A(ll the) rage in Harlem: … and hell, with Clinton’s luck running the way it is now, he may wind up depressing property values further (irritating already peeved longtime residents).

Harlem is in some ways unique because of its history and symbolic importance in black culture, a fact that seems to heighten the response to change there. But similar changes have been playing out in varying degrees in neighborhoods elsewhere, from Fort Greene in Brooklyn to parts of the South Side of Chicago and sections of Detroit. George Galster, a professor of urban affairs at Wayne State University in Detroit, said that in that city, “You hear black community leaders literally saying the following thing: `Now that we have made the city worth something, they want it back.’ ” During the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, he said, “Blacks saw whites fleeing a sinking ship. But, by golly, it near completely sunk, and in the 1990’s it has actually started to rise in the water. And blacks take pride in that. And now they say, ‘Gee, wouldn’t you know it? Now the rats want back on board the ship.’ ”

Attitudes in Harlem vary from household to household, individual to individual. It is impossible to generalize about the opinions of homeowners and renters, old timers and newcomers, business owners and customers. All that can be said is that views about the implications of Harlem’s revival are widely mixed.

“Some feel if it’s not overwhelming, it is good because it does bring some diversity to the community,” said Lionel McIntyre, director of the Urban Technical Assistance Project, part of the urban planning program at Columbia University. “Some feel that black folks just can’t have anything: ‘Every time you look around, they want it’ � that kind of sentiment. Then there is cautiousness about what is the real intent. Does it stop at reaching a racial mix or go to one group taking over the other?”

Mary Pattillo, an assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and a former Harlem resident, said: “If Harlem becomes integrated, is it still Harlem in the way everybody says Harlem and has a vision of it? My personal opinion is, I would like Harlem to stay a black neighborhood and a strong black cultural space. But my political and policy opinion is that I know that segregation allows neighborhoods to be strangled.”

What is happening in Harlem differs in several ways from integration of the more familiar black-to-white form. For example, when black people moved into white neighborhoods, there were in most cases little income or class differences between the two groups. But when middle- or upper-middle-class people move into lower-income, minority communities, what takes place is as much class � as racial � integration.

Whereas whites may have feared that the arrival of black neighbors would provoke white flight and depress property values, residents of gentrifying neighborhoods fear rising property values will force them out. If they do not believe they are under the risk of actual displacement, they may worry about a loss of political control and the erosion of customs, rituals and institutions � what Monique Taylor calls “a way of living in black communities.”

TV blackout: … Robert F. Moss breaks down America’s must-flee TV.

A RECENT episode of “The P.J.’s,” the foam-animated WB series set in the projects, ended with two boys reflecting on the duplicitous ways of their elders. “Promise me we’ll never grow old,” implores the first. The other replies, “The statistics are in our favor.” This acerbic observation on the mortality rate among ghetto youth might just as well be a projection of the life expectancy of the black sitcom. As television celebrates Black History Month with tributes blaring from every channel, any weekly comedy series devoted to black subject matter seems imperiled by cultural Darwinism. (No black dramatic series has ever succeeded, though Showtime’s “Soul Food,” renewed for a second season, is off to a strong start.) …

You can’t really travel from the Hilton-Jacobs Projects of “The P.J.’s” to the chic, affluent Los Angeles of “Girlfriends” without culture shock. Sometimes dismissed as a black “Sex and the City,” the show has a creative metabolism all its own. The lead character, Joan, is a high-powered lawyer who spends most of her kick-back time with her pals: Maya, her secretary; Toni, a real estate broker; and Lynn, an intellectual who is perpetually adrift. The characters are varied and well defined, the scripts are witty and the stories unapologetically embrace an elite black lifestyle.

