The Center of Pan-African Culture (CPAC), at Kent State University's campus, hosted the "We The People Fest," from Sept. 26th - 28th. This was the inaugural edition of a political film festival at Kent State University. Kent State has been known as a political hotbed due to the anti-war protests that led to a day of infamy, when the National Guard killed 4 unarmed student protesters on May 4th, 1970. Since that time a lot has changed on Kent's campus. The ROTC presence is stronger than ever, as evidenced by the prominence of their headquarters in the former graduate dormitory known as Terrace Hall on Kent's main campus.
"And The Winner Is . . . "
The "We The People Fest" was organized and produced by Christina Grozik & Paul Shaia, who also produced the film "And The Winner Is . . ," which was screened on the first day of the festival. The inauguration of the festival has been successful on a number of levels, although attendance has not been nearly as high as the organizers would have liked. Over 1,000 people attended over three days.
The non-partisan festival, featured a number of films focused on Ohio and the elections of 2000, 2004 and 2006. The films ran the gamut from family oriented productions like "Swing Vote" to the ominous "Hacking Democracy." For the most part the films focused on the theft of the last 2 presidential elections from Al Gore and John Kerry, respectively.
Films such as, "American Blackout," "Swing State," "And the Winner Is . . . ," "No Umbrella - Election Day in the City," "SPLIT: A Divided America," "How Ohio Pulled It Off," "So Goes The Nation" and "Hacking Democracy", all speak of the importance of Ohio in the election of any presidential candidate. With the general election just around the corner and the possibility of Barack Obama winning the election growing by the minute, these films really came into focus.
The biggest draw of the weekend attracted about 500 people for a presentation and book signing by Chuck Norris on the last day of the festival. Mr. Norris, an 8th degree Black Belt Grand Master in the Tae Kwon Do system, star of 23 action films and 203 episodes of "Walker, Texas Ranger," was seen in an unusual light, as a political animal.
Before his endorsement of Mike Huckabee, last year, Chuck Norris was not known for his politics. The publication of his latest book, "'Blackbelt Patriotism," may help to bring his political views into better focus for the public at large. A lot of what he says in the book focuses on his life experiences and concern for the future of America. At 68 years old his hope is that the youth of America will come together and fight for reform of the government.
In light of his concern for the youth of America his book is dedicated to "the millenials," a term he uses for people born during the dawning of this new millenium. He also works directly with the youth in public schools and has developed a martial arts program especially for "at-risk" youth. Currently, his "Kick Start" martial arts program is operating in 43 schools with 7,000 children.
Since his first choice for president Mike Huckabee dropped out of the race Chuck has thrown the full weight of his support behind John McCain. In fact, Chuck was the only representative of the Republican Party brave enough to show up for the festival, although invitations were sent out to Republican and Democratic organizations alike.
Maybe the Republicans dared not show their faces, because of the nature of the films being screened this weekend! It seems that the Republicans, like their leader John McCain, prefer to do their dirty work under cover of darkness. We saw a good example of this in the 2nd presidential debate where John McCain refrained from assailing Barack Obama to his face, while his surrogates continue to do so from the stump. Maybe it takes a former Air Force policeman "with 5 more testicles than Lance Armstrong" to stand up and be counted as a member of the Republican Party; following the exposure of the scandalous tactics employed by Republican operatives to deliver Ohio and the White House to Bush in 2000 and 2004.
But, not even a 7 testicled Chuck Norris had the cajones to engage in a full on tirade like the one that appeared in his weekly commentary posted on "World Net Daily," a right wing conservative eZine, during his appearance at Kent State. The following statement appeared in an article he wrote entitled "Puff, the Mighty Obama."
"America, we are being duped again by fluff and folly, glitz and glamour, and hype and Hollywood. It's time for us to wake up before it's too late! Now, more than ever, is the time to join the NObama-nation revolution. No way. No how NObama."
