26 February 2009

Marty's Response to the "Slavery Memorial" Post

Thanks Marty for taking the time to visit my blog and for always leaving such thoughtful comments. Thanks also for giving me permission to feature your comments in a separate post. I have to admit that you are a bit more optimistic about the future than I am. I think that greed is an extremely powerful force, so I'm not sure that this resort won't eventually go ahead as planned. I am glad, however, that your optimism--grounded in personal experience--exists. Perhaps it will rub off on me. ;-)

So my cyberfriend, keep fighting the good fight in Nashville and beyond!!

It does appear and to me feels like someone trying to trivialize the most heart breaking and tragic period in the history of the human species.

Let us not forget that it was pure unadulterated greed in the desire for profit and riches of the few that forced the many into slavery.

Does that not sound like the same battle we are approaching in the coming economic disaster? The battle being currently fought in America is one of wealth.

The Republican plan was to continue to remove all taxes from the rich and tax the poor into the streets to beg. Taking what's left of the treasury and giving it to the banks and the wealthy. At that point you would have near slavery. Everyone would work for what ever money was offered.

That would have worked if it weren't for our President Obama. It has shocked the wealthy in this country that Black Americans and working class Whites carried an election by banding together to achieve a goal something few in this country ever thought would happen. But WE were successful.

That's the past and looking at the future Republicans and wealthy America one thing is coming. Note who the Republicans just made the chairperson.

In 2002 it was noted that Blacks in America had reached a threshold that the next generation of Black Americans were situated to inherit the the largest amount of money ever seen in this country.

Inez you have just seen and recognized how the Republicans plan to get power back to the rich. Nice Work....

How do you break the ties with the Democratic party Blacks have had since rich White American gave up slavery? Tell them you going to tax the first inheritance many have ever seen.

They are banking that wealthy Blacks will be a greedy and self-centered as Wealthy whites.

Your outrage Inez may be the deciding factor.

All people. Let me say that again. All Humans on the face of the Earth were descended from two Black people out of Africa.
Whites we are genetic mutants of
million's of years of evolution.

To say you know the pain of the Black race is impossible if you do not have the genetics to back it up. My mother brought her Black boyfriend to my high school functions. Yes in the South that was a painful experience for me. But one now that made me the person I am today. I didn't fully understand at the time but it changed many people for the better, me as well.

Why will the Jacksons in Nigeria and the Republicans in America fail in their endeavors to separate the Black race like they have the White, one in to wealthy the other average working class.

They fail to take in to consideration of the millions of years of the Black race of tribes and families and community in the face of overwhelming pain and suffering have made them not only Different race but dare I say a genetically superior one. Tune in in 100 years to find out.

For now, continue to look for the signs of the attempt to divide the Black Race into have and have not.

My personal opinion is this Jacksonville in Nigeria will fail for the very reason stated above. My hope the Black race will continue to say what they have said through history. Its not about sipping champagne and re-writing history at a golf course in Nigeria. Its about community and family helping your neighbors.

My mother would say to me. "Feel privileged that you are accepted with open arms in the Black community, people I have always prided myself in knowing. For it was your Grandfather that denied the basic rights deserving of all humans to the Black community in this County."

I was privileged and still am. Please God I pray for one thing: never again divide us By race color creed sexuality or national origin.

Moreover by Separating us by Greed for the riches of wealth.


19 February 2009

Loking for love and getting dead chickens

There's another one of those bizarre "woman goes looking for love and finds creepiness instead" stories in The Local today. After being "wooed" online by a man she believed to be a 33 year-old PhD student, a German woman set off for New Zealand to begin a new life. Rather than being met at the airport by the intellectual dreamboy with whom she had been corresponding since October, however, she was greeted by "old man" who lived in a "horror house."

Okay, first three things:
  1. "54" is not old. "84" or "94" perhaps, but not "54." Who writes this stuff anyway, teenagers?
  2. Moving to NZ after a four-month virtual relationship? Seriously?
  3. She's crazy.
Finding love on the internet is possible; I know people who've done it and are now married and living happily ever after. The problem is NOT the internet itself, but critical thinking skills that are needed whether you're hunting at the neighborhood bar or on MySpace.

The decision to remain in the "horror house" and sleep in a "filthy bed" with her host for six days--despite having had many opportunities to escape--because she was "fascinated," suggests to me that she's a woman who makes seriously bad choices.

I don't think we can blame the Internet for that.

Luckily, she was "rescued" after a guy she met on the plane raised the alarm when she didn't show up for a date they had planned. Wow. She hadn't even met her fake PhD student and she was already planning to hook up with yet another stranger. Okay, it was a long flight.

I wonder if she went back to Leipzig (perhaps too embarrassing) or if she decided to stay in New Zealand with Bachelor #2. Seriously, I'm pulling for this pairing. I want them to get married and tell their children the story of how they met:
"Daddy met Mommy on a plane. She was on her way to meet a man. But he was a bad man and his house was full of dead chickens, so Daddy rescued her."

16 February 2009

Marlon Jackson's $3.4 Billion Slavery "Memorial"

I have long since given up on the notion that the world can't get any more ridiculous. Yes, despite everything, I am sometimes still quite naive. In any case, another story always comes along to remind me that the growth rate for ridiculousness is apparently exponential and I should just abandon whatever shreds of naiveté I have left.

Case in point . . .

