Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Obama Conspiracy

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

We truly live in a world that possesses closed minded individuals who in some way, shape, or form lack diversity and are self-indulged in their own prejudice. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in terms of race. I believe it to be a built-in mechanism that to some degree exists and functions within all of us. That mechanism preys on our fear of change.

In 2008 when Senator Barack Obama ran for President of the United States of America is when it truly began. That mechanism kicked in. Why did it kick in? Well, folks… Each of you will decide on your own reasons, together we can only speculate. I cannot nor will I attempt to drill an opinion in to your heads. You are all free willed and have the ability to exercise independent thought. This mechanism that I speak of; what exactly has it done? It has tapped that nerve ending in all of us that has put us in fear mode. That fear of change. That which is the crippling fear that only serves to prevent growth in maturity for those who lack it the most. It is the one and the same that would either have us be closed minded to having a President of a different ethnicity than all those we have had prior. Another thought is that the fear could’ve crippled some at the very sight of his name; Barack Hussein Obama.

The instant that name hit the press, this pumped premium gas into the vehicle that we know to be the conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theorists all over the country were sure that was an attempt to plant a Middle Eastern spy at the heart of the United States and worsen an already catastrophic economic situation. As to whether or not this lunacy has been laid to rest is questionable. I must say that I haven’t heard about it much after President Obama was sworn into office.

That is not all though, the vehicle that drives conspiracy theories never parks… I now bring you to the present day which we need no introduction to.

The question of Obama’s birth certificate brought to you by Donald Trump himself. I thought Trump had better things to do than this. Like firing people, claiming bankruptcy every other day or whatever he does to manipulate his personal and business finances.

It seems not. Trump has announced interest in his candidacy for President of the United States of America. Does that mean that we would become the United States of Trump? Erie thought, right? What a way to begin his tirade period by beginning a smear campaign against his would be chief opponent.

For weeks now, I have watched the endless idiocy of those who believe that President Obama was not a citizen of the United States.

I have to give a special mention to Anderson Cooper and his team of investigators of 360 on CNN for giving credible evidence to the public. The situation was getting out of control. Despite Cooper’s attempts to offer validity to the live birth document given by the State of Hawaii in lieu of a copy of the original birth certificate, the nay-sayers continued their pointless crusade.

Trump endlessly pointed out money that he claims was spent to cover up a document that was finally released yesterday. Trump gave no credence to Cooper’s investigation which made his own arguments about the issue lose serious credibility. I must say that Cooper gives credibility to the word term that many of us thought dead, journalism.

This is what I mean by the growing idiocy of those Americans out there who have disguise themselves as conservatives who wish our country well. Rather than further the intellect of Americans, they’ve succeeded in making themselves look like old, fat and inflexible morons. I do mean the same kind of moron that would closely identify with Archie Bunker.

To Donald Trump: It was Plato who said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”

I’m afraid saying you appear as the latter makes perfect sense.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Criminal Acts of the Police

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

The speed limit is 65 mph, but you are going 69. Are you worried? Probably not, I mean, who’s going to be affected by you going 4 mph over the speed limit? You might not even notice that you’re going over the speed limit. You got your speakers on blast, you’re trying to leave that 9 to 5 up on the shelf and just enjoy yourself.

That all might change and you might not feel so relaxed when you see flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror. Are you worried about getting a ticket? Yes, and should you be worried about it being something more serious? It seems that is also the case in a world where the men in blue bring great uncertainty with each encounter they have with a given citizen.

To protect and to serve is the creed that is sworn by every man and woman that chooses to join the force. These days that doesn’t seem to coincide with what’s happening to people at the hands of many police officers out there. Don’t get me wrong, there are a great many officers some of whom I know personally that are a credit to their badge, and to their uniforms. However, there are those police officers that are making the headlines; the proverbial rotten eggs that make the whole dozen look bad.

It seems like just recently, we read about Rodney King in the headlines and we saw that vicious video. The video doesn’t depict LA’s finest. It depicts a group of juveniles that are playing out a schoolyard fantasy that they had no power to fulfill when they were younger. The power was afforded to them later; under the guise of being those who enforce the law. Rather than enforce it, they simply broke it. Why did they break it? Was it because they felt they were above the law? Or was it simply because they were given the power to do what it is they were doing?

