Aaron McGruder’s Black Jesus   Leave a comment

I gotta admit I seriously thought this would have been at least half as thought-provoking as the first three Seasoons of The Boondocks.

Unfortunately for me, I was wrong.

Now, before I talk about the series premiere, I do want to take a moment to point out a historically inaccurate but widely assumed depiction of Jesus:

 

…He definitely didn’t look like this.

…Or This.

…Or even this.

THIS, however is an accurate depiction of what Jesus may have actually looked like.

As a reminder, Jesus was born in a part of the world and at a time where it was very unlikely for him to have blonde hair and blue eyes. While I’d be the first to say whatever someone thinks Jesus looks like is their perrogative, on the other hand enough eyewitness accounts of Jesus and the historical record indicate he definitely didn’t look European. That said, he definitely wasn’t as dark-skinned as many black Christians wish he was. When you REALLY think about it, it’s probably best no one really know what God looks like.

Anyway, moving on. Let’s talk about the disaster that is McGruder’s latest creation.

On the one hand yes, I get it he’s pissed Cartoon Network took The Boondocks from him but on the other hand, this latest move makes no sense. Black Jesus is basically “Ghetto Jessus for stereotypical bums living in the inner city”. That’s literally what he does. I only watched a few minutes before I shut off the TV. It’s basically much of the same trash that I prefer to avoid with forced gags that fall flat and unfunny. Not Family Guy-level bad but right up there in terms of crass humor.

Overall I give it it a 1/10. I wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t get renewed for lower ratings alone.

All I can really say to this is how the mighty have fallen. Just 3 years ago, McGruder’s mid-season 3 Boondocks his Tyler Perry dis episode seemed to suggest McGruder was building momentum with his then-flagship show. Then he stepped down after finishing season 3 amid creative differences with Cartoon Network. I thought for sure he’d have popped up with a new show on another network. I never would’ve imagined McGruder, whose political views are pretty well-known would have agreed to make another show for the same network he a had strained relationship with.

We call that selling out. I never thought I would have say that about Aaron McGruder but that’s exactly what happened here. Yes, John Witherspoon (voices Robert Freeman on The Boondocks) costars on Black Jesus but his track record professionally allows him to get away with it. McGruder doesn’t have that luxury, more so given he’s still unknown to the mainstream majority.

I get he no longer has the rights to the Boonfocks due to his licensing deal with Cartoon Network but if he was so cash-strapped, he should’ve gone back to his roots and did something where he wasn’t sacrificing what made people fall in love with The Boondocks in first place.

Memoir out, Public Education In   Leave a comment

As we enter the second full week of school here in Boston, I’ve had an Epiphany of late.

I’ve thinking about what’s become my life’s work over the last 14 years now and that has been what I’ve called this blog many times “The Great Work” that is teaching the next generation of childen and young people. One thing I’ve learned over the years is you don’t need a Master’s Degree in Education to teach a student. You don’t even necessarily need to be a student. I have seen many different types of education models from my old school days to the present. I am by no means an expert but one thing I am good at it putting things in an easy to understand language.

This is why I’ve decided to put my plans on an autobiography on hiatus indefinitely. I know that there were some who were legit looking forward to me finally writing and publishing a book about myself and to those folks, you have my apologies. My feelings on the current state of public education are much stronger than even my desire to write a book about myself.

The book will be titled Public misEducation: The Struggle for Justice. The last 20 years in particular haven’t been very kind to Public Education in general. The way it’s portrayed in the media certainly didn’t help. The 1990s in particular were turbulent. No Child Left Behind brought a much-needed layer of accountability to our public school system. Despite this and a few parts of Brown v. Board of Education being overturned (happened in 2010 in case you didn’t know, more on this in a bit), the Achievement Gap is still far too wide for too many students nationwide.

While some with the means (and some without) would either put their kids through private school or home school them, for the vast majority of our nation’s youth, public education is the only choice for American families. It’s for this reason they should be given the education they deserve, not just what we’re willing to pay for.

