meme Archives - The Jose Vilson


Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa, On a Horse

It’s no secret that this manhood series that been intensely personal for me. After reading the latest Esquire issue from cover to cover (June  July 2010 featuring Tom Cruise), I decided to engage in an exercise entitled “What I’ve Learned: Jon Farveau.” I can’t say I’ve had the same life experience or years as the famous actor and director. I do want to end this asynchronous series with a bit of reflection on what I’ve learned about manhood, navigating my way towards an august version of myself.

  • I’m still conflicted as to whether having my father “present” full-time would have done me good or not. When I was younger, I wished desperately for his presence, but as a man, I see that sometimes, things just don’t work out. Even with both parents around.
  • Men try too hard to unlock the mystery of “woman,” and hope somehow that one key works for all. Trust me: it doesn’t.
  • All the cartoons and commercials of yesteryear were wrong: cleanliness for men is extremely important.
  • I still remember my first “crush” but the affinity for her wore off after my first kiss. Mainly because it wasn’t the same girl.
  • I think we desperately need more male teachers, but if they’re only going to be used as people in power, then it’s a waste.
  • I’ve always hated fights, but there isn’t a more furious fight than the one against myself to better myself. That’ll never end.
  • Too many men crack their necks trying to check women out. Yes, it’s warm outside and clothes are more scarce. Yet, I don’t see the need to get wound up like that anymore. My brother, my cousin, and I used to have secret hand codes for that sort of thing. Kept us on our toes. Nowadays, I’m old enough to realize that there’ll be “another one.” Usually.
  • There’s something incredibly alluring about dating an older woman. It’s not just the danger and breaking of social norms as it is that, when you teach her something, she’s got a bigger reaction than if she taught you. Plus, they’re more natural and within themselves. And no, I’m not dating Betty White.
  • I don’t like movies that just blow up stuff and kill people anymore. It’s gotta come at me with a realistic plot, and a lingering message, even if I can’t quite write about that feeling later.
  • Porn is overrated.
  • Ladies, when accompanied by men, should still be on the safer side of the sidewalk. Not even if you’re trying to sell her (jokes!).
  • Nowadays, looking like you’re not trying hard to look good is the best look of all. The right t-shirt and jeans combination goes a long way.
  • Back when I first started on Compuserve (who even uses that anymore?), I wanted to run with the nickname “Iconoclast.” It’s not that I want to break down idols; I just don’t believe in idol worship. I love Martin, Malcolm, Che, et. al., but at some point, men have to find themselves in their rendition of previous men.
  • The first man to ever teach me that it was OK to cry was Mark Jackson (current NBA on TNT commentator and former Knicks / Pacers guard). I remember how passionately he discussed his father’s passing in the playoffs, and it spoke to me. I still carry those lessons on to this day.
  • It’s OK to critique so long as you’re helping to build. If you’re just hating to hate, then you have no business doing it to begin with.
  • Men are dumb. We use whatever intelligence we have to make up for these egregious faults, but we neither have the blood or mental capacity to sustain this Earth, much less a relationship. We make tons of mistakes, and most men probably agree that there’s at least one woman in their life who they don’t feel they deserve.
  • I don’t have children, but if the children from my class were any indication, I should be alright as a father.
  • “There is usually nothing wrong with compromise in a situation, but compromising yourself in a situation is another story completely.” – Immortal Technique

Jose, who’ll start something new manaña.


The Romantics

In my personal journey for growth, I’ve found that the dearth of positivity amongst involved adults can turn any school, well-meaning or otherwise, into a dumping ground of negative soot. In such an environment, it only makes sense that kids suffer. While I don’t participate in too much negative banter nor do I like simply listing problems that exist if not accompanied by some form of solution, I find it’s the responsibility of all adult parties involved to make sure that the soot stays out of the walls of their buildings.

Here are some #eduthingsIlike I like:

- I like schools that aren’t split apart when architecturally it makes no sense.

- I like schools that do the most with what they’ve been given.

- I like schools that look to find ways to work with a child and develop them as whole children before castigating them as special ed or throwing them out as quickly as possible.

- I like elementary schools that teach their students strong rituals and routines before they get to middle school.

- I like middle schools that assume responsibility for making sure they know high school is the real bridge to adulthood, not the phase they’re in at that point.

- I like schools that empower teachers to become proactive leaders.

- I like schools where the sense of urgency is mediated by careful and intentional planning.

- I like schools that teach the whole child.

- I like schools that balance the academic with the socio-emotional.

- I like schools that speak in three languages: the language of the pedagogy, the language of the community, and the language of the students.

- I also like schools that show students the bridge to success in this country without losing a sense of identity.

- I like schools with active parent involvement and after-school programs.

- I like teachers who buy into a larger vision for the school, working towards the students and their needs first.

- I like teachers who balance their discussion of “What the kids don’t know” with “What the kids do know.”

