Friday, November 15, 2013

EPISODE ALERT: "12 Years A Slave" Spoiler-Free Movie Review & Crazy Black Women

Just got back from the movie "12 Years A Slave" director by Steve McQueen, staring Chiwetel Ejoifor as the lead character named "Solomon Northrup".

The plot of this movie is partly based on a true story about "Solomon Northrup" who was duped, trapped and sold back into slavery in Mississppi to two plantations for 12 years. Later he wrote about his experiences and the writings still stand today.

In the movie, it goes through various images of what "freedom" looks like and what enslavement looks like, and manumission looks like. The main character encounters other slaves who often say they have accepted their lot in life, as if they deserve the inhumane treatment because God has turned His back on them.

There were big name, A-list actors in this movie: Chiwetel Ejoifor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyang'O, Alfre Woodard, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti. An excellent cast.

The starkness of outlook was apparent with the cinematography. The only colorful displays were shown when strength returned to individuals. Or when mirth occurs in the plot.

In mental illness, a traumatic experience can cause one's brain to adapt to survive. When that trauma does not cease, the anger of suffering turns in on itself to a clinical depression. This clinical depression could not be acted upon by slaves until the last dying breath. The inhumane and demeaning nature of enslavement, by its very nature is mental anguish and there a paucity of modern health studies to understand its impact on African Americans, and the resiliency of their ancestors in the United States.

There were two women who dealt with their trauma in the only way they could and were forced to deny their pain because it was a nuisance to others. Not just the slave masters and their families, but others slaves. The callus nature that slaves developed was out of fear. A hollow look. This movie captured like a time machine of the faces of slaves just enduring it, like the mosses on the trees in Mississippi.

But what makes this movie bring to light that it is okay to be mentally ill as a slave and afterward, is treatment options were suicide or homicide. Death lead to freedom when people believed they had none.

It explains why many persons of African descent still hold onto a faith  from a god not theirs. All that is left is the vaporous body that courses the blood to innervate the muscles to move. That is not freedom. That is barely survival. Whatever it is, it is crazy. No sane person could logically aspire to endure that and yet they did.

This movie captured it.

Some of the terms were colloquial and great use of the "N-word" in a period piece. Images to demean women using sexual prowess and rape. The viciousness of the Southern white woman who was the mistress of the house having to hold it together when they could not. Many typical things.

But in this movie, it showed life as it once was and how it all can be taken away, like the biblical "Benjamin".

To survive enslavement, Black women had to go crazy. In this movie Black women were beaten and humiliated equally to Black men during slavery. While this movie was about a man, it showed it was more about the women and how the brutality of enslavement essentially emasculated the males, and dehumanized the women - it left Black women as hollow shells of their former selves -- as voids -- waiting to be filled. Unfortunately, the filling was with more cruelty and seeking righteousness either get one killed, wanton to be killed, and sacrificing her body sexually.

In my opinion, Black Women were not blamed as a theme of this movie. It did show of Black men were ripped to shreds unable to act on anything to help Black Women. But this movie was not about physical or mental weaknesses. It was about mental instability and forcing oneself to be unstable in order to survive.

Did I like this movie. No. But I feel drawn to it. I cried in this movie in two parts. The one part where I cried had something to do with a fan fiction Iwrote with many similarities to the scene, and my writing group partners told me it was too violent. I didn't think what I wrote was violent, I felt it was truth. Those things did happen. But the issue is, one has to be crazy to accept a watered down, pansy version for white people to accept it and not be hurt by the facts...

The second part I cried in this movie was after a traumatic experience, the victim feels sorry for the actions that have happened to them. A similarity would be "Stockholm Syndrome". This individual would even defend the abuser justifying his or her torture as correct. This behavior is often seen in rape victims - the if I had not been wearing... When it is the rapist who has a power and control issue to dominate over a perceived victim, who is always powerless. Sadly, when it is done to children, the understanding of right from wrong is skewed.

Trauma such as these can affect the sexual organs, therefore these behaviors can be inherited and passed down the generations. As such, after 150 years the abolition of slavery and ~50 years of ending Jim Crow, it seems too much to expect that being mentally stable in a supremacist society this country was built upon would just dissipate in Black women, and Black men.

What "Solomon Northrup" would be called is "drapetomania". For any slave NOT to desire freedom and stay with brutality requires a certain level of craziness to occur and this movie captures it.

