Saturday, February 21, 2015

MAN, IS LIFE DEPRESSING

Man is life depressing, when you have to resort to books and false prophets (people who want you to pay them to make you feel good about yourself) to boost your self-esteem and outlook on life, but unfortunately this is something many of us must do in order to achieve a mentally-healthy day, and I find myself tempted to once again download texts like Napoleon Hill’s Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude despite the fact that although a good read and actually inspirational on the whole I know in the long run isn’t going to do jackshit.

Of course like most human beings the causes of my depression are numerous.  For starters I have a job that offers absolutely no advancements where I have to scrap for crumbs from the table.  Then there’s the fact that I spend practically every day alone, but as often is the case in the world of depression that’s a double-edged sword, because at the same time I really can’t stand being around most people I know for an extended period of time, and even if I did get the job of my dreams it’d probably reduce me into a salary-enslaved drone - you know, being able to credit and afford anything you want but never actually being free enough to really enjoy it.

I know that indeed depression is for the most part mental, but I also know that it can often be alleviated through physical pleasures.  So for instance eating is something many people may find relief in, although later they may have to deal with the depressing affects of overeating like poor health and spending too much on food.  Sometimes people tell me I should marry and have a family, and whereas having loved ones around is definitely a picker-upper it’s not something that I feel one should do hastily, lest I find myself in the depressing situation of having dependants that I can’t adequately cater for.  I would love to actually make a living off of my passions, i.e. writing, but this blog and a couple of other websites I have up get practically no hits, and of course when I think about that it depresses the sh*t out of me.

I think some people would classify what I’m going through as midlife crisis, and I don’t know how accurate that is.  I do know that back in the day whereas I wasn’t what you would call carefree I definitely had more optimism for my future than I do now.  In reality the failures I’ve experienced between now and then are more of a depressant than aging (like really, what’s the alternative to aging?), but again what you classify as a failure is a tricky game because you never know how your story is going to end and where your “failures” will lead you.

In America there’s a proverb that goes ‘money can’t buy you happiness,’ but you’d be hardpressed to convince someone in Ghana of the same.  Here the general impression is that if only a nigga has enough dough he’d be straight, and whereas I don’t totally agree I will say I’m leaning more towards this understanding than I had when I arrived.  But of course when you live in a country where such is the mentality while simultaneously having an economy where it’s virtually impossible to make a decent living, well that’s depressing.

CONCLUSION

It’s bug like while writing this article I went to Yahoo Search to find out what word is the opposite of depression, and it sent back an article that states “the opposite of depression is not happiness… it is resilience.”  So based on this understanding I guess it’s true that depression isn’t necessarily being in a situation that you don’t like but is rather being in a situation you don’t like that you don’t think will ever change.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

WATER HARVESTING 4 BEGINNERS

I came across an article recently on Infowars of how people (or in this case one person in particular) in the United States have been  getting in trouble for rainwater harvesting.  Upon further research I've indeed been able to verify that water harvesting is illegal in a few parts of the States.  Just based on speculation I thought the reason would be an attempt by the government to protect citizens from using and potentially getting harmed by water that is likely filled with all types of contaminants (i.e. acid rain), but the rationale seems to be even "weirder" than that as such laws seem to be based on something called "water rights" (dafluk?).  In other less-developed parts of the world however water harvesting is an essential practice, as in if you don't do it you won't have water to bathe, wash clothes, flush the toilet, etc. and in some cases even to drink.

Of course when you're dealing with the overly-developed world even if you do decide to harvest water the options tend to be relatively complicated and expensive, like making a mountain out of a molehill.  But fret not; I'll show you the basics on collecting rainwater.  After all you never know when you'll be faced with a drought, blackout or other crisis when you can longer rely on govvie to provide your basic water needs.

BASIC THINGS YOU NEED TO HARVEST WATER

1 - Buckets, water "gallons" or something to collect the water in (and funnels).
2 - A roof with good water runoff.
3 - Decent enough health to be able to withstand carrying heavy sh*t outside in the rain.
3 - A good rainfall.

BUCKETS

Buckets are good for collecting water but not necessarily for storing because often they don't have lids and aren't very huge.  So in other words if you plan on using the water immediately buckets are ideal.  What makes buckets essential is that they're portable, meaning they can be moved around to places that have the best water flow, and then the water transported to a larger, more permanent container.

