Let’s face it, “SuckCess” is something that most people strive toward on a daily basis. Yet, somewhere along the way we get caught up in all the things that don’t matter in attaining it. Or, maybe we need a better collective definition of success. What’s obvious to Heit & Cheri on this episode of The Axiom Amnesia Theory, is that things have run amuck. Success without social consciousness and responsibility isn’t success at all.

Olympic coverage is worried about beauty over achievement, celebrities favor helping themselves over helping those who need it the most, cops kill unarmed men and show no remorse, half of Americans die with nothing, and schools are concerned about pregnancy over grades. And that’s just the beginning! Topics on this episode include and update on the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case, Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan for VP candidate, Harry Belafonte’s criticism of JayZ and Beyonce as not being socially responsible, song of the week “American Skin (41 Shots)” by Bruce Springsteen, controversy between Kellie Wells, Dawn Harper, and Lolo Jones over Olympic coverage, half of Americans dying broke, and a Louisiana charter school testing for pregnancy and forcing homeschool on pregnant students.

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Segment 1

  • Discussion about the language used in discussions about entitlements.
  • Update on the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case.
  • On Monday, Mark O’Mara announced there will be a self defense hearing, not a “stand your ground” hearing. He explained that he had previously used this terminology because it was what people had been calling it when the case first began.
  • If Zimmerman wins the self defense hearing, he will receive immunity from criminal and civil prosecution.
  • Mark O’Mara announced that he will appeal Judge Lester’s decision not to recuse himself. They feel that Lester is biased against Zimmerman. The appellate court will decide the case.
  • Mark O’Mara also said that they will probably claim indigence for Zimmerman and his wife because they are down to about $50K, with $20K due in bills. In this case the state will foot the bill for the cost of his defense.
  • They expect defense depositions to be completed in three months and the trial to take place in about five months.
  • Mitt Romney selected Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan as his running mate for the VP position. Ryan is known for his “Ryan budget” plan, in which he likes to cut funds from people who need it the most.
  • The Republicans don’t expect a win this go round. Even Mitt announced Ryan as the next president. What a gaffe!
  • The question is how Hillary Clinton should position herself against Paul Ryan in 2016.
  • Discussion about how Hillary Clinton can dance better than both Gabby Douglas and Barack Obama. This past week, Hillary Clinton was caught on tape dancing while at a South African dinner party.
  • Discussion of Harry Belafonte’s criticism of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s lack of social responsibility. He said:

    They have not told the history of our people, nothing of who we are. We are still looking. We are not determinated. We are not driven by some technology that says you can kill Afghans, the Iraqis or the Spanish. It is all — excuse my French — shit. It is sad. And I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.