Now mind you this is the pot calling the kettle black, since the Chuck Norris ad for Mike Huckabee is the second most popular candidate endorsement on YouTube with 2.3 million views. Mr. Norris is the epitomy of Hollywood and hype, so I don't see how he has room to talk in that department. The furthest he was willing to go was to say that Obama and Biden wanted to give 50 billion dollars to the UN in order to achieve the Millenium Development Goals of the UN, which President Clinton signed on to back in 2000. His argument was that much of the money would be wasted on bureaucrats and never reach its intended target. What he overlooked was the fact that his candidate of choice was busy lobbying for a corporate bailout of Wall Street, to the tune of 700 billion dollars as he spoke; then his candidate went a step further in the "socialization" of America by promising to order the Secretary of the Treasury to buy up the mortgages of homeowners on the verge of default, to the tune of 300 billion dollars at face value, if he is elected president.
By the way the Millenium Development Goals which include:
were touted by President Clinton as essential to fighting the war on terror, because when you add up the cumulative effect of these issues on the body politic of 3rd World countries, they definitely act as contributing factors in military conflict areas around the world. One of the mistakes of the Bush administration over the last 8 years has been their inability to maintainold alliances and formulate new ones. Consequently, American troops are now stretched across the globe with razor thin margins of error. The Iraq war has cost 100 billion dollars/month with no end in sight. Fifty billion dollars/year to be used to meet the above goals on a world-wide basis is a mere pittance, and in fact is just a matter of the US paying its fair share.
While we're already getting reports that a bailout of AIG, the nation's largest insurer, to the tune of 85 billion dollars, has resulted in the continuation of perks being given to their employees, in the form of lavish trip packages that included massages, pedicures and manicures to the tune of $450K which are now being subsidized by our tax dollars. Is there any shame in their game? Here they come again, just 2 weeks later asking for another 30 billion dollars. Where's the justice? Where's the logic in this?
Apparently, it's okay if Americans waste our tax dollars on bureaucratic perks, but it's not okay if similar practices occur in the distribution of aid to foreign countries. I found the same kind of logic behind much of what Norris had to say about Obama. Chuck may be a star of the T.V. and silver screens, however, this guy is no oracle and his mouth certainly ain't no prayerbook.
Like Senator McCain, he too is in his second marriage and the father of an illegitimate child born of an adulterous relationship. Maybe this is a big factor in his support of Senator McCain. Certainly, they have a lot in common. They are both veterans. They both married women young enough to be their daughters. In fact, in Chuck's case 3 of his 5 children are older than his present wife. And, McCain's only 4 years older than Norris. However, the main common denominator seems to be that they're a couple of old white guys, because his first choice was not McCain; but Huckabee who has little in common with Norris, other than his religious beliefs.
His presentation began with a video short about his life, which he elaborated on following the video. He spoke about his life from childhood through the present, conveniently leaving out his adulterous affair that resulted in the birth of his 3rd child, then segued into his view of politics, religion and life in general.
Following his presentation he answered questions from the audience and gave autographs for fans who purchased his new book after the presentation. There was very little opportunity to ask him questions, since most of the time was used in showing the video presentation and relating his biography.
In January of 2007 Norris appeared on "Hannity & Colmes" and got into a spirited debate with Hannity. It would have been a lot more interesting to have had him on a panel discussion where participants could have engaged him one on one. I'm sure we would have had a lively discussion and learned a lot about his worldview and who knows maybe we would have learned something about our own view of the world, as well.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
"We The People Fest," got off to a good start with last night's film, "And the Winner Is . . ." It was a real sleeper and will be playing again this evening at 5:30pm. This film clearly set the stage for all the other films to follow and did it with a lot of style and grace. The film was produced by Christina Grozik and Paul Shaia, who are also organizers of the film festival and fellow Ohioans, as well.
As with any film this one took about 2 years to come to fruition. What was surprising was how accurate the film was in mirroring the current presidential campaign. The premise of the film is that modern electoral politics have become more concerned with posturing and profiling than with real substantive issues.
