The Wisdom of Wesley Snipes: 7 Quotes to Live By
We can learn so much from Wesley Snipes. Few celebrities offer us such profound wisdom-a clear path to enlightenment. Sure, Tom Sizemore comes to mind, but that' more of a "Don't smoke crystal meth," do-what-he-doesn't-do kind of wisdom.
Wesley Snipes has a remarkably simple and consistent philosophy that is expressed through his films-even the direct-to-video ones, of which there are a sizable number. Wesley simply and humbly would call his life-system, "Being Wesley Snipes." We call it The Wesley Snipes Way.
By exhaustively watching every Wesley Snipes movie-yes, we watched Futuresport-CRACKED has distilled the philosophy of Wesley Snipes into one brief and easy-to-read article. Beat that, Christianity.
Prepare yourself. Your world view is about to get a roundhouse kick in the face, Wesley Snipes style.
"Always bet on black."
In this film about one man's attempt to take on an airliner hijacking, Wesley Snipes engages in a time-honored, action-movie tradition: Talking shit to European terrorists on the phone. They have this exchange:
Wesley Snipes: "You ever play roulette?"
European terrorist: "On occasion."
Wesley Snipes: "Well, let me give you a little piece of advice: Always bet on black!"
In the context of the film, Wesley Snipes is basically saying, "I, a black man, am coming to beat your white European terrorist ass." But, what is Wesley Snipes telling those of us who are not European terrorists? What deeper meaning has Wesley Snipes hidden in the simple phrase, "Always bet on black?"
Because Wesley Snipes has completely and utterly mastered the martial arts, there are those who believe he teaches us a relativist, Eastern philosophy. These people are fucking idiots. The Wesley Snipes Way is steeped in a Manicheistic tradition, dividing the universe between the forces of Wesley Snipes (black) and things that Wesley Snipes kicks in the head (white things you shouldn't bet on).
Thus, when Wesley Snipes tells us to "Always bet on black," he is really inviting us to embrace and accept the duality of the cosmos, to sit at his feet and accept his wisdom "ÃÂÃÂ¦ or get kicked in the head. Those are your options. That is the Wesley Snipes Way.
"Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice skate uphill."
It is always at this point in our presentation when some disbelievers (hereafter referred to as "motherfuckers") claim that, in fact, some professional screen writer wrote the words of wisdom history has attributed to Wesley.
Oh, you sad, doubting motherfuckers. Go to your Wesley shrine right now and pull out the Blade DVD. Turn on the commentary track and skip ahead to the climactic battle in the subterranean vampire city between Snipes and the evil mayor of vampires, Deacon Frost. There, in the commentary track, you will hear David Goyer state that the line, "Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice skate uphill" came from Snipes himself.
Oh, he didn't suggest it for the film. They overheard him use it in a motherfucking conversation.
The screenwriters were so overwhelmed with the line's mind-melting profundity that they shit where they stood, before rushing off to add it to the script. In the final version of the film, Snipes utters the line just moments before kicking a villain in a special way that causes the villain to explode. The fact that some motherfuckers are, in fact, always trying to ice skate uphill was the last piece of wisdom the antagonist carried into the afterlife (The writers don't mention if Snipes delivered an exploding kick to punctuate the real-world conversation they overheard, but their silence on the subject suggests he probably did.).
And, what a piece of wisdom it is. Though Wesley chose to speak in the language of poetry and metaphor, the meaning is clear: The nonbelieving motherfuckers are constantly in a state of futile rebellion against the universe. Wesley demonstrates, through his actions, that he will personally confront the motherfuckers and "kick" them into a state of "explosion." Snipes scholars believe this is a symbol for actual, kick-induced explosive dismemberment of the human body.
"You either smoke, or you get smoked. And, you got smoked."
White Men Can't Jump
This film chronicles the adventures of a basketball-playing Wesley Snipes who patiently tries to impart wisdom to a dull, stoned-looking man named Billy Hoyle (played by Woody Harrelson).
After using his hyperhuman intellect to defraud Billy out of a large sum of money, Snipes delivers his crushing lesson about life on earth: "You either smoke, or you get smoked. And, you got smoked."
This far more accurate portrayal of the Golden Rule (which Snipes followers often refer to as "The Goldener Rule") sends young Hoyle skidding down the maturity chute. In taking Billy's wealth, Snipes has taught him to focus on the basics in life, away from material wealth. But more importantly, he has taught him not to trust his fellow man blindly, for this will lead to betrayal. Only Wesley can be worthy of such blind trust, for only he will never betray you. Except in this instance, when it was to make a point.
