BN-W eNewsletter #85

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FILM(S) MONITORED
THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE
GONE BABY GONE
THE COMEBACKS
AMERICAN GANGSTER

LIONS FOR LAMBS

The monitor of the film(s) listed above is farther down in this eNewsletter.

In light of the many “holidays” around this time of the year, we wanted to share a few things with our readers.   We’ll start off with some very interesting and unforgettable gift suggestions for Kwanzaa, Christmas, the New Year, birthdays, graduations (or whatever else you may celebrate this time of the year):

Africa the Birthplace of Humanity is an interactive CD that kids, teens, and adults (including educators) will love and can easily develop a healthy addiction to because of the knowledge that’s literally at your fingertips.   It’s a wonderful learning tool for all ages because these things, quite simply and by design, are NOT taught in schools.  There’s the Map of Africa segment where you not only learn the names and locate the 50-plus nations but you also gain knowledge of some facts about each of the countries – such as the capital, population size, language(s) spoken, natural resources, and more.   (Do you know what country in Africa was never colonized?   If not, you will find out from this interactive CD!)   There’s also the Jigsaw Puzzlesegment where you put the continent of Africa together as fast as possible because you’re being timed – remember that while this CD is a fun and fact-filled eye opener, each segment is also a game that you want to score high on so that while you learn you also win!  The Flashcard segment is where you can earn up to 50,000 points by answering questions related to the birthplace of humanity.   (Do you know what Australopithecus, Monogenetism, Hominid, Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Homo sapiens, Homo sapiens sapiens, Ramapithecus are?   Do you know where these names come from?   Do you know when these names originated and why?   If not, you will find the answers and so much more from this Africa the Birthplace of Humanityinteractive CD.)   The company that created this product isOrigenes LLC and you can purchase the CD as well as puzzles, posters, books, and more directly from the site or call 877-669-6996.   Although we already introduced this CD earlier this year in BN-W #76 , we feel it’s definitely fit for any occasion and a year-round treasure of a gift.   You will not be disappointed and – most importantly – you and anyone who uses it will digest a windstorm of priceless information.

Puzzles For Us is another fun way of learning; this time through crossword and word search puzzles.   We just put our order in so we can’t give you a first-hand account at this point, but based on what’s on the site along with its “Black History Quiz,” we’re confident it’s another great way for kids, teens, and adults to entertain and educate at the same time.   As taken from its Web site, Puzzles For Us “ is a series of original crossword and word search puzzles that were created to explore various aspects of the Black experience.   Working from the premise that Black history is an ongoing experience worthy of celebration throughout the year, our aim is to bring you entertaining, thought-provoking puzzles that can be done year-round….Subject matters range from geography, history, medicine, politics, and sports, to entertainment, music, health, personal development and education.”   If you’re in the New York Cityarea, some of the items can be purchased directly at these stores.  You can also call 718-538-6102.

Medical Apartheid :   The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans From Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington is not only a must-have but it is also a must-read for everyone, especially for people of African descent.   Washington provides a powerful, thorough, and thought-provoking breakdown of medicine; enslavement; experimentation; dissection; scientific fraud; gravedigging/graverobbing; the complicity and entanglement of the educational system (Harvard, Columbia, New York University, Yale, MIT, just to name a few) as well as the media (of course, the New York Timesleads the pack); the mindset used to justify the human abuse; and so much more that is simply astounding and will just blow your mind – and it has the shock value primarily because these are hidden historical facts within the American media and educational system that are – by design – not discussed or properly taught.   Anyone who reads our eNewsletter regularly knows we’ve been pushing this book since it came out in January 2007 ( BN-W # 75 ) and visitors to our site know a link to the book’s site as well as an interview she did on Democracy Now! – which includes a video and a printable transcript – is on every page of our site.   We’ve given this book away as gifts multiple times and will continue to do so.   It’s a serious book and, unfortunately, since it delves deeply into American history and its many wrongs it is one that is highly unlikely to be an Oprah book club selection.  (Oh how nice it would be if she and her “gatekeepers” surprised us for once with this type of book as it relates to Oprah’s African ancestral holocaust!)

