Today it's all about what I will call the FKAs -- the Formerly Known As's.
Not talking about The AFKA Prince, not talking about John Mellencamp, or Hammer. Not even talking about Lew Alcindor or Cassius Clay, or any number of people who have chosen new names or not-names or numbers or names with silent 3's in them or any of that, however silly or serious or motivated by changes in faith, vanity, or rap music branding.
I'm talking about assholes, like the Raiders who left Oakland for LA, and came back when it didn't pan out. Al Davis, you have to know just how much I love it when I see your neck veins pop in frustration. I love it like Bill Hicks loves porn. I can't get enough of it, you money-grubbing, heartless, suck-ass wannabe Napoleon. When I am ready to die and my life is flashing before my eyes, I hope among the images I see is Marcus Allen outrunning the Raiders secondary in a Kansas City uniform, over and over. Only this time, your reaction from the booth is right there on an inset screen. Oh god, I want that. I want that bad. For every young boy who needed a home team to root for and had it taken away because some hill-troll greasy-haired arrogant shit like you couldn't afford a second golden bathtub: Fuck You. I hope the Raiders never win another game until you die.
Woo. That did feel good. Looks like my inner 12-year old boy in me doesn't believe in transcendence.
I am somewhat less annoyed, although in the same vein, by Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens. Cat Stevens recorded some songs I listened to over and over, like Morning Has Broken (taken from an old Christian hymn) and Peace Train. He struck me in some ways like Jim Croce and Jose Feliciano did, guys out there with a stool and a guitar and some songs to sing -- folksy, intimate, comforting -- and it felt good to hear that music and those sentiments made for anyone to hear.
Then Stevens found Islam, distaste for the music industry (who does that leave?), and disaffection for the people who criticized his conversion (unlike Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Muhammad Ali and sooo many others who were treated so nicely). And for that, he didn't just leave music; he denounced his fans and stomped off.
Jesus, Man. Excuse the fuck out of me for enjoying what you recorded and wanting more. I didn't realize I was such an asshole for being sucked in to your little pretend-world of beauty, universal tolerance and world peace. It's pretty damn hard for me to imagine anyone finding those things in organized religion these days, but if Islam does it for you, go forth and prosper.
Just do it elsewhere, please. You wrote us off once. Now you want to spread peace. Well, good for you, 35 years later. Good luck with all that.