I have spent the last 10 years amassing a wealth of knowledge on public education and dozens of different classroom, school and district models. The major thing left for me to do are interviews. Interviews with educators, students and families and non-profit organizations with a stake in public education. I expect this part of my research to take at least two years. The planned career change I have in mind will help with that–I feel it would be a conflict of interest for me to do some aspects of my research while still employed by BPS. Some of it has to do with equitiy and studeny privacy concerns while the rest are reasons I will share at a much later time to be decided.

Asking about the book’s planned subject matter is fine. For example, parts of it may been perceived as an attack on the very foundation of the American Public Education system and deliverate shaming of our country’s refusal to hold itself accountable of its obligation to our nation’s students.

That’s because it is.

The National Education Policy and what actually happens in classrooms nationwide are so far out of sync, unless you’re well-informed on the issue it’s really hard to figure out what the best course of action should be. Much of this is because of the language used and the invisible walls that separate familes, educators, schools, districts and policies.

Does Public Education matter? Why is it relevant to me? When does a child’s learning truly begin? In Public misEducation, we will explore possible answers to these questions and others.

 

 

“So, I hear you like Video Games…”   Leave a comment

I had a conversation with someone yesterday and one of the first things they brought up was my game blog. This led me to check exactly how many posts I’ve made for that blog and this one. Including drafts, this blog has 125 posts whle my Game blog has 128 posts. I expect the numbers for both blogs to increase over the course of the next two months (LOL!).

Anyway, as a reminder I link to all of my blogs from each other. Just because you’re looking at one doesn’t mean you won’t have quick access to the the four. You will find the links to the other blogs at the very top or very bottom of the page or both in the case of my Fanfiction blog. I push back hard against those who only seen my Game Blog or my Anime and Manga Blog because I don’t want people to have the wrong impression about my interests. Yes I play video games and watch anime but I also write alot of blogs. I also write alot of Fan Fiction as well as original stories both fiction and non fiction. So if you want to get a more accurate picture of me without talking to me, you’d need to look at all five of my blogs.

That reminds me:

During the same conversation I had with someone yesterday they brought up the fact I talk about my medical conditions electronically and quite candidly, too. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I know what I’m doing. When folks advise against me posting some of the things I’ve shared electronically, they usually have the assumption I am ignorant of the dangers in doing this. Quite the opposite. While no I’m not obligated to share those things for any reason, I do it to prove I’m nowhere near as “perfect” as I seem. As I said in a separate blog post over the summer, there are subjects I will never discuss on my blog. I want you all to read it if you haven’t already.

The thing about sharing these things myself as opposed to someone else doing it that others never take into consideration that I have is it won’t backfire. Many people with good intentions feel inclined to speak on my behalf when I’m more than willing and capable of speaking for myself. When I need help with this area, I know how to ask.

Posted September 6, 2014 by brendan2k5 in Uncategorized

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Two Months Later   Leave a comment

As some of you are already aware, exactky two months ago  I was hospitalized for Depression. I was at a point in my life where I could no longer keep the darkness around me at bay any longer.

Not a day since then has gone by without the realization the person I was until July 2, 2014 died that day.  The unseen scars inflicted on me over the years took their toll on that day. Not just because of how deep they are but because they were never allowed the chance to fully heal.  I believe I said this in a You Tube video a few years ago but when you’ve been emotionally abused by your own family for as long as I have, what happened two months ago shouldn’t have been a surprise.

I certainly wasn’t surprised.

I wasn’t surprised when they prettymuch pretended it never happened, either. It’s exactly what I expected to happen. And yes, I’ve gone through life expecting to be emotionally and verbally abused. It’s the one constant in my life that became harder to cope with in recent years.

I’ll pause from being cryptically philosophical for a bit and say this:

  1. I have no support system and haven’t since I was in City Year. I tell every (City Year) alumni I’ve met over the years City Year saved my life. It not only did that but it helped me find an ideal to strive for.
  2. My tolerence level for anything stressful is virtually non-existant when it doesn’t involve kids. I will always have patience for kids. The way I was treated growing up is why there is nothing I will not do to help a child. This is one aspect that will never change. Yes, even to a fault.
  3. This might not surprise those who’ve read them but some of the more graphically detailed scenes in stories I’ve written over the years were written during the low points in my life. That is why I’ve often told folks “I write, therefore I am.” Reading my stories from Fanfiction.net and Fictionpress is a fairly accurate way to gauge my mood.

