Culture Feed

Jamie Lynn Spears is Pregnant, and…?

Just as I don't understand the Hannah Montana phenomenon, I don't understand the flak about the unwed pregnancy of Jamie Lynn Spears.

This is just more of the same bad behavior of teens nowadays. Kids are having sex. Surprise. Surprise. With sex comes pregnancy and STDs, especially the Big Virus.

Will Jamie Lynn's pregnancy be the tipping point for a change in how we allow sex to be placed so casually before teens and others ill-equipped to handle the responsibilities of the by-product of sex? Or, will Jamie Lynn, much like her sister Britney and the many nameless, faceless teens infected with AIDS or dealing with teenage parenthood just become statistics and collateral damage?

In Britney's hometown of Kentwood, LA, some folks are not at all surprised at the pregnancy. Some because, you know, it's the Spears family and others because "You got kids who are 13 or 14 and pregnant in Kentwood, we're about used to it around here," Donald Church said. Well, allrighty then.


AlterNet Names Imus Enablers

Don 'Nappy Headed Ho's' Imus Is Ba-a-ack -- and So Are His Enablers

By Rory O'Connor, AlterNet. Posted November 19, 2007.

It didn't take long for Don Imus' Big Media and Big Politics enablers to crawl out of the woodwork and embrace the shock jock all over again. With a list of Imus's top 10 enablers.

Don Imus's Top Ten Enablers

  1. James Carville, CNN, analyst, ex-presidential advisor
  2. Bob Kerrey, New School president, former senator and former Democratic presidential candidate
  3. Rudy Giuliani, Republican presidential candidate, former mayor
  4. Sen. John McCain, Republican presidential candidate
  5. Gov. Bill Richardson, Democratic presidential candidate
  6. Tim Russert, NBC News anchor
  7. Frank Rich, New York Times columnist
  8. Sam Tanenhaus, New York Times editor
  9. Jeff Greenfield, CBS News analyst
  10. Howard Kurtz, Washington Post and CNN media commentator

Click here to read entire article.

Don't forget that the sponsors of Imus' radio show are enablers also.


Mychal Bell Jailed Again

The Jena 6 situation is getting uglier and uglier.

Louisiana State District Judge J.P. Mauffrey Jr. sentenced Bell to 18 months in the juvenile facility for four previous offenses, including two counts of simple battery and two pertaining to criminal destruction of property that occurred before the beating of classmate Justin Barker, according to The Associated Press.

This is yet another shameful move that continues to show the terror under which Blacks live in, not just in Jena, but the entire United States of America. Nooses being hung on college campuses on on job sites, it's way past time for this madness to stop.

Just so there's an accurate picture of the judge's decision, Bell has been placed in a juvenile detention facility. It's not an adult prison but he's still incarcerated.

In response to the latest decision, here's John Mellencamp's video, Jena.


Grills Be Gone

OK, yesterday, there was the dad that spanked his son for bad grades in school. Today, the local news reported a student whose "grill" was removed at school by his guidance counselor. More than likely some of you are puzzled by that last statement so allow me to explain. A grill is ornamental dental work covering the front teeth in one's mouth. You may have seen some rappers wearing elaborate diamond-encrusted grills. It's mind-boggling but there's a jewelry niche of grills, rope chains and pimp cups.

What a supreme example of misplaced priorities and squandering of money. Not to mention the threat to the dental health of young people across America. The young boy in the story wanted to be like his dad. I pray that the child and his dad will come to their senses before it's too late. Now, each of us has our own taste in clothing, hairstyles, etc. That's all well and good but when it comes to modifying the teeth of a child…what's the lesson?

Not only should the counselor not have put her hands in the boy's mouth, who did the dental work to even make the grill for the child? The $500 spent on the grill could have been put to much better and more sustaining use. Some people just shouldn't be parents. What do you think?


Freedom of Speech Not Welcome at University of Florida; Student Tasered at John Kerry Forum

Arrest_3

A University of Florida student, Andrew Meyer, was tasered during the Q&A period of a John Kerry Town Hall Meeting on the University's campus. Meyer was obviously trying to make a point when questioning Kerry about membership in the secret society "Skull and Bones" and citing the disenfranchisement of Black voters but what transpired when the campus police officers stepped in was nothing short of unbelievable.

