tony are you proud of TONY?

game of thronesa mysterious stranger at ask lana asks this mysterious question.

Are you proud of TONY? Notice, I didn’t ask: are you proud of your ACCOMPLISHMENTS, but asked if you’re proud of YOU! Mothers and gods aside; I’m not asking if you are WORTHY of someone’s respect or love or admiration; I’m asking if what you think and feel and believe and how you behave and shit makes YOU proud. Pride doesn’t just come from actions; a lot of it comes from how we THINK; our attitudes, not just our personalities. You can have a great PERSONALITY because you have restraint and know enough not to step on any toes or ruffle any feathers; but!!!!! Attitude is that feeling you have about shit on the INSIDE! Are you proud of THAT? Why or why not?

no. none.

pride, like jealousy, is foreign to me and always has been. probably since school when i would write or do something that i thought was spectacular and the teacher would say “meh”. at that point i learned whatever alleged “pride” i had didn’t matter in the formula.

also theres this: the few times i have achieved great success it was always a team effort. thus the feeling i had was Fortunate, not Pride. i was lucky to have been on the lake park high school marching band drum line. i was sooooo lucky to write at the daily nexus. and likewise i was so lucky to get hired and then get to run LAist with all the great people i got to work with. all of those so called individual awards or stories or poems or actions were learned from my surroundings or inspired by the spirit. my input was minimal other than staying out of the way of imminent greatness.

when i went to the Times and we were hugely successful, that was a variety of things: an interesting math theory regarding (frequency of posts By talented reporters Plus SEO plus great editing plus timing multiplied by Digg/Reddit). but none of it would have happened if i was not allowed the green light to try it on all of the desks at the paper (luck times patience). the theories derived not from my head but from the total feedback from the Technorati Top 100: boingboing did it, so lets try it. it had little to do with me.

even when i blog something good on this blog or think about this blog as a whole, pride does not factor in because this is merely an evolution of keeping a diary in school in a wired notebook to creating a web site to then using blogger and now wordpress.

is the farmer proud when the seed and water and dirt makes a fruit? no, he thanks God and moves on.

of course there are exceptions. this is the only one i can think of.

while at UCSB, at the Nexus, i was given an internal award from my peers. they voted me the best arts and entertainment writer of the paper my junior year. i was proud because there were probably 10 other people who could have won that. our paper was stacked. we’d win best in state for that section that next year and the next couple of years.

so to be voted positively by the people i respected the most meant more to me than when i won state the next year for the whole section.

because duh we were better than everyone else, but how were we viewed internally: that always fascinated me.

tony are you sure you’re black?

two years oldcynical and new busblog reader Lana [Turner??] from naturobetic has many many questions.

Are you absolutely SURE you’re black? I’m having a hard time buying THAT, too! I saw many pics of you and you only look part black in one. Is your father black or part black? I saw your mother’s pic; she doesn’t look black, either. Were you adopted?

And does “being” black REALLY give you permission to call people the N word? Or even utter the N word? It was wrong for Paula Deen and it’s wrong for you! Or, do you just wish you were black ’cause it’s cool?

the great thing about looks is they are deceiving.

when i was born and until i was in about the third grade i was very light skinned, much like the relatives i had on my fathers side of the family. we think my moms dad is cuban, but he could just be canadian.

you see, the records of black people, are not as detailed as those of other races because, well… guess.

my mother and father are really black. they met at a historically black college in Tennessee because believe it or not, but not that long ago blacks were not allowed to go to a lot of colleges – particularly in the south. even if you were light skinned.

so they went to school, met, fell in love. my dad was the president of his fraternity – a black one. my mom was the star of her sorority (also, black).

and when they got married and had children they had two little black kids. one was light skinned one was dark skinned.

like most kids we visited santa in december – long after any summer tan would have worn off and when i was in 1st grade this is what we looked like. she was clearly darker than me. and freaked out by Mr. Claus

me and my sister and santa

then just a few years later we saw him again and something miraculous happened

she was no longer *much* darker than me. also she had chilled.

keep smiling

and just look how my afro was starting to really get gorgeous.

as i got older i got darker. maybe theres a scientific term for it.


and my afro just got bigger.


so anyway, yes, black. and yes, the shade of my skin has lightened since high school.

it’s weird. but real. it’s not a skin disease. i have no blotchy areas.

but, still, black and beautiful. not adopted.

and with that, yes, i can use the n word. much as i like.

and i can travel freely to any part of town.

plus, when youre light skinned like i am, you can also travel freely to all parts of town.

nowadays, especially since i shave my head, mexicans think im mexicans

middle easterners think im from the middle east.

and people tend to project whatever theyre most comfortable with.

as someone who enjoys being a reporter, it’s a great blessing.

is being black “cool”?

it wasnt when i was a kid

until i made it cool.

tony why are you shy?

lana del reynew busblog reader Lana [del Rey???] from naturobetic has many many questions. and as you will see, the queries cannot be resolved simply with a yes or a no and she asked that i remain as frank as possible. so the next batch of posts will be her questions, unedited, and my responses, for yr ass

1) Why are you shy (especially in person)? I’ve seen some of your picture; you don’t look like a little kid (anymore). You seem to be at an age where you SHOULD be comfortable in your own skin (so to speak).

Why are you so fucking reserved? It’s good you have restraint and don’t go off on crazy people like me who dare attack the “world famous” busblog but you not being able to tell people what you really mean or what you really want to say (in person) is odd, given you’re almost 100 fucking years old and should have all the confidence and wisdom in the world by now, so as not to fear their reaction(s)!

Why damn it…WHYYYYY?????!!!!!????? What’s REALLY stopping you from “opening up?”

i didnt start off shy. when i was in kindergarten i was seated next to the shiest kid so we would balance each other. i was hyper and bubbly and he was introverted and quietly hilarious. we were best friends throughout school until i moved to sunny california, we are still friends today and will attend a cubs game in a few months.

we also experienced something that affected me a lot more than it affected him. somewhere in grade school he and i and one other person were considered “gifted”. they put us three in a separate classroom and taught us advanced math and science. we got to work on computers. the pace was much quicker. and while it was great to not be so bored in class, i hated being separated from my other friends.

before this happened, we had originally been separated by some of our friends because they put is in “the advanced” classes. that was a little easier because those classes had 20+ kids. but i missed my burnout long haired friends and all the others. but being in a class of 3 — it almost felt like we were being punished for something. also i rejected the idea that the rest of my friends were dumb or slow or whatever the powers that be thought.

so early on i “learned” that to be perceived as smart brought along the exact same results as being perceived as not-smart: isolation, extra work, limited social opportunities, and an unasked for sign over ones head that says Different.

i was already the only black kid in school. why would i want another reason for people to see that i didnt fit in? kids want to feel like they belong. not that theyre aliens.

so one of the indirect lessons i learned from my actual shy friend was if you chill out, you wont stand out, and you wont get kicked out. sadly we both fucked up when we took the standardized test and answered all 500 questions perfectly.

since then i have been reluctant to either give 100%, shine the light super bright, or take off the clark kent glasses because when i do, it can be super annoying for all parties involved.

wear dumb clothes, dont spell check, and for heavens sake study the one thing no one of any sense really cares about: the good book.

for some reason im not shy around journalists.