Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Election year 2016: A Short Story

Trhough The Perspective of a Political Novice

We were all crowded in a large lobby, looking up at a black platform; even the backdrop of the platform was cloaked in black fringe.

I remembered when there were red, blue, or purple curtains to counter the bleak color of the stage, but many politicians did or said nothing to protest it in the recent years following the elections, so the change had remained during their subsequent speeches and political appearances.

After a few moments contemplating this change, the presidential nominees finally pushed back the dark curtain and slowly moved over the stage to their designated places.
 At that moment, I noticed a strange group of men seated near them, a great view of the festivities afforded to them from their high positions.

It was strange because it seemed to be a balcony they were sitting in, unlike all of us- the voters on the ground floor.

They had on fine suits, big bellies adorned each, and hints of gold were on their fingers, necks, and arms.
I looked back at the crowd behind me-my fellow voters-and saw extreme differences that greatly troubled me.
 We all looked meager and unkempt; maybe not too impoverished, but a people that obviously weathered the storm of the recession that had gone on for years now.

One of the men in the suits caught me spying, and a look of disgust and derision showed on his entire face (not one feature was spared from some ugly contortion or angry red color).

He whispered to a man near him, someone who had the appearance of a personal assistant or servant, and in a few minutes one of the presidential nominees had begun speaking something akin to a warning.

His voice loomed over the room with a quiet intelligence:
“I wish for everyone’s eyes to be on me, please. We are about to begin.”

The black man glanced back, which is what the nominee was, and looked over at the man I noticed whispering to his servant.
The fat cat nodded and he went on speaking.
Although he had a calm intelligence in his voice, his nervous eyes roamed over the crowd and he cleared his throat 3 or 4 times before he said anything remotely conversational.

“I, uh, I will open the argument up.”
“Our issues are caused by…none other than ourselves.”
The crowd gasped.
The fat cat didn’t seem happy at all.
“Wait, I mean that we need to work harder together to achieve our goals,” he said, incessantly rearranging his tie.
“A man near me whispered, “I’ve been working hard. Three jobs to be exact.”

Something very strange happened after that.
The man began writhing in pain.
I kneeled down close to his convulsing body, panicked, but still managing to survey his body for any marks or bruises but only found one bright red mark that originated on his arm.

It was like some electric prod had been sticking him in that exact spot.

A terrible realization immediately dawned on me that snapped all the odd occurrences into place.

I looked around my environment again, anew with wide eyes. There were cameras behind us, three rows of them actually; at first thought cameras ran by newscasters, but instead a discreet surveillance on the crowd...with bright silver prods hiding underneath them.

Quickly, I put my head down; instinctively feeling this was what was wanted from me all along. I felt I was starting to play a game to stay alive.

When the man got up, rubbing his sore arm, he said to me in his regular voice. “What the fuck was that?”
I shushed him quickly, pleading and warning with my eyes to see the bigger picture of what was going on. At first he didn’t understand, so I just pointed towards the stage and simply told him to watch the nominees and calm down. “Enjoy the show.”

The black nominee, who looked vaguely familiar, began speaking again.

“It’s our faults, the people because we don’t trust in the system like we used to.
Public trust in our congress has drastically gone down. We can’t do anything if you don’t trust us with anything."

I shook my head in disagreement, and in that instant was swept up by an army of people.
My legs and arms were shackled, my neck also harshly clamped with a metal neck brace.
I tried futilely to wrestle against the many tight, heavy arms that were painfully grabbing me; I even felt feet repeatedly and forcefully kick at my legs to make me lose balance and topple over. They couldn’t though; my knees were securely bent and my shoes planted firmly to the ground.

The next thing I remember was being lifted into the air, my back laying uncomfortably on numerous glass shields.