The question is, will this movie gain Oscar nods? It will get nominated. I want it to win. But I am not sure it will because, White America refuses this movie, and then Black America does, too but for different reasons. White America refuses it because there is no way it was that bad to slaves... It's not "Gone With The Wind" in the antebellum South. Black America does not like it due to "Slavery Movie Fatigue" and seeing what we already know, that racist White people are the worst.

Friday, November 8, 2013

UCLA Black Men Speak Out

In this spoken word, Sy Stokes discusses how he is not proud to be called a Bruin.  It's really well done and states a statistic that UCLA won more championship games (143) than what the Black male freshman population (~43).

Here is my issue about how they feel. I'm tired of hearing the laments. In 1996 when most of California voted to destroy opportunities for diversity driven by the psychotic ramblings of an ignorant buffoon of a Black Man to bamboozled the University of California system. Now the only blacks left to make differences to our communities are athletes who are trying to leave the 'hood. 

But the fact is, UCLA does not care about diversity and that will never change.

EPISODE ALERT: FDA Bans Crisco Trans-Fats & Why They Don't Give A Sh*t

It's been awhile since I've written anything. My blog is about mental health, but it is also about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, too. Because without it, achieving a mentally healthy outlook is very, very difficult.

Recently, the FDA announced it is banning trans-fats. What that means is any fat that is solid at room-temperature, like Crisco vegetable oil or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil which is from soybean oil, will no longer be in many processed foods we consume - chiefly, crackers, cookies and microwave popcorn. There are many others. It use to be that companies could make foods with less than 0.5 grams of trans-fat and could put on the food label as "no trans-fat". Now that is not allowed.

Here is the NPR radio show about this topic.

My mother asked me what I thought about the new rulings. I said, I don't really care. As a vegetarian and someone that actually does cook from scratch, the requirement for trans-fats would be minimal. I must say, I own Crisco products, they are very nice to bake with, but the way I make my foodstuffs, it does not taste as good as butter.

I tried explaining to my mother about how products made with trans-fats allowed them to have increased shelf-lives. That was good when food was scarce and many people starved. When foods could not be "kept" in refrigerators or were not abundant in markets like they are now in the US. Partially hydrogenated oil is what kept many people alive long enough to eat food.

However, from a molecular biological perspective, a starvation metabolism is still different from an metabolic syndrome metabolism. In times of food scarcity, the body latches on to any of the major macromolecules it can find as well as water. Any foodstuffs is better than no foodstuffs or prolonged lack of nutrition. Proteins play a major role in saving lives. What is fed to starving children is a product called "Plumpy'nut"

It is for severe malnutrition. It contains monounsaturated fats. It has a 2 year shelf-life and requires no food preparation.

It is made by a French company and it heals thousands of starving children in undeveloped countries and malnourished areas, as well as keeping them alive.

It is, the life-saver of children. Without some "trans-fat", these children would die.

A metabolic syndrome metabolism is about overeating all the major macromolecules to where key disease genes are unable to be regulated. Many of the diseases we love fall into this category: Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke. The way to change metabolic syndrome is through physical fitness, eating fresh vegetables only, very little protein, no starch or carbohydrates and reducing stress through mindfulness meditation. Doing all these activities are very hard to do, many medications can help, but there are side effect. This is a first world problem.

Making our foodstuffs more natural would be nice. Who has the time? Not all natural foods are safe due to infections and chemical contamination. Having a natural lifestyle takes a lot of dedication, time, and motivation. When someone is suffering from mental illness, those thought processes are not even apparent.

After I told my mother all that, she said, "I don't want government telling me what I can and cannot eat..."

Actually, that got me to thinking. The reality is, the FDA takes trans-fats off the table in food who are the producers going to sell their products to? Well...

My logic is the reason why the "trans-fat" food companies are not making a huge stink about the FDA ruling against it is, they are transitioning into the BIOFUEL market where that tub of Crisco once cost $2 - $3 now cost $20 - $30 dollars a pound to drive your vehicle. Crisco does not care. It isn't hard for the oil companies like Shell to speak to JM Smuckers about anything... And if you did not think they would do that, well... I have some nice beachfront property in Yuma, Arizona...

I'm going to buy all the little tubs of Crisco that I can and sell it...