“I wanted to show African-American women who are dynamic and multilayered,” said the creator of “Girlfriends,” Mara Brock Akil, “and that women of today want it all.” A second goal is to broach racial subtopics “in a funny way that can also create water cooler discussion or debate.” One episode has Lynn, who is half white, conclude that this mix makes her a “complex woman.” Toni, who normally speaks only the crispest standard English, retorts, “I hate to break it to you, complex woman, but in America, you black.”

Gita On The Green: … or finally, finally, an explanation for Will Smith’s MMC’in in his last movie, courtesy of a book review by Phil Catalfo in the March/April copy of Yoga Journal magazine.

If you saw the Robert Redford-directed film The Legend of Bagger Vance, released last fall — it starred Matt Damon as a dispirited golf champion and Will Smith as his enigmatic spiritual guide — you probably didn’t realize the story was inspired by the ancient Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita.

For one thing, the despondent golfer’s name, Rannulph Junnah, or “R. Junnah,” is a clever transliteration of Arjuna, the warrior prince whose existential dilemma is at the heart of the Gita. And Junah’s mystical caddy bears a similarly resonant name: “Bagger Vance” is just a slight stretch from Bhagavan, a term for God, one of whose manifestations in Hinduism is Krishna — who, in the Gita, appears to the troubled Arjuna and exhorts him to act, to accept the role life has given him, to be who he truly is: the transcendent Self at the core of his being. …

But the film’s Junnah never aspired to anything higher than a level of inner calm sufficient to whack the hell out of a golf ball and rekindle an old love affair gone tragically bad. …

Rosen’s exegesis is delightful for its Gita scholarship, for the fun he has integrating the language of golf with the language of yoga (“yoga means ‘to link'”), and especially for his deconstruction of the novel in the the light of the Gita.

Women, rural Americans need some broadband love, too: … and cheaply (with real competition, not some deregulated greedygrabbin’ scam). But doesn’t somebody need a smack on the wrist with a ruler or something rightaboutnow?

The study was conducted at the request of Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., the senior minority member of the House subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet. In a statement issued Thursday, Markey focused on the cost chasm between broadband and narrowband Internet users and stressed the need for competition among local broadband providers.

Bridging the digital divide was a pet project of the Clinton administration, but it clearly is not at the top of President Bush’s agenda. Bush already has proposed reducing the budget of the Technology Opportunities Program by 65 percent to $15 million, and his Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Michael Powell, recently likened the digital divide to a “Mercedes divide — I’d like to have one but can’t afford one.”

Yahoo shorts: … Brothers and sisters! I don’t know what this Net is coming to!

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Growth of home Internet users soared 33 percent in the last year, spurred on by different ethnic groups, according to leading Internet audience measurement service Nielsen//NetRatings. African-Americans led the online growth, jumping 44 percent in the past year to 8.1 million in December 2000 as compared to the same time in 1999. Caucasians surfing the Web rose 32 percent to more than 87.5 million people, representing the largest group online.

Hispanics grew 19 percent to more than 4.7 million people, while Asian Americans grew 18 percent to 2.1 million.

“Several factors contributed to the healthy growth for the various ethnic groups,” said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services, NetRatings. “Less costly personal computers and low or no cost ISPs helped bring Web access to more Americans in the past year.”

… This “Quiet American” thing doesn’t sound so hot to me, Michael. (And probably not other folks, either.) The headline talks about the opium substitute you want to smoke, but never mentions this …

Caine, winner of a best supporting actor Oscar for “The Cider House Rules” said he saw Fowler as a man escaping from failure and divorce in England. He finds another world and another love in Phuong, a 19-year-old Mandarin’s daughter, played by Vietnamese newcomer Hai Yen. (He) has gone off and got a life beyond even his wildest dreams and in actual fact it’s a fantasy, it’s a fantasy life for a man his age to have someone as young and beautiful as Phuong in love with him.

Plus it’s the Orient, which has always been a fantasy for Europeans, plus it’s post-war England, which I know personally was very, very depressing — I always thought England was like a black and white movie in the 60s, even when it was shot in color!”