"The world has become a pussy-whipped, Brady Bunch version of itself, run by a bunch of robed sissies."
This film portrays Snipes' as traveling into the future to bring his wisdom to a generation of our grandchildren who have long since forgotten it. Part cautionary tale, part prophecy, Demolition Man gives us a glimpse into a broken, bland world that indeed has forgotten the words of Snipes.
It is a "pussy-whipped, Brady Bunch" world indeed. This is a future where there are no shootings, no crime, no brutality. The feminization of the culture (via the "pussy whipping") has reached its apex and all things that make a society worth living in--shootings, karate and explosions--have withered sadly on the vine. The very essence of humanity has been extinguished by the "robed sissies" who sit on the bench of our justice system.
This is clearly one of the more controversial teachings of Wesley. Once more, we urge the observer and the teams of FBI agents, who monitor Wesley's every word and action, that Snipes is not explicitly advocating killing judges and abolishing our legal framework, or replacing it with a system where legal issues are resolved in televised gladiator matches where only the ruthless survive. He just thinks it would be a good idea.
"Sit your five-dollar ass down before I make change."
New Jack City
In New Jack City, a film in which Wesley moves to the inner city and brings black-market medications to impoverished children, Wesley is heard uttering this line to a disciple while he holds a blade to the man's throat.
The context is a final gathering of Wesley's inner circle, just prior to his downfall orchestrated by a corrupt system. One of his men has stood up suddenly to object to one of Wesley's teachings, and Wesley reacts by picking up his cane and drawing from it a narrow blade.
The layers of symbolism here almost too numerous to comprehend. The supposed weakness of Snipes (a cane) becomes the weapon (the hidden blade) by which his enemies will be smited. Will you now be so quick to seize upon the weaknesses you see in others? If those others are Wesley Snipes, we'd venture to guess that the answer is and emphatic HELLLLZ NO.
Also, notice the prophecy that he is about to "make change" in the world. Sit down, my friends. Sit down so that you, too, may be in a position to witness before Wesley begins to "make change." Further, what is the worth of a man? Who can know? Wesley Snipes can, that's who: the ass part of a man is worth $5.
"You can put a cat in an oven, but that don't make it a biscuit."
White Men Can't Jump
This second gleaming diamond of knowledge from White Men Can't Jump is true on a literal and metaphorical sense, and that' what makes it so beautiful.
We checked: If you put a cat in an oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees you really do not get a biscuit. You get agonized yowls for a couple of minutes and then your apartment fills with a terrible smell.
On a more allegorical level, Wesley Snipes is once again showing us that the universe is constructed of opposing forces, yin and yang-or, in this case, cat and biscuit. You must ask yourself: Am I a cat or am I a biscuit? Do I become warm and golden in the oven, or do I perish horribly?
"Look man, You can listen to Jimi but you can't hear him. There's a difference man. Just because you're listening to him doesn't mean you're hearing him."
White Men Can't Jump
This is the third and final quote taken from the White Men Can't Jump collection, often referred to as the "tripod" upon which the other quotes rest. The three insights have been said to form a seminal trifecta from which a new life springs forth, just as human reproduction springs from Wesley's three testicles.
The above lesson, imparted again to Wesley's young, white pupil, states that while the white fool can "listen" to Jimi (meaning Jimi Hendrix) he cannot "hear" him because Jimi was black. We see now how the seventh stage of Wesley's wisdom has come full circle with the first, the duality of the white versus black universe that exists forever in a state of conflict. It is clear to the white pupil that he should always "bet on" black, but he should not try to enjoy their music while he does.
This passage is left for the last and most advanced stage of Wesley teachings because it is difficult for most motherfuckers to grasp. Snipes says Billy can "listen" but cannot "hear" Jimi. This is in fact the exact opposite of what most teachers would present: is not "hearing" the mere physical act, and is not "listening" the one that implies actual absorption and understanding? And yet Wesley claims his white follower can do the latter but not the former.
We have heard motherfuckers throw up their hands and proclaim the entire lesson to be worthless at this stage, saying it is "bullshit" (often uttered just moments before a boot lands aside their skull with the impact of 1,000 hammers). This only means you still rest outside the black. We speak not of race, of course, but of a state of soul where you are still deserving to have the shit kicked out of you by Wesley.
We assure you, the great day of the kicking will occur. By this we mean that actor Wesley Snipes will literally pull up in your yard in an SUV, walk to your front door, wait for you to open it, then kick you in the head before straightening his jacket and calmly driving away.
The day is coming. You can bet on it.