- I like teachers who want to know more than the 180 or so days of instruction inside their classroom, extending themselves and their voices in other arenas.

- I like teachers who are well-versed in politics but see themselves as change agents without deference to educrats.

-  I like when pedagogues talk about building personal responsibility only after they talk about the factors that lead to current (and often underperforming) conditions.

- I love pedagogues who care. And care a lot.

- I love kids, even when they make me want to hold a piece of chalk the wrong way and run it right off a clean chalkboard.

- I love kids who come ready to learn, breakfast in stomach, mind in heart.

- I love kids who, even when they’re not ready, they’re willing to get ready if given a chance.

- I like when we talk about things we are, and not what we’re not.

Mr. V, who is unfettered and unafraid of honesty as a means of activism …

p.s. – Thanks, @tonnet.

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Prepping For My Real Job

June 10, 2008

Damian tagged me, and I must oblige. After all, I tagged almost everyone and their mother yesterday trying to get you all to help me with my most involved effort yet. Damian asked me which of my previous (and worst) jobs helped me prepare for the job I have currently (please tell me you didn’t miss that boat). Let me preface this by saying that I’ve never had a bad job because each job I’ve ever taken either advanced my transparent agenda or helped me put food on the table or paid for college expenditures. Now that that’s out of the way …

I have to say, after working as a camp counselor, concession stand worker at a big movie theatre, student security on campus, and database work at an educational research firm, none quite prepared me for my job or helped me get into the mentality of working with kids quite like my position as the Education Chair of La LUCHA at Syracuse U.

OK, so that wasn’t the worst job, nor was it something I was “hired” to do, but voted in. Of course, some of the readers who already knew me from previous incarnations wouldn’t consider it a job either as I never got paid monetarily. OK, fair enough, but here’s why I was more than prepared for my work with children after helping to lead that organization:

1. I had to learn quite quickly to not take things too personally. I had a big habit of doing it because, really, I put my whole person into that organization. Unfortunately, some people don’t view it the same way nor do they see my vision for the org. It prospered, but not like I’d hoped.

2. Making real change happen takes a lot of personal sacrifice. On the one hand, I had a drive very few matched when it came to that org, and when I wanted a real change to happen, I worked as hard as possible to make that change happen, sacrificing a whole lot of time I could have spent doing a whole lot of nothing.

3. I must make personal time. On the other hand, I also had to take some time for myself, and often, I didn’t know when to step back and do that.

4. Constant feedback and reflection are a vital part of becoming the best. At first, I didn’t take constructive criticism or any other type for that matter too well, because I thought the organization at the time needed a vast change and I was the only one who could bring it. Then, I was asked to get humble. And quick. I reflected on where that criticism came from and what much of that negativity would mean for the legacy I was trying to leave behind. But it wasn’t about me. It was about the org. Once I came to that epiphany, I started to work quietly, adjusting my game plan for the great good.

5. Sometimes, the best reaction is to let the chips fall where they may. There’d be days when certain people would bring a lot of negativity in my direction, trying to force me to react or fire back in a way that’s “unbecoming” of a leader. Most of it was immature, and they tried to intimidate me to step down. I wouldn’t. Rather than respond, I let everything pass, because I knew there’d be a moment when karma would inevitably take care of everything, which sure enough, it did.

6. Dealing with administration takes time, patience, and professionalism. No matter how unprofessional the professionals are, and no matter how “in the right” you are, there’s a time and place for every protest, question, or even comment. Professionalism will more often than not help your case.

7. Never let a moment in which you can teach someone go to waste. Never.

jose, who will not lose …


Howl If You Hear Me

June 9, 2008 Jose

Allen Ginsberg is the man. As a resident Lower East Sider and poet, I’ve always heard of his stuff, and respected him on street cred alone. Little did I know that this whole time, I’d already been exposed to Ginsberg through one of my already favorite poets, Amiri Baraka. In “Somebody Blew Up America,” he […]

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The Truth Is …

June 2, 2008 Jose

Yes, I popularized this meme. Don’t let any other blogger tell you differently. The truth is … I don’t care who’s reading this. The truth is … I’m cheering for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in the Finals. The truth is … we now know why Kobe is the MVP. The truth is … stats […]

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A Little Fun While I’m A Lotta Sick

May 8, 2008 Jose

Wow, my face feels like a lemon-meringue stuffed pie. And I’ve been blowing my nose all day trying to get the stuff out. Ugh! This is the first time in what feels like a year or so I’ve actually been sick, versus in previous years when I’d be sick every week or two. I’m proud […]

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Short Notes: There Really Is An Apple Taste In Apple Jacks

March 9, 2008 Short Notes

The leftovers: 1. Wait, you mean Obama actually won Texas? Well then, maybe the MSM (mainstream media) has a lot to think about when it comes to responsible journalism. Not that I’m for or against either candidate, but it’s important to present the facts. 2. My impressions of Squidward and Gary of Spongebob Squarepants fame […]

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