Jami-First Day Covers  “ are stamps celebrating African-American images from 1946 to the present that honor the contributions made to the world by women and men of African-American heritage.  This extensive collection also consists of the United States coins minted in honor of Jackie Robinson and Drs. Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver.”   You can also call 610-918-1700.

Lastly on the topic of “holidays,” we wanted to share some of the usually untold stories about the dubious origins of some of America’s most celebrated “holidays.”   The first one has already passed – Columbus Day – with time off from school and work (for some) for the so-called “discovery” of America.   In the essay, Christopher Columbus:   Hero or Murderer?, Whitney DeWitt writes:  “The second Monday in October is celebrated across Americaas Columbus Day. It is a celebration of the man who discovered America. In school, children are taught that Christopher Columbus was a national hero. In actuality, the man was a murderer. It is true that he found a land that was unknown to the ‘civilized’ world, yet in this discovery, he erased the natives inhabiting the land. With slavery, warfare, and inhumane acts, Christopher Columbus and the men who accompanied him completely destroyed a people, a culture, and a land. These are not actions that should be heralded as heroic.”   Then there’s more to the mystery of the story of Columbus and that’s what his real religion and name were.   According to some Jewish scholars, historians, and authors, his actual name was Cristobol Colon, which according to them he hid because “no Spanish Jew could ever have expected aid from the king and queen of Spain, so the explorer claimed to be an Italian Catholic.”   To find out more on this particular angle, it may be a good start to read Jewish history and American life books by Tina Levitan, Cecil Roth, Harry L. Golden, and Martin Rywell, some of which can be found through the Jewish Publication Society of America.

Then there’s the major American “holiday” celebrated as the biggest family- and friend-gathering time of the year –Thanksgiving Day – with schools; most local, city, state government offices; and most businesses shut down for a four-day weekend.    Following are three excerpts from essays by Tristan Ahtone, Robert Jensen, and Glen Ford on another perspective of what “thanksgiving” is all about (click on the titles to read the full essays):

Thanksgiving :   “ The first day of thanksgiving took place in 1637 amidst the war against the Pequots.  700 men, women, and children of the Pequot tribe were gathered for their annual green corn dance on what is now Groton,Connecticut.  Dutch and English mercenaries surrounded the camp and proceeded to shoot, stab, butcher and burn alive all 700 people. The next day the Massachusetts Bay Colony held a feast in celebration and the governor declared ‘a day of thanksgiving.’”

No Thanks to Thanksgiving :   “ But in the United States, this reluctance to acknowledge our original sin — the genocide of indigenous people — is of special importance today. It’s now routine — even among conservative commentators — to describe the United States as an empire, so long as everyone understands we are an inherently benevolent one. Because all our history contradicts that claim, history must be twisted and tortured to serve the purposes of the powerful.   One vehicle for taming history is various patriotic holidays, with Thanksgiving at the heart of U.S. myth-building.”

The American Thanksgiving:   Rejoicing in Genocide and White Supremacy :   “ White America embraced Thanksgiving because a majority of that population glories in the fruits, if not the unpleasant details, of genocide and slavery and feels, on the whole, good about their heritage: a cornucopia of privilege and national power. Children are taught to identify with the good fortune of the Pilgrims. It does not much matter that the Native American and African holocausts that flowed from the feast at Plymouth are hidden from the children’s version of the story – kids learn soon enough that Indians were made scarce and Africans became enslaved. But they will also never forget the core message of the holiday: that the Pilgrims were good people, who could not have purposely set such evil in motion.”

