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Nothing is Wrong with Apu April 15, 2018

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues.
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This is a response to the recent Apu stereotype campaign. I put it on “contact me/write something” available on his website.  Hari Kondbulo has not replied.  I think he did for the publicity.  Talk about Apu being exploited.  I am a long time Simpsons fan – since they were “bumpers” on the Tracey Ullman.  Hari Kondabulo was a baby then or simply not even born.  Anyway, this is my own take.

I know a pretty fair amount about India. Spoken and written, history and humor. I also know that Apu’s accent is how many Indians sound when they speak English. Is it demeaning and (buzz word alert) racist?? Isn’t it funny that when a character (live or in a cartoon) is French or British it’s okay to voice or portray the accent as charming and often funny? And it doesn’t have to be a native-born actor. Yet the accent is often authentic and correct. Russians can have very thick accents very often – and they are imitated in the media (and my neighborhood) that’s okay too.  Voice actors are invisible.  It is only lately we know the name of any.    It is only lately we know the name of any. Just like regional accents in America – this is how many people sound. Suppose Apu was voiced by a South Asian – the same accent but one that is “real” and not an imitation by an American actor? Would that be okay? And a larger question exists as well: What should South Asians sound like.  Call center slaves?  Should they bleach their speech so other South Asians will not be offended?

Here’s the skinny:  Many mini-marts are owned by South Asians. Many motels are run by South Asians. (The name Patel was and is a term for a parcel of land.)?  Lots. Run well, profitable and a business that hires other South Asians and helps them make a living. Many sound like Apu;   Should they not? The characters on the Simpson’s are satirical. Snake sounds like a cultured street thug. Mr. Burns sounds like many old white men I have been around especially in  Ivy League areas. Mr. Smithers is a gay stereotype.
Wiggum is an Irish cop.  Milhouse is a whiny nerd.  Should actors and millions of fans BDS Apu’s accent? Should all beer guzzling, overweight numbskulls rise up and protest? (You may be married or related to one? ).

The Simpsons is satire at its very best.

But hooray for the documentarian/comedian that questions all of the above. And hooray for the publicity and fame and money it is making him. I suspect this: The Simpsons for its long run and delighted audiences and guest voices will remain funnier long after Hari Kondabulo and “The Trouble with Apu” has heard hits last laugh.

Namaste.

 

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Just Say NO. SOTU. Solutions January 30, 2018

Posted by voolavex in despicable, Election 2016, Idiots in Government, nose picking, Putin, serial monster, sexist, snot, Social Issues, Social Media, solutions, The 45th, Washington Post.
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Tonight, the Asshole in Chief.  Thief of the Truth.  The Rotten Orange Who Spoiled A Nation, is going to spew some falsehoods speciousness, deliberate lies and fantasies over broadcast TV.  The Social Media participants are raving and roiling and cursing and nasty and demeaning this farce – as they should be.  You know who you are.  I join you in your disgust.  But I have come up with a BRILLIANT solution. Bigly.  Yuuuuuge. Cheap – Free actually, no special skills needed.

JUST DO NOT WATCH IT.  DO NOT WATCH IT.  DO NOT LISTEN TO IT.  CHANGE THE CHANNEL. PICK YOUR NOSE. BETTER STILL.  READ A BOOK, PLAY SOME MUSIC.  GO TO BED EARLY.  JUST SAY NO.

No frills solution.  Those who decide to view it.  DO NOT REHASH it to those who took my sage advice.  It will be just as bad as you think and editorializing is for the media.  Don’t even listen.  

JUST SAY NO.

That is all.

Harvey Weinstein and The Quid Pro Quo October 11, 2017

Posted by voolavex in sex, sexist, sins, Social Issues.
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Just Tell Me What You Want (1980), a provocative comedy about a ruthless business mogul and his TV-producer mistress (Ali MacGraw).

