Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Review: "Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment" by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

I first heard about Professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's book Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment on either Black Agenda Radio or On Contact with Christ Hedges.

I've never liked guns. People I know died by suicide with a gun or accident. A stranger pointed a gun at me in a road rage incident when I was a teenager. And, when I fired guns at a shooting range, the extent to which I liked it frightened me. On my social media, I follow and promote @Well_Regulated_, which publicizes tragic incidences of uses of firearms in the United States. I tell people I support "smart" gun control, which in my mind means requiring registration of weapons, restricting sales of weapons & munitions designed to kill masses of people and stripping rights to weapons from particular classes of convicted criminals, such as domestic violence offenders.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Review: Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America

In Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, Ari Berman describes the events which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, its impacts and the countermeasures its opponents took since then to undermine it through the book's publication in 2015.

I hope reading the book will motivate you to make sure you are registered to vote and actually vote in every election and attempt to understand your options in each election. And when you find your options are limited, then act to improve your options.

The book also is a great example of a phenomenon James W. Loewen identified in Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. Our public schools, for a variety of reasons, teach students that the United States always improves without explaining that people contested all issues, and some people won and others lost and sometimes those who lost won later. So we have this idea that "Civil Rights" happened in the 1960s, and, well, "problem solved."

Friday, June 21, 2019

"Even with good intentions, Hollywood still struggles to portray Muslims accurately or fairly, much less positively"

Edward Ahmed Mitchell, Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations - Georgia, describes his involvement in the production of the 2019 remake of Shaft and his reaction after watching the movie.
As a civil rights activist with the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, most of the emails I receive involve deadly serious topics: hate speech…hate crimes…discrimination…Donald Trump’s latest tweet. So you can perhaps imagine my surprise when I received an email last year from a casting director for the latest sequel to the classic blaxploitation film Shaft, which was filming in Atlanta. --- read more ---
And of course I have to include the Isaac Hayes theme song to the original Shaft.


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Law & Order: SVU S20E23 "Assumptions" Was Thoroughly Anti-Muslim

NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 20, Episode 23 "Assumptions" poorly handled recent controversies and promoted anti-Muslim stereotypes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Short Film: "Refuge" by Mohammad Gorjestani and starring Nikohl Boosheri

The movie Refuge, directed by Mohammad Gorjestani (Twitter & IMDB) and starring Nikohl Boosheri, was the featured short film on May 14, 2019 at shortfilmoftheweek.com. It's also available on YouTube.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Favorite Quotes: G√ľnter Grass, "The Tin Drum"

G√ľnter Grass received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999, and his most famous book is Die Blechtrommel, translated into English as The Tin Drum. The June 4, 2007 New Yorker published his account of his participation as a teenager in the German Nazi war effort. Because he had not disclosed these matters publicly, despite his reputation as a critic of post-war Germany's attempts to forget its fascism and its crimes and their popularity, he received much criticism.

I read the 1961 Ralph Manheim translation, but some of these quotes are from the Breon Mitchell 2009 translation. Click to enlarge images.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Favorite Quotes: Dorothy Day, "The Long Loneliness: An Autobiography"

The best source for information on Dorothy Day is the Catholic Worker website.

These quotes are from the 1981 HarperCollins paperback of the 1952 book.

Some of her description of her mentor, Peter Maurin:

Peter made you feel a sense of his mission as soon as you met him. He did not begin by tearing down, or by painting so intense a picture of misery and injustice that you burned to change the world. Instead, he aroused in you a sense of your own capacities for work, for accomplishment. He made you feel that you and all men had great and generous hearts with which to love God. If you once recognized this fact in yourself you would expect and find it in others. [p. 171]