Caine said he thought Fowler would have “been completely confused as to whether he was in love or in lust” with Phuong.

“There is quite a lot of a paternal thing in it,” he said.

I’ve often wondered about those men who come to the Orient and have these relationships with these very child-like figures, you know — it’s a very definite different turn-on than from American women, I think, for these guys.

“I mean, I can tell it from the fact that the scenes I play actually with Yen, who plays Phuong. You know, as a man myself, it’s quite extraordinary.”

… and Anil got to tell me about this Jill Scott Grammy moment, overshadowed by a pianist’s envy of his latest blond fantasia.

There she was, arguably R&B’s brightest new star, trapped in a performance of Moby’s “Natural Blues,” an industrial-dance-dyed melange of eclectic instrumentalism and Southern gospel singing. And oh yeah, a bunch of blue guys. The song, performed at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards, seemed to be Grammy’s idea of a three-fer — a cacophonous circus act that crammed together Scott, understated club music favorite Moby and members of the performance art troupe Blue Man Group. The entire set — from the Blue group’s cobalt-colored faces to their Dr. Seuss-like faux instruments — clashed with Scott’s smooth, urban poetess style.

And yet, Scott, proud member of Philadelphia’s prolific Soulquarian soul collective, co-songwriter of “You Got Me” (which won a Grammy for the Roots last year) and star of a million-selling album, (“Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1”) shone through the crowded stage’s aural traffic jam.

“Once you got past the stuff by the Blue Man Group it was a stirring performance by her,” said music critic and writer Mark Anthony Neal. “One gauge of that is that Grammy crowds rarely give standing ovations. But they were all on their feet.

“It was an explosive moment,” said Neal, author of “What the Music Said,” a study of the political and social impact of African-American pop music. “It made the Elton John/Eminem performance anticlimactic.”

True, Scott’s full-bodied sound, heard on her hit tunes of sweet-and-sour relationships (“Long Walk,” “Gettin’ in the Way”) rose above the scene’s visual spectacle. She even smiled as she belted out lyrics that seemed to speak to the moment: “Oh Lordy/Trouble so hard/Don’t nobody know my troubles but God.”

…and oh, uh, Puffy and Shyne? Tim and Kenny. Tim and Kenny? Puffy and Shyne.

Country crooner Tim McGraw is tentatively scheduled to stand trial in mid-May on a variety of charges stemming from a run-in he had with police last June at a music festival near Buffalo, N.Y. Orchard Park Town Judge Edmund Brown Jr. Wednesday set a date of May 14 for the start of jury selection, according to the court clerk’s office.

The incident occurred backstage at the festival when Erie County sheriff’s deputies tried to pull country star Kenny Chesney off a patrolman’s horse he allegedly swiped from backstage. McGraw, husband of country-pop diva Faith Hill, allegedly grabbed one of the officers from behind by the neck.

McGraw is charged with four misdemeanor counts each punishable by up to one year in jail, while Chesney faces harassment charges for allegedly refusing to dismount the horse.

In late August, McGraw threatened to sue Orchard Park police over his arrest, which he claims harmed his reputation as well as his psychological state.

… and speaking of the Grammys, by the way: I lovedlovedloved this album. Donald and Walter know how to bring the real sleaze.

Strange then, that Two Against Nature’s “Cousin Dupree,” which won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal, didn’t spark near the controversy that rapper Eminem’s lyrics did. The song details a man’s lustful longings for an underage cousin. Other songs on the album have lyrics about three-way sex and drug use, but none of it is as gleefully explicit as Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP.

“We don’t actually have any lyrics about pedophilia, per se, in our songs and most of our lyrics,” Becker explained. “Most of our songs are about relationships. As far as Eminem � I haven’t really heard Eminem very much, so I don’t know what to say.”

Website posture & manner: … Jakob who? I mean, OK, I only read the one column, but Anil has a point. This Adam Baker dude is good.