Tag Archives: commentary

I’m really starting to dread Fridays.

Fridays should be a happy time. New movies usually open on Fridays, at least officially anyway. New episodes of some excellent streaming series and features debut on Fridays, depending on the streaming service. New episodes of a YouTube show top off many of my late-night Fridays.

However, bad news tends to crop up on Fridays in the recent and the not-to-distant past.

Friday, August 28, 2020, Chadwick Boseman was taken from us.

Think about this. The entire time Chad Boseman worked for Marvel, he fought colon cancer. My father had cancer. I remember the moments before he died how much pain he was in. From Captain America: Civil War to Avengers: Endgame and the Disney+ series What If, Boseman fought cancer. What is fandom’s reaction to all this? Re-cast the character. I get it. Down through the years, there have been multiple Batmans, Supermans, Spider-mans, and Blades. Guess what. There will be multiple Black Panthers as well. What Kevin Feige, Ryan Coogler, Nate Moore, and the rest of Marvel are trying to tell you is that Chadwick Boseman embodied T’Challa. Another character who inhabits the Black Panther suit can accomplish whatever feats the Black Panther accomplished in the comics.

Friday, December 31, 2021, Betty White was taken from us. For weeks leading up to the end of the year, nearly everyone was planning to celebrate Betty White’s 100 birthday with the premiere of a documentary on her 100th birthday, January 17, 2022. White was sexy and sassy, and she brought life and laughter to millions, perhaps billions, of us around the planet. Yet, her death 18 days before her planned birthday celebration teaches us that life is precious and promised to no one. It is a lesson that is taught to us repeatedly.

Friday, January 7, 2022, Sidney Poitier was taken from us. Well, that’s not actually accurate. Like Jonathan Larson before him, Mr. Poitier was taken on a Thursday, but we didn’t learn about it until Friday. I spent my youth watching Sidney Poitier in movies. A lot of them you may have watched:

  • Lilies of the Field
  • To Sir With Love
  • In The Heat of the Night
  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  • Sneakers

A lot you may NOT have watched.

  • For Love of Ivy
  • Buck and the Preacher
  • Uptown Saturday Night
  • Let’s Do It Again
  • A Piece of the Action

I spent last Friday watching four different films, two of which are big favorites of mine: the aforementioned Sneakers and the 1965 Columbia Pictures nuclear drama, a tense B&W thriller with Richard Widmark titled The Bedford Incident. Widmark and Poitier did a few other films together, including the first of the other two I watched that Friday, a film titled No Way Out. Widmark played a man who was shot during a robbery with his brother. Poitier, in his breakout role in 1950, three years before I was born, played a doctor in the prison ward. Poitier’s character diagnosed the brother with a brain tumor. However, the brother died during a spinal tap conducted by Dr. Sidney, attempting to confirm his diagnosis. The rest of the film was about the tension between the Widmark character who threatened to kill the Poitier character.

The second of the two films I had never watched was the 1958 film, The Defiant Ones. Poitier and Tony Curtis played two convicts who escaped from a chain gang after a truck accident in the rural South. The hook is that the two, one black and one white, are bound together by the 20-foot chain attached to each one’s wrist.

What’s unique about these latter films is that I seriously doubt either would be produced today. Both films contain liberal use of what is euphemistically called the “N”-word. I almost typed out the word, but who needs the aggrevation. Such is life in the third decade of the 21st Century.

So, before I go any further, I assure you that I am just fine. I am more pensive than melancholy. It’s what I’m thinking about as I decide whether or not to risk going into a movie theatre on Friday to watch Scream. I’ve already risked getting COVID going to see Spider-Man No Way Home in a packed movie theatre with a couple sitting maskless right next to me. I dodged that one; do I want to risk my health for another film, or will it join The King’s Man and The 355 on the list of movies I wait to see on some future streaming service?

My apologies to the reader if this is a downer. Just my thoughts as 2022, year 3 of the plague, rolls on. Like a friend said last Friday, I’m getting antsy, and I want to get out and about. I’d love to hang out with her again and get to meet that a few other people, in person. I’ve lived the metaverse for over 27 years. Trust me; real life is better.

Ciao for now!