Sidney Lumet cast Alan King as the Harvey Weinstein type in this movie in 1980 with Ali McGraw. It was and should have been for Harv, a cautionary tale. Jay Allen Presson wrote the book (which I read) and as soon as Harv hit the headlines – this is what I remembered about King’s character saying, “Okay, what’s the quid pro quo?” Harv had one that he didn’t even have to mention.

I sat a Friar’s Club table at some event years ago, with Jesse White, Maytag washer man – an aging Borscht Belt comedian who sat next to another of the same ilk. Jesse (who coughed and cracked wise and told filthy jokes about tits, ass, dick, )had a “personal assistant “with him – maybe 23 or 24.  T&A, Big Hair.I wondered then what the quid pro quo was for her – Friar’s Club events with old Borscht Belt comedians. I was called “Doll” by the lot and I was very amused – not funny amused – but amused at the leers, and eye rolls coming from these nasty, old men. My date was not amused and we left. I was suppressing laughter the more I thought about them.

I realize that Harv has thrown the world of fantasy and the silver screen into a tizzy with the reveal of his sexual aggression to many women. But look at this man. Was he ever going to get the girl on his own? When you don’t have a prayer, power becomes your tool. And he’s a fool with a tool. And look at him. Think about how he acquired the beauties he used as arm candy. The self-loathing and neediness he carried inside. Look at this slob. He could well be in a grimy undershirt, his gut hanging over the top of grubby shorts wearing flip-flops with a can in his hand. Can you imagine this creature coming on to you, naked out the shower? I wonder what he saw when he looked in a mirror? I wonder if he called his prey “Doll” ? Honey? And I wonder how much power he DID have for NO ONE to say a word about it. And then someone did and powerful, rich  Harv got The Long Drop.

I do not doubt a word of accusations flying in formation.   I cannot wait for my New Yorker to hit my mailbox.  And I  do not expect to shocked or even disgusted by the story. It is not limited to Hollywood or Harv.  it is happening in a high-rise office, near you, right now and possibly (but not for sure), even The White House.

Patient Zero September 16, 2017

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues, Social Media.
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“The thing I really care about is the mission, making the world open.” Mark Zuckerberg. Wired 2010.

Thus spake Zuckerberg.  And with a certain amount of youthful naiveté, he and his colleagues unleashed upon this planet something so alluring, so fascinating, so innocent that not a soul could have imagined, as did J. Robert Oppenheimer, post A-Bomb, that they had become death.

Does that sound harsh?  I don’t believe it began harshly.  Zuckerberg is a genius and has a good heart by and large – not bad attributes to possess. And because he seems to also possesses a healthier moral compass than many of his generation, I am trying to envision how he could have envisioned Facebook as anything but an asset to the world and a force for openness and harmony for the planet Earth. And I wonder if he still believes this or has suddenly realized, as the mushroom cloud of social media blotted out the sun, that he had weaponized  the world at the same time. Facebook has placed that little angel on one shoulder and that little devil on the other.  Both are multi-lingual and each ones single job is to persuade.  I think I would be harsh to characterize “social media” as a pathogen, yet it begs for this descriptor too.  Some folks catch it and others seem immune.

On this very day,  this man and his creation are being named as the villain in the Russian US 2016 election debacle.  What if it had been MySpace or another social media site?  I suspect Zuckerberg did not stop to think about the balance of good and bad on this lonely plane; anymore than Bell did when he got a dial tone.  Or a HAM Radio Operator when he first smelled the bacon.    Yet, because, as a species, we have been created with very bellicose instincts  and lots of greed, it might have been examined.  And those clubs that cavemen wielded were not for show.  And dragging women by the hair is a gender based tradition. We wage war constantly. We do not wage peace.  Religion short-cons the species to hope for peace – but it has never actually said we would get it.  But we got war; maiming, murdering, torturing, raping and pillaging.   Nobody human ever wanted to buy the world a Coke. Still, I don’t think Zuckerberg realized that the monster he had created would metastasize like those brooms and buckets in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Or the Spanish Flu. Or AIDS.

