Diggin’ Through the Crates: Talib Kweli “Distractions”

Song: “Distractions”

Artist: Talib Kweli

AlbumPrisoners of Conscious (2013) 

Lyric: “How you keeping up with my rapping?/ You barely keeping up with Kardashians/You caught up in distraction/It’s the living proof-you try to make the truth elastic as Mr. Fantastic.”

Character Reference/Meaning:

What? What was that DTCers? You ready for another dope ass lyric that drops truth bombs and creates nerdy fallout? We got that! Our main man on the mic this week, Talib Kweli, is bringing it to your front door. If you are looking for some socially conscious rap that not only brings a message but an incredible rhyme scheme with it, then you not need look any further. In this 2013 hit, Talib Kwali dropped this song as a commentary on the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. What he is saying in this song is, “Who the hell is paying attention?” There are social issues happening all around us and none of them are going to change by sitting around waiting for the next big gossip. Who is sleeping with who? Who badmouthed which other idiot today? That is why when people stand up and take charge of their own lives, it is viewed as something special. Talib Kweli once said, “Anytime people are willing to take their future into their own hands and attempt something, I think it’s brave.” DARN TOOTIN’ IT’S BRAVE!! But the problem is, so many of us are still distracted, and Kweli notices it all. We may be willing to protest on our street corner for something local, but it seems that no one takes action for causes like the events in Darfur, or are even aware of the Arab Spring movement (Google it).

In this song alone, he tackles such subjects and even points out the flawed history and thinking of this country. From the very beginning with the treatment of Native American’s, we still have missiles (like kill people missiles. Like BOOM missiles) that are named “Tomahawks.” And then we dress up our mascots and name our sports teams after their culture for entertainment. Who’s paying attention and who’s distracted? He even touches on what I perceive to be politics in our chosen lyric of today. Now before I go on and say some possibly hurtful stuff about the Kardashians, congratulations to Kim and Kanye on their wedding. I didn’t get my invite but I’ll let that slide for now. One of the biggest phenomena of the past couple years has been societies infatuation with the Kardashian family. Now I can’t say much about it because I have never seen an episode, but it has consumed many lives and many attention spans. What some may classify as empty media or nonsense television has gained a bigger interest and a larger following than political failings, religious wars, and natural disaster relief efforts. And all the while politicians are out there spitting game at us and very few people check the facts. That is why so many of them can say elastic truths and make them stretch to fit who ever they have their eyes on next.

I know, I sound like I’m preaching and saying, “Yeah I’m good, I know whats up. While everybody else wondering what Ryan Gosling is thinking about, I’m about to go save some third world children.” That’s not the case; I am part of the masses too, but I want to be brave, I want to pay attention, I don’t want to be distracted by shiny objects and blush worthy gossip. Talib Kweli just wants us all to open our minds and see past the bullshit. Even at times when we think we are paying attention, it was just a fake out and we once again are distracted by something that doesn’t matter. Kweli says this perfectly when talking about President Obama addressing his whole “flag pin” issue back in 2008 (Google it). But the president responded by saying, “I have never said that I don’t wear flag pins or refuse to wear flag pins…This is the kind of manufactured issues that our politics has become obsessed with and, once again, distracts us from what should be my job when I’m commander-in-chief…” OH SNAP!! That’s exactly the point. We can so easily get caught up in things that don’t matter. Things that one way or another truly have no effect over our lives or anybodies lives. And the things we should be paying attention to slip right by us because we are distracted.

Alright, that was all pretty heavy. Let’s calm down and pay attention to some nerdy stuff briefly before I end this. Nerdy stuff like the Fantastic Four! In case you all haven’t heard, the Fantastic Four franchise will be getting a reboot that has been defined as “grounded, real, gritty.” According to Kinberg, this film has the same feelings as Batman, Iron Man, X-Men, and more. It will not be goofy like the first films, rather this will be a true drama sprinkled with bit of humor that come from character. Also we will officially be having an African-American Human Torch! I can hear all the critics heads exploding now. However I am very excited by this news especially because Michael B. Jordan will FLAME ON!!! “STRING, WHERE’S WALLACE? WHERE’S WALLACE STRING?” (Google it). Well Wallace is in the Marvel Universe doing badass things with badass powers. And for all you haters, know that Stan Lee is on board with the idea, Kinberg also said, “We knew casting an African-American Human Torch would be news, but I can tell you it’s something that Stan Lee loves, and I can tell you that having been on set and seeing Michael bring him to life, he’s really spectacular.” I don’t know how the story will change due to this, but I love the idea and I cannot wait. If you want more information on Michael B. Jordan being the Human Torch, Google it. If you want more information on Talib Kweli visit his website at http://www.talibkweli.com. So in closing, pay attentions, don’t get distracted so often, and FLAME ON!!!

