Deal of the Day : Favorite 3D Book ‘ NATIVE AMERICANS & THE WILD WEST IN 3D! ‘!

Deal of the Day : Favorite 3D Book ‘ NATIVE AMERICANS & THE WILD WEST IN 3D! ‘!

native3d

First published in 2009 by Voyageur Press NATIVE AMERICANS & THE WILD WEST IN 3D is part of a short lived but impressive series of 3D titles edited by Greg Dinkins and released by Voyageur.

 

Sporting high production values and smartly designed built in glasses, not the flimsy glasses you think of when you hear 3D, but a high-quality fold out stereoscopic viewing apparatus that is actually built into the front cover, and you have a book that is at once a fascinating historical read and document, while at the same time being a ‘you are there’ thrill ride.

It’s an impressive alchemy of form and function, and that’s why it is today’s DEAL OF THE DAY! use the following link to Get one for yourself and one to give out as a gift. You’ll be glad you did. πŸ™‚

 

Native Americans & the Wild West in 3D: A Look Back in Time: With Built-in Stereoscope Viewer – Your Glasses to the Past!

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TOP 5 DESERT ISLAND Directors! Part 1 of 3 Under Construction

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

This is an idea that the filmspotting podcast covered in their latest episode, and while they had intriguing choices it spurred me to a slightly different list and slightly different choices.

If you can only, for whatever reason, have the films of five directors to watch, on a desert island, for an uncertain amount of time, or for all time… what five directors do you choose? Fritz Lang? F.W. Murnau? Louis Feuillade? Alfred Hitchcock? David Lean? Orson Welles? Ousmane Sembene? Mary Harron?

They list very interesting choices, not as good as the names I list above (I’m joking), many of which I myself am a cheerleader for (Kurosawa, Howard Hawks), but it occurred to me that diversity, particularly when it came to Hollywood films, was a rare exception rather than a rule. And that concerned me because, if I am trapped on a deserted island with the filmography of only 5 directors, that I wanted the filmography of at least a couple of those directors to represent the ethnic width and breadth of the human condition. The beauty of a range of colors and women and cultures.

I being someone who even today gets bored with the lack of diversity of films, the idea of being stuck with films not representative of the larger world, and the rich tapestry of people in it, gave me pause. For all our berating of terms like political correctness (which when really defined is respect, so when people rail against political correctness what they are really arguing against is giving people respect) we have become a more intolerant and stratified society. And part of that I think has to do with our mass media. Our obsession with vilifying the other.

The (seemingly increasing) lack of diversity in recent films and television, being I think a dangerous sign of a tail wagging the dog society. Of a vocal minority calling for a return to ‘the good old days’ which, when finally viewed, never really were that good.

Hollywood has from its inception been a propaganda machine, where a few people’s fiction altered often negatively many people’s facts. And before discussing Desert Island directors, another discussion has to be had first… about the values of film. Not the value of film, but the values portrayed or reiterated or held dear, in perhaps too many films. We have to talk about exclusion and stereotyping in films beginnings, and in film’s present.

While willing to give a slight pass to pre-1960 films given their historic placement, I have less interest or sympathy for segregated and nearly Apartheid rich, post-1960 into 21st century, Hollywood films. Or worse the 21st century version of Step and Fetchit, black actors used to deliver White Messages. Be it MONSTERS BALL or TRAINING DAY it’s the eye-bulging, debasing, cartoonish extremes, that Black actors are saddled to wear, that hearkens to what is worst in cinema.

If the choice is between only debased caricatures… of people of color, ala Frank Darabont or David Ayer or practically no characters of color ala Woody Allen, I’ll take the latter evil. But ideally the filmmakers I want to support and revisit, are those who can represent characters of color with the same broad diversity we grant to the human race, the Michael Manns, the Carl Franklins, the Tony Scotts, the Gordon Parks.

This idea of us as hero and villain, Sexual and chaste, brilliant and imbecilic, honorable and flawed, important and funny, savior and victim. In the 21st century that diversity of roles is generally relegated to White actors. In the 21st century the number of Hollywood movies that portray characters of color with any of those positive aspects listed… are few and far between.

Even supposed mass market films like XMEN FIRST CLASS and SIN CITY reek of this ingrained stereotyping and caricature as truth, when it comes to the non-pale characters. And I could deal if this mentality and programming and white wish fulfillment was the occasional film, however in the last two decades it has become practically every film and tv show. The White hero has a woman of color pining for him, his backup girl typically. And the male actor of color, seldom a protagonist, and even less seldom does he get the girl, he is now relegated to comedy relief or side-kick; Rochester for the 21st century. Far have we drifted from the sexually virile Black stars of the 70s.

