[…] How is it that in a film whose premise rests on the idea of reimagining the past, present and future, we still end up with a blonde white woman with flashing blue eyes as the stand-in for what personifies evolution and supremely fulfilled human potential? At one point the Ape-like Lucy and Evolved Lucy meet face-to-face as Evolved Lucy does a bit of time-traveling. Their fingers touch, and we see them deliberately posed to mimic the famous Creation of Adam painting, and in that moment I saw what I suppose we were supposed to see: humanity at its beginning, and then humanity at its end, at its most perfect. Blonde, white and blue-eyed.
I can’t accept that. I can’t accept that there was only one black woman in the entire film, who delivered one line and who we never saw again. I can’t accept that the bad guys were Asian and that although in China, Lucy’s roommate says, “I mean, who speaks Chinese? I don’t speak Chinese!” I can’t accept that in Hercules, which I also saw this weekend, there were no people of color except for Dwayne Johnson himself and his mixed-race wife, whose skin was almost alabaster. I can’t accept that she got maybe two lines and was then murdered. I can’t accept that the “primitive tribe” in Hercules consisted of dark-haired men painted heavily, blackish green, to give their skin (head-to-toe) a darker appearance, so the audience could easily differentiate between good and bad guys by the white vs. dark skin. I can’t accept that during the previews, Exodus: Gods and Kings, a story about Moses leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt, where not a single person of color is represented, casts Sigourney Weaver and Joel Edgerton to play Egyptians. I can’t accept that in the preview for Kingsman: The Secret Service, which takes place in London, features a cast of white boys and not a single person of Indian descent, which make up the largest non-white ethnic group in London. I can’t accept that in stories about the end of the world and the apocalypse, that somehow only white people survive. I can’t accept that while my daily life is filled with black and brown women, they are completely absent, erased, when I look at a TV or movie screen.
I can’t accept that. And I can’t accept that when we think about the potential of humankind and what our brains are capable of doing and thinking and feeling, that people of color would be absent from that imagining. I can’t accept that. And I won’t. I’m tired of seeing people that look like me crowding screens both big and small: I am not what the world looks like. Hollywood, stop whitewashing characters. Give us more films like this year’s Annie. I’m no Lucy — like everyone else I’m only using a tiny amount of my brain’s capacity. But you don’t need to be a superhuman logic-machine to see that Hollywood has a major problem with depicting people of color, and it’s time to actually reimagine what the world can and should be.
Para justificarse, el terrorismo de Estado fabrica terroristas: siembra odio y cosecha coartadas. Todo indica que esta carnicería de Gaza, que según sus autores quiere acabar con los terroristas, logrará multiplicarlos.
La llamada comunidad internacional, ¿existe? ¿Es algo más que un club de mercaderes, banqueros y guerreros? ¿Es algo más que el nombre artístico que los Estados Unidos se ponen cuando hacen teatro? Ante la tragedia de Gaza, la hipocresía mundial se luce una vez más. Como siempre, la indiferencia, los discursos vacíos, las declaraciones huecas, las declamaciones altisonantes, las posturas ambiguas, rinden tributo a la sagrada impunidad. Ante la tragedia de Gaza, los países árabes se lavan las manos. Como siempre. Y como siempre, los países europeos se frotan las manos.
La vieja Europa, tan capaz de belleza y de perversidad, derrama alguna que otra lágrima mientras secretamente celebra esta jugada maestra. Porque la cacería de judíos fue siempre una costumbre europea, pero desde hace medio siglo esa deuda histórica está siendo cobrada a los palestinos, que también son semitas y que nunca fueron, ni son, antisemitas. Ellos están pagando, en sangre contante y sonante, una cuenta ajena. (Este artículo está dedicado a mis amigos judíos asesinados por las dictaduras latinoamericanas que Israel asesoró.)
[…] nada nos prepara para a noite, ao som de aviões e navios bombardeando a faixa de Gaza, e para a ideia instalada em recantos profundos da mente que me faz lembrar de uma canção da brasileira Karina Buhr, que um dia vi cantar no Ibirapuera. Em “Nassiria e Najaf”, ela grita: “Dorme logo antes que você morra!”. A letra é dedicada às crianças de Bagdá. Mas não parece absurda em Gaza, hoje.
