Daily Archives: April 8, 2018

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card Book Review

Illegal immigration is a hot button topic in America these days. The problem, as I see it, is that while we argue over the big picture, we forget the nuances and the individuals (whose stories often differ) who came to America, albeit illegally, looking for a better life for themselves and their families.

Sara Saedi is one of these individuals. Born in Tehran, Iran during the Islamic Revolution, Sara came to America as a toddler with her family. She was raised as a normal American kid, but there was one thing that separated her from her peers: she was an illegal immigrant.

In her new memoir, Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card, Sara writes about living a dual life. She was an ordinary American kid doing the things that any ordinary American kid does. But she was also an illegal immigrant whose status was secretive and sometimes questionable at best.

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because the author writes in such a manner that the memoir is enticing. Her writing is down to earth and normal. I found myself thinking in some sections that she sounded like a normal young girl, regardless of her immigration status. But, ultimately, what kept me reading was the idea that when it comes to immigration, especially those who come here by bypassing the legal modes of immigration. While border safety and the safety of everyday Americans is of utmost importance, we  must also take a hard look at our immigration policies and determine if we are going against American tradition by keeping out people who simply want a piece of the American dream.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Germany, 1933 Here We Come

America is supposed to be land of the free, home of the brave. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are one of the corners of our country, both culturally and legally.

One of the news items that has not been on the front page (but should be) is that the Department of Homeland Security is compiling a list of journalists and so-called “media influencers”.

While it is unknown what will be done to the individuals and organizations whose names appear on the list, the thought that this is happening in the United States of America in 2018 sends a chill down my spine.

Suppression of the free press is not something that happens in the United States. Suppression of the free press happens in countries like Iran and North Korea.

If this is not a sign that you know who and his minions are shredding the standards of American democracy to meet their own needs, I don’t know what is.

I only know that we still have the right to vote and we should all be using that right come the fall. If we don’t, the democracy that is the United States of America may soon be no more.

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Filed under History, Politics

King Lear Review

A dysfunctional family is never a good thing. A royal dysfunctional family is even worse.

William Shakespeare’s King Lear is the story of a king who gives up his throne to his daughters. While his sanity slowly fades, the kingdom falls apart.

Last night, King Lear made its premiere at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).

King Lear (Anthony Sher) has decided to step down from his thrown. He has three daughters and declares that she who loves him best will receive the biggest largest share of his kingdom. His elder daughters, Goneril (Nia Gwynne) and