More permanent containers can consist of items such as "jerricans" or really anything that can hold water (like that plastic garbage can).  Though often referred to in Ghana as "water gallons" the most popular option, jerricans, are larger than gallons; I would guesstimate they can hold about four gallons.  Their original function is to hold cooking oil, but afterwards they're washed down and resold hollow, usually for the purpose of harvesting water and sometimes to transport gasoline.  We also had a bigger plastic container out this piece some time ago, but after using it for some time to run water in directly and then lifting and carrying it the poor thing crumpled under the pressure and attrition.  We also have a big metal container which unfortunately seems to be dealing with some rust issues, as in when harvesting water metal can sometimes be more high-maintenance than plastic.

It's also ideal to have some type of funnel attached to the jerricans in order to widen the area where water can be collected (as shown in the video below), as heavy rain is often accompanied by heavy wind, meaning that the falling water stream tends to move around, and trying to aim the mouth of a container to collect rain while it's actually raining is the most dangerous part of water harvesting.

ROOF WITH GOOD WATER DRAINAGE


I really don't know roofing terminology and what you call those little indentations that make rain fall from the roof in steady streams, but by watching the video above you'll see what I'm talking about.  Of course dust and other contaminants settle on roofs when it's not raining, so you don't need to harvest water immediately upon rainfall because it'll be dirty.  That's why when you have a stationary water collector there has to be filter present, unless you want a shitload of sediment at the bottom of your container.  Otherwise you have to use portable water containers that can be put directly in the path of the descending rainwater once it has already washed the roof off.

3 - DECENT HEALTH

At normal temperature water is estimated to weigh about 8 pounds per gallon, so if the average jerrican does hold 4 gallons than that means they weigh about 24 pounds.  And forget about big blue there; when filled with water it can't be lifted with one hand unless your Arnold Schwarzenegger out this piece.  So in other words you may find yourself moving around weighty containers in heavy rainfall, with the water beating right down on you because you're positioning containers in and out of the direct stream of the channeled water, so on top of rushing you're also dealing with visibility issues, getting wet and cold and the ground being slippery.  If you suffer from asthma, a weak immune system or anything that makes you susceptible to cold than of course it's advisable to wear a rainjacket when harvesting... oh yeah, and footwear with good traction.  Don't go out there trying to be macho, slip and suffer from a potentially fatal head injury.

4 - DECENT RAINFALL

When living in areas that lack water due to inconsistent or no piped water flow, when you're really suffering from water shortage you may tend to get excited over any little rain that falls and quickly whip out the buckets to collect what you can, but as aforementioned rushing to harvest water leads to an untidy collection (even if it rained heavily the day before).  Unfortunately though sometimes it only rains enough to wash off the roof but not to allow you to collect anything afterwards, which is like a real kick in the pants when you're obsessing over where to get water for for your next bath or toilet flush.  If however you're desperate enough to collect the initial rains then of course you can give it time for the sediment to settle before use, which ideally makes about 80% of it usable for bathing and maybe washing clothes but not of course recommended for cooking.

CONCLUSION

Of course one day I'll purchase a bigger container like a PolyTank, but if using it to collect rainwater I'll be burdened with filtering and/or cleaning the bottom of it after every collection since such usually stay open in anticipation of any unforeseen rainfall.  It'll be bad business if hardcore metros like New York City were to face a prolonged problem with water supply since to my recollection apartment buildings don't have any water runoff that can be collected.

Monday, February 09, 2015

WEEP AND HOWL YE RICH (DEDICATED TO BOBBI KRISTINA)

(Last updated 21 February 2015)


Being made in the image of God, we as human beings have a little voice in us that is always instructing us to do right and abstain from wrong, and although activated 24/7, the reason the conscious is often referred to as the “little voice” is because people for the most part choose to ignore it, as in usually if a situation arises where we know we’re doing wrong, if we know we can still do it, profit and ‘get away with it' then it’s time to once again reduce the conscious to that “little voice” that can’t be heard over the clutter of the monumentous noise that our own earthly desires make in comparison.

THE JACKSON FAMILY

For the sake of this article let’s take a look at the Jackson Family.  These are people who are super-mega-wealthy, living in castles and sh*t like that, and we all know for the most part they became this way via success in the music industry.  So now tell me this - with the exception of Michael, who in the Jackson Family even has musical talent?  Even Janet, I would venture to say, doesn’t have any genuine musical talent above any of the rest of us and of course was given her golden opportunity to claim fame via her relation to Micheal.  So that means now, even over five years after his death, in a way MJ is still feeding the fam.  So how do they honor him?  By like totally fukin up his name and fighting for his possessions, even though it’s obvious that with the exception of Mom Cheese and his children he didn’t want to leave sh*t for anybody, as if he hasn’t already given niggas enough by making them rich to the point where he eventually loss his life to the game.  So the point is that yes, dun is gone and left a shitload of money behind that now he can’t use, and you being someone close to him that possibly even loved him of course want some of it, but your conscious should tell you that publicly bickering over your dead brother’s wealth is pathetic despite the money involved, although in such cases I will have to say that it’ll have to be a stronger than average conscious that causes one to refrain from doing so.

