$1,000 Chairs: Exported to Detroit
A Livonia furniture dealer is defending the Detroit Public Library’s purchase of lounge chairs that cost $1,092 and have become a symbol of extravagance for a system considering closing 18 branches.
The Allermuir brand chairs normally retail for $1,984 apiece and are popular with municipalities, schools and universities, said Paul Gingell, who is the company’s Michigan sales representative.
He said Detroiters deserve to sit comfortably in the chairs, which are part of a $2.3 million renovation of the main library’s south wing. The rehab set to open soon includes two alcohol-burning fireplaces that cost $5,000 apiece and 24 pendant light fixtures that cost $531 each.
“How about the young mother with several children that looks forward to a weekly trek through the snow/sleet to improve their reading skills and are hopeful that a spot near the fireplaces will be open, because the warmth provided is greater than what they experience at home?” Gingell, of W. E. Gingell Associates Inc., asked in an email.
“How about the elderly person that the highlight of (his or her) week is to find a book or newspaper and snuggle into a comfortable chair near a window?”
The library didn’t buy the 20 chairs from Gingell.
But even administrators say the purchase was a mistake.
The system faces an $11 million shortfall and could close 18 of 23 neighborhood branches and lay off as many as 191 of 333 workers. The south wing overhaul grew from a $300,000 update.
When the Federal Government wants to hide actual purchases and create a false paper trail, they ‘claim’ to spend $30 on a hammer, $50 on a toilet seat. The Black people in charge of Detroit find no such need in hiding such opulent gifts purchased on taxpayer dime and see the investment of $1,000 into chairs for a public library a solid financial maneuver.
That wasn’t the only wasteful purchase:
Documents show a $2.3 million overhaul of part of the Detroit Public Library’s main branch included eight stainless-steel trash cans that cost a total of about $8,900.
The Detroit News reports Thursday the spending is detailed in documents it obtained. The renovation of the South Wing has come under criticism as the library considers closing neighborhood branches and cutting jobs to deal with budget problems.
Michael Wells, president of UAW Local 2200 representing 120 library staffers, says the cost for trash cans is “exorbitant.”
Detroit has an illiteracy rate of 50 percent, so a multi-million dollar renovation of a public library makes absolutely no sense, especially when half the city can’t read. Of course, it is a well-known the president of the Detroit School Board – Otis Mathis – is illiterate.
A movie was made back in the mid-2000s called A Day Without a Mexican. It was a spoof of what life would be like in California if all Mexicans disappeared.
A Day Without White People is a movie that doesn’t need to be made. A real-life drama (comedy?) that chronicles such a fictional narrative is unfolding in Detroit, Michigan. The script could be classified as either horror, comedy or mock-u-mentary.
Either way, we still think they should build a Robocop statue. If a chair cost $1,000 bucks in Detroit, we imagine they could spend a few million on such an erection.
If you recall, Michigan has passed a “Financial Martial Law” bill:
Supporters say the bill gives the state a way to step into distressed municipalities and schools before they collapse. It also gives emergency financial managers broad authority to end employee union contracts, and to nullify elected boards and councils.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Al Pscholka, said Tuesday that it would give the state the power it needs to dig important institutions out of financial holes. “For years we have allowed cities and schools to be on the verge of bankruptcy without any intervention,” he told Reuters. “When the state finally does arrive, in many cases we find the financial records in disarray and leave emergency managers with very few good options to balance the books.”
Republican Sen. Jack Brandenburg last week said emergency managers would be deployed only in communities that need “financial martial law.”
This article is adapted from Hollywood in Blackface, which comes out Friday.The chapter it comes from is an in-depth discussion of the late 90s – early 2000 action films that worked to de-legitimize the concept of the “white bad ass” hero. In its place is the lovable Angry Black Man (ABM), perfected by Samuel L. Jackson and pathetically imitated by LL Cool J and Ice Cube among others.
|Can you spot the “Token White” from Fast Five?|
In a review of the poorly received XXX: State of the Union, starring one-time rebel rapper turned family-friendly movie star Ice Cube (isn’t it strange how many gangsta rappers start off as anti-establishment, radical Black Nationalist figures and through metamorphosis become family-friendly actors?: Think Queen Latifah, Ice T, LL Cool J, Mos Def, Ludacris, etc.) Roger Ebert wrote something that confirms what we write about the power of Hollywood to provide and craft positive examples of Black people when society fails to produce them:
Did I enjoy this movie? Only in a dumb mindless way. It has whatever made the original “XXX” entertaining, but a little less of it. Does it make the slightest sense? Of course not. Its significance has nothing to do with current politics and politicians, the threat of terrorism, and the efficiency of bullet trains. It has everything to do with a seismic shift in popular culture.
Once all action heroes were white. Then they got a black chief of police, who had a big scene where he fired them. Then they got a black partner. Then they were black and had a white partner. Now they are the heroes and don’t even need a white guy around, although there is one nerdy white guy in “XXX” who steps in when the plot requires the ineffectual delivery of a wimpy speech. So drastically have things changed that when Ice Cube offers to grab the president and jump off a train and grab a helicopter, all the president can do is look grateful. Oh, and later, in his new State of the Union speech, our nation’s leader quotes Tupac, although he doesn’t know he does. Well, you can’t expect him to know everything.
