Rediscovering Walt Whitman on his 190th Birthday

We’re celebrating Walt Whitman’s 190th birthday and here in Atlanta there was a marathon reading of Song of Myself at Composition Gallery (see link at right) and sponsored by Poetry Atlanta (see link at right). The marathon reading included some 25 area poets and took almost three hours non-stop. The program had a wide variety of readers, everyone from nationally recognized slam poets, to university professors, to community activists and everyone in between.

One was instantly struck by how still relevant this poem is well over a century after it was written. Whitman’s themes of the common American, everyday workers, farmers, laborers, still resonates in these hard times today. His celebration of self and self discovery are as important as ever. Even his takes on injustice, war, racial inequality, same sex relationships are as timely as the latest headlines.

Now you would think that any poetry marathon that ran almost three hours, would be the most yawn inducing thing you could imagine, but the event just seemed to fly by. The reader’s themselves were so varied, reflecting a very Whitmanesque catalogue of individuals, each adding their own spin to their particular section. In fact, each reader seemed to own their segments so completely, most seemed to be tailored for their particular style or take on the piece. That was true whether it was the social worker/activist reading on love and compassion or the slam poet reading on self-identity. The reading was a testament to the liveliness and excitement in many of today’s poetry communities. People weren’t just there to be literary and cultured, there were there to enjoy and celebrate this work and the readers who brought it to life.

Now I hope more people take this opportunity of his birthday to rediscover his work. I know it had been years for me since I’d looked over it. And now, it’s become very much alive for me again, providing a reminder of just how rare and common, how uniquely American, with all his contradictions and complexities, Walt Whitman was, and how much he added to the fabric of this country.

In the end, Whitman may never have seen his dream realized that every American would be carrying his works around in their back pockets – but with the wonders of modern technology sure we can find enough space in our iPods for a particularly good reading of his work.


Beating Around the Bush – Pube Scaping for Both Sexes

I guess it’s a sign of summer. No one wanting to go all wild n wooly, but keeping things trimmed, close cut, and cool. As consumers we’re getting barraged with more and more marketing messages for bush trimming, manscaping, bikini trims, going Brazilian – whatever you want to call it. Companies are obviously seeing dollar signs in selling us more and more products for these increasingly de rigueur tasks.

It’s interesting though the totally different takes that they take in selling to women and men.

This recent commercial for a women’s shaver, manages to be terribly tacky, funny and creative all at the time. It’s all about creativity and individuality, all about creating self image through pubic topiary.

However, when it comes to selling to men, it’s all about “making the tree look taller.” This has been pretty standard practice in the gay community for years – but now the secrets out in the larger population. If you mention this aspect of manscaping to a guy no matter how straight, don’t be surprised if within 10 minutes you hear the trimmer buzzing away in the bathroom.

Notice too how in selling to men, they have to make it sound like something that would require a trip to Home Depot.

So girlfriends and housewives apparently spend all day trying to come up with creative self-expressions of girl-power and sexuality. Maybe it’s an effort to entice jaded mates to look forward to coming home and seeing what surprise awaits; will it be a heart or smiley face, or if your man is more the sporting type maybe a football or bowling pin.

Men it’s all about the big tree.


On the Chinese Bridge of Life are We Jumpers, Watchers, or Pushers?

I’d heard of this story and seen the pic, but once I found the video, it was even more shocking that I had even imagined. The old man sneaks around the barricades, runs and shimmies up the bridge structure, then after tricking the befuddled man into shaking his hand, sends him flying head over heels into the air bag below.




Now it’s easy to judge here, how heartless the guy is. Especially when his explanation is that he was incensed by the pure selfishness of the guy who would tie up traffic for hours, and was just making himself an unseemly center of attention. I’m sure here too there’s a lot of cultural things at play here I can’t even guess at. There has to be in China, with what had been a growing economy now stalled, it being a communist/socialist state, generation divides, etc.


