Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Monday, November 28, 2005

:"Starting Over:" Dangerous

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Posting to the official web forum:

"this show is dangerous"Posted by rriverstone on 11-28-05 at 01:07 PM
Today, we're to believe that shame and guilt are to be eliminated from our lives? Then, why was Jill presented with "charges" of guilt? And WHY was a Black woman mug shot and fingerprinted?!!
Why is her "life coach" calling her, "lazy?" The woman is anemic. She's carrying a forty-pound tumor. She TRIED to climb an enormous tower on the first day. She carried dozens of pounds of "luggage" around with her for -- what? -- a week or more? Her doctors have ordered that she not exercise.
Is her "life coach" the "house" servant, while Jill is the "field" servant? How dare a Black woman dump such judgmental accusations on a sister?!
WHY weren't the contestants on this show required to take a medical, physical examination, as a prerequisite to their participation?! These "life coaches" could have KILLED Jill! The blood vessels, connected to her tumor, could have ruptured and she could easily have died of internal hemmoraging!
HOW is it OK not to have regular, group therapy: a place where people could offer SUPPORTIVE feedback to each other. Why has a situation of gossip and resentment been allowed to fester for months, with no intervention?
The contestants are constantly provoked, shamed, ridiculed, verbally abused and threatened BY THE "LIFE COACHES!" I suppose this makes for more photogenic television, but it is destructive.
This show is EXTREMELY irresponsible. Following the "advice" on this show, as portrayed by these "life coaches," is dangerous.
I could well say that, were anything to happen to Jill's health, she could sue the show off the air. For one thing, they've, in effect, practiced medicine without a license, in their requirements of unreasonable and unsupervised extreme, physical exertion.
This is a VERY anti-woman show!

I looked at my post. The forum had placed the label, "attention whore," beside my name. They also added American Cancer Society, for some reason. I guess that's supposed to be funny??

I replied,

rriverstone 2 desperate attention whore postings DAW Level: "American Cancer Society Spokesperson"
11-28-05, 01:13 PM (EST)
1. "RE: this show is dangerous"
I am NOT a "whore;" I am concerned for the mental and physical health of not only the contestants, but the viewers. I'm hoping this forum will be viewed by someone involved in the show's production.
The fact that a show about women "starting over" subscribes to a forum which calls its participants "whores" says it all.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

more on LaSardo

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I kinda/sorta got a "fan" letter. It's actually for LaSardo. Here's my reply:

At first, I was angry with him for portraying a stereotype of a Latino thug. It's old news on GH; Sonny's one, too, essentially.

I wanted to know what makes a guy like LaSardo tick. I DID find a good interview with him, in which I felt reassured that LaSardo is actually a thoughtful, well-spoken man.

And his role on Ghost Whisperer (a show I'd never watch, otherwise) confirmed for me that he's a multidimensional actor, as well. It was quite touching, actually.

I'd like to seem him in a role for which they never cast Latinos, let alone skeletal guys covered in tattoos. I bet he could play Hamlet. How about a remake of "They Call Me Mister Tibbs?" A story in which he played Jesus or Buddha might be very interesting. Stuff like that.

Glad you found the blog. I haven't been writing enough lately. I've GOT to get back to it!
LaSardo is an interesting guy. He deserves more attention to his career. He could put up his OWN website! Jees...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Email to "Ellen" show

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I have, of course, no idea if this email was even received, as their website has too many bells and whistles and doesn't function properly.

Here's what I wrote.

Gentle People,

I've been doing a little research on Robert LaSardo, whose new job is recurring character Manny Ruiz on General Hospital. He's not even listed in ABC's GH website credits.

He's a fascinating, intelligent and perceptive man. He plays a sadistic "bad guy," which worried me, as he's Latino; I was concerned about stereotypes in mass media.

I believe it would be educational and fascinating for your viewers to hear an interview with him, including clips from his indy films. He's not at all like the characters he has portrayed.

I'd LOVE to sit down and ask him lots of questions: discuss the state of commercial film vs. indy film, have him discuss the motivation for his body art, ask him about his writing and producing career and generally perceive him as a "nice guy."

My visceral response to his physical appearance is instant terror. But I KNOW there's more than meets the eye. I'm busting myself on my own racism, every time I see him!