SDCC Journal Day One by Adrian

So this is my first official post. I have been apart of Hush Comics since the beginning, but this is my first piece of writing I have contributed. And really, what a better way to start than writing about the ultimate nerdy thing: Comic-Con

Last year, about a week before Comic-Con started, I found out Sarah Michelle Gellar was going to be there. That’s right, Buffy Anne Summers herself; like in real life. I didn’t care that she wasn’t there representing Buffy. Rather, she was there talking about her show Ringer, which as it turned out, didn’t work too well for her because everyone knows she will always be Buffy, which is alright with me. Anyway, I scouted the Internet for tickets. I found a guy in San Diego who was selling them for a great price. But because we live in Denver, we couldn’t get him the money until the day Comic-Con started and apparently he had a problem with this because he sold the tickets to someone else. I have said for quite some time that if I ever met Sarah Michelle Gellar and Joss Whedon, I would be alright with dying because really, life can’t get much better after that. Well, thanks to the Craigslist asshat, I’ll have to postpone my death. But fear not! Sherif was determined for us to go this year.

He spent all morning online back in March to secure us our 4-day passes. Apparently, it was very confusing as to whether we actually got the passes. Sherif went on the message boards to ask how people knew they had gotten a pass. Someone responded to “Face it, you’re not going”. Sherif had a few choice words for him. But, we had indeed gotten the passes. Whilst in San Diego, we discussed taking a picture of Sherif standing outside of the Convention Center holding a sign that said, “I’m here, motherfucker” and e-mailing it to that guy. We decided against it.

The two days prior to is leaving for San Diego, I worked two 12 hour shifts in a row. Needless to say, Tuesday night, I was exhausted. Basically, this means I didn’t pack for the trip until early Wednesday morning. The benefit of being a super procrastinator is that I really didn’t pack anything I didn’t need. Otherwise, I could have ended up like this:

I packed just a few nerd t-shirts, some shorts and one pair of jeans. I wound up wearing those same jeans all 5 days because the Convention Center is fairly chilly. On the first day, I was wearing flip-flops (bad choice), jeans and a red-striped t-shirt. This made me stick out because I looked like I did not belong in the sea of nerds. Don’t worry: pictures are to come.

When we arrived in San Diego, we didn’t really know how we were going to get to our hotel, The Town and Country Resort. Little did we know that this city is prepared for Comic-Con. Super shuttles, busses and taxis are a plenty, and it was a quick trip from the airport to the hotel. We went to check in, and luckily, they were allowing check-in early that day, again because they are really prepared for the overwhelming amount of people who are coming in for the convention. At the check-in desk, the clerk told us that we could check-in for Comic-Con at the hotel as well. We were confused by this because every online source we had read said that registration for the convention was at the San Diego Convention Center. We inquired the clerk about it and he told us that all registration for Comic-Con was held at this hotel because this particular hotel used to hold Comic-Con when it first started in San Diego. I since have researched this, using the ever-trusty Wikipedia, and have found that the convention was never held there. But, what we found out that day was that registration for SDCC was at various locations, and our hotel was one of the many locations to register. We went to pick up our badges. After receiving them, we were directed to a room where a lot of people were waving lanyards, guide books and finally, the swag bags in our faces. We grabbed them all and were on our way to the line for the bus to take us to the actual Con.

Our fresh badges. Taken with Instagram.

Now these swag bags we received are huge. At my 5’6 stature, if I was wearing my bag on my shoulder, the bottom of the bag would hit the floor. I could fit in the bag and be pretty comfy. These things are built for the ultimate shopping spree. And this shopping spree would turn out to be much better than any I had ever dreamed of. The ones we received were the DC Nation bags. We were pretty excited because other people got Supernatural bags, and not knocking that show, but DC Nation was a better bag to get. Upon arriving downtown, we grabbed some grub and walked the bridge to get to the Convention Center. There were so many people, it was really unbelievable. I have never been in such a large crowd of people, and I’ve been to Manhattan, so that is really saying something. We navigated our way in to the Convention Center. The word huge cannot really describe how big this place is. Ginormous might work, but I still feel it falls short. Everyone was herded (I use the term herded because often times you are forced to be a sheep in crowd of sheep) upstairs to lead everyone away from the Exhibit Hall, which was closed until later in the evening. As we were walking down a long corridor, a fellow nerd approached us and asked if we could trade bags. He had a Supernatural bag. Because we had two of the same bag, he figured one of us could part. Sherif was kind and did. This long-haired man seemed very unassuming, but I caught on to him after I figured out the game. There were more than just DC Nation and Supernatural bags. There were Hobbit bags. There were Arrow, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, The Big Bang Theory, Fringe, and Man of Steel. But none compared to what Sherif wanted the most. It was the bag being handed out if you registered for your badge at the actual Convention Center. You guessed it: The Dark Knight Rises swag bag. After walking around the Con, we knew we had to get that bag. We realized that these bags were status symbols. The Vampire Diaries bag was the worst one to get. The best three were Man of Steel, The Hobbit and, well duh, The Dark Knight Rises. But there was no way we could trade up to that bag with a Supernatural bag. Not only that, but we were both especially shy to walk up to random strangers and ask for a trade. But thats when two random strangers walked up to us and started up a conversation. There names were Mark and John, ahem Sherif. They were there representing a comic shop in North Carolina. These two guys were so excited for the next 5 days; it was so nice to talk to them. They walked around and asked everyone in the vicinity with a TDKR bag to trade with Sherif because it was what he really wanted. In the mean time, people were constantly asking to trade with me. And then I realized the game is to ask people to trade if they look like they don’t belong. Well with my above mentioned outfit, I looked like I did not belong to this crowd, but indeed, I did. “Hell, no.” I would say to people who asked for my bag. At the same time that John, Sherif and I found a man with TDKR bag, Mark went to ask the main desk handing out the bags for a trade. The man we found accepted a trade, but only for my bag. Because I love Sherif so much, I was willing to wear a “low-class” bag so he could have his beloved Batman swag bag. Mark found out the main desk would only trade if the bag was broken. So, I took that Supernatural bag, ripped off the handle, and a minute later, I too was outfitted with the Batman bag. And then we were the coolest of the cool in the Mecca of nerds.