The man was upset since he’d lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in a business deal that had gone bad. Here in the U.S. businessmen do that all the time. Here in the U.S. they know how to handle this sort of thing, you transfer funds into an offshore account while you can, you max out your vendor payables, then you declare bankruptcy and skip town – it’s actually quite a fine art in the U.S. with our advanced and highly evolved capitalism.


I imagine though even in the U.S. if a wealthy businessman who’d lost everything ended up in NYC on the Brooklyn bridge threatening to jump—of course you’d get people yelling for him to jump. If it was someone say like a Bernie Madoff, they’d probably be lining up to take a whack at giving him the old heave-ho.


Even I, saintly easy going southern gentleman that I am. Have been stuck in downtown connector traffic, with a jumper threatening to jump off a bridge into oncoming traffic. I have to admit, after 2-30 minutes, mmmmm I to, just may have let something cross my mind like “gee buddy, lets jump already, I got to dinner waiting and some TIVO to catch up on.” In fact, I think we probably all have.


But there is the big divide between thought and action. A thought I might add aimed towards a faceless, nameless individual who all you know about is that he’s holding up traffic. I’m sure most of these people have friends or family, that are absolutely freaking and trying to do anything, including having traffic backed up for ever how long it takes to get their loved one help.


We may even understand some of the jumper’s frustration, in this economy, particularly in these times of change and uncertainty. It’s not hard to trace a line of action where you can see someone losing their jobs, home, self-esteem and see how people get in these situations.


So in the end we all have to ask ourselves, are we jumpers, watchers, or pushers. What does that say about us and our society?


Glenn Beck: A Kinder Gentler Ann Coulter?

Is Glenn Beck a kindler, gentler, warm and fuzzy Ann Coulter? Is a lie still a lie?

Crybaby Glenn Beck was called on the carpet at the view by both Barbara Walters and Whoopi. He’d basically taken a straight forward meeting on the train, and contorted it into some sort of satiric commentary on the women of the view. Whoopi and Barbara both pretty much called him a liar, taking him for task on fabricating major elements of the story. They were understandably upset about the way he tried to paint them, as they should be. Whoopi went as far to basically call him a worthless sack of s#$%.

I’m surprised though no one has called him on what his obvious intent was. He was blatantly making a pitch to paint Barbara Walters and Whoopi as part of the uppity left-wing media elite royalty. He implied a sort of snobbishness and entitlement on their part that just wasn’t the case. He apologizes profusely and is obviously embarrassed.

Then days later he’s demanding an apology. Somehow making himself the victim in the whole matter. I have to agree with Whoopi on this one, the man is pretty loathsome. He appeals to the basest fears and prejudices in his audience, using only innuendo, doomsday scenarios, and half-baked truths. It’s interesting that he presents the case that he was “ambushed” on the view, when he states during the show that he thoroughly expected the issue to come up.

I love too that the GB show spends 7-8 minutes talking about how the View wasted 7-8 minutes on the “who said what to whom” when they could have been talking about “real issues.” Am I the only one that sees the irony in that? I guess the GB show didn’t have any “real issues” to cover that day either.

He’s also become one of the chief proponents of this great tool of today’s conservative movement – victimization. Taking a page right out of Ann Coulter’s playbook, attacking those who would question his logic, facts, morals, and voracity; with a smokescreen of “those nasty liberals don’t like me.”


The Fine Art of Grumbling: The LGBT Community and Obama


It seems a sad state of affairs, but the LGBT community is increasingly upset with what they see as a lack of action in Washington on some of our key issues such as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Marriage Equality, and a whole laundry list of other items. Having been in the wilderness for eight years through the Bush years, we were all like wanderers in the desert that had stumbled upon Oasis Obama, where hope hung heavy from the trees, and we once again felt welcomed under the shade of the big tent. Obama had promised (or implied) a lot, and maybe we were doing a lot of reading between the lines and wishful thinking. However, it’s not like a magic wand can be waved and everything changes overnight. And in political terms 100 days is still a very short time, and face it, the man has some things on his plate.

