The April Pop Culture Mashup was a challenge in which participants were each sent a list of 10 random pop culture entities. Each person then had a week to create something that incorporated at least 2 of the 10. Here is the list of 10 that Taryn Hodison received: 101 Dalmations, Luke Cage, E.T., Calvin & Hobbes, Charlie Brown/Peanuts, Shaquille O’Neal, Jaws, Charlie’s Angels, Will & Grace, and The Goonies. View the rest of the results here.
Shaquille O’Neal and Franklin from Charlie Brown are taking a walk through the park. It’s a sunny day and lots of people are out. Shaq and Franklin take a seat on a nearby park bench.
Shaq: So what’s going on my little dude?
Franklin: Not much Shaq. Same old mess.
Shaq: “Same old mess”? That doesn’t sound good.
Franklin: I’m just frustrated with living in this town.
Shaq: What? I thought things were going well. You’re making friends, right?
Franklin: Well kinda. The other day I went to get ice cream with Charlie and I gave the cashier $10 but he only gave me back change for a $5.
Shaq: That’s not Shaqtastic.
Franklin: When I corrected him, he gave me the foulest look and said he gave me the right change. We went back and forth like this until Charlie step in, and suddenly the guy’s whole attitude changed.
I told Charlie that guy seemed kinda racist. Like why did he have to step in for me to get my change back. And you know what he said?
Shaq: Shaq doesn’t know, but it’s probably nothing good.
Franklin: He was like “I didn’t notice anything. He probably just miscounted. I’m sure he didn’t mean anything,” Some shit like that.
Franklin: I don’t know, Shaq. I mean, Charlie and the gang are nice I guess. But whenever I try to bring up anything related to my experience as a black person, they just brush it off. The other day Peppermint Patty started touching my hair and said it felt like “the carpet in my bathroom.” And at first I’m thinking “who the fuck has carpet in their bathroom?” Then I’m like “I use Shea Moisture on my hair and it does NOT feel like bathroom carpet!” Instead I politely ask her to not touch my hair and then she starts SOBBING so loud that the teacher though I hit her and I got suspended from school.
Shaq: Shaq doesn’t have that problem ‘cause he’s bald.
Franklin: When I got back to school, I had to apologize to HER! Now I just wear hats. I don’t know what to do. I kind of hate this town. Does it ever get better?
Shaq: It definitely gets better. Especially if you’re built like a skyscraper with a wingspan of 72 eagles. You win some NBA championships, get a few MVPs, make a few movies, put out a couple records; and don’t forget advertising. Sweet, sweet advertising.
Franklin: Umm, I …
Shaq: Do you know that I’m a spokesperson for over 85 goods and services?
Franklin: Um, I didn’t know that.
Shaq: Yup! And whenever I start feeling the way you do my man, I just basically ignore it.
Franklin: (Squints like Fry in that meme) O — kay.
Shaq: For example, let’s say I just got pulled over by the police for the 12 time this year on the way home. But the officer recognized me and asked for an autograph instead. Well, whenever I’m starting to feel that Shaq-Rage coming. I just think about the fresh, cooling sensation of Triple Action Gold Bond. A little shake, a little tingle, a little shake, a little tingle, a little shake, a litt —
Franklin: … Nothing about that is helpful.
Shaq: Sure isn’t! Did you hear about how Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo went out for dinner after his playoff win. But got ignored by the wait staff. He and I are literal giants, but it doesn’t matter sometimes. You will always feel invisible in white spaces. And although you’re able to deal with it, there is a slow rage that quietly builds up inside of you.
Franklin: So how should I deal with that?
Shaq: Well stuff it down inside you with some Krispy Kreme Donuts! Hit up my location at 295 Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, GA.
Franklin: Shaq, this isn’t really helping. I’m not famous. I’m wasn’t born with freakish athletic ability. I’m just a regular black kid and sometimes if feels like no one sees that. But then it feels like it’s ALL anyone sees. How do I deal with THAT?
Shaq: Ah, I see. It’s like when it comes to being black all the negative stereotypes are completely. But when you’re doing something positive, or just hanging out, you’re invisible. Seen and unseen.
Franklin: Yes! See I knew you understood.
Shaq: It’s like walking into a car dealership and getting complete ignored. And when you do get a salesperson’s attention, you have to worry about being subject to highly discriminatory credit practices.
Franklin: Man, I’m glad you finally get it beca —
Shaq: Take it from The Big Aristotle. When you finally get that car at nearly twice the standard interest rate, you want to make sure it’s insured by The General!
Franklin: Son of a bitch
Shaq: Look my dude. You think I know how to deal with any of this shit? Look, I am unbelievably rich. Like, irresponsibly rich. I mean I bought an entire fucking Krispy Kreme store.
But even I, the Big Shaqtus, can’t escape the long shadow of systematic oppression and institutional racism.
Franklin: Why am I even asking you about all this?
Shaq: I don’t know kid. I didn’t write this.
Franklin: It’s almost like we were just randomly forced to engage in this dialogue by some sadistic god who is obsessed with putting two seemingly unrelated things together, creating something new while promoting a familiar message.
Shaq: Yeah, it does seem like that.
Both look directly into the camera.
Sign up for the weekly newsletter here.