Drive ’em crazy

Langston-hughes-bday

Langston Hughes wrote:

“Looks like what drives me crazy don’t have no effect on you. But I’m gonna keep on at it ‘till it drives you crazy, too.”

In poetry, Langston Hughes discovered both the philosopher’s stone and the fountain of youth.

Through the rhythmic interplay of word and feeling, he created worlds of magic that lifted him above the sorrows of his time.

To his chagrin, there was one too many who failed to resonate with his passion for the alchemical art of transforming hopelessness into happiness.

Yet, Hughes’ message to them was clear and decisive:

I will not conform to you. Instead, I will influence you into conformity with me.

I refuse to be discouraged by the apathy, cynicism, and quiet desperation of those who are not set ablaze by the fires of creativity.

I shall be relentless in my devotion to that which arouses me, and in doing so, I will eventually arouse you too.

I don’t know if Hughes’ strategy worked on them, but it worked on me.

Thank you, Langston Hughes.

You somehow managed to transcend time again and now you’ve driven me crazy.

I hope I can do the same to someone else.

And even if I don’t, I promise you that I’m gonna keep on at it too.

Sincerely,

T.K. Coleman

11 thoughts on “Drive ’em crazy

    1. I wish you would include more quotes from women and some thoughts from women philosophers. women are more than half the human race… #justsaying

      If you are genuinely interested in supporting and encouraging my ongoing efforts to publicize and promote the intelligent, inspiring, and insightful words of female artists, authors, thinkers, and leaders, it may help for you to know that I run a page on Facebook called “Women Just Like Us” and another one called “A better Me” where more than 80% of the content is created by female artists and authors. I update both of those pages at least twice as much as I do this particular blog. In other words, on a daily basis, I quote women a lot more often than I quote men. Feel free to check out those quotes anytime you like.

      As far as this particular blog goes, I am not currently taking suggestions on who I should quote or how I should write. This is my philosophical play-space where I challenge myself to use writing as a tool for exploring and expressing various ideas based on my interests and creative impulses at the time. Because this blog is not designed to be the end-all-be-all of everything I believe and stand for, I use other platforms and activities to advance other causes, agendas, and creative undertakings. I do not burden myself with the unnecessary pressure of forcing myself to give equal weight and representation to everyone or everything I feel passionate about on this particular blog. So, I’m not going to interrupt the creative flow of what I do over here in order to make conscious efforts at keeping track of how many people in each underrepresented demographic I am quoting. That kind of thinking would undermine the very energy that makes me feel inspired to write on this blog everyday. If you have some quotes from female thinkers and philosophers you’d like to see me share, feel free to send a message to my Women Just Like Us Facebook page. I am always on the lookout for more inspiring and intelligent quotes from insightful women.

      Also, you just so happened to post your request for more women quotes on a post I wrote about Langston Hughes. As I am sure you already know, Langston Hughes was a biracial poet and, hence, also a member of a demographic that is often overlooked and undervalued when discussions on poetry, philosophy, and literature arise. Did you have any thoughts you’d like to share about him or any of the things I wrote about in this post?

      By the way, I also hope I don’t receive more unsolicited suggestions in the future about who I should quote or how I should write #JustSayin

      1. I am always genuinely interested in efforts to advance women. I visited “Women Just Like Us,” and see that it is administered by your colleague Fiona MacNeil. If you are the one actually running it, I think it’s a bit misleading to do so under the name Women Just Like Us, given that you are a man (or at least you appear to be a man).

        A Better Me looks to me to be the FB page for the coaching site/business you share with Ms MacNeil and the content you share comes from other pages targeted at women as I imagine your coaching practice is also targeted primarily at women. As a marketing tool, it would make sense for the majority of the content of the page to come from other women-centric pages.

        Re: “I also hope I don’t receive more unsolicited suggestions in the future about who I should quote or how I should write.”

        I simply expressed a desire to see more quotes from women. Surely “comments” are meant for comments, regardless of their nature? I didn’t see any rules for commenting on your blog, perhaps I missed them. In any case, I’m sorry to have unknowingly violated them, and I think I’m now clear on what I’m allowed to do and where with respect to your online presence. That said, I’ve never been much good at following rules – doing so interrupts my creative flow. However, as you well know, you can always choose not to approve my comments 🙂

        I don’t believe I said anything about how you should write in this comment – is that in reference to prepositions previously?