Sherif and I decided to walk up to the Gaslamp district and put in a reservation at The Old Spaghetti Factory. While waiting for a table, we walked around. Sherif decided that his bag was so big, it really could be a cape. And with that, he ran around the streets of San Diego like this:

Sherif AKA The Dark Knight takes over San Diego, CA. Boy, that cape can flap in the wind!

Here is an interesting point of fact: I didn’t know that the first day was preview night.  How could I not know this?  I don’t really know.  I thought preview night was just a showing of new shows to premiere in the fall, which I didn’t have too much interest in.  I did not know the Exhibit Hall opened that night and that vendors were ready to sell their goods.  Had I known that, I would have worn Nike’s instead of flip-flops.  I also didn’t know this was the evening that if you were able to be the first to buy a special item, you could get a special item.  The main items I am referring to are: if you are the first of fifty to pre-order The Walking Dead video game at the Activision booth, you receive a necklace of Daryl’s zombie ears.  This was Sherif’s goal.  Sherif, of course, knew this was preview night and seemingly had the Exhibit Hall layout memorized. So did thousands of other people.  This hall is 525,701 square feet.  This is 12 acres.  Twelve.  As he said, you cannot even see to the other end of the hall.   We were at a set of doors to enter the hall about 10 minutes before it opened.  Sherif told me the booths which were our goal.  First was to get those zombie ears.  I got a pen and wrote the booth number on my hand.  As soon as those doors opened, pandemonium ensued.  My word of the week was pandemonium because people were everywhere fighting their way to get some prized item or waiting to see some prized celebrity.  Thousands of people at a time were doing this.  All. The. Time.  As we walked in, Sherif began walking faster than I knew was humanly possible without running.  There was a voice on the overhead speaker saying, “No running.”  I feared that if there was a Comic-Con Big Brother, they would spot all the people who were running.  I thought it would be like the security system of Wall-E and instead of saying, “Caution: Rogue Robots,” the overhead would say, “Caution: Rogue Nerds.”  In the crowds of people, I quickly lost Sherif.  He kept stopping to find me, but I simply could not keep up wearing those kind of shoes.  I finally told him dramatically, “It’s O.K.!  Leave me behind!  Get those zombie ears and I’ll find you!”  I met up with him a few minutes later.  I asked if he got them and he had.  Here is the proof of the puddin’.

Zombie Hunter. Pretty freaked out by his own necklace. That’s O.K. Anything goes in the apocalypse.

From there we went to a small booth selling an action figure of Anya from Buffy.  It featured her wearing her bunny suit.  Then we were off to the Image Comics booth where watches from The Walking Dead signed by Robert Kirkman were being sold.  On the way there, I still could not keep up with Sherif’s pace.  I later joked with him that it was a good thing I wore a red striped shirt, because I’m sure he had plenty of practice finding Waldo in a crowd.  Here is the Image booth.

Woah, that’s a big booth. And a big Rick Grimes.

We walked around the entire hall checking out everything from the small seller booths to the big name booths.  From a smaller seller, we snagged  a really awesome Katniss action figure.  We passed by the ComiXology booth where Sherif was interviewed about his use of the site.  It was pretty awesome to see him look all famous with a camera guy and everything.  Passer bys were looking at him like he might be famous.  He got a t-shirt out of it, so that was pretty much worth it.  We took a picture at the TMNT booth and then moved on to the Dark Horse booth.  In the following pictures, you can see my poor choice of footwear.

Giant Ninja Turtles. Kid dreams come true. Taken with Instagram.

And Dark Horse:

Me amongst all my childhood heroes. Total geek out moment. It was such geekery, that thumb had to stay in the corner of the picture just to contain the excitement.

We decided to go back to the hotel.  Walking at this point was quite painful for me.  The parking lot next to the bus stop had a lot of stuff that wasn’t there before.  Lots of trucks.  But what ended up haunting my dreams was the car set up to promote The Walking Dead Escape.  It was bloody and had the words “Sophia wait here” painted in “blood” on the back window.  Knowing the next night, Sherif and I would be running for our lives from those flesh-eating fiends, I was stuck in the apocalypse during all my dreams that night.  It was awesome.

Stay tuned for Day 2 and then a special blog in which Sherif and I re-create The Walking Dead Escape for all of you to relive with us!