INTERESTING WEB SITES/LINKS/ARTICLES OF THE DAY :

Attorney Alton Maddox, his wife, and their 2008 Children’s Freedom Retreat Committee have scheduled two upcoming events for 2008:

The first event is a two-day trip to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Maryland and Anthony T. Browder’s “hidden in plain sight” Egypt on the Potomac tour of Washington, D.C., which includes extensive details, facts, and sites on its layout, which many don’t know was conceived based on the ancient African concept of a spiritual cosmic connection by not only the professional brilliance of Benjamin Banneker but also on his expansive knowledge of our African heritage and legacy.   This knowledge is part of the whole “secret society” code of silence used in Masonic/Freemasonry – such a secret in fact that most Black masons don’t even know the real secret although they think they do.   Don’t believe us, take the tour just for starters – and then do the necessary follow-up with a little research.   You’ll find out the truth, which as Browder says is hidden in plain sight!   In BN-W #72, we provided information on this Potomac tour and went on the one-day trip earlier this year and can tell you it’s dynamic and something kids, parents, educators must see at some point.   This trip is scheduled for April 19-20, 2008 and the price for this historical two-day tour is only $200 for adults and $75 for kids (up to 12 years of age).

The second event is a four-day trip to the Gullah Festival, which is the 21st annual celebration of African culture inBeaufort, South Carolina.   This trip is scheduled for May 23-26, 2008 and is reasonably priced at $400 for adults and $160 for kids (up to 12 years of age).   If you’re driving your own vehicle, it’s $250 for adults and $75 for kids (up to 12 years of age).

Buses for both events leave from Brooklyn, New York.   For additional details and information on attending one or both of these events, call 718-834-9034 or 917-514-6523 or send an email to mrsmaddox@netzero.net.   You can also read some of the always direct, factual, fearless, and on-point opinions of Alton Maddox.

We’ve received this video – A Black Woman’s Smile – several times and thank all those who shared it with us.   It is very moving, very well made, and the spoken words by Ty Gray El are very heartwarming, especially knowing what our ancestors went through and what continues to be part of the African experience today because we’ve yet to heal as a people and talk openly and honestly about the brutality put upon us – as men, women, children, and families – here in America and the very real need to reconnect with our homeland of Africa.   Until we admit there’s a need to heal the silenced – but never forgotten – injuries from ancestors of centuries past that continues to affect present descendants, we will forever be in a state of perpetual disconnect.

Earl G. Graves, Sr. did a follow-up editorial in Black Enterprise magazine on the Eddie Griffin incident over the Labor Day weekend where he pulled the plug on Griffin’s N-word rant.   In this “Say No to the N-Word” editorial, Graveswrites the following:  “ Today, we live in a society happy to watch Black people denigrate themselves, a culture that sees such self-denigration as a form of entertainment-and a lucrative one at that.   The worst, most profane and self-destructive of the Black community are celebrated in comedy, music, television, and film in the name of ‘keeping it real.’   Worse, not only do too few of us stand up against the public defamation of Black people, too many of us defend such defamation and engage in it ourselves.”

We thank Duane “Dog” Chapman for making very clear – in what he thought was a “private” phone conversation – what most of us already know goes on behind closed doors, which is the use (and very often non-verbal thoughts) of the N-word by many Whites when they think no one will know or that they can get away with it.   Do you really think centuries – 17th, 18th, 19th – of Whites freely, regularly, and relentlessly using that word during enslavement and then some more during the Jim Crow lynching period – 20thcentury – will simply disappear with its descendants now in the 21st century, especially with the miseducation, misinformation, and disinformation system that’s currently in place about the history of America?   Here are his exact words and the very calculated thought process:   “It’s not because she’s Black.   It’s because we use the word nigger sometimes here.   I’m not gonna take a chance ever in life of losing everything I’ve worked for for 30 years because some fucking nigger heard us say ‘nigger’ and turned us in to the Enquirer magazine.   Our career is over.   I’m not taking that chance at all.”   Contrary to the sometimes “tearful” rounds of so-called regret he made recently, this conversation clarifies his primary concern for getting caughtusing the word rather than actually being concerned about using the word.   And if that’s the way he feels, it’s fine.  It’s better to be upfront about it because it will find its way out sooner or later, which it clearly did here.   In Chapman’s case, exactly what he described NOT wanting to happen, happened – he got caught by the National Enquirer using the N-word!   Whether or not he’ll get his show back is still an uncertainty.   But if the former Secretary of Education William Bennett can get away with suggesting all Black babies should be aborted and still be a regular commentator on CNN and keep busy with other gigs, then Chapman has nothing to worry about – he’ll eventually be out of the doghouse.   They got your back, buddy!   After all, as is often written, this is Amerikkka…