Monday, November 07, 2005

not writing is dishonest

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Ma and I saw the movie, "Capote" the other day. It was at the fancy multiplex, where I seldom go. The Movies 8 dollar theatre is my speed; they're not new releases, but new enough, for a dollar. And it's across the street from the Goodwill warehouse, for cheap shopping.

I was sitting on the porch this morning, sipping coffee and having a smoke. It's not light out yet: just the vaguest hint that this planet orbits a sun and that it might roll that way soon.

I was thinking about death. I was thinking how people don't REALLY write about death. I was thinking how people make death into a personality, a being, and how dishonest that is. I was thinking how people don't write about the universal experience of death: the breathing, the twitches, the reduction of a loved personality to a series of biological reactions to shut down.

I was thinking people don't acknowledge, discuss, write about this universality in much detail very often. I wondered why. Maybe we're just too in denial of death, so we'll have the gumption to live? After all, if you are constantly conscious of the fact that everything you do makes little difference in the end, why strive?

Or, maybe, especially in this modern, middle class, American life, we just aren't exposed to much death? Maybe we know a handful of relatives and friends who've died. Maybe we didn't experience their deaths firsthand. They probably died in a sterile hospital. Maybe only certain professions -- slaughterhouses, hospitals -- see much death anymore. The rest of us are no longer witnesses, as we'd have been a century ago, or in another, less affluent country.

Ma and I saw James Whale's "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein" recently. We also watched "Gods and Monsters." And PBS had a biography of Mary Shelly for Halloween. Now, THERE's a person who witnessed death first hand. Her very birth killed her mother. 3 of her four children died...or was it 4 of 5? Her lover died; her sister died....friends died. No WONDER she wanted to reanimate the dead! I need to reread that book...

When I moved to Louisville from Los Angeles, I was frequently struck by the cemetaries, usually family plots or old church yards, sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods. One could easily live next door to tombstones. I remember thinking it was healthy. In Los Angeles, the dead are segregated to the outskirts of communities: out by the oil wells, self storage units and industrial parks. We never see their markers, think of their lives, think of our mortality. There's that one, old cemetary we pass as we drive on the 405 freeway. We tell each other stories of who's buried there: Jack Benny, Valentino, Al Jolson. We don't know, for sure, if any of those people are actually buried there, of course. We never pull in and have a look around. It's all just celebrity gossip.

So, between the hospitals, EMS, funeral parlors and segregated cemetaries, we really aren't exposed to death much, or dying. We make up stories about heaven and peace, without understanding how PROFOUNDLY people of past generations NEEDED to believe the dying, the suffering, might have some Great Reward, some Final Justice, at the end of the ordeal.

I was thinking, this morning, how death isn't so much a personality as an experience. And then, I realized DEATH isn't an experience; by the time you get there, you're DEAD. DYING is the experience. And we don't write about it, not really. I've seen so many creatures die. And the physical process is so similar, despite the circumstances. One watches a being one loved, with whom one has distinctly individual memories, reduced to a series of rather violent and frightening reactions, as the body struggles to maintain life. It's pretty horrifying, really.

I remembered "In Cold Blood," which we rented, along with "To Kill A Mockingbird," after viewing Capote. I remembered the hanging scene. The jerks, the twitches. In "Capote," at least, they were honest enough to say the hanged person's heart can keep beating of nineteen minutes, more or less. One wonders the experience of the hanged. Interesting, isn't it, that we place a hood over the condemned prisoner's face, so we don't have to WITNESS the facial reactions? They were hooded in "The Green Mile," too.

We don't WANT to experience it. We don't want to witness it.

Capote never wrote another book after "In Cold Blood." He squandered his remaining years on alcoholism and shoring up his porous ego. He couldn't write because, in my opinion, he could no longer be honest. He had nothing more to say that could be considered authentic.

I was angry with him this morning for giving in, being coopted by his witness of the executions of Perry and Hickock. I was angry with him for using that as an excuse not to write.

And then, I reminded myself, "Rogi, YOU're not writing, either." Oh, yeah. I've many excuses, but no reasons, why I stopped writing in these blogs. I'll discuss some, I'm sure.

But I just wanted someone to know that, in the predawn chill of my front porch today, I caught myself in the act, came in and started writing. Gotta let the cat in.