SHOUTOUT TO B-BROWN

Before I start Bobby Brown bashing, let me say that I love dun and acknowledge him as one of the realest niggas and most influential musicians in American music history.  As many of us know, he started his career in the early 80's as a member of the popular boy band New Edition, and even in those days, if you were able to notice, you could see the thug in him.  For instance when harassing the telephone man for not being able to call his shorty in the Mr. Telephone Man video, his aggression seems just a bit more authentic than the others.


After “his forced exit” from New Edition, Bobby Brown went on to start a solo career, which was a gutsy move on his part.  Why?  Because first of all he wasn’t even the lead singer, and logically if any member of a boy band starts a solo career it would be the head honcho since by default he’s the most popular.  Instead at the time Bobby Brown was one of four backup singers, whose names you tended to get confused from time to time, in the group.  Even moreso than that, B-Brown was brave for venturing out on his own because, at least in my opinion, dun can’t even sing, and I don’t mean that in the truest sense of the expression but more like B-Brown can sing just like every human being on Earth can sing, just like we’re all able to run, but that doesn’t qualify all of us as professional athletes.  All of that being said he still went on to surprisingly have the top-selling album worldwide in 1989.

Moreover B-Brown was one of the most influential Black artists in American music history not because he was able to sell a lot of records, as others who are less influential have likely sold more than he.  When you’re lacking in one area you have to make up for it in another, and like most popular musicians of the last 30 years Bobby compensated his lack of voice power with his image, that image being one of a nigga who doesn't give afuk, and please keep in mind this is the 80’s we’re talking about and not the present day where all hell, like literally, has broken loose in the American Music Industry.  So in a way he was kind of like the Black male Madonna of the 80’s, and the reason I make such a strong comparison is because My Prerogative was like the unofficial signature song to usher in the age of secular humanism in popular American music or at least popular Black American music, although Bobby probably didn’t see it like that.  In other words once one person doesn’t give afuk then by all means others are bound to follow, especially when not giving afuk is translated as being able to do what you want.

B-Brown also wasn’t the type to talk sh*t without being able to back it up, and back in those days he was one of only a handful of popular artists (including the likes of Tupac) whose name you would hear getting into gunfights and beef with the police and sh*t like that.  In other words Bobby Brown wasn’t lukewarm, but in the long run being young, rich, famous and not giving afuk led to B-Brown doing a lot of totally stupid sh*t like smoking crilz, but I guess being rich and consequently stupid is pretty much the underlying theme of this post.

BOBBI KRISTINA

I’d be lying if I said I knew anything about Bobbi Kristina or even how she looked (other than of course she’s the child of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston) before all of this current drama broke forth, and even now I’m not going to act like I really know anything about her based on all the gossip that’s circulating.  I will say that I’ve heard her name in the news before for what I remember was drug abuse or something like that.  I haven’t seen the recent Whitney Houston biopic put together by Angela Bassett, but I will venture to say seeing your moms depicted as a self-destructive drug addict who rather led B-Brown down the wrong path must not have bode well with Kristina.

Recently Bobbi Kristina was found unconscious, due to drowning in her bathtub (her mother died in a bathtub) and has been put in a medically-induced coma in order to save her life, with the prognosis being grim as in her only chance for survival according to doctors seems to be to remain in a coma.  This is of course horrifying news, and logically blood relatives and other loved ones have rushed to her bedside, presumably wishing for the best which would be her survival and full recovery - or at least that’s how it would play out with an average person.  However when you start dealing with the rich and famous things tend to take a different turn, and of course I mean for the worse.  So instead of using this tragedy as a rallying cry to unite even if only for the sake of Kristina’s survival, instead niggas are already fighting over her inheritance while she’s still alive.  Meanwhile I haven’t heard any of them mention using Bobbi Krisitina’s $100million inheritance to actually keep her alive (which I would presume would be what she AND WHITNEY, who actually left the money to her, would want it used for) since after all some people do miraculously recover from comas, even extremely long ones.