But in practical terms aren’t we just where we need to be politically? Face it, if Obama came out and granted a whole wish-list on LGBT issues, we’d all be dancing in the streets, but his opponents would have a field day, he’d be mired in cultural warfare that would distract from his main focuses at this point – that’s just a political reality. I for one, still put finding a new job over finding a new husband – but that’s just me.

Plus Obama’s been getting some free breathing room on Marriage equality from the various wins on the state level. The community feels we’re making progress on some fronts at least. But face it, as much as we hate to be reminded, we are a minority and in some circles considered a special interest group – though I’d argue that human and civil rights and what it says about our society have very broad implications. It’s like we pulled that deli ticket and got our number in line, and we were next, then the manager has to run to the back to handle a grease fire. We’re still standing there at the counter, looking through the glass at the roast beef, and we can almost taste it.

So if we have to be a squeaky wheel, if we have to grumble, to complain, to editorialize and condemn – so be it. The political reality is that Obama can’t be seen “giving” us anything freely – that really, really sucks. So if things have to be done quietly, carefully, and in small rationed measures – that’s a hard pill to swallow. We don’t want to be anyone’s bitch, not even Obama’s. We may even have to be pushy, remind him of promises, and insist. Yes, I’d like for there to have been a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell during the first week, with Rose Garden ceremonies, with Obama backed by teary eyed vets, but if it’s done later, quietly, timed just so; the results are the same. If anything I trust that Obama is a thoughtful, considerate, and intelligent man. More than any other president I feel that he’s got people working on issues, pulling together plans, waiting for just the right opportunity to implement changes.

I have to admit, personally, I’m so used to being ignored, attacked, and maligned by the party in power, I don’t know how to act, what to expect. So, if we win an issue by grumbling and having to catch a bone that’s thrown to us, so be it for now. But let’s not also forget that we need to lay ground work now, build the cases, put the faces out there, so that when the economy turns around, and we’ve dug ourselves somewhat out of this whole we’re in, we can switch from fixing what’s broke with America, to building on the promises of America.


Green Day Refuses to Bow to Wal-Mart Censorship


Yet another reason I refuse to step foot in a Wal-Mart. It’s policy of demanding that CDs that might otherwise require a parental warning sticker be edited or cleaned up for sale in their stores. Wal-Mart is the 800 pound gorilla of retailing and I suppose if they could outsource music and video production to third-world sweat shops like the rest of their goods – they would. However, since this seems to be one of the last areas of American commerce they can’t outsource, they merely settle for censorship. Green Day claims the bits weren’t even that bad, but I suppose it’s totally up to Wal-Mart to decide what creative content their buyers should have access to.

It’s an old argument. If buyers don’t like the cleaned up version they can go down to another record store to buy the real thing. They apparently have, since even without Wal-Mart, Green Day’s newest “21-st Century Breakdown” is now the most popular CD in the country. However, just consider the power that is Wal-Mart. In many small communities where Wal-Mart has closed any and all competitors, they may actually be the only source for CDs. The mom-and-pop that appreciates creativity and artist’s rights, has probably long gone out of business.

Plus think of the chilling effect on the music industry, if faced with the expensive task of creating two versions of a CD, one that the artist wants and one that can sell at Wal-Mart; how many record execs will just push for the one version that can sell at Wal-Mart? In some ways it’s irrelevant, most music fans will download the music right to their players. However, it’s another troubling aspect of what we’ve allowed Wal-Mart to become in this country.

If you’re all about “guaranteed lowest prices” above any and all other considerations – then by all means continue to shop at Wal-Mart. If you care about small businesses, competition, free markets, American jobs, living wage jobs, quality products, and in this case artistic expression — please take a cue from Green Day and tell Wal-Mart where they can stick it.