As for rapper Nas naming his upcoming album after this notorious word, should we really expect anything less from most of these rappers – Jay-Z included – whose entire catalog of albums includes nothing but excessive and unnecessary N-word usage as well as misogynistic lyrics?  Unless they can admit the possibility that they’ve been wrong (Master P and Chamillionaire may fit this category), most will have to put up the good fight in support of “free speech” for at least a few years in an effort to defend their past “artistry.”   To have to admit that they were somehow cleverly duped and seduced with money and fame by record executives – who would never put music out to denigrate their own – into ultimately selling Black folks down the river would make their past music null and void and useless, which in effect would make them Milli Vanilli’d.   See photos of Nas performing his N-word honey in front of a mostly White crowd.   In a Black Agenda Report article, Lizz Brown writes about Nas and his Magic Word:   “ Don’t ask us to believe that rapping the word ‘Nigger’ over and over again brings about some kind of empowerment.   It does not.   It brings about commercialization.   And while we are at it, don’t try to get us to swallow that Nas is some kind of Political Strategist, that he has been anointed and that he has the skill set to determine the future of the N-word.   He is not, he has not and he does not.   He is a rapper/poet/artist who wants primarily to stay noticed, and get paid.   Period dot.”

Dave Chappelle is another one whose past will continue to haunt him because he signed a contract that ultimately put the power in someone else’s hand.   The show he walked away from – Chappelle’s Show – because he eventually awakened and realized as he told Oprah “they got me” is now airing on cable’s Comedy Central and network television’s CW11, both companies are under the Viacom conglomerate.   You don’t have cable!   Don’t worry the head honchos have guaranteed you can catch his show and the overwhelmingly negative stereotypes and imagery of Black folks it promotes – and as written by Chappelle and his “best friend” Neal Brennan – at no cost on network television.   Because of the content of this show it will undoubtedly get ample time and exposure – and if you know like we know it’s not because it’s funny, it’s because of who it’s making fun of!   So let’s do a little digging and connect the dots. Viacom is headed by Sumner Redstone.   CBS used to be directly connected to Viacom (as is BET, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, etc.) but for easier management and a better profit margin, it split into two companies – Viacom and CBS – but CBS is still really under its parent company, Viacom, and still headed by Redstone.   A little tricky, yes, but that’s the bottom line.   CW11 is under the CBS Corporation banner, which is headed by Les Moonves.  While connecting the dots, don’t just look at one link, go to the Board of Directors, Executives, and Investor Relations type links which is where you’ll get the real power players and be able to see what the histories are of those who are impacting the – mostly negative – images we see being portrayed via media manipulation day in and day out.

As we mentioned in BN-W #54 the conclusion of Part II:  Black-Jewish Relations will be included with our new bi-monthly Music Monitor.   As we also stated, we’ve got a lot of information, and, for that reason, until Part II comes out, we’ll be filtering stuff to you so it won’t be too overwhelming in the buildup to Part II’s conclusions.   Refer to BN-W #53/54 if you need a repeat of our feelings on the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

As a follow-up to the story in BN-W #65, Jacob Arabo (aka Jacob the Jeweler and born Yakov Arabov) who was arrested in June 2006 for money laundering reached a plea deal where his charges were reduced to falsifying records and giving false statements; he’s expected to be sentenced to 37–46 months early next year.   This November 2006 Vanity Fair article – Is Hip-Hop’s Jeweler on the Rocks? – provides some interesting insight into Arabo’s professional and personal background, including his relationship with some rappers/hip-hoppers.   In light of the “gangster” theme of one of our films, here are some links on the Black Mafia Family and Jewish-American Organized Crime.

