For the uninitiated, Metal Fingers Doom (MF Doom or Doom) is the public persona of the man once known to his family and childhood friends as Daniel Dumile, and to fans of late 80′s & early 90′s Hip Hop as Zev Love X. Dumile, his younger brother DJ Subroc, and a third MC named Onyx, recorded together as the group KMD. KMD first appeared on 3rd Bass’ Gas Face single and later released 2 albums of their own, Mr. Hood and Black Bastards. Dumile became Hip Hop’s J.D. Salinger after the death of his younger brother in 1993. His self imposed exile from Hip Hop ended in the late 90′s when he re-emerged as MF DOOM.
Personal tragedy pushed Dumile’s creativity, and possibly his psyche, to places he may never have dared visit otherwise. With each single, instrumental, solo, or collaborative album release fans and admirers bear witness as Dumile pushes his personal creative boundaries further. Pain and the subsequent struggles associated with pain were the catalysts for his evolution. His hands became calloused, his wounds caurterized, and his mind and his rhymes emerged sharper than ever. Where others recoil from and become crippled by the cruelties of life, Dumile uses the loss of his friend, brother, and band-mate to become better and stronger than he was before. Both as a man and as an MC.
American public education as a whole, and classroom teachers in particular, have been publicly vilified (justly or unjustly depending on the context of the discussion). We are constantly playing defense. Every battle over education reform is an away game for teachers because we so rarely set the tempo or select the stage where the game is to be played. And when we do take the offensive position, attacking those who would do us harm, we come across as petulant children, complaining about how hard our work is and how we are required to do so much with so little. That isn’t an effective argument because that’s the job. That’s always been the job. Turning water into wine, selling ice in the winter, and selling fire in hell is what we do. We do a lot with a little every day so we can’t expect to be applauded for doing what we signed up to do. If the battle is to be won we have to change how we play the game.
Dumile into Doom. Teachers into Leaders.
Publicly falling from grace is a painful thing and that has happened to teachers. Rather than waste time trying to convince people that we are important and that what we do matters, we ought to be regrouping, becoming more consciously self-reflective, and figuring out how to reinvent and thus reinvigorate This Thing of Ours. I can’t or won’t suggest some sort of one size fits all approach. I’ll leave that approach to Rhee n’ them. Our transformation must simultaneously be both public and personal. And while I don’t advocate any singular approach to the transformation I do feel that Teachers must take control of the conversation and that must begin with Teachers finding and using their collective and individual Voice. Word to Vilson and word to Dumile.
In my opinion, Dumile into Doom is really a story about pain forcing a creative soul to find and constantly use his Voice to do battle with that pain on his own terms.
We can…and we should learn from that.