Category Archives: racial issues

Punishment Must Meet the Crime

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It seems the news is following my blog. This refers to a recent post

explaining how I stuck my ‘foot’ in my mouth in February. I may have

rubbed someone at work the ‘wrong way.’ I think time will help heal

this situation and I am cheerfully talking to the persons involved

while ignoring their one or two syllable responses. (“Yes” and “No,”

are ones most being expressed.)

 

**My ‘punishment’ may or may not ‘fit’ my crime of being passionate

about equal rights.**

 

Now, I see on the news, that college students are really in deep trouble.

They ‘should have known better.’ The Columbus students at Ohio State

University piled many people into their apartment, plugging multiple

technological devices, television, stereo and probably phones charging.

Fifteen students were all standing outside a large and old house, where

the place had caught on fire early this morning. Fortunately, only the

one sleeping on the mattress pushed up to the plugs got minor burns.

 

The fire department member who spoke to Channel 10 news let all the

listeners know there was a mattress pushed up against this messy and

dangerous conglomeration of plugs into an outlet. They are now,

what the newscaster ominously stated, “homeless.”

 

**Their punishment should be to have spend time in a beginner’s

course called, “Electricity for Dummies.” They should have to show

a ‘graduation’ certificate before any other landlords allow them to

rent again. This was a mistake they will never make again. **

 

The second group of college students you may have seen their hateful

video, come from Oklahoma University. They are making national news

for spouting derogatory comments and racial slurs in their thoughtless,

drunken filmed tape. These men from the SAE fraternity, should be

‘ashamed of themselves.’

 

The fraternity boys ‘know better,’ too. If I were their parents, I would

never spend a dime on them again. They would have to find their own

way home from college, the car keys taken away. I could not believe

this insulting SAE group of men.

 

My Dad, brother and first ex-husband all belonged to a different type of

fraternity men. They may have ‘partied’ hardy, but there was definitely a

higher level of integrity. They participated in philanthropic projects and

during Christmas, collected toys, food and clothing for needy children.

My brother and my ex-husband also were participating in the seventies

movement of wanting diversity in their membership.

 

My friend, Melvin when the lunchtime noon break came around and

he saw the news story about the fraternity, stopped to ask me what I

thought of them.

 

Melvin and the guys were watching television in a different direction

from our table. Their t.v. was on the Sports Channel. I assume more

“March Madness” going on. He said he could not believe the college

boys had actually filmed their mean-spirited rant or rap.

 

My friend, Melvin exclaimed,

“What were they thinking, Robin? Are they stupid or what? Now,

you know you need to blog about this one. Preach it, Robin! Tell

them what kind of penalty or punishment they need to serve.

I don’t think picking up trash on the side of the road matches the

hate leveled in their words.”

 

Just in case you don’t wish to search for what is called, “Racist film

by college fraternity men,” I will tell you the content.  It said they

would not want to have any  “N-word”  joining their fraternity. It

goes on saying more nasty stuff. It is posted on many sources of

social media, just look it up.

 

With Melvin’s encouragement a few of us brainstormed, (women

who are mothers.) We came up with the following service to keep

the men ‘on parole’ rolls. This would have to be closely supervised,

parole officers checking in on the guys at ‘work sites.’

 

**We think the young men from the Oklahoma U. SAE fraternity

should participate in both an elderly and youth oriented program.

The programs should serve a diverse community of people and help

the boys to ‘see the light.’ (Melvin, I preached it!)**

 

The places we came up with were for them to volunteer for 100 hours

of community service at an inner city soup kitchen, homeless shelter

or an impoverished area’s nursing home facility. They need to meet

the elderly face to face, help them with more than just surface

projects.

 

We added an extra 100 hours of working at an inner city daycare

facility. We would like them to look at the faces of a wide range of

children representing ethnic groups at a center for children. We

would like them to think about the hateful words they said in their

‘chant.’ Another punishment would be to change dirty diapers.

Well supervised by the daycare center’s staff. Careful use of wipes

and special lotion, so the babies and the toddlers will not experience

any discomfort.

 

The discomfort should be for those young men who felt they could

express themselves in such a disrespectful way towards many

who may never have wanted to join them anyway.

 

The amazing and positive result of this film coming out in the media,

was college students and other people gathered on campus. Many

joining hands, some putting their hands upon each other’s shoulders.

There were a few past SAE fraternity men who came forward, were

vocal and expressed displeasure at the film. The group consisted of

more than one race in their unified peaceful demonstration.

 

The result of their protest was at least two young men were expelled.

I hope their punishment will be to do some of our suggested activities

mentioned above. This would help clear their conscience and hopefully

‘clean the slate’ they muddied.

 

Going from the sloppy electrical mess some college students

resulting in their now smoky and damage apartments in Ohio

to the Oklahoma University debacle, you can see a very huge

downward slope in behaviors.

 

The news moved on to this sick subject.

 

The last headline story, you may just wish to skip.

 

It is always a tragedy.

 

One that seems to happen at least once a week.

 

I wish I knew the statistics on boyfriends, family members

or caretakers who harm

young children.

 

The most recent story horrified me. I worked for a couple of years

at a battered women’s shelter, where usually the woman were the

ones who were hurt. There were also children’s stories which made

me sob at night. This ‘hardened’ woman will share the fact that

yet another person, in the U.S. raped and killed a little baby. The

most recent case was in Arkansas. The little baby girl was only

8 days old.

 

By the way, you don’t want to search this subject. There are

many stories, one after another on this subject. Steven Smith

in Ohio, on Death Row, asking for parole, a man who raped a

6 month old baby girl, Autumn. A woman who raped her

10 month old son.His name was Ashley, like the character

in the movie, “Gone with the Wind.”

 

I quickly closed the pages of articles on this subject.

 

**Everyone was thinking the death penalty for these persons.

Another table beside us, with some young men from Heavy

Bulk pitched in, agreeing with many in consensus.

I feel the person who does anything to a defenseless person,

child or elderly, should have their sexual organs taken away.

(Since women do this crime, sadly, I could not just use the

word, “castrated.”) The person should not get to just take

the drugs that ‘kill’ their deviant sexual appetites. This is

too dangerous, the consequences too extreme. I would not

want to trust them to take the drugs. Surgery is all I could

think of. . . I don’t advocate the Death Penalty. **

 

I am not sure how the justice system will handle any of

the above cases.

 

What I sometimes hear as a defense, but am in disbelief of, is the

thought of “freedom of speech.” (As in the SAE fraternity case,

Oklahoma University.)

 

Anyone venturing a ‘judgment’ or opinion?

 

 

 

“You do the crime, you pay the time.”

 

 

Predicaments

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I have thought for many days about what would I have done

differently in an early February conversation during a break

at work.  So many times during my life I have stood up for a

situation or cause, only to find out later this alienated me from

a friend.

 

I was so excited and passionate about seeing the movie, “Selma.”

I have been taught that by being silent one is quietly accepting

another’s words or choices. This is not a good position to be in

when making friends. I feel that if my friends don’t think along

similar lines, it is not a strong friendship but one of convenience.

Over the past six years, I have built a close-knit group of people

who get along together, joke and lighten each other’s days at work.

 

 

My fellow coworkers, Tammy, Melvin, Felda and Mary Jane are

part of this group. We have enjoyed sharing weekend experiences

and expanding our minds in lively conversations. There are many

fringe friends who join in and stop by our table. I enjoy meeting

such a wide variety of people at my warehouse job. This is one of

the best positive aspects of my work.

