I Approve Of Kanye West’s Name Choice: North West

June 24, 2013 at 10:38 pm , by 

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

A week ago, I spent a lot of time carefully writing about  ABC 20/20′s “D is For Dad And Dumb,” in which they advised dads for Father’s Day, “don’t be an idiot.”

I proposed that 20/20 do a segment about how dads are tired of being  portrayed as classic idiots. I suggested they show that the modern dad is very involved and caring.

They could interview me and let me explain it on national TV how a normal dad feels about the way we were are stereotyped. It could be a segment called “D is For Dad and Dignified.”

[Insert crickets chirping.]

But in hindsight, what I think people really want to read about these days is what Kanye West and Kim Kardashian named their daughter:

North West.

So today, I’m going to be relevant. I’m going to talk about what Kanye West named his daughter.

My response is, “Really? That’s it? That’s the worst he could do for his child’s name?”

Especially from the wondrous and innovative Kanye West, I was expecting something like really out there like Armageddon, or Platinum, or 808s.

Instead, it’s a name that I personally think is kind of cool. At least, it’s a whole lot better than a lot of the names that are popular these days; ones I won’t publicly admit I think are weird.

Of course, if I was going to name a kid North, it would be a boy’s name…

So to name a baby girl North, it seems a bit different; yet again, not that weird compared to other girl names I hear on Facebook.

Granted, the most peculiar part, I guess, about the name North is that the last name is West, which is a very specific direction.

But… I don’t know, compared toAmerican Idol winner Phillip Phillips, it’s hard for me to see how “North West” is much more than quirky, at worst.

I totally don’t care what Kanye West named his daughter, as I shouldn’t. If anything, though, I think I might be slightly disappointed that he didn’t choose something more bizarre.

Ultimately, if Kanye West needs my approval on his child’s name in order to keep his level of self-confidence, then let it be clear:

I approve!

Tune in tomorrow when I talk to you about something that actually matters.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Photo: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com. (Kanye West in the press room at the 59th Annual Primetime.)

Why There Can Be No Male Equivalent to the Jordin Sparks Song “I Am Woman” or “Independent Women” By Destiny’s Child

I’m so vain, I probably think this song is about me…  

Thursday night on American Idol I watched Jordin Sparks perform her latest single, “I Am Woman.”  In the likeness of so many popular songs celebrating the empowerment of (single and independent) women, the lyrics of the chorus go like this:

I am (I am) woman (woman)
I am (I am) woman (woman)
I’m a woman
I’m a woman
Yes I am
Ain’t nobody else can do it like we can

But what if instead of Jordin Sparks singing the song, it was the dreamy Scotty McCreery, and he changed to lyrics to be masculine?  No one would hear, “I am man, yes I am, ain’t nobody else can do it like we can.”  Instead, the song lyrics would be perceived as “I am conceited, I am narcissistic.  I’m a jerk.  I’m a sleezebag.  Yes I am.  Ain’t nobody more of an a-hole than guys like me.”

Is this a double standard- that women can sing songs about being proud to be independent and successful, but if a guy did the same thing, he would either A) not be taken seriously or B) become despised by women?

No, it’s not a double standard.  Because only in recent decades has it truly become acceptable to desire for men and women to be socially equal.  Women have had to struggle to get where they are in society today, but men haven’t had to play the underdog gender throughout history.  So it’s ironic to the point of extreme arrogance for a man to boast about his successful independence.  I’ll illustrate this further my “masculinizing” the lyrics to “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child.  I’ll emphasize the very worst parts in bold print:

What you think about a guy like me?
Buy my own car and spend my own money
Only ring your celly when I’m feeling lonely
When it’s all over please get up and leave

Please don’t call me baby
Cause I’ll call you
Don’t mean to hurt you feelings, got a lot to do
Cause I am my number one priority
No falling in love, no commitment from me

All my independent men
Throw them hands up at me
And all my sexy men
Throw them hands up at me

All my money making men
Throw them hands up at me
All my baller men
Throw them hands up at me

How you feel about a guy like this?
Try to control me, girl you’ll get dismissed
Do what I want, live how I wanna live
Buy my own golf clubs, and pay my own bills

Where my males?
Where all my men?
How did you feel about this groove I wrote?
Hope you got the message men take control
Don’t depend on no woman to give you what you want
Keep that in mind next time you hear this song

If you’re independent
I congratulate you
If you ain’t in love
I congratulate you
Do them girls like they used to do you
If you pimp her
I congratulate you

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule that guys can’t/won’t/shouldn’t brag about their gender in a song, like Brad Paisley’s “I’m Still a Guy.”  But hopefully most people would realize that song was meant to be an innocent, humorous caricature of men.  Maybe another exception would be so many of Kanye West’s songs- but even then, he’s bragging about himself being awesome, not about men in general.

