If you haven’t heard, ABC has a new comedy series out called ‘black-ish. It’s about a upper middle class family who have ancestral roots from Alkebu-lan. I like the show. It’s a bit on the nose, but a change from the standard family sit-com is always welcome with me. But Black-ish missed a golden opportunity to change the game for real last night.
Airing yesterday evening, the 5th episode of the young series focused on the younger son Jack’s proclivity for hiding, which lead to a great deal of anxiety for his parents. Warned first by his mother Rainbow (cleva name for Tracee Ellis-Ross’ character) and again by his father Andre (Anthony Anderson) not to do such a thing anymore, Jack decides the fun of sending his family into a frenzy is too good to pass up. After hiding once more, and not coming out when he hears the panicked cries of his family who is searching for him, Andre drops the hammer: for his misdeeds, Jack has earned a spank.
The rest of the show is a build up of tension and emotions as Andre and Rainbow belabor whether to follow through or not on the threat to dish out some corporal punishment. This is a particularly hot issue in the wake of NFL Super Star Adrian Peterson’s pending child abuse charges. Publicly most people claim to be against any form of spanking or physical punishment for their children, but those same people often share different views behind closed doors. Most folks were given a spanking every now and the while growing up, and we all turned out fine right? (except for those of you whose parent’s took things too far). These days, spanking is taboo, almost as bad as bringing an undeclared guest to a wedding reception.
Although I had hopes for the best, in the end Andre chickened out and elected to tell his son Jack how “Disappointed” in him he was. Apparently this is the new form of spanking, because Jack left his father’s room repentant and crying. It was a cop out, but an understandable one. The show is brand new, and they can’t afford to have the kid worshiping segment of society coming for their heads just yet. Even a show as revolutionary and cutting edge as “black-ish” apparently isn’t about that life.
Still a funny episode; I will continue to watch.
I’ve been playing video games for over 20 years (man, that sounds bad). It used to be a fairly straight forward transaction: you played the video game, beat it, and then moved on. But lately I’ve noticed a disturbing trend.
Video games now have decided to keep you playing for as long as possible. They achieve this by applying a reward system. The more you play, the more rewards you obtain. When you consider that many video games are played on mobile devices these days, and employ the use of “micro transactions” (they call it micro so you don’t pay attention to how much money you end up spending over time) and you can see the problem this can present. Video games have always played on humanity’s addictive nature, but things have turned more sinister.
A deleted scene from the movie Indie Game does an excellent job of describing the phenomena as Abusive Video Game Manipulation. I have to admit that I’ve fallen victim to these tactics. (I play the game you see up there. I know, I know).
Check it out and stay woke.
I want to introduce you to someone: his name is Clay Jenkinson. He’s the guy in the revolutionary attire participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Mr. Jenkinson is also, among many other things, historian who host a weekly syndicated public radio program called the Thomas Jefferson Hour.
Each week, Thomas Jefferson (Jenkinson) and his co-host talks about events and happenings from Jefferson’s life and time as one of The United States’ founding fathers. Later in the program, Jenkinson jumps out of character to discuss what he spoke about earlier, while in character. I have caught the program on a number of occasions, and I can’t help but laugh to myself whilst shaking my head.
I didn’t have high expectations for the show. I have listened to discourse on the weather in Paris while Jefferson visited, to the quality of that season’s tomatoes from the garden at Monticello. I will assume that the subject matter has been more substantial on other occasions, but I’ve not had the privilege of experiencing it. What I would like to point out is the manner in which the show sets itself up. The premise is a leisurely conversation with one of the greatest human beings ever- Thomas Jefferson. The 3rd President of the United States, Jefferson is portrayed as a warm, kind, fatherly, almost angelic being of the highest moral standard. The listeners are made to feel a sense of gratitude, awe, and wonder as you listen to the sage words of this infallible man. The Jenkinson gathers a great deal of pleasure portraying the Jefferson character. It comes across in the way he roars his oratory and monologues across the airways. This man is proud of his President, so much so that we went to great lengths to become Jefferson.
It makes me realize how powerful (and dangerous) it is to re-write history. Even the most staunch Jefferson supporters should blush at the way his legacy has been delicately preserved. But preservation has turned to cleansing, as not so endearing facts about his life are vehemently criticized.
Mr. Wiencek states that none of the information presented in his text is in fact new, but one wouldn’t know this based upon to reaction to his, and other less than flattering works about Jefferson. The problem is that over time, some have decided to dismiss the baser aspects of the man, whilst maintaining the Legend and Prestige. This is disingenuous at best, and at it’s worst nearly criminal. The goal of history is for present and future generations to look at events from the past, and learn from them what we can, in an attempt to repeat the good while being vigilant to prevent the bad. But if we are unwilling to acknowledge that which we are not proud of, can we say an honest attempt at self-reflection and learning has been made? I would like to see more movement in this direction.
My children live the life. They wake up everyday just ready for the World. My son often asks me “what are we going to do today dad?” of “Where are we going?” I often respond, “Well son, i’m going to work, but i’m sure mommy has something fun planned for you all.”
The other day, our son was playing or watching TV on the couch. Effortlessly, he let loose the most hearty laugh I have heard from a 4-year old. It struck my wife as well too, who looked up from tending to our 2-week old son. I asked, “Kay-Kay, what’s so funny?” Without even batting an eye he replied, “I don’t know; I just laughed”.
I thought about why my son’s jovial expression struck me so. I realized that deep down, laughter had become something reserved for when all my problems/issues are resolved. I had started a retirement fund for laughter, which I would not be able to touch until I turn 65 and a 1/2 (or whatever the retirement age is). To me, the only people who were allowed laugh freely were people who don’t have to face the problems of regular daily life (i.e. Athletes, celebrities, and everyone else for whom money is not an issue).
I dismissed the chortle and giggle of children, based upon the premise that they were to young to know any better; they laugh out of naivete. But maybe I am the one who is missing the party.
What do you think? How can we reclaim the healing power of a good guffaw?