1. What is 8bm.com
  2. Are you as spontaneous and humorous in real life as you are in your articles?
  3. How would you describe yourself?
  4. What did you study in college?
  5. Do you ever consider writing for other sources?
  6. Why did you start 8BM.com?
  7. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
  8. How did you come up with the title for your book?
  9. Where do you get the articles from that you write about?
  10. What inspired you to put the articles in a book?
  11. How has your environment/upbringing impacted your writing?
  12. Why do you come across like you take so many of the things you discuss so personally?
  13. Do you feel that people will be offended by some of your articles?
  14. I loved the "I'd Hit It List" in the Shit I like section. Are you planning on doing anymore of those any time soon?
  15. So are you one of those apocalyptic conspiracy theorist type guys that think that the world is going to hell in a hand bag?
  16. What do you hope to accomplish with 8BM.com?
  17. Why do you consider yourself a social commentator?
  18. How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing?
  19. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?
  20. Are you using other people’s short comings for entertainment at their expense?
  21. You use some terms like bitch, nigger, and fag in your writings, is there a reason why you sometimes use language that people will obviously find offensive?
  22. Is there anything you want the reader to gain from reading your book?
  23. Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?

 

 

 

 


Tell us a little about yourself

I am 33-years-old. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I Love writing, reading, entertaining friends, watching professional boxing, listening to 80s music and staying up all night playing Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.


Are you single?

Nope. Not as of Monday, May 23, 2005 9:41 AM



What is 8bm.com
8bm.com is a website I created to imitate the way my friends and I discuss current events, politics, religion, philosophy and what not in my living room over a pizza, a coke and a Wes Anderson film, right down to the way we speak. When I worked retail back in college, every night while we were straightening up the store I would kick off some discussion over something, whether it was about alien invasions, euthanasia, artificial intelligence, or how crappy our job was back then. Now I just do it online.


Are you as spontaneous and humorous in real life as you are in your articles?

I try to write the way I speak. So I would have to assume that if you find what you read here humorous then you would probably think it was just as humorous if you heard me say them. I make a concerted effort to present myself through my writing as closely as possible to as I am in person. So you can take it from there.



How has your environment/upbringing impacted your writing?

I was raised in a very conservative household where I have always felt that, whether it was actually true or not, how things looked from the outside looking in, was sometimes just as important, or more so, than how things actually were. Now that isn’t to say that I grew up with a closet full of family secrets, because that wasn’t the case, its just the overall mood was to keep up appearances. I guess that has had a huge influence on my writing because I was never that way. I have always wanted to know what was going on around me regardless of how unsettling it might be. I have a serious issue with those people who are always trying to put a favorable spin on everything. I have done some dumb things in my life. I am not perfect. I don’t know anyone that is perfect but I know a lot of people that try to give off the impression that they are perfect. I mean, don’t get me wrong, have some tact, but don’t lie to me or ask me to lie or withhold information from me to uphold the image you want me to have.
 


How would you describe yourself?

I am the kid that sits in math class and asks the mathematics teacher "when are we ever going to need to know this?", but then I sit in philosophy class and I look at the guy that asks the philosophy teacher "how is debating whether or not the sky really blue ever going to help me?", like he is an idiot.
I probably analyze and think about things more than most. If you're the kind of person that just takes things as they are given you then my analyzing will probably drive you up the wall.
I believe we all have an obligation to be true to ourselves.
I am drug and disease free and I intend to keep it that way.
I also believe that all of us have an obligation to leave this world a little better than the one we were born into.
I am an intense person.
I am a passionate person.
I believe perception is reality so I don't inherit other people irrefutable truths even if they come from reliable sources.
I am opinionated, but I am not one of those people that believe that can't admit if I am wrong. I have never held onto an opinion if someone showed me that couldn't be stand up on its own if presented with a sound, logical counter argument.
If you can find holes in my reasoning by all means point them out to me.
I laugh at myself all the time. One of the best lessons I have ever learned real early in life is to not take your self too seriously.



What did you study in college?

African American History with a minor in Philosophy which landed me a job in IT.



Do you ever consider writing for other sources?

I will consider it. Give me an idea of how you think I can contribute and we can talk about it.



Why did you start 8BM.com?

I always need a creative outlet. When I was a kid I used to draw. When I got older I wrote comic book scripts. When I graduated High School I started to write music and play in a band. During college I started 8BM.com like I said, as a creative outlet. I was the guy in class that was always injecting into the conversation whatever bizarre news story that I had heard on the radio or read in the paper.
Most of the time people laughed. I just tried to turn myself into a website.