CONCLUSION

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be rich and maybe even famous, but I can see why true prophets often condemn wealthy people, because most people if they were to have a near-death situation similar to Bobbi Kristina’s would probably be surrounded by people more concerned for their wellbeing than she has around her right now.  This is not to say that such things happen to only rich people.  Moreover I’m not going to act like I understand all of the details of what’s going on with Bobbi Kristina, but based on my understanding of the situation all I will say is that if anybody close to her actually reads this post please do the right thing and try to use her inheritance to keep homegirl alive, or the next thing you know you might actually get the dough and be the one of your deathbed with your loved ones divesting their energies in bickering over your ultimately worthless possessions instead of investing as much as possible in preserving your life.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

FORGOTTEN TEACHINGS OF JESUS

One of the main criticisms you often hear of radical Islam is that it’s not doctrinally based on the Quran.  Mainstream Christianity and I guess all religions are pretty much the same way - their actions are based on a particular Prophet and/or religious text - just like a movie can be based on an actual person or book - but are not inline with the book and/or Prophet himself, nor do they ever genuinely aim to be, something that even the popular media is starting to pickup on.  So in this regard whereas in the religion of Christianity the central figure is Jesus, the meat and bone of his teachings are swept under the rug ultimately in the name of bringing more people to the religion since in reality the Prophets were such badasses that no human being who values the creature comforts of life would ever try to emulate them.  So yes, today there may be more churches and Christians than ever before in history, but that doesn’t mean they're properly disseminating the teachings of Jesus as opposed to just serving as a Christian place of worship.  Even if you attend church 1,000 times, here are some of teachings of Jesus you’ll probably never hear a pastor say or do, even though these are the types of things that they’re supposed to be teaching as agents of Christ:

1.  IF ANYONE ASKS FOR A LOAN YOU SHOULD GIVE IT TO THEM AND NEVER AS FOR THE ITEM (MONEY) BACK.  Today’s most popular Christian leaders will never in their right mind get on the mic and say anything like this, being that many have perfected the art of having other people pay for their above-average lifestyles.  In other words under normal human logic it’s impossible to be rich if every time someone asks you for money you gave it to them, especially considering that one's very own congregation is likely to have a number of needy members.

2.  CHRISTIAN LEADERS SHOULDN’T BEG FOR AND TRICK PEOPLE OUT OF MONEY (TITHES).  It’s unclear of where Jesus got his survival money from, but the general impression is that he didn’t have a lot of it and when he did have he didn’t get it through begging.  In fact the greatest Christian apostle in history, Paul, worked as a tentmaker while simultaneously preaching; he wasn’t going around telling people that if they didn’t give him money God wouldn’t like them.  Jesus’ most famous discourse is the Sermon on the Mount, but many Christian leaders can more easily recite dispersed passages about tithing.  What they never tell you about tithing is that the priests (actually the temple) people paid the tithe to had a shitload of responsibilities and was required to be a man of extraordinary discipline upon fear of death (according to the Law); in other words he wasn’t getting paid just to talk and sing.

3.  PRAYER IS A PRIVATE AFFAIR.  Jesus taught that prayer was something a person does in private - in other words an individual experience between a person and God.  However in direct contrast to this you have Christian leaders imploring congregations to pray en mass, without even having anything specific to pray for.  Why do they do this?  Sometimes you’ll go to a church, and the pastor will have you stand and sit like 20 times, and if you don’t do so or pray with the rest of the group you’ll look awkward and sometimes be called out.  Why?  Where is it written that continually standing and sitting would get you into Heaven?  Sometimes you can have a pet dog, and you’ll tell him ‘stand, sit, stand, sit,’ over and over again.  Why do you do that?

4.  BELIEVE “ON” JESUS, NOT “IN” JESUS.  There are many different versions of the Bible, some of which may have been or are being composed by anti-Christians.  So you may see something in the Bible one day and never see it again because since you last saw it the Bible has been ‘updated.'  One such incident is I remember reading Jesus telling his disciples that the will of God is the “believe on” him, not "believe in" him as is commonly taught throughout all of Christianity.  Jesus saw himself as a representative of God who would show people how to get to Heaven by actually living the lifestyle they should emulate and not as an object of worship.  In fact in the Gospels when people would offer him material wealth he would shun it and rather claim that their spiritual sacrifices were more important.  And there is a big difference between “believing in” and “believing on” a person.  Believing in somebody means you more or less deify him, but believing on a person means you expect to the fullest that such person will keep the promises he made, which in the case of Jesus is leading the army of God to retake the Earth from Man.  Jesus knew he was going to be the most famous man in history but never had anyone make a painting, statue or any kind of likeness of his appearance, even though in terms of attracting and/or retaining followers it’s virtually impossible for any religion to do so without resorting to idolatry.