As an example we can look at last night's debate which was styled after an episode on the hit TV show "The West Wing." Jim Lehrer the host for the debate was offered the chance to host that fictional debate, as well, but was precluded by PBS restrictions on the portrayal of their commentators in fictional settings. Apparently, they wanted to make a "clear distinction between fact and fiction." However, when it came to the real debate between Obama and McCain they used the debate on "The West Wing" as their guide.
In the film, which reminded me of the board game "Clue," you see 7 candidates representing various archetypes, such as John Noble the reluctant, true-blue, all-American, John Kennedy-like, heroic champion of truth, justice and the American way. Other types represented include two apolitical women; an Italian politician; a member of the town's old boy network; a corrupt career politician; a smooth-talking African American politician and a political wannabe type.
Each character is a caricature of a politician we know and surprisingly similar to a number of the candidates in the current election cycle. The whole process of creating a beauty pageant-like contest is caught on film by a novice filmmaker who has an uncanny resemblance to the producer of the actual film. www.winneris.net
The film got high marks from the 100 plus members of the audience present last night, which was a good turnout, considering the screening occurred during the same time slot as the 1st presidential debate of 2008, between Obama and McCain.
Today's featured films will include "American Blackout," "Swing Vote" and "Hacking Democracy." For those of you unable to attend last night's screening "And The Winner Is . . ." will be shown again at 5:30pm this afternoon.
I've attached some background information on Cynthia McKinney the star of "American Blackout" FYI. This film chronicles, "the recurring patterns of voter disenfranchisement from Florida 2000 to Ohio 2004 while following the story of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. McKinney not only took an active role investigating these election debacles, but has found herself in the middle of her own after publicly questioning the bush Administration about the 9/11 terrorist attacks." www.americanblackout.org
"Swing Vote," starring Kevin Costner, Kelsey Grammar and Dennis Hopper will air this evening using a 35mm format, which has necessitated the use of The University Theater on the south side of Kent, since the university no longer has the equipment to show movies using this format anymore.
With a premise similar to "And The Winner Is . . .," this movie turns the idea of voting on its head, by making the outcome of the race dependent on one man's vote. Thereby forcing both candidates to jockey for position, offering up favors and changes in their platform to suit said voter, played by Kevin Costner.
As if that wasn't enough, "Hacking Democracy" gives us some insight into the possibility of voting fraud via the use of computers, hence the title. This is a serious documentary about a Seattle grandmother and her band of extraordinary citizen-activists as they go on a quest to see how votes are tallied in a number of states across the country. They set out to show just how easily your vote can be nullified, changed and or otherwise manipulated on election and actually made to look so official as to be undetectable.
The whole premise is ominously frightening as we move closer to this year's election. This film sounds a wake up call to all those who treasure the American way of electing its leaders. This film is a must see on the list of films being shown this weekend.
If you can't make it to Kent this weekend, many of this films are or will be offered on the net. Check "We The People Fest" for the full listing of films. The films can be ordered from the websites of production company.
Look for further updates over the course of the weekend, as well as behind the scenes interviews and a virtual tour of the newly renovated Center of Pan-African Culture at Kent State.
Friday, September 26, 2008
And the winner is . . . kicks off the "We The People Fest," this evening at Kent State's Center of Pan-African Culture. The movie is a satirical look at electoral politics, where the election boils down to a real bonafide beauty pageant. Check out this trailer for a preview of tonight's movie:
A total of approximately 30 films, including some by local directors will be screened beginning this evening and running all the way through Sunday night. Highlights will include a presentation and book signing by Chuck Norris on Sunday afternoon and the screening of "Swing Vote," starring Kevin Costner and Kelsey Grammar, directed by Joshua Stern, who will be speaking prior to the screening at 7:30pm Saturday night. This screening will be held at the University Theater on the South side of Kent. Tickets for all screenings are $5 for students, $7 for general admission, or you can purchase a weekend pass for $50. Christina Groznik and Paul Shaia will speak prior to the film at 8pm.