See for yourself in the video below. Be sure to read the article and comments from the UF student newspaper, The Independent Florida Alligator.

 

updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2007

UF student Tasered at Kerry forum

By KIM WILMATH, Alligator Writer

A UF student was shot with a Taser gun, arrested and charged with a felony Monday because police said he started a riot during Sen. John Kerry's on-campus speech.

Andrew Meyer, a telecommunication senior and former Alligator columnist, was charged with a third-degree felony for resisting arrest with violence, according to a University Police Department report.

A third-degree felony could mean up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, according to a UF Web site.

Meyer attempted to ask Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, about his involvement in Skull and Bones, a secret society at Yale University, at the end of the speech's question-and-answer session. [Continue reading…]


Remembering Luciano Pavarotti

Opera star Luciano Pavarotti has died. He is highly regarded as one of the greatest opera stars of all time. Pavarotti was an opera superstar. I've re-posted a video of one of my favorite Pavarotti performances; it's a collaboration with James Brown. Enjoy.

Opera great Pavarotti dead at 71

ROME (AFP) — Operatic legend Luciano Pavarotti, whose showmanship and crossover celebrity turned him into a global superstar, died Thursday at his home in northern Italy at the age of 71.

Hailed by many as the greatest tenor of his generation, Pavarotti passed away during the night at his villa near the city of Modena after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

The mayor of Modena, Giorgio Pighi, said Pavarotti, who underwent surgery for cancer in July, 2006, had died shortly before 5:00am (0300 GMT).

Police established a security cordon in front of the villa to keep in line those who had already gathered to pay their respects.

Pavarotti -- known in his prime for the clarity of his voice and ability to hit high Cs with ease -- broke into the opera world when he won a competition in 1961.

He went on to perform across Europe before crossing the Atlantic in February 1965 for a production of Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" in Miami, co-starring famed Australian soprano Joan Sutherland as Lucia.

It was with Sutherland in February 1972 that Pavarotti truly came of age, taking Covent Garden and the New York Metropolitan Opera by storm with a sparkling production of a Donizetti favourite, "La Fille du Regiment". [Continued]


It’s not Friday but I’m feeling Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim AKA Tom Jobim

My blog buddy tadploz introduced me to the music of late Brazilian singer Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim AKA Tom Jobim. I love the Brazilian sound and I hope you enjoy it also.

January 25, 1927 - December 8, 1994

From the Antonio Carlos Jobim page on All Music Guide:

It has been said that Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim was the George Gershwin of Brazil--and there is a solid ring of truth in that, for both contributed large bodies of songs to the jazz repertoire, both expanded their reach into the concert hall, and both tend to symbolize their countries in the eyes of the rest of the world. With their gracefully urbane, sensuously aching melodies and harmonies, Jobim's songs gave jazz musicians in the 1960s a quiet, strikingly original alternative to their traditional Tin Pan Alley source.

Jobim's roots were always planted firmly in jazz; the records of Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Barney Kessel and other West Coast jazz musicians made an enormous impact upon him in the 1950s. But he also claimed that the French impressionist composer Claude Debussy had a decisive influence upon his harmonies, and the Brazilian samba gave his music a uniquely exotic rhythmic underpinning. As a pianist, he usually kept things simple and melodically to the point with a touch that reminds some of Claude Thornhill, but some of his records show that he could also stretch out when given room. His guitar was limited mostly to gentle strumming of the syncopated rhythms, and he sang in a modest, slightly hoarse yet often hauntingly emotional manner.

Continue reading "It’s not Friday but I’m feeling Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim AKA Tom Jobim" »


From the Wall Street Journal: The Impoverishment of American Culture

And the need for better art education.

BY DANA GIOIA
Thursday, July 19, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

There is an experiment I'd love to conduct. I'd like to survey a cross-section of Americans and ask them how many active NBA players, Major League Baseball players, and "American Idol" finalists they can name. Then I'd ask them how many living American poets, playwrights, painters, sculptors, architects, classical musicians, conductors and composers they can name. I'd even like to ask how many living American scientists or social thinkers they can name.

