The Story Of O, by Michael Davis

Michael Davis

Master Of The Universe, Lord Of All Media, Most Interesting Black Man In the World, Sexiest Man on Earth, Mentor, Writer, Artist, Producer & Uppity.

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30 Responses

  1. Tony Isabella says:

    Wow. I'm just looking at the screen with my jaw down somewhere below my keyboard. Wow.

  2. Elayne Riggs says:

    Not to defend the dickwad at all, but from the POV of someone who's been hustling for months to get full-time employment again, I can tell you that waiting is sometimes very hard. I don't have a choice, but being in limbo is a tough thing to do, and not everyone is cut out for it.

    • Vinnie Bartilucci says:

      So how many of those companies have you left abusive text messages for, Elayne?The kid sounds like every stereotype you've ever heard about the "urban youth" who wants everything handed to him. For all the kids Michael has helped, he's the one that the bigot will point to and say, "You see? What'd I tell you?" You do not have to come to everyone's defense. Some people don't deserve it. Some you are totally allowed to laugh and point at, especially if the person who has done so much for him is TELLING you to. This wasn't a tragic tale about a kid he tried to help and who stabbed him in the back, it's the story of an unappreciative dumbsh*t.I can only hope that he's a YOUNG dumbsh*t, and has time to learn and grow a bit. I'm assuming he had some small talent, Cause Michael doesn't strike me as the type who'd keep the project alive if it was valueless. When you've got all those eyes on you WAITING for you to screw up, you can choose to rail against them and wait for Mommy (or President Mommy) to come and save you from the bullies, or you can dig in and succeed anyway. On the whole, one hold greater promise than the other.

    • Michael Davis says:

      True-but I feel the same way about people who work in retail that treat their customers like crap-they should find another job. I'm just in the store looking to buy something. I am not responsible for what ever problem you have which is making you treat me badly. This is made worst because his reaction comes after I have helped him in the first place. The real problem I have with O is he took advantage of my relationship with Denys and another executive who gave of their time and energy to take a look at O's stuff because I vouched for him.

  3. Michael H. Price says:

    Wow, indeed. Tough insights, there, man. The presumption of entitlement may be the biggest obstacle to the long-term effectiveness of any mentor-to-protege relationship.My school-days apprenticeship to George E. Turner — an accomplished illustrator and film critic, later an H'wood storyboarder/FX artist and editor of AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER magazine — involved the learning of patience as much as any technical skills or critical-thinking processes. I use that sense of patience more so than any other such ability. Comes in downright handy, with eventual payoffs more generous than any immediate gratification. My greatest payoff involves a long-term equal partnership with George, on a long-running series of movie-history books among other projects — continuing well beyond his demise, and still reflecting his generous influence.I've had a few appreciative proteges of my own, in the newspaper and cartooning rackets, and an even greater number of ostensible proteges who have been keener on "ripping off your energy," as Robert Crumb puts it, than on learning to lay the groundwork for something worthwhile to take place. The "entitled" ones burn out rapidly — and often burn their bridges in the process. The mentorship imperative remains in place, of course.

  4. Mike Gold says:

    Some folks have a strange sense of entitlement. They think they are owed something out of proximity. I've

  5. Greg Hatcher says:

    I assure you this phenomenon is not confined to African-americans. I saw almost the same scenario play out a few years ago with a friend of mine who happens to be gay, and the kid he was trying to help went off on him about being "self-hating," "closeted," and a member of the "Pink Mafia." None of which were true, or relevant. Another time I saw it happen with an older AA member trying to help a kid who'd been clean for ten months and needed a job. Both of the guys in the mentor position have helped an incredible number of people in their respective communities. Both of them have impeccable credibility. Both of them came from very bad times initially and pulled themselves out pretty much on nothing but willpower and raw talent, they owed nothing to anyone… they spent time mentoring because they were hoping to ease similar struggles for those who came after. And after being bit in the hand that reaches out once too often, both of them do a lot less mentoring now than they used to do. Part of it's unearned entitlement, but I think the rest of it's just plain invincible self-obsession. Kids like this don't SEE other people at all, let alone think about the consequences their actions might have for others like them down the road.

