How to Build a Girl: My Review

“How to Build a Girl” is a movie based on a novel by the same name by Caitlin Moran.  The story is about a teenaged girl named Johanna who has a knack for writing.  Johann lives in a working class town with her parents and four younger siblings. Her mother is suffering from postpartum depression after having twins at thirty eight. Her father is suffering from middle aged disillusionment.

After sending a sample of her writing to a music magazine Johanna lands a job reviewing bands. Her column becomes very popular and a star is born. Her success goes to her head and she changes from a bubbly girl to an arrogant and at times mean woman. The negative characteristics are what helped her to become a success.

This movie is OK. Just OK. At times I found it to be a bit unrealistic. Johanna was given a lot of freedom to only be sixteen. The story took place in the 90s in the UK so perhaps that was realistic for that place and time. But I have a hard time believing that many parents would allow their teenage daughter to travel alone to big cities to interview rock musicians.

I also found it to be far fetched how easily success came to Johanna. She became a writer after sending in one sample story and one interview. Again, that may be realistic for that era and place. It also may be realistic for a White person. However, I can not relate.

The best part about this film is the actress that plays Johanna. Her name is Beanie Feldstein and she carried the film with ease. Her role called for her to cover a wide range. She had to play innocent, awkward, and confused as well as confident mature and sexy. Beanie did all of this convincingly.

I would recommend this film if you have time to kill and you don’t mind teenage chick flicks. It’s not bad. The lead actress is charming and effective. But the plot seems a bit far fetched at times and the ending feels like an After School Special. “How to Build a Girl” is merely OK.

Cats 2019: My Review

Over the weekend I watched the 2019 release of the musical “Cats”. This is a difficult film to review because at this point it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of “Cats”. It’s a Broadway juggernaut that ran for eighteen years, has made over $3.5 billion globally since its 1981 release and has won three Tony Awards. You can’t argue with that kind of success.

You can however question it and people’s taste and sanity. I thought “Cats” 2019 was very odd. Human cat hybrids roam the streets of London in the middle of the night in a cat cult called the Jellicle Cats. They hope to receive a blessing from their matriarch Old Deuteronomy. She grants cult members a better life off of the streets.

It’s hard to critique this movie because it’s about humanoid felines that sing and dance in the completely empty streets of London, England in the middle of the night without anyone hearing them. So it would be very silly to point out that the cats weren’t to scale with home furnishings and common kitchen appliances. There’s no reason to be disgusted that they had human feet and walked around without shoes in an urban area. It’s futile to be offended by the chorus line of cockroaches in the film that danced across a kitchen table.

All musicals call on the viewer to suspend belief and we just have to remind ourselves to do that while watching “Cats”. This film reminds us that sometimes you just need to throw your hands up and go with the flow.

The bright spots of the film is the performance of Judi Dench who played Old Deuteronomy and Jennifer Hudson who played Grizabella. Judi Dench provided the film with it’s most lucid and quiet moments. Jennifer Hudson played Grizabella and she sings the show stopper “Memories”. It was actually a little touching.

Overall, I can’t recommend “Cats”. I have a hard time believing that many people can enjoy such a movie. But then again it’s been a wild success. I’m going to guess that people that enjoy “Cats” watched it over and over again and made Andrew Lloyd Webber a legend. I’m also thinking the are people that really like cats. If that’s you I recommend you watch “Cats” 2019.

Richard Jewell

Last weekend I watched the film “Richard Jewell”. Richard Jewell was a Georgia security guard who happened to be on duty the night a bomb blew up in Centennial Park in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics. Richard Jewell was falsely accused of executing the terrorist attack. “Richard Jewell” is a Clint Eastwood film telling the title character’s story.

Richard Jewell was a thirty three year old man who was fascinated with law and order and police protocol. He studied the law every night and he owned a small arsenal of weapons. Richard had a spotty work his including a termination from a police force and a termination from a university security force where he pulled people over on the road leading to the school where they had no jurisdiction.

