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April 8, 2008

Plain Brown Rapper: (W)rapping up the Raps

I will retire from my long-running and sporadic LEO gig, effective five columns hence. It has been a pleasure, indeed an honor, to entertain and educate you these last 15 years.By my best count, this is my 270th Rap. When LEO hits the stands with No. 275, that’s it. I’m outta here. No one can make me write another word ... My reasons might surprise you.I must forsake this role as public agitator, an unpredictable wild card, loose cannon eager to poke the establishment in the eye and lash out at politicians, stupid government policy (a redundancy), “religion,” institutions, and yes, even the media.For a decade and a half I have railed against hypocrisy and double standards, calling for no less than meathook justice.Enough.Herr Friederich Nietzsche said that one who fights Monsters must be careful lest he become one. He further advised that when a man stares into The Abyss, he must realize The Abyss stares back into him.I have found myself becoming the Nietszchean Monster, and my staring match with The Abyss must be called a draw. Neither of us blinked.Though my childhood nickname was “Smiley,” I smile infrequently these days, my face cast in a frown as I ponder the object of my next blazing rage, a heat-seeking Rap yet to be disgorged like fiery bile (in 760 words, more or less).My final forays into The Abyss are under construction and will appear over the next few months.Then I’m done.Here are two opinions for today’s consideration.PANHANDLERS AND THE HOMELESSA while back the Metro Council passed new restrictions on “aggressive panhandling.” Isn’t it ironic that the very same Louisville elite who are oh-so-willing to write that check to Wayside Christian Mission to help the homeless are the first to condemn panhandlers, blanching at the thought of giving up precious spare change to the great unwashed. I guess it’s the face-to-face nature of the transaction that some find too troubling.Panhandlers have another name. The homeless. Major disconnect here.My simplest of questions: How about sparing panhandlers the degrading task of begging for change by a pre-emptive strike of kindness, an offer of money before it is requested?It is your Christian/Jewish/Muslim/Buddhist duty to do so. The Messiah said “give and it shall be given you” (Luke 6:38).Karma, baby, karma.While on topic, let me share something unconscionable shared with me by a homeless panhandler, a member of the underclass.“Mister,” he told me, “did you know that when they arrest us, they take away our IDs and drivers’ licenses. The police don’t givvum back!”That is an outrageous claim, rather hard to fathom, actually. If true, think about this: Those least able to afford it being forced to come up with another $8 or $12 for an ID or a driver’s license, money likely to come from panhandling proceeds.Is this what they mean by theater of the absurd?THE RACE FOR PRESIDENTWe moderate-to-liberal Republicans hail our standard-bearer, Sen. John McCain. We could have done so much worse.Giuliani, Thompson, Romney ... Shall I go on?During the Republican debates, McCain was the only adult on the stage.As far as the Democratic Primary for President, I was for Obama even before Hillary’s recent duplicitous story about her heroics dodging sniper fire in the Balkans.Obama has taken the high road while Hillary lurks the dark back alleys, whispering orders to her Clinton Attack Machine to do its duty: slash, stab and hack.If an African-American (his father a black man from Kenya, his mother a white woman from Kansas) gets elected President, it would wipe clean the slate with respect to our standing in the world community. We start over. We play nice this time.(By the way, in reality, the Clinton 3 a.m. spot would actually be Bill answering the expected call and whispering, “Hillary’s sleeping, sugar. I can hear her snoring. What are you wearing?”)But anyway, I’m Carl Brown, Louisville’s Plain Brown Rapper, and those are just two of my own damn parting opinions. If you don’t like them, sue me. Just remember me when I’m gone. Contact the writer at plainbrownrapper2001@yahoo.com