  6. Russ Rogers says:

    For another perspective on how to treat your mentors, I would point everyone toward an essay on ComicMix:http://www.comicmix.com/news/2007/11/23/thank-you…Dr. Davis, you end your essay by backhandedly calling "O" a punk. That's what he is, a PUNK, or at least that is how he acted with his recent text messages and voice mails. "PUNK," it's a good word. It's derogatory and descriptive. It implies a certain level of immaturity on his part. It implies a certain level of anger on yours. It's fairly gender neutral (although if I was asked to draw a "PUNK," I would draw a male figure) and it's race neutral."NIGGER" implies race baiting. It's derogatory. But the connotations of the word preclude it from polite discourse. I'm turned off by the word. I know that you take a great deal of time in your essay redefining the word to limit it's context. You go on to make the disclaimer that you are black, your best friend is black, that not all black people are the "N" word. I understand that what "O" did was offensive and that you wanted a neat, compact way of expressing your anger. I know you didn't want to be polite. But, "NIGGER" was still the wrong choice of words.You said, "I doubt if Denys will be open to a follow up meeting with O after being called a faggot. That word is just as offensive as the “N” word to some in the gay community. Denys is not gay but that does not matter: using that word to describe anyone is career suicide in Hollywood."You are right, the word "FAGGOT" is just as offensive as the word "NIGGER." I don't think you need to be gay or part of the gay community to find it offensive. Using the word "FAGGOT" injudiciously should be tantamount to career suicide in the entertainment industry or most any other industry that relies on polite conversation. It would be hard to remain open minded after hearing the word "FAGGOT."Why isn't it that way with the word, "NIGGER"? Why isn't the word "NIGGER" career suicide? Oh, that might be the direction that polite society is moving. But not quickly enough.I know, the rules of speech shift depending on who is talking. In our society, it seems it's considered less offensive for black men to use the word "NIGGER" or gay men to use the word "FAGGOT." There is the argument that people are taking the word back, empowering themselves by disarming the words that were once used to put them down. I think that's bullshit. I think it just keeps alive archaic words and hateful concepts.Let's put this another way. What if the mentor and student were both Jewish? All other factors about the essay are the same. Would it be fair for the angry mentor to turn around and call his former protégé a "KIKE"? No. Not even if he took the time to redefine the word. It would be race baiting and a distraction from the author's main point, that a punk will bite the hand that's trying to help them. It would be race baiting and offensive, even if the author took the time to say, "You can be any faith and still be considered the 'K' word in my book."I will push my analogy too far (because I'm long winded and don't know when to stop.) What if the mentor and protégé were both women? Is "CUNT" a fair word to use in this context?Again, words like "FAGGOT," "KIKE," "CUNT" and "NIGGER" have meanings and connotations that reverberate beyond our attempts at limiting their definition or scope. They fall under the broad category of "Hate Speech." The words censor themselves from polite conversation. They don't belong. The words stand out like sore thumbs, making all the other concepts around them difficult to grasp. I know, you weren't trying to be polite. You meant to shock. You knew someone was going to take the bait and hit the "reply" button. Still, the word "NIGGER" remains a distraction from what is otherwise a very interesting and enlightening essay.

    • Vinnie Bartilucci says:

      "Why isn't it that way with the word, "NIGGER"? Why isn't the word "NIGGER" career suicide? Oh, that might be the direction that polite society is moving. But not quickly enough. "Many people, Chris Rock a good recent example, have done discourses on the difference between "Black people" and "niggers". Yes, the word (or various (mis)spellings of it) is used as a friendly term, or a taunting jibe by folks in the black community, and that's not what I'm talking about. When used as a derogative by the black community, it means "You are living up (or down) to ever stereotype in existence, and you should be fuggin' ashamed of yourself." IOW, "You are ACTING LIKE a hateful thing." When used as a derogative by a NON-member of the black community, it usually means, "You ARE a hateful thing". An important distinction.It's the same as an Italian telling another "You're being a total guido" or a comic fan telling another "Don't be such a fanboy". It's a warning or admonishment thet your actions are making all members of the group look a little worse in the world's eyes.The Boondocks episode "Return of the King" had a positively killer speech by (the in a coma for decades and not actually assassinated) Dr. King about this – well worth seeking out. We've become so knee-jerk cautious of certain words that we've forgotten the importance of context. Don't get so afraid of words that you don't use them at all – just be careful you use them properly. Words are as potent a weapon as any, and should be used with care and caution. Don't make the mistake of deciding that some words are too dangerous to be used at all. That route is doubleplusbad.