There were two casualties due to the terrorist attack at Centennial Park however Richard’s zeal, sharp eye and attention to detail and protocol spared lives. Richard spotted a suspicious package in the crowd and reported it to authorities. He also became the fall guy for the attack.

Richard Jewell

The FBI was under pressure to find a suspect. Richard fit the profile of domestic terrorist due to being a loner with a fascination with weapons and legal matters. His admiration and trust for law enforcement worked against him. He cooperated with the FBI when others would have been defending himself.

Richard was eventually vindicated and cleared of all charges. His lawyer’s secretary was the first to figure out that he was innocent. She simply took a walk from the pay phone where the bomb threat was made to the place the suspicious package was found.

He didn’t have time to make the call and place the package. The FBI and media didn’t investigate that matter until after accusing Richard of being a terrorist. Later a different man confessed to bombing the ’96 Olympics. That man is serving life in prison without parole. Richard Jewell went on to further his law enforcement career and died at forty four of heart failure.

I would recommend this movie. There have been several high profile crimes in the media that seem to go away after they have a suspect in custody. Quite often the suspect is an unfortunate person that fits the profile of a neighborhood creep and they have few resources to defend themselves. They are presented to the public in a terrible mugshot or in a still shot of grainy surveillance video from a gas station and the case is never spoken of again. We can only hope they got the right neighborhood creep.

I remember the ’96 Olympic bombings and oddly enough it popped into my mind shortly before this movie was released. I had done a bit of research and learned about the plight of Richard Jewell so the movie peaked my interest and I looked forward to seeing it. “Richard Jewell” didn’t disappoint. I think you will enjoy it whether you remember the ’96 Olympics or not.

Patriotic Education

Last week Donald Trump signed an executive order to develop a patriotic curriculum to be taught in schools. He says that current curriculum teach a twisted web of lies about racism and that it’s abusive to children. Trump wants to focus on feel good pro American, patriotic history. In other words he wants American education to be pro White.

I would say that I received a patriotic education. I began kindergarten in 1980 in a public school in a suburb of Detroit. While I was an elementary school student we stood for the Pledge of Allegiance and sung a patriotic song with our hands over our hearts every morning. I remained in the same school system until I graduated the local high school in 1993.

I remember being taught in the first grade about the first Thanksgiving and how the Pilgrims and Indians were friends. Half of the class dressed up as Pilgrims the other as Indians. We made our costumes and ate soup that the teacher made for us. I was a Pilgrim.

I am old enough to remember getting a day off from school for Christopher Columbus Day during my elementary school years. We were taught that he discovered America. I don’t remember the indigenous people of America being mentioned at all.

The only Black author I studied in literature classes was Richard Wright. Besides that the other literature we studied came from White authors a few of which had Black characters in their stories such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Huck Finn”. There were Black history lessons but I would call them superficial.

After graduating high school I attended a public university and earned a BA in 1997. I earned a BA from a different university in 2003 and I earned an MLA in 2010. None of my schools were HBCUs. I would describe my education as White centered. My textbooks were most likely all written by White scholars with Eurocentric viewpoints. The exception would be the African American history class I took as an undergrad.

But even when you read the history that White people wrote they come across as stubbornly racist, greedy, selfish and savagely violent. In their stories where they think of themselves as the heroes they come across as sociopaths.

You can’t sweeten up American history. There is no way to clean up The Middle Passage. You can’t make The Trail of Tears a feel good story. Manifest Destiny was a White supremacist ideal and that occurred to me in school as I read it at a young age. You can’t explain away the part of the Constitution that stated that Black people were 5/8 of a human being.

You have to act like a lot of American history didn’t happen or you have to fabricate lies in order to make it sound like the US is a racially equitable society. Unfortunately, even current events continue to tell a very unflattering story of America and the way it treats many of its citizens.

I think that Trump’s reasons for pushing a pro American agenda is self serving. I anticipate that Trump and his disciples will not be treated kindly by history. Trump wants to make any discussion of racism more taboo than it already is. The only way they will be seen in a positive light is if criticism of an American president is prohibited. That’s a First Amendment violation.

