Cutting Room

The Cutting Room: 2008

Jose Vilson Jose 6 Comments

Cutting Room

Cutting Room

Thanks for the plentiful comments, everyone. I definitely replied to each one. After writing an admittedly great personal year-in-review last year, I actually thought I’d have a harder time writing this second one. Nonetheless, they were both fun. As usual, there are a few things I leave off the post, mostly because some of it didn’t flow with the rest, but other times, it’s because, frankly, it was inappropriate for the feeling I was trying to convey.

I have no such inhibitions now.

Top 10 Omissions

10. Revolution: Rewatching V for Vendetta and Malcolm X in separate instances, and sobbing over my rice and beans.

9. Blogging: I know I brushed through this really quickly, but it’s worth noting. I have a friend who I’ve known since my Syracuse days who I had a chance to hang out with in a bar. She’d known me well throughout SU, but some of what she felt she knew about me changed, especially what happens here in my blog and my other writing. Some people, including her, presumed that that my writing here in my blog was inconsequential, despite my accomplishments through it. This all came to a head at the bar, where, as we’re discussing this very topic, a young lady who I knew on Facebook came up to me and said,

“Excuse me, are you Jose Vilson?”

“… Err, yes …”

“Oh my God! I read your blog!”

Of course, I laughed, and tried to be gracious, but ended up with one more hater! Hilarity ensues. It was cool, and it wasn’t a big deal as far as our friendship was concerned, but if I could have taken a snap shot of that particular moment, I would have, and posted it right here. Since then, she’s alleged that “it’s like she barely even knows me.” Maybe so, but for now, just pass me my beer, please.

William Mark Felt a.k.a. Deep Throat

William Mark Felt a.k.a. Deep Throat

8. Politics: The death of William Mark Felt also known as “Deep Throat.” I really didn’t know much about the Watergate scandal, and the elaborate descent of Richard Nixon to really understand the depth of his resignation, until W. Mark Felt’s death. His revelation as “Deep Throat” has become a beacon of courage for whistle-blowers who boldly seek justice for the under-served. From the whistle-blowers of Enron to the continuous whistle-blowers that we call bloggers, we all owe at least a bit of gratitude to “Deep Throat”. With the current administration, it’ll become more imperative to write right the wrongs of these corrupt government officials.

7. Censorship: Here’s an example of why self-hosting is the only way to go for serious bloggers. Hasta Los Gatos Quieren Zapatos (“Even The Cats Want Shoes” in Spanish) has rather incendiary material, but nothing more than I or The Field Negro may have. To wit, I have them linked in my sidebar for a reason. Even still, someone took them to task and hit that little “Flag Blog” button at the top of the blog, ensuring that, whenever anyone went into their blog, they’d be met with a warning label. Fuck that shit. If I want to curse and rant, I will, and no one can stop me. I know it costs a little more (anything is more than free, I suppose), but the price for independence is well worth it.

6. Songs: “Pussy” by Brazilian Girls and “Don’t Touch Me (remix)” by Busta Rhymes feat. Spliff Starr, Reek da Villian, The Game, Lil’ Wayne, Nas, and Big Daddy Kane were two of my favorite songs this year. Yet, I don’t think “pussy, pussy, pussy, marijuana,” or “don’t touch me, nigga!” would set a good tone for an inspirational post … right? At least not for this educator. Oh and while I’m at it, “Microphone Fiend” by Eric B and Rakim also blared through my speakers.

5. Commentary: I wrote a post entitled “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” where I write about one of my alum who had recently revealed he was bisexual. From that, this is probably one of my favorite comments of the year. It reminds of me of the scene in Milk in which a disabled child talked to Harvey Milk on the phone anonymously. I’ll probably never forget it. Ever.

4. Quotations: My favorite quote of the year comes from Barack Obama and not what you expect:

“If I had to name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility. Greatest weakness? It’s possible that I’m a little too awesome.”

Barack Obama at the Alfred E. Smith Dinner

I put that up on my FaceBook page, and I thought people were ready to fling their heels at me. Speaking of which …

MAD Magazine: George W. Bush, We Stand By Our President

MAD Magazine: George W. Bush, We Stand By Our President

3. People: I don’t know how many times I’ve gotta say it, but in the words of Keith Olbermann:

“George W. Bush is my year’s WORST. PERSONNN IN THE WORRRLLLLDDDDDDDD!!!”

And he’ll probably continue to get nominations until every troop is out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

2. R.I.P. – The deaths of Isaac Hayes and Bernie Mac. Isaac Hayes was a musical inspiration, and despite his dealings with Scientology (geezus krist!), I still respected and loved the man’s musical talents. As for Bernie Mac, his gumption and panache on stage and on his TV show inspired me to break my personal barriers of censorship in the name of speaking those truths. Oftentimes, the social interactions we have with one another limit the reality we feel. Bernie Mac, at least on stage, felt no said inhibitions. Rest in peace, brothas.

1. Online vs. Offline: The difference between me online and me offline is approaching zero. At least that’s what I’m aiming for. Yet, I also want to make it clear that, when it comes to my job, I try to maintain a sense of professionalism. Earlier last year, I had to handle an incident I’d rather not go into too much detail about. Rather, I’ll just expound of this: blogging has apparently become so hazardous, even those who have no interest in it follow up on what I’m doing based on what I write, hoping to catch something I’ve written about them. It’s nonsense. Then, it gets uglier when personal friends get involved, and then I’m asked to be the mature one amongst people who I’d consider my “elders.” Not that age is directly related to maturity, but for me to have been in that mess in the first place almost discouraged me from writing in public as a whole. No pseudonyms or secret identities. Just go phantom.

Then I said, “Fuck that. No thanks. I think I’ll go back to writing.”

And I have you, the reader, to thank. Even if I know you in person, please note that that feedback propels and inspires me to speak as loudly as possible. This educator thanks you.

Jose Vilson: Looking Over the Pier

Jose Vilson: Looking Over the Pier

Jose, who wishes you all a safe and happy new year …

p.s. – my image of the year:

Kareem Rashad, the Soldier

Kareem Rashad, Soldier

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 6

  1. Leesee

    Thanks for the mention Jose, we are humbled. We are still working on the self-hosting thing, we hate that warning button. It will happen in 2009.
    Happy New year to you, by the way I like the way your blog looks: modern, elegant and confident.
    Keep doing what you’re doing you inspire those kids and show them possibilities of how things can be.

  2. Amber

    There is not much I can say behind this. 2009, just like 2008 is a year to make a number of changes. You have been very successful in many of your changes, although sometimes it makes people who consider you one of their closest friends feel distant from you, (pokes ribs).

    I hope to close some major distance between the image of myself I know and the one people online know this year. And a number change is in store. I have had the same phone number since I was 19. I just can’t say I want to be reached by the same people anymore. *sigh.

    Anyhow, I love you and thanks for being a great friend and inspiration.

    Later,
    Me.

  3. Post
    Author
    Jose

    Leesee, I’ll do my best with the “inspiring children” thing. And as always, if you need any help, I can try to be of service.

    Amber, thank you for inspiring me as well. It’s reciprocal admiration, friend.

    LD, year-in-reviews are hard to write, so take your time. Good luck to you anyways :-).

    Frum, I haven’t been a great commenter either. It’s one of the side effects of having Google Reader give me everything. I gotta make the same goal (to be a better commenter).

  4. Pingback: This Blogging Shit Is No Joke | The Jose Vilson

Leave a Reply