      • Russ Rogers says:

        Vinnie Bartilucci makes some interesting points. For those of you interested, here is the "Return of the King" speech from the Boondocks:

        ;=relatedI find it very funny. Party because the use of word "nigga" by Dr. King is in a satire. You can get away with more when you are dealing with comedy. You can get away with more than that if the comedy is actually funny.I haven't seen that episode of the Boondocks, but for context, you can check out the Wikipedia article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_of_the_King_(Boondocks_episode)Here is Chris Rock's tirade against niggas:

        ;=relatedI was struck by the line, "Books are like Kryptonite to a nigga," just because of the context of this conversation.Again, Chris Rock is a comedian and is using the word satirically. There is a big difference between Chris Rock using the word "nigga" and Michael Richards. For comparison, here is Michael Richard's tirade:

        ;=relatedRichards committed career suicide, or came damn close. He was forced to apologize, recant and go into treatment. Chris Rock's audience laughs; Michael Richards' walk out. What is the difference? No, it's not their race. Rock was funny. Richards wasn't. Rock was clever. Richards was frustrated, angry, stupid and in the end pathetic. Richards point, that he was frustrated with hecklers and worse–an inattentive audience that preferred talking amongst themselves rather than listening to him– was completely lost the moment he began using racial slurs. Richards gets a bit of a pass, because his tirade came out of anger and frustration. He can claim temporary insanity. These aren't written unfunny jokes he is spewing, just an ignorant, hateful tirade.When Ann Coulter called John Edwards a "faggot", this was, in part, done in reference to the Michael Richards incident. She was unapologetic. She tried to redefine her use of the word as being a schoolyard taunt similar to "wuss". It's not. "Faggot" is generally recognized as homophobic hate speech. For Coulter to later claim otherwise is just silly.

        ;=relatedYou can clearly hear her lose her audience. They know that not only was her joke offensive, it just wasn't funny! She gets no pass for being funny. She gets no pass for being off the cuff or emotionally disturbed, temporarily insane. This was a crafted bit of unfunny hate speech.Personally, I think Coulter is a hateful, fear-monger. I think that her opinions ought to be shunned instead of sought out. Why? Partly because she can't control what she says. This bit of unfunny hate speech is all too characteristic of her shtick. She has made a living out of saying incendiary things and then unapologetically trying to back them up. Do I think she has a right to say what she says? Of course. I'm not advocating censoring her, she is free to say whatever hateful thing pops into her head. I just don't think NOT giving stupid comments a wider forum is the same as censorship. I don't need the opinion of the Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan to get a balanced world view. Did the audience that walked out on Michael Richards censor him? No. They just stopped listening.

    • Adriane Nash says:

      I have no problem calling another woman a cunt. I know exactly how offensive it's going to be but I'll still use it, its just an insult. The other 2 slurs you offered up aren't, especially the N word, but Michael has extensively written about using the word. So Russ, I just don't think cunt applies in this context.

  7. Howard Johnson says:

    A sad but very thought-provoking piece. Hope O can get his head on straight, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of cause for optimism at the moment–I wonder if he'll ever realize how lucky he was to have a mentor like you…

  8. McCarthy says:

    I'm still stuck on how the pitch was handwritten, but the bridge-burning message was typed.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Wow. That's a good point. Hadn't thought about that.Back in my First Comics days, I declined to read an unsolicited hand-written manuscript because, well, it was unsolicited, it was hand-written and the handwriting was unreadable. The author went on to become a successful comics writer. Whereas I don't regret my decision (I think that I have the right to presume a certain minimal level of professional attitude), I'm saying this to point out that some jerks grow up.Of course, some jerks simply get successful…

    • Boogie says:

      LOL!

  9. R. Maheras says:

    Under the right circumstances, I can call someone a fuckhead without blinking an eye. But I just can't use racial slurs — ever. Although I'm white, I attended racially mixed Chicago schools from seventh grade through high school. As a matter of fact, in seventh or eighth grade, when I was still a loud-mouthed, 4' 11" runt, I was cornered in a school gangway by several white male bullies who were going to beat the crap out of me. Three bussed-in black girls from a rough West Side area of Chicago walked by, including one who happened to be my friend, and in a much tougher show of force, chased my tormentors away. Those guys never bothered me again, either. Thank you Diane Dillon, wherever you are…Suffice to say, today I find it impossible to utter the N-word.

