45, American Imperialism, American Narcissism, American Racism, Evangelicals, Fandom, Gospel of Prosperity, Idris Elba, Impeachment, Internalized Racism, Iran, MF, Motherfucker, Pitt, Qasem Soleimani, Reality TV, The Wire, Trump, White Supremacy, Whiteness
My wife can attest to this. Since the days of HBO’s The Wire (2002-2008), I have had the idea of Idris Elba doing a voice over leading into the next episode of an alternative television series. But instead of Elba narrating in his smooth American Russell “Stringer” Bell baritone, “On the next episode of The Wire,” I’d have him say, “On the next episode of Dumb Muthafuckas,” said exactly the way I’ve spelt it here. Then, the no-so-happy highlights from the next episode would ensue!
On the use of the MF word. I grew up around folx who didn’t use the n-word (with the notable exception of my idiot ex-stepfather, who said and wrote the n-word as “niggah” or “nigguh,” such were the influences of the late-1960s and 1970s on him). My mom would either say “Ns” or “Ens” (depending on spelling), or would grunt “un-un” in reference to Black folk she felt were assholes or fucking up in some way. But motherfucker, particularly the AAVE (African American Vernacular English) way of saying it as muthafucka? That could flow freely like the Hudson River after a spring or summer rainstorm, even during the Hebrew-Israelite years, though less so since we went evangelical Christian in the late-1980s! It could start a sentence and end a sentence, and in heated, violent arguments, often at the same time.
But it wasn’t just Mom. My father said “muddafucka” when he was in drinking mode growing up. I once played a game in my head, and counted up the number of times he used it at a bar in the Bronx to describe the other drunks, the barkeep, and other folks in the city. I lost count after 50, between “po’ ass muddafucka,” dumb muddafucka,” “git out of here, muddafucka,” and “Suck my dict, muddafucka!” And that was all in 45 minutes!
Their friends, their kids, and so many others I was around in Mount Vernon, the Bronx, and in Manhattan growing up all used variations of MF. I didn’t become regularly acquainted with the n-word outside of Roots or A Soldier’s Story until I went off to college and Pittsburgh. But when Bruce Willis said the line to Alan Rickman’s character Hans Gruber in Diehard (1988), “Yippee-ki-yay, muthafucka!,” he said it the way the Black and Brown folk I grew up around said it, and not the wimpy ways most Whites tend to use it. And every Black who was in the theater with me that night audibly gasped with delight
So when I use MF here, I am being tongue-in-cheek and as serious as a muthafucka. Especially when it comes to America’s daily reality TV show, 45 and his cabal of mostly obese in body, mind, and spirit privileged White man hell-bent on making America a blatantly White supremacist country again (see Mike Pompeo, William Barr, and Rudy Giuliani here, among a legion of others). They are stunningly craven, which also makes them stunningly stupid. They collectively are the person who comes along and knocks down the Jenga tower you have carefully constructed and deconstructed over several hours with a sledgehammer, and then burp in your face immediately afterward. All while not knowing the chain of events they have set off for themselves and for you. They are too orgasmically high on power and drunk off of spreading lies and fear to contemplate playing checkers, much less picking up a bishop to play chess.
And that’s why the show should be titled Dumb Motherfuckers. Because the 45 thesis is to destroy all of former President Barack Obama’s proverbial statues, statues, paintings, treaties, deals, orders, and obelisks in order to restore Whiteness in the White House. The problem is, the Obamas merely brought their Blackness to the White House. The government remained steeped in Whiteness in policies and in attitude the entire time Obama wore the trappings of American imperial power. But when your racism and narcissism is so great as to think that the first Black president was an affront to millions of Whites and some footsoldiers-for-racism Black and Brown folx, being a bunch of dumb motherfuckers lighting up the US and the world with tiki-torches is the result.
Now America enters season four of Dumb Motherfuckers. Season three ended with a cliffhanger, as the House of Representatives voted in favor of impeaching 45 on two counts. But, what will Nancy Pelosi do next? Will Mitch McConnell continue his pledge to march “in lockstep with the White House,” like a jackbooted SS officer in a parade at Nuremberg? Will 45 continue to play golf while the US continues its march toward full-on corporate plutocratic fascism? Stay tuned!
As of 36 hours ago, Dumb Motherfuckers‘ producers threw us a plot twist, assassinating Iran’s leading general, Qasem Soleimani, a sort of declaration of war, and certainly a violation of the Geneva Convention. Sure, this plot twist is a distraction from impeachment and the 2020 election cycle. But it is also another drumbeat toward a war that will cost hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown lives, and displace millions of people from their homes and their possible futures. But that doesn’t matter, right? Ratings, a.k.a., votes, do.
45 and his minions of motherfuckers don’t care about all that. Nor are they smart enough to know where this new plot direction will take them or the rest of the US and the world. What they do know is that there are roughly 60 million Americans who are down for anything that 45 does. If 45 ran over a White family with a steamroller, killing three children under the age of five and their Scottish terrier in the process, his fans would find an excuse, say he’s “making America great again,” call me a racist, and threaten me and my life. So know that they would support, “Bomb bomb bomb/Bomb bomb Iran,” just like the late Sen. John McCain did during his 2008 election run. And apparently, through prayers and supplications, through megachurches and the Gospel of Prosperity.
This is what makes watching Dumb Motherfuckers so frustrating, because it is all so predictable. The thinly-veiled imperialism, the rank anti-Black, anti-Brown, anti-Jewish racism, xenophobia as World War Z, and Islamophobia, the obvious women-are-meat misogyny, and the wicked hoarding of wealth. The use of blind patriotism and Christianity to rally Whiteness and White folk into supporting utter stupidity. Just like in 1968-1969, 1973, 1983, 1989, 1991, 2001, and 2002-03, from Vietnam and Grenada to Panama, the First Gulf War, and Afghanistan. Dumb Motherfuckers isn’t dumb just because the characters are dumb. It’s dumb because it will eventually leave the Whites who want to be rich and want Black and Brown people to suffer thoroughly and lethally screwed as well. But give the (White and internalized racism Black and Brown) public what it wants, right? Dumb muthafuckas — it’s a shame and a pitiful!