY understands a fight over IM. I’ve been in plenty of them. All you do is curse your fingers for being too slippery/fat/fast to type what you really mean so you type like an illiterate chamber maid trying to craft out “Beloved.” At some point, I give up. Because you can’t win on IM. I’m too busy trying to point out that I’m not demon woman who wants to put a bandaid on Cranky Yaze’s mood swings and he’s too busy telling me that I’m not brutally honest enough. I mean seriously. We’d have more success if we talked about whether or not those were dynamite sticks in North Korea.
I am not sure when the tide shifted today. It could have been when this assistant in New York asked me to come to a meeting instead of my boss so we could eat all the cookies out of the conference room or it could have been when I told her that I love her like cake without calories but either way I laughed my ass off and life became good again.
Then Cranky Yaze turned into Afternoon Yaze, who’s one of my favorites, I have to say. He’s the one who’s sending me music and telling me he’s not leaving no matter what and that he knows the solution to all his problems so therefore he’s finally prepared to hustled up, make music so we can live in a mansion. Fine by me.
THEN, I go downstairs to get this really big time non famous music person for a meeting. We lement on how crazy it is the UPS literally delivered him an EMPTY damn envelope that I sent that used to contain a book we wanted him to have. He then tells me this great story about how he tried to ship some expensive rare albums by Fedex. By this time, we are at the conference room. Bosses are all around. Famous Music Person will not stop talking to me. He wants me to hear his story! He ignores bosses who shuffle around him. HA!
What is the point of this tirade?
Okay so I wrote this essay for Vanity Fair magazine and I missed the contest deadline. Good thing words don’t die.
Get A Life
By t.tara turk
I knew we’d gone some place nobody had ever been before when VH1’s new reality television slogan ran across my idiot box: “Get a life. Theirs.” In fact, I think the honesty of the marketing campaign stunned me because we now live in a world where we fully own the fact that reality is not our own. Reality now belongs to entertainment.
I’m fascinated with the idea presented in such films as “Hollywoodland” that once upon a time, reality was shielded from everyday American moviegoers by huge studio machines who either decided to act on their own sense of morality or were in fear that reality wouldn’t sell tickets. Countless scandals involving same sex affairs, different sex affairs, suicides, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, “abnormal” sexual practices and true non WASP cultural backgrounds were hidden under the big blanket of intricate cover ups. Nowadays, we can barely see a movie, tv show or magazine without the expectation that someone in the public eye is hiding something that we need to know about.
When did the shift towards reality belonging to someone else happen? When did “get real” involve someone who had no connection to ourselves? Lots of people would probably say with the invention. I wasn’t around for the birth of ancient television and its initial programming of cowboy westerns, housewife friendly game shows and young sitcom programming but I can bet that it was a hard pill to swallow for kids that the Lone Ranger wasn’t really fighting crime or that Lucy didn’t really live in the same building as Fred and Ethel. Though she really was married to Ricky. Hey, I got the confusion myself early on as a child of the mid 1970s-early 80s and being a latchkey kid. There was no way I could’ve understood that General Hospital’s Luke and Laura weren’t really going through a vicious journey towards love or even later on, when I even KNEW who Bill Cosby was, did I let myself entertain the thought that The Cosbys weren’t real. Gasp.
As an adult, only now am I getting fully my obsession with television shows like The Cosby Show. As an African American woman, there are all these statistics that tell me how difficult it is for me to find a mate, have an in-wedlock baby, live above the line of middle income social groups and not get cancer or AIDS. Why wouldn’t I want The Cosby Show to be my reality?? It makes perfect sense to want to be Claire Huxtable with her funny but committed doctor husband Cliff, her all college-bound children who aren’t on drugs/pregnant/experiencing modern racism/risk takers/angry at the world having to work to pay rent for the family…the list could go on. Who wouldn’t want that life? Dozens of ethnic groups watched shows like “The Cosby Show” because their reality was way different from the average viewer. It was as if the old fashioned Sears Wishbook had come to television. Among my age group, I can’t even begin to count how many of us were heavily influenced with the picture perfect modern family. Thus, I think, the switching of reality. Instead of being hard pressed to deal with what was in front of us, we decided to switch and ask God/Jehovah/Allah/Santa for a family like The Cosbys, The Keatons, The Seavers or even The Drummonds. Anything was better than unemployment, high taxes, crack addiction, Ritalin and gas shortages.