So now we have a very small whirling planet, beaten and pimped by anyone who can figure a way to get more from their own “brand”. ( FYI – a brand is a hot iron poker that burns an ID on the skin of animals (and people). You can have your logo tattooed  onto your own skin. In my mind they are very similar). Does anyone truly imagine Mark foreseeing this?  Do you think he created an algorithm for this?   Of course not.  Even J. Robert could see what he had unleashed.  I truly do not believe this was on Mark’s mind.

It’s far cry from the “Harvard Face Book” to the lethal air it has become. The air that is pumped into our lives every single second. But it is an entity of many minds and voices.  A hydra. Or even simpler, swamp scum.  We  now know about too much and now we know about too little and there is no fix either way.  Don’t blame Mark Zuckerberg.  Do not shoot the messenger.  He did not invent us.  He did not program us;  we each relied on our basest and best instincts – as we saw fit – and stirred the pot.  If anything Mark is Patient Zero. His simple idea created the plague that has engulfed the planet. But remember this.  Just like Marie Curie for example, he did not create immunity for himself and I rather think he must realize it by now.  As much as I reject the idea of “changing the course of history” his  creation has raised questions for me.

Consider an old saw, but absolutely true today.  Once the genie is out of the bottle – he truly cannot be put back.

 

The Da Vinci Dilemma November 27, 2007

Posted by voolavex in CBC, Chris Haddock, Da Vinci's Inquest, DVD, Netflix, Nicholas Campbell, TV, Uncategorized.
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Why is it I can watch a telenovela from Venezuela  ( I actually worked on  one, La Traidora in the 90’s) and the BBC whenever I want, but I can’t get Canadian content unless they are pretending Vancouver or Toronto is anywhere but Canada?   Who, reading this, has watched the best show on TV in North America?  (FYI – it’s not an Emmy winner  or nominee).  It’s an import calledDa Vinci’s Inquest” , so full of talent, great writing and Canadian content that I have sat up until 3 a.m. to catch an episode.    They describe it as a cross between Law and Order and CSI and to some degree it is – but it’s so much more.  For those of you who read the Sunday New York Times – thank them for a small article (11/26) that heralded the second season  of DVI, now on DVD.  That information knocked The Soprano’s final second half right down the list on my Netflix queue and frankly – I love the Soprano’s.  Da Vinci is something else all together. The creator, Chris Haddock, should be a household word in this country by now. Nicholas Campbell in the title role is dead-on perfect as the rumpled, believable coroner in the city of Vancouver, B.C. – ( for once not masquerading as somewhere in the US).  Donnelly Rhodes (from Soap) is on the police force and is perfect – an old school copper who is trying to make sense of the brave new world of policing.  Think Canada’s blue ?   Thinker bluer.  The conversations about a Red Light District for prostitutes to work safely and a clean needle exchange program don’t bother DaVinci and his crew at all.   They’re all for them. That doesn’t mean he is the golden boy of the VPD – far from it – he is a thorn in everyone’s side and for good reason.  Dominic DaVinci is everything you might hope for in a real person in law enforcement – (but not in the US).   He is no saint; he has a real life, a drinking problem (his trips between AA and the local are really stunningly captured; funny and sad).   He dates ( he’s divorced) and he likes sex. He is loyal to the people he trusts and they reward him with a respect and bonhommie that is curiously devoid of macho competition.  The rest of the cast is stellar – but you won’t recognize their names.  Trust me – we have the securest border on the planet when it comes to CBC airwaves. Yeah, I know – DeGrassi and some of SNL – but real TV is alive and well in the Great White North.  They just aren’t invited to show it to us.  So do yourself a great favor and rent/buy both of the two seasons now on DVD and write to ProgramPartners.com to tell them you want more DaVinci and at a better time. Then write Acorn media.com, who is the DVD producer.  For chriss’ sweet sake – haven’t we endured Benny Hill – still do; and the black and white, archaic and insufferable “Are You Being Served?”  Well as far as I’m concerned until we have a reliable, normal airtime for DaVinci in this neck of the continent – we are not being served.  This is great television.

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