The last my frenzied eyes and brain saw and processed was a bunch of people staring back on me incredulously.
The nominee gave me a cold, superior look from behind them, and  the fat cats smugly grinned nearby in a balcony above all else.
The people were truly brainwashed into thinking they had control.
Blackness swallowed me up shortly after.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Disection of the Celebrity Docudrama

Before I continue into this dissection, let me state this; a little disclaimer if you will-Yes, I will be discussing the recent docudrama to grace television about Beyonce but I DO NOT hate Beyonce! I can’t say the same for the other ‘artists’ I will be mentioning, but dammit it’s a start and I won’t be too brutal with them- I mean, not many people would turn down the chance to sing teeny-bopper songs for a couple mil a year.

Now, the dissection.
Though I am not a big Beyonce fan, I think Beyonce is a very accomplished  musician; a good-looking person with a pretty and magnanimous singing voice, but I do have a few issues with her which were spawned from her documentary, Life's But A Dream. Okay, I didn't exactly watch the whole thing, but I saw enough (and read a few reviews and spoilers) of it to know that it was much of the same thing that the Katy Perry and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never documentaries were made of or was very consistent to in material.
Because of that fact, I couldn't get through it without doing a few things, like continuously sighing, rolling my eyes or occasionally cringing intermittently or in-time to some of the less savory moments (a crew member or stage manager angrily waving a piece of fake hair in the air), and then figuring out early on that I would not like it even if I tried watching it longer for any good parts I happened to come across.

It might as well have been called The (Oh so) Privileged Life of Beyonce or An Inside View to Mega Stardom, which made me realize what I hate most about all these celebrity docudramas.

1. Their promotional tools, not real documentaries. Beyonce had not one factual thing in the parts of the documentary I watched, which led me to believe that it was like this for the rest of her short documentary or my preferred term, the docudrama.  Even before the docudrama was on air, she was on Oprah and other television shows basically promoting a promotional tool, namely her brand and herself. She talked on her new baby and big pieces of her life that would be filmed, undoubtedly misleading people to believe the documentary would delve deeper into what she had affirmed would be shot with no such luck.

2. Some of these people are too young to have documentaries. These people are instant and sometimes overnight sensations that don’t have much to document in the first place, which left me scratching my head when Justin Bieber came out with his at the tender age of 15 or 16.

3.They are completely and utterly pointless. Just last month I watched a documentary of Henry Ford, the man who created the Model T car. It wasn’t boring at all, although it probably should be by today’s standards and what people of my generation find interesting. Maybe it was because I am a proclaimed history buff, but it delved into what made this man a success in innovation, his many failures (personal and business), and how his one contribution changed the world. There was real, tangible drama behind it because it discussed the many facets of this flawed and gifted man’s life. The most one of these celebrity docudramas can create in the drama department is it's terrible counterpart, sensationalism.

One scene in particular that demonstrates this sensationalism and attention-getter attraction is of Beyonce talking into her webcam, since most of it is made up of webcam videos and interview-style sittings by some unknown figure, saying how nervous and extremely scared she was for a performance scheduled the next day. The next day arrives and she's sitting in a chair getting her make-up done, if I remember correctly, and giving orders to set up everything; a few minutes pass and she then says in her little monologue that "I'm a calm and confident person, and I know can do this." So then what was the point of going through all that amped up, false worry before the big performance? On-stage she looked like she was meant to be there, moving all around the black top as if to claim it as her territory while looking directly into the audience with fearless eyes. And she's done it all before, countless times. She first came on the scene when she was like, what, 19? Katy Perry also pulled a stunt like this in her celeb docudrama, looking sad before going on stage but then getting in front of the audience with a big, happy smile as if it were and indeed is her dream come true.

What are these 'documentaries,' and I say that very loosely, really conveying?

Let's first look at the definition of documentary.

1.Consisting of, concerning, or based on documents.
2.Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film.
n. pl. doc·u·men·ta·ries
A work, such as a film or television program, presenting political, social, or historical subject matter in a factual and informative manner and often consisting of actual news films or interviews accompanied by narration.

