mike brown, downtown, part 4

coming back in time. reading this is missing this.

this blog’s not ready. it’s either about born-again mike brown thug hirer, or mike brown loyalty clause. both topics that amaze and delight. both important.

i need this blog. i have to write about cincinnati now.


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mike brown, downtown, part 3



dramatization of mike brown ravaging the countryside on a fiduciary crime spree

dramatization of mike brown ravaging the countryside on a fiduciary crime spree

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mike brown, downtown, part 2

the mike brown of post-1991 is a big topic. vast, undecipherable, rarely accessible to the media.

so where to start? his waistline? his shoe size? the signature fedora?

well, let me outline for you what drew me to the “mike brown, downtown” project originally:

as some of us are aware, the bengals have a reputation. various bengals players have been arrested, most virulently among them chris henry, for a variety of reasons and a variety of charges. this is well-known, and it’s kind of the new look, 21st century bungles. the tranformer epic of the bengals is interesting. for a quick contrast example, let me cite some jokes from the 1991-2004 “bungles” and from the post 2007 “bungles”. ok here goes:

the “cheese-poof bungles”

-Q. What do the Cincinnati Bengals & Billy Graham have in common?
-A. They both can make 60,000 people stand up & yell “Jesus Christ” !

-Q. Where do you go in case of a tornado?
-A. The Paul Brown Stadium – they never get a touchdown there!

-Q. What do the Cincinnati Bengals and possums have in common?
-A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road

<web citing>

the “utz sour cream and onion bengals”

-Q. Four Cincinnati Bengals in a car, who’s driving?
-A. The police.

-Q. Why can’t Chris Henry get into a huddle on the field anymore?
-A. It is a parole violation for him to associate with known felons.

-The Bengals knew they had to do something for their defense, but they couldn’t get the defensive coordinator they really wanted: Johnny Cochran

<web source>

ok, so from the above, the bengals narrative from 1991-present is: something about bumbling, but still kind of loveable bungles up until 2004 –> then marvin lewis finally turns the ship in 2005. resurgent and athletic and young, crafty offense, ball-hawking defense –> players start getting arrested, become blacker, criminalized, marvin lewis/mike brown become men “selling the soul of the organization” for hyper-talented but psychotic ball players, convinced wrongly of their own ability to get the best out of these young men. bungles take over the mantle of thug team from the portland jail blazers —> presently, we’re in a potentially transitional phase. i watched the draft coverage for 5 mins when they talked about bengals [i swear only for 5 mins, and even then on accident, i’m not a super-sports jock nerd please believe me, i’m local-sports-get-a-hat-tip-nothing-more regular creative class-type blogger! i sew and drink tea!], and chris berman says “BENGALS, GOOD DRAFT, BUT ARE THEY TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF LIKE THEY SAID THEY WOULD? DRAFTED SOME QUESTIONABLE CHARACTER GUYS, PLUS SIGNED TANK JOHNSON…” something like that, all caps. the moral, if the bengals get good and keep outta trouble, they can probably polish their (and the city’s) reputation a little bit (phew). the leaf is mid-turn over

which leads me into myself. i find this stuff interesting because of the representational politics that go into it; or rather, where (bold and italicized) the representational politics crop up. AGREE WITH ME THAT: YES, the “utz sour cream and onion bungles” are purported to disgrace our city in way that the “cheese-poof bungles” never did, or did much differently.

then, basically, i got to thinking. AIN’T MIKE BROWN A CRIMINAL? AIN’T HE?!??!! AND AIN’T SOJOURNER TRUTH A WOMAN?!?! well look, mike brown is a vast man, like i said above. all kinds of kookie things fit inside him, some of which we’ll get to. buuuuuuuuuut, for a man caught up in legal battles from most of the past decade, with his name smeared in the [business section or local news section of the] papers [that’s important, where you’re smeared or revealed or castigated is just as important as how], you never hear mike brown being included among the “utz sour cream and onion bungles”. fucking hell, mike brown was the first one, for the constant lawsuits over the stadium. his trials are for ripping off the county on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars by making “affirmatively fraudulent or misleading statements regarding the Bengals’ financial position” and using the nfl’s monopoly power to restrain competitive pricing. in this particular case, the charges were dismissed because of statute of limitations, which is to say, not because brown was innocent.

i’ll revisit the particulars, but at the root, i got interested because mike brown, someone brought to trial nearly as much as chris henry (i’m guessing, i’ll tally the numbers later), does not bring the same kind of shame or scandal on our city that chris henry and the other “utz sour cream and onion bengals” do. occasionally, you’ll see people say something along the lines of “mike brown makes us look cheap” or silly, or stupid. but he doesn’t degrade us. he doesn’t make us black (cochran) or criminalized (police, felons). here is a representative mike brown joke:

A Bengals fan tries to get in the stadium with a very young puppy. Security says, “That’s a real nice puppy you got there, but it’s not allowed in the stadium.” The fan pleads, “But please, sir, I got him for Mike Brown!” Security replies, “That’s a real nice trade, but you still can’t bring him in!”

mike brown makes us a puppy. or he makes us look old-fashioned/out-dated. THIS IS IN SPITE OF THE FACT that brown is the one who much more regularly leverages “cincinnati-ness”. chris henry (i’m treating henry talismanically here because he gets the lightning rod treatment) never has claimed to represent what cincinnati stands for. mike brown writes editorials in the newspaper where he flings around what cincinnati stands for and will become. this is a completely different treatment of a figure who is a cincinnati bengal much more than any other single person. and insofar as cincinnati bengals are a grounds for creating “cincinnati-ness”, then examing why mike brown isn’t a criminal is worth thinking about to me. OOOOOOOOOOOOK.

more to say: fan groups, litigation

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mike brown, downtown, part 1

oh the wonder of it, i have a digi-voice again!

the past four months are past, and it’s time to “renew the blog”.

HERE’S how i’m going to pump some life back into this mother fucking blog:

mike brown

our mike brown. mike brown, son of paul brown, son of jim brown, son of tim brown, son of mike brown, and relative of other sundry brown people.

since february, living in the snail shell that is my life apart from mahketewah hall, i thought exotically and exclusively about mike brown (our mike brown).

really i just wrote a paper for school about him a couple weeks ago, but for those 48 hours i was writing, mike brown was my all and my everything (so you say: really all i’m doing is recycling a school paper for a blog post – but i like to think that i saved the good shit for all of you. masticate i say and it’ll be better than before! [because serrrrrrrrriously it was a quick-hit 15 pager, and served a little on the raw side, so this’ll be good for it {i mean you (i mean us)}])

(please listen to me i promise this will be a beneficial dirty dancing-style thought exercise for you about cincinnati)

let’s look at the facts of mike brown’s life.

A MIKE BROWN LIFE (this is a character sketch of the fictional and public mike brown, i can’t claim to know the real mike brown [uuuuuuuhhhhh actually i think he’s full of rot, and i profess to judge]):


HE WAS NO ONE or practically no one until 1991 when paul brown died. consider, he graduated from dartmouth in 1957! is this possible? this means he was professionally active somewhere from 1957 to 1991. the bengals didn’t even exist until 1968. what the hell was he doing? there is an paul brown anecdote, after he hit the eject button in cleveland,  about how antsy a sedate life in the mid-1960s made him. he loved playing golf all day and driving in circles on the freeway, but “gosh golly i’m just a worker” etc. that kind of thing, flexing his work ethic [to reach this status of personhood would be amazing, where you ain’t working and you got lots of loot, and everyone is still like, that dude is itching to get to work. yes indeed.] anyway, i bring up this paul brown story to show how impossibly non-mike brown this story is. this story has to be mike brown bereft because mike simply could not be lolling around with his dad on the golf course too, having accomplished nothing that he, mike brown extraordinaire, can rest his haunches on. mike brown, son of superhero paul brown, can’t exist until paul brown dies. i’m sure he got press coverage, but i’d also guess that 99% of printed material on mike brown is post-1991, and that the number of people who know whether mike brown ever worked another job in his life (especially during his dad’s inter-NFL years of the 1960s) is very few. this is all to say that mike brown we know exists from 1991 until the present and is totally constituted by his job. no bengals no mike brown. so that’s that.

AT THE CONTINUATION: we’ll start the post-1991 mike brown

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i have plans for the summer

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roar-shock cinci, part 3

this isn’t really a blogging, it’s more a small momentum push so maybe i soul-find the energy to do a more serious sermon on something Real at a later date.

this is a incidence trajectory to share a random connect-a-dot. i won’t even grant this narrative because i haven’t the heart.

The Setting: my head

The Actors: two novels, and cincinnati.

i’m just going to list clause-less facts in disorder [internal, before-the-blog’s-even-published update: there are a lot of facts] , and then maybe put them together.

  • in the newspaper freddy durkee promises adult eduction will revitalize careers
  • sinclair lewis wrote babbitt in 1920s [23?]
  • sinclair lewis particularly liked the Optimist Club
  • ferdydurke is named after freddy durkee
  • witold gombrowicz was a polish author
  • sinclair lewis was not a polish author
  • babbitt fictionalizes civic boosterism
  • freddy durkee is not the main character of babbitt
  • witold gombrowicz wrote ferdydurke in 1930s [37?]
  • babbitt is the main character of babbitt
  • sinclair lewis liked to do “fieldwork” on a topic before writing a book
  • zenith is the city in babbitt
  • sinclair lewis is neither upton sinclair nor oscar lewis
  • zenith is a mishmash of many cities
  • in ferdydurke a man is shoved back into humiliating youth and schooling
  • danuta borchardt translated ferdydurke recently
  • zenith most closely resembles cincinnati [oh we all knew this was coming]
  • babbitt grew up in catawba
  • catawba was the wine cinci was famous for
  • longworth wrote “catawba wine” about cinci
  • danuta borchardt wrote that freddy durkee was the main character of babbitt
  • there are other good clues for babbitt being set in “cinci lite”
  • but i forget them
  • sinclair lewis did most of his “fieldwork” on boosterism in cinci
  • ferdydurke is named after freddy durkee
  • freddy durkee is not the main character of babbitt

the arc that i drew out of these facts was (or is) basically:

