Friday, April 23, 2010

Sitting On My Porch Part Forty Three : Taking It Personal

All humans have flaws and I know all of mine. That’s the only way you can try to fix them or work around them. There are two that I haven’t quite figured out how to handle. The first one is that I hold grudges. We’ll talk about that at another time. The second thing is that I have a tendency to take things too personal. What I mean is that things that I don’t have direct control over tend to affect me like I can control them. I know this has to be a flaw because too many people around me think I am crazy for letting so many things bother me like they do. I made an effort to stop doing this but I give up. That’s why I have to step away from everything and everyone now and then to process the overload of issues going on. I’ve been listening to sports radio and watching the NBA playoffs all week and barely peeked at the news. After a few days things usually calm down and I reengage. I realize that I just happen to see things from the bigger picture and beyond what’s going on at my own street address. I know that eventually all that stuff that I shouldn’t take personal eventually works itself to my door.

So yeah, when someone questions whether President Obama is a real American I take it personal because I know what they mean.

When CNN compares New Orleans to Bagdad and The Congo I take that personally because I know whose doing the crime to cause that they look like me.

When I turn on the news and see another story about the murder of black men in any city I take that personal for the same reason.

When the police shoot innocent people on a bridge I take that personal because I live in walking distance from that spot and it could have easily been me and my family.

When a sister I know tells me a story about how the father of her children is not doing what he is supposed to do I take that personal because I know what kind of life is waiting for all the neglected children and they have to grow up and live with my children and I want them all to have a better life.

When I watch a television show based on my city and I see a man who is supposed to be the symbol of the surviving culture beat the hell out of a kid for stealing his tools even though he had no way of knowing if that kid really stole them and the kid had no idea who he was to purposely disrespect him, I take that personal because I don’t just live here. These are my roots and showing that image to the world reflects poorly on me and all the men I was raised around in New Orleans who would have never done that. It made black men from New Orleans look savage and that’s personal.

When I see the city is about to spend over 100 million dollars as their share for building a new VA hospital I take it personal because I know we are about to sacrifice all of this money to tear up an entire neighborhood and most of the people employed there will be a mixture of folks who just moved here that love New Orleans way too much for some crazy reason or people that live in the suburbs that act like they hate to city for no reason at all because they can’t survive without it. I really want to be wrong about this last one but I’m not. I take things personal but I don’t know why everyone doesn’t either. It's okay though because I don't expect anyone to think like me.

Rest in Peace.......


Anita said...

This reminds me of a story. I think we are supposed to take it personally. I think that is what the parable in Matthew of the sheep and the goats means.

When the people get sorted out at the end of time and Jesus says to some, you didn't feed me when I was hungry, or give me water when I was thirsty, or help me when I was sick, or in jail and they are surprised and say when did we fail to help you and he tells them, whatever you did to the least of these, you did it to me.

That's how you're taking this stuff, Cliff, that's how all right-thinking people should be taking it.

Susanna Powers said...

Hi Cliff, I'm sure that the series Treme is meant to be taken personally. What I had told my husband is that, if it's bad we'll be upset, and if it's good we'll be upset. On the disclaimers at the beginning of Episode One, they listed Language and Brief Nudity... these things are normal and appropriate, at least on HBO. But on the second episode, when they also listed Violence, I thought, Oh No. It seems to me that they were attempting to focus on the rage, like a stage of grief. But, I think you have a good point, because the white man gets high blood pressure by screaming his anger and the white woman lawyer expresses anger by jumping up and down on her briefcase. Treme has local consultants, and they are constantly pushing for authenticity, but I have been reminded that this is fiction in a certain setting. I have enjoyed elements in the series so far, especially the visuals and the humor and the music. But try not to take that one too personally if you can, there may be redeeming points when it gets further underway. sp

Mark Folse said...

Curious if you saw my post on the Back of Town Treme blog, which linked back to you old post The Land of Misguided Soldiers, and wondered if Labreaux didn't simply reflect the reality of life in New Orleans (compounded by the pent up rage at what he came home to).

Clifton said...

I can't say that kind of thing hasn't happened in real life. I wasn't upset because I thought it was a lie. I was upset because we need to shake that image. People in Lakeview and St. Bernard came home to the same thing and they didn't have to beat down anyone.

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder said...

Thanks Man, I can't comment at Back of Town or I would've agreed with you there too.
I also get your clarification in the follow-up post.
It is becoming apparent to me amidst all of this imagery and story telling that one thing missing from the background of every scene is The Line. I'm really not interested in the Wire here.
Where's The Line?