I spent most of the weekend at home reading. Aside from a few hours of work each night, I got to stay in bed and read. I finished reading Tom Green’s autobiography, Hollywood Causes Cancer, a book that left me with a lot of respect for the comedian. I didn’t think much of him before but after reading his inspiring story of how he relentlessly chased his dream of becoming a comedian to how Hollywood swallowed him and later, gave him cancer (the kind Rizal talks about) and how he battled actual cancer, it made me think a lot of him. It also made me think better of Adam Sandler, who I’m not a big fan of but who apparently is a very nice man. According to the book, he was the only Hollywood guest who stayed until the end of Tom green and Drew Barrymore’s wedding, even dancing with Tom’s mom and chatting with his brother. Now I have the urge to borrow Freddy Got Fingered and search for The Tom Green Show on YouTube.
Another book I finished was Christopher Ross’ Tunnel Vision, a philosophical treatise written by a man who worked in the London Underground. At the age of 26, Ross gave up a lucrative, moneymaking job to do nothing but travel. He would then find work in whatever country he was in to pay for his next trip. Tunnel Vision is a lovely book that talks not just about travel, but about the human condition (at least as he sees it) as well. It’s a really easy read, with none of the high faluting words or metaphors associated with philosophy. It doesn’t tell you how to life your life. It’s more an entrance into the thoughts of a man who has chosen to work a mechanical job with the express purpose of observing his surroundings.
I also got a short course on African-American culture over the weekend -- if you can call watching a few episodes of Boondocks and reading Damon Wayans’ book Bootleg studying. If there’s anything I’ve learned from McGurder and Wayans, it’s that African Americans are like Filipinos. Really. Just replace all the words that pertain to African-American in the book and cartoon with “Filipino” and it will still make sense. You can do this with Dave Chapelle’s skits as well. There’s one where he talks about the African-American’s affinity for fried chicken and I thought, ‘That’s so Pinoy!’
This is a sad thing since, a. Filipinos are racists and would rather be associated with people with skin lighter than theirs (the sad thing here being the racism and the colonial mentality, not being compared to African Americans) and b. the book and the cartoon make fun of the African-American culture and its stereotypes.
What does it say about us when some of the aspects of our race that we are proud of (like not backing down from a fight -- from the ‘Nigger Moment’ cartoon) are aspects of another race that get laughed at by their own people? I’m not going to answer that.
My favorite line in Boondocks:
“Grandad, you can’t change the White supreme power structure with cheese!” -- Huey Freeman
I’m currently reading Pat McCarthy’s The Road to McCarthy, a book about a man’s search for his roots around the world. McCarthy, who is half English, half Irish, travels all over, from Morocco to Australia to the US to Monserrat and of course, Ireland, in search of his ancestors. It’s inspiring and it’s something I want to do myself, but I have the feeling I’ll have to learn how to speak Mandarin first. Even though knowing only one sentence (How much is this, miss?) got me though a month in Xiamen, I don’t think it’s good enough to go ancestor-hunting with.
I’m also reading Michael Palin’s Full Circle, where he circles the whole Pacific Rim for a BBC special and gets to write about it, too! I don’t know why I’ve been interested in travel books lately. For the last two years, it was business books. Before that, it was children’s books. Now, it’s travel. I think I’m going through the whole bookstore section by section!