Saints and Sinners Recap


THURSDAY: Five of us pile into a SUV, Megan Volpert and Mindy Friedman, Theresa Davis, Collin Kelley and myself. We’re being green by carpooling and saving money on plane tickets. It’s not a bad drive, Atlanta to New Orleans is probably usually eight or nine hours, but the way Collin drives we make it in under seven. It feels sexist but for most of the trip me and Collin end up sitting in the front with the “girls” in the back. Only because we’re both big boys, and they’re all on the skinny side and our SUV isn’t as wide as most. There’s some conversation, we stop a couple of times for gas and fast food. Megan and Mindy make a point of PDAs in front of rednecks, but it adds excitement to an otherwise very typical ride.

Then New Orleans, me and Theresa are staying at the big convention Marriott on Canal. They were running a great special. The lobby is an odd mix of totally wasted college kids, and some sort of military operation where they’re welcoming Iraqi war vets back home from their tour. The lobby is cool, and we love the funky elevators, you punch the floor button on the outside and it tells you what elevator to go to. On a couple of occasions people get in to the elevator and then look for a button, not realizing they’re trapped.

We walk down to Jackson Square, looking at funny t-shirts, and the kids tap dancing with mashed soda cans duct taped to their feet. Theresa mentions that she knows a poet, Nick Fox, who is now in NO and drives one of those mule carriages for tourists, and then voila, he magically appears right in front of us. We get together with M&M, their NO friends, and Collin and proceed to try to find a place to eat. Collin’s hurt his foot, so can’t walk far, we end up doing decent fast foot po-boys. We try to talk Collin into getting a cane, just for the literary cred/hip factor, but he won’t buy into it. You see people with canes though all over NO.

We split up after dinner and Collin, Theresa and myself, start to pub crawl. We watch the videos, enjoy the surprisingly cheap cocktails and kind of watch the parade of characters go by. It’s not even dark yet and the bartender is having to throw out drunk obnoxious bar patrons. We also overhear the best worst pick-up line of the trip “you know you look just like Danny Gokey from American Idol.” We float around a bit, but then settle in at Lafittes. Josh the bartender was great, lots of fun, friendly – he seemed to be impressed that we were writers and we were actually able to point to a full page ad in the local rag with our names listed to prove it. We’d been drinking a good bit at this point, and started with the shots, I’m even smoking cigars with means I’m really drunk. I was hitting the Yaeger, the rest Goldschager. At one point out of the corner of my eye I think I recognize someone, and run out to the street and sure enough it’s Michael Montlack who edited the My Divas anthology, along with another writer Lewis DeSimone. We continue to party, and get pretty wasted (see my facebook photo album for proof of that). We finally wander back to our respective hotels with anticipations of great hangovers.

FRIDAY: Yes hangovers. We check in at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel to register, get our goody bags and I catch one of the Master Classes on making a living at writing. Like many of these things it’s not so much a class but some guy telling everyone his own story. From what I understand the takeaways were, 1) making a living as a writer sucks, 2) editors suck, 3) you need to move out to the sticks of Kansas, or North Dakota, or Maine if you are going to be able to afford to write as a profession, and 4) if you ever do have a break-away hit and make any money at writing, your friends that are still schlepping around doing literary festivals and master classes, are going to be bitter.

For breakfast/lunch we hit the Clover Grill which was fun, a nice little diner. This also began what seems to be a particular NO theme of impossible hard to find and bizarre restaurant restrooms. At the Clover you actually go through the kitchen, out the back into the courtyard, through around by the dumpster and there is obviously what used to be an outhouse, stuck under a flight of stairs. It at some point had been barely plumbed, but still has the homemade door with the big cracks in the slats. I’m surprised it didn’t have the crescent moon thing carved in the door.

