Posted in Miscellany

Why she lost

The case of Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard has gone viral on social media platforms since the trial began a few weeks ago, Amber Heard could have been quickly on the winner’s circle. She must have believed that it was all over but the shouting that the goddess of victory was on her side. Yet, it appears to be anything but, and she has become some modern-day Jezebel.

The current defamation trial brought by Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard has been broadcast live, which I became strangely attracted to. Perhaps, it’s the biggest and most sensational court drama since the OJ Simpson case was also broadcast live. Or perhaps, it’s about Johnny Depp. His bohemian image and matching film characters render him uber-cool and unassuming compared to his Hollywood peers, creating halo effects of being likable and honest. When I read the comments about the trial on Youtube, I was surprised by the social dynamics of praising Depp to the detriment of Amber, who has no friends from any gender. The defendant is alone in this battle, forsaken by her community of actors and actresses, and she is not sorry. Her confident demeanor is translated to be arrogant, cold, and irritated. Sometimes, she looks bored and drawn, as if she knows that she will lose the case. And you know what? In the witness box, Heard didn’t even act convincingly that she was a victim of the alleged domestic violence because her expressions transpired a lack of emotional delivery. If she trusted her beauty to excel her peers as the most sought-after actress, then she should learn that Marlyn Moroe was wise enough to know that beauty was a fad and that she took an acting course and an English literature course at night.

I opine that the reason Heard is losing is her personality, she is conspicuous in all she looks and she acts. Apart from the truth, Heard fails to gain favorable votes from the general public that she has proudly overlooked because of those disgraceful acts that flow from her words and actions. Shakespeare, who himself was also an actor, knew about the world of Tinsletown Beauties thus: “All that glitters is not gold.” Now I know it.

Posted in Miscellany

Tears for Children

People like to blame deities for tragedy of human lives to avert their fury to the forces unseen. But most problems in the world are manmade and not entirely unresolvable. Such is the case of the children of present-day Ethiopia. They are maimed or killed by weapons of political hegemony, territorial dispute, and ideological subjective for which no gods but humans are responsible.

According to an article from the Reuters, 3,320 children have been either killed or maimed as a result of stepping into buried explosives from the civil war between Prime Minister Ably Ahmed’s government and Tigrayan forces commanded by leaders of the TPLF, the party that controls most of the Tigray region and used to run the federal government. It is this TPLF’s use of land mines that destroys the lives of the children in the region. The number above of children casualties is, in fact, only a fraction of the reality when more children are becoming guiltless victims of furious greed and evil ambition. These children are put into a deadly game of Squid Game against their will, and it is a form of violation against children. In the west, people associate child abuse with sexual exploitation by default, whereas they are more exposed to physical beatings and mental harassment. The present case of Ethiopian children’s casualty applies to physical and psychological violence because the effects are indelibly carved on their bodies and minds, changing the course of their lives. If a fifteen-year-old girl stepped onto a landmine while trying to collect water from a river, would she be liable for losing her leg for life?

When it comes to war ranging from a domestic, familial fight to a full-scale national war, the memories become traumas that become lifelong narratives, depending on a child’s degree of sensitivity. But the children’s minds are like blanket slates where they write what the eyes see, and the ears hear. All children in the world, even in the remotest touch of civilization, are innocent and to be loved with care. However, my head swivels in wonderment when people seem to care more about children based on their countenance, preferably familiar with their kinds or attractiveness. Not only do Ukrainian refugee children deserve our attention, but Ethiopian children call our attention to stop this vile violence against children of any kind. So why not campaign against it with an international movement? Would Greta Thunberg be interested in the cause? I wonder.

Posted in book review

‘The Maid’ by Nita Prose

The Maid by Nita Prose is a one-of-kind, touchy-feely novel without collapsed grand narratives and vehement subjective rhetorics about existential vertigoes in life that burdens the reader with a duty to interpret the philosophical, the intellectual meaning of a story, all fragmented and adrift. Instead, the story uses the real to perfect the ideal delightfully blended with a taste of Murder She Wrote with relatively ordinary characters doing the most extraordinary things like you never know.

The Maid is one lonely young Molly Gray. She is a Maid of Maids, taking her job religiously in a hotel that does not quite reciprocate her dedicated service but sees her as a quiet oddball because of her reclusive comportment. But Molly is a swan in a lake of ducklings and geese, a harpist among percussionists, whose feet constantly move beneath reality’s surface. Molly is anachronistically muliebral and incongruously proper. She belongs to a preceding era of decency, saying early Edwardian London as a chambermaid, a coveted position for working-class women. To judge Molly as a misfit is downright callous and heartless because she inwardly craves recognition from those she thinks of as sympathetic souls who use her as a pawn in their game of passion and avarice. The more we learn about Molly as the narrative deepens, the better we know of her as if we were contracted severe strains of Stockholm Syndrome. Hence, our better angels persuade us to forgive and forget the stupendousness of truth that Molly confides to us at the end of the story’s labyrinth.

