That time I creeped on Sasha from The Walking Dead.

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You all probably know her as Sasha Williams on The Walking Dead. I knew her as the National Poetry Champion at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events (AFA-NIET) tournament of 2006, and I was star-struck before she killed her first zombie. Here is that story and an embarrassingly quirky moment that is my life.

Collegiate forensics competitions have nothing to do with crime or cutting up dead bodies like many assume when they hear that the college forensics team is recruiting and looking for members to join. It’s speech and debate at the collegiate level.

I was actively involved with the forensics speech and debate team at Minnesota State University-Mankato in which we would write speeches, cut and splice literature to make argumentative performances, and travel just about every weekend to compete for trophies or as we used to say on our team: we win trophies for what we do with our mouth. Every tournament win was a chance to qualify for the coveted chance at competing at the national level at the AFA-NIET tournament.

Oh AFA. Where the best of the best speakers in the nation would gather with hopes of breaking into out rounds. While I was always confident when I was at state and regional tournaments, the AFA-NIET tournament was always the tournament that always made me doubt my abilities, and I spent most of my time in rounds in complete awe of the talent that I was up against. The downside to this was that I always have a habit of completely embarrassing myself because of how socially awkward I can be around people, especially around those that are extremely talented and those I am inspired by.

It was a preliminary round in Poetry. I was always nervous at the national tournaments because you could pretty much count on just about every performance to be on fleek as they say (now, not back then, but I digress).

She walked in, completely resolute in her confidence. And that hair, it was gorgeous. Look, I appreciate when curly hair looks good, because I can never get mine to cooperate; it’s always the hottest of messes. It was styled to perfection, but more importantly she was a genuinely nice person and sincere in the small talk she engaged with her fellow competitors in the round. She performed a poetry program on shoes, and the role they had in shaping gender and personal identity performance. Her interpretation of the literature and performance was awe-inspiring. She weaved in and out of characters, and the audience felt the range of emotions that she was experiencing through her both her execution of the performance and the poetry. A program of poetry all about a seemingly generic topic of shoes. The critical social commentary and arguments she created with the intertextuality of the poetry in her program was everything but generic.

She finished her performance and took her seat next to mine. I was still completely blown away by what I had just experienced. I was star-struck. This would have been the perfect opportunity to congratulate her on her performance; to tell her that she was an extremely talented and inspirational speaker; powerful. What did I do?

I sheepishly smiled and said,

“You’re so pretty, and I really love your hair…”

She awkwardly smiled at me and nervously replied, “Thaaaaanks?”

I don’t think she meant it in a rude or dismissing way at all, I think she was honestly perplexed as to how to respond to not only what I said, but how I said it.

She then asked to be excused from the round as she had other events in this round she had to get to. I was in mid face-palm when the judge called my name to perform. I loved my piece and loved performing it, but I knew…I already lost that round and a part of me was glad she wasn’t able to stick around to see it.

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Sonequa not only pwnd in that round, but she went on to win the well-deserved title of National Champion in Poetry for the AFA-NIET 2006. She now stars on The Walking Dead as Sasha Williams.

I very much doubt (and don’t blame her) that she remembers who I am, and I sincerely hope she doesn’t. If she does, she remembers me as that really weird creeper guy from the poetry round that she completely dominated from the speech tournament she completely owned.

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GCB Date Night-Forbidden Fruits

A dear friend of mine from way back when (who has since moved miles away) and I discovered that we both share a common guilty pleasure. Our hearts have been stolen by this little gem of a show called GCB. This show makes me so happy I’d be willing to compare its effects on me to the kind of drug that makes you euphoric for no apparent reason. The women are so vicious to each other, yet admist all the backstabbing, the cattiness, and good ole Christian shenanigans is a delightful and touching story arc between a prodigal daughter and her mama, the pillar of her hometown community, who is claiming her second chance to better express her motherly love.