We were all pretty subdued after the escapades of Thursday night. We retired at some point for naps. Collin’s friend had come into town so he disappeared for a while. Later we went to eat at the Camellia Grill, an old diner, where they serve great burgers (I got a fabulous Reuben) and really deliciously decadent chili-cheese fries. (There restroom is actually through the kitchen, and around through a dishwashing area and pantry.) Then we were going to meet up later to catch a movie (Star Trek) in one of NO’s oldest theaters, the Prytania. Now when someone said old theater I was thinking they meant movie palace, and I do love seeing old movies palaces that cities have to offer. The Prytania though is not a movie palace, but actually a pretty small old single screen, community theater. Though the pictures in the lobby show the original building, the place seems to have suffered a horribly misguided remodeling in the 70s. The inside is nice though, and it is a fun little place, Star Trek was fun (my second viewing). On the way home I was dropped of at the W Hotel for a reception that was being held. It was a great party, met some fun people, and the setting of the W courtyard was perfect. It was sort of boutique hotel chic with still a touch of the quarter, and overall just very comfortable and relaxing. After a couple of free cocktails, I’d managed to meet up with Theresa and Michael and Lewis again. We stopped for desserts and I was able to get my obligatory bread pudding fix. We had a great conversation, Michaels a great listener and gets people to really open up. We were even treated to a performance of Theresa’s “Octomom” piece right there in the restaurant. The plan was to go out for cocktails again, but it had been a long day and we kept losing people as everyone would just hit “the wall” and call it a night. By the time we’d made it back to the Bourbon Orleans where Michael was staying, me and Theresa were ready to head back to get some sleep ourselves.

That night though at about 3 am, I couldn’t sleep so grabbed my notebook and went down to the lobby. Instead of peace and quite to get some writing done, I was faced with an army of cleaning staff riding these mini-zambonis all over the expanse of marble floors and others with these back-pack vacuums making this loud alternating whine, whurr, whine, whurr, as they cleaned the upholstery. I actually blocked it all out though and wrote for a couple of hours. Then I realized that I’d left my hotel key card in my wallet which was still on my dresser. When I called up to the room, Theresa had her earplugs in and couldn’t hear, neither could she hear me knocking on the door. So I had to get security to let me in, though it gave me a chance to have a good conversation about NO with the security guard.

SATURDAY: Reading day. There was an early am reading that Megan and her friend Amy were in so we showed up to support. Then afterwards was a memorial reading for Reginald Shepard who’d recently passed away. A quick lunch at Clover Grill and it was back for the Diva reading. It went very well, though I wish turn out had been better. We all got to sign books aftewards.  Also reading were, Peter Dubé, and Christopher Hennessy, and then Collin, Michael and Lewis were there as well. I was ill prepared and a nervous wreck for it. I’m terribly shy about these things, but generally find if I feel half-way prepared and have practiced enough I’m fine. I really hadn’t had a chance to brush up on the work though since early that morning and this was my first actual reading of that piece.

We went back to our respective hotels and then planned to meet back for a reading at FAB which bills itself as “a queer gathering place, museum, gallery and bookstore.” I thought how great, it must be some sort of little cultural center. It is in fact a tiny, tiny, cramped bookstore with every aisle full of one thing or another, and every inch of the walls plastered with decades worth of old posters and paintings by local artists. Stuff here goes way back, even the old porn magazines in the back went all the way back to they 70s (I looked for one of my old Numbers spreads from ’82 but couldn’t find it). So the reading was basically people taking turns standing behind or around the counter, with every aisle packed with a standing crowd to listen. On top of that it was HOT, I understand last year some poor guy had a heart attack. As much as I loved the quant little place, it was probably the most uncomfortable reading I’ve ever been too – the only benefit seemed to be that people were making their sets short. Next year maybe the festival could rent a little portable Penguin AC for the place.