  • A couple of weeks ago, Heit & Cheri watched a round table discussion with Harry Belafonte, James Baldwin, Sidney Poitier, and others about black issues. This is an example of how they used their star power to discussion social and political issues affecting Blacks.
  • Belafonte was correct in pointing out that celebrities like Beyonce and Jay-Z are socially irresponsible.
  • Beyonce’s camp responded to the allegations by pointing out a short list of some of the things she’s done.
  • One of the things that she’s done recently is appear at the United Nations to film the video for “I Was Here.” The song and appearances were meant to pay homage to humanitarians–people who actually went and did something.
  • She gave $100K in 2008 to Gulf Coast relief. She made $80 million that year. This is like the equivalent of a person who made $40K that year giving $50 to their favorite charity. She didn’t miss that money, and there was no real sacrifice to give that money–unlike with a person who makes $40K/year.
  • It has also been reported that Beyonce’s 2008 wig collection was worth $1 million–ten times the amount she donated to Gulf Coast relief efforts.
  • Beyonce is the gold standard (in terms of image) of a pop superstar. People have been pleased with her actions in the past. If the short list of things she’s done are the major things she’s done, is she really worthy of social admiration?
  • Discussion of Beyonce’s social irresponsibility in writing open letters to Michelle Obama and others.
  • Based on the way the letter was written, it is clear that Beyonce was not writing the letter to Michelle, but instead was writing to all of the people who would see the letter. Beyonce seems to be trying to change her image into a more “legitimate” celebrity of substance–rather than just being a womb-gyrator. This is positive, but her sincerity on the matter also counts.
  • When Harry Belafonte brings up Jay-Z and Beyonce’s social irresponsibility, he’s not talking about charity. When did charity become synonymous with social responsibility?
  • This couple exploits the demographs interested in their entertainment for their financial gain.
  • Discussion about how The House of Dereon’s prices are set higher than what the average Beyonce fan can afford. A pair of cutoff shorts was on sale for $46 (regular over $90).
  • Beyonce markets herself to young girls, and she expects their parents to spend more than they can afford on her goods. She expects them to spend more than she is willing to give proportionally when it comes to charity. Why aren’t these clothes priced so that fans can afford them?
  • In Beyonce’s open letter to Michelle Obama, she makes it a point to mention that she is an African American woman–a role model.
  • When you look at the household incomes of African Americans, it is obvious that they cannot afford the clothes at The House of Dereon.
  • She should try becoming socially responsible before trying to representing herself as such. It seems like the people who make a ton of money give a rate such that it makes for a good tax writeoff.
  • Discussion of the lack of social responsibility related to the images Beyonce releases. Mention of Beyonce representing herself as African American, Native American, and French in a L’Oreal ad. A blogger basically used this as a means of illustrating how Beyonce reinforces the idea that she doesn’t want to be considered “equally Black.”
  • Discussion about how many Blacks want to imply that they have a different racial “blend” in their genetics. The fact is that most descendants of African slaves in the United States are predominately African, with a mixture of other races.
  • Discussion about the purposeful changing of Beyonce’s natural appearance to mimic a more anglo look in print ads and on TV.
  • Discussion of the lack of dark Black models at The House of Deron.
  • Mention of the example of the little baby who was dancing to Crazy in Love, using provocative dance moves.
  • Discussion of Beyonce “stealing” dances from African dancers and using them in her “Girls Run the World” video.
  • Mention of Jay-Z’s charitable contributions. The messages in some of his songs is one of excess, “I’m better than you,” and “Buy my records so I can have all of this money to tell you how much better than you I am.”
  • Mention of how the French President, Francois Hollande used Jay-Z’s song to appeal to young people in order to get elected.
  • Some of his songs have a lot of substance, but you have to weigh the good vs. the bad. Chuck D, also weighed in on the subject:

    Hip-hop celebrates those who wanna make a killing instead of a living. I like those guys, but they make me laugh sometimes because I don’t get who they’re here for, other than themselves. Source: Reasons4Rhymes.com

  • Discussion of the significance of Harry Belafonte mentioning Bruce Springsteen in his critique of Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Segment 2

