Archive for February, 2012

There Will Be Cursing

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

There’s never been a better time for a feature-length documentary giving viewers an intimate look at how bullying affects kids and families. So why isn’t the MPAA on board?

Though it’s already won multiple awards for accuracy, effectiveness, and candor, “The Bully Project” (set to be released March 30 by The Weinstein Company) has just received a final R rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, effectively blocking its screening in schools across the country because of “some language.” Really?? Language? Do the voting members of the MPAA even know any teenagers? As the death toll from Northeast Ohio’s Chardon High School shooting rises to three, as here in Los Angeles 10-year-old Joanna Ramos is mourned after succumbing to blunt force head-trauma at the hands of a schoolmate, this is a seriously bad time for the MPAA to demonstrate its disconnection from the young moviegoers it aims to protect.

It isn’t as if the film is simply capitalizing on alarmism or fear-based, reality show-style hype. No throbbing music leads to a nine-year-old flipping her classmates the bird; no Junior Tarantino action stars run around with shotguns intended for ravage and rape. There’s nothing about any of the movie’s advertising that suggests the audience will have a good time with bad words. This is about fragile faces and hurt hearts learning that “the power of hearing one voice in solidarity with you can be transformative.”

The Bully Project” is a marketing tool, sure, but it’s more of an awareness campaign with a documentary film used to highlight its central theme. It’s encouraging, not selling. “The Bully Project” exists – all by its lonesome – to advocate for everyone’s involvement, to re-imagine education as an instrument of “social and emotional learning” where empathy and responsiveness are “built-in” to the classroom. It is guaranteed to provoke strong emotional reactions from its audiences regardless of whether or not it contains foul language.

Bullying is a crisis that is choking the life out of more young people than most of us realize, and the film’s point is to prompt us to start realizing it before it’s too late. So listen up, MPAA: Telling teenagers they’re too dumb to differentiate between language and a need to be heard makes you part of the problem, not part of the solution.

 

For more information, check out these links and the Bully trailer.

The Racist Tree

Friday, February 24th, 2012

As I began reading I thought, this is a little on the lame side, but let’s see where it goes. And it went – even so far as to reflect my opinion of the Oscar nominated film, “The Help,” of which I’m not fan (though that’s another matter). Enjoy.

A “Teachable Moment” for the N-Word?

Monday, February 20th, 2012

When Lincoln Brown, a white Illinois teacher, found the N-word in a note passed during his majority African-American sixth grade class, he paused to discuss the slur in detail, even explaining why it hurt him to say it. Midway through the lesson, the school’s principal walked in and Brown wound up suspended without pay.

First of all, isn’t a child learning about the N-word better than him or her simply picking it up from some dummy? I say yes, but I’m not sure we need Teacher Brown’s Federal lawsuit against Principal Gregory Mason and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to get us there. Brown is claiming a violation of his First and Fifth Amendment rights, alleging that his 5-day suspension is both unjust and based on an inaccurate depiction of the episode submitted by Principal Mason. (more…)

Welcome to a Worn-out Military

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

U.S. Marines, unaware that the Waffen-SS insignia epitomizes savagery and malice? Horseshit. The Corps has no excuse for refusing to discipline every soldier here, including the photographer.

Now before you start jumping up ‘n down about how I’m condemning our glorious holy troops, remember that the American Armed Forces are made up of individual young men and women. (more…)

“Not Dead Enough”

Monday, February 6th, 2012

News reports covering the arrest of pervert-teacher #1 prompted alleged victims of Miramonte Elementary pervert-teacher #2 to come forward. We’re gonna need a bigger shark tank. 

Here’s another math problem:

Carmen needs to earn enough money to buy a “Not Dead Enough” edition A-6 survival knife to protect herself from pervert-teachers. The knife costs $42.99 + $7.00 for shipping.  She has $18.52. How much money does Carmen need to charge her fellow students for protection to pay off a loan for the A-6?

But seriously folks…

Regardless of whether or not cops and school administrators take low income and immigrant families seriously – highly debatable in communities where Spanish is predominantly spoken – it was media-driven public awareness that caused the arrest of Mr. Martin Springer, Miramonte pervert-teacher #2, suspected of fondling two little girls. (more…)

Do the (Molestation) Math

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

A 3rd grade teacher is given $1 million bail for each of his 23 felony counts of lewd acts on a child. Taxpayers will spend $47,421 a year to imprison this teacher for the rest of his life. What is the total cost of throwing the teacher into a shark tank? 

Source:  Washington Post

Why-oh-why did the Los Angeles Unified School District keep a lid on having removed Mark Berndt from Miramonte Elementary School after the bad photos were found? Granted, investigators were trying to build a better case, but doing so likely prevented other children’s parents from asking what their kids may have been exposed to in that classroom and encouraging them to come forward.

(more…)