  10. Carmen says:

    WOW! Michael this article was well written. I have fun reading your articles and honestly some make me mad at what you are saying but this article makes me mad at what was said to you. In my humble opinion, I think you held back in your writing about O! But I am glad you did, it just shows who the bigger person is. It is unfortunate that as you said in your article, O didn't just burn his bridges but also the bridges of so many other talented people in the business. Because from now on you will be leary to help someone else. That is the sad part of this article. I know I have been in situations where I have helped people and it turns out I am the bad guy when things don't work out. Why oh why is it that so many people think that because in their opinion they have talent they are entitled to be at the front of the line for everything. Don't they know that it takes time to go up the ladder and that the person before you can either help you or drop you. But you know one thing it has not stopped me from helping people out it has slowed me down a bit I just take a closer look before I help out but I still try. Please don't let one inpatient, unappreciative Jerk stop you from mentoring and helping the talented young people out there. Don't let this one ruin it for so many that are patient and appreciative. I love that saying "Each One teach One". If we all followed that rule oh what a better world we would live in. Doesn't O know that this world is filled with very talented people who are not famous, not because they are not talented but because they did not have someone to help them out. O, you blew it!—-BTW the illustration of the burning bridge is beautiful and describes this article to a T.

  11. Michael Davis says:

    I just got a text from O telling me that I had better 'make this right' or he will go public. I told him I (and Denys) have every single email,voicemail and correspondence ever sent between us. I also told him that I HOPED he did go public. For all I know he really thinks he was wronged but the only way he can make any noise is if he starts making stuff up-but he would be a fool to do that because there is a L O N G paper trail that is so damning to him it's sad. He messed up and knows it so now he wants to cryHowever…if he (and this might be the case) is getting edged on by his 'partner' and decides to just make stuff up then I will unleash the full force of my anger AND my lawyers anger on his ass. I cannot believe he just sent me that text! I would hate to make this guy an example but that may be the only way to teach him and those like him what the real world is like.So O in the words of President Bush. BRING IT ON! Remember YOU brought this on yourself. Once you start sliding down that hill there is no stopping until you hit the ground-"I'm sorry' will not help you when are faced with the reality of what can and WILL happen if you start some stupid war you can't win. Those were your text's dude. That's your voice on the voicemail. Those are your words if you want to go public with what you have done then go right ahead.This is the last bit of advice I am going to give you and I ay to God you take it. Just do better. That's it dude-you broke my heart with all this so I say one last time-just do better.

  12. mike weber says:

    When someone who came up through your mentoring program abuses you in that manner – just find yourself a copy of the Kinks' song "Prince of the Punks", in which Ray Davies does a devastating job of dissecting a former protege:"he tried to be gaybut it didn't payso he bought a motorbike instead…he talks like a cockneybut it's all baloney;he's really middle-classand he's just a phony…"

  13. Cheryl Lynn says:

    Question: How old is O? If he's a very young man, it might be worth it to try one last time to pull him to the side and give him some badly needed advice. It takes a younger person with less experience a while to realize that he is shooting himself in the foot.Also, I'm so mad at you for making me do the Please-Don't-Be-Black-Dance in vain! Usually, I only reserve that dance for when I watch the local news.

    • Michael Davis says:

      O is in his late 20's or early 30's. I have tried reaching out to him even after this article-all i got was venom via a text message. I have NO comment about the dance except to say THAT was funny!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I really enjoyed this article. It was all well written, thoughtful, and provocative. My favorite part, among many highlights? The Google ad on the right-hand side advertising racist jokes for sale. Progress!

  15. Reg Gabriel says:

    Wow. Just caught wind of this on Dwayne's board. The synopsis posted there had the same unfortunate pull of being the unwilling observer of a bad accident occurring before one's eyes. You're praying that somehow, someway, a tragic ending will be avoided, but you also know that the odds aren't good. So I came here to get 'the rest of the story.' And sad to say, the odds didn't lie this time. This is sad on so many levels. I'm sorry for your wounding and for 'O's' descent into madness/stupidity/ignorance/frustration/despair. I also pray that this fiery dart sent against you will fall to the ground quenched and impotent. Peace to you, MD.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I'm confused…is your title an intentional allusion to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Story_of_O ? The D/s angle is a funny addition.

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