I’ve never been good at hiding my true feelings so I don’t bother trying. When I’m feeling down it’s pretty obvious. In my case, it’s been more than I’ve let on. I told one of my coworkers last week “it’s when you’re down that you have to smile the most.” It’s been a a struggle for me over the last few weeks just to get out of bed.

When I was in the hospital, one of my doctors told me I deserve to feel happy and enjoy the things I like to do. The reality is my right to the pursuit of happiness has been violated for so long it’s nothing but a myth to me.

When school starts in two days, everyone will see for themselves I’m not the same person I was this time last year. The person I used to be wasn’t strong enough to do what needed to be done. I cared too much about making big mistakes and made big mistakes anyway. I got complacent and made the mistake of believing that would be overlooked. The person I am now…well, the price has already been paid. I’m not going to talk about what may or may not happen simply because I don’t know.

I’ll let my school community judge for itself.

Stop Everything: Full House Revival In the Works!   Leave a comment

 

In 2012, Bob Saget candidly said he was open to bringing the gang back together. Later that year the cash had a reunion:

 

As you can see, the adults have all aged well compared to the picture at the top. To those who were born after 1995, Full House was kept alive in reruns on Nick at Nite and TBS since the series finale in 1995. While the majority of the cast returned to private life after Full House, five of them continued their acting careers in the years since. Lori Laughlin and John Stamos found roles on other shows, Mary Kate and Ashley starred together in a string of sitcoms and kids shows (no doubt a nice change from sharing the role of Michelle on Fall House) and most famously (many of you might not have known this), Scott Weinger voiced Aladdin in the Disney films, tv show and video games.

…How time flies.

It would be awesome to see the show back. Hopefully it will catch on with the current generation. Gurl Meets World, which is the direct sequel to the 1990s hit Boy Meets World has the original cast from before but hasn’t been doing well in terms of ratings. On the other hand, Full House has a cult following spanning 25 years. They can do it.

As for the approach, there’s a number of way it could be done. Assuming the Olsens are on board, I’ll be interested in seeing how they handle the character they shared as kids. Their hair now is not only different lengths but different colors and textures. The producers can go one of two routes: Have one or both girls wear a wig or introduce a new character who looks like Michelle Tanner. They have an opening to pull it off: On one episode of the original series, there was a family reunion and both girls were used. One played Michelle as usual while the other played her cousin and wore a black wig. The studio audience knew the twins took turns playing Michelle so in this way both girls would have airtime at the same time.

As for the new storyline, I don’t think alot of imagination would be necessary. Here’s hoping it’s for real!

 

 

Have Kids? Want ‘Em? It’ll only cost you $245,340 per child   Leave a comment

That’s what a recent study done revealed.

A child born in the United States since 2012 will cost a middle class family $245,340. Adjust based on your own income but this figure actually went DOWN from the $250,000 it was ten years ago.

Both figures factor all of the following:

  • Prenatal Care
  • Infant Formula
  • Diapers
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Healthcare
  • Clothing
  • Education

Of course, the only thing that doesn’t account for is the most important aspect: Love. Anyone with kids will tell you: You can’t put a price on love ^_^

The Michael Brown Shooting and the Poorly Attempted Police Coverup   Leave a comment

 

You all know the story by now: On Monday, 18 year old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Police Officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The teen, who was with a friend was unarmed and walking to his grandmother’s house when the (currently) unidentified officer fatally shot Brown, who was supposed to attend his first day of Collage on Tuesday. In the days since the shooting, one thing has been made clear: The Ferguson Police Department doesn’t want anyone to know what really happened.