If you missed any other BN-W monitors, just send an e-mail to bannword2@yahoo.com and request that it be sent to you.   As always, we highly encourage you to see these films for yourself and, if applicable, make your own judgment call on the N-word usage – appropriate/inappropriate? necessary/unnecessary? sensible/nonsensical? does it add to or take away from the film’s concept? does the N-word have to be used at all? is there a valid reason for doing so? is it mandatory for the scene(s) to be effective? what are the circumstances/situation that necessitate any use of the word? is it just thrown in for humor, fear, crime, insult? are other culturally insulting slang terms used as much as the N-word in the film?   Lots of questions and a whole lot of reasons to wonder what’s the real purpose and thought process behind why these entertainers, writers, directors, producers, executive producers, distributors, and studios/studio heads and executives give the “greenlight” for these crews to liberally use (or allow to be used) the N-word.

FEATURE FILM(S) :

T H I N G S   W E   L O S T   I N   T H E   F I R E

[Release Date:   10/19/07]

Starring Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny; screenplay written by Allan Loeb; directed by Susanne Bier; produced by Sam Mendes, Sam Mercer; executive produced by Pippa Harris, Allan Loeb; studio – DreamWorks Pictures

NONE LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]
XXXXX  

NOTE :   Although a huge box office disappointment with an opening weekend of only $1.5 million and a gross to date of approximately $3.3 million, this film was good.   Its storyline about drug addiction, heroin in this case, is very serious and many people were probably not ready to deal with that issue.   In fact, many people (including critics) who may not be able to relate directly or indirectly to the problems that come with drug addiction, dependency, and rehabilitation probably wouldn’t get this movie.   It’s very easy to be judgmental when you don’t understand, which is what the character portrayed by Halle Berry does initially in this film.  She doesn’t understand why her deceased husband could be such a loyal friend to and respect a “junkie” until, that is, she actually gets to know him, looks past the addiction, stops being judgmental based on her personal insecurities (and perhaps even some spousal jealousy of their bond), and simply “accepts the good.”   As for the extremely low gross of this film, a possible reason is trying to figure out who is Halle Berry’s core fan base?   Does anyone know?  Are Black men coming to see her movies when they rarely see people who look like them partnered as her mate?   Are Black women going to keep supporting a “sister” they’re not sure is really with them?   Are White men and women coming out in droves to support her films – with a $1.5 million opening, it’s doubtful.   She’ll have to really work this one out and balance her role selections.   As always, Benicio Del Toro was great in this film and deserves some accolades for his portrayal.

G O N E   B A B Y   G O N E

[Release Date:   10/19/07]

Starring Morgan Freeman, Casey Affleck, Ed Harris, Michelle Monaghan, Amy Ryan; screenplay written by Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard; directed by Ben Affleck; produced by Alan Ladd, Jr., Dan Rissner, Sean Bailey; executive produced by David Crockett; studio – Miramax Films