CONCLUSION


Jesus said that many people would be deceived by religious leaders, but this does not free an individual from the responsibility of using his own brain even if a “prophet” or “man of God” coerces him that he doesn't have to.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

THE RECENT FAMILY MURDERS - WHAT'S THE CAUSE?

Whereas foreign-based terrorism seems to always be at the forefront of the concerns of American politicians, the fact is that domestic terrorism, as in random, mass killings, has been the bigger issue in America in recent years.  Now this phenomena has evolved into something that, though maybe not as deadly in terms of instant death tolls, is at least equally if not more frightening - family members murdering their own, something that, according to news agencies like Yahoo, seems to be happening on a daily basis these days.  Indeed according to legend the first murder to have ever occurred was brother against brother, and hearing that one family member has murdered another may not be particularly new, but when you hear of mothers killing their own adult sons and sisters their own older brother than indeed there should be a cause for concern.  Whereas we all would like a nice, clearcut solution like 'America is Babylon, and that's why family members are murdering each other,' the fact is that there still exists contributing factors, and here are some that I've identified:

1 - DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS A SOCIETAL NORM

When you're a member of a family that's in its third, fourth (or maybe even longer) generation of domestic violence you can expect the violence to get progressively worse.  Why?  Because the abuse has now become so common that it is seen as normal, meaning that more torturous forms of abuse must be devised when the 'normal' punishments don't suffice.  So for instance you may hear tales of parents holding their children upside down and beating them to death whereas historically beating them will they were upright has proven to be sufficient punishment.

2 - ACCEPTANCE OF UNCONVENTIONAL FAMILY STRUCTURES

I've read in the past that there's an Illuminati conspiracy to destroy the family structure in America, but shifts in family structure we've seen over the last 100 years are also a result of economic revolutions (i.e. postmodernism) and other factors like legalized pornography.  Over the last century we've seen nuclear-family structures evolve from monogamy to serial monogamy (step-families) to single parenthood to same-sex marriage to what I predict would eventually be children living without parents (as in the case in large part of the sisters who killed their brother).  For instance, even though it does sometimes happen, I wouldn't bet on a man to love his stepson as much as he would his biological son (and perhaps vice versa), especially when the participants have aged without each other.

3 - VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

Anytime you have a discussion about violence in America or perhaps anywhere on the globe the media has to be mentioned.  All of that being said in American media especially, there are innumerable acts of violence, and in the society in general, from the police all the way down to the citizenry, violence is seen as perhaps the most expedient solution to interpersonal problems.

4 - GUNS

I'm not a fan of disarming the citizenry, especially when the police or anybody else legally has guns, but the fact is that having guns around, especially hand guns which are specifically made for shooting human beings, exponentially increases the chances of them being used.  Yes, some murderers will resort to other weapons if guns aren't available, but I believe that the ease of use of guns turns many people who may not have the heart to get up close and stab somebody into killers, and there's also the consistent flow of action movies where the hero gives the inexperienced novice advice on just how easy being a gun killer is, like in Wesley Snipes' the Detonator (2006) when he responds to the question "what's it like to kill" with the simple answer "you aim the gun, then pull the trigger."

CONCLUSION

Whereas tales of murderous domestic violence may become increasingly shocking and frequent in America, you shouldn't really expect anything practical (such as minimizing violence in the media) to be done about it since unless personally affected by such an incidence people really don't give afuk.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

THE CURSE OF MAN REVISITED

Some years ago, during my days of deep soul searching, I met an old Rasta living on the Atlantic, and felt it a blessing to be able to have an inspired one-on-one with Bongo (RIP) of One Africa on the Cape Coast.  We were discussing some Bible-related topics, upon which I inquired does he believe the Bible is literal or not.  His response was yes he does take it literally, with the exceptions of Genesis and Revelations (the first and last books of the Bible) which are clearly symbolic.  Thus stories like Adam and Eve, where serpents are having conversations with human beings, are not to be taken on face value like a comic book but rather are depictions where imagery is meant to be interpreted.  In fact the story of Adam and Eve is very loaded, and here I will attempt to decipher some of its meaning.

ADAM - THE MAN WHO HAD IT ALL

No one in history, not even Solomon, had more than Adam.  On top of having the entire world at his disposal he had no competition whatsoever.  So unlike us, if Adam prayed his prayers were not dominated with him asking anything of God, not even protection from enemies.  All he had to do was go around and name animals and discover new things and you know "subdue the earth."  How free was Adam?  Unlike us he didn't have all types of religious commandments and governmental laws he had to follow but only one - don't eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which was a direct order from God Himself.