  • Discussion of the song of the week, “American Skin (41 Shots)” by Bruce Springsteen.
  • The song is about the murder of Amadou Diallo by NYC police.
  • Both Heit & Cheri’s favorite line was, “You can get killed just for living in your American skin.” These lines capture the issue of being African American and the “crime” of dark skin.
  • Heit liked the song because he liked the lyrics AND the sounds of the song. Cheri liked it because of the emotion within the song.
  • The other lines that stood out were the one’s with the mother telling her son all of the “right” things to do to avoid being hurt by police. Sadly, you can do all of the right things and still be killed by police. It also perpetuates this idea that you should adhere to this behavior, which you shouldn’t.
  • Discussion about a picture that we posted on Facebook, which says, “Charity is capitalism’s PR campaign.”
  • At a time when it is all about the sound bite, you really have to condense your message to as few words as possible.
  • When it comes to trying to explain something, the longer takes to explain something, the more people you lose in the progress.
  • Discussion about the Lolo Jones controversy over excessive media coverage during the 2012 Olympics.
  • In recent days, track and field Olympians Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells have come under fire for expressing their hurt and frustration over the extensive Lolo Jones coverage. The two women won medals, yet have not received the same attention as the medal-less Lolo Jones. Backlash from pointing out the disparity in the womens’ coverage tells critics not to hate Lolo beacause she’s beautiful. So now people are called “haters” because they demand recognition in the sport be based on achievement–not looks, which have no bearing on physical ability?
  • Black media outlets have accused people of hating Lolo because she’s beautiful. That’s not true for the most part.
  • Lolo was singled out by the media because she is considered beautiful according to European standards of beauty. It wasn’t right for the media to give her top billing over other athletes who actually won medals though.
  • On one hand they said that people shouldn’t hate on Gabby Douglas’s hair because she had a medal, yet in this situation, they accept that despite Harper and Wells winning medals, they should expect to receive less coverage because they aren’t as beautiful. This seems to have uncovered some deep-seeded self-hatred, as evidenced by gravitating toward Blacks who look more Anglo. These same Blacks complain when other races treat us this way.
  • People don’t seem to have a good grasp on what is important in this context. Wouldn’t the performance in the sport be the most important thing over looks?
  • Some people say that Lolo Jones can’t control the media attention, but she was complicit in it–posing nude, and talking about her virginity and Christian values.
  • The thing that a lot of people don’t want to face about this situation is that they look at Lolo Jones as being more beautiful than the other women. When you look at peoples’ comments, you can easily see the self-hatred that is a factor.
  • This whole issue of skin complexion and ideals of beauty is far bigger than Lolo.
  • Eventually you have to come to the realization that life is about more than just looking good.
  • Mention of how Lolo Jones said that she wanted Rasheeda Jones and Vanessa Williams play her in a biopic of her life.
  • Discussion about the celebration of high school sports, while people ignore other educational clubs. Why does physical achievement mean people should become rich?
  • All football does is cause Americans to consume beer to the tune of $96 billion per year.
  • When it comes to things really affecting the lives of people, most folks are silent–while cheering football games.
  • It would be nice to have people admit the connection between their choices and the pain it causes others. For instance, we may buy things at Wal-Mart, thus contributing to slave wages, but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge the connection.
  • Discussion about the Louisiana charter school that forces students to take pregnancy tests if they suspect a bun in the oven. They also force students into home schooling if they are found to be pregnant.
  • While homeschooling is probably a step in the right direction, this is an invasion of the students’ privacy.
  • The school probably feels like pregnancy is contagious. If the issue is social, why don’t they also “punish” males students in the same way?
  • It’s really not about teen pregnancy so much as it is about the stats–graduation rates, pregnancy rates, college acceptance, grades, et. Pregnancies will impact these stats.
  • The point of a charter school is to privatize education completely, so that only the wealthy can go to school. Since the poor people cannot pay, they won’t be able to go to school. They will be shut out of the system.
  • This is a wrongheaded policy.
  • A report says that about 45 percent of people die with virtually no assets. This is by design.
  • Discussion about the system being set up to perpetuate individual debt, such that people never have a chance to build their own wealth.
  • People used to have their wealth built in their home values, but the housing market is so bad that this has now changed. Also, the home equity is used to amass more debt.
  • Discussion of the example of keeping an old, paid-for car, rather than trading it in for a new car to illustrate how the value of something is related to its usefulness.
  • Discussion about a response we made to an Asian food photo that was full of misinformation. It implied that Asian food contained rats.
  • Heit also created another image to discuss people eating chitterlings. This caused a huge firestorm on the post and many people shared it.
  • Some people defended eating chitt’lins, while others condemned people who eat them.
  • Discussion of peoples’ reactions to the photo. There were so many people who got heated over the photo!
  • Be sure to give us some feedback on this episode!

Audio Credits:

“American Skin (41 Shots)” – Bruce Springsteen
“A Change Is Gonna Come” – Sam Cooke