Monthly Archives: March 2015

It’s Official

It’s official. Series six of Downton Abbey will be it’s last.

All good things, including good television programs, must come to an end.

To be honest, six years is a good run for a television program of this sort.  The best television shows usually end when the audience is wanting more, as a posed to dragging on for another season or two when the audience is losing interest.

My Sunday nights in the winter will not be the same without Downton Abbey.

At least we have the sixth series to look forward to.

 

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Filed under Downton Abbey, Television

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Yesterday marked the 104th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. 146 workers, mostly young immigrant girls, were killed by a fast moving fire inside of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

They came to this country to start a new life. Some of them knew America as der goldene medina (the golden country). America was the land of opportunity where one could grow beyond the emotional and physical barriers that kept them stagnant in their countries of birth.  Instead these workers lived on slave wages, went home to overcrowded tenement apartments and worked in sweatshops and factories where the physical working conditions could only be described as inhumane.

The events leading up the factory were industry wide strikes. The strikers, many of whom were female, were striking for better pay, a safe work environment, a reasonable work day and their rights as women. To these women, the Suffragette movement and the idea of working in a safe environment and earning a reasonable paycheck went hand in hand.

Until the fire, the government had a hands off approach to industry. It was only after 146 workers became lambs to the slaughter did the government finally step in.

I honor the memory of these men and women. When the stepped onto the boat to come to America, they were unaware of the fate that lay before them.

In the language of my ancestors I say z”l. In the language of the country that I call home, I say rest in peace. You are gone, but never forgotten.

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Filed under Feminism, History, New York City

The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)- Crossroads (2002)

Your late teens and early 20’s is a very interesting time in life. You are an adult, but you are barely an adult. Your childhood is only a few years behind you.

The 2002 movie, Crossroads is about that period  in our lives.

Lucy (Britney Spears), Kit (Zoe Saldana) and Mimi (Taryn Manning) have been best friends for years. The night of high school graduation, Lucy reveals that she is going to Los Angeles to audition for a record company. Kit and Mimi decide to go with her, against the wishes of Lucy’s father Pete (Dan Aykroyd). On the road to Los Angeles, they meet Ben (Anson Mount).

I saw this movie during it’s original theatrical run. I thought that the time, that it was not a bad movie, as I was around the age of the characters.

Were the critics wrong? No. This movie is just plain bad.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, The Critics Were Wrong

The Hardest Thing To Do Is To Be Yourself

We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we attend to it, than any other person can be- Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

This above all: to thine own self be true/ And it must follow, as the night the day/ Thou canst not then be false to any man/Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!-William Shakespeare- Hamlet

The hardest thing in life that we can ever is tell ourselves and our loves ones the truth of who we are. Even if that truth contradicts everything we have been taught is right and proper.

Tom Sosnik is a 13 year old boy who did a very brave thing. He announced to his classmates and to the world via youtube that he is trans-sexual.

I wish many of us had the courage of this young boy. Perhaps this world of ours would be in a better place.

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Filed under Jane Austen, Life, Mansfield Park, William Shakespeare

Thank You and Happy Birthday

Today is the 81st Birthday of the second generation feminist leader Gloria Steinem. Without her, our world would be dramatically different. Happy Birthday and Thank you a million times over.

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Filed under Feminism

Cinderella Movie Review

Cinderella has been done on screen, multiple times. Some adaptations are better than others.

A few weeks ago, Disney released a live action adaption of the beloved and sometimes questionable fairy tale.

Stepping into the shoes (literally and physically) of the most famous fairy tales heroine is Lily James, best known as Lady Rose on Downton Abbey. Cinderella (or Ella before she is cruelly nicknamed) loses her mother at a young age. Her father (Ben Chaplin), a  merchant who makes his living by buying products abroad, married again to her stepmother (Cate Blanchett). Her stepmother has two daughters from her previous marriage, Drisella (Sophie McShera, Daisy on Downton Abbey) and Anastasia (Holliday Granger). Soon after Ella’s father leaves, her stepmother reveals her true colors.

