Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

email to Craig Ferguson

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

Dear Mr. Ferguson,

Your memorial to your father was deeply moving. Thank you for sharing his life and his influence on you with us in such a sincere and humble manner.

I don't know how those corporate types at CBS work, but, if at all possible, I'd sincerely appreciate being able to get a copy of the program, for my own education and to share with some dear friends. I regret to say I missed a few minutes of your opening, and wish I could see the whole program.

Again, given the limitations of dealing with CBS, I don't know if this is possible, but I'd like to suggest that any fees for a program copy, beyond expenses, be donated in your father's name to some nonprofit, such as cancer research.

Mr. Ferguson, I knew you were smart. I knew you were clever. I knew you're a recovering alcoholic. I knew you loved your father.

But, after last night, I see why you're so amusing and endearing. It's your dad, your homeland and your deepest values that resonate with me.

I'm most sincerely sorry for your loss. As you said last night, we didn't know your father, and that's our loss.

Blessings to you, Sir.


Rogi Riverstone

Monday, January 30, 2006

Rabbit Proof Fence

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

Ma and I bought several DVD/VCR combo. players. She needs one for school, as she has multimedia presentations frequently. We both have extensive VHS tape libraries. And we recently subscribed to an online DVD rental service. It's much cheaper than cable, and we choose our own content (which is much more complex than the pablum of standard cable).

One of our most recent rentals was "Rabbit Proof Fence."

I won't go into a plot synopsis here. There are many on the web. I just want to spin some thoughts.

The 3, lead actresses, all untrained Australian natives, under the age of 14, were organically connected to the plot. Their portrayals, and those of the "mother" and "grandmother" in the film, were completely convincing, uncontrived homages to the suffering of Lost Generations in their land. The man who played the "tracker" was a nearly-nightmarish portrayal of a seeming predator, who, we finally understand, actually identifies with, and deeply respects, his prey.

The complexity of characters is just like real life: people are trapped into actions and ideals which leave them conflicted and leave us sympathetic to even the most dangerous and distructive people.

The story is true. It's a universal tale of defiance against tyrany. The actual hero of the story, Molly, died recently. They believe she was 87. The rest of her life, after the story portrayed in the movie, was one of CONTINUALLY having to escape captivity by "well-meaning" European descendants who were determined to coerce her -- and millions of other Australian natives -- to lose their culture, traditions, family bonds and, ultimately, their very skin pigments and be absorbed into what they honestly believed to be their "superior" culture.

This story could have occurred, and likely did, in the rain forests of Central America, the grass plains of North America, the coastal villages of Africa -- even the very heart of European conquests of ages past.

But the intrinsically-"Aboriginal" flavors of this story give the film integrity and the culture portrayed is honored.

I saw kids I knew from the War Zone in this movie. I saw their tormentors: teachers, cops, parents....

I saw not only the oppression of cultural genocide, which is vulgarity enough. I saw the victimization of brilliant, creative children by the stodgy fearfulness and reactionary timidity of adults.

The DVD contains very important special features, in which the kids and director tell us of their journey together. The director's commentaries through the feature length are self-absorbed and I get the feeling our man is a bit too full of himself. I wish this movie had been directed by a woman of color. He's an Australian white guy, but he's got credibility in Hollywood for a string of movies I've never watched, as they're all male-dominated "action" flicks.

The story itself saves the movie from its director, as do the native actors.

The music is beautiful, composed by Peter Gabriel, utilizing natural sounds and Native song as instruments. For reasons I can't explain, the Blind Boys of Alabama sing one song, but it does work.

Spend time with this DVD and explore every corner.

This is a story of fierce determination. These girls are strong, heroic figures. And they're all real people.