For those of you who are closely following the presidential election and may be concerned about missing tonight's debate, it will be shown in its entirety on Sunday at 3pm Eastern Standard time. So, have no fear you can come to the show and still see the debate.
I look forward to seeing you there this weekend.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Not knowing the name of the movie, nor having read the book I had no preconceived notions about the movie. Certainly, it was an emotional tear jerker. But, I had unanswered questions at the end of the movie.
Lana Turner played the role of a struggling actress who would do anything to succeed in the business. She's portrayed as a widow with a young daughter, as is Louise Beavers. The two of them are drawn together when Turner's daughter is found and cared for by Beavers. They hit it off and Beavers agrees to temporarily take care of Turner's daughter, while her and her daughter are living with them.
Beavers' daughter is a light-skinned girl who could pass for white in the book and both movies, hence the title "Imitation of Life." Throughout the story she attempts to pass for white. She's thwarted at every turn, however when her mother appears at school, on her job, etc. and eventually moves across country to Los Angeles to reinvent herself as a white person and seek her fortune.
The story is based on the book of the same name, written by a white author of the 1930's, which bears little if any resemblance to the movie I just described. The 1959 version with Lana Turner, which was written for her, excluded a lot of very objectionable shuffling and "nigger speak." In fact, the book and the 1934 version of the movie portrayed the beneficent white woman as a shrewd entrepreneur who took "Aunt Delilah's" pancake recipe, packaged and sold it, becoming the "pancake queen."
As the story goes Aunt Delilah wants nothing for this "secret recipe." She even goes so far as to beg the woman not to pay her anything for the recipe and to just let her keep on taking care of her and her daughter. Neither movie can stand up to modern standards, but the original version of the movie portrays the Black woman in a role that goes beyond subservient to downright ludicrous. The thought that she would not want a car, house and life of her own, but instead opts to let the white woman keep all of her money, while she continues living with her and playing nurse maid to her daughter goes beyond reason. Her fondest wish it turns out is to have a big funeral with 4 white horses to take her to the "pearly gates" of heaven.
The daughter plays a key role in the story, as she tries time and time again to pass for white always thwarted by her mother's dark complexion. In the end she not only rejects her race, but her mother too. She even goes so far as to tell her to walk on by without speaking if she sees her on the street, which in fact some Black people have done and continue to do.
Most recently, I've been conducting research on 5 Black presidents of the USA and it turns out some of them were passing. This knowledge has been passed down for generations by their relatives who made an agreement not to expose them. Warren G. Harding is a good example of this type of occurrence. One of his Black relatives has just published a book about him with photos of his Black relatives.
Ms. Hurst, was a noted Harlem Renaissance writer, although she was not an African American. Her work received some harsh criticism by Sterling Brown and other members of the community which she felt was undeserved. Her felling was that we should be grateful that she gave our story some attention.
We can forgive Ms. Hurst, for she was a product of her era. But, can we forgive the purveyors of this garbage for continuing to broadcast these stereotyped images of Black people on into the 21st century and beyond. I think not!
The whole notion of the "tragic mulatto" is a racist concept and speaks to the psychopathic racial personality of white Americans, which has in turn led to the exhibition of some psychopathic behavior on our part. Dr. Bobby Wright speaks of this in his book "The Psychopathic Racial Personality."
The "one-drop" rule, which states it only takes "one-drop" of Black blood to make you Black, while "one-drop" of white blood makes you conflicted is alive and well in modern-day America; because you'll never be accepted as being equal to white folks, despite the fact that you can pass for white.
In the final analysis the theme of passing, in the Black community is not unique. What was objectionable was the unrealistic portrayal of this unique phenomenon in the Black community.
Aunt Jemima, as she was in the early days (as depicted by A.B. Frost).
She was not only one of the greatest advertising icons of all time, but Aunt Jemima was also the advertising world's first living trademark. And, as with any such icon, she's had her fair share of controversy. But did you know who the real Aunt Jemima was?