When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Writing was something I have been doing for fun since I was 8-years-old but I can’t tell you a particular time when I considered myself a “writer”. I consider myself a creative person. I love telling stories. I don’t really know when I qualified myself as being a “writer”. Probably when I sold my first book. So about three weeks ago.



How did you come up with the title for your book?

I came up with the title while doing research for an article I was writing. It occurred to me that a lot of people get what they are looking for, but just not always in the way that they expect.

 


Where do you get the articles from that you write about?


I scour various magazines, newspapers and periodicals online. Plus I have about two dozen different RSS feeds that I check for current events every single morning on my computer. I find material everywhere.


What inspired you to put the articles in a book?

My readers. As the readership of the site has grown, I would get more and more requests for the articles to be published in some sort of collection so that they could read the articles offline. My readers were the inspiration for doing this. They have been the inspiration for all of it. When you write the way that I do and use irreverent humor to address the issues that I take on, you learn to appreciate your audience. My book, my writing, my approach to things isn’t for everyone. I will be the first person to tell you that. So when you do find people who legitimately appreciate what you do, if you are like me you really feel like you owe it to them to make sure they are taken care of.


Why do you come across like you take so many of the things you discuss so personally?

I am not sure I agree with that statement. They might get that impression because of the language I use but I really don’t. Most of the time I agree or disagree with something on the principle of it. I don’t wait until it gets personal because at that point it gets emotional. I believe you make your worst arguments, whether in support or against when you are drunk on emotion so I try to avoid doing that. A lot of people for example, they really don’t care about “the war in Iraq” one way or another until someone they know gets sent over or comes back in a body bag. To me that’s too late.


Do you feel that people will be offended by some of your articles?

I am sure some people will be, but I never say or write anything with the intention of offending anyone. But when you are challenging people to reexamine what they consider truisms and you are using humor to do it, sure it is going to rub some people the wrong way. But if I can be completely honest, I think anytime someone is offering their opinion, whether they are using humor or not, particularly when you don’t share the same opinion, our initial tendency is to say, “Who is this jerk?” That just comes with offering commentary on anything. People hate sports commentators for crying out loud and all they are doing is offering their take on a friggin’ game. What chance do I have?
 
 


I love the "I'd Hit It List" in the Shit I like section. Are you planning on doing anymore of those any time soon?

Man, I regret starting that. It looks like I have to. I get so many e-mails about that column but it is by far the most difficult list to come up with. Women that I would sleep with, but at the same time, that I can understand why someone wouldn't. What was I thinking when I came up with that?



So are you one of those apocalyptic conspiracy theorist type guys that think that the world is going to hell in a hand bag?

Actually, I feel the exact opposite. I think the world has always been this way. Don't tell me that the 1950s were much kinder and gentler times. It all depends on who you were. African-Americans were catching pure hell in the 1950s. National elections at the time were literally placing the constitutional and human rights of African-Americans in the ballot box. That couldn't have been kinder or easier than today, at least not for them. No, I believe that the world is getting better. Read your history. Go to a community college and take a Western Civilization course. The world used to be planet Klingon. Hell, it still is in some parts of the world. If in 2002 8 out of 10 places in the world are like lawless southwest Uganda be thankful. 150 years ago it was 10 out of 10.



What do you hope to accomplish with 8BM.com?

At the very least I would like to be able to quit my job and work on 8BM.com full-time.
What most people do is look for someone or something to validate what they already believe. My wet dream is that 8BM.com makes it popular for people to look for the "strongest argument" instead of just passing along the same regurgitated line of reasoning that they've picked up from somewhere else.



Why do you consider yourself a social commentator?

I consider myself a social commentator because that is where my interest lies. I don’t comment on the President of the United States meeting with other heads of state at the European Union. Not that something like meeting with the European Union isn’t important, because it is, It’s just that isn’t my focus. My interest is primarily in the more bizarre things that are going on in the world. I like the hard to believe stuff. Sometimes there are things that the President says that is hard to believe and warrants an article, but my primary focus is on dismantling how people think and how they arrive at their conclusions or taking their arguments to their logical conclusions and having fun with it.


How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing?