Yet despite having everything and only one law to restrict him, Adam still disobeyed God by obeying Satan, and I think this is the ultimate lesson "the Fall of Man" is trying to teach us - even if God gives everything to a man in the end he'll still disobey.  We see this same theme being repeated throughout the Bible in the story of the Israelites, who despite being God's one-and-only chosen people whom He affords all types of supernatural benefits on, still in long run they decide to do their own thing

WHAT IS THE "TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL"?

Again we know that this story is not talking about a literal tree with a fruit but rather is symbolic of an idea, that idea being that there exists such a thing as knowing good and evil.  Up until the point early in the Bible where we are introduced to the Tree, the word "good" appears at least seven times, while "evil" is not mentioned until the Tree is.

Since they were instructed by God not to seek the knowledge of good and evil, when they still did so of course God got upset.  Indeed one of the reasons they did so was to "be as gods" themselves, meaning that they were intending to use the knowledge to exalt themselves or make themselves, in their own perception, better even though, as mentioned earlier, it is generally understood that they lacked nothing nor had any competition.

Ultimately Man did receive the knowledge of good and evil via Mosaic Law, and any honest person who has given serious consideration to keeping it can tell you that it's exhaustive and virtually impossible to adhere to.  That's why later in the Bible Paul said that the Law is a curse on those under it (as in those who try to keep it) since at the end of the day no one can keep it.  Man asked for something and then when he got it was totally unable to keep it.  Of course symbolic stories are only really good for entertainment unless they have some application in the contemporary world, and indeed still we all eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil almost everyday.

EVERYDAY PEOPLE AS ADAM AND EVE

It's peculiar that after eating the apple, the first thing that Adam and Eve noticed was that they were naked.  Why is this peculiar?  Because as far as I know there's no religion in the history of the world where being naked in front of your own spouse was considered "evil", so how does this fit into "the knowledge of good and evil?"  It's something that we all do everyday - we let our own minds tell us what's good and evil as opposed to sticking to what is actually defined as good and evil.  For instance I can stare at a mirror on a daily basis looking at my stomach and lamenting on how I wish it would go down or that I was more muscular, but that's my own concept of good and evil, meaning that there's no religion that I know of where having a big stomach is seen as a sin.  Many people do this, which leads to focusing more energy on things that aren't sin (like being naked in front of your spouse) instead of the things that actually are sins (like eating the damn apple in the first place), and ultimate goal of course being to make ourselves better or "like gods."

(Last updated 12 Jan 2015)

Monday, July 14, 2014

POPULAR TRENDS IN MODERN AMERICAN MOVIES

Many people attribute American global dominance to political might or the economic power of the US Dollar, but perhaps equally as influential is the power of Hollywood.  Most of us as human beings love a good flick, and whereas India’s movie industry may be bigger than America’s you’d be hard-pressed to find an Indian movie (or any foreign movie for that matter) playing in American theatres.  In contrast American movies are shown the world over, from Russia to China, and these films and other forms of visual media (such as television shows and music videos) are one of the main reasons outsiders admire and want to migrate to the United States.

But what are these movies telling us?  For the record I enjoy a good action or superhero movie just as much as the next man, but movies can and do influence our thoughts, especially if ingested regularly as in the frequency certain images and ideas or portrayed in this all-popular form of media.  In other words our brains are processing messages, sometimes consciously but oft unconsciously, due to consistently being exposed to them through movies and other forms of media.

Thus I am presenting to you, the reader, common themes that I see in American (primarily action) movies these days.  The purpose of this article isn’t necessarily to interpret the impact these ideas have on viewers but rather just to expose the fact that these images are being presented so regularly that it seems like someone(s) is intentionally putting them in all of these films.  I won’t even try to list every movie that fall under these categories, but I’m sure if the reader is a regular movie watcher he will be able to recall and/or recognize these themes over and over again.  I will be updating this list as I come across more of these phenomena.

1.  BLACK SERVANTS - I didn’t want to began this article on a topic dealing with racism, but as a Blackman myself I can’t help but to notice that a large number of movies that feature Blacks (even an Indian movie I recently came across) has at least one scene when they are a servant or serving someone.  Indeed you might see the occasional Black professional or passerby or even the Black hero, but again practically every moive that has a Black person(s) has one as some type of servant or being given a direct order, which of course he hurriedly obeys.