"Dorme antes do míssil passar
Daqui a um segundo eu posso não ter mais você Você não mais que isso Nossa casa explodir Uma arma cravar meu corpo Um corpo furar sua carne
Mesmo o que a gente não tem mais pode morrer aqui Não importam seus amigos anjos, nem sua vontade de comer um bolo, nem meu vestido novo, nem meu vestido velho
I wanted to give you something for your birthday that money couldn’t buy, something that only a father could give a son, like a family heirloom. This is the best I could do. Apologies in advance.
I present to you: THE BEATLES’ BLACK ALBUM. The only work I’ve ever been a part of that I feel any sense of pride for involves something born in a spirit of collaboration — not my idea or his or her idea, but some unforeseeable magic that happens in creativity when energies collide.
This is the best of John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s solo work, post-BEATLES. Basically I’ve put the band back together for you. There’s this thing that happens when you listen to too much of the solo stuff separately — too much Lennon: suddenly there’s a little too much self-involvement in the room; too much Paul and it can become sentimental — let’s face it, borderline goofy; too much George: I mean, we all have our spiritual side but it’s only interesting for about six minutes, ya know? Ringo: He’s funny, irreverent, and cool, but he can’t sing — he had a bunch of hits in the ’70s (even more than Lennon) but you aren’t gonna go home and crank up a Ringo Starr album start to finish, you’re just not gonna do that. When you mix up their work, though, when you put them side by side and let them flow — they elevate each other, and you start to hear it: T H E B E A T L E S. Just listen to the whole CD, OK?
I guess it was the fact that Lennon was shot and killed at 40 (one of Lennon’s last fully composed songs was “Life Begins at 40,” which he wrote for Ringo — I couldn’t bring myself to include it on the mix as the irony still does not make me laugh) and that I just turned 40 myself that conjured this BLACK ALBUM. I listen to this music and for some reason (maybe the ongoing, metamorphosing pain of my divorce from your mother) I am filled with sadness that John & Paul’s friendship turned so bitter. I know, I know, I know, it has nothing to do with me, but damn it, tell me again why love can’t last. Why do we give in to pettiness? Why did they? Why do we so often see gifts as threats? Differences as shortcomings? Why can we not see that our friction could be used to polish one another?
I read a little anecdote about when John’s mother died:
He was an angry teenager — a switchblade in his pocket, a cigarette in his lips, sex on his mind. At a memorial service for his “unstable” and suddenly dead mom (whom he’d just recently been getting close to), he — pissed off and drunk — punched a bandmate in the face and stormed out of the memorial reception. Paul, several years his junior — a young boy, really, who didn’t yet care about girls, who was clearly UNCOOL, and who was let into the band despite his lack of badass-ness and sexual prowess due to the fact that even at 14 he could play the shit out of the guitar — chased John out onto the street saying, “John, why are you being such a jerk?”
John said, “My mum’s fuckin’ dead!”
Paul said, “You never even once asked me about my mum.”
“What about her?”
“…My mum’s dead too.”
They hugged in the middle of the suburban street. John apparently said, “Can we please start a fucking rock ‘n’ roll band?”
This story answered a question that had lingered in my brain my whole music-listening life: If The Beatles were only together 10 years and the members of the band were so young that entire time, how did they manage to write “Help,” “Fool on the Hill,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life”? They were just 25-year-old boys with a gaggle of babes outside their hotel room door and as much champagne as a young lad could stand. How did they set their minds to such substantive artistic goals? They did it because they were in pain. They knew that love does not last. They knew it as extremely young men.
With the BLACK ALBUM, we get to hear the boys write on adult life: marriage, fatherhood, sobriety, spiritual yearning, the emptiness of material success — “Starting Over,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Beautiful Boy,” “The No No Song,” “God” — and still they are keenly aware of this fact: Love does not last.
I don’t want it to be true. I want Lennon/McCartney to write beautifully together forever, but is that really the point? I mean if the point of a rose was to last forever, it would be made of stone, right? So how do we handle this idea with grace and maturity? If you’re a romantic like me, it’s hard not to long for some indication of healing between the two of them. All signs point that way.