 

It is not generally a good idea or tactful while in a work place,

to express controversial opinions. Yet, my table mates and I

have seen eye to eye on the subject of acceptance. Some of us

even voted in elections the same way. We started watching

some of the same t.v. shows to be able to share about these.

 

 

Little did I expect, someone I cared about would be making a

rather outrageous statement in response to a movie review.

Here are some quotations to lend support to my response.

 

 

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

~Eldridge Cleaver

 

A longer version, expanded from the above thought includes

the following words which are also true:

“. . . but the perpetual human predicament is that the answer

soon poses its own problems.”

~Sydney J. Harris

 

The old Latin rule of the law of acquiescence would apply here,

“Qui tacet consentire videtur” means one who is silent is seen

to have given consent. To acquiesce is to accept or to comply.

 

I was mentioning how many things about the Civil Rights period

despite being raised in a conscientious and active participant

family, I had missed. I was describing one of the early details of

a particularly disturbing scene where children in a church were

killed in a bombing in the film, “Selma.”

 

Out of nowhere, my ‘close’ friend,  Felda said,

 

 

“We, in our country, believe in love and cannot ever understand

people who are raised in a “culture of hate.”

 

I emphatically agreed with this, thinking she was talking about

bigoted people who are ‘taught’ to hate people from another

group from their own. In other words, I was thinking she

meant to be talking about ‘whites’ being part of the ‘haters’

specifically, in the Civil Rights movement.

 

As I nodded and said, “I agree,” I noticed a quiet pause in the

conversation. Tammy (Ohio country girl) and Melvin, (son of

immigrants from an island off of Portugal) did not join in.

 

Felda helped me to realize who she was talking about by adding,

in a most definite direction I would NEVER agree with,

 

“Why do blacks get taught to hate whites in America?  In the

Philippines, everyone loves others. We were ‘slaves’ in our own

history, but we ‘don’t hold it against you.'”

 

Okay, now I knew where silence would not be appropriate. I

had to dig myself out of a hole, so to speak. I said that she did

not understand the trials, tribulations and how people who were

slaves, or had slave ancestors, were affected by their treatment.

They may have possibly been taught to ‘mistrust’ white people.

 

Inside my head for a moment, I thought possibly only coming

here to live in the U.S. (and marrying Jason, an American) in

the 1990’s may have given Felda less understanding of the

long history, prevailing ways and practices which continue

going on from when the Civil War ended in the 1860’s, into

the present. The other two of  her friends have always been

less outspoken and didn’t try to contribute or interpret what

she meant by her hurtful words.

 

I added,  “This is not how this conversation was meant to go.”

 

I had hoped that by talking about “Selma,” to help everyone

at this table understand why fear and distrust could become

part of a familial pattern of handling people. The small town

in Mississippi had many people showing their prejudice against

the blacks. I had especially thought the Filipinos (what they

insist on being called at work) would have empathetic feelings

coming from their own personal experiences of prejudice.

 

I looked at Melvin, who is sophisticated and warm.  He had

served in the Army, traveled Europe and was raised in an open

minded, accepting and loving family. He would give the shirt off

his back and has often been found this brittle cold winter, under

the hood of a fellow employee’s car trying to fix or replace a part.

Actually, the speaker of this unfortunate point of view, had been

‘only charged for car parts’ when she had needed four brakes

replaced by Melvin and other repair assistance.

 

I wondered why Felda had said this about blacks, without any

clarification? Did she intend to hurt Melvin?

The rest of the people at the table were either Filipino or

white.

 

Melvin shrugged. He knew it was pointless to mention that

this person who arrived in America, married an American,

may not completely understand the racial issues, tensions

and dynamics here in the United States.

 

Melvin felt my eyes on him, urging him to ‘speak up.’ Finally,

he responded by saying,

“My people are not nor have ever been descendants of slaves,

but I feel a lot of sympathy for the blacks here. I get the same

kind of attitude from whites as they do, I get followed around

in jewelry stores, I have been shoved while at a peaceful protest

rally by a ‘white supremacist’ cop and have been taken aside to

be shouted at. I would ‘never measure up to the white people’

in my Army experiences. This came from more than one officer

in the Army.”

 

Melvin quietly expressed his thoughts on a tough issue,

“I will share this additional thought: black people raised in the

South are different from black people raised in the North. To

be honest, unfortunately their perspectives are not the same.”

 

I went on a limb and put my thoughts out there for friends

who had included me in christenings, birthday parties and

delicious meals at parties where we sang karaoke together,

 

“I need to study your islands’ history better of what you call

‘slavery.’ I am not sure that slavery there was the same as

slavery here. I have the misunderstanding that your culture

may have a history of servitude.  Sometimes smiling when you

were crying inside, but this is probably inaccurate. Meanwhile,

I would never agree with your statement about the black culture

being raised to hate whites.”

 

As far as research, there are considered to be 130,000 to as

many as 160,000 people in the Philippines who are part of

sex trafficking, indentured servitude and this is from an article

on October 9, 2013 from the newspaper called, “The Manila

Times.”

 

I wished to re-emphasize my opening remarks to them.  I didn’t

realize the total impact on everyday activities of black people from

those who felt ‘superior’ to an entire race until recently. I heard

‘snippets of history’ in school. Like not being allowed to ride in

the middle or front of a bus, Rosa Parks ‘took a stand’ for freedom.

I saw firsthand the water fountains, restaurants and other public

buildings in the 1960’s. They were labeled, “For Colored People.”

I knew this must have been hard or rough on anyone living in

their skin color. We read together my kids and I about the

Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman.

 

I just finished a great book by Tara Conklin, considered historical

fiction called, “The House Girl.” It has the legal aspects of the

reparation act for families of slaves.  Every other chapter is about

a young woman called “Josephine” who worked in a slave owner’s

house. She learned how to paint from her ‘mistress.’ Later, the

‘house girl’s’ art work is given credit to her owner. Learning is

ongoing.

 

I was truly interested and asked,

“How long ago in Philippines’ history were there slaves?”

 

“Selma” brought back memories of partial lessons for me.

It depicted Ku Klux Klan members, cruelty and ‘hate crimes.’

Who could ever wish to bomb churches and not allow people

to gather in protest?

It is hard to imagine but not right to brush uncomfortable

subjects under the table. Seeing these violent acts on film,

brought back how recently this had happened. It made me

wish to promote this movie, as I did last year when I saw the

fine film, ’12 Years a Slave.’

 

Felda, Mary Jane and May have not looked me in the eyes

since this happened. I continue to say, “Good Morning” and

ask how their family members are, ask how their weekends

went, etc. They give me short answers and have been sitting

at their own table, talking in their own language. I don’t regret

my words, but was sincerely meaning to defend Melvin, along

with my own grandchild’s heritage.

 

My oldest daughter’s son, Micah is 1/4 black. His father’s Dad

plays an integral link to his life and comes to family gatherings.

 

Micah has overheard their complaints about prejudice. We

talk openly about how his own father has been pulled aside

roughly by teachers, coaches and strangers. When he shows

his ‘independence’ it is sometimes considered ‘an attitude.’

This happened with my coworker and friend, Cheryl (who

recently lost her grandson to illness). She has been told, she

says that she “has a chip on her shoulder.”

 

Micah was in preschool when a fellow  4 year old asked him,

“Is your Daddy a terrorist?”

 

This fills my eyes with tears, my heart with sadness and my

mind with fear for Micah, too. It is ‘still out there.’ Even in the

minds of immigrants who feel that black culture is ‘filled with

hatred.’

 

Here is an update on getting an ‘excuse’ written for my eyesight

and concerns for safety while driving heavy equipment. My phone

call with my ophthalmologist left me without anything promised

in writing and another appointment made in April.