        As far as more inspiring and intelligent quotes from insightful women, I will message links to Women Just Like Us. In the meantime, and for convenience sake, here is a link to my @SheQuotes Twitter account:

        Regarding Langston Hughes, no, I was not familiar with him, and no I don’t have any thoughts to share about the content of this post in particular.

        Thanks again for clarifying your position.

  1. Further to my comment above:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_female_philosophers

    and from this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_philosophy:

    “The blog Feminist Philosophers hosts the Gendered Conference Campaign, which works toward increasing the representation of women at conferences and in edited volumes, citing that “all-male events and volumes help to perpetuate the stereotyping of philosophy as male. This in turn to contributes to implicit bias against women in philosophy….”[8]

    On March 28, 2011, the blog New APPS published a post examining the persistent sexual harassment faced by women in philosophy, due largely to “serial harassers” continuing to work in the field despite widespread knowledge of their actions. The post proposed that, since institutional procedures seemed to have been ineffective at removing or punishing harassers, philosophers socially shun known offenders.[9] The story was subsequently featured at Inside Higher Ed[10] and several blogs, including Gawker[11] and Jezebel.[12]

    Re feminist philosophers here:

    http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/gendered-conference-campaign/

    From one of my own blog posts:

    http://amazingwomenrock.com/invisible-women-where-is-half-the-worlds-population

    1. I am always genuinely interested in efforts to advance women.

      I respect this interest of yours and I identify with it quite deeply. As a man of color, I am very sensitive to many of the kinds of challenges experienced by “minorities” (for the lack of a better term). I commend all efforts by all people who choose to raise awareness of those who are often overlooked.

      I visited “Women Just Like Us,” and see that it is administered by your colleague Fiona MacNeil.

      This observation is correct. My partner, Fiona, is the admin/creator of the page and I am a content creator (along with three other women) for the page. As someone who shares in her passion for publicizing and promoting the inspiring and insightful words of female thinkers, I find great joy in playing a major role in keeping the wheels churning on that page. On an average week, I curate roughly 30% of the material that gets posted on the page and I share nearly half the work load required to market and grow the page. Given my rich appreciation for female thinkers, I consider it an honor to be a part of such a page.

      If you are the one actually running it, I think it’s a bit misleading to do so under the name Women Just Like Us, given that you are a man (or at least you appear to be a man).

      I hope it is now clear as to why there is nothing misleading about the page or my involvement with it.

      A Better Me looks to me to be the FB page for the coaching site/business you share with Ms MacNeil

      Appearances are a tricky thing. It’s actually the other way around. The A Better Me Facebook page has been around since 2011. A Better Me Coaching was founded two years later. Our coaching practice was named after the Facebook page in tribute to the work we were already doing on Facebook to inspire people.

      and the content you share comes from other pages targeted at women

      Actually, more than 75% of the content comes directly from A Better Me and does not originate with other pages. You can take a look at the photo albums on our page in order to gather a more accurate view of where the bulk of our material comes from. Additionally, half of the “other pages” that we share are actually our own. We own 12 different inspirational pages in total. The other half are pages of friends or other people we support.

      as I imagine your coaching practice is also targeted primarily at women.

      That’s not an unreasonable guess, but here’s the reality: Our clientele consists of people from all backgrounds with no special emphasis on physical attributes. While we do have a target market, this target market is not based on gender considerations at all.

      As a marketing tool, it would make sense for the majority of the content of the page to come from other women-centric pages.

      If one were operating under the assumption that the page was indeed a marketing tool for a predominantly female coaching clientele, then that conclusion would make sense. However, that assumption has already been undermined. Here’s the actual explanation: the posts on A Better Me are based on what we believe will actually help and inspire people. The high number of female oriented posts is based on the simple fact that Fiona and I actually enjoy what a lot of females have to say. I actually posts lots of quotes by women because I actually believe that lots of women have a lot to say and I feel passionate about sharing their content. This is consistent with my earlier comments to you about me quoting women far more often than men.

      Re: “I also hope I don’t receive more unsolicited suggestions in the future about who I should quote or how I should write.”

      I simply expressed a desire to see more quotes from women.

      And I simply expressed a desire to not hear suggestions as to who I should quote or how I should write.

      Do you regard that as inappropriate? Would you prefer me to only comment when I like or agree with what you have to say? You are free (judging by the fact that I have never blocked or deleted your comments) to honestly express how you feel about the things I say on my blog. Am I not free, in your opinion, to honestly express how I feel about the things you say on my blog?