On The Road To Insanity

Does anybody even bother to watch the news anymore? I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth it. After all, how many more murders, rapes, fires, and other sundry natural and unnatural disasters can we watch. Which brings me to the point of this piece.

I never thought you’d catch me saying this, but I’m beginning to side with those who think the government is out of control. It’s unresponsive to the people it’s intended to serve. That worries me, because if we all opt out of the program, what’s going to replace it. We have some clues.

Into the vacuum have stepped the Republicans, whose mission it seems is to save us from ourselves and those ne’er do wells, the Democrats. On the Democrats, I’m tending to agree but I’m also beginning to wonder if what we’re replacing them with is any better. You know the old bromide — that the cure is no better than the disease.

Consider that after the sound and fury of the Contract With America that nothing has really escaped the Capitol Beltway which would effect let alone benefit our lives save the abolition of the 55-mile an hour speed limit.  Is that to be the legacy of our times?  Are we better served by the endless Whitewater investigation?  Are we better served by the focus on the fiasco of the White House travel office?  What’s the point of belabouring the notion that Vince Foster was murdered by Hillary Clinton and her cronies?  Does anybody really believe that?  And, lastly, what’s the point of shutting down the government and paying its workers to do nothing, especially after nearly driving those same workers into default and depression?  Who’s minding the store?

Which, lastly, brings me to the real point of this commentary. The people who should be minding the store is us. Last I looked, the Constitution, which we claim to hold dear, began “We, the people”. That doesn’t mean the politicians. That doesn’t mean the news media. That means us, you and me. Are we really more concerned about satellite dishes, what’s on television, and going online than we are about that which affects our daily lives?

It’s popular for my generation to lambast the generations that follow about apathy and about Beavis and Butthead, among other things. However, maybe that says more about us than it says about them. After all, we raised them. We’re the ones who taught them about mindless consumption while giving lip service to taking care of our fellow man.

At work, like many people, I say:
“Don’t bring me problems!  Bring me solutions!”

Well, I’m sorry.  
No solutions today.

Ciao for now!

One In A Million?

It is not one man nor a million, but the spirit of liberty that must be preserved. The waves which dash upon the shore are, one by one, broken, but the ocean conquers nevertheless. It overwhelms the Armada, it wears out the rock. In like manner, whatever the struggle of individuals, the great cause will gather strength.

Lord Byron (1788-1824)

I was not fortunate enough to be able to travel to Washington D.C. today to be a part of yet another historic occasion. After spending time in another of the “masses” in April, 1993, I can only imagine what it must have felt like to have been there. Rather, today, I sat and observed the happenings on CNN and C-SPAN. At various times, I cried. I laughed. I worried. I criticized. Generally, though, I came away happy, with a sense of good will and with hope for a better tomorrow for myself, my distant family, my people, and my nation. (I even learned a new word: diaspora.)

It was called the Million Man March, a gathering of African-American males from across the land, as far and wide as the land itself. There were many things said about the March, true and false. Probably still so. That women were not invited. That admission was charged. However, most charged were the comments that Black people should not participate because of the leadership which suggested the March.

Last week, when discussing the March with a Black male friend of mine, I was disquieted that Minister Louis Farrakhan was the principal voice behind the March. I’m still disquieted as I write this. I sat today and heard co-organizer Benjamin Chavis say that you cannot separate the messenger from the message. Al Sampson of Fernwood United Methodist Church in Chicago implied the same thing. Still, many others feel that the message and the messenger are indeed separate. Regardless, Minister Farrakhan should be respected for making the call. As stated in the American mythology Star Trek, “Only Nixon could go to China”.

However, I am even more disquieted by a gnawing at my insides. I’m sitting here wondering how I, a black gay male, would be received in the Black community’s new world order. Minister Farrakhan asked us to return to our neighborhoods, join an organization, join a church, give up drugs, and black-on-black crime. Is there tolerance enough in this movement to include me and those like me? Or, are we to suffer a distinction that will keep us apart from our communities?

I don’t have an answer for that; I’m not sure I should even care. For if the messenger is listening to his own message, then it should not matter whether I am gay or not. All that should matter is that I have something to offer like the other million or so men on the Mall today.

Ciao for now!