 

I visited the optometrist who seemed more interested in helping

me. She wrote a well thought out letter, including the reasons I

would not be a safe candidate for ‘heavy bulk’ at the warehouse.

 

She wrote about my lack of depth perception, my monovision

while wearing a close distance contact to read fine print and a

far distant contact to see far away. She mentioned my not being

able to judge distances, especially in the narrow passages while

driving backwards with the double pallet riding equipment.

 

Her professionalism and need to be clear, may have included

details which won’t help my cause:

“Robin’s peripheral vision and depth perception would be

greatly improved by wearing single vision distance only

spectacles instead of contact lenses. Obviously, if the patient

is in a warehouse, she should be wearing safety spectacles.”

 

I have been wearing contact lenses throughout my six years

at Advance Auto Distribution Center. I am most confident

while reading the tiny UPC codes, picking the correct items

to place into bins, hampers or gaylords. (Containers which

are actually huge cardboard boxes for Open Stock and used

in heavy bulk on top of a wooden pallet and plastic pallet.)

 

I won’t change to regular glasses to carry out my job nor to

bifocals. I am not sure I would be as confident in performing

my job with single vision glasses. The reason I chose contacts

was because I used to have to take off my glasses to read the

fine print, use the RF’s (tablet computers) and now, new piece

of equipment,  a Bluetooth computer on my arm.

 

As my good friend, Jenny, honestly suggested work may try

to force me to use glasses and go to work in heavy bulk.

I am ‘screwed.’

 

My ophthalmologist who had told me he could not write a letter

until I came in for another appointment. I will hold out for Hope.

An April letter request will hopefully include all the parts that

Dr. Wagner wrote without the details suggesting I switch to

glasses or ‘safety spectacles.’

 

Thanks for your concern about my work situation with my

vision and cross training into heavy bulk work once again.

When I tried this for eight weeks of a summer, I managed

to run into metal racks, back into a pallet on the shipping

floor knocking the products over and wearing my nerves

into a frazzle.

 

I need to find a way out of this physically demanding area

without leaving my job. I have a much better salary than

other positions listed in the newspaper and have finally

earned three weeks’ vacation this year. If necessary, as many

have mentioned, my being fired for refusing to go to heavy

bulk may be my ‘release’ to a better solution. There were such

great and positive suggestions from all of you. Thank you.

 

 

If you have had a stressful or awkward situation at work

please feel free to comment and add to the conversation.

 

Red Carpet Highlights and Quick Summaries of Oscars

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This is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is mine. I embrace award

ceremonies and enjoy seeing what the rich and famous are wearing.

This has been something that goes way back to my childhood. I

would ‘negotiate’ before I even went to kindergarten, to stay up

late to watch something.

 

It would go like this, “Mom and Dad, I would like to watch “The

Sound of Music” or “May I stay up and watch, the Miss America

Pageant?”

 

Then, my Dad would say, “Name your ‘points.'”

 

This meant using adult negotiating skills and debate ‘points.’

 

I would promise to set the table, take a nap before dinner and I

would not be grumpy in the morning on the way to the babysitter’s.

I raised my three children in this manner, which really did not work

whenever I married. They thought parenting was a monarchy, I felt

it was a democracy, each person’s ideas and thoughts equally valid.

 

 

The Red Carpet before the Oscars, February 22, 2015:

 

I watched, “E!” for awhile and then switched to “Ryan Secrest and

His Crew on the Carpet.”

 

On “E!” Gilliana (sorry, not sure about the spelling but they called

her, “G” for short) had on a red lacy dress with her light strawberry

blonde hair looking very glamorous and off the 50’s “Society Pages.”

 

America Ferrrara had a gorgeous emerald green glittery sleeveless

dress. She looked beautiful.

 

Anna Kendricks’ caught my eye, along with many who have given

their reviews. She wore a peach dress that had a halter with a slit

in the bodice, revealing skin but no cleavage. It was tasteful and she

looked radiant in this color and her hair was swept up on her head.

 

Gina Rodriguez wore a royal blue dress that is from a designer,

which I apologize you may research the name but it is eco-friendly

material made of an environmentally safe material. I am not sure

if this means it will bio-degrade? ha ha!

 

The low cut, bejewled peach dress on Jennifer Lopez, with its full

skirt and floating, flowing train behind was so beautiful. She is just

exquisite, in her taste and ability to not age a bit. She looked like a

Princess in this flesh-colored dress.

 

“Common” the rapper who joined musical forces in writing and

performing the song from the movie, “Selma” named “Glory,”

was on the Red Carpet in a white shirt, white bow tie and black

tuxedo. It had soft black velvet details on the tux’s lapels. Their

collaboration was an excellent way to make their song relevant

for the times.

 

Reese Witherspoon wore a white dress with a black satin sash-like

stripe across her shoulders about four inches wide. It made her

look like she was from Audrey Hepburn’s period of fashion, a

real class act. There was a narrow one to two inch belt of this

black satin fabric at her waist line. Reese wore her hair down and

looked very stunning.

 

Dakota Johnson, who just performed in “50 Shades of Grey,” came

with her famous mother and also, knowing her last name, you may

have guessed this but she is the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie

Griffith. She had a slicked back brunette pony tail and she wore a one

shoulder red dress with diamonds or crystals along the edge of this.

The red was a perfect compliment to her porcelain skin and dark hair.

 

 

Eddie Redmayne looked like a teenager, with his hair a little punked

or messed up. He is the actor I was rooting for from the movie, “The

Theory of Everything.” He played Stephen Hawking. Last night, he

looked handsome in a dark blue tuxedo with black details. The designer

was McQueen. His wife, Sophie, is expecting and looked radiant in her

white dress.

 

Benedict Cumberbatch (who played Alan Turing in the movie, “The

Imitation Game”) and Eddie were saying they would be having a big

British ‘bash’ or celebration after the Oscars, including wives, along

with Sienna Miller, Keira Knightley and Felicity Jones, who was Eddie’s

costar. Ben wore a white tuxedo and llooked debonair. Both the men

were saying they felt they had brought the rain to California. A joke

since it is ‘always raining in England.’

Benedict repeated what Eddie had said, “We will all hang together

later on.”

 

Felicity Jones wore a silver-almost pearl like eggshell colored dress.

I heard someone else call it eggshell. It had a bluish tone to it from

a distance and yet, in brighter light looked pink. She is an attractive

young woman and her dress was pretty, too.

 

Robert Duvall’s wife is younger than he, not sure how much but it

is noticeable. She wore a peach glittery dress with deep, low cut and

revealing cleavage displayed. He was up for his performance in the

film, “The Judge.”

 

Tim McGraw and his wife, Faith Hill looked stunning. Faith’s short

hair style and dress was beautiful. Tim looked like he was ready for

the military with his very short hair cut. Later, as he sang the great

song, “I’m Not Going to Miss You,” from the Glen Campbell docu-

mentary, he wore his traditional cowboy hat. This tribute filmed

Glen’s family and friends who traveled around the country giving

a final concert and tribute to Glen, before he totally forgets who he

is. It was to give recognition and public awareness of Alzheimer’s

Disease, which he has had for awhile. The film documents how his

temper and frustration comes and goes, too.

 

Terence Howard, who awhile ago performed  in an Academy Award

nominated movie, “Crash,” and is presently working in the t.v. series,

“Empire,” looked great and discussed with Ryan Secrest his interest

in getting the recently ‘kicked off’ American Idol singer Rachel to

sing on “Empire.” He was saying his character, “Lucius wants to have

Rachel as part of his group of new singers. Lucius would like to be her

producer.” I enjoyed this exchange, since I not only enjoy American

Idol, I do often watch, “Empire.” Ryan said, “That won’t be a problem,

I will see what I can do. . .”

