Tag Archives: race

Bon Jovi: 2020 Album Review

10 Dec

Bon Jovi wins easiest, most genuine segway into current events.  He does a seamless job of staying true to his own sound, and having an album that discusses all of today’s issues.  He hits on:  Political ugliness, the division in the country, war, racial justice, covid, and I applaud him for taking it on, and doing it well.  Every artist has a responsibility to do that right now.

Limitless:  It’s an upbeat and exciting opener.  Well, it took a long time, but Bon Jovi’s voice is shot.  The shimmer & jitter have impacted the vocal quality throughout.

Do What You Can:  Speaks to the anxiety of our nation right now.  It’s a reminder to stay vigilant and social distance, but that doesn’t preclude helping a neighbor or stranger.  America needs to hear it.  It’s nice to have a covid song that stays within the band’s typical sound, where the writing is not forced.  

American Reckoning:  “Our conscience has been looted, and our soul is under siege.”  Bon Jovi discusses our racial tensions and how history repeats.

Beautiful Drug:  Extending syllables “lo-ah ah ah ah uv” does a lot to make a song catchy.  It goes all the way back to our first infant babbling of phonemes like ba ba, na na, etc.  It’s used effectively in this tune, and was the first song on the album that really caught my attention.  And though I think the sentiment is naive (for where we are as a country) I can appreciate the optimism.

Story of Love;  I totally tuned out of this one.  The song tells of relationships between parents and children, which is nice.  It’s a little too melodramatic, though.  The instrumentals in the last third of the song redeem it.  I was about to take it off the list, but it goes out pretty nicely.

Let it Rain:  Good beat to start.  I can tell it’ll be exciting.  The sample is cool, and just a bit overused.

Lower the Flag:  A somber tone.  This is really meaningful, and genuine.  I like the idea of limiting the jingoism a bit.  We can be more moderate is what Bon Jovi suggests.  The fast part is catchy and I like it.  I’m not sure about the call outs, but it doesn’t ruin the song.

Blood in the Water:  I don’t know…  I can see he’s going for a relevant song , but it’s too much with devils and sharks.

Brothers in Arms:  I think this song represents Bon Jovi’s catalogue best.  It’s rock and a little gritty.  And it’s a message we’re all related and need to stick together.  And hello, is this miraca that I’m hearing–it’s pretty much the best.

Unbroken:  This song is Ok.  I like how the cadence is like a hymn and the subject is military.  But I just–maybe it’s too much religious imagery for me?  I’m not sure what exactly, i don’t care for that makes it a meh for me.  

Do What You Can (duet):  It’s a livelier, country version of the first song, and it sounds good as a duet.

Shine:  A nice ballad.  Excellent harmonies, and good guitar works. I like when artists use volume to convey importance and emotion.

Luv Can:  The sentiment of love speaking when words don’t work is a nice one.  He uses some phrases that I think he used in other songs before, so I’d like new material.  The breakdown is also kind of 1980s.  The “love is like a rolling thunder refrain” is nice, and perhaps the best portion of the song.

Karen

5 Aug

*Disclaimer* This post is going to start out heavy, as I describe the historical context, then get humorous (to some, hopefully most). 

 

Calling white, (are they always suburban or upper-middle class?) women “Karens” came about to describe this demographic’s (micro) aggressions towards those of “lessor” (as judged by the power structure in charge) societal standing, usually POC.  And it’s rooted in the history of violence against POC in the name of protecting white women.  White men, have often beat, maimed, tortured, and killed black men especially in the name of standing up for a white woman’s honor.  For example, here’s a summary (not mine) of the Emmitt Till case:

  1. There have been any number of versions of what happened — or didn’t happen — on a hot day of Aug. 24, 1955, in a small convenience store outside Money, Miss.  At one point, Till entered the store to buy a Coke.  The clerk in the store, a 21-year-old white woman named Carolyn Bryant later alleged Till had sassed her.  Some versions said he tried to flirt with Bryan, or that he boasted of having white girl friends back in Chicago, or that he touched her, or he may have wolf-whistled at her.  Whatever happened, Bryant subsequently told her husband and his brother-in-law about the interaction – or someone did.  Four days after Till entered that store, Bryant’s husband, Roy, and J.W. Milam, in the dead of night went to the home of Till great-uncle, where Till was staying, and took him away.  They drove around with the child in Bryant’s truck and eventually dragged him into a barn where they set upon him.  They beat Till, gouged out one of his eyes, tied him to a 75-pound cotton gin fan, shot him in the head and dumped his body into the Tallahatchie River.  When he did not return home the uncle’s house, Till was reported as missing.  Bryant and Milam were interviewed by deputies and acknowledged taking Till away, although they swore when they last saw him he was alive.  Unusually for that time and that place, the two were arrested and charged with kidnapping.  Three days later, Till’s mutilated and bloated body was recovered from the river.  The body was sent home to Chicago, where Till’s mother, Mamie Till Bailey, demanded the casket be open so mourners who filed past it could see what hate had done to her child.  Jet magazine printed a photograph of the body, further arousing indignation over the killing [I didn’t put it here, but it’s easily searchable].  The crime was so heinous even the white authorities in Mississippi were moved to condemn the killing.  Bryant and Milam were charged with murder and stood trial in September, 1955.  After the end of five days of testimony – including the defense claim Till’s body was so wounded it was impossible to say with certainty it was in fact Till – the all-white jury returned a not guilty verdict after less than an hour’s deliberations.  Bryant and Milam were freed.  The next year they gave a paid interview to Look magazine in which they freely admitted murdering Till.  What followed was a long, slow decline marked by arrests for various crimes, and their eventual deaths, both from cancer, Milam in 1980 and Bryant in 1994.  Carolyn Bryant, having divorced Roy, faded from memory until 2017.  Then, a Duke University professor who had written a book on the murder, revealed that Bryant (who had re-married) in an interview for the book admitted she had lied about the interaction with Emmett Till.  “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” Bryant was quoted in an excerpt in Vanity Fair as saying she “felt tender sorrow” for Till’s mother, who died in 2003.  

 

There is nothing funny about that.  And it makes sense that it’s women who are being called out on social media for being a “Karen” because it is specific to the above described behavior.  And that white woman playing the victim card needs to cease, because it can cause real harm.  Here’s a current example:

      2. When Amy Cooper, a white woman, called 911 from an isolated patch in Central Park where she was standing with her unleashed dog on Memorial Day, she said an “African-American man”              was threatening her, emphasizing his race to the operator.  Moments before Ms. Cooper made the call, the man, Christian Cooper, an avid bird-watcher, had asked her to leash her dog, and              she had refused.

 

I am sure everyone encountered on that story on social media.  It just goes to show those that don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.  Also socialization is firmly entrenched.  This present day Karen has brought about a lot of throwing the name about.  Have a mask tantrum?  Karen.  Ask to speak to a manager?  Karen.  Write something somebody disagrees with on Twitter?  Karen.  It’s getting a overused, I’d say.  And not just to describe the specific, problematic behaviors in the above two scenarios.  It’s becoming a catch-all term for white women.  And racially, I think that is fair.  Honestly.  White women have pretty much stayed under the radar (as far as I know) when it comes to troublesome race relations.  It’s time we accept that our fair skin allows us to walk through life with a certain privilege.  That said, I don’t like the current overuse of Karen when it is more along the lines of calling out any white female for speaking out.  Even when she’s right.  Even when she has a point.  Using “Karen” to shame women into submission is not addressing the issue at hand, and it’s backward misogyny.  Because let’s face it, there are plenty of problematic privileged behaviors white men display too.  Not all the white men are actively doing the murdering atrocious crimes these days.  Some of the men are also participating in microaggressions.  All of us need to be educated on our privilege and the ways we can use it for good or evil.  And both sexes need to do better.  So I am petitioning for us to also call out those Chads and Spencers for their shitty actions also, so it doesn’t become just another misogynistic slur against women.

The historical context of “Karen” is important to know.  And now you have a superficial overview, and I encourage all my readers to delve more deeply into the race, class, privilege, and sex regarding the topic.  The rest of this post I’m going to talk about the lighter (no pun intended), more jokey side to this “Karen” phenomenon.

Have you ever noticed sometimes it’s Karen and sometimes it’s Becky?  My mate and I decided every age range has its own Karen-type name.  I think there’s a list online, but purely as a thought experiment and for funs-z-fun my mate and I brainstormed names.  And not ones to be sexist, we paired each Karen with it’s male counterpart.  Then we realized not everyone is middle-upper-class, there are also lower class white people (unkindly known as white trash or trailer trash), and they have their own sets of names.  Here’s the list we came up with:

child:         

$-Female = McKayla           

$-Male = Ayden                   

Poor-female = Candy               

Poor-Male = Ryker

teen-20s:   

$-Female = Becky                

$-Male = Dillon                     

Poor-female = Tonya               

Poor-Male = Colt

30-40s:       

$-Female = Karen               

$-Male = Spencer                 

Poor-female = Tammy             

Poor-Male = Rodney

40s-60:       

$-Female = Susan               

$-Male = Chad                     

Poor-female = Rhonda           

Poor-Male = Wyatt

 

Let us know if we got it right.

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.middletownpress.com/middletown/article/A-slaying-that-haunts-America-Emmett-Till-13814421.php
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/nyregion/amy-cooper-false-report-charge.html

Little Fires Everywhere Review (Spoilers)

8 Jun

*Karen = Reece Witherspoon’s character

 

Mia’s attitude sucks.  She is rude the entire time.  The hostility boils barely beneath the surface–I wouldn’t have anything to do with her based on that demeanor alone.  The character is totally unlikable, snarling and growling her way through pretty much the entire series.