NONE LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]
  XXXXX

NOTE :   The N-word was used twice in this film by a White female character (including one reference to go “suck a nigga’s dick”).   This film has a wide range of characters that’s usually kept on the down low and not reflected often or prominently in Hollywood movies nowadays.   So we give Ben Affleck credit for bringing these usually stowaway characters out of hiding and onto the big screen.   They include White folks who are broke, on welfare, and struggling financially as well as morbidly obese, no makeup, bad skin, bad teeth, broken English, school dropouts, grillz or gold teeth wearers, crackheads, drug addicts/abusers, drug sellers, child neglecters, child abusers, pedophiles, molesters, kidnappers, murderers, ex-cons, street criminals, and more.   Of course, as is always the case in real and reel life, there are the corrupt cops (“you try and take food out their mouths and they will fuck you up”) – and they’re certainly big in this film.   As with Things We Lost in the Fire,” this too is a very serious film and while the box office is better with an approximately $18.2 million worldwide gross to date, it’s probably not higher because America is not used to seeing downtrodden Whites anymore.   They’ve gotten un-used to that image.   The preferred images are the celebrities, high-paid professionals, and the actors seen in commercials, soap operas, and on evening comedies and dramas who play characters that usually range from middle class to wealthy and most of whom are represented – accurately or not – as articulate, intelligent, and sophisticated.   So seeing in abundance the side that typically represents the blue-collar, working class, low income, trailer park other half of White life – the Jerry Springer bunch – has actually now become an embarrassment and something to be hidden (which is another reason the Megan Williams torture, rape, and kidnapping has gone under the radar in the mainstream media).   In the end, this is a very touching and down-to-earth film that presents a serious moral dilemma that will leave most people wondering for a while and asking themselves what would I do in that situation?   One final note is that even though criminals abound in this film, can you guess who gets the handcuffs and the perp walk at the end?

T H E   C O M E B A C K S

[Release Date:  10/19/07]

Starring Carl Weathers, David Koechner, Finesse Mitchell, Robert Ri’chard; screenplay written by Ed Yeager, Joey Gutierrez; directed by Tom Brady; produced by Andrew Panay, Peter Abrams, Robert L. Levy; executive produced by Adam Goldberg; studio – Fox Atomic

NONE LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]
XXXXX  

NOTE :   Our primary reason for putting this film on the BN-W monitor list was its marketing of Carl Weathers but he was barely in the film.   This film was not funny, not fun, and not worth seeing.   There were constant references to the penis.   Why such an insecurity?   There was a scene with a very masculine Black male made up as the tennis player Venus Williams, which is odd because she’s tall, thin, and feminine.   This masculine character slams the tennis ball across the court making the White female competitor’s clothes fly off and underneath is what’s supposed to be seen as a sexy body with sexy lingerie – the complete opposite of what the male playing the female Venus Williams is supposed to represent.   Is that not a quick flash of subliminal programming?   There’s also the rebellious White female teenager who wants to make her dad mad by dating a Black guy and teasingly saying to her dad while staring into dad’s eyes after kissing her boyfriend:   “See you later, Black boyfriend.”   How defiant!   Then there’s the Black men dancing and singing naked in the shower, while in the very next scene there are White men dancing and singing – but fully clothed.   During the Middle Passage and the enslavement thereafter, nakedness of the African/Black male represented savagery, vulnerability, and a childish nature.   Blatant White supremacy at its best – all under the guise of comedy and just being “silly” (ha ha).

A M E R I C A N   G A N G S T E R

[Release Date:   11/2/07]

Starring Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Ruby Dee, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Cuba Gooding Jr., Rza, Common, T.I., Josh Brolin; screenplay written by Steven Zaillian; directed by Ridley Scott; produced by Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott; executive produced by Nicholas Pileggi, Steven Zaillian, Branko Lustig, Jim Whitaker, Michael Costigan; studio – Universal Pictures

