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15 October 2007

TV Mini-Series "Roots" reminds me of Black Studies course

I rented DVD of the old time TV Mini-Series "Roots." It was aired in 1977. The story is based on Alex Hailey's novel. He wrote the story of generations of his family going back to late 18th century when an African tribe boy, Kunta Kinte was born. Kunta Kinte was captured by slave merchants and transported to America.


He was sold as slave to the plantation owner. He tried to escape but in vain. Then he left an offspring. Generation after generation, a story of Kunta Kinte was succeeded to an author, Alex Hailey. Between Kunta Kinte and Hailey, the family experienced enormous oppression by American society.


More than 10 years ago, when I was a college student, I took the course titled "Black Studies." It was very interesting course, the most interesting of all I took in my college days. A Black woman was an instructor. The below is what I learned.


1. Anything what you learn outside Black Studies is white studies.

2. Whenever you type "black", you have to capitalize the first letter "B." Don't care about "white."

3. U.S. doesn't want to provide Black people good education. Even the schools are integrated, the school districts are divided by racial residential areas. In the slavery time, it was illegal to teach Blacks how to read. It is easier for whites to control Black people when Blacks are uneducated.

4. Founding fathers, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson were hypocrats because they owned slaves.

5. Christianity is not good religion because churches supported the slavery in the South, and didn't even treat Blacks better than other people.

6. IQ tests are culturally biased towards East coast white people. That is why Black students scored less than white students. IQ tests cannot be a good tool to measure one's intelligence. When someone talks about intelligence, ask him or her what the definition of it. In fact, there is no such thing. Very ambiguous.

7. Whites may be fearful of Black people because they do not want to know they are inferior to Blacks in terms of intelligence and human body conditions.

8. According to the Cress Theory, the anscestors of whites were albinos of Africans who later migrated to Europe.

9. In the past, it was believed that first man on earth was born in Europe, not in Africa because they did not admit Africans were the anscestors of whites. Now they say whites are advanced creatures of Africans. They twisted the theory not to give up their supremacy.


Her lectures were very radical so she had been criticized even by African students in class. I did not agree with all of what she taught. But I learned very important things. I learned how to counter ridiculous things in the world, how to overcome oppressions. Everyone is biased and everything in the world is political. Nothing is neutral, even in the academics.


Thanks for Black Studies, I survived in this hell.

11 October 2007

TV Series "Flipper" reminded me of the trip to Florida

I rented a TV drama series DVD "Flipper" this week. What I rented is not original 1960's series, it was 1995 version of it.

In 1960's version, one park warden and his two sons, Sandy and Keith and a dolphin, Flipper were the main characters. In 1995 version, the main character was grown-up Keith, who became a marine biologist and managed a university's research facility. Keith was acted by Brian Wimmer. Jessica Alba was among the cast.


The stories were messy and unrealistic. That is basically kids' show, but the good things for all viewers were the beautiful scenaries and cute dolphins. 

I guess Brian Wimmer may be one of major attractions of the drama. In every episode, his half naked body appeared, and in the very first episode, he totally became naked and swam in the dolphins' pool. Targeted viewers may include adult women and gay men.


 I've been to Florida a long time ago when I was a college student in U.S. I went there on spring vacation. My brother came over from Japan. We stayed in Miami, and visited Key West. I ate crabs in Miami. I visited Hemingway's house and scuba-dove in the Key West ocean. Unfortunately I could not meet any dolphin. The below photo was taken at Southernmost point symbol with my brother in the Key West.


Florida was fun place to visit. I love tropical oceans and beach. When I become an elderly person, I will live in the tropical place like Florida, or Hawaii.

21:35 Posted in Leisure | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: Florida, Flipper, TV, College days, Trip

24 May 2007

TV Mini-Series "Shogun" God Cursed Sodomite!

I rent DVD of TV Mini Series "Shogun" aired in U.S., 1980. I remember when I first visited the U.S., American host family where I stayed played the video of this show to welcome me. It was a very popular show. So I just wanted to see it again.

The story takes place late 16th century in Japan, when Japan was not unified. An English shipper captain, John Blackthorne was saved by the Samurai Lord, Toranaga after his ship was wrecked by the heavy storm. Blackthorne then learned how to become Samurai. Later Toranaga became the shogun, the general who governs whole of Japan. Toranaga is actually named after Tokugawa Ieyasu, who founded Tokugawa dynasty that continued for 2 and half century just by his descendants.

It was almost 10 hour show. I enjoyed only first 2 hours. As for rest of the show, I fast forwarded just to see how Japan was depicted. More than half of the show was spoken in Japanese. I could not understand how American viewers could enjoy it although each Japanese conversation was interpreted by Japanese care taker woman for Blackthorne. Kind of frustrating to see for the English viewers, I wondered. But there are many new and exciting things introduced in the show especially for westerners such as Harakiri, a man and a woman taking bath together. Not common in modern Japan but typical and normal in that era.

 There was a very interesting thing even for Japanese. That proves that sometimes foreigners know better of our country's history. In the scene, Japanese care taker woman named Mariko told Blackthorne that he should choose a woman to sleep with for his health. Blackthorne declined. Then Mariko said "Do you prefer a boy?"

He was so shocked and got angry and then said "I am not God Cursed Sodomite! My intimate customs doesn't include boys." I was surprised, too. But the truth is in that era, Sodomite was considered normal in Japan.

If you want to know more about that, please read this post.  



21:00 Posted in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: japan, samurai, gay, homosexuality, tv

08 October 2005

The Charlie's Angels Story (2004)

I bought a DVD of the story behind America's one of the most popular show in history "Charlie's Angels."

It was almost like a story of the most popular Angel, Farrah Fewsett-Majors.

Since Farrah became the angel, her marriage life with Lee Majors, who was very popular as "6 million dollar man" in those days got in a big trouble. Then she decided to quit the show.

That was a big trouble for the production. The interesting thing was the contract between the production and Farrah was basically oral. You can't imagine this thing can happen in today's Hollywood. The actors there now have to sign on piles of contract papers in order to be in the show. In those days, oral agreement was common. 

In 1970's America, women's action drama was considered to be very unique. But there was feminist movement in those days, so their sexy detective characters were very criticised. I thought it was highly accepted by feminists because they act as independent strong women, not just being sexy. It seemed feminist women in those days expected too much from entertainment industry.

Anyway, it was a nice story. It is not documentary. It is a drama based on the book written by a former manager of Farrah. The actress who acted Farrah resembles real Farrah so much. However, I like Cheryl Ladd best among real 6 Angels. I hate the Angels in the movies.

Please also read http://dearamericans.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/04/30/ch...

21:20 Posted in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: TV

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