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GCB, based on a book by the title of Good Christian Bitches has made quite the impression through the conservative media circuit. Many are upset that the the portrayal of Christians in this show gives the impression that Christians are hypocritical; gasp!

Fox News Upset with GCB: Damn that liberal media with their attacks using fancy generalizations!

However, I have to believe the majority of audiences are going to be independent critical thinkers who realize adhering to generalizations like all Christians are hypocritical and believing these generalizations are true for all cases is problematic. Kind of like generalizing all Muslims as terrorists. Kind of like generalizing all gays are promiscuous or pedophiles. Kind of like generalizing all women as sluts just because they are taking a stake in their own reproductive health. Oh wait, that last one wasn’t a generalization, just faulty logic. My dear friend Jon summed up the right-wing’s response to the show perfectly.

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The truth is there are some folks out there who act exactly like the women in this show. Perhaps they are a wee bit overboard (again, it’s TELEVISION!), but even those who aren’t necessarily fans of the show agree women like this exist. Author of blog, Preacher on the Plaza agrees the portrayal of Christian women on the show is off-putting. Her reasoning is the interesting part: “And while, yes I am a fan of satire and not taking one’s self too seriously (appropriate uses of humor are always good, I’m with you Alan on this one), I have to say that I was saddened by GCB because I felt so much of the show IS TRUE.”

I would argue the show isn’t seeking to portray Christian women or an attack on those with faith. There are examples in the show of overcoming the pettiness and bitchiness illustrated by remarks regarding becoming the better Christian that sheds light on the complexity of  following a faith such as Christianity. It points out that rising above and  following the intention of true Christianity is in fact difficult and commendable. When one chooses the path of smiting those in the name of religion and judging others in the name of religion, things are not only going to end badly for you, but you serve as the comedic plot line for that evening’s episode.  Remember when it was the gay character who played the fool and served as comic relief? GCB uses the device, but uses it in a far more critical and ingenious way. It is the actions of the person that make them the object of mockery, not simply what is on the surface level. In other words, the show isn’t making attacks on the religion of Christianity nor making caricatures of the women in the show simply because they are Christian; it is making attacks on those who are quick to abandon their self proclaimed principles in order to knock someone down for selfish reasons.

So, back to my dear friend, who shall go by the name Sister Kel, who shares in this new guilty pleasure of mine that is GCB. Upon our discovery of our shared love, we decided to make a date night this week and watch the episode together. We even delayed our viewing until the day after it was aired, so that we could still watch together despite the different time zones. If the fact that we were able to wait a whole day after it was aired just to watch it together doesn’t impress you, I don’t know what will. Below is a list of some of the highlights and some snippets from our texts back and forth as we eagerly viewed the episode.

WARNING: The following contain spoilers for Episode 5: Forbidden Fruits

Some of my own personal takeaways from the episode:

  • Cricket’s rendition of Amazing Grace rocked my world.
  • Carleen’s brother is dreamy.
  • The sibling rivalry between Sharon’s kids looks to be an entertaining addition to the show.
  • Carleen and her scope make me so happy.
  • Using Sheryl Crow to get back at your fellow Christian brethren will turn off those of virtue. Abuse of power makes you ugly.
  • Carleen and Cricket’s face when Gigi “takes the bull by its horns” = priceless.
  • Bozeman is hot. His character is supposed to be in High School. I feel dirty and compelled to blame the liberal media.

Snippets of my conversation with SK:

The Situation is Grim…

I can see why millions tune in to Jersey Shore. I do, I get it. Curiosity. When I heard there were people on the show with names like “Snookie” and “The Situation”, I too was intrigued and thought to myself: This has got to be a magical show with epic storytelling that involves rainbows and unicorns of some kind. I was wrong…

What I can’t understand is why people keep watching. On the other hand, it was an inspiration for one of my favorite episodes of Bones thus far. So, for that I am grateful for the existence of Jersey Shore. 


“This is called the crab; it will intimidate him!”
I suppose in some form or another we are all slaves to the machines!
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