NONE LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]
  XXXXX

NOTE :   The N-word was used four times in this film and Denzel Washington fortunately avoided having his character use the word.   Overall this film was very entertaining and it really didn’t glorify the drug or gangster lifestyle in any substantial way.   In fact, it showed that it leads to a dead end by not only destroying the community but also destroying the families involved in the selling.   In the end, crime doesn’t pay because continued oppression wins when the government can not only put you behind bars, but your family members too – and then leave you penniless by taking all your ill-gotten money, property, and assets.   Four or five years of the so-called good life that includes businesses and material excess as well as having to watch your back at all times only to end up losing everything due to a snitch and going to jail for double or more of that “good life” time is certainly not a long term win-win.   This film would have been much better had Frank Lucas’ life story been more of the focus:   his childhood; the reason for his lack of education, which left him basically illiterate; racism in the South that led to the murder of his cousin by the Ku Klux Klan and how that impacted him at the tender age of 6; what were the relationships he had with his father, mother, and siblings; what was the bond/passion with his wife – the connection or purpose of the relationship was not clear in the film, especially since she leaves when he goes to jail?   The movie would have been better if the focus was more on Lucas and not nearly evenly divided between him and the Russell Crowe character, Richie Roberts.  Something very unusual happened in this film.   Roberts is called a “kike,” which is a Jewish derogatory racial slur.  Unlike they do with the N-word, rarely do the studio heads let this word get out of the box and onto the airwaves or the big screen (remember what happened when Michael Jackson used it in one of his songs?).   With so much unnecessary focus on this Roberts character and the rampant corruption by law enforcement on every level, there may be something coming up the pike promoting his “good cop, do-gooder” image.   We’ll see.   Washington played the role very convincingly with the right balance of finesse as a ruthless drug lord and businessman with a softer side.   One of the best lines in this movie is said by the Asian drug supplier:  “quitting while you’re ahead is not the same as quitting.”  Crime will exist in one form or another forever, but greed and not knowing when to stop are what usually bring people down.   In interviews and footage following the film’s release, Frank Lucas encouraged kids to not take the route he took but instead to “go to school” and he is also working with his daughter on the Yellow Brick Roads project, which focuses on children who have incarcerated parents.   In August 2000, New York magazine did a profile of Lucas called “The Return of Superfly,” from which the concept of this film was created.   Esther Iverem, film critic ofSeeingBlack.com also did a very balanced review of the film, in which amongst many things she describes the differences in the portrayal of the women – Lucas’ wife “is rendered almost mute and doll-like,” while the White cop’s ex-wife and girlfriend “laugh, cry, smile, curse, have sex, as well as take part in other human activities.”

L I O N S   F O R   L A M B S

[Release Date:   11/9/07]

Starring Derek Luke, Robert Redford, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Michael Peña; screenplay written by Matthew Michael Carnahan; directed by Robert Redford; produced by Robert Redford; executive produced by Daniel Lupi; studio – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/United Artists

NONE LOW TO EXCESSIVE [1+]
XXXXX  

NOTE :   In its attempt to lay down the liberal perspective it ends up showing its warts.   It greets us with perpetuating the “greatness” of the Greek philosophers (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle) and as usual never mentioning who taught them their knowledge – the ancient Africans!   It then throws in the Aryan (master race) with a slightly feigned disgust at the White supremacist angle of it, yet at the same time laughing at and gambling on a Black guy being named “Arian” (the Derek Luke character) because, of course, his parents wouldn’t be smart enough not to name their son after a White supremacist organization.   Then there’s the half-stepping White student who’s supposed to be an undercover genius and the professor wants to bring it out, meanwhile back at the ranch, Black and Hispanic students who have the same and even more potential are rarely nurtured but instead are falsely diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, sent to special education, and given pills to pop all in preparation to send them to the for-profit prison system.  Then there’s the reference to affirmative action and athletic scholarships, implying that Blacks and Hispanics get in through “supportive” means while Whites deserve to be there because somehow their “privilege” should guarantee them a seat.   Then there’s the know-it-all White students who try to ridicule the facts presented in the Black and Hispanic students class presentation.   So that’s the gist of the film, the people who know what’s happening with the war, propaganda, media manipulation will find this film a bore and overly preachy; the ones who might gain something from it because they’ve been under a rock probably won’t bother seeing it.

BN-W Monitor Coming Soon :  “Run, Fatboy, Run”[Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria]; “This Christmas” [Idris Elba, Delroy Lindo, Loretta Devine]; “Fred Claus” [Vince Vaughn, Ludacris]; “Southland Tales” [Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar]; “I Am Legend”[Will Smith, Alice Braga]; “The Bucket List” [Morgan Freeman, Jack Nicholson]; “The Great Debaters” [Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Jurnee Smollett]; “The Perfect Holiday” [Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut];“August Rush” [Terrence Howard, Keri Russell, Robin Williams]

Also Coming :   Part II:   Black-Jewish Relations; Bi-Monthly Music Monitors

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