Each reader of the blog post and every observer of the media will judge for themselves what they portray this grotesque negligence and horrible misuse of power to be. Could police officers despite all their training be just as vulnerable to power in excess as the rest of us could be? Here are some fictional accounts that are quite accurate in their depiction of what excess can do to a person.

Remember Michael Corleone of “The Godfather” trilogy? This was a man of immense power who allowed nothing to stand in the way of achieving exactly what he wanted. He craved people’s fear of him, and he craved more power. Corleone, much like the men in blue, use fear to prey upon the fearful. This is not to say that Oscar Grant got shot because he feared Johannes Mehserle. Often times if rebellious behavior is shown to a person on a power trip then that is taken as a challenge. This could mean that it would be worst for the person posing the challenge to a less than upstanding police officer.

Another example is Tony Montana from “Scarface.” This is someone who was afraid of no one but never had the opportunity or the power to do and take what he wanted as he pleased. Once he gained power, he had so much of it that he eventually spun completely out of control. The excess in power and the rush that it could give someone who has never had it can be an overwhelming experience mentally.

Folks, this might just seem like a ruthless badgering of police officers. Especially when it comes to comparing them to the likes of fictitious criminals, but there is truth to these comparisons.

The long and the short of it is that those who are and who pose as police officers are supposed to enforce the law. We are supposed to rely on them to protect and to serve, not terrorize and kill the innocent. If this is allowed to continue then why have that right granted to us by the law? That right that says every man and woman is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Are they ignoring this right granted to us and assigning guilt as they see fit? Whether that is a yes or a no, it is not their place to do so.

The sad truth about many of those we rely on to enforce the law is that they are as unstable as the criminals they are bringing in. This is a fact that needs no more proof than what is shown to millions in this country on the news and YouTube, what’s heard on the radio, and read in newspapers.

It seems that the less than upstanding police officers use their clubs to make innocent citizens “an offer they can’t refuse.” This makes no sense; however, it is sadly very true.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hollywood has Died of Creative Failure

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

Though it is uncertain at which time the illness grew, but it's true.  Hollywood has died at the age of 105.  Hollywood, formerly Hollywoodland, had grew to unspeakable heights leaving behind a great legacy of many great films in its younger days.  It grew powerful, and when power is gained in excess, things tend to spin out of control.  It is now, only a shell of its former self.

Just kidding.  Or am I? 

In the summer and fall of 1998 we saw remakes of two of the best films ever made in history. Both of the original films were directed by the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. The original films are “Dial M for Murder” and “Psycho.” The remake for the first was “A Perfect Murder,” and the latter bearing the same title.

“A Perfect Murder” worked out well, but was nothing to write home about. The remake to “Psycho” was then and is still today considered to be one of the worst remakes ever made in the history of film.

When I say it started in 1998, what I am referring to is the repetition that we are seeing in the mainstream television and film industries. If it’s not a remake that’s being shown to us, it’s just the same tired and repetitive formulas.

Endless romantic comedies, overly raunchy comedies, mean-spirited comedies, 80’s monster movie rejects, endless horror movie sequels, it just goes on and on. When the hell is Michael Myers going to retire? The alien that was chasing after Sigourney Weaver through dark corridors across rickety steal platforms finally gave up because she kept winning. Why don’t Michael and his writers get the same clue? At the alien gave up and started going after the predator.

Although I’m a Star Trek fan, the same could be said for the crew of the Starship Enterprise. I don’t think there is any place left for them to boldly go that we haven’t already boldly seen and gone to.

How about these ongoing Big Mama movies? Are these just an attempt to try and be creative? No. It is more of an attempt to appeal to a more juvenile audience and get cheap laughs and thrills, shocking moments of disgust, and bad acting. Martin, you can do much better than this. In fact, you have before.

The television industry has done nothing but flood the airwaves with viewing that has no intellectual aspects to it whatsoever. None of it requires any thought; it consists of “chick fights,” bad singing, and a whole hell of a lot of people who are just getting on television just to be able to say they were on it. Contrary to what people may think, these shows are not spontaneous by any right. Every TV network has to have control over its programming, so if these things were spontaneous then they would not know what to expect from one episode to the next.

Chuck Barris was known as the innovator of schlock television back in the late 60’s and all the way through the 70’s decades. His brainchildren were “The Newlywed Game,” “The Dating Game,” and “The Gong Show” to name a few. Those were here among his most popular. He was cited as the reason for “degradation of mid-western civilization.” The stuff he did pales in comparison to what’s on the air now.