I think one of Karen’s biggest mistakes is not listening to her own gut feelings.  She shouldn’t have rented to Mia.  If I (as a white person) was looking for housing and it was a year lease, but I wanted month to month–they would tell me no.  Karen should not have felt white guilt and stuck to policy.  Also, hiring your tenant as house-help is a terrible idea–for both women.  It puts Karen in an awkward position if the renting doesn’t go well, or if the house-manager job doesn’t go well.  And it is a horrible idea for Mia to allow one person to be in charge of her housing and income.

I knew Mia would have a back-story.  I thought maybe she was raped, maybe Pearl’s dad was stalking them so they were running, or she had some sort of criminal charge she was on the lamb about.  But by the time the series finally revealed Mia’s background, it was already too late, I couldn’t overcome my dislike for the character.  The order of the episodes matters!  Maybe if her past was revealed sooner, I could have had empathy.  But as it was, the background wasn’t compelling enough to justify all her poor decisions and surly attitude.

When Mia says, “You know how to advocate for yourself.”  As if it’s not her responsibility as a parent to step in and make sure Pearl gets in the appropriate math class.

Mia wants

Mia’s professor is way out of line!  Taking coke in front of a student–offering it to the student.  Sleeping with a student.  That lack of boundaries and the power dynamic is predatory, and I didn’t care for it.

The author/screen writer didn’t make Mia’s dreams clear enough.  I thought she was having PTSD and that Pearl was a child of rape until I found out Mia was just afraid of being discovered.

Karen comes off as hyper-controlling, but it’s actually Mia who is the controlling one.  Mia controls when her and Pearl move and where they go.  She continuously says Pearl belongs to her, which never sat well with me.  She controls the length of the lease.  She takes a nonsense job she doesn’t want to control Pearl at Karen’s house.  Mia takes control of her coworker’s life, and baby search even though it’s none of her business, and they only knew each other for 3 months.  Mia controls what kind of life, and what luxuries Pearl gets–to the point she doesn’t sell art for Pearl’s life, but will sell it to pay her coworker’s lawyer fees.  Mia controls when Izzy can come by to do art.  Mia talks suggestively about fire and new beginnings to impressionable and angry Izzy–then sends her right home.  Mia is the one pulling the strings the entire series-yet she gets the better treatment of the 2 main characters.  I think Mia is a sociopath.

I didn’t understand why Pearl choose Trip over Moody.  She had a lot of fun and quality time with Moody.  He was intellectually on her level.  He treated her nice.  She tells her mom Trip is easy and dumb, so I don’t get why she threw away her relationship with Moody for his brother.  Though I did like Izzy’s point to Moody that just because he likes Pearl, and just because he’s nice to her, doesn’t mean Pearl owes him anything, and it doesn’t mean he owns her.  I liked the message, but I think the author went against Pearl’s character to set up the situation to have Izzy say that quote and to bring Moody down a  couple of notches.  It’s not really consistent writing.

Mia made the decision to steal the baby she was carrying as a surrogate.  And she didn’t even have the courage to tell the parents that she was backing out of their deal (or to give back a portion of the money).  It’s ethically, and contractually wrong, but the author never punishes her, Mia is treated like a hero.

The author actually punishes most of the mothers, which I did not like.  Karen was punished for giving up her fiance’ because he decided he wanted a travel career instead of kids.  She was punished for putting her family first and having a part-time job at a small publication, and for living her life for her kids.  The adoptive couple were treated as pretentious, insensitive and less-than, even though they wanted kids so badly, and loved the baby for the 1st year.  The surrogate family was treated as an inconvenience to Mia and Pearl’s story.  Bebe had a more sympathetic story line, but also was questioned for being poor, illegal, and single.  The author has peculiar and stringent ideals about motherhood, instead of accepting all types of mothers and situations as legitimate.

I didn’t think any character was likable, and I don’t think any one of them took accountability.  But not all of them were punished for that.

Mia and Lexie were my 2 least favorite characters.

Karen got a bad deal.  Yeah, I said it, and I stand by it.

The Suffering of My People

8 Feb

By proxy.  And not aimed directly at my particular tribe–through we were mistreated too, and all natives eventually felt the ramifications of the law I’m about to broach.

On this day (February 8) in 1887, President Grover Cleveland signed the Dawes Severalty Act into legislation.  And have you even heard of it?  My guess is no.  Is this Native American month?  Wait?  Do we have one?  Let’s not forget the suffering of the real owner of this country while we remember achievements of African Americans and Civil Rights.  Neither one is more important then the other, yet the Indian plight is overlooked.  Back then, and still today.