 

Zoe Saldana, who I will always picture her from the movie, “Avatar,”

but is a beautiful woman without any blue makeup on. (In the film

she wears a prosthetic that alters her nasal appearance and her face

is a lovely shade of blue.) She wore a pink rose-colored dress and had

her thick hair in a loose up-do, with curling tendrils around her pretty

face.

 

Rosamund Pike, the actress from “Gone Girl,” wore a red dress that

was appropriate for her venomous character. In reality, she probably

is the sweetest person, as she portrayed in “Pride and Prejudice,” the

older sister to the main character, Elizabeth. The dress was a fantastic

one, which had a long slit and she posed with her one leg forward,

revealing a lovely leg. Her hair was up in a tight bun. She looked

very attractive with her smile making her whole face light up.

 

Sienna Miller, (another Brit), was wearing all black and glittery gown

with a train. She looked like a beautiful porcelain Barbie doll. Her hair

was golden. She was a presenter.

 

Keira Knightley, from the movie, “Begin Again,” (the last of the Brits)

wore a cream colored dress with sprinkles of pastel flowers, violets and

pink Spring Beauties among them.

 

Julianne Moore, from “Still Alice,” was wearing an off the shoulders

white dress. She looked beautiful with her hair up. I really loved the

way she looked in green with her auburn hair worn down at the Golden

Globes. She is a fabulous actress, who can perform many different parts.

She demonstrated classical beauty in her all white attire.

 

Viola Davis wore a pink satin gown and announced the four people

who were given lifetime achievement awards, shown on another day.

The one I recognized was, Harry Belafonte. I wished they had shown

more of this program but the time element always runs long, so they

have to ‘pick and choose’ which parts to show the audience. Another

famous woman/actress who I believe was in a wheelchair during the

awards, was Maureen O’Hara. My Mom really adored this actress of

the past. She was ‘feisty’ and showed ‘character,’ I can just hear her

saying.

 

Kevin Hart, the black comedian, wore a handsome black shirt and

tie, white tuxedo with black lapels. He made me smile, as he said the

person he wished he could get a “Selfie” with was Meryl Streep. It

is always nice to hear famous people being humble and not expecting

to be the center of attention. He cracks me up, whatever films he is

in. I realize describing him as a man of color, may be inappropriate,

but it is hard to tell you who he is, since he is in so many different

movies. He is usually a ‘side kick’ character…

 

Anna Faris and her husband, Chris Pratt, are in movies, but more

known for her role in the television show, “Mom.” Chris is known

more as his character in the television show, “Community.” They

were making jokes that they had a sitter or family member watching

their toddler and were going to use the chance of tonight’s plans to

carry on and have some partying later on, too. Anna had a silver dress

that clung to her in ‘all the right places,’ she is stunning while fixed up

in formal wear. Chris looks like the ‘leading man’ role he is growing

into. The two grew up and have been together for years, coming from

the state of Washington. He wore a traditional black tuxedo with a

white shirt and bow tie.

 

THE MAIN EVENT: THE OSCARS

 

This is a set of random observations along with the awards that

were given out, with some reactions included.

 

“Everything is Awesome,” song from the “Lego Movie,” had the

silly guys from the t.v. cop situation comedy, “Brooklyn 99” in

the huge production accompanying this repetitive song. It was

upbeat and I have heard from my oldest daughter and my two

grandsons that it has a great message about accepting everyone

as they are. It was a fun and funny song in a positive performance.

 

“Whiplash” is about a cruel and demanding musical director.

This was the first award given out,

**Best Supporting Actor to J.K. Simmons.

 

“American Sniper” won,

**Best Sound Editing” award.

 

Adam Levine with Maroon 5 sang a wonderful song,

“Lost Stars.”

He and his wife looked beautiful but nothing sticks

out in their wardrobe to note.

This did not win the award for “Best Song.”

 

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” won two awards right off the bat:

**Best Costume Design

**Best Make-Up

 

(My opinion was, to tell you the truth, shocked. I felt that “Into

the Woods” and/or the three historically accurate films should

have been given a ‘bone.’ (“Unbroken,” “The Theory of Everything,”

and “The Imitation Game.” I have not seen, but have heard the

film, “Mr. Turner,” has lavish costumes and I need to see this since

my artist brother says he is a fantastic artist of his time.)

 

Someone announced that 47 years ago, the Academy Awards were

postponed in honor and respect for the assasination of Martin Luther

King, Jr. It happened only four days before the program/awards

ceremony was scheduled. This set the tone for the song, “Glory,”

that had John Legend singing in a soulful and lovely tone, while

playing the piano. Then, Common came out and added his powerful

and staccato rapped words. I felt the idea of juxtapositioning Jim

Crow laws (preventing blacks from voting) with the bald eagle

in the lyrics was powerful. Every time I hear this song, it has been

on three awards ceremonies, I always find something ‘new’ to focus

in on.

 

“Glory” from the movie, “Selma” won,

** Best Song.

 

“Whiplash” won an award for,

**Best Picture (or Film) Editing.

 

Patricia Arquette gave a fantastic and inspiring speech as she

accepted the award for,

**Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Boyhood.”

 

(She spoke up about the need for Clean Water, she mentioned

a specific company that her family supports and also, exclaimed

about “Women who have stood up for so many other peoples’

rights, need to finally, once and for all, be given equal pay for

equal work.”)

 

I liked, Rita Ora’s song, “Grateful,” which was lovely and simple.

This song did not win any awards.

 

**I wrote a post about “Big Hero 6” and declaring it deserving to

win Best Animated Children’s Film and it did!

I had taken Skyler and Micah to see this when it first came out.

There is a special school in the movie, where young people or

teenagers can attend to work on future inventions. The big, white

puffy robot with the film’s name captures your heart. It is empathetic

and caring, there is a time when it has to have this amazing quality

‘turned off’ to help fight in a situation. In the end, everyone realizes

the gift and magic of a ‘feeling robot.’

 

Two who weren’t nominated in this Academy Awards Ceremony,

Jennifer Anniston who was nominated for a SAG and Golden

Globe for her work in “Cake.” And David Oyelolo who performed

the character of Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Selma” who had been

given nominations in the other awards shows, they got up to give

out an award together. Neil Patrick Harris pointed out more than

once about the controversy of ‘lack of color’ in the Oscars this year,

as well as saying something funny about the two ‘rejects’ giving out

awards. (Not using the word, ‘rejects,’ though but the meaning was

given, anyway.)

 

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” took another  two awards,

**Best Production and Set Design

**Best Cinematography

(Now, adding put to four awards.)

 

Lady Gaga was, for me, one of the major exciting highlights of the

whole entire evening. You may wish to google or find her on Youtube,

singing the songs from the 50th Anniversary of “Sound of Music.”

If you have not been watching her or listening to her singing in an

enchanting voice, accompanying Tony Bennett on their collaboration

album, you will be amazed. Simply amazed.

 

When Julie Andrews came out and thanked her enthusiastically and

with such praise, you know that Lady Gaga will never forget this night.

 

Meryl Streep was weeping, had a hard time keeping her voice from

faltering as she introduced the people in all aspects of entertainment

who had died in 2014. Here are the names I recognized and decided

to list for you to sample and you will be surprised at the few who may

have slipped by last year. Also, a few who were not recognized or

honored, too.