The key words are objective or without editorializing.
I know we can never expect full objectivity or limited editing, but its hard to swallow this when the executive producer was Beyonce herself and the film had weird out-of-place interviews, many webcam sessions of herself, and incoherent and random clips of scenes with her crew members on stage set ups, family encounters, or friends and hubby all mashed and mixed together.

If you're hoping to get a complete view of how the oh-so deep and faceted Beyonce is, well it's going to be dam near impossible. Justin Bieber had nothing of a personality aside from a regular teenage boy that got incredibly lucky, so it was fine with him. And Katy Perry was always an eccentric sort-of figure, which easily and explicitly explained her behavior and personality in her docudrama.

Beyonce’s is filled with contradictions of behavior and personality, but then who cares? She is a mega star, and all mega stars at one point of their entertaining careers have been docile and nice to crew members one minute then demanding the next, and rightfully so I suppose; it just doesn’t leave for good television viewing. Show business is show business though.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Poem of a Christian Atheist

The Poem of a Christian Atheist
 Dear God
Am I a good person?
What is good if we’re all sinners?
What can we ever do to gain your acceptance and recognition?
Can we ever hope to be unique, special?
Can we ever be different from our ancestors?
Are we doomed to commit the same mistakes as our ancestors? To have the same destined tragedies?

Do we just live, and die?
Will I go to hell, in my soul, for all the wrong I’ve done even if I am truly sorry, truly regretful?
Does it even matter?

I love you.
Your glory.
Your light.
And I pity that I will never attain or even hope to reach its magnitude.

All I see is demons.
So how can I not fall under the influences of sin?
I get angry at your high expectations.
What do you expect me to accomplish around all this immorality, depravity, sin, hate.

If you are to punish me, do it now…
I don’t want to wait
For the inevitable

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wal-Mart Captured the Illusive Cookie Monster and Other Sweet Tidbits

Wal-Mart's cookie monster turned out to be the illusive Ms. Penny Winters, a long-time employee who regularly snacked on Wal-Mart's candy horde for several years; the candy of choice and instrument to finding out her guilt? Chocolate Oreo.

This should barely have passed for news, like the many other pointless or trivial articles on the internet, such a one I had recently come across discussing the sugar baby/sugar daddy *cough prostitution* 'arrangement' sites that have grown exponentially from 2008 to present for young college kids who are finding it very difficult to pay for expenses that could easily be wiped away with a rich 45 to 65 year old man in tow.

This is still thinly veiled prostitution by another perfumed or badly painted name, no matter how much you justify a 19 year old's lust for the hairy and saggy man flesh of a 60 year old guy. If it wasn't for his money, she probably wouldn't have even bothered with tenderly loving it, although I admit there might be some exceptions to the rule.

How many old men right now are clapping their hands and jumping up and down in glee yelling that they finally got a chance with the young girlies. (just joking. I revere my elders).

Anyway, this is more of a warning and decree from the Almighty Wal-Mart Empire than anything else that Corporate rule is strong and well in the United States and they'd like you to know it.

Wal-Mart could have easily done all this in-house instead of seeking to indict hapless Ms. Winters with a felony, and let everyone know it.

She probably couldn't help herself, like the many other comments in the said 'news' articles pointed out; Wal-Mart has been accused on multiple occasions of finding ways to pay their workers under the minimum wage and using taxpayer money through an array of our government-sponsored social programs to substitute for health insurance and supplemental income for their employees.
Check out Wal-Mart: The High-Cost of Low Cost documentary and you'll see what I mean. But Wal-Mart (and possibly the other special corporations that they and the government covet), are allowed to pay criminally low rates for cheap merchandise and labor in China, effectively killing many mom and pop stores in the process with such an advantageous combination while you get charged with a felony for stealing the cheaply made Chinese products from their tight-fisted hands. A misdemeanor I understand, but a felony?

This is a cray cray culture.