When Ella’s father dies en route, Ella officially becomes Cinderella.  Finally breaking from the abuse, Ella goes for a ride. She meets Kit (Richard Madden), whom she does not know is the prince.  Kit returns to the castle, hiding his own burden. His father, the king (Derek Jacobi) is not well and Kit knows that he must marry not for love, but for duty. Kit convinces his father to invite every young woman in the kingdom to the ball, in hopes that he will meet the young woman he met in the forest.

I enjoyed this movie, surprisingly. James and Madden have solid, if predictable chemistry.  What I liked was that the story has been expanded beyond the 2D story that is the 1950 animated film.  Neither Cinderella or The Prince have had an easy life. Their struggles make them human and made me, as an audience member, appreciate this fairy tale more than I have.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Downton Abbey, Fairy Tales, Movie Review, Movies

Little White Lie Movie Review

Growing up, Lacey Schwartz felt like an outsider. Raised in upstate New York by Caucasian Jewish parents, she never felt like she fit in. It was obvious, though unspoken that Lacey was different. Enrolling in Georgetown University, Lacey received an invitation to join the Black Student Union. The problem was that Lacey had always thought that she was white. Accepting the invitation, Lacey used the opportunity to discover who she is and ultimately, make peace with the questions she has been wrestling with since childhood.

Ms. Schwartz tells her story in the documentary Little White Lie.

I found this documentary to be compelling. There were questions of race, religion, identity and finding your way in the world. While we all have our paths in life to walk on, these questions are universal.

I highly recommend this documentary.

 

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies

Another Job Bites The Dust

I was laid off today. I won’t lie that it hurts. Being laid off, regardless of the reasons, hurts. It is an emotional punch to the gut that takes time to heal.

I sort of knew what I was getting into when I accepted this job. For privacy reasons, I will not share the specifics of job or the company. But I will state that it was the most emotionally, professionally and physically trying job that I’ve ever had. I have never come home so exhausted.

There were previous opportunities to potentially leave, but I chose not to. I fought with everything I had to keep this job as long as I could.

I’m a believer in the duality of hard work and fate.  Things happen to us for a reason, but also, we must work for what we want.

I know that I will find work again. If I did it before, I will do it again.

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Filed under Life, Music

Disgusting

In Orange County, California, Attorney Matt McLaughlin has submitted a bill for the ballot next November.

This bill would make it legal for gay men and women to be executed simply because they are gay.

I am all for free speech, but when a bill is presented to the voting public making it legal to kill someone because their sexuality, that is beyond wrong.

It is disgusting.

The constitution states the following: “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. It does not state “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but only if you are heterosexual”.

There are countries around the world where homosexuality is a crime. The punishment, even at the idea of being gay, at best to being thrown into prison and tortured. At worst, the punishment is execution. Iran is notorious to executing those who are perceived to be gay, even if they are not.

This should not be happening in the United States. But it is. And it’s disgusting.

 

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Filed under National News, World News

Dear Shailene Woodley

Dear Shailene Woodley

You say that you are not a feminist. You say that the label of feminism is “divisive”.

Feminism is not about hating men or switching roles where the female is dominant and the man is submissive. Feminism is about our rights as women to have our voices heard and choosing to live our lives as we see fit.

Without feminism, your role in Divergent would have never existed. You would be forced to play characters in romantic melodramas or comedies where the movie ends with the same old happy ending.  Their opportunities for education, for professional advancement, for personal happiness would not exist.  Similarly, your education would be limited. The professions that would be open to you would limited. You would be expected to marry, have children and keep a house. That would be the extent of your life.

So before you say that you are not a feminist, remember the women who fought long and hard for you to say those words.  Remember the women who gave you that voice and paved the way for the opportunities that you take for granted.

And then tell me that you are not a feminist.

Sincerely

An out and proud feminist

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Filed under Feminism, Movies