This creates a cinema of exclusion and to some extent, social engineering. Our facts are shaped by our fictions, arguably more than anything else, and a cinema of marginalization, legitimization and feminism of the male of color, bodes not well.

We are not DW Griffith we are not Cecil B. DeMills making entertainment for a virulently segregated, Jim Crow America. We have made some progress since then, and for filmmakers not to acknowledge that progress or that shifting audience, is to take a stance against that progress, and against that diverse viewing base.

We are not in the early days of the 20th century, we are in the early days of the 21st and while it is a filmmakers choice whether to be exclusionary or boring or homogeneous to a fault, you do so at the risk of failing to become a better filmmaker. You do so at the risk of making scared, redundant, and repetitive early 20th century films, here in the 21st century.

Well I’ve gone on about the pitfalls of cinema, here 15 years into the 21st century, now let’s discuss the strengths of film. The people I think are portraying an America and a world far more intune to the one I walk through, where heroes can be both Black and White.

In the Hollywood system the names are few, but welcome, and waiting… waiting for viewers, reviewers, actors, writer, producers, studios, and directors to recognize there is an inequity, a growing one, at the heart of our fictions, that much be addressed to make our cinema and ourselves… better.

Those filmmakers are (among others):

The late great Gordon Parks
The late great Tony Scott
The very much with us and Great Michael Mann
The very much with us and Great and underutilized Carl Franklin
Sergio Leonne
Ossie Davis

Very, very different directors, but what they were all able to do, sometimes for a single movie, sometimes for multiple movies, is something so rarely done in Hollywood today that it’s like there is an unofficial Hayes code prohibiting it…

…prohibiting having a movie with a character of color or Black character as both heroic protagonist and a male with a functioning libido, who doesn’t have to die or be sacrificed for the majority. πŸ™‚

Outside of the great explosion of films in the 70s extending a bit into the 80s, and the subsequent eradication of locally controlled/independent theaters, The Heroic, virile Black hero has become a scare commodity on Theatrical screens.

Which is why when it gets done well… these days, such as in Peter Berg’s poorly named and badly marketed HANCOCK… the film becomes a wild success. Because there is a large population starved for empowering images of themselves. 2013 with its BUTLER and FRUITYVALE STATION and 12 YEARS A SLAVE, showcases Hollywood’s debasement attitude when it comes to theatrical releases. “Multiple characters of color? You better be a comedy, or telling us about getting your ass whupped.” πŸ™‚ .

Hence 2013s abundance of films of victimization, while they should be valid stories that have their place, if you counter them with just as many films of triumph, or winning, or adventure, or thrilling action and heroism. However the Heroic Tale is a rare one, and that is the failing of the system we have to change. Without the heroic myth to contrast it, tales of victimization are just an assault, a tool, a club… to beat a population into shape.

— to be continued —

A choice of Romney or Obama means the American People Lose

Here’s the thing.

The lesser of two evils, is still evil.

I voted for Obama four years ago, though his voting record in Congress, and the big-business backers to his presidential campaign, raised serious questions for me, whether his deeds as president would live up to his words.

Four years later we can see they have not.

Those eloquent speeches, riding into the office on the quotes of men who fought for civil liberties, have been lost in a presidency that has seen sweeping expansion of state powers and infiltration of big-business interests at the expense of civil liberties and the citizenry.

We live in a ratcheted up cointel-pro state.

Ah, yes… you don’t know that term.

It’s used sparingly these days. It’s a doctrine, it’s a doctrine, and a plan of action… for keeping things the same. It’s in many ways just a retrofitting of the doctrine of manifest destiny.

It is a doctrine that has been used in this country that consists of the state sanctioned murder of movements contrary to the status quo, be those movements the Native American or the Black Consciousness movements of the 60s or Move in the 80s


(MOVE? You don’t know the name… Ahh— I forget how little of the world the press let’s anyone see these days.

MOVE was people wanting to live, their way, in the cradle of Liberty, the city of Love, and finding themselves in the way of interests…virulent.

It’s my 9-11.

Philadelphia Mayor requested it, the bombing, and the Pennsylvania Governor ordered the dropping of a bomb, in the heart of the city, on American citizens, to settle an issue of homesteading, gentrification, and because he didn’t like the way they lived.

