I saw “Black Panther”

I saw “Black Panther” and am glad I did. I am a novice when it comes to action movies. I thought Marvel was only a paper comic book. I was not aware that “Black Panther” debuted in 1966. I belong to a Social Justice Arts Group that discusses films with a high racial content. To be honest, if members of that group had not suggested we next discuss “Black Panther,” I might not have ever known about it. Now I feel I am kewl (as kids said back in the 90’s) I feel like I now know about a secret world that everyone knew about but me.

I watched “Black Panther” early Sunday evening of Presidents Day weekend (opening weekend). The theatre had at least five other showings that day and my showing was packed: Blacks, whites, young and old, a few couples, more families, lots of guys. My biggest surprise was they all acted like they had been waiting for this move since 2014, when it was first announced. Moreover, they knew to stay seated after the first conclusion because more action would follow. They seemed to already know that there will be a sequel in two years.

I fully appreciate the significance of the first blockbuster Hollywood film with a black director but as an action-packed fantasy film, race was not the dominant lens for me. It wasn’t like “I am Not your Negro” or “Detroit.” I expect the box office success of “Black Panther” will boost many production and acting careers and may lead to more “culturally diverse” films. I am appalled, but should have expected, that anti-Black sentiments tried to sabotage the Rotten Tomatoes ratings (currently 97) in hopes of surprising enthusiasm for the film.

I enjoyed the technological wizardry but grew tired of some of the physical conflict. I know, I know—it is an action film. I personally liked the scenes short in Pusan, S. Korea, because I recognize them, but I don’t imagine most Americans particularly cared where they took place. There were at least five witty lines I appreciated and probably would have noticed more if I had not been enthralled by the cyber gymnastics.

Two quotes have returned to my thinking several times this week. They are:
1. One of the main characters (who had ancestors brought to America from Africa) says “throw me off the ship like my ancestors. It is better to be dead than in bondage.”
2. The ending—which I won’t spoil for you.

I am eagerly waiting our discussion group to learn about significant parts that I missed. I am proud of myself, however, that I noticed the ambiguity surrounding the fate of the main rival of the king.

Here are some links that may be of interest:
1. New York Times review https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/06/movies/black-panther-review-movie.html?

2. Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/movies/black-panther-is-exhilarating-groundbreaking-and-more-than-worth-the-wait/2018/02/09/5bff1d4c-0916-11e8-94e8-e8b8600ade23_story.html?utm_term=.096b122cd7c4

3. An interesting analysis I found on Facebook (but it is a spoiler)

added 3/14
from THE Christian Century

Campus sex culture meets public policy

David Webber Columbia Missourian Oct 30, 2017


Vanessa Grigoriadis’ “Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power and Consent on Campus” is the most thought-provoking book I have read this year — not because of its tales of sexual encounters (although it is a bit shocking to readers over 50) but because it is a street-level report from a political and social revolution in progress.

Grigoriadis’ approach is to understand and solve a problem rather than engage in rhetorical warfare. She artfully shows the importance of language, ideology and culture in shaping public opinion and public policy. She argues that most cases of college sexual assault are better labeled as “acquaintance assault” rather than “date rape.” The term “sexual assault” itself needs clarification.

Continue reading

Springsteen Says It Best: What Writing Is Like (for me, too).

Springsteen Says It Best: What Writing Is Like (for me, too).          

               I re-discovered Bruce Springsteen in about 2009 and have enjoyed re-learning about myself by re-considering his old stuff and listening to how he talks, and writes, about his life. In preparing for his upcoming “Bruce on Broadway” he gave a long interview to the New York TIMES where, of all things, he captured what creating writing is like. Continue reading

The Two Young Men Legislative Candidates in “Practicing Democracy”

The Two Young Men Legislative Candidates in “Practicing Democracy”

          In “Practicing Democracy”  https://practicingdemocracy.org/ Tom Kelly and Ryan Brown are two ambitious young candidates aspiring for the state legislature who meet an elder statesman (Mr. Adams) aspiring to restore democracy. Tom and Ryan reflect the hundreds of young male students I have taught as a college professor. They are representatives of types of young men I am familiar with but are not composites of specific people (as Mr. Adams, the main character, is). Continue reading

Synopsis and Characters “Practicing Democracy”

“Practicing Democracy,” which I wrote, will be performed in Columbia, Mo September 21-23, 2017 at 7:30 and September 24 at 2:00 at Missouri United Methodist Church (9th Street).  Below is a synopsis and list of characters.

Tickets are at https://practicingdemocracy.org/

Two ambitious young candidates aspiring for the state legislature meet an elder statesman aspiring to restore democracy. The mix of campaign practices and information technology provide challenges and opportunities affecting the election result. The play is in two acts—pre-campaign and the campaign and Election Day.
SETTING: Almost any medium-sized town in America.
TIME: Current
MR. ADAMS, 75, military hero, Marine in Viet Nam, former two-term legislator, retired bank president.
TOM KELLY, mid-30s, insurance salesman, family man.
RYAN BROWN, mid-30, had a variety of jobs, mostly politics; an Army Vet.
CONNIE SCHMIDT, early 40s, an experienced campaign consultant (could be a man–Charlie).
JENNY TURNER, young, TV reporter (could be a young man–Jason)