Lifetime’s The Red Tent takes a shot at telling a minor character’s story   Leave a comment

 

Some of you may have heard of the book of the same name. Well, someone decided to turn the book into a 2-part mini movie. Part 1 just finished airing and part two will air tomorrow night. The Red Tent tells the story of Dinah, who was the only daughter of the Patriach Jacob and sister to Joseph. The same Joseph known for his dreams from the Book of Genesis. Dinah is mentioned by name in the Bible so there is little doubt she really existed. Her mother was Leah, who was one of Jacob’s two wives (we’ll revisit this detail in a moment). The thing is, the book–and by extension the movie–is 90% fiction. The only things true are the characters themselves and the timeline. While yes I get it the author wanted to give Dinah a backstory but at the end of the day, The Red Tent is non-canonical to the biblical account of Jacob and Joseph’s stories. The reason I’m stressing this point is because The Red Tent is told from Dinah’s perspective. She IS the main character, after all.

Anyway, I want to go back to the polygamy thing I noted above. We know from the original narrative Jacob had two wives: Leah (the oldest) and Rachel (the youngest). The Red Tent states there were two middle sisters between them. Both women are also mentioned by name but weather or not they were sisters to Leah and Rachel or their servants is open to interpretation. Getting back to Leah and Rachel, they competed for Jacob’s affection in their own ways: Leah gave him six sons and a daughter while Rachel had his heart. For the time period, polygamy was actually very common.

Now let’s talk about the movie itself. It opens with Dinah’s narrative about her being a footnote in her father and brothers’ stories. She then introduces The Red Tent, which was a tent forbidden to men where the women gathered to share and pass on family traditions, customs and wisdom. It also served as the tribe’s maternity ward and in time, the women became well known for their skills as midwives. Reminder: This is the story’s narrative. The tent itself is not mentooned in the Bible.

One aspect of the Red Tent that I took issue with was the suggestion Leah and Rachel used it to secretly worship idols behind Jacon’s back. When Jacob  later finds out he destroys the idols and angrily confronts his wives. The movie seems to leave the confrontation unresolved in favor of story along, likely due to time constraints. The laws of the time on the matter were pretty clear: Anyone caught with idols was to be exiled from the tribe or stoned to death.

Moving on, Part one ends with the incident involving the Sechem. In the Biblical account, the Prince takes Dinah’s hand in marriage. Her brothers are furious but the Jacon and the king of Sechem make a deal: Jacob is willing to allow the marriage if every man in the kingdom is circumcised. The king agrees. Meanwhile, Jacob’s oldest sons Levi and Reuben devise a plot to kill all of the men while they are recovering from their circumcision and take Dinah back by force. Talk about not liking your new in-laws!

The preview trailer for part two suggests Dinah objected to Reuben and Levi’s plot to sell Joseph into slavery. It’s also likely Rachel dies giving birth to her last brother Benjamin around the same time. Preview trailers are also done out of sequence but from what I could tell, Dinah ends up going to Egypt shortly after Joseph is sold off and meets up with him. She also seems to be exiled from her family for some reason based on her dialogue though it sounds more like her anger over what her brothers did to her husband.

I’ll close with this.

It’s not uncommon for someone to write a narrative for a minor character in a story. I do that in fan fiction all the time. I also know this book is used to help raise money for Women’s heath in developing countries and bring awareness to women’s rights in the developed world. The story does its job of telling two powerful stories most people know from a different perspective.

 

The Michael Brown Investigation Verdict invokes a seemingly forgotten wave of Civil Disobedience   Leave a comment

And that’s a VERY good thing at this point in our nation’s history.

Michael Brown’s death was the breaking point for alot of people. I can only hope the people of America will no longer keep quiet in the face of an injustice committed on their watch.