Red (for the blood shed) is mine with much plagiarism from Wiki and HistoryChannel.com,, here are some facts about how the Dawes Act was a major factor in the ruin my people:

-The stated objective of the Dawes Act was to stimulate assimilation of Indians into American society.

-Individual ownership of land was seen as an essential step. The act also provided that the government would purchase Indian land “excess” to that needed for allotment and open it up for settlement by non-Indians.  [Translation:  We want to sell this prime land to railroads, miners, and settlers–get OUT!]

-Dawes Act gave the president the power to divide Indian reservations into individual, privately owned plots.

-The compulsory Act forced natives to succumb to their inevitable fate; they would undergo severe attempts to become “Euro-Americanized” as the government allotted their reservations with or without their consent.

-Reformers believed that Indians would never bridge the chasm between “barbarism and civilization” if they maintained their tribal cohesion and traditional ways.

-Finally defeated by the US military force [after Indian Wars where traditionalists railed against losing their land and culture at the lowest of prices] and continuing waves of encroaching settlers, the tribes negotiated agreements to resettle on reservations.

-The act “was the culmination of American attempts to destroy tribes and their governments and to open Indian lands to settlement by non-Indians and to development by railroads.”[27]

-Land owned by Indians decreased from 138 million acres (560,000 km2) in 1887 to 48 million acres (190,000 km2) in 1934.[3]

-they lost 62 percent of their total pre-1887 holdings!

-promised benefits to the Indians never materialized.

-Racism, bureaucratic bungling, and inherent weaknesses in the law deprived the Indians of the strengths of tribal ownership, while severely limiting the economic viability of individual ownership.

-Many tribes also deeply resented and resisted the government’s heavy-handed attempt to destroy their traditional cultures.

-The amount of land in native hands rapidly depleted from some 150 million acres (610,000 km2) to a small 78 million acres (320,000 km2) by 1900.

-The remainder of the land once allotted to appointed natives was declared surplus and sold to non-native settlers as well as railroad and other large corporations; other sections were converted into federal parks and military compounds.

-Most allotment land, which could be sold after a statutory period of 25 years, was eventually sold to non-Native buyers at bargain prices.

-Despite these flaws, the Dawes Severalty Act remained in force for more than four decades [And the ramifications are still evident today]

So on this infamous day in history, please take time to remember the Native Americans and their plight at the hands of Angelo-ism (Europeans take over the world), politics, greed/capitalism, and many, many other factors.

Fix Me

6 Mar

The decision to correct deafness with a cochlear implant is not simple.  At first, I just thought good technology and medical advancement were good, good, good.  I didn’t even fathom people wouldn’t want to take advantage of it.  But seeing the social ramifications made me think twice.  It’s a real conundrum.

In order to sort it out, let’s compare deafness to something else.  Say, another minority group discrimminated against in society.

Race.  Should everyone be made white? No!  Of course not.  There are no better or worse colors of skin, and shame on anyone that might think so.  It would be an appalling suggestion to say the African Americans typically have a harder time in this country, live in dilapidated areas, are poorly educated, have worse financial situations, worse job prospects, and are involved in more drugs and violence, so we should change their skin color to alleviate that.

The suggestion to make them white?

It wouldn’t go over well.  The color of their skin is not the problem–society’s prejudice and treatment of blacks is the problem.  BUT–I can’t personally speak for racial minorities.  Maybe my offense is a product of white guilt.  I look white enough not to be questioned or have to deal with any sort of discrimination that way.  Also, skin color is a social impediment, but it isn’t a true handicap.  Let me try to compare the situation with something I know better.

Eyesight.  Remedial vision is almost the same as poor hearing.  What if someone could fix MY vision?  I have had eye correction since I was 3-4 years old.  First, I had extensive therapy to correct my lazy eye.  Then, glasses.  I was known as the kid with glasses from age 4 to 17 (and intermittently now).  Then, I got contacts.  And with them, I learned what it feels like to have a constant tree in my eyes.  They are high maintenance, expensive, and make my eyes feel more dry and sensitive.  Aside from a lifelong history of sketchy vision, both my parents, and I think every single relative I have wears glasses.  Sub-par vision is all I have ever known. . .  And yet–I would jump at the chance to permanently correct it.  In fact, my dream is to get Lasix one day.

But there is no real culture of bad eyes.  Society accommodates people with poor vision pretty readily.  Aside from being a pilot or shooting, I would say I can do everything anyone else can do with my bad prescription.  Poor vision is a sort of disability, but it is not quite like deaf culture.  So it’s not as comparable.  So let’s look at something else that makes me a minority, that society doesn’t understand/accommodate, and comes with a cultural component.

Sexuality.  What if some doctor came along and said they could “fix” me by making me straight?