We cannot expect our IQs to be high or our children to be literate when we are not even interested in watching better quality programming. Let’s not grow even lazier minded than we already have. If we stop watching it, they will have to stop airing it right? I think that makes sense.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: A Call For Unity

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

Jailed in Alabama, the Reverend wrote his clergy, "A Call for Unity."

For those of you who know me, you are probably asking: How can he remember the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? He hadn’t even been born yet.

You’re right, I was born 14 and a half years after he was assassinated. So, all I have to go from is the teachings and readings that reflect how history remembers a great man who was a hero to many. He is also a hero to me.

There are days where I wish that as a young black man I could walk up to him, shake his hand, and tell him that “I understand.” There are two sharp edges to this sword. The first is that I would have lived through one of the worst periods of the oppression of my people. The second is that I would have lived the painful day where we lost one of our greatest voices. Therefore, I go back and forth on this. However, I feel I shouldn’t because if I did live that painful day, then I will have survived. I would have overcome. That too would have passed.

This month marks 43 years since the great Reverend was taken from us. Though quite a significant amount of time has passed, his words and his voice send ripples through to today. He carries a message that still applies to us all. Although we may have an African-American in office, we still have a ways to go before we can carry out his dreams.

Every day members of all races work and live together in perfect harmony in most places. However, there are still those areas of the country where racism is very much alive and rampant.

This month also marks the 48th anniversary to that great call for unity that the Reverend wrote from his Alabama jail cell. He was arrested for participating in the march against segregation.

In his memory, all of us and not just African-American people should carry along the message and the belief of the dream that he had for us. Remember, that it was a call for unity which means that we should all live together for God as brothers and sisters with no racial barriers.

Would Reverend King be proud today? Have we achieved his dream even a little bit?

Yes, but he would still say that we have a long way to go. That is because we do. Nothing will ever be perfect and I believe the Reverend recognized that. We as a race of beings, the human race, are on a struggle to better ourselves. It is that which defines our mortality. We will never be perfect, but it is that that eternal struggle that adds meaning to our lives. Never get comfortable, only be content, there is always more to achieve. Live to better ourselves and each other through love and through respect. No matter what color we may be, we still bleed red, we still love, and we still believe that there is good in the hearts of us all. I believe optimism makes sense to many, unfortunately, not to us all.

    We honor your memory

Happy Easter Everyone!

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

A beautiful image from

For those of us who celebrate Easter, it is a joyous day. One filled with the gleeful laughter of children as they hunt for Easter eggs and have their pictures taken with the Easter bunny. Some children are being baptized as their respective religion may require of them, others might even be having their first communion. Easter Sunday Church service is a staple for many of us every year.

So many great things are supposed to be happening right now. By the end of the day, families will have gathered around the day multiple times for good food, wine, the sharing of memories, the laughter and the celebrating of a holiday that is important in the hearts of people all over.

This is not just the day of spending money to get together for what some may call a grueling gathering of family, neighbors, and etc. It is just a day to rejoice in the togetherness that is family and friendship. Kids should be growing up and remembering Easter Sunday every year not just for the candy, but as it being one of those days every year where family celebrated the day and each other.  However, let us not forget that this is the celebration of Jesus Christ.

Grudges should be let go of, anger should be subsided, and bonds should be mended. If the love is truly there then nothing should stand in the way of that.

Each day is not promised to us. Therefore, we should show that love for our family and friends not just today or on holidays, but each and every day because we may never get another chance. Think about it, folks… This makes sense, doesn’t it?

Happy Easter to All!!!

Remembering Sidney Lumet

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

A master hard at work

We all know who Al Pacino is. He is one of the greatest actors of our time. It has been said that an actor can only be as great as the script that has been written or the director that directs. Of course this is only an opinion and not a firm standard, although there is evidence to support the theory. Two of Pacino’s finest films were in the first decade of his career on the screen. The first was immediately following the success of “The Godfather,” it was the film of a true story called “Serpico.” The next was later in the same decade and amongst the best films ever made, “Dog Day Afternoon.”

What do these two films share in common besides the fact they display Pacino at his finest?

They were directed by one of the greatest filmmakers to every grace the medium.