      I would expect that you are willing to receive honest feedback in the same manner as you’re willing to give it. Do you feel as if I am wrong or unfair in my having this expectation of you?

      Surely “comments” are meant for comments, regardless of their nature?

      Absolutely! Does that same observation not apply to my comments as well? Are my comments about your comments subject to a different standard?

      I didn’t see any rules for commenting on your blog, perhaps I missed them.

      I didn’t see any rules for commenting on my blog either. So, that’s makes two of us.

      Perhaps it would be useful to make a distinction between the establishment of a rule and the expression of a conviction. The former involves telling people what they are allowed or not allowed to do. The latter is simply an articulation of what one thinks or feels about something.

      When I said “I also hope I don’t receive more unsolicited suggestions in the future about who I should quote or how I should write” I was expressing a genuine desire in the same way you did when you said “I wish you would include more quotes from women and some thoughts from women philosophers.” Were you telling me what to do or were you just being honest about your desires? Were you establishing a rule for me or were you expressing a personal conviction? I suspect that our answers to those questions are probably the same.

      In any case, I’m sorry to have unknowingly violated them, and I think I’m now clear on what I’m allowed to do and where with respect to your online presence.

      No apologies are necessary because no rules were given to you as to how you should interact with my online presence. You’re allowed to do whatever you please. Your actions might not always have the effect you want, but that’s not the result of some restriction being imposed upon you. When I tell you that I’m not taking suggestions for who I should quote on my blog, that’s very valuable (and honest) feedback for you. It lets you know that your efforts in a particular direction are bound to be futile. You can still make suggestions if you want, but I’m just letting you know that I won’t be following them. That’s not a rule. That’s just honest feedback about your suggestions. If this is my blog, don’t you think it’s fair for me to express my opinions about the comments people make on my blog?

      Now here’s what I do find interesting: in a previous interaction with you on this blog, I offered you a compliment. You responded by saying you felt I was being patronizing. Without debate, I quickly reworded my compliment in order to more accurately express my sincere feelings of appreciation for the work you’re doing. You responded by correcting my use of grammar. I responded by referring you to two articles that pointed out the misconception that your correction was based on. Notice my behavior: I didn’t cry “foul play.” I didn’t refer you to my non-existent “rules.” I didn’t ask you to leave me alone. I didn’t accuse you of being patronizing towards me. I didn’t block or delete your comments. I didn’t attack or question your character. I engaged you directly. If there were any rules on my blog, it would probably be the following: While all comments are welcome, please do not bother commenting unless you are prepared for the experience of receiving feedback about your own feedback. If you engage me or challenge me, I may do the same in return. So, just make sure that’s something you’re open to before you publish your comment.

      That said, I’ve never been much good at following rules – doing so interrupts my creative flow.

      You are as free as you have ever been to remain undisturbed in your creative flow.

      However, as you well know, you can always choose not to approve my comments

      The best indication of what I’m interested in doing is my actual behavior. If I were interested in blocking you or deleting your comments, I would have already done so. My actual behavior, therefore, would seem to suggest that I have no qualms or misgivings towards engaging you in this space. The block button is reserved for people who I think are outlandish, disrespectful, and nonsensical. I am not even close to using my block button with you. What does that tell you?

      I don’t believe I said anything about how you should write in this comment – is that in reference to prepositions previously?

      Bingo 😉

      As far as more inspiring and intelligent quotes from insightful women, I will message links to Women Just Like Us. In the meantime, and for convenience sake, here is a link to my @SheQuotes Twitter account:
      https://twitter.com/SheQuotes

      I look forward to checking out the twitter page and I look forward to you sending me links on Women Just Like Us. Feel free to do the same for A Better Me as well. It’s a much bigger page and the things I share on there get much better traction.

      Regarding Langston Hughes, no, I was not familiar with him, and no I don’t have any thoughts to share about the content of this post in particular.

      Fair enough. Well, as someone who is passionate about promoting underrepresented thinkers in all demographics, I am pleased to have introduced him to you.

      Thanks again for clarifying your position.

      Thanks for expressing appreciation for that. And thanks for sharing your thoughts as well.

    2. I watched this clip a few times and honestly got choked up when he got choked up. I’ve never seen Tootsie, but I am really interested now. Gosh, so much stuff to watch and read. Quick question: You began your comment with “Perhaps this will help.” Were you referring to something something in the Drive ’em crazy post, the comments, or a previous discussion? I feel like I understand the video, but I don’t want to miss out on the connection between the clip and the topic you feel like it may help me with. Thanks for sharing, Alana.