This makes one wonder that despite the advances made in race relations in the United States the idea of Blacks being servants and even the propagation of this idea hasn’t stopped and seems to even be on the rise.  One movie that comes to mind in this regard is the first Die Hard.  Mind you, Die Hard is like my favorite action-movie series of all time, and the first Die Hard did feature a Black hero, but Die Hard 2 had a couple of scenes of Blacks in lackey positions working in the airport.  I’m sure this issue was even made public as in Die Hard 3 (which also featured a Black hero in Samuel L. Jackson) there was a memorable scene of Bruce Willis barking on Jackson, telling him that he’s not racist.  Ultimately it’s disturbing to see that American Society, which has a Blackman as its leader, is stuck on this idea of Black servitude, but sometimes I think the powers-that-be are intentionally pushing this idea because they have a hard time accepting a Black as their leader, and other times I can’t blame them when I think about the large number of Africans who would give anything to go to First World countries like the United States just to be the same type of doorman, porter, janitor and other menial, less-respected (not dissing anyone, as ultimately a job is a job) occupations that you see often represented in these movies.

2.  BLACK SCIENTISTS - The antithesis of the aforementioned, which Hollywood also seems to love, is the portrayal of Black scientists.

When I was in college for a semester or two I was part of an organization called the National Society of Black Engineers.  One year I accompanied the group to the Society’s national convention which that year was at the Boston Marriott, and during my three or four days there I was very surprised at how well-funded this gathering was.  I mean it was like all of the big, respected companies were there, recruiting employees.  The reason I thought this peculiar was because my general perception was that such entities didn’t really respect the intelligence of Blacks and would rather go to somebody like the Japanese for such jobs.

But that was until I started studying Hollywood.  If you look at virtually any movie with a computer-lab scene, you may notice at least one Black is there, often in a prominent role.  A movie that comes to mind off the top of my head is Bruce Willis’ Surrogates, but again there are countless others.  Of course Blacks are most often portrayed by Hollywood as criminals, sexually promiscuous and again lackeys, but apparently one of America’s best kept secrets is the proficiency of Blacks in science.

3.  WHITE WOMAN HAIR - Might as well keep the race themes rolling.  If you watch any popular movie from like anywhere in the world you may notice that the lead female character (if not all of them) have the same type of hair, which is peculiar being that different races (and indeed people within those races) have different hair types.  To me this is most alarming to women who simply do not have such hair but, due to popular media socialization, feel they have to or they won’t be beautiful.  As such it’s not only Black women who are doing all types of crazy things to their hair and getting artificial weaves to make it appear Hollywood, but when you study the history of women’s beauty throughout the world you’ll be treated to quite a few stories of what appears to be sheer lunacy (such as Japanese women breaking their feet in order to fit into small-ass shoes) in the name of beauty but was really in the name of fad, as future generations look back and be like ‘what dafluk?!’

4.  DECAPITATIONS - By far the most disturbing thing on this list is the large number of movies that have a character(s) getting their head chopped off (and virtually every action movie that features robots have at least one getting its head violently removed).  This is happening with such frequency in movies now that I’m convinced, just like with Black servants, someone(s) is doing this on purpose, but for what reason one can only frightfully imagine, as in what’s the socialization goal of showing people getting their heads cut off but to desensitize the public to such acts?  A couple of movies that come to mind are the Expendables 2 and Kick Ass 2, and some, such as the recent Conan the Barbarian, even go as far as to show the severed heads.  In fact I’m sure if you’re watching a violent, bloody American action movie made within the last two to three years there’s someone who gets their head lobbed off.  Truly disturbing and perhaps the main reason I compiled this list in the first place.

5.  VENGEANCE KILLINGS - Back in the old days when an action-movie hero finally catches up with the villain at the end, he would do something altruistic like spare the villain’s life unless he was forced to take it because, after all, heroes aren’t murderers.  But these days it’s like when the villain is down on his knees begging for his life you better finish that bastard once and for all.  I became aware that this was something espoused by modern-day Hollywood after watching a movie (which title I can’t remember) starring Cuba Gooding Jr. where at the end he had the villain subdued but still put him out of his misery.  The espousement of vigilante justice (at least in Hollywood) and things of the such is what I see as part of the Third Worldization of American law enforcement.  It’s funny how Hollywood could portray actions that if viewers emulate would get them imprisoned for life, but when such crimes are committed the movie industry is never held liable, just like these stupid-ass rappers who encourage their followers to go out and engage in stupid, criminal acts but then when confronted about it say things like they were ‘just playing a role’ and have nothing to do with the case.