That man was Sidney Lumet who left us this month at the age of 86. When I say that this man was one of the greatest that ever graced the medium, I truly mean that he was amongst the greatest. “Dog Day Afternoon” was the first film from Lumet that I had ever seen. It left from the indelible impression on me. From that point on, I wanted to make films. I wanted to work with the master, and I had to watch everything he ever made.

                                            Al Pacino in a memorable scene in "Dog Day Afternoon"

Most directors are but mere directors. There are few particularly in this modern era of films that are more than directors, there are few that have achieved the label as a true filmmakers. To add to that, most pictures that are made these days are not even made with enough quality to me considered a film, they are merely movies.

Sydney Lumet was a filmmaker in every sense of the word. The quality that was on the screen, the performances that he was able to get from his actors, and the finest casts that he worked with in all of his films.

Having worked with some of the finest actors in Hollywood, Lumet turned most of these performances that would have been otherwise run of the mill performances. It took the Lumet style to make these the “one of a kind” performances that would be remembered for generations.

Lumet’s most recent film was the crime thriller “When the Devil Knows you’re Dead.” The cast was led by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, and Marissa Tomei. With the exception of Hoffman, no one else in the cast is typically as masterful but under the direction of Lumet’s rigorous rehearsals everyone’s performance was ingenious.

Precious few filmmakers have more than one masterpiece to their credit; Lumet was one of them. His first film back in 1957 was “12 Angry Men.” This focused on what happens when there are 12 jurors held up in the grand jury room because of the one person that decides that he wants to disagree and take the moral high ground rather than make a decision just to hurry up and get to a baseball game.

Another phenomenal film that Lumet brought to the screen was in 1976. It spawned that famous saying: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

That film was “Network” and it focused on the television industry bastardization of the news industry. No longer was it to be about truth, it was only to be a profit center. Lumet directed a performance so masterfully delivered by actor Peter Finch, that he became the first man to win an Oscar for Best Actor posthumously. The cast consisted of fine performances from William Holden, Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway, and Ned Beatty.

         Peter Finch in the legendary "mad as hell" scene             

Lumet didn’t make films to make money, he made them to entertain and enlighten audiences. Every single one of his film had the highest in entertainment values and at the same time challenged the thoughts of anyone who watched. The films of Lumet possessed performances that hit emotional heights that other some other could only dream of doing. When Sidney Lumet died, a part of film died with him. To know and believe that there will be a legion of imitators without a doubt makes sense.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Protecting your child's innocence

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

Times have changed a lot since I was a kid. The sad part is that since I’m not that old being a kid wasn’t that long ago. It sure feels like it sometimes though. There are times when I miss being a kid.

Ah, to be a kid. When our only worries were getting up and going to school, getting the grades, eating foods we didn’t always like, getting the homework done, and playing outside until the street light came on. Are you with me? Those were the days.

What were some of the things that we watched on TV? I won’t even begin to speculate because I’m hoping that there are a wide variety of age groups reading this blog.

One of the best things that we see in children is their sense of innocence. Whether they are ours or someone else’s to see that innocence is precious, and that is what makes them at times more fun to be around then other adults. I have a little sister who is 9, and she means the world to me. I wouldn’t trade her for anything or anyone in the world. She is just so pure and so innocent. When you see that innocence in a child it makes you want to do everything that you can to protect it from some of the horrors that this world has in it.

As parents one of the many ways that you can do that is by monitoring what they watch on TV.

The things that a child is subjected to can strip away from that innocence factor. Many children mimic the things that they see on TV. However, not every child is always this impressionable.

As a child, I was afraid to try and re-enact violence. The only thing I tried to do at the age of 5 or 6 was the lean forward from Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. Of course, I learned not to do the things I saw on TV when I fell flat on my face and busted my lip.

We live in a time where sex and violence sells. Unfortunately, most of the things that are on TV have some form of suggestive innuendo that is not child appropriate. However, those same programs are highly marketed towards children.

Today the cases of shootings are no longer just taking place on college and high school campuses, now they are taking place in elementary schools as well. Kids are no longer waiting until they are teenagers to engage in sexual situations, they are starting as early as 7 years of age as documented in recent news reports.