Mickey Rooney

Bob Hoskins

James Garner

Elizabeth Pena

Maya Angelou

Anita Ekberg

Edward Hermann

Mike Nichols

Ruby Dee

Louis Jourdan

Sam Goldwyn

Richard Attenborough

Robin Williams

Rod Taylor

Lauren Bacall, plus many more directors, animators, film editing and

makeup, costumes, along with movie reviewers from all around the world.

 

When the names were finished being listed and their painted in watercolor

faces displayed, Jennifer Hudson sang a beautiful song for those who have

gone on. It was, “I Cannot Let It Go, my forever love. . .”

 

“Selma” got only the Best Song Award.

“The Imitation Game” only got one award.

 

“The Theory of Everything” actor who portrayed Stephen Hawking,

Eddie Redmayne won,

**Best Actor

 

“Still Alice,” actress, Julianne Moore who portrayed a woman with

Alzheimer’s Disease won,

**Best Actress

 

“Birdman” won:

**Best Director

**Best Screenplay

**Best Picture of the Year

 

Funniest moments were Neil Patrick Harris pointing out the seat

keepers, while the ones were up accepting awards, going to use

the bathroom or at the bar, along with ones who were giving out

awards. Octavia Spencer was asked to ‘keep her eyes’ on a clear

box which had N. P. H’s predictions in it.  He also came out in

his ‘tidy whities’ to show solidarity for the “Birdman” cast,

who apparently one of them feels it is ‘lucky’ to wear them,

mentioned on another awards show or interview.  The most

funny moment that was to ‘fix’ the mistake John Travolta

made by mispronouncing Idina Menzel’s name on the awards

ceremony last year. She read John’s name in the most goofy

way, he came out and they hugged and were smiling at the joke.

I did not feel it was funny, but I hope he doesn’t get in trouble

for this comment, but Sean Penn mentioned something about

the Mexicans who directed, “Birdman” may need to get their

“Green Cards.” (Awkward moment, I felt.)

 

Did you see any of the awards, replayed or in actual real

performance and appearance time?

What was your favorite part or parts?

If you don’t watch, which film were you hoping to win,

did it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Symbolic Bridges

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Oprah and thousands join her as she crosses the bridge in Selma.

She and the cast for the movie, “Selma,” took several takes in

their arm in arm walk together. It could not have been without

some impact on their lives. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Day, I was going to write about the anniversary of the bridge walk.

 

On January 8, 2015, some who chose to walk across the Edmund

Pettus Bridge located in Selma, Alabama. There is a photograph

of this recent bridge crossing. It is a small gathering but the post

has many who wish to view this. It is such a big deal that every

year, not always on the exact days of the peaceful marches, people

go to Selma to cross the bridge. To allow the freedom to soak into

their weary bones. It has not been an easy battle, even to this day.

 

The 50th “Golden” celebration of this famous event will be called

the “Bridge Crossing Jubilee,” held  March 5-9th, 2015. There is

still time to join this annual event for its anniversary.

 

Its kick off  Gospel church music concert will be on March 1, 2015

in Selma, Alabama. The memory of the deceased little girl innocents

will be shining their angelic glow upon the listeners.

 

This all is in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and of those who

walked across that bridge, some who died or were severely injured.

It is also in triumph, progress made and the way one huge step can

make an equally large impact on a country or world.  After all, our

President Obama may never had made it as far as he did, had not

those everyday men and women walkers had chosen to stay home,

out of fear.

 

The ending of the movie, “Selma,” lists several people whose lives had

changed due to their bridge walk. They include someone who had lived

over 80 years, a black man, never getting a chance to vote. There was

the white woman, first name Viola, (I did not take notes in the darkened

and hushed movie theater) who had chosen to join forces and cross the

bridge on the third time. She died when she drove a black person home

being given the hateful epithet, possibly real or imagined, by a storyteller

of “white nigger.”  The one who rose to be a senator, one who wrote for

a paper and others, all had found and felt the tremendous impact that

came out of one day to remember.

 

I learned one thing, that I did not know since most of the story has

been retold and covered. This is still a powerful movie to watch.

I did not know about the three times the walk across the bridge

was carried out nor how each one ended.

 

This will not ‘spoil’ your viewing of “Selma,” but may make you pay

more close attention:

First time across the bridge, it appears to be one hundred walkers who

have decided to gather and try to make an attempt to rock the country.

There is a place where the leaders of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s close-

knit group gather, enjoy a hearty breakfast and there is joviality and

a sense of brotherhood. Then, sadly, there has to be choice to pick straws

who will be in the ‘front line.’ The details of who got the short straw will

not be revealed here.

 

This walk for the first time is filled with trepidation, since the sheriff of

Selma is extremely bigoted and even there are scenes with the governor,

George Wallace fearing what may happen. When they get to the precipice

of the bridge, a curved bridge where you must walk upwards and then

head downwards, you can see the footsteps slowing down.

 

The next time the group goes up the hill of the bridge, there is a much

larger group and there are reinforcements from priests, ministers and

others who are Caucasian. Their presence buoys the inner sanctum of

MLK, Jr.’s group, they feel vindicated for any wrongdoings and deaths

that have gone on in between. There is a tremendous surge of energy, as

they get to the crest of the bridge. MLK, Jr. stops, he kneels and he prays

silently. The rest of the thousands gathered arm in arm who are behind

him kneel and wait.  Again, I won’t reveal what transpires.

 

History is being made. I felt the emotions in the audience, the bated

communal intake of breaths.

The third time the group gathers, it is in full preparation for the walk

across the bridge. Martin Sheen portrayed the judge who allowed the

sanction of crossing the Selma bridge. The governor and the sheriff,

with his ignorant band of white supremacists, are not going to get this

group to stop their crossing. It is going to happen, there is a broad

expanse and larger numbers than any of the first two attempts, there

are 2/3rds of the group white, according to one of the sources I read.

 

I had not intended to see another emotional upheaval movie. The first

three Academy Award nominated films, were all tear-jerkers. I had felt

‘spent’ and looking forward to meeting my good friend, Gary, who is a

sports writer at the Columbus Dispatch. I had agreed on either going to

“Birdman” or “Grand Budapest Hotel.” The first is with Michael Keaton

and since I felt he was a sensitive past actor who played “Batman,” I

could count on not dropping any tears. I also was amused by the trailer

and write-ups of “Grand Budapest Hotel,” with the funny actors in it.

 

We arrived at the Columbus Gateway Film Center on High Street, to

find a long line of young people chattering and bunched in a thick

group going into the building and up the stairs. Gary and I asked about

the line, it was for the multiple theaters showing, “American Sniper.”

We skipped around this, while Gary whispered to me, “We can use the

old people’s card, should someone try to stop us.” We went up the busy

escalator and when we got to the top saw the huge and bustling area of

the ticket sellers in front of crowded lanes. I was not sure what was going

on but since I assumed Gary may be like many guys I know, I left the line

and went to ask the guard. He said the line on the stairs was coming up

to join the group here, but they were all going to the “American Sniper”

film. So, being a little pushy, Gary took me through the melee and we

got to the front, only to find out that the two easy going movies, one

with a super hero and the other with a group of wacky hotel employees,

were:  “Sold Out.”

 

I did not hesitate to say to Gary, “Let’s go see the movie, ‘Selma!'”

We got into the theater only to find it half full. We each said to the other,

this is sad. We both agreed we had not wished to see an emotional film,

but it may have ‘meant to be.’  I am so glad the karma had the other

two films packed and not allowing us to see this fine film.