Cincinnati’s absurdity [disclaimer: not that cincinnati is more absurd than any other city, it’s just the point of articulation for this trajectory]  —-> inspires sinclair lewis to write babbitt ——> babbitt in some odd way inspires ferdydurke

delete the middle, which i think is acceptable in logic [maybe in symbolic reasoning it’s called transmutation?] and you have the following fact:

cincinnati’s absurdity inspired ferdydurke

what do you call that? it’s real, but it’s not intentional or observable or provable in any way.


that was ok fun.

i hate positionality. well it’s ok. but it’s not a puzzle; it’s too deductive as explanation

bruno schulz drew that cover. bruno schulz left his small town as little as possible. almost never. he did go to school in vienna though.

i can feel it building in a hum around me, the genial machine. i’m going, sleeping on the train

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roar-shock cinci, part 2

this is a non-fiction tale:

oh how to start? i don’t do this often, try to tell a narrative of people in situ (as opposed to in print, i love telling stories of the holy words of different persons). hm.

this thing is limitless, where to cut the boundaries? let’s say i was at home, studying feverishly, wane yellow light, snow out the window. it’s december 2007, a day or two before an exam. blah blah this part isn’t very important. let’s quicken the pace.

received a text via my cinci grapevine (which i don’t think i knew existed until this moment), stating, in satisfied tones, that there was a script reading that night for a play titled: “Cincinnnati at Rest”. for free. OH WELL, I WAS HOT AND BOTHERED by this, but i stayed the course and studied for my exam. good for me, pat on the back.

shortly after that exam, i did decide to hunt for this play though, to find out exactly what it was about. followed a bizarre little rabbit’s hole chase through theater collective websites, and off off broadway actor listings. after many odd and unanswered emails on my part, i finally received a response and was connected with the playwright and the email chain of my dreams (um kinda like this, remember? [honest question: how did I ever come across this?! i have no recall])!

well, to cut to the eager-ness of it, according to the play-wright, it wasn’t  about cincinnati, sorry. ACK right? wrong. it was about (the title was, as they say in the biz, working title, and i believe was changed) aaron burr chilling, killing, and pimping (but mostly about hamilton dying).

well “purportedly”, hamilton and burr were both superfanaticos of the Society of the Cincinnati, and the play plays with that idea. big whoop. “did i want him to send me the script?” of course not, why in the world would i want that. go away

EXCEPT, reading his email, and chewing on the cud of my disappointment, i came across this little epiphany: cincinnati is plural.

duh. i took latin. 1 cincinnatus; 2 cincinnati, 3 cincinnati, 4 cincinnati, etc. = 1 tom, 2 toms, 3 toms, etc.

BUT THINK ABOUT IT. we (*ahem* you?) have a city that is in the plural form. weeeeeEEEEEeeeEEEEeeeellllllllllllll. i don’t know, but that’s rare. that’s downright bizarre.i remember growing up, someone would occasionally ask: “name all the teams in the NBA that are not plural”, or someone would ask: “name all the fruits that have a pit”. well to them i say: “name all the cities that are plural” presto: cincinnati.

possible conclusions:

  • at the time, and still, i think this is a very bizarre name for a city. it’s like naming a city after the followers of a great person, instead of the great person mismo. anybody ever heard of George Washingtons, WA? it’s mixing up the act of “believing” with the thing that is believed in.
  • oh this gels weirdly with the whole “cincinnati is a city with dual souls” argument that taylor, jr. puts forward. predestination and jeepers creepers son, that’s all.
  • aren’t we (*ahem* you) just cincinnati instead of cincinnatians? i mean, isn’t cincinnatians like a third-order naming? cincinnatus –> cincinnati –> cincinnatian. is there something debasing in this?
  • this might have some affect on ideas of citizenship in the city. really. hm.

for some reason if i think about this too long it makes me head hazy, and my stomach a little like my head.

society of the cincinnati

society of the cincinnati

post-script: anyway, i communicated some of this to him (in a slightly more restrained manner), and did end up asking for the script. he never replied. shucks dang shoot. life goes.

pps: oh the play was a comedy

ppps: this is one of the stranger blogs. pynchon lurks somewhere here (if i refer, i am pretentious, but literary instead of weird). maybe the chorus.

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