The reason I am doing this blog is not because I am a concerned parent since I have no kids. I am doing this because two very good friends of mine responded to my post entitled “Lessons from TV’s Past” on Facebook. It was about the fact that TV shows used to have a point, and now they don’t so much anymore. The shows mentioned in that post also had valuable messages that can be instilled in anyone at any age who watched them. These two ladies who happen to be great moms responded to how concerned they are with the viewing choices for their kids.

It seems that most of the shows out there that are deemed suitable for children aren’t so child friendly as they may appear. I have talked to a few parents concerning what their children watch and hear on the radio.

It was a split decision. 50% of the parents say that they monitored what their children watched and listened to. The other 50% of the parents chose the “keeping it real” mentality with their children. This means they will not shield their children from the “rougher” aspects of life, TV, and music.

So, for the parents that monitored their children’s access t TV and music… What were the majority choices?

1. Sesame Street – A timeless classic that will always provide a fantastic balance between education and fun.

2. Dora the Explorer – My sister loved Dora in her younger years. Dora also speaks fluent Spanish.

3. Discovery Channel, nature, education, and health shows – I was quite surprised to find out that parents were open to letting their children watch elements of nature which can feature violence. The health surgeries that take place are extremely graphic. When asked to address this topic, the parents say it is better for the child to be exposed to the reality of what’s happening in the world.

Is this a modern way of thinking? No, it’s simply the parent’s prerogative.

I am a firm believer that a child’s sense of innocence should be preserved at all costs. A loss of that innocence can mean they are growing up far too early. A child should still be allowed to be a child. Is it okay to base the TV viewing off of how the child acts? Or is the TV viewing the basis for how the child acts?

Which makes sense to you?

Share your thoughts, parents.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Time to check your money!

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

I can’t even remember what it’s like to just pull out a $20 bill to pay for something. Every time you pay for something its swipe, swipe, swipe, and then swipe some more. Before you know it, the weekend is over and you realize on Monday morning that you've been too generous at the lounge with your friends.

At that point, you say to yourself: “Darn, if only I hadn't bought that last round of drinks for all of my buds!!!”

We've all been there. For some people, they can afford it, for most of us… Let’s face it; we have to make the rent.

What if every time you swiped that card you were costing your bartender money? What if every time you swiped that card you were earning that bank you may hate to bank with hundreds of thousands of dollars every year?

Well, folks… It’s not a “what if,” it’s a reality. Every time you use your debit card and select credit instead of debit, you are costing that business a minimum of 1% of your total purchases where ever you go. This either causes the businesses you like to shop at to drive up their prices or go out of business. That 1% percent goes to the bank you have your debit card with.

In case you have not been watching or reading the news on this subject, I feel inclined to let you know that this may all change soon.

The Feds are trying to stop the greed in the big banking business. Instead of being able to charge 1% per transaction to businesses every time you use your debit card, that may change to 12 cents per transaction. That is a huge difference for the big banks. This means that it will actually cost banks more to issue you debit cards than the amount of money they earn from your using it. Now you know why banks always pressure you to have a debit card whether you want one or not. Many large banks will even give you incentive to use it!

Times are changing, and this means that the way you bank will change as well. Some banks are going to continue to offer you incentive to use the debit card while others will discontinue their debit cards rewards programs.

There is an enormous expense in issuing and maintaining customer debit cards. If the new law goes into effect, banks will lose money on their debit cards which means you will lose the convenience factor. There are banks that are even considering limiting debit card purchases to $100 per day, others are considering charging you to use them. If this happens, then you will only have the following choices:

1. Go to the ATM and keep cash in your wallet which will be dangerous. Unlike debit cards, cash cannot be reported stolen.

2. Write checks. Go ahead… be that person in the front of the grocery line that everyone hates. In addition to that, if your checks are stolen or duplicated then you are at serious risk of being a victim of identity theft.

3. Use your credit card. This can actually benefit the banks and hurt you. If you max out your credit cards, the banks earn interest unless you pay off your balance in full every month. (Less than 1/3 of credit card borrowers pay off their balances in full at the end of the month.) Adding further harm will be the fact that maxing out your credit cards will have a negative impact on your credit scores.

Well, folks… After reading this it seems like you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, right? Well here are a few pointers that I will share with you to cheat the system and not lose your convenience factor or harm your credit scores.

1. Carrying cash in a bad economy is not a good thing. These days you seriously run the risk of being pick pocketed or mugged.