‘Obviously, it’s important that women are socially and economically equal to men. But do women also want to be A) physically equal and B) emotionally equal? And C) does it help a woman in the business world to “act more like a man” by “being less emotional?” And D) do I sound like a jerk or at least naive for asking any of these questions?’

I asked the above questions word-for-word on Facebook for some input.  Based on the answers I received, here is how I would answer those questions:

A)  No, there is no desire to be physically as strong as a man.

B) No, there is no desire to hold in emotions the way men do, or at least they way they seem to do.

C) It can.  And this is a good example of an actual double standard between the sexes.

D)  No, because the motives are sincere in asking the questions.

The most sober and sobering thoughts I can learn through this social survey is that men and women are different for a reason.  They both have their own strengths in which they can compliment each other with.  Imagine how life would be in this world if men and women were truly equal in every way.  Scary, if you ask me. I would have to give birth, express my emotions, and never be able to truly “think about nothing.”  My mind would never stop and I would constantly be thinking about at least 10 different things at once, all the time.

That’s way too exhausting even for a strong, confident man such as myself.

The Hipness of Jesus Christ: Why the God of Christianity is Cool in Modern Culture

Jesus is not my “homeboy”, but He is pretty cool.

It seems that while growing up in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, the name of Jesus wasn’t really common (or acceptable) in mainstream entertainment.  Maybe it’s the fact that we as a nation are more aware now of the infiltration of different religions such as Islam in recent years, so we’re becoming more outspoken about Jesus than we used to be.  Because if we still are indeed a “Christian nation”, it’s Jesus we would need to be down with.

I do believe that the name of Jesus will always be offensive in the sense that He is the main factor that separates Christians (Protestants, Catholics, Messianic Jews, etc.) from other religions, including Judaism, as well as distinguishing those who simply “believe in God or a higher power” (theists).  However, I believe we are at a point in history and culture where “Jesus awareness” is at an all time high.

From Carrie Underwood’s 2005 number one hit, “Jesus, Take the Wheel”, to Kanye West’s 2004 hit “Jesus Walks”, which only peaked at #11, but saw great commercial and critical success, to Mel Gibson’s (yes, he has gone crazy since then) 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ, which become the 8th highest grossing movie of all time (at the time), the highest grossing R-rated movie ever, and the highest grossing non-English movie ever, America continues to prove that even in our desired choices of entertainment, Jesus is in demand.

Whether or not the average American truly believes and trusts that Jesus is the Son of God, it’s safe to say that the average American has at least a basic understanding that Jesus was put to death on a cross to redeem the sins of mankind, past and present.  And that He came back to life three days later.  And that during his lifetime, He performed all kinds of miracles, like walking on water, healing blind men, speaking dead people into existence, and feeding thousands of people from just a couple fish and loaves of bread.  Whether or not the average American believes all this to literally be true, they at least are familiar with these basic concepts.

Even if to the average skeptic, Jesus is nothing more than a respectable movie character played by forgettable non-Jewish actors with blue eyes, this black sheep of the Jews ultimately puts us all in a position to whether we have to either recognize Him as the savior of mankind, or dismiss Him as either a good intention or completely irrelevant to life.  Either Jesus is who He said He is (God), or He’s not.  Either we associate Him with the meaning of life and the afterlife, or we don’t.  And especially in modern America, we have so been made aware of who He is at this point; it’s just a matter of what we do with that knowledge.

I’ve thought about it, and honestly, even apart from the fact I truly believe Christianity is the answer to all our “meaning of life questions”, and that out of all the religions, it’s Christianity that is the “right one” for me (because let’s face it, out of all the religions in the world, only one can be right in the end when we die, so it’s important to pick one and stick with it while we’re still alive), apart from all that, even if I wasn’t a Christian, I still would vote Jesus as the “coolest god”.

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (not a man) and a virgin.  Right off, that’s so scientifically impossible.  So I like it.  He never sinned; which is spiritually impossible.  I like that too.  His first miracle was turning water into wine at a really nice wedding. Cool.  He instantly stopped a really bad storm out at sea by saying, “peace, be still”.  The fact that Jesus went against the rules of nature is a major selling point for me.