6.  STRIP JOINTS & OTHER FORMS OF NUDITY - As I’m sure I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I’m the type of person that when I watch an action movie I’m not doing so to see naked women.  However I’ve also come to realize that unfortunately female nudity is common in the action-movie genre, and these days you’d be hard-pressed to come across a movie without the infamous strip joint scene (including the increasingly-popular G-string view of a woman's, sometimes with her bending over, i.e., , etc.), which leaves one wondering is it true that all villains frequent strip joints, or does someone just get a kick out of flashing naked ass in our faces, as to my knowledge no one has ever patronized an action movie to see a naked girl?  In other words why does there seem to be such a conscientious effort on the part of popular American media to defile the public?

These days there is also the scenes of women wearing thongs and sometimes bending over - in other words the strip scenes are becoming increasingly explicit.  Another trend I’ve been noticing is naked male buttocks, as in the film Conan the Barbarian, and whereas in the early days of this phenomena (i.e. Virtuosity) I was wondering why such was being mainstreamed I’m now convinced that it is to appeal to homosexuals, not women, as you won’t often hear a woman express a desire to see a man’s ass.  Of course sexually-oriented nudity infiltrating mainstream media is something to be more or less expected in the country that by far produces the most pornography in the world, but innocently watching an action movie FOR ACTION and then having an ass flashed in your face, at least to me, is a turnoff.

7.  STUPID, HELPLESS POLICE (WHO OFTEN GET KILLED IN DROVES)

The first time I noticed police being presented as ass-stupid was some years back when watching the Taking of Pelham 123 for the first time.  Since then I've come across quite a few movies with a similar represneation of police, the most recent being Fast & Furious 6 , a movie in which at least 100 police officers must have died.  Now I'm not Hollywood historian, but if my memory serves me correct in the old days police were presented for the most part as law-abiding and semi-competent.  Nowadays in movies it seems that they're just a mindless, faceless collective who are victimized and incapable of subduing the bad guy, whereas in real life it's usually up to the police to deal with supervillians and not vigilantes.

8.  CORRUPT POLICE AND/OR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS (OFTEN POLITICIANS)

The list of movies that fall under this category, at least in recent years, may even be longer than the list that depicts Blacks as servants.  In other words you'd be hard-pressed to come across an action movie these days where at least one of the bad guys isn't a rogue cop or corrupt politician who the people have entrusted with the thir well-being but in reality really doesn't give a fuk about them.  I can't help but to think that constantly portraying law enforcement in the negative ways mentioned is making the masses lose respect for them, and I don't know why on earth Hollywood would want to do that.

9.  FEMALE BONDAGE

Recently while peeping out a scene from the Avengers I started thinking about just how many movies, without viewers ever really noticing, have a female bondage scene?  I imagine that the number must be countless since the theme of virtually every action movie while growing up is freeing the captive female (remember the little tied-up girl in Arnold Schwarzenegger's Commando?).  There's two issues I've identified with a high number of movies having female bondage.  First is bondage is a popular genre of porn which means some people get an extra, erotic kick out of it.  Second and more importantly is being that violence against women is like at an all-time high in America specifically depicting violence against women on a normal basis can't be a good thing.

CONCLUSION

Reportedly there are only seven major studios in Hollywood, which is evident when you see the same actors crossing over in like every film.  Thus when you see the same type of imagery being presented in almost every movie of a certain genre the implication is that either copycat children are writing these stories or someone is intentionally dispersing such imagery on a regular basis.  Thus the more-pressing question would be why would someone for instance feel the need to infuse action movies that are largely patronized by children (i.e. superhero movies) with images of women in G-strings, and sometimes as devilish as it may sound I believe conspiracy theorists who say there some of the power-that-be are intentionally trying to defile people's minds.

MOVIES WITH BLACK SERVANTS
Die Hard 2
Fast and Furious 6

BLACK (OFTEN COMPUTER) SCIENTISTS
Die Hard
Fast and Furious 6
SURROGATES (2009)
TERMINATOR 2 (1991)
TRUE LIES (1994)

STRIP JOINTS AND/OR G-STRINGED ASSES
HIT MAN
LOCKED DOWN (2010)
RAW DEAL (GAY)
THE TOURNAMENT
THE WOLVERINE (2013)
X-MEN FIRST CLASS

NAKED MALE ASSES
THOR 2
VIRTUOSITY

STUPID POLICE
The Taking of Pelham 123

CORRUPT POLICE AND/OR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
THE DETONATOR (2006)
Fast and Furious 6

DECAPITATIONS
HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS (2013)
HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (2011)

FEMALE BONDAGE
THE AVENGERS (2012)
THE RUNNING MAN (1987)