2. Don’t write checks. You don’t want to be that person that holds up the line in a store. I really hate that. Not to mention since the checks have your bank account, name and address on them this means there is more information on there for a person looking to take your identity.

3. You can use your credit card. However, do not use the credit card for more than the amount that you have in cash or in your bank account. This means that you can make payments on it continuously so that you’re not letting the balance get out of control. Remember, you should never have a balance on your credit card for more than 1/3 of the total credit limit on there to maintain a good credit score.

Example: Credit card limit is $300; your balance should never be more than $100 from one month to the next. This way, it doesn’t look bad on your credit report. Someone who is maxing out their credit cards every month looks risky because it looks like they’re living off of their credit cards. Banks and lenders do not like the looks of this. I know you all want to buy a house and some nice cars in your lifetime, so take this advice seriously as it does affect you and your families.

4. The last option (my least favorite) is that you have is to go out and find a prepaid debit card. It is expected that as banks become stricter and less convenient that many people will choose this option. Just be sure to shop very carefully for a prepaid debit card. Many prepaid debit card companies charge for everything such as checking your balance, reloading, making purchases, calling customer service, and many other things that you should not be paying for. Do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Make sure you are getting a prepaid debit card that has minimal charges. If you get direct deposit from your job, there should be no reason why you are paying a monthly fee. You don’t have to take that non-sense.

Again folks, times are changing in an ever stressed economy. Become financially aware, and again do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Many of us live for today when we need to think about tomorrow in every way, especially financially speaking because it makes sense.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lessons from TV's Past

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

Do you remember the time when TV and the shows that were on it had a point? No? It seems as though it has been so long ago that it’s hard to even imagine that TV had a point at one time. Well yes indeed it did.

We are in a time where we are so desensitized to what is on TV that if it doesn’t show a lot that it seems dull, bland, and uninteresting. That is not always true. Sure, it might be something that is cheaply made which is why it cannot be more extravagant. Then there is that old fashioned mentality that existed once called “less is better.” Whatever happened to that?

I had to pick and choose very carefully as to what I would use to illustrate my point that TV had a point once. I wanted to pick two shows that are memorable and that everyone would be familiar with, you don’t have to have watched these to know what they are.

The first show that I have chosen was a hit show with kids and adults alike. It is still a hit in reruns; it will continue to be for generations to come. As times continue to change, it will serve as a window to a time long since passed.

“Bewitched,” starring Elizabeth Montgomery was a show about a marriage between a witch and a human being. Montgomery played Samantha Stephens, a witch who was all powerful with parents that were as theatrical as Shakespeare in the park. Samantha, being an all powerful woman in a time where women were subservient to their husbands was not a married woman nor was she seeking that. She met and fell in love with a young, hot shot advertising executive named Darrin Stephens (played by Dick York in seasons 1-5, and Dick Sargent in seasons 6-8.) They fell head over heels in love and got married.

Darrin was constantly the subject of ridicule from Samantha’s parents, he was turned into a werewolf, a guppy, his ears were enlarged, he was given a high pitch voice, shrunk to the size of an ant, threatened to be turned into a 170 lb artichoke, and many other things over the course of the show’s run.

Many people, especially those of us today chop this off as silly, cheesy, and pointless writing. This was not truly the case for “Bewitched.” When at its creative peak in the first three seasons of the show, it was meant to be a metaphor for mixed marriage.

Remember, “Bewitched” was not made at a time when the mixing of the races and any other racial references could be made on TV. Therefore, instead of doing a show about a white man marrying black woman they made the different races be a mortal and a witch. Samantha’s family and friends were made of witches and warlocks (males and female witches) that always expressed a sincere regret and dismay with Samantha’s decision to engage in what they referred to as a “mixed marriage.”

So, the next time you watch “Bewitched” you will see that it is actually about a lot more than you ever gave it credit for. That is of course unless you already knew that.

The second show that I chose is a worldwide phenomenon that has spawned half a dozen TV series’ and nearly a dozen movies and is a cult hit.

“Star Trek” was unique in the fact that it was the first to achieve many things. It was the first multi-racial cast on television, and it was the first show on television to feature an interracial kiss. To many, this is just a “boring” science fiction show about spaceships and aliens. This could not be further from the truth. When at its creative peak, this show talked about things going on in our everyday life that were not allowed to be discussed on TV at the time.