Look it up.

Take a few minutes away from playing Angry Birds, and you will find a story… to make a right man wrong.

The tax-dollar paid bomb killed men, women, and children. We dropped a bomb in the heart of an American city, and not a station mentioned it.

Welcome to the war.

And yet there were survivors.

Surviving is what we do.

And they had the survivors incarcerated… for having the temerity to have survived. They are still 30 years later, incarcerated, unwanted truths… locked away.

It was the story that a young reporter called Mumia was covering, before he was shot down by Philadelphia police bullets, and thrown on Death Row for not having the good manners… to have died quietly.

That… is MOVE. That is a story of a great wrong, and it waits… to be righted.)

or the Branch Davidians in the 90s (a multi-racial, an multi-ethnic group, whose massacre at Waco has been coopted by militant and hate groups that share none of the interests of the Davidians).

And that increase in surveillance, control, and punishment of citizens for exercising their rights as citizens, that cointel-pro that has seen the massacring of American citizens and American Liberties for years, has received a new rubber stamp approval by Obama. He has signed and trumpeted every erosion of civil liberties put in from of him in the last four years.

His presidency in effect has been in many ways a continuation and mirroring of the Bush years, which is not surprising considering the backers are the same.

What I’m saying is I voted for the lesser of evils 4 years ago, hoping the words and the promises were the man.

They were not.

They were just rhetoric. Having watched his administration, two things have become clear to me…both Democrats and Republicans are not about the issues, they are about the tribalism.

I say that because in ways deep and true Obama’s presidency has been a staunch ‘conservative republican pro-big business, anti-civil liberties, pro-corporate welfare anti-citizen’s welfare’ presidency.

So people, conservatives who defended Bush’s presidency, should have for the past four years been defending Obama. And liberals, who berated and opposed Bush’s presidency should have been equally vocal in their opposition to Obama.

But oddly enough that’s not what happened. And it’s because it’s not the issues staunch do-or-die Republicans or Democrats, and much of the press care about, it is the football game. It is cheering for your colors, right or wrong.

And that way, that tribalism, that excuses wrong if it is done by your team, and hates right if it is done by the other team… has no place in a sane world. Which is obvious by looking at our world.

You have to be able to call wrong, wrong, regardless of the color it wears. And you have to be able to call right, right, regardless of the team it is on.

At the end of the day, such pointed tribalism, is the height of irrationality and the height of self destruction.

I voted for Obama four years ago, because he was the lesser of two evils, and I hoped he would live up to his pretty speeches and his word. He did not.

Romney and Obama are backed by the same corporate interests, they are a rigged game, spouting diatribes on inanities at each other, but on the real choices, “do I send troops to kill here”, “do I leave Gasoline companies untaxed”, “do I offset mounting debt by instituting a flat mandatory tax on business generating revenue in the US”, “do we punish companies for off-shoring, and H1visas, and not hiring domestically”, in the serious things where it is about the rights of big business to rape the American people… Obama and Romney are in complete agreement, they are (bs stances on homosexuality aside) kissing cousins. πŸ™‚

They will do whatever they are told to do.

So no, I won’t be choosing between the lesser of two evils this year. I’ll vote for someone else, an Independent I like, or a write in candidate.

And yes, yes, I know the argument that a vote not for a front runner is a wasted vote.

That argument never held water with me. All a man has is one vote, and the granting of that vote, if it takes the will of other men into consideration, the will of the majority, how then is it his vote?

Let 300 million Americans vote for the same person, the popular candidate, and I will alone spend my one vote on the candidate I believe in. And if he wins not, then he wins not, but he will not lose for my absence.

Let the records at the end of days show that, while all the lions or hyenas roared in unison, that the son of David followed not the sure thing… but pursued even onto defeat… the right thing.

So what candidates am I toying with currently…

Well I’m sure the landscape has more changing to do between now and November, but I’m intrigued by:

Stewart Alexander

and

Gary Johnson

As far as write-in candidates, I like big name stars who go out there fighting for the little guy and aren’t above getting arrested doing so. πŸ™‚ .

So a write in ticket of George Clooney and Danny Glover, I think would be pretty damn awesome. Neither one being a stranger to international affairs, and really after Bush II, it’s obvious that a real deep understanding of just about anything isn’t necessary to be president. :).