However, if somebody decides to pick up a reality from television and fails miserably, what happens? Drug dealing, .com busts, America’s Most Wanted, depression, dejection, college drop outs, teenage pregnancies and overall state of delirium. In order to obtain the life we saw on television, I think we all discovered that, in reality, there were some things we had to do in order to get there. It wasn’t as easy for us as it was for Alex P. Keaton to get into school, be a Republican, not be envious of our Ivy League school comrades and their brand new Freshman Year BMWs. Alex didn’t seem tempted to want so much in a short amount of time. He had time. He had parents who instilled him their two parent financial, emotional and wise support for the rest of their lives. There was no mistress, no uncle with mental issues hiding in one of the bedrooms, no job layoffs…that always happened to other people. And we were the other people.
I have a theory that our desire to transform ourselves to the ever-changing but always the same Ozzy and Harriet television family has made us a wreck. There is no way to ensure that you always have a six figure job, house, car, pool, dog, straight arrow kids. It’s an attractive picture. Hell, even former hippies have moved over to the suburb side. (You know there’s something to this theory when you find former People’s Liberation Army guerillas living in the suburbs incognito for twenty years). There is no way to make stability permanent. Many have tried. Some have even tried the illegal way. But it doesn’t ever work. The economy will always fluctuate, we will always run the risk of having politicians whose needs don’t always match our own, we as the world’s police will always be in danger of war and escaping tough reality will always be the back bone of drug addiction.
So what do we do?
Curse that television, man. We will make those folks on the so called idiot box our enemy! We will prove to ourselves that their lives aren’t so great after all. We have to make us feel better about our own imperfect life. The solution didn’t start out as reality television. It actually started out with crappy families with sarcasm instead of cookies, curmudgeon attitudes as opposed to witty parental solutions, dirty jokes instead of Cliff Huxtable or Michael Keaton meeting their daughters’ future dates. No, it got funnier when Al Bundy would call his daughter Kelly a slut. That was more like it.
But I think then dirty family television got to be too much like our own realities. Everyone knew of a mean father, a lazy mother, a bad ass son and a promiscuous daughter. Even if we fit into one of those stereotypes, it wasn’t enough because the show wasn’t real. If it’s not real, we’re just making fun of ourselves. It had to be someone/some thing way more horrible than we were. It couldn’t even be the modern hippy like fresh faces on MTV’s “Real World.” Those “kids” were too earnest in their search to mean something in the world. No, reality had to be dumber and easier to make fun of.
You can track this evolution almost with “Real World.” While sometimes you found a lesson in the haystack of chaos, beer, stereotypes and sex, most times what you saw was a group of college kids embarrassing themselves, carefully crafted in post production mind you, on national television. It caught on like wildfire, around the globe! (See popular Asian television circa early to mid 1990s if you have disbelief). From that concept, under the guise of attempting to see ourselves reflected in television programming, a plethora of embarrassing, shameful, degrading and morally ambiguous television has influenced masses. No longer do we want to be the folks on television. We want to be better than them. We aren’t how to date better, marry better, raise kids better or work better. But we sure are positive that we want to do it better than anybody on television. You want to date a hot guy? Live in a house with twenty other women who want the same thing and have to do circus tricks to vie for his attention. You want to be a rockstar? Have your first concert in front of millions on television with veteran rockers telling you really how it is. How bad is your wife? Swap her. Always wanted lipo? You have a long way to go before you deserve it as much as the fast food addict with the clef palate, cross eyes and too many teeth. Reality in modern times is a mass of people wanting to be better than the people they see on television.
No longer do kids dress like Michael Jackson because they love him. Now they dress like Paris Hilton because one day they hope to out sass and out attitude her and those who travel in her unattainable pack.
We have done better than VH1’s slogan of “Get a life. Theirs.” We have gotten the lives of those on television and reduced them to tiny granules of shame and embarrassing dance routines of the stars, or duets of those celebrities who can’t sing. If only the former studio moguls of Hollywood’s heyday had any idea that “reality” would outsell any of the apple pie images they fought so hard to promote. The only question now is what we do about it.