Jesus came in the form of a Jewish man, who pretty much was a hippie type, who rebelled against the established religious culture of His day, challenging them to show their love for God to be authentic by taking care of the poor, the widowed, the unloved, and the sinners.

And based on the unproportionally high number of popular American Jewish actors and writers who we make rich in the name of entertainment, and based on the fact that just as many Jews who actually live in Israel who live in America (both Israel and America each contain about 40% of the world’s Jewish population), I’d say we Americans are known for embracing the Jews, whereas so many nations throughout history have rejected (understatement) them instead.

According to Christian belief, Jesus Christ is coming back to Earth to set up His millennial kingdom, in which all of us who believed in Him get to be a part of.  The way I see it, Jesus is not only the real deal; He just happens to be pretty cool too. But at the end of the day (and our lives), we will have made it clear through our words and actions just how relevant Jesus is to us personally.  And no matter how hip or popular (or uncool or unpopular) He may seem, we still choose in this life how important He is to us, for eternity.

“1985 I missed a plane, which then disappeared, never seen again.  You came to me Jesus, stood right in my way. You flew down from Heaven to save me again. Hallelujah, hallelujah.” -excerpt from “Stay with Me, Jesus” by Guster


Unnecessary Bonus…

Classic Books that Americans Love which were Written by Jewish Authors:




Why Everybody Loves Taylor Swift (Plus, Does Taylor Swift Have a Heart Tattoo on Her Foot?)

This is the year of Taylor Swift.  America loves her.  Not just 14 year-old girls twittering about New Moon.  What is so universally likeable about this 5’11” Pennsylvania native?  She’s truly different.  She’s herself.  And she’s kinda dorky.

She’s normal.  Down to Earth.  And most importantly, genuinely humble.  And for a mega-celebrity, that makes her stick out.  In a very good way.

I have so much respect for Taylor Swift.  Not because of her clever songs which she writes herself (which is extremely rare in Country music) or her superstar status.  But instead, her extreme maturity for her young age.  And her sincerity.

And while much of old school Nashville sourly balks at her success, there is a reason she has made it this far at age 19.  She has the ability to connect with other people.  No matter how well a song is written or performed, it’s the feeling that a listener can relate to the artist and/or the song that causes popularity.

Her character was epitomized during that pivotal Kanye West moment.  She didn’t defend herself.  She didn’t get angry.  She didn’t cry.  She didn’t run off stage.  She just stood there.

And while she has allowed the media around her to poke fun at Kanye’s actions in her presence (SNL and the CMA Awards, in particular) she hasn’t bitterly belittled Kanye West via television or Internet.

That’s not what we are used to seeing.  That’s different.  That’s unique.  That’s class.  She set her self apart from everything artificial we could assume about someone in the entertainment industry.

Last night I tuned in to watch The Office but instead of that being on, NBC had a special about the most intriguing people of 2009.  They saved Taylor Swift to the very end.  In her interview she explained that she has always been herself and how important that is to her.

She’s right.  That’s a lot of why so many people are drawn to her.  (She sold on Madison Square Gardens in literally one minute.)  She’s real.

Taylor Swift doesn’t have to sell her music by dancing in skimpy shorts while pretending an ice cream stand is a dance pole at a strip club.  Or kiss Madonna at an awards show.  Or try to be edgy in any way.  She doesn’t have to try to be anything.  She just is.  Herself.

She’s just Taylor Swift.  And despite her outward appearance and her talent, she has a dorky side that shows through.  That vulnerability and humbleness intrigues people.

Authenticity is hard to come by.

Bonus: Does Taylor Swift have a heart tattoo on her foot?

The answer is no.  It’s not real.  She explains in this interview that is was drawn on to entertain the idea of getting a real one.

Manspeak, Volume -1: Boyspeak

During the summer of 2000 I was a camp counselor in Florida. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I had to make my campers think that I did. Each week I teamed up with a different co-counselor and ruled over a new cabin full of 16 boys, ready for action and trouble. Every group of boys had a natural leader, a natural rebel, followers of both, and occasionally, what I call the Boy Wonder.

He was the most misunderstood. He had the hardest time fitting in with the rest. He was in his own world. And he really didn’t mind. Because I am convinced he didn’t realize any of this.

Of course most boys encounter these traits at some point in their boyhood; some just take longer to grow out of it, if ever.