When Paul went on SNL recently, he played almost all LENNON. And he did it with obvious joy.
Listen to McCartney’s “Here Today.”
Can you listen to “Two of Us” (the last song they wrote side by side) and not hurt a little? What were those two motherless boys who hugged in the middle of the road so long ago thinking as they wrote “The two of us have memories longer then the road that stretches out ahead”?
The dynamic of their breakup, like any divorce, is mysterious. Some say that Paul, the pupil, had surpassed John, the mentor, and they couldn’t reach a new balance. Some say Paul was a little snot who bought the publishing rights out from underneath the other three. Others say without Brian Epstein there was no mediator between their egos. Who knows.
I played Samantha “Hey Jude” the other day, and of course she listened to it over and over. I told her the song had been written by McCartney for Lennon’s son after Lennon’s divorce and she listened even more intently. George once said that “Hey Jude” was the beginning of the end for the Beatles. Brian Epstein had just died and John & Paul were left alone to run the brand-new Apple label. They recorded “Hey Jude” and “Revolution” as a single. Normally, Brian would decide which song was the A-side and which was the B-side, but now it was up to the boys. John thought “Revolution” was an important political rock song and that they needed to establish themselves as an adult band. Paul thought “Revolution” was brilliant but that The Beatles were primarily a pop band and so they should lead with “Hey Jude.” He knew it would be a monster hit and that the politics should come on a subversive B-side. They had a vote. “Hey Jude” won 3-1. George said that John felt Paul had pulled off a kind of coup d’etat. He wasn’t visibly upset but he began to withdraw. It was no longer his band.
The irony/punch line of this story is another story I once heard: When the “Hey Jude”/”Revolution” single was hot off the press, the boys had the mischievous idea of bringing their own new single to a Rolling Stones record-release listening party. Mick Jagger says that once the Fab Four arrived and let word of their new single slip — just as Side 1 of the Stones’ big new album was finishing — everyone clamored to hear it. Once The Beatles were on, they just kept flipping the single over and over. Side 2 of BEGGARS BANQUET never even found the needle.
So no matter how mad John was, he wasn’t that mad…
Once when John was asked whether he would ever play with Paul again, he answered: “It would always be about, ‘Play what?’ It’s about the music. We play well together — if he had an idea and needed me, I’d be interested.”
I love that.
Maybe the lesson is: Love doesn’t last, but the music love creates just might.
Your mom and I couldn’t make love last, but you are the music, my man.
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love…”
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We know that, although it’s a truth likely still lost on Brazilians, it was just a loss in a game. It shouldn’t be—and really wasn’t—a national humiliation, or anything like it. It was just eleven guys having a very bad day, most of them millionaires who work and often reside abroad.
There is no such thing as national honor, or if there is it should be synonymous with national common sense. Our honor, as people and countries, lies in being seen to conduct ourselves with kindness and mercy to the less fortunate, not in winning games or battles. Nations lose wars, and games, for many reasons, none of them curable by reprisal or self-mutilation. The Brazilians should be inclined to fix Brazil because Brazil needs fixing, not because they lost a game, of a kind that they will very likely win the next time they play one like it. Nations are not humiliated in this manner, though sometimes the pride of their rulers—or of eleven players and a coach—may be. We should banish for good the language of national honor and credibility and humiliation, and replace it with the language of common sense and self-interest and sanity. Add the language of pleasure, of sex and romance, to that, and no one will argue—certainly not, even with all their pain this week, the Brazilians.
Far-right political parties are gaining ground in France. Most of Germany’s soccer hooligans are now neo-Nazis. And this spring, Switzerland voted to curb immigration, defying the spirit of laws that allow citizens freedom of movement across the European Union.
But amid all the bad blood, has anyone thought about how sending immigrants packing would affect the teams playing the world’s greatest game? Broadly defining “foreigner” as anyone with at least one foreign-born parent, Switzerland would lose two-thirds of its players. France and the Netherlands might be knocked out of contention. And Algeria, Ghana, Turkey or even Suriname could win it all.