This fictional Maid by Nita Prose and that real-life Maid by Stephanie Land are stories about working-class women struggling with the realities of life by themselves. The only difference is that the former has a blessing of luck in the form of sympathetic and resourceful supporters who rescue her from a dungeon of hopelessness. It is understanding because, as Charlotte Brontë expressed, one of the reasons she wrote was to be a kind creator for her stories’ heroines otherwise to whom no sweet soft touch of warmth and love would caress their weeping heads. However, Molly, the Maid is not all melancholic, a damsel in distress, a clueless loner succumbing to a subtle form of gaslighting because she is the one who laughs the last laugh with intelligence wrapped in a maid’s hide. Molly Gray the Maid may have a woman’s body but has the king’s stomach and heart in the most magnanimous way. Therefore, don’t mess with Molly – and the likes.

Posted in Film Review

‘Buck and the Preacher’ (1971)

Rousseau’s dictum of “Men are born free and are chains everywhere.” fittingly describes the condition of what it means to be free from slavery after the Civil War. Even so, freedom was recalcitrant to belong to them, and the hardships that came with the price of liberty from the carnage of the war still beset the newly freed along the trail of exodus to the new promised land in the west as articulated in Sidney Poitier’s classic western film “Buck and the Preacher” (1971).

Buck (played by Sidney Poitier), a former Union sergeant turned scout, leads a wagon of freed blacks from Louisiana to the west, where they hope to start their new lives without a shadow of slavery. But alas, the shadow of slavery still haunts them. It is up for grabs in the form of renegade ex-soldiers, probably both of the Union and the Confederates, hired by the former enslavers to bring the migrants back to the chains of slavery. They attack the wagon, rape women, and kill the old and the young, constantly intimidating them to return to where they belong. But the pain of loss and death is even less painful than the thought of returning to the past, and the journey marches on. Buck protects the journey, and the self-proclaimed preacher conman artist (played by Harry Belafonte) a former slave, chimed in, despite his original ulterior motive of money-gaining. This unlikely dup proves to be something of Moses and Aaron, so to speak, in a way that they guide and protect the persecuted people from the sordid bondage to a new promised land even if it takes a nearly decimal lot.

Then there are Indians across the wilderness as gatekeepers to the land of freedom. They are no outsiders to the persecution with their land taken away and their very beings threatened to decimate. The Indians live by the toll fees migrants have to pay when crossing their territories, not the least due to the paucity of livelihood resulting from the government’s confiscation of the land. When Buck implores the tribal chief to help them against the white attackers because they are all brothers, the chief retorts him by saying, “But black people also fought against us with the whites.” The mistrust is natural, as is the confrontation of the two peoples whose rights are put to contests orchestrated by the forfeiter of the rights. The class consciousness between the Indians and the blacks needs a manifestation of shared injustice and empathy, which both of them attest to an objective reality where they prove to be on the same side.

This film is one of the great Sidney Poitier’s and finest as I have been watching as remembering this brilliant actor who has recently died. Always poised with a commending presence filled with natural confidence and will without being febrile and vociferous, Poitier exudes his irresistibly graceful charisma on screen in this memorable Western about blacks and Indians, who are often seen in the peripheral characters contributing to highlighting main white characters. But this is not a revisionist Western at all to polarize the thematic elements of the genre. Hardly so. Instead, “Buck and the Preacher” is an eye-opening Western film about the peoples who are likely to be cast as outsiders even if they also rightfully belong to, to quote Lincoln, “the family of freedom with a jewel of liberty” called Americans.

Posted in Miscellany

Leave the children out of it.

We tend to be ready and eager to put fingers on those in need as if the milk of human kindness is not fit for them because we don’t like them as we see them. Such is because humans are physical rather than rational, operating on optical illusions to create our versions of reality. The present migrant crisis in the border of Belarus and Poland manifests dominance of Id over Superego, the eclipse of Reason by the Sense, in the face of travails on both sides of narratives.

Migrants mainly from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan now fly to Belarus on tourist visas after paying from $1,000 to $4,000 to brokers and go-betweens in the high hope for a low heaven. They think their and their children’s lives are grim and dreary, with holistically low living quality in their home countries. So, they keep their eyes at the stars in West Europe’s firmament, scintillating bright futures despite the impending hostility toward their religious belief and cultural unfamiliarity. The frigid cold and the equally cold reception do not seem to overthrow the migrants’ will to catch Luck of Troy in Unfriendly Europe. On the contrary, it brings the grist for the mill of furious Belarus disaffected with the EU’s economic sanctions for its still Soviet-era Modus Operandi of the government. Belarus sends the influx of migrants to West Europe through the gate of Poland as an audacious manifestation of vengeance and anger.

The Polish government defends their territory against the unwelcome intruders, clenching the fists toward heaven that their predecessors bled for the Polish, not for the aliens. The good-hearted people in the border area who help needy migrants face backlash from their neighbors and often become subject to judicial harassment for humanity. In this traumatic atmosphere threatening even the most basic requirement for and right of survival, the presence of children is default to provoke sympathy used as an emotional gambit to win the game of chance – for either side. People should not use children to acquire their political or social demands because that is another form of exploitation of childhood, using the vulnerability of children for soliciting the need for however righteous the cause is.