This buddy cop spoof begins with the triumphant exploits of the NYPD’s coolest cops. In cameos played by Samuel L. Jackson, as the same character he’s done since Pulp Fiction, and Dwayne Johnson, the genial half-Samoan, half-black ex-pro wrestler formerly known as The Rock, the two supercops wreak $12 million in property damage to Manhattan while arresting a smalltime weed dealer. Then Jackson and Johnson take a victory lap around the police station, tossing their unfilled-out paperwork to “The Other Guys,” the precinct’s most pathetic desk jockeys, played by Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, who become the movie’s main characters.
The Other Guys could have been more memorably entitled The White Guys. Much of comedy these days, especially funny TV commercials about doofus dads, gingerly deals with the paradox of a culture in which white guys have seemingly been dethroned from the top of the masculinity pyramid. Yet, the people who have the really good jobs making the movies, TV shows, and ads poking fun at white guys remain, overwhelmingly, white guys like McKay and Ferrell.
|Can white guys play the bad ass hero anymore?|
The character of The Punisher is just a normal dude out of for revenge; that it did so well in DVD sales, as another vigilante film The Boondock Saints performed, is a sign that a huge market exists for people clamoring for a different type of film. This group has been incredibly marginalized and the only type of actors representing them in film are either foreigners or goofy white dudes like Paul Rudd or Michael Cera. If Shia LaBeouf is the best that Hollywood can give us to replace a guy like Willis, Russell or even Michael Biehn (underrated actor), then fire up that DVD player and prepare to just watch Commando, Escape from New York and Aliens.
“I didn’t think anybody would ever write a role for me. I didn’t fit the bill. I was too multicultural. There was no place for me,” was how Vin Diesel explained his early Hollywood reality on an Atlanta set for the Fast Five in October 2010.
Hollywood’s “whites only” attitude, especially for leading man roles, is what prompted Diesel to write, produce, direct and star in his 1994 life-as-art frustration short, Multi-Facial about not being black enough or white enough to make the cinematic cut. The short, which landed in the Cannes Film Festival, got Steven Spielberg’s attention and the legendary director cast Diesel in a small role in the Oscar-winning Saving Private Ryan. Then, in 2001, Diesel’s career got a major jolt with the blockbuster The Fast and the Furious.
A novel approach to the salt-and-pepper buddy flick concept that had successfully paired the likes of Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte, The Fast and the Furious, coincidentally built around an article from VIBE magazine about street racing, proved to be no laughing matter. Diesel, who was coming off successful runs in Pitch Black and Boiler Room, was the star power that jump-started the film, with the blue-eyed, blonde Hollywood poster boy Paul Walker following his lead. Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez rounded out the main cast but Asian actor Rick Yune and then hip-hop star Ja Rule did have significant input, not to mention the cars themselves. Actually, The Fast and the Furious was a major wake-up call that Detroit no longer dominated the world auto industry.
When Entertainment Weekly listed its five reasons why, a decade later, this franchise is still viable, they put “The Melting Pot” vibe at the top of the list. “Quick, what do Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Twilight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, and Christopher Nolan’s Batman series have in common?” they asked. And the answer was “White people, white people everywhere!” That’s certainly not anything the Fast Five is guilty of.
Set in Brazil, whose economy has been deemed the second fastest growing one next to China, Fast Five’s cast is comprised of original stars Diesel, Walker and Brewster as well as Tyrese, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Sung Kang, who have been pulled from the other franchises, is more diverse than ever. For added value, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Diesel’s multiracial comrade, has been drafted to play the badass cop vowing to catch the robber by any means necessary. Meanwhile, Reggaeton players Tego Calderón and Don Omar help broaden the base even further in supporting roles.
Reviews of Fast Five largely center around the cars as well as the franchise’s transitioning from racing to heist genre but that’s not the real story. Fast Five, which has already topped the box office in Australia, the UK, New Zealand and South Korea, should be Hollywood’s final initiation into the new multicultural, multiracial, global reality. Since people of color have long dominated the population stats, the world has been a rainbow of flavors for a minute now. The difference is that sunburst reality has become increasingly too powerful to ignore yet Hollywood and other Americans are still just peeking at the memo.
While birthers are wasting their time challenging President Obama’s citizenship, the world is literally passing them by. Holding on to the crumbling notion of white supremacy and white privilege is definitely a recipe for destruction. To play in this new world arena, it’s essential to realize that not living in the “real” world is just no longer an option.
The white action star is a thing of the past; the multiracial action star is the present and the future. It just took marginalizing whites and the manufacturing of positive images of Black people through film to achieve this result.
Detroit, Americas 3rd world city:
Locust: The library system has decided to buy $1000 chairs for its main branch. In a city which is closing 19 other libraries due to budget cuts, makes u only wonder. Not to be a bother, why spend 2.3 million to renovate a library when only 50% of the detroit population is illiterate? In a city where 89% of the population is black (2010 census) and average income in the metro area is less then $18,000 a year, should they spend this money on chairs? More of the same by the people with magic skin tones and their management of the former great cities and states of the ununited states of amerika.
Hey maybe their mayor (former basket ball player) dave bing, also a democrat and black, can keep the city from becoming amerika’s Haiti? Yeah right! 33% of the city abandoned, most of the residents on government aid or working for the government 75%, 40% living below the poverty level, and unemployment rate of 22%. Lol if you live in detroit or anywhere near by, get the hell out now! I smell a gas leak and an explosion of violence and rioting is eminent! Don’t look back! Same goes for atlanta, Washington d.c., and the dozens of other cities and states heading into the crapped hole of our proud democratically elected liberal nation. Bring some ammo, we can never have enough!