Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ok, Disney, I don't know about this one...

You must check the link (click on title) and read the story or this won't make sense...

Question #1:
Why are you going back to original, hand-drawn animation? Will today's kids understand or like that? Or are they are on the digital train?
I would have assumed they like the new stuff better. Regardless of the animation technology and how that makes the picture look, the new stories are better. (I mean, really, a gimpy fish who gets captured and put in a tank and then gets lost in the ocean or a baby deer whose mother dies and is looking for his father? One is funny, action-packed, and uplifting. The other just makes me cry.)

Why a musical rather than just a story? (Or were all the originals considered musicals?) Do you think that will help it sell amidst Cars, Monsters Inc, The Incredibles, etc?

Is the effort to complete the princess spectrum too little too late? Will she be as (excuse the term) white-washed as Mulan, Pocahontas, and Jasmine? Will she have a Creole accent?

Is the effort to "show support" for New Orleans actually going to benefit the city or just your company? How?

And then of course I could rattle off a ton of plot questions, but I won't.

Oh my gosh. This is so strange to me.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

National Debt?

OK, this post has a disclaimer:

I am not an expert, or even an educated observer on the topic of money in general and national money more specifically.
Also, I am a big fan/supporter of President Obama, but I that doesn't keep me from being open and willing to hear a well-formed argument that he's doing something wrong.
Lastly, I highly encourage, even solicit debate on this topic or any other that I blog about.

As a junior in college who has only taken one course in politics and that was freshman year where I regularly fell asleep in class, I will admit there is a lot I don't know about "the way things are" in America today. But I seem to remember reading in a text book somewhere that the national debt has been steadily rising, never falling, since forever (or maybe since FDR's Reconstruction or something). If this is true, isn't it a little silly of the critics to be freaking out because the President's new economic plan is going to increase the national debt by $2.3 trillion more than they anticipated?

On the flip side of the same argument, what must America do to make more progress toward capping the national debt, or paying it off (who'd have thought)? Is this impossible? Something tells me that it's not because if it were, we wouldn't spend so much time talking about it. It's just harder than people want to work for an abstract number in the sky.

Does anyone have any insight on this? Please share.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Update to a Previous post - Am I a Joiner?

In November of 2007, I created a post titled "Not a Joiner."

I read through it today and realized that a lot of those opinions have changed.

I said then, "I love Jesus...but in general, you don't see me wearing a cross around my neck or wearing a Christian t-shirt."

Now, I would say I love the literary idea of a man who sacrifices himself for the sake of the world, but I am no longer as sure about the Christian faith.
Oddly enough though, I want to invest in a necklace with an Om pendant so that I can wear it with my cross and symbolize my ambiguous faith (for the world to see).

I said then, "I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States of America. But it was a struggle for me to add the Election '08 application to my Facebook. You probably won't see me wearing Obama For America t-shirts. I won't buy a bumper sticker."
But not only did I add the application, but I added more and more things that said I supported him. I have one t-shirt and wished for more (I wonder if I can still get them). I had a bumper sticker on my car before I totaled it.

I said then, "I have to lay my pride down every time I put on Alpha Chi Omega letters even though I adore my sisters and everything that our fraternity stands for."
But now, I love wearing letters and am sad for the days when I'll have to be neutral during recruitment and can't wear them.

I said then, "I have to find a way to support the things I approve of without losing my identity in them."

And I think the reason all of this has changed is because I now realize that advertising something isn't losing your identity to it (unless your identity is inherently weak). In fact, now I understand and utilize the concept that you are what you wear. I still don't wear labels - brand labels - very often, unless I really know that I would vouch for the company. But sorority letters, organizational t-shirts, promotional t-shirts, religious symbols: I'm all for them as long as they line up with my beliefs.

Maybe this was just part of growing up.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

“What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?”

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

It was not insightful. It paints Africans as soulless savages and doesn't even allow for culture shock.

It was not cleverly written. I realize that English is Conrad's second language, but the teacher who taught the study of this book made an absurd statement about how his syntax and structure is brilliant. My opinion: the use of polysyllabic words does not make a good writer.

The plot was not as engaging as I like a plot to be.

Much more useful texts on Africa (even from the white perspective) are The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Religion - I'm just confused

I'm reading up on Buddhism.

Random, I know, but I've been really attracted to the Eastern religious practices because Christianity is so common place to me right now that there seems to be nothing I haven't tried and nothing I haven't considered. I know I'm not being "fair" to Christianity, but I trust that "God" will lead me to the right place through my studies. One of the best things I've read in this book The Lotus Still Blooms is "there is a point where all teachings converge and the common thread of truth can be seen." I see all the time where Buddhism and Christianity correlate. I'm sure I'll continue to see those points.