 

I will say there are magnificent performances, the director and David

Oyelowo should have been given Academy Award nominations. I

won’t go into the whole debacle about why there is less diversity in

this awards competition, but I am just going to say I am happy that

People’s Choice and Golden Globes nominated this film,

since “Selma” is worthy.

 

The song “Glory,” sung with John Legend and the rapper, Common,

is very beautiful.  Remember, I have seen three of the other contender

movies and will tell you their songs are not as ‘rich’ in sound and

meaning.

 

Some thoughts to share about real and symbolic bridges:

~ We can choose to find our own private bridge to cross.

~ Peaceful choices make a difference.

~ Touching just one life, and changing it, is enough.

~ To be able to reach more lives proceed forward.

 

~ One action or kindness contributes to another producing:

a.  Domino effect

b. Ripple effect

c. Paying forward

 

~ However you label your decision to help someone, it is still help.

~ Emotions and feelings spread easily.

~ Take courage in expressing positive choices.

~ Sharing emotions is instinctive, shown in these two examples.

a. Babies in a nursery cry together. The first one sets off the rest of them.

b. Toddlers in a sandbox see or hear someone else cry, reaching for a toy.

One may hand theirs over, without concern or need for praise.

 

~Giving in and letting go of prejudices and preconceptions is elevating.

~ Love has no boundaries once this happens.

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

(Not taken from any sources, other than my own feelings about Selma’s bridge.)

 

“The Breakthroughs Issue” of December, 2014 “Preventions” magazine is

a great source of news about health and healthy food choices.

 

A man making a profound difference in prosthetic equipment is featured

in an article called, “Out on a Limb.”

This man, Eythor Bender, is using the ‘bridge’ I listed above to use a “kind

action” to create these wonderful and more natural replacements for arms

and legs. Frustrated by the medical breakthroughs available only to the

“elite” in our society, those who are wealthy, he came up with a program.

“Unyq” is a San Francisco based company which uses 3-D printers to create

symmetrical body parts to the user’s healthy limb. This alone is remarkable,

since in the past they did not often ‘match’ the size or shape to the original

on the other side of the body.

 

Bender was recognized internationally during the New York Fashion Week,

2014. His bionics were on a model walking the runway. Sure this should

make him proud or feel good about himself, but this quote from Eythor B.

says it ‘all:’

 

“People tell me it feels like they’ve got their legs back for the first time

in their lives. That’s really something!”

 

Bender expressed happiness that the new Unyq program is being covered,

since he has made the prices low enough, by many insurance providers.

Keeping the price down, will meet the needs of most of the patients who

need realistic and comfortable prosthetics.

 

This article was uplifting and made me feel it met the ‘requirements’ of

crossing a ‘bridge’ in medicine, with its ripple effect going into all areas

of society and hopefully, the world.

 

Another creative health program which is still in the newer stage and not

necessarily FDA approved is, Immuno-Therapy. This is to fight cancer

through immune system injections. There are three stories, one man and

two women, who participated in this trial program who have seen their

melanoma disappear. This is another ‘bridge’ to cross, hopefully the first

start will be like MLK, Jr.’s first attempt to cross the Selma bridge, one

that will be followed repeatedly,  with more and more positive results.

 

 

 

Native American View on “Two-Spirits”

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An article by Cecelia LaPointe, who refers to “Two-Spirit”

which addresses and rekindles awareness of Native Gender

identity, was in the Ohio “Outlook” magazine. This was my

resource which I used finding great Christmas music lists

and an article about Bette Midler in December.

 

In November, Cecelia came to OSU campus to host a poetry

workshop and speak on racial identity and the “Two-Spirit”

existence. Ms. LaPointe has also visited Columbus during

both Native American Heritage Month and Trans-gender

Awareness Week. (Two opportunities I missed last year to

feature in my monthly calendar.)

 

Indigenous communities of Native Americans use the “Two-

Spirit” label to denote gender variations within their people.

In the world, they consider Europe and American cultures

“binary” genders. “Two-Spirits” become a third or even fourth

gender among native societies.

 

“Two-Spirits” are denoted or designated from birth, through

a ritual. This belief of a person embodying masculine and

feminine spirits, two ‘identities inhabiting a single body’ is

not considered ‘weird,’ ‘strange’ or ‘inappropriate.’ Instead

the Native Americans ’embrace’ the different way of life.

 

Two things mentioned in this essay about Cecelia and her

tribe’s belief in what sets these particular people known as

“Two-Spirits” apart:

1.) They dress and change their choice of who they are from

day to day. They are not all ‘one way’ in their feminine or

masculine clothing.

2.) They may choose to carry out tasks or labor, not dependent

on their outward appearance. Gender roles are not delineated

or dictated in the “Two-Spirit” existence.

For example: A person could go out on a hunt or go to war, but

at other times may dress in women’s clothing and carry out

domestic chores. Women could become  ‘warriors’ or chiefs

over their native tribes.

 

Interestingly, according to Ms. LaPointe,  “Two-Spirits” were

not only tolerated, but they were ‘revered.’  For instance, they

were well respected and considered, ‘powerful.’ They often were

given special roles such as healers, mediators and counselors.

 

There are instances where bigotry of “Two-Spirits” has been

carried out. When historians bring up the arguments of their

contributions and respected positions it is to counterbalance

those who say Native Americans are “transphobic.”

 

Sometimes, Natives would bring up “tradition” as a reason to

exclude people who chose to carry out their ‘birthright’ as

“Two-Spirit” people.  They would be acting close-minded to

the long history of the revered members of their tribes.

Ancestors of Native Americans were not against “Two-Spirit”

people, elders were often of this delineation.

 

Ms. LaPointe brings up Spanish missionaries as those who

planted the ‘bad seeds’ which germinated prejudice against

“Two-Spirited” people. “They (Two-Spirit) were essentially

the first victim in the campaign of colonial violence against

the native population of the Americas.”

 

Ms. LaPointe considers herself of  ‘mixed descent’ and feels

she is part of “both cultures, both worlds.” She grew up in a

Detroit suburb and lives in the northern town of Manistee.

She travels to her reservation in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula)

regularly. She is a descendant of the Anishinaabekwe Tribe,

native of the Great Lakes region.

 

Cecelia LaPointe says her reservation is very small yet it is her

“home.” This is where she goes to be with family members. Some

of her own family members hold leadership positions within her

tribe. It is part of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Being

located far from the city means it is a positive place for her to

retreat. It is also good since. . .

‘There is less influence from the dominant culture there.’

 

Ms. LaPointe reaches out to others, through her writing

and public speaking. By going to college campuses, she

can share her poetry and also, her viewpoint where the

students may be encouraged to be ‘themselves.’ She hopes

to reverse the history of discrimination against both the

Native Americans and also, those who are filled with what

they call, “Two-Spirit.”

 

There was a wonderful piece of artwork that accompanied

this article in “Outlook,” November issue. It has the artist,

George Catlin’s (1796-1872) painting called, “Dance to the

Berdache.” This was drawn while the Sac and Fox people

of the Great Plains were engaging in a ceremonial dance to

celebrate the “Two-Spirit” person.

 

Here is a part of a poem that talks of her emotions,

“Poem: Ajijaak Dodem Anokil

It is so precious,

Those tears on my hands,

Covering my face,

This grieving is beautiful,

You see we had felt those knives turned inward

On ourselves,

On our family. . .”

 

You may wish to check out Cecelia Rose LaPointe’s poetry

or speaking schedule and other special events at:

http://www.anishinaabekwe.com

 

My youngest daughter and I recently saw, “The Imitation Game,”

which depicts an underlying sadness within the main character.

