LOS ANGELES - Many years ago the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) adopted the slogan "the mind is a terrible thing to waste." It was quite appropriate considering the difficulty many black young people had acquiring a college education. The thought was that many brilliant young minds would never see their full potential and thus would be wasted away.
Today seems to be one of those days where I almost feel as though I am wasting my brain away. As you know, I do like to discuss a little bit of everything. A little bit of news, a little politics, a whole lot of cycling, and a dash of my secret personal life gets revealed every so often in order to keep things interesting.
For reasons I cannot fully comprehend, am in that mood where I can't seem to make heads or tails out of anything - from an idea standpoint anyway. (Further reflection reveals that this feeling happens more often than I care to admit). As I write this draft (initially in longhand before I eventually "polish" it electronically) I am sitting in my "office" at USC watching a multiplicity of images on the different cable news channels as they cover a range of stories.
The big story, of course, is Barack Obama's speech (some are calling it historic) to the people of Berlin. This speech is merely one component of a much larger jaunt that has seen Obama travel to Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel, and will eventually take him to France and Great Britain. An interesting side note to consider is how much of this trip is actually geared toward the American voter - especially the swing voters who are still on the fence when it comes to deciding which candidate to vote for.
While some have tried to paint a portrait of Obama as arrogant - there is no doubt he emits a stately presence. Arrogant or not (and let's be clear, you have to have some degree of arrogance to even consider running for president), you must admit he looked very presidential and looking presidential may be all that it takes to convince some voters he is worth pulling the lever for.
When I was writing the initial draft of this post, I honestly thought I had no opinion of the trip. But after thinking about it more and reading and watching analysis of the trip, I can see the historic nature of it, if for no other reason than we are watching a candidate for president reach heights on a global scale usually reserved only for the Commander-in-Chief.
All pontificating aside, there is still a part of my brain that feels as though it is in a vacuum of some sort and that anything of substance is totally non-existent. Maybe it isn't helping that as I write, I am sitting in the presence of multiple television sets. Strangely I have become intrigued by a Botox commercial that has aired a few times on MSNBC this morning. The woman in the commercial looks so familiar to me, yet I can't place her. And then it hits me - it's Shannen Doherty of Hills 90210 fame. But wait, no it's not her after all. I was positive it was her. It looked like her. But further investigation on the interwebs proved that it was not Doherty, but an actress by the name of Virginia Madsen from that wine movie I can't recall the name of right now.
My brain further degenerates as I return to the more substantive Obama coverage which is sprinkles with some McCain coverage to keep everything honest as the GOP candidate attempts to stay relevant during a week in which his opponent is by far the more interesting one to cover. This leads my mind to veer into other territory and I begin to consider the juicy tidbits I didn't write about the past couple of weeks as I was hypnotized by the new iPhone. What about Jesse versus Barack's balls? (OK, I confess, I believe Jackson referred to them as "nuts" but I like the alliteration of "Barack's balls" better). Phil Gramm versus the whiners? The New Yorker versus...?
Yes, quite a bit to chew on and all interesting and thought provoking when considered individually. But enough has been said about these subjects by individuals with credentials much more impressive than mine. Besides, it doesn't take a genius to realize Jesse Jackson is either jealous or more importantly fearful that the messages Barack Obama espouses have the potential to further reduce Jackson's relevancy - especially if more black people begin to further buy into the notion of personal responsibility trumping victim status. As for Gramm, well he proved exactly why his campaign for president back in 1996 was the Ishtar of of political campaigns. He may actually have been on to something, but his lack of tact and common sense easily erased anything meaningful he had to say. And to think this man has a PhD.
And then there's the New Yorker. All I have to say is this - if you have to explain yourself more than a few times that what you were doing is satire, you have failed more miserably than Star Jones' conversion skills.
When I first began writing today I thought I had nothing to talk about. And to be perfectly honest (how is that we are never imperfectly honest?), I should really be putting more effort into my dissertation prospectus. Well, at least I thought about. That's a start, right? In fact, I even discussed it with a few colleagues who stopped by to say hello and they have actually helped me by seeding some ideas I had not considered prior.
So, maybe the day isn't such a waste after all. Maybe this space isn't such a waste either. I guess I could make the claim that I have unproductive in a very productive manner. I mean it isn't as though my mind was locked into some sort of vegetative state. I have been generating ideas - sort of. And while I don't think this post comes close to being my best work, I also know that you sometimes have to put productivity above artistry. I am not trying to say I am a masterful writer, but I am attempting to illustrate the importance of just getting what you set out to done. I am not advocating doing something half-asses either. But, at least I know I have the opportunity to go back, reflect, edit, and improve upon my work.
Unfortunately my brain tends to wander - lot. I meander and traverse many thoughts and ideas. Rest assured I didn't share every one of them with you lest I embarrass you, myself, or perhaps even someone else.
I have very little knowledge of how the brain functions, so I have no idea how much you may experience the same sort of randomness loose association in your thoughts as I do. Strangely enough there are moments when I do get frustrated with myself for not having a linear focus. It can be unnerving and unsettling because it actually leads me to think how much more successful I could be. But then the right side of my brain kicks in and I accept the reality that it is my randomness that makes me who I am.
Maybe it's not such a waste after all.
Well, I gotta scoot...