Following up on African-American children’s TV

Following up on my past post, I just sent this email to the contact emails of five African-American-oriented TV channels: TV One, BET, Bounce TV, Soul of the South and Aspire

To whom it may concern,

I am an African-American who is concerned that there is little programming on African-American TV channels that is dedicated to children and youth.

There are several channels on television which offer children/youth blocks of shows, both animated and live-action, and the lack of such content on African-American television channels is disappointing due to the alienation of that audience in their daily lives.

Would it be possible for your channel to feature a children/youth’s television block featuring Black lead characters? I think oncoming generations of Black TV-viewing youth will benefit and be positively impacted by such an action.

Harry Underwood
Fort Benning, GA


Mormonism/LDS is the most honest Abrahamic sect

The fact that Joseph Smith Jr., questionable as he may have been in his ethical choices, built a religion on 1) a continuing prophetic line of succession and 2) an open scriptural canon shows Mormonism and the LDS movement to be the most “honest” Abrahamic sect. 

Every other Abrahamic sect, save for the Bahai, has operated on the claim of preaching the final and closed testament of a deity and its works on Earth, as well as an extinct line of prophetic contributors to scripture. The LDS movement, on the other hand, challenged this notion in such a flagrant way that they were chased out by Christians of the then-current states of the Union in the 19th century. 

This also benefitted strongly from improvements in publishing technology in the 19th century, which allowed more mass publication of printed books and a reduction of cost. If most Abrahamic religions originated from the times when books were still hand-copied by scribes, would it really make sense to rely on such a scarcity-driven paradigm of “revelation” when books and printers were more plentiful?

The LDS refused to comply with this deliberate conceit of a “sealed revelation”, or of over-reliance upon interpretation of scriptural literature, and inaugurated a continuing expansion of scriptural literature. The implied “scarcity” of revelation was rendered moot, and the LDS movement made their “Doctrine & Covenants” more of a “Living Word” than Christians consider their Bible or Muslims consider their Qur’an. 

I say all this as an atheist. 

Video games in public libraries

I was just thinking about what else that public libraries could host as a service of information to the public. Libraries now serve books, CDs and DVDs, yet libraries still face budget cuts due to lower patronage in the Internet era.

What else can libraries offer that would be appreciated by the public?

I think video game discs and cartridges are the next big information medium that should be hosted at the library. Thankfully, just as I was starting on this post, I came across a CNN column from last year which stated the exact same thing

But rather than the good-for-funding angle that Ruben Navarrette brings up in his column, I think that hosting video games would fulfill one of any public library’s core functions in the community: providing access to information by lowering the profit motive from the equation. 

Granted, public libraries have been historically established to provide public access to knowledge, and they have done so (for all ages and levels of education). But at some point, fiction became a section of the typical library that was updated with ever more modern titles, and such titles are as entertaining as they are sources of knowledge (however trivial or vital they may be to the reader). Fiction media in the library was extended when films were donated on DVD and VHS to the typical library (for taking home or to watch in a private booth). 

So why not extend the service of fiction media access in the library even further? Video games, as engaging of the body as they are, are also (often) works of fiction. From a cinematic standpoint, video games allow the player to be visually immersed in the story being depicted (as much as they fuse cinematics and visuals with ludological participation). 

It would do for the fusion of cinematic and ludological entertainment what the earliest public libraries did for book-bound knowledge: take out the profit-making wall from the bridge between the public and the information which they seek to consume. Libraries can provide access to these works of “fiction” without the profit motive. 

Libraries don’t have to specifically focus on physical books, and neither do they need to chuck those books from the shelves. Books, eBooks, PCs, CDs, DVDs, Video game discs – they can all coexist in a venue built for the people’s sensory fulfillment. 

Let’s have more video games and video gaming rooms in public libraries. 

SADC and thoughts of a Bantu Republic

The Southern African Development Community looks like the perfect root for an African superstate.

Linguistically, the states of SADC (and most of the states of Central Africa and the Great Lakes region) are largely populated by speakers of Bantu languages, including KiSwahili, isiZulu, chiShona and kiKongo. This common linguistic heritage, spread out over such a vast geography and its natural resources, could reasonably lend itself to a state which governs over a third of the continent.

BantuRepNoBordersPolitically, a Bantu superstate would be the most visible representative of the African continent to the international community. It would also reduce the visibility of internal ethnic rivalries and any specific exploitable natural resource (such as oil, minerals, etc.).

Finally, it would be the best way for an African state to ably exit all of the many post-colonial federations such as the Commonwealth and La Francophonie, while using the government and diplomatic apparatus to highlight and export a more uniform amalgam of Bantu culture and language to the world, especially to the African diaspora in the Americas.

Let’s call it the Bantu Republic, or Azania.


Bad Azz Mofo: The Invisible World of Black Comic Creators

The Invisible World of Black Comic Creators