Two Washington Post journalists covering the goings-on in Ferguson were minding their own business in a McDonalds when police entered the restaurant and detained them for 45 minutes. Ferguson Police’s heavy-handed responses to demonstrations demanding answers and transparency has attracted the world’s attention. Late Wednesday night, authorities used tear gas to disperse demonstrators. In what I can only call a twist of irony, many Gaza citizens have been giving tips to Ferguson demonstrators on how to avoid the effects of tear gas via social media.

The phrase that has been gaining momentum over the last 48 hours to describe what’s going on in Ferguson is “Police State”. I just call it a poorly covered up killing.

Let’s review the facts as known by the people who witnessed Brown’s death firsthand:

  • Michael Brown and his friend were both unarmed when they were approached by police.
  • The officer involved in the shooting initiated and escalated the encounter.
  • According to Brown’s friend, the officer said to him (Brown) “I’m gonna shoot you.” when he detained him and pointed his gun at him.
  • Fearing for his life, Brown got into a physical altercation with the officer, who was still in his car so he could get away.
  • The teens attempted to fleed the scene. According to Brown’s friend, Brown said to him “Just keep running.” Another eyewitness said Brown had gone almost 20 feet away before the first shot was fired, hitting him in the chest.
  • Realizing he’d been shot, Brown raised his hands above his head and turned around, saying “Don’t shoot!”
  • According to the almost 30 people who witnessed the shooting, the officer ignored Brown’s offer to surrender and shot him to death.

That’s a rough outline of the events as currently available to the public. It is interesting to note ALL of this information is based on multiple eyewitness accounts by those who witnessed the shooting. As of this blog’s writinng NONE of the witnesses have been questioned by investigators. They are talking to the media, however. It goes without saying Brown’s friend is the star witness.

One thing I will concede for now is we do not know if Brown’s fingerprints are on the gun that killed him. That’s the giant X-Factor in this. If they are, that changes what the officer could or could not be charged with. If not…well, this will be a slam-dunk court case. CNN is reporting the Internet Vigilante Group known as Anonymous has released the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown. I have seen the name of the officer allegedly involved but for obvious reasons, I’m not going to release that information here. That said, CNN has decided against releasing the name yet until his identity is verified.

If I was the lead investigator, the first thing I’d have done is supoena EVERYONE involved and interview them at the scene. It also seems the police departments in St. Louis and the surrounding communities need to be retrained. No doubt you’ve all seen pictures like this:

 

 

And this:

 

 

And finally this:

 

Like I said earlier, the term being thrown around is “Police State”. As CNN pundits have been talking about for the last hour this morning, there has been a slow but steady buildup of arms of Police Departments all over America in recent years. This isn’t to say Police shouldn’t be prepared to handle any situation. After all, a well-trained doctor with good intentions can be just as dangerous as a cop worker with bad intentions. It’s all about how they’re trained to use the tools they have at their disposal.

Let me use the Boston Marathon Bombing in my next example. As I reported last year, I went to ground zero the next day to take pictures and see the memorial. What jumped out at me once I got off the train at Back Bay station was the sheer volume of law enforcement. There were police on every corner of the area as well as Humvees most would expect to see in Iraq or Afghanistan. On the night the suspects were hunted down in Watertown, MA images like these revealed to Americans just how well-armed their Police Departments were:

 

As one Afghanistan Vet tweeted regarding the Police response in Ferguson put it, soldiers don’t roll that deep. The locals over there don’t like it when you come through their neighborhood heavily armed just for show. Neither do American citizens.

The difference between what’s going on in Ferguson and what happened in Boston/Watertown is the way I see it, the police presence was justified in Boston/Watertown. The site of the bombing was technically an international crime scene due to the international citizens who ran the marathon and the fact one of the dead was a Chinese national. We knew the suspects were armed and we knew they weree very dangerous. The facts don’t dispute that.

In the case of Ferguson, what we have is the blatant and systematic infringement of the rights of ordinary citizens. Not even the press is safe as has been reported. If things continue at the rate they’re currently going, we might see the U.S. Military forced to step in to help restore order. I say that because it’s pretty obvious the police are the wrong people for the job.

 

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