      1. Hi T.K.

        I realized after posting that above video was an ambiguous
        choice, given the comments in this post. I was just leaving
        the office when I posted it. Thought about it at home.

        I am a big fan of Dustin Hoffman and was very taken with his
        heartfelt remarks. I sometimes operate on a “stream of
        consciousness” level and sensed that you would have a deep
        affinity for this video.

        With the preface of “perhaps this will help” I was also hoping
        that others would feel similarly too.

        He’s definitely touching people as it’s gone viral.

        Seems like I parachuted the link in without providing proper
        context or connection.

        At the risk of stirring up more controversy I will simply add
        that I have reservations about feminism, but realize this is
        not the forum (or post) to elaborate.

  2. Do you regard that as inappropriate?

    No.

    Would you prefer me to only comment when I like or agree with what you have to say?

    I have no preference either way.

    Am I not free, in your opinion, to honestly express how I feel about the things you say on my blog?

    Completely free.

    I would expect that you are willing to receive honest feedback in the same manner as you’re willing to give it.

    Totally willing.

    Do you feel as if I am wrong or unfair in my having this expectation of you?

    Not at all.

    Does that same observation not apply to my comments as well?

    Absolutely.

    Are my comments about your comments subject to a different standard?

    Not in my opinion.

    I didn’t see any rules for commenting on my blog either. So, that’s makes two of us.

    Apparently we agree on that.

    Were you telling me what to do or were you just being honest about your desires?

    I can’t tell you what to do. I already said I was expressing a desire.

    Were you establishing a rule for me or were you expressing a personal conviction?

    It’s not my blog, I don’t make the rules.

    I suspect that our answers to those questions are probably the same.

    Indeed.

    If this is my blog, don’t you think it’s fair for me to express my opinions about the comments people make on my blog?

    Totally.

    Now here’s what I do find interesting: in a previous interaction with you on this blog, I offered you a compliment. You responded by saying you felt I was being patronizing. Without debate, I quickly reworded my compliment in order to more accurately express my sincere feelings of appreciation for the work you’re doing. You responded by correcting my use of grammar. I responded by referring you to two articles that pointed out the misconception that your correction was based on. Notice my behavior: I didn’t cry “foul play.” I didn’t refer you to my non-existent “rules.” I didn’t ask you to leave me alone. I didn’t accuse you of being patronizing towards me. I didn’t block or delete your comments. I didn’t attack or question your character. I engaged you directly. If there were any rules on my blog, it would probably be the following: While all comments are welcome, please do not bother commenting unless you are prepared for the experience of receiving feedback about your own feedback. If you engage me or challenge me, I may do the same in return. So, just make sure that’s something you’re open to before you publish your comment.

    Are you inferring I have attacked and questioned your character and that I am not open to engagement or being challenged?

    What does that tell you?

    Based on what you have just written, that you have not as yet thought me to be outlandish, disrespectful and nonsensical.

    Thanks for expressing appreciation for that. And thanks for sharing your thoughts as well.

    YW.

    1. Are you inferring I have attacked and questioned your character and that I am not open to engagement or being challenged?

      I do not feel you have attacked and questioned my character, but I did have questions (not judgments or assumptions) about your openness to being addressed in the same straightforward and direct manner that you use when commenting.

      Anyone who feels comfortable 1) telling me that I sound patronizing and 2) correcting my grammar is, in my opinion, sending me a signal that says “I feel very secure with saying what I think and feel.” And those are only two examples by the way. But you have been very straightforward and direct (which is not to be confused with rude and disrespectful) in other comments as well.

      I consider that a virtue. Many people would be afraid to correct another person’s grammar or to tell them that they sound patronizing. But you do not strike me as someone who suppresses or sugarcoats her opinions out of fear and insecurity over how others may respond to you. Again, I think that’s a good thing and I offer no condemnation of your communication style.

      With that being said, however, I was genuinely surprised by your reaction when I engaged you in a manner that was also straightforward and direct. You reacted as if you were simply being honest about your convictions and as if I was involved in a different sort of activity. This is why I asked you that series of questions about my comments being subject to a different standard from yours. You have now answered those questions with clarity and precision. So, those questions are no longer questions for me.

Please share your thoughts

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s