All of this started a little more than a year ago when I started reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's about how Liz spends one year traveling and searching and finding herself and other things. She spends four months in Italy pursuing pleasure (which in her case is food, not sex), four months in India at an Ashram practicing the spiritual version of yoga and meditating and pursuing devotion, and then four months in Indonesia with the Balinese pursuing balance and learning how to have pleasure without abandoning devotion. That book shook my world up. While pursuing devotion, Liz does a lot of meditating and studying. She talks about yoga as a means to the end of connection with the Divine, whichever Deity you choose - even Jesus. In The Lotus Still Blooms, Joan Gattuso also correlates Buddhism with Christianity.

I don't really know what I'm looking for in my religious studies. Maybe just connection to God in whatever way I can find Him/Her/It. Maybe a way to live my life that I don't always have to be in conflict with.

We'll see where I end up.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Relationships and Art

I love being an English major. We discuss some of the most interesting things in class.

Today in American Literature we read The Awakening by Kate Chopin. If you are into literature at all, you should read it, because it's very good. My classmate, Joe, made a statement that I'm probably going to write my final paper around. The purpose of this novel was for Chopin to punch a hole in the Romantic ideals (Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau). I won't tell you the story; you should read it yourself. But I agree with him, I think.

So this was almost off the topic of the novel, but we got to talking about relationships and artists and how they may or may not go together. Can someone who is completely sold out to their art also be a good wife/husband? Is it different for a wife versus a husband? Perhaps you can be married, but if you have children then it's too much?

I used the example of Oprah and Stedman. My mom and I have discussed "playing house" and whether or not it is moral or even relationally beneficial for two people to be in a long-term, committed relationship and live together, but never get married. I think people like Oprah avoid marriage, not in order to avoid monogamy, but to retain their independence and ability to do whatever they want. If Oprah gets an offer to move to Seattle and do a show, she should be able to decide if she wants to move to Seattle. She should care what Stedman thinks, but his opinions and desires should be independent of her final decision. I want to be able to make moves that are good for me and not have to consult anyone else. I can dig that.

Another example: Chris Brown and Rihanna. They have been dating for years, but they haven't been publicly dating for near as long. If I were CB's manager, I would have advised that he keep it under wraps as long as possible, because so much of his fan base is young women who like to envision him as single. That's a simple marketing tactic, a way to stay afloat in the business.
So they went public with their relationship. That wasn't a big deal, but now all of this domestic violence stuff is going to make it harder on them as artists. I have to think twice before I listen to CB's cd. "Your soldier, your friend, and your lover, girl, I wanna be." But he beats his girlfriend. I have to think harder about how I view Rihanna. "I gotta check into rehab, baby, you're my disease." And she stays in an abusive relationship.
If they were more low-key about their love life, perhaps all of this would only affect their families and their persons rather than their careers and the way people view musicians, especially Black musicians.

I guess you can see which way I kind of lean.

What do you think?

Be The One

These are quotes and points that I heard from speakers this weekend at the Big XII Conference on Black Student Government. I am not silly enough to assume that all of these are original quotes, as for the purpose of this, though, these are the people who used these quotes to make their points.

A couple weekends ago, I went to the Big XII Conference on Black Student Government and it taught me so much about what it means to be a good leader, what it means to be young in America, what it means to be Black in America, and what it means to be all of those things together. I got a week's worth of knowledge dropped on me in two days. If you ever have an opportunity to go to this conference, you should go. And FYI, there were several white people there. Lol.

“Education is an opportunity, not a free ticket to success.”
“You can’t compete with someone whose purpose is bigger than yours.”
-Dr. Joe Martin

“I pledge from this day forward that I will live life to the fullest, treat people with respect, take advantage of all of my opportunities, make it my mission to find my passion, keep it real, and know my next steps to accomplish my goals and live my dreams.”
-Passion Pledge
Passion For Leadership
Lamarr Womble

“Legacy = Intelligence + Vision + Excellence”
“If the grass is greener on the other side, the water bill is also higher.”
-Jonathan Sprinkles

“Don’t make an organization. Make an institution.”
-Amon Rashidi

We are the “warrior class” (ages 15 – 26)
“Make sure you get what you came to get.”
“Do we move up as a culture, as a ‘we,’ or will we abandon the ‘we’ for the ‘I’?”
“Let’s not sleep through the revolution.”
-Alonzo Jones

“’To whom much is given, much is required.’”
“We can do anything as individuals. We can do anything better as a team.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being rich. There is something wrong with being a rich, bad person, a rich person who doesn’t contribute.”
- Joseph Smith

“Too many of us try to see the world with our eyes and not with our minds.”
“You cannot hate the root of a tree and not hate the tree itself.”
-Dr. Lasana Hotep

“People should always be more important than protocol and politics.”
“Who got next?”
-Felicia Hall Allen

“Just because you know something, doesn’t mean you’re using it.”
“A good leader is always willing to fight one more round.”
“Students are one of the world’s most abundant natural resources.”
-Dr. Kathy Humphrey

Isn't it strange that princes and kings,
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
And common people Like you and me
Are builders for eternity?
Each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, A book of rules;
And each must make - Ere life is flown –
A stumbling block or a steppingstone.
-R. L. Sharpe

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates
- Marianne Williamson