It is a true story about Alan Turing, a genius. He was the inventor

of a de-coding machine that ‘beat’ Germany’s war coding machine,

“The Enigma.” This British machine helped the Allies win World

War II against the Germans.

 

Apparently, Alan Turing was a man who faced accusations and

there were parts of the film which eluded to his sexual preferences.

This movie brought up the problems that people historically have

faced (and are still overcoming).  The end of the movie has details

about large numbers, unfortunately, of people who were thrown in

British prisons, due to their homosexuality.

 

The actor is one I enjoy as “Sherlock” on PBS and also, has been

in the “Dr. Who” British television series. His name is Benedict

Cumberbatch. You can see him in more than one 2013 Academy

Award nominated movie, since he played in “12 Years a Slave”

and “August: Osage County.”

 

The woman who befriends him and who is very talented in

decoding and helping with the Turing Machine, is played by the

wonderful actress, Keira Knightley. My favorite role she has

played was in, “Pride and Prejudice,” but there are many more

films to see her in.

 

After the movie, when I talked with my youngest daughter who had

cried (as I did, too) during some of the tender and intense parts of the

film, we both agreed upon deep emotions we have in common.

We also share values my parents and siblings embrace.

It is hard to understand why anyone would be so offended by

someone’s personal choices.

 

Sadly, the United States has had many different areas where

numbers of people who chose to be ‘different’ from what some

may perceive as ‘normal’ or ‘mainstream.’ Obviously, numerous

people are still either bullied or face judges in court rooms.

 

Persecutions in the United States have been appalling and we

talked about our abhorrence of this.

 

No country is totally ‘innocent’ of negative practices of prejudice

and persecution. “Racial profiling” has been a problem within our

extended family.  (My oldest daughter’s father of little Micah is

bi-racial. Mainly, since 9/11/2001, he has had taunts and threats

due to his outward appearance. In his younger years, he says at

least in Delaware, Ohio, he found people wanting to be his friend

throughout his schooling and working years.)

 

The numbers of those imprisoned, at the end of the movie, were

such that we just shook our head and looked at each other through

teary eyes, in disbelief. Felicia asked me, “How can anyone feel

they have the right to judge someone else?”

 

This article about Native Americans and “Two Spirit” individuals

was saved in my WordPress drafts.  It helped me to feel that there

is a positive force to include gays and lesbians within the Native

tribes. Their ‘explanation’ or interesting philosophy towards people

who choose to follow two different genders created new thoughts

in my mind. Mother Nature has some unique qualities which I

embrace, sometimes intuitively.

 

Of course, I have mentioned before. . . I have hope for our future

in the possibility that all peoples can accept and embrace our

differences.

 

Written in Memoriam of Alan Turing, scientist, original computer

inventor and mathematician who committed suicide at age 41, a

few weeks before his 42nd birthday in  June, 1954.

Queen Elizabeth II gave Alan Turing a post-humous “pardon” in

2013 for his criminal charges and offenses.

 

We Need Mary Travers’ Message

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It has been five years since Mary Travers passed away. There was a

replay of her famous people-populated memorial service on PBS

over last weekend. I was weeping and laughing throughout this special

moment in time. The memories of the group “Peter, Paul and Mary”

will always be there, ingrained into my emotional well being.

 

Mary was 72 years old,  living from November 9, 1936 until she passed

away on September 16, 2009. She was born in Kentucky and at age two,

moved to New York with her family. This is where she eventually got

connected with music. Mary died in Connecticut, after fiercely battling

leukemia. She had endured bone marrow transplants, in the hopes of

living longer. I have to add, ‘fighting until the end,’ since Mary was not

one to be afraid or back down on Life or any important issues.

 

The families of the three close and dear friends still gather to this day.

They play music and continue peaceful activities giving tribute to her

memory. There were montages (photographs and film) shown through-

out the special program. Picnics with families sitting on their blankets,

children running around while Peter and Paul’s, along with Mary’s,

families all gather and rejoice in their loving connections.

 

At the Memorial Service shown on PBS, I was impressed with the ones

who came to give their respects. I hope it may be of interest to you, to

remember the members of the musical group along with hearing what

the prominent guests shared about Mary Travers. Each time I tried to

listen to the words being said, but paraphrased and encapsulated them.

 

“The Guests”

George McGovern gave a serious pronouncement declaring that Mary

‘would not stand for bigotry or racism,’  and said her life was devoted to

opening people’s hearts and allowing love to come inside.

John Kerry said in a kindly, folksy tone, ‘All the ones who support

people’s rights are here and present. Carrying on the message will be

her legacy.’

Bill Moyers was emotional and said for everyone to keep singing and

believing, passing the Peace around.

Whoopie Goldberg talked about Mary’s impact on people’s lives by

saying Mary had an incredible way of ‘touching people’s lives and

changing them for the better.’

There was a song video tribute replaying a concert that Pete Seeger

sang with Peter, Paul and Mary.

The way that the two men spoke of Mary got me crying, something

about Mary “lives in their cells.” Something about Mary is part of the

“fabric of our country.” She lives on in so many different ways. Not

sure if this was Paul, but my notes say,

“Love ties us together. The vibration of Peter, Paul and Mary, I believe,

made the world a better place to live.”

 

Gloria Steinem spoke about how Mary believed everyone should be

treated the same wherever they came from and whoever they were.

She mentioned, Mary Travers stood up for  “Peace, Justice and

Equality,” supporting all people. This also included the Women’s

Rights Movement and the Civil Right’s Movement. I had forgotten

that they were there at the March on Washington and were in the

Selma and other southern cities singing about peaceful protesting.

 

“Messages”

The meaningful and moving song called,  “We Shall Not Be Moved,”

(written and has been performed by Mavis Staples) was played at

Mary’s Memorial Service. The audience and choir sang along with

this one.

 

A beautiful poem with inspiring words (that were metaphors for

branches of humanity) started with its words about there being

one world, many forests. Then many forests, many trees. As it

went, many trees, many branches, many branches, one branch,

and many leaves.” (The person who explained this as multiple

faiths, one God, made it very spiritual. They mentioned that

God is for everyone. . .) I have to admit, I cannot seem to track

this one down. Sorry, but it was lovely, wished to share its

message and it made me wonder who wrote it, too.

 

The funny parts of the tribute to Mary Travers were about how

her blonde hair and good looks brought more mail and men to

the concerts. Also, there were references about her being sexy

and rocking back and forth, moving with lots of energy during

their concerts. Peter and Paul took turns sometimes interjecting

the funny, comic relief moments.

 

Many people repeated throughout the PBS special, the music of

Peter, Paul and Mary was more than just for one period of time,

it is ‘for all times.’ It was not written with definitive beginnings and

endings, it was meant to be “Music for Change.”

 

“The Music”

Of course, the wisdom and message about Peace is found within

the words of, “Blowin’ in the Wind.” (Which was written and sung

by Bob Dylan,  permission given to be sung by P, P and Mary over

the years.)

The words about loving your country and being part of the world,

“This Land Is Your Land,” is another recognizable song. This fine

song was written by Woody Guthrie, before WWII, in 1940. The

long lasting message resonates with me, doesn’t it with you?

I like all versions of it, but am most familiar with the way Peter,

Paul and Mary sang this anthem. It makes me proud to be an

American.

 

John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” continues to be affiliated

with the group, Peter, Paul and Mary, too. (John has been gone

for seven years, having accidentally crashed his ultra light plane

in 1997.)

There are possibly millions of weddings where they included the

loving words of the song, “Wedding Song/There is Love.”