It was camp policy that every counselor had at least one of his campers with him at all times (like Sonic the Hedgehog and his rings). The Boy Wonder of the group usually ended up being the one I spent the most time with. There was something in it for both of us: I would be his faithful friend and he would be my camper-at-all-times.

The most memorable Boy Wonder was an 8 year-old named Daniel, complete with a pasty white complexion and perfectly straight bangs running across his forehead. Everyone learned his name on the second day of camp, when he threw up his corndog and tater tots inside the cabin after lunch. As the other counselor cleaned up the mess, I watched all the boys outside.

The easier job would to have been to clean up the puke. Because outside the cabin as I tried to stabilize the situation, Daniel chased all the other boys. They were afraid to get near him because of the vomit all over his clothes and face.

But ultimately, Daniel wanted to be the comedian of the group. And in a way he was: There were times he made the other boys laugh, but they were always laughing at him, not with him. His jokes were too familiar and too predictable (knock-knock’s and chickens crossing the street). It’s like he began realizing that by the end of the week, so he decided to start making up his own jokes:

Q: “What did the anteater say to the ant?”
A: “May I eat you or may I lick you?”

I remember what happened as soon as that joke was delivered. A few seconds of silence passed as this non-logical riddle fell flat. Then, it hit us all at once. The entire cabin roared up in a session of uncontrollable laughter. The joke made no sense: Why would a talking anteater politely ask his victim if he would prefer to be eaten (and die) or licked (and survive)? And why would being licked even be an option anyway? And that’s why it was inevitably hilarious.

Somewhere out in central Florida today is a high school senior named Daniel. Maybe his jokes got better. Maybe he started fitting in with the other boys. But if I know Daniel, he still hasn’t grown out of his Boy Wonder phase.

He would be far from the first. Classically, I’m referring to Gary Busey. But more recently, any man featured on a “celebrity” reality show on VH1.  And even it weren’t for the recent MTV Video Music Awards incident, I would still say it.

Kayne West.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

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New News

I live by an invisible list of things I will never do. Here is one of those things: “Never become involved in a quick sale unless I am the one pursuing the salesman or the store, not the other way around.” The fact is, calling in the next 10 minutes isn’t what entitles a person to a double order or a bonus gift, as they advertise in the commercial.

Those things are included either way. It’s just that the marketing department knows statistics show that the overwhelming majority of people who call in to order the product, do so in that time frame. It helps the fence riders to do business or get off the pot.

And that is just part of the dirty art of the Quick Sale. There is a reason certain salespeople are so aggressive. It usually is because of the high mark-up of the item. Or they are paid on commission. Or because the item plays on the potential customer’s emotions or wishful thinking.

If the “cure” for male baldness is ever found, there won’t need to be a commercial to advertise for it. Word will get around. Until then, there will always be desperate souls who respond to the infomercial and buy spray paint for their heads.

There is a shortage in the world for new information. People are desperate for it. On Monday the local news channel kept showing advertisements for the 10 O’ Clock News saying, “Find out how Kanye West may have hurt others besides Taylor Swift in the Nashville area…” When it finally aired, the story was simply that some girls from Taylor Swift’s high school didn’t like seeing their hometown hero deprived of her full award speech.

Two words: That is totally lame and no one cares.

I am supposed to be a Twitter fan. It is a great networking tool for writers, yes. But constant, pointless status updates totally annoy me. The deeper issue is this- I want to learn something new. My brain is a sponge for new perspectives and hidden agendas. Twitter isn’t the best place for that. It just constipates my flow of thoughts like the equivalent of junk food.

When I was a kid I remember one day asking my dad if the news reporters would ever run out of news to report. He said there would always be weather and crime, even if nothing else was going on. And that is true.

But what the world does run out of is interesting news. When Kanye West is the highlight of both the local and national news, it says something to me about what news really is. Just like the fact that not every summer has a huge blockbuster movie, not every week has a world-changing news story. Sometimes the news is simply a social blunder. It may appear petty on the surface, but if it is worth of capturing the attention of the entire nation for a week, it obviously holds some serious value.

Regardless, I took the bait. Especially once I heard what the President called him.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqtTESz24gU

And from there, I add to the noise, helping to put Kanye West into the same dreadful category as Paris Hilton, Octomom, and Jon & Kate. The category of “you’re so annoying, why are you everywhere I go?” which in turn sells the most magazines and gains the most clicks on website links.

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“That which has been is that which will be and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. -King Solomon (Ecclesiastes)