Born into slavery in 1834, the woman who would become known to millions as Aunt Jemima was really named Nancy Green. She was a warm, friendly woman who also happened to be an excellent cook (though, interestingly enough, the famous Aunt Jemima pancake recipe wasn't hers. It belonged to a company called the Pearl Milling Company). And it was in 1893 that she was discovered in Chicago, at the age of 59, by one R.T. Davis.
Head of the R.T. Davis Milling Company, Davis bought the pancake formula from Chris Rutt and Charles Underwood when the Pearl Milling Company went bankrupt. And though it was Rutt and Underwood who came up with the name "Aunt Jemima," it was Davis who decided to use a living person to endorse it.
History was made that year at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the very first time Nancy Green went public. It was there that she, with her charming and animated personality, engaged the crowds and supplied them with thousands of pancakes. In fact, she was such a sensation that police had to be assigned to keep the crowds moving!
The rest of the story made marketing history. Soon, Nancy Green signed a lifetime contract with Davis, and her image was on billboards and advertisements all over the world. Davis was up to his eyeballs in pancake orders, and flour sales skyrocketed. Even after the Davis Company had to sell years later, Nancy Green remained the "pancake queen." It wasn't until 1923 when her legacy as a living trademark ended - when she was tragically struck and killed by a car in downtown Chicago. Two years later, the Aunt Jemima Mills were purchased by the Quaker Oats Company.
The famous image of Aunt Jemima was based on the real image of Nancy Green, an original painting of which recently sold for $9,030 at MastroNet. This painting was rendered by A.B. Frost, now regarded as one of the great illustrators of the Golden Age of American Illustration.
Aunt Jemima's image, however, has been modified since the days of Nancy Green and A.B. Frost. As social climates started to change and the 20th century wore on, many became offended by Aunt Jemima's image and felt that it was an outdated and negative portrayal of an African-American woman. If you take a look at today's Aunt Jemima, you'll notice that her kerchief is gone and her hair is styled. She wears earrings, and appears slimmer and younger. She does, however, have the same warm and inviting smile that she's always had.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
"This next clip is the 1st of 2 parts from the convention itself. About half way through the speech(at 6:00), the Vice Chairman of the AIP, Dexter Clark, says this of Palin: 'Our current governor who I mentioned at the last conference, the one we were hoping would get elected, Sarah Palin, did get elected . . . .and there was a lot of talk about her moving up. She was an AIP member before she got the job as mayor . . . '"
Sarah Palin was a card carrying member of the Alaskan Independence Party who went so far as to welcome their organization to the capital city via videotape from the governor's office. This leaves no doubt that they were far from outcasts, or radicals in her mind.
As you'll note in "Part 1 of Sarah Palin Secessionist," the organization is a self-described secessionists movement. Admittedly, they have some valid arguments, in my estimation. But, I wonder if Americans in general are ready to loose Alaska, a strategically significant state; and its oil revenue due to an oversight on the part of John McCain and his party hacks.
As you listen to the video pay close attention to the fate of former leaders of this party. It appears that the Arkansas Sudden Death Syndrome may have come into play again, because the wife died suddenly and the husband was assassinated soon after a government official had promised to look into some their allegations as to the illegal nature of Alaska's statehood vote.
This alone should make voters think long and hard about voting for a ticket with her on it, because the possibility of a retaliatory strike would be imminent leaving us with her in charge. America in the hands of the "anti-Lincoln," can you believe it?
The Republicans have really screwed up this time and placed the entire country in jeopardy, in order to win an election.
I can't believe this one myself. I heard it from Chris Matthews on MSNBC and had to go and check it out for myself, only to find that he was right on target.
She is not "Sarah Plain and Tall," but rather Sarah Palin "the anti-Lincoln." Next time McCain says something about Obama's judgment, or "lack of it" someone needs to bring up Sarah Palin and her questionable background. It didn't take more than 5 minutes on Youtube to come up with these two clips, which speak to her friendly relationship with the secessionists.
Can McCain get it right? Apparently, not!