My friends and family are supportive for the most part. Most of my family don’t really know me and this has been their first introduction to my writing, my opinions, really who I am. My friends, on the other hand, there is nothing in this book that will surprise them. They have heard it all before. They read my site. They come over to my place and we talk about current events, politics, religion, philosophy, you name it. But my family, like I said, they don’t know me. Most never even knew I had a website. Their first introduction to my thoughts and ideas are with this book. Like I said, my immediate family is very conservative and straight laced, and when I am with them I am respectful of the way they do things and I don’t touch subjects that I don’t think they can handle. But on 8bm, well that is my house. This is me. This is how my friends know me. This is me uncensored. Many of them were not prepared for it. Some I would even say are having a difficult time adjusting to it to be honest with you. Part of that conservative attitude I grew up with says that you shouldn’t make waves. Well sometimes the things I talk about, the opinions I hold makes waves.


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?

I really don’t see the point in hypothesizing about changing the past unless I can have the benefit of knowing what I know now. Who I am today is a culmination of all of the choices that I made in the past. I like who I am today. If I made different choices in the past I would be a different person today. Maybe I’d be a different person for the better, but maybe I would be for the worst. You never know. The way I see it, there is no need to go back and think about what I would’ve changed in the past because the things that I don’t like about myself or about my life today I can change by making different choices now.


Are you using other people’s short comings for entertainment at their expense?

If you read my articles, it is very rare, if ever, when you will find me actually making fun of anybody’s misfortune. I am merely pointing out the absurdity in things that people do and the way that people arrive at their conclusions. There is an article in the book about a family that prayed over their child that was crushed under a piece of furniture. I am not making fun of the fact that they lost a child. What is funny about that? But I am pointing out flaws in the mentality that you are going to pray over a corpse and that God will bring it back to life. They claimed that they personally knew of people that had been brought back from the dead. I will use humor to point out the flaws in that kind of thinking, but I personally don’t find anything humorous about making fun of the suffering of anyone.


You use some terms like bitch, nigger, and fag in your writings, is there a reason why you sometimes use language that people will obviously find offensive?

Yes. You have to look at the context in which I use those words. For example, in an article about the Taliban, I might call the women in Afghanistan living under their regime bitches. Why? Because I am of the opinion that the Taliban were treating women as second class citizens. In America, men who view women as second class citizens often refer to women as bitches, so I am using the language that the Taliban would use, in my opinion, if they spoke English and were American in describing their women based on what I feel was their opinion of women. I wrote an article recently called “Homosexuality and Samurai, proof that fags can kick ass”. I am not calling homosexual’s fags per se, but I am using the term fag because the people who would say that homosexual men can’t fight, they shouldn’t be in the military, that they are sissy would use the term fag, and I am telling them in my headline, in their own language, that hey those “fags” as you call them, have a history of kicking people’s ass. If the NAACP successfully sued the KKK and in the lawsuit won the deed to one of their buildings, I would write a headline like this without a second thought, “Court Awards Niggers Deed To KKK Headquarters”. I am not calling black people niggers, I am writing the headline as a person from the mentality of an individual in the KKK would see it. I do that a lot.


Is there anything you want the reader to gain from reading your book?

Yeah, I want them to question why they hold on to pre-existing assumptions, concepts, and values if they don’t hold up to scrutiny when you really take a good look at them?


Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?

I would like to thank all of those people that have been reading me and following 8bm for all of these years and I hope you get as much enjoyment from the book as I did writing it.

same difference

Part 1: What’s in a name anyway?
Today black folks just make up African sounding names by just changing vowels like they think nobody notices. No, back then if you were going to name your kid something African then it better be in the book.

Part 2: Learning The Rules
“...light-skinned black people usually end up marrying dark-skinned black people and vice versa. Since you are dark-skinned Nkrumah you will probably end up with a light-skinned woman.”
I tried my best to look interested. I really did.

Part 3: My Father
His friends didn’t have names. They had code names.
My father even he had a few nicknames of his own. I had a choice, I could call him Gene, Eugene, Dad, Dap, Father, King Gene or “King Gene Dap Daddy Supreme”. The answered to all of them.

Part 4: White People
I'm jumping a little ahead of myself here but I think this subject should be covered before I go any further.

Part 5: Jimmy the Terrible
There was a price to pay for spending that much time around a kid without mature parental supervision. This cannot be understated.

Part 6: lasting impressions
I said in chapter one, in the first paragraph I believe, that my parents were young, and if you'd keep that in mind it will explain a lot about my life.
Did you think I was kidding?

Part 7: What are the odds?
Now I know that life doesn’t end in middle school. Back then I wasn’t so sure.


Source: my life
"Raw" written by Nkrumah Shabazz Steward, creator, 8bm.com

© 8bm.com 2005. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of 8bm.com content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Nkrumah Steward.