Fifty years ago, I suspect that along with Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax, most Americans could have named, at the very least, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Arthur Miller, Thornton Wilder, Georgia O'Keeffe, Leonard Bernstein, Leontyne Price and Frank Lloyd Wright. Not to mention scientists and thinkers like Linus Pauling, Jonas Salk, Rachel Carson, Margaret Mead and especially Dr. Alfred Kinsey.

I don't think that Americans were smarter then, but American culture was. Even the mass media placed a greater emphasis on presenting a broad range of human achievement. I grew up mostly among immigrants, many of whom never learned to speak English. But at night watching TV variety programs like the Ed Sullivan Show, I saw--along with comedians, popular singers and movie stars--classical musicians like Jascha Heifetz and Arthur Rubinstein, opera singers like Robert Merrill and Anna Moffo, and jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong captivate an audience of millions with their art.

The same was true of literature. I first encountered Robert Frost, John Steinbeck, Lillian Hellman and James Baldwin on general-interest TV shows. All of these people were famous to the average American--because the culture considered them important. Today no working-class kid would encounter that range of arts and ideas in the popular culture. Almost everything in our national culture, even the news, has been reduced to entertainment, or altogether eliminated.

Continue reading "From the Wall Street Journal: The Impoverishment of American Culture " »


If you live in America and you only speak English, you need a wake-up call

I live in Miami where it seems that almost everyone is from somewhere else and still claim their native country as their own even if they are citizens of the USA. It's somewhat strange and Tom Tancredo raised the ire of many when he called Miami a third-world country not too long ago. Hmmmm….let's not go there.

Miami is really a great place when folks are not claiming allegiance to some ethnic group or country other than America, to the detriment of others. Miami is like a vacation to any foreign country of your choosing without actually leaving the area. You can taste the foods, dance to music or hear the native tongue of folks from countries around the world.

All this is enjoyed by those open to all that Miami has to offer. Far too often though, folks are too much into their own culture and unwilling to truly appreciate others. Children can grow up in their neighborhood and never venture far from its boundaries. That's a shame.

For Black American children it's more of a shame because many grow up in a monolingual household with little or no opportunity to prepare them for a multilingual world. Rather than stand around waving the American flag as if speaking a foreign language is an assault on democracy, make sure you and your children can communicate in another language.

In Miami, blacks can get caught up in the issue of speaking Spanish. I say, don't be so short-sighted, the real concern is not Spanish, it's whatever language that's being spoken in India; that's were a significant percentage of American jobs are being outsourced to.

In case you need a wake-up call, read The World is Flat. It's all about globalization and how we'll survive in the future. Don't trip out and get angry, just do something progressive. Our American education system must change---No Child Left Behind does not work--- and our consciousness must change if we are to adequately prepare Americans to survive, thrive and prosper.


Haunting and Beautiful Underwater Sculpture Gallery

Remember the underwater restaurant at the Hilton in Maldives? Well, here are photos of an underwater sculpture gallery off the coast of Grenada. Jason de Caires Taylor was commissioned to produce the pieces in tribute to the people and culture of Grenada. Check out the official website to get the full story of this project.

While I am amazed by the concept of freestanding art pieces underwater and I the progression of change in the pieces underwater, I find them more creepy than beautiful. Some of the pieces remind me of the lives lost during many slave voyages. I realize there are no signs of chains but I can't help thinking of that.

Be sure to check out the video of the site and Taylor's interview.

From the official website:

Jason de Caires Taylor

Jason de Caires Taylor’s underwater sculptures create a unique, absorbing and expansive visual seascape. Highlighting natural ecological processes Taylor’s interventions explore the intricate relationships that exist between art and environment. His works become artificial reefs, attracting marine life, while offering the viewer privileged temporal encounters, as the shifting sand of the ocean floor, and the works change from moment to moment.

Perspectives

The experience of being underwater is vastly different from that of being on land. There are physical and optical considerations that must be taken into account. Objects appear twenty five percent larger underwater, and as a consequence they also appear closer. Colours alter as light is absorbed and reflected at different rates, with the depth of the water affecting this further. The light source in water is from the surface, this produces kaleidoscopic effects governed by water movement, currents and turbulence. Water is a malleable medium in which to travel enabling the viewer to become active in their engagement with the work. The large number of angles and perspectives from which the sculptures can be viewed increase dramatically the unique experience of encountering the works.