There is an article this morning on the BBC website about Marlon Jackson's plans to build a $3.4 billion slavery "memorial" in Nigeria. This story is disgusting on so many levels . . . but i'll pick one:

Visitors will be able to see the route their ancestors walked, shackled together as they were whipped toward the 'point of no-return.'

They can then retire to their five-star hotel to drink cocktails by the pool.

Because heaven knows after seeing the route my ancestors walked, I'd certainly need a fucking drink in a fucking 5-star hotel.

Of course, this is being marketed as both providing jobs in Nigeria and connecting African-Americans with their history. Both of those things may indeed be true, which doesn't make the project any less reprehensible.

If Marlon Jackson truly wants to go down in history as an assclown who was eager to profit from one of the most painful chapters in world history--and in such a crass 5-star fashion--then by all means he should proceed as planned. Alternatively, he could take that $3.4 billion and use it to fight modern-day slavery as it continues to be practiced in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

But then again, perhaps the world does need another golf course and its first Jackson Five museum:

Visitors will be able to pay their respects at the site of a mass grave for those who died before boarding ships across the Atlantic Ocean.

And then travel a few yards in a buggy to play a round of golf.

They can visit a replica slave ship to see the conditions Africans suffered, before visiting the world's only museum dedicated to the memory of the Jackson Five.*

Like I said before, disgusting . . . truly disgusting.

*Italics are mine.

11 February 2009

Oren Lavie

I absolutely love this song and accompanying video.

According to Oren's MySpace page, the video consists of over 3,000 still photographs, the storyboard took four weeks to complete, and the actual shooting took only two days.

I heard the song for the first time today, so I'm ignoring the bit I just read that said it was featured in a Chevrolet commercial . . . which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I'm just ignoring it.

08 February 2009

Anton Chekhov

The way these things typically go is that one thing leads to another which leads to yet another and so on and so on . . .

For example, I was just watching Druckfrisch, a show about new books hosted by Denis Scheck. He began with a segment on "change" in the US and went on to discuss two of Obama's favorite authors, Saul Bellow and Philip Roth. I read Bellow when I was really too young to understand what I was reading; a mistake I didn't make with Roth. So I was more than interested in his discussion of the latest Roth novel to appear in Germany, Empörung (Indignation). I was a bit annoyed because this book had slipped off of my radar, so I went searching for reviews, etc.

That's how I found the following quote from Anton Chekhov, which was in the review* of Indignation in The New York Review of Books:
There ought to be behind the door of every happy, contented man some one standing with a hammer continually reminding him with a tap that there are unhappy people; that however happy he may be, life will show him her claws sooner or later, trouble will come for him—disease, poverty, losses, and no one will see or hear, just as now he neither sees nor hears others. (Italics are mine.)

I love Chekhow, and he's one of my go-to guys when I'm feeling miserable and want to feel worse. This quote is taken from a story called "Gooseberries," which is in the collection The Wife and Other Stories. This passage makes clear that things haven't really changed that much since 1898.

It also makes me want to swing my hammer.

*It's a very detailed review, so if you're interested in reading Indignation and don't want to know everything that happens, skip it.

07 February 2009

Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud

It's a dreary Saturday afternoon in Berlin, and I'd love to be curled up on my sofa with a blanket and a cup of tea watching gorgeous French people being crazy in love:

Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud Trailer

Instead, I'm sitting at my desk working. I can't even play the (Miles Davis) soundtrack since it's in storage in DC.

Since I'm a freelancer, however, I will stop complaining immediately. Having work on my desk can only ever be a very good thing . . . a glorious thing . . . a truly magnificent thing . . .


06 February 2009

Auf der Strecke

Once in a while a film grabs me and won't let me go.

This was the case with Dare mo shiranai (Nobody Knows), Absolutely Positive, and Iklimler (Climates). Each of these films left me reeling, but at the same time hungry for more. Their power rests not only in their beautiful aesthetics and stunning performances, but also in the directors' ability to tell simple, but enormously moving stories with protagonists that make you care about what will happen to them next.

Now I have another film to add to this list: Auf der Strecke, a short film by Swiss director Reto Caffi, which tells a heartbreaking story of love and the terrible impact of a bad choice.

I saw this film on Arte a couple weeks ago, and simply could not stop thinking about it. I won't go into too much detail here, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it. Everybody deserves to have the same "Oh fuck .... Nooooooo!!!" moment that I had. Suffice it to say that the protagonist is a good guy who makes a bad choice because of love. The repercussions bring the woman he loves closer, but now make that love impossible.

Confused? Sorry, but you do need to see it for yourself.

I'm very excited to see that the film has been nominated for an Oscar in the category of short films.* So keep your fingers crossed for Mr. Caffi; this one really deserves a win.

*Honestly, this is always the BEST category in the Oscars, anyway.

03 February 2009

Jumbo Hostel

As if Sweden weren't cool enough, I recently saw a report about a 747 that has been converted into a hostel. Located at Arlanda Airport, about 42 km north of Stockholm, the Jumbo Hostel is a fascinating example of creative thinking. And honestly, if you have to stay at an airport hotel, what could be cooler than staying in one that used to fly?

Cockpit Suite

Double room

Amazing transformation

I wouldn't want to spend my entire visit to Stockholm having to travel back and forth to the airport, but a couple nights in a converted 747 would definitely be on the agenda.

Details about room types and prices are available here.