So yeah those are the names I’m researching now, for a list of all 2012 candidates, go here:

Presidential Candidates 2012

And I guess I’ll leave you with a quote, that seems to have value in these valueless times:

“A warrior must focus his attention
on the link between himself and his death.
Without remorse or sadness or worrying,
he must focus his attention on the fact
that he does not have time
and let his acts flow accordingly.
He must let each of his acts
be his last battle on earth.

Only under those conditions
will his acts
have their rightful power.
Otherwise they will be,
for as long as he lives,
the acts of a fool.”

—Don Juan as quoted by Carlos Casteneda

Thanksgiving, Day of Mourning, Christmas, The Cross and bringing the Sword

Thanksgiving is a very Western holiday.

And I am increasingly… not western.

I’ll take the day off. Sure. But I’ll take it in my way.

The United American Indians of New England since 1970 have called Thanksgiving by perhaps a more apt name, ‘A Day of Mourning’ and have observed it as such. And being myself a son of colonial horror, I see clearly their stance. My aboriginal blood, always pulling toward aboriginal people. Be they Zulu or Wampanoags.

I find myself, somewhere between those two disparate camps of celebration and mourning.

I find for me, the day is one of rumination. A day of reflection.

************

More on Holidays.

I refuse to be dictated to, regarding what I should celebrate. I refuse to bury truths, beneath money making lies. The general purpose of holidays.

Be it Thanksgiving or Christmas, a pagan Roman Holiday to debauchery that became retrofitted to celebrating the Roman’s killing of, what they considered, a so-called Christ, and retrofitted again in the 20th century as a marketing tool, a tool for big business to get bigger. Selling toys, and cards, and trees and crosses.

And a word on the cross.

The cross long before Christianity was a Greek, then Roman, symbol of torture and terror, the very word has its roots as a device of torture.

And was perfected by the great Roman empire, going up and down, and to and fro the entire world, the sign of you crossing yourself, it is also how the devil is described. The cross was a symbol of terror before the coming of Christ, and remains so. Only it has become slightly more horrible, as they have added a crucified man to that symbol.

The cross is not celebrating Christ’s life, it is celebrating Rome’s victory. Who but the lyncher makes the lynching and the lynch rope their symbol? Who but the crucifier makes the crucifixtion their symbol?

Think.

The tiny cult of Christianity a long time ago was usurped, like everything else, by those who loved it not. They want to sell you the idea of a meek martyr and salvation paid by submission to the state.

But the man we wrongly call Jesus Christ (that is a Romanized name, surely not a name this dark man, with hair like lambs wool, ever heard in his life, more accurate would be Rome altering this African martyr’s name to their purpose, and labeling him with a play on their JC, Julius Caesar), he came not to bring peace but a sword. And if the idea of a Black Christ changes your relation to that Christ, or your comfort or belief in that Christ, then I say to you… your religion is a fucking sham.

And you should call yourself what you truly are… a son of the new Rome and proud eater of Christ.

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
–Mathew 10:34-36

It’s the standing up of a man you want to make a symbol, not the falling down.

Think.

And you may realize, everything America does stinks of lies.

“And if you heard I was celebrating, it’s a world wide lie” – Public Enemy

Thanks Giving???

Everyone, or at least most everyone in the US is gearing up for Turkey Day, more euphemistically titled THANKSGIVING.

Me, I’m not a holiday type guy. My thoughts on Christmas, for example, can be summed up by that episode of the Boondocks (‘SANTA! You gonna pay what you owe!!’ Yes that episode πŸ™‚ ). While I will never shun a day off, neither have I ever been one to go goose stepping with the crowd.

Thanksgiving? THANKSGIVING? Is that like an effing joke?

There’s roughly some parallels to it in most anglofied countries, and it pretty much celebrates the pale newcomer, having by God’s grace conquered(ie stolen) a new land, and successfully killed or converted the heathen natives therein.

As an unrepentant and proud heathen native, I take umbrage to such holidays.

UMBRAGE I SAY!

Thanksgiving???

Really? Can you call it that with a straight face?

Not me Kemosabe.

Wrong can’t be made right, by putting glitter paper and a bow on it.

No siree!

And if you heard I was celebrating, in the words of Public Enemy “it’s a world wide lie”.

But I’ll take the day off, sure as shooting. I’ll break bread with my family. But the day will be remembered by me, my way, for my reasons.

A day of remembrance, lest we forget behind pretty words like Thanksgiving, lest we forget Indian Wars and genocides past. And in the forgetting, give life to Indian Wars and genocides… present.

Remember, rightly.

Your sins. Our sins.

Remember… Rightly.