We regrouped afterwards and went to the hotels for a break. Then went out again to the ALLWays Lounge for the “Rough Trade Review” it was out a bit further out, and is apparently the bar for the theater crowd. Collin compared the patrons to something out of a David Lynch movie – all that was missing was the dancing midget speaking backwards. We ended up catching the festival play, which was okay, a decent enough local production. Afterwards we went back out for the go-go boy/burlesque/review – we waited and waited, we were assured that it was going to start soon, but when it finally did it was almost two hours late. It was probably one of the worst burlesque/reviews I’ve ever seen, and I’m a big fan of the new burlesque movement, of which Atlanta has some fine examples of. This felt like a fraternity talent show. The guys were all very awkward (and nothing special to look at), and the skits consisting of a trite set up with the guys rather clumsily “losing” their clothes in fight scenes. One scene in particular of someone putting the moves on another guy in a public restroom and getting beat up was just tasteless and uncomfortably homophobic. After that scene, we left. The show was so bad, it was hilarious for all the wrong reasons.

SUNDAY: Up early and out, a fairly uneventful return trip, though a bit slower with bad weather. We stopped at SONIC on the way back, Mindy apparently really LOVES Sonic.

All in all a good first Saints and Sinners. I’m pushing big time to find a publisher for my new book so by next year I have something to read again.


On the Value of Possessions and New Sunglasses


I just got back in town from spending a long weekend in New Orleans for a writers conference. It was great meeting a lot of new people, getting to do a reading, attending classes, workshops; but the thing I’m most excited about–my new sunglasses. Not to diminish the conference, but that just underscores how excited I am about finding these sunglasses I’d been looking for now for months and was afraid I’d never find. Not to sound like an ad, but god I love my new Rayban Wayfarers.

Now having been in the marketing business, I have to ask myself – why get so excited? To tell you the truth I’m not even sure. I think it has to do with an old brand being revitalized with new colors and a fresh new feel—a classic being reinterpreted for a whole new generation. I just have to go, “yeah that’s me.” I’m reminded that often the best marketing hooks are the intangibles like how a possession can make you feel and how they make you perceive yourself.

Now I have to let you know though, I’m not a hoarder, or clothes horse, or compulsive shopper at all, far from it. I’m cheap. I drive an old beat up car, and am one of those “anti-label” people. So in questioning the layout of a substantial amount of money on a pair of sunglasses, I recognize there’s some major psychology at play.

First I like to think I prize value–in a rampantly throw-away world. Growing up, I always wore izods and polos, topsiders, and ducks head khakis, I was a label whore before Madison Avenue discovered the whole magic of pimping a brand name. The odd thing though was the ones I would buy would be from the outlets where I lived in North Carolina. These were actual factory outlet stores in front of the actual factories, not the fake factory outlets we have today. We bought these because they were quality well made products, they’d last you forever, you wouldn’t have to baby them, wouldn’t have to worry about them going out of style. Isn’t it odd though how in this country, just as the brand name craze took off, the very reasons for them being popular disappeared? As brands were supersized and sexied-up they were being “value positioned” with cheaper fabrics, threads, less fabric and then finally they shipped off for third world manufacture. Any good will and value a brand had built over decades was soon bled dry. It was six-sigma run amuck and bringing everything down to a lowest common denominator. The value proposition became selling the least you could for the most you could for any reason you could dream up. We all became bitches to fashion, but we weren’t looking past the label to what was happening to the product.

This all came at a time too when consumerism was a good thing, or actually a great thing. It was our duty as Americans to spend and spend a lot, then spend some more, to go out and get credit cards and even spend money we didn’t have. We were making the magic that was American happen. Now you have to wonder, in today’s tough times. Will the consumer come to their senses and demand value again? Like we were once bitches for fashion, now we’ve become bitches for WalMart on the other end of the spectrum. We’ve sold our souls to the guaranteed lowest price, regardless of how flimsy and shoddy the product, regardless of the impact on society. What ever happened to the value argument? It’s like the government argument between large and small government, that’s a false proposition – we just want value in our government. Likewise in our possessions, the question isn’t so much expensive or cheap – it’s value—are we getting our money’s worth?

