Profiles In Strange
A little slow on the uptake here, but I have to pay respects to one of the most freakish freaks of all time: Daunte Culpepper. So often the term, FREEDARKO, gets equated with "style" or "flair" or "absurdity," but a huge component of what it means to be FD is to be full of unrealized potential, and no one walks away from the game with more unrealized potential than Daunte. For all intents and purposes, Vikings fans (like me circa 2004) should hate Daunte Culpepper and should be pointing "told you so" at him right now. Indeed after Daunte whined his way out of Minnesota, the flyover fucks on the Vikings message boards were quick to toss out racial epithets, highlight the fact that Daunte was born in a prison, and welcome Brad Johnson (BRAD F'ING JOHNSON) as the new savior. There is something about Daunte's exit from the sporting world though, that is undeniably sad.
I don't care that it was his fault, pride, stubbornness, stupidity, whatever that kept him as his own agent and kept him from playing this year. We are losing one of the bizarre wonders of the athletic form in Daunte. I know there is this racialized way of talking about black football players' physical attributes while focusing on white players' "smarts" or "work ethic;" and I know that the way announcers used to talk about Daunte's "bigness" was as annoyingly common as remarks about "Matt Birk went to Harvard," "Brett Favre looks like a little kid out there," etc. Still, I fear that we may never see another player like Culpepper. There was the story about how Mike Ditka wanted to draft him as a tight end. He almost signed a baseball contract. I remember him tackling the shit out of some guy after he threw an interception. Before the injury I have never seen someone that big also run so quickly with such a cannon of an arm. Culpepper was what steroids are supposed to make you be. Losing him in the NFL would be like the NBA losing Ron Artest, a guy who I still think should play center at some points. The sheer peculiarity of Daunte's skill made him a joy to watch. Almost like some Coen Bros-curated football film.
And now we look destined for a decade of Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, and Jay Cutler. It will be a turning of the tide indeed, but we will have to wait for someone else to bring oddity back to the quarterback position.
Profile in Strange Part II. Some of you may be aware of our roots, and how a decent few of us had a bubbling interest in the indie-rap explosion of the mid-1990s. At the center of this movement was Bobbito Garcia's legendary Fondle Em record label and the fifth release on that label, Siah & Yeshua Da PoED's EP. The EP contained six songs, each a classic in its own right, including the magnum opus, "A Day Like Any Other." Siah and Yeshua had Posdnuos/Dove-type chemistry on the mic and ill fantasy jazz production. Like so many groups from that era, they became ever more obscure. Yeshua remained strong in the New York scene with his group Wee Bee Foolish and I believe he started a label of his own. But Siah became a mystery. One of the most promising voices in rap became a ghost.
There were rumors he moved to Israel or went to law school. Thanks to the internet, I discovered that Siah went to grad school at Johns Hopkins for a poly sci degree. The crazy thing though is that his advisor was then neo-con Francis Fukuyama, with whom he co-authored a paper for the Wall Street Journal on radical Islamism. I'm not sure if this matters to anyone else, but it is blowing my f'ing mind and is perhaps the most FREEDARKO event of my life. To those unfamiliar with Siah (and Yeshua), an appropriate analogy would be like if you were growing up in 1968 and got really into the Velvet Underground banana album, and then the group disbanded and a few years later you found out Lou Reed was making a living as a famous sculptor for Madame Tussaud's wax museum on London. Ill.
At any rate, please listen to Siah: here, here, here , here, and here.
One last thing. The Recluse points to the hilarity of Bossip not knowing who the hell Rashad McCants is in this photo. Perhaps that's a little more tragic than hilarious.
Freedarko will be returning to its regularly scheduled programming of politics and bullsh!t shortly.