I don’t resent my patriotic education. It is what it is. White people conquered North America and my ancestors were their prisoners. That’s how things work. The conquerors dictate the history.

Growing up Black in a Eurocentric educational system made me a critical thinker and a bit of a rebel which is what Donnie wants to avoid. It made me question things since I didn’t identify with most of America’s heroes. I believe my White centered education actually affirmed a lot of positive things for me about being Black American. It helped that I didn’t see myself as a part of the cruel American regime.

I think it’s a positive thing to teach children respect and to love their country. I grew up feeling proud to be American even though my race has been subjected to oppression, violence and hatred. There isn’t another country that I can claim.

I believe most Americans grew up with a sense of national pride which is why we are all appalled and heartbroken about the current political climate. I don’t think it’s wrong to raise children with ideals. They can figure out that institutions we look up to are far from perfect. It’s a part of growing up and when you’re grown it’s your turn to try and improve them.

My public education did what a public school education should do. I became literate, learned some basic historical and geographical facts and gained basic math skills. I also learned to research information which is very important. Once a student graduates high school it is up to them to continue seek knowledge and process it critically. If parents instill a child with a sense of self they will learn how it all relates to them and they will develop their own point of view.

Education in America can’t get anymore patriotic and pro White than it has been. The only way to make it more pro White is to omit most of the history and just start lying. Trump’s plan will fail because too much is already documented about this country unless he is planning to burn books and destroy history like in “Fahrenheit 451”. I won’t be surprised if that is the real plan.

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/17/914127266/trump-announces-patriotic-education-commission-a-largely-political-move

Require Respect and Honor: Don’t Be a Handmaiden

Black women deserve to be honored and respected in their relationships with men. Black women deserve commitments from romantic partners. Black women deserve to raise their children in intact families and have responsible and involved fathers for their children. Black women deserve to be invested in financially. But young Black women are being influenced to not require or expect those things.

Yet many Black women are having children for men that have no good intentions towards them. By good intentions I mean traditional marriage. The majority of Black children grow up in single parent homes. Single motherhood has been glamorized and exalted in the Black community but the co parents to these women don’t seem to be very appreciative of their children’s mothers. You don’t have to go very far on social media before you find a man degrading the mother of his child.

What does that sound like to you? To me it sounds like Black women are being treated as handmaidens, mammies, wet nurses, brood mares. I know it’s harsh to hear but it’s up to Black women to stop it. The way they stop it is by accepting no less than respect, honor and commitment.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/respect?s=t

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/honor

There are benefits to being a single woman. But there aren’t many benefits to being a single mother aside from escaping an abusive and volatile relationship or a deadbeat that is a liability instead of an asset. Those kind of relationships should be avoided and abandoned whether children are involved or not.

Two parent households provide the children with the best opportunity to thrive. Nuclear families allow women to devote more energy into their children. Marriage also provides protection for women and children. If the marriage is healthy it provides a good model for children to learn about relationships between men and women.

Some will say that marriage is just a piece of paper and that it isn’t necessary for a happy home life. People have been saying that for a generation now but that hasn’t happened. Now that women have been brainwashed by feminism to believe that they don’t need to be respected and honored families are being started haphazardly through hook ups and relationships that never had any stable footing. These relationships have not yielded good results for children, women or men.

There is a large gold digging community on social media that encourages women to “secure the bag”. I’m all for women pursuing men with money but if there is no honor or respect there you are just being a whore. A commitment still needs to be made. Wealthy men marry all the time.

Don’t breed children for unworthy men. Don provide men with an opportunity to be an IG dad. It’s an privilege to be a father and it’s a chance for a man to leave a legacy in the world. Children are also a lot of responsibility. It’s part of a man’s responsibility to establish a nurturing and stable family unit for his children. That is achieved by choosing a wife not choosing a handmaiden.

This is a video I made a while back for my You Tube channel.

Black women should stop allowing themselves to be turned into handmaiden, wet nurses, mammies and brood mares. The only way they are going to achieve this is by accepting nothing less than respect, honor and commitment from men. If you don’t get the respect you want then live your life on your terms instead of compromising with a man that never chose to honor you.