My single favorite thing in this video is the ski mask on the counter with the cardboard still in it. The eye cutouts and the mouth. Honestly this whole deal should be the next season of Fargo. 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/QeqMTBvUub
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) February 21, 2019
To paraphrase Wordsworth on Milton:
“Tom Wolfe! thou shouldst be living at this hour”
Something overlooked in Wolfe’s reputation as an heir to depressives like Swift and Waugh as a mordant satirist is his sheer comic high spirits. The Nigerian bodybuilder bros would have cracked him up.
I was hoping the Uptown neighborhood beauty supply store in this videotape was the same Korean-owned Uptown beauty supply store that I have an anecdote about. The clerk’s face is fuzzed out in the video, but her hands could well be Korean.
But it turns out this particular beauty supply shop is a quarter mile south of the one I want to talk about. But … close enough, so I’ll tell the anecdote anyway about these kind of Chicago beauty supply stores.
Around 1990 my wife and I are talking to the Korean lady behind the counter at our local dry cleaner in Uptown and she says her in-laws fresh off the plane from Pusan (or wherever) just opened today a beauty supply store next door. So we say we’ll go over there and buy something to help them out on their first day.
We go into the new store and it’s carefully laid out with a full stock of hair care and cosmetic products. But eventually my wife figures out there is not a single thing in the store for her to buy. Every product on sale is formulated explicitly for black ladies.
Anyway, that got me thinking at the time about immigration. These newcomers from South Korea had probably barely met a black person before, but evidently there was some kind of three-ring binder available to Korean immigrants who don’t speak English detailing exactly what products for African-Americans to stock in your store.
Previously, beauty care products for blacks were a route to affluence for enterprising African Americans — e.g., the first ever black millionaire in America was Madame CJ Walker, who invented the conk.
But now black Americans can’t compete in their own traditional business specialty — even in their own neighborhoods — with Korean go-getters straight off the airplane from the other side of the world.
The African-Americans benefit as consumers because Korean-run black beauty product stores probably have slightly lower prices, neater shelves, and longer hours than they would if the stores were owned and managed by blacks.
But black Americans don’t really need more stuff, they need more ways to better themselves, And black beauty care had long been one such path. But less so today due to the Korean takeover.