So many children loved the words to, “Puff the Magic Dragon”

that when they grew up to be parents they taught their own kids

to love the words, too.

Two love songs I ‘slow danced to’ were, “Like the First Time” and

“Such is Love.” Another one which my parents liked, “Kisses Are

Sweeter than Wine.”

A new Rally Call is being made to this new or next generation and

there is a program called, “Operation Respect.” This is being done in

Mary’s name. 22 different countries, including Israel, have people

who have joined together and are following this project.

 

Do you have a favorite Peter, Paul and Mary memory or song?

 

The two remaining members, Peter and Paul, continue to spread

or sow seeds of love and understanding around the world. After

all, we still need the message.

 

 

Beginning a Week of Book Banning Awareness

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From September 21st through the 27th, the American Libraries Association has

declared this “Banned Books Week.” They wish to encourage our freedom to read.

The ALA’s slogan for this week is, “Discover What You’re Missing.” I think it is so

important to remind people of how recently we had books destroyed, censored

and banned in our country.

In my opinion, books on any subject are meant to expand our world views. They

open our eyes where we may hold insulated views. Some have been protected,

kept safe and ‘closed off,’ from what is being presented in their community or

‘tribe’ (or family.)There are some who home school, some who don’t believe

in public news, some who wish that all offensive subjects not be mentioned to

or around their children. I respect their freedom to do so and they have valid

concerns. But they must also be careful for ‘what they wish for.’ After having

a protected Catholic roommate my sophomore year in college go, ‘haywire,’

with her sudden freedom. Also, knowing a relative who sent her 3 daughters to

a Christian college, only to have one get married to a Catholic, a Jewish man

and another to live with a man out of wedlock, I think one must be careful

about what kind of life you are presenting to your children and family.

By the way, just so you don’t misunderstand, I felt all three of these choices

were find and acceptable choices. It is just the fact the parents had tried to

prevent this ‘kind of thing,’ from happening, that I mention it at all.

Creating awareness of censorship and banning books may seem ‘foreign’ to

ones in their twenties who may live in a city where this has not recently

happened. Historically, it is no so far in the distant past, as one may think. It

is also part of many cultures’ and countries’ current practices. Awareness of

the dangers in such behavior, burning books, taking black markers and

removing words, opinions, and whole passages of different perspectives is

so important for everyone to recognize.

The definition of ‘ban’ that applies to this practice is defined as to prohibit

especially by legal means or social pressure some form of information.

Censure or condemning through public opinion.

The definition of ‘censor’ is to examine in order to suppress or delete

harmful or dangerous material.

The major problem in both banning and censoring is “Who is doing this?”

Who has the authority to choose what we are able to read, write or talk

about?

The subjects of McCarthyism, Apartheid, Racial Issues and Governmental

Control are the ones that “leap to mind’ and produce a cold hand upon my

heart.

Do I think the military servicemen should have had their letters censored,

for fear of accidentally getting into the hands of our enemies? I would not

wish to make a decision that might cause death or infiltration of the enemy

in times of war.

Do I think that some subjects are ‘gross’ and upsetting to my mind? Yes,

but again, I would not wish to impose my thoughts upon others. I don’t

feel this would be fair or just behavior.

While teaching my first year of middle school, in 1979, I was in a small

town where the principal and the superintendent were from cities. They

said it was important to not feel that parents should dictate how their

students be taught. They made me feel comfortable about approaching

them with topics. Sixth grade Language Arts, along with English, Spelling

and Current Events were part of my instruction responsibilities. We had

team teaching, where the students moved from classroom to classroom.

Once I found out I was expecting my second child (my first miscarriage

had been the year before) I asked when it would be appropriate to tell

the students. We were going to be riding in a bus, in the winter months

to a swimming pool, I would be helping the kids to learn floating and

Life Saving techniques. I would be wearing a maternity bathing suit by

then. They suggested telling the parents in November and I listened to

their more experienced advice. We also were having Sex Ed discussions

in the Science classes. I was a little embarrassed as students would see

my belly expanding, but it turned out they loved getting in a line after

lunch in December to feel the baby move. Then, I would have them put

their heads down, as they rested and listened to the chapter book, “The

Yearling,” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

What books do I think of that have been banned? Without referring to

a list, I imagined “Clockwork Orange,” from my high school readings.

I pictured and remembered that the word, ‘nigger,’ was considered very

controversial and some schools and libraries during the Civil Rights

Movement, mistakenly removed the book, “Huckleberry Finn,” from

their book shelves. The third immediate ‘banned’ book I could think of,

was “The Scarlet Letter.”

Why ban “Clockwork Orange?” Graphic language,  the governmental

control and the futuristic idea of mind control over a criminal. The main

character is injected, I believe if my memory serves me well, with something

that causes him to have pictures of violence and he suffers excruciating pain

from this. Why should we accept this book and not ban it? This is an intriguing

start to a whole new genre of books, which opened our minds to possibilities

and also, made us aware of the dangers of choosing how a criminal should be

punished. Do we have the right to do this? It can also be argued, do we have

the right to kill a man because he killed or committed dangerous acts. Our

legal world, with a ‘jury of our peers,’ makes those kind of powerful judgments.

Why ban “Huckleberry Finn?” I think fear of repercussions and misunderstandings

during a very dangerous, emotional period of our times. We can look at this

rationally, knowing the language was supposed to depict what was acceptable

during Mark Twain’s time. Why accept the book? Because it is an outstanding

story that does cross racial barriers and shows a black man and a young boy in

a fantastic piece of American literature. Their unique friendship and reliance

on each other shows a trust unexpected between two such characters, prior

to Mark Twain’s writing this book.

Why would “The Scarlet Letter,” which has a 19th century woman wearing a

red “A” across her chest be considered censorable? I think some would say

go ahead and promote this book. It holds their own judgments of the situation

on adultery. I am not sure if it is on the banned books list, which I had decided

when I set out to write this, that I would not ‘peek’ at the list until I finished my

opinions or had a chance to ‘editorialize.’ I think it may have been on the list

but would take it off, due to my determination that usually the WOMAN is

given the scarlet letter, not the man who was part of the couple engaged in

adultery. This is an antiquated viewpoint, but sadly this is still held in some

form or other, which is not the time nor place to talk about why this still goes

on.

 

The Office of Intellectual Freedom gets reports and complaints. They usually

get the most “challenges” to freedom from the public wishing to ban books

after the Top 10 Book List is published.

Here are the Top 5 out of a list of Top 10 the OIF received after the 2013 Top Ten

List was published:

1. “Captain Underpants,” by Dav Pilkey.

The complaints were: Offensive language and unsuitable for age group.

2. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison.

The complaints were: Offensive language, sexually explicit, violence and unsuitable for age group.

3. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian ,” by Sherman Alexie.

The complaints were: Drugs, alcohol, smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James.

The complaints were: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoints, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

5. “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins.

The complaints were: Religious viewpoints and unsuitable for age group.

Hmm…I would have added violence possibly.

Overall, there are large numbers given on the official website of the Office of Intellectual Freedom

of the population that wish to restrict our reading materials.

 

 

The funny thing that someone in my life mentioned about censorship, I am

not quite sure who, but he asked this thought-provoking question:

What book has many adult themes within its pages, including adultery,

fornication and murdering one’s family members, but is considered

‘acceptable’ by those who wish to forbid and censor books?

(The Bible, he answered.)

What books came to mind, when I first started this post, that may be on past

banned books lists?

 

Nelson Mandela’s quotation seems apropos:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains,

but to live in a way that respects and enhances

the freedom of others.”