I know that in my new Wayfarer’s I got my money’s worth. No more endless succession of cheap sunglasses, that get broken and scratched and always having to be replaced. I have my new sunglasses, my case, my polishing rag, my little neck rope thing so I don’t lose them. I have something I value. A note to my friends out there now – don’t ever even think about borrowing my sunglasses. Now whenever I go out on a sunny day, I can be wearing the rattiest t-shirt, just some random pair of shorts, but put on these sunglasses and I own the world. I’ll look after these, worry about them, put them away in their case. And just a note to my friends, if we’re ever eating in a restaurant and I happen to accidently leave them behind – we will go back and get them.


4 Poets 8 Hours 1 SUV, S&S Roadtrip

sns1Tomorrow starts the Atlanta to New Orleans road trip to the Saints and Sinners Literary Fest. I’m really, looking forward to it, this will be my first. I’ll be going down with group of friends and fellow poets from here in Atlanta. We’re renting an SUV and taking turns driving down and back. So far as I know, it’s me, Collin Kelley, Megan Volpert and Theresa Davis.

I also get to be on a panel with Michael Montlack, and fellow Atlanta writer, Collin Kelley, with My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspired Them. I’ll be reading my Ava Gardner essay that’s in the book.

You know though with four very opinionated, loud-mouthed poets, locked up in an SUV for eight hours – there’s going to be stories to tell. Hopefully, there will be stories from NO and the festival as well. I haven’t been to NO in a while, since before Katrina.

Hoping to hear some fantastic writers and poets, catch a show or two, party down a bit, and as always, continue my search for the perfect bread pudding.


Madea Joins Starfleet


As much as I thoroughly enjoyed the new Star Trek, I must admit that there was a bit of a jarring moment during Cadet Kirk’s disciplinary hearing before the Starfleet brass, when we learn that Tyler Perry is now running Starfleet. Now we in Atlanta, we weren’t at all surprised. He is a bit of a legend here, with his movies, tv shows, even his own studios in town. A good bit of this success was built on the wildly popular character of Madea, the big and brash gun-toting grandmother. I’m just wishing they had just gone all in. I’m thinking in the inevitable sequel, let’s just have Madea make an appearance.

They definitely need some strong black women in Starfleet. Face it, the new Uhura, played by actress Zoë Saldana is great and all, but she definitely has some issues picking emotionally unavailable men, and thinking she can fix them. That’s hardly a groundbreaking role. We need to see a portrayal of a strong, kick-ass, no nonsense , mature black woman in Starfleet. Madea’s perfect she’s got all the chutzpah, the brass cahones, the fly-by-your-pants bravado of Kirk. She’s not about to take any flak. Like Kirk she’s always running into problems with authority figures. She thinks out of the box, is willing to improvise, take chances, yet always looking after her crew. In other words, she’s the perfect star ship captain.

Sulu: “Captain Madea, a Romulan warbird has just dropped out of warp dead ahead, they’re locking weapons.”

Madea: “I don’t think so – get me that fool on screen. HEY you ugly-ass no good Romulan @#$#^%$, you obviously don’t know who the hell you’re dealing with, this is Captain Madea of the U.S.S. Gonna Whip Your Ass. You need to get that sorry butt of of yours off my damn side of the Neutral Zone or I’m gonna personally shove some big ole proton torpedoes up your ass.”

Sulu: “Captain Madea, the Romulan Warbird has just reversed course.”

I don’t know how the logistics would work, she could always fall into a cryogenic tank by mistake (but that happens in movies all the time – no problem there). Then there will be a whole sequence of flashbacks on how she came to Starfleet, and how she just happened to be the right person a the right time to solve some delicate interplanetary crisis with her unique diplomatic skills – thus saving Earth from certain destruction (again, happens all the time in movies – no problem).

And though it may seem improbably, you have to remember – Tyler Perry now actually runs Starfleet – I’m sure he can pull a few strings.