District 9

I have been waiting with great anticipation to see Shane Acker and Tim Burton‘s 9 which comes out today! We’re going to try and see The Dandy Warhols at Emo’s so doubt we’ll get to see it today. But I’ll definitely see it by this weekend! (I absolutely LOVE Shane Acker’s short film, “9“.)

My husband, daughter and I did see District 9 on Saturday, however. My daughter has been begging to see this movie so my husband promised to take her.  I almost let them go without me, but luckily decided to go with them at the last minute.   don’t think I’ve ever seen anything by Neill Blomkamp. What an absolutely fantastic premise!  

An extremely large space ship breaks through our atmosphere and hovers over Johannesburg for years. It’s become stranded because it lost the control module. The aliens are malnourished and starving and nobody knows what to do with them so they create a refugee camp, which is nothing more than a slum.

Some of the details are incredibly far-fetched and totally unbelievable, but the main premise is fascinating. Had I not made my way through all the documentaries and information on the insanely inhumane treatment of humanity toward humanity and humanity toward animals, I might have thought the entire film was far fetched. Unfortunately, it’s not!

The film is based on actual events that occurred during the apartheid in Johannesburg in District Six in 1966.  An area in Cape Town was declared “White’s Only” and 60,000 people were forcibly removed and relocated to Cape Flats. The film also refers to post-apartheid removals in South Africa. The film was shot in Chiawelo, one of these removal areas.  

District 9 is shot as a mockumentary and I imagine this is a very affective way to get into the psyche of people who otherwise might not be paying attention.  It’s beautifully done and I’m very glad I went to see it!!

Henry Louis Gates on Lincoln and Race

Just have to share another fascinating talk from Fora.tv.  This one is with Henry Louis Gates on Lincoln and Race.

The first half of the talk primarily covers the PBS Show, "Looking for Lincoln", which I discussed previously. The rest is an interesting discussion on race and some speculation on Lincoln.

Gates says that a comparison can definitely be made between Lincoln and Obama, but that the idea that we have entered a post-racial era is pure fantasy. We are as segregated as we have been in a long time and the economic situation is only going to make it worse. We have a definite structural/institutional discrimination in the U.S. Also, 33% of black children still live at or below the poverty line.

Barack Obama’s election, alone, will not get rid of the structural discrimination. It’s created more of a subliminal change.

Gates talks a bit about theories on what would have happened if Lincoln would have lived. There are two basic theories, one being that the world would have been much better for the blacks much sooner. But another takes into account two people who were very close to him who claim that Lincoln really wanted to ship blacks to Liberia once they were freed. So who knows? Gates thinks that if Lincoln didn’t “free the slaves” (he only freed them in the south), they would have freed themselves.

There was a speech that Emerson gave in 1944 on the Emancipation of the West Indies. He said that the blacks had to save themselves (and that the same was true for women). You have to show that you are equal to all of the other races of man. You can’t be given this, you have to willingly take it. Frederick Douglas heard this speech and was inspired by it.

Today there aren’t any barriers to blacks individually, but individuals tend to create their own barriers. For instance, many blacks have a disdain for education which Gates says is social suicide.

I didn’t realize there were 3.9 million slaves when Lincoln was President. That is a lot of people!! 400,000 of them were in the Northern states (primarily border states). Also, one of the main reasons Lincoln was in favor of getting rid of slavery was because his father was a farmer in Kentucky and failed miserably because he couldn’t compete with the slave owners. Lincoln saw this as economically unfair.

I attended a debate on Juneteenth several years ago which was fascinating. I grew up in the “south” (Texas) but had never really considered the southern perspective on the Civil War. My husband and I discussed this last night. I grew up thinking the Confederate flag was something horrible and evil while my husband, who was raised in San Antonio, had grown up viewing it as a positive thing representing southern pride.  (I grew up in a much more cosmopolitan area where there were a lot of Northerners which may have made the difference). During the debate, the side for the Confederacy was represented by the head of a well-known Confederate organization. He spoke very eloquently and intelligently on how the Civil War was entirely about economics, and not slavery at all.  This makes a lot more sense to me, now.  If you didn’t own slaves, how could you possibly compete economically? This had to be very threatening to the north. The other equally eloquent speaker claimed it was most definitely about slavery. Perhaps it started out being primarily about economics but over time, it became about slavery, too?

Anyway, Gates definitely provides and interesting perspective.

Bill Moyers – Buying the War

Watched Buying the War on PBS last night and found it disturbing.

There were a whole lot of us who didn’t buy that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. I remember feeling like I was crazy for questioning the assumption. But I also remember that I wasn’t alone in doing the questioning. There were interfaith councils uniting to discuss this with petitions being signed by 100s upon 100s of ministers in the Christian ranks claiming that we had no right to go to war based

on the flimsy evidence. I can’t recall exactly, but I think it is likely we were a part of the UU Church at this time and of course there were almost no UUers in the entire U.S. in favor of going to war based upon the flimsy evidence that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

So how is it that American journalists could have become so bamfoozled?

This is a very interesting report from Bill Moyers:

“Four years ago on May 1, President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier

USS Lincoln and delivered a speech in front of a giant “Mission

Accomplished” banner. Despite profound questions and the increasing

violence in Baghdad, many in the press confirmed the White House’s

claim that the war was won. How did they get it so wrong? How did the

evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the

link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 continue to go largely unreported?”

You can watch the report and read the entire transcript here