Science Fiction often used fantasy to mask out the reality in the topics that it focused on. The reason it had to be masked is because strict censorship of TV at the time did not allow various social and political taboos to be discussed or depicted on TV at the time.

“Star Trek” focused on race, war, poverty, religion, and civil rights during a time where all of these topics were in the news of our country every day. It was discovered by many at the time that Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. found this to be an exciting program that he showed his children every week. He wanted them to see that in the future his dreams would come true, that there would have been answer to his call for unity.

We have lost site of the importance of what TV can do to stimulate the intellect of its viewers. Also, it can be said that TV’s viewers have gotten lazy minded and no longer want to think. They would rather be entertained at the site of someone’s humiliation on “Jerry Springer.” Or they can always turn on “American Idol” to tune into someone with little to no talent at all humiliate themselves on national TV just to say they were on it.

Reality TV is the thorn in my side and consists of 99% total smut. It is like the dirt underneath one’s fingernails and we just tune into it. It is nothing but mind numbing, puerile entertainment with no intellectual value whatsoever. In fact, I think it dumbs us down each time we tune into it.

I think if TV were to revisit its roots with a few modern updates, it could be something once again makes sense.

Share your thoughts.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Is Religion Allowed to be Mocked?

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

Does it not always seem like we the “almighty” U.S. of A are fighting someone? There are all kinds of theories on why we’re doing it too. This could get into a debate as to why we are truly in other countries either fighting wars, providing air, or even both. I do not need to mention that we cannot even arrange for ourselves let alone other countries.

It was once said in a more patriotic day, that we the United States of America is the moral center of the world. Really? Seriously? I beg to differ. I think we might have self-labeled ourselves incorrectly. However, I will say that we do have the greatest potential to better ourselves. It should be noted that we still have a long way to go.

The self-labeling of being the moral center is a valid explanation why we don’t let anyone else in the world fight their own fights. Then again, as I have said before, this could be one of many possibilities. I’m not even sure the people who make these decisions always know why.

I do believe that many of these wars are fought to help promote freedom to countries that do not have it the way we do here in the U.S. There are broad social, cultural, and religious differences between our country and that of others; Religion being the most radical of those differences

Here in the U.S. it almost seems like we let our own primary religions to be mocked and disrespected. Many times we are the main contributors to that disrespect through parody or disbelief. This is proof that we are a free country in many respects. The insolence of religious beliefs is a sin punishable by death in some parts of the world. In this country it just gets shrugged off.

If someone were to burn the Holy Bible in this country, nothing would happen. Our own government would not consider this offensive. It definitely would not call for the military to become involved. However, we will get involved if the burning of divine scripture takes place in another land outside of our own. Why do we protect other religions apart from our own? Are our beliefs not sacred to those who practice what they preach? I’m not saying that we should go to war every time Seth McFarlane writes a Jesus, Mormon, or Jehovah’s Witness joke on Family Guy. I just think that we should treat our own beliefs as respectfully as we treat those of others.

I am respectful of all religions and the various cultures that practice them. It is not our fight nor is it our faith with which to concern ourselves. We should first define ourselves as a religious people before fighting for religions in other countries.

How can we observe something that we do not even think should be observed in schools, national anthems, or even in retail celebrated holidays? This is truly backwards.

It is my opinion that much of the battle that we tend to concern ourselves with stems from the fact that other countries are not living the way that we live here. Our government categorizes it as not right. The religious freedoms, freedom of speech, and the choice of mates are all things that we have here. We take these freedoms for granted.

There are many politicians in our country that believe that we are fighting to give these freedoms to those who do not live in what are classified as a free country. I firmly believe that it is not our job to fight a war that is not our own.

This can be something to be considered when we have done the following:

1. Stabilized our economy

2. Restored the confidence of its citizens in our government

3. Restored any grandeur to the sense of patriotism that this country might have once had

Perhaps at this point, it will make better sense.

Share your thoughts.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Obama: Hope or Hype?

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

In January 1968, Senator and Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy spoke in his belief that our country would evolve to elect its first black President in 40 years.

Kennedy was not too far off in his estimation of time. For at the end of 2008, Barack Obama was elected the new leader of the free world.

All the time leading up to this event saw people in excitement. Obama said it was time for a change. Not only would there be a change in our leader, but a difference in the way leadership at the top was exercising thought. Obama and his administration were bent upon thinking outside the box, something this country has been in dire need of for quite some time.