For once, I commend all of the Corporate Media outlets (CNN, MSNBC and Fox News) for exposing to the world how corrupt the decision makers in Missouri are to the world. NO ONE was surprised with the verdict for this case. Overwhelming evidence it was end this way was obvious from day 1 so…yeah. The only people surprised by the eruption of unrest worldwide in reaction to the decision are the people who made the decision.

This is an injustice that must be addressed or things will continue to get worse. The Department of Justice needs to step in since it’s obvious the Missouri legal system and the state’s executive branch are both corrupt. This investigation was set up to ensure the officer in question (his name is not worth remembering in my opinion) would get away with murder. The lack of remorse or apathy on his part during TV interviews just adds insult to injury.

I hope this is the wake up call the rest of America needs to take action. What you have here is an admitted murderer smugly saying he not only feels no remorse about what he did but he would not hesitate to do it again given the opportunity. Yes, this is a man who recently married and is himself expecting a child. It would be more than a little ironic for him to be in the same situation as the Brown family in 18 years.

I consider what happened in Ferguson an injustice first, corruption second and an execution third. This investigation was such a blatant cover up, there WILL be a federal investigation sooner or later but hopefully sooner.

No family or person regardless of race or economic status should have to live in fear of the police. There’s human just like we are, after all.

…Being honest, I was going to throw in a certain NWA rap song at the end of this blog post but in light of certain emotions I know alot of people are feeling right now, I decided against doing that.

What I will say instead is protest peacefully wherever you are.

 

So much garbage on American TV these days   Leave a comment

 

The more I seriously think about, the happier I am with my decision to only watch network TV for sports, the news and Cartoon Network’s Anime block Saturday at 11:30PM to 6:00AM Sunday morning (though I only watch the first hour for Attack on Titan and Bleach, both of which are in their final episodes) . Anything else I might want to watch is where DVDs/Blu-Ray sets, Netflix and Crunchyroll come in.

What’s really sad is there are alot of sensible people out there who would rather watch junk on TV than do something else with their time. This isn’t like the 80s and 90s where you just knew not to watch Daytime TV. These days, it’s rare to find meaningful programming outside PBS. For those with Cable/Satellite you can no longer rely on The History Channel, The Discovery Channel or even TLC.

Controversial from the start, Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo was finally cancelled by TLC last month despite having just recorded a new season (which will reportedly cost the network $19 Million). The reason: The matriach of the family’s new boyfriend is a convicted child molester. What’s worse: The ex-con was convicted of molesting her now 21-year old daughter, who was the age of the show’s star at the time. Major props to TMZ for breaking the story and Kudos to TLC for doing the right thing in both cancelling the show and offering counseling to the family.

Moving on, I make it a point to avoid network TV (CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX and CW) during state and national elections. The only real way to stop the special interest groups is to not watch at all. I think I mentioned this during the election for Boston mayor last year but many people do not do their own research on candidates or wait until the day before an election to try to do research. A considerable number of folks in this demographic decide who they’re gonig to vote for based on the TV Spots, candidate personality, party affiliation or a combination of all three. This was how Mitt Romney became Governor of Massachusetts and Scott Brown became a Senator in Massachusetts. Yes, the same Scott Brown who tried and failed to run for Senate in NH and the same Mitt Romney who ran for President in 2012.

Anywho, I’m content paying the $15 a month I pay for Netflix and Crunchyroll to watch what I want to watch when I want to watch it on demand. I’m also fine with buying DVD or Blu-Ray box sets of my favorite TV Shows or buying digital copies from iTunes, Xbox Live or The Playstation Network. Yes, I hate Political Ads THAT much and no, I don’t use Pandora either. I like being able to own the music I listen to be it digital or physical. Everyone who would prefer to go to the pirate sites for movies are not as smart as they think they are and they are taking money out of someone’s paycheck. Not the actors and the guys on the top but the unsung middlemen who do 80% of the work and are only mentioned by name in the closing credits.

Don’t wanna buy alot of movies? Just wait until it comes out on Netflix.

 

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.

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