The ocean is imbued with mystery. Underwater and devoid of white walls the viewer is unrestrained in their interaction with the work. Buoyancy and weightlessness enable a detached physical experience, encouraging encounters that are perceptual and personal. As time passes and the works change, they reshape and redefine the underwater landscape in unpredictable ways.

Vicissitudes

Gallery66_thumb Vicissitudes depicts a circle of figures, all linked through holding hands. These are life-size casts taken from a group of children of diverse ethnic background. Circular in structure and located five meters below the surface, the work both withstands strong currents and replicates one of the primary geometric shapes, evoking ideas of unity and continuum.

The underwater environment is much like that of the outdoors. An object is subject to changes in light and prevailing weather conditions. The cement finish and chemical composition of Vicissitudes actively promotes the colonisation of coral and marine life. The figures are transformed over time by their environment, and conversely as this happens so they change the shape of their habitat. This natural process echoes the changes exacted through growing up. Social interchange shapes this process, while conversely as the product of a particular society we in turn invoke change on the workings and dynamics of that environment.

The sculpture proposes growth, chance, and natural transformation. It shows how time and environment impact on and shape the physical body. Children by nature are adaptive to their surroundings. Their use within the work highlights the importance of creating a sustainable and well-managed environment, a space for future generations. Taylor notes that close to forty percent of coral reefs worldwide has been destroyed and that this figure is set to increase. His work reminds us that the marine environment is in a constant state of flux, and that this in turn reflects poignantly the vicissitudes, changing landscapes, of our own lives.


Grace Reef

Gallery91_thumb Grace Reef is a series of sixteen figures each cast from the body of a Grenadian woman. Located across an expansive underwater area the work draws marine life to an area that has suffered substantial decimation through sustained storm damage. The work reflects the continuing evolution of the island and its people. The work reveals itself in dramatic and dynamic ways. The nature of the currents and the strength of the prevailing winds mean that entire sections of the work become covered, hidden and lost. At other times figures emerge and are fully visible.


Sienna

Gallery36_thumb2 A character from Jacob Ross’ short story, A Different Ocean from the book A Way to Catch the Dust (1999) Sienna is a young girl gifted in free diving. The story follows friendship and betrayal as her talent is exploited in the search for lost treasure. Taylor’s work Sienna takes its lead from this story. Its metal structure allows water currents to flow through the body of the sculpture creating an ideal habitat for filter feeding organisms. As the process of colonisation accelerates so Sienna gains physical substance. The work is ultimately created by the organisms that inhabit it, in the same way that a character in a book is given substance and temperament by the person reading it.


La Diablesse

Gallery17c_thumb2 La Diablesse was commissioned through the Grenadian Board of Tourism. It celebrates the longstanding traditions of Caribbean story-telling and folklore. The term La Diablesse is taken from the French for She-Devil. A well-known character within Grenadian literature she has a face that is corpse-like, and a head half-hidden under a wide brimmed hat. Traditionally La Diablesse is dressed in a white blouse and a petticoat that runs to her feet. Her left foot is cloven and is said to warn victims of her approach. Despised by women, she is known for enchanting men before leading them to a violent death. Caribbean myth also foretells that if a woman dies during childbirth she will return as La Diablesse. Located deep underwater within a labyrinthine formation of coral, the sculpture emerges suddenly and unexpectedly, creating an abrupt and unsuspecting point of encounter.


The Lost Correspondent

Gallery84_thumb The Lost Correspondent depicts a man sitting at a desk with a typewriter. The desk is covered with a collection of newspaper articles and cuttings that date back to the 1970s. Many of these have political significance, a number detail Grenada’s alignment with Cuba in the period immediately prior to the revolution. The work informs the rapid changes in communication between generations. Taking the form of a traditional correspondent, the lone figure becomes little more than a relic, a fossil in a lost world.


The Un-Still Life

Gallery151_thumb Un-Still Life mirrors the classical composition of traditional still life tableaux. On a table is an arrangement of cement objects, a vase, bowl and fruit. In contrast to established ideas of stasis the work is perpetually changing, remaining a work in progress as layers build on its surface. This accumulated colonisation of coral becomes a physical equivalent to conventional mark making of drawing and painting. The work reflects the time-based observation associated with the classical study of still life composition. It reminds us that changes are inevitable.