We were promised many changes. The greatest promise was to finally see an end come to the United States presence in the Middle East. This of course has yet to happen since we seem to see that presence increase in some ways.

Was it really these promises that had America so hyped about our new leader? Did we get so caught up in the novelty of finally having diversity in The White House that we forgot to examine the intellectual prowess of the man in question?

I believe it is a yes answer to both of these questions, however, we lucked out. Not only did we get an intelligent President, he can use big words and speaks clearly and concisely.

President Obama has established his strength in addressing the nation. He has spoken too bluntly for some and not bluntly enough for others. Has he made blunders and broken promises? Of course, what President hasn’t? We need only look back at the last decade where we witnessed one man’s endless pursuit of oil. How about the President Nixon scandal at Watergate? Looking back a little further sees President John F. Kennedy and his infamous decisions that led to the Bay of Pigs. The point to be taken here is that no administration is free of its blunders. Why? Need we remind ourselves that no one is perfect?

The current administration has delivered on its promises for changes. Think about it. We’ve seen more thinking outside the box in the last three years than we have in the last four presidential administrations. Of course there is not so much flexibility in all thoughts presented to the House of Representatives. This is where some of those promises for change may never meet the light of day.

The reasons I believe many of these ideas have failed is because of the criticism from the opposing parties. If the public is showered with negative thoughts on an idea for a potential change it will obviously create a media upheaval. The media will be all over the thoughts and opinions of the Republicans, The GOP, and now the Tea Party. These opinions create a stir amongst “Joe and Joanne Voter.” People become frightened into seeing only the negative in the situation and not the positive.

We must all learn to think and speak with our own voices. Stop being followers. Who gives a damn about the Democrats, the Republicans, the GOP, and the Tea Party. Partisan politics are only working to further divide this country, it should be about independence. We vote to have a voice, but we don’t use it because we are too busy listening to everyone else’s. Since we’re doing that, why not listen to me? *Laughs* Just kidding!

Seriously, my friends, I firmly believe we should be looking at the glass half full rather than half empty. We have a leader that is not afraid to get his hands dirty in the mess that he has inherited in the form of our nation’s economy. That mess is due to ever growing greed and overspending on conflicts in other countries that prove almost as senseless as the Vietnam War.

We like our leaders, are a nation that is still learning from its mistakes. President Barack Obama represents equally both the hype and the hope. We are given to the hype courtesy of the media, and his thinking gives us some hope that maybe this is indeed the beginning of change. To embrace our President for the intentions of his efforts rather than to criticize him for undesired results will always make sense.

What do you think? Let’s see you post your thoughts.

I would like to acknowledge E. Dubb for his special contributions to makingSENSE. You’re the man!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Do people still think?

By Bryan Cain-Jackson

This is a question that I ask myself all the time. There are all sorts of things that make me ask it on a regular basis.

Lowell Thomas once theorized a fact… Or a myth that said humans use only 10% of their brain at any given time. Assuming that this is a fact and not a myth, it is a valid question as to whether we do still use 10% of our brains today. Or is it less?

The reason that I ask is that there are so many things in our world that are designed to make things easier. Obviously when things become easier, we don’t have to think about them as hard or even as much.

There are so many signals to dwindling creativity that would support the theory that we might not be thinking as much as we used to or as much as we should. Anyone watched TV or gone to the movies lately? Most programs on TV are reality shows that don’t require any real writing or creativity. Most movies have plots that a chimp could figure out. They lack creativity with repeated plots and ideas, as well as boorishly uninspired and predictable endings. That’s not even taking into account all the sequels and remakes that are being made. It’s very irritating to me as a writer.

Technology has changed the way we exude creativity. Movies are a great example of how thought and manpower has fallen by the waist side due to computer animation. The same exciting special effects that we used to see in films years ago would take hours upon hours and a lot of labor to get that on the screen. That’s nothing to speak of all the thought that went into each one of those scenes they had created. Now, with one or two guys you can have an entire scene created in a matter of minutes with a couple of presses of the keyboard.

Reading is another example. It seems that people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. If it requires too much thought, they just simply don’t want to do it. Experts predict that each generation of children in the United States are becoming increasingly more illiterate. This doesn’t make any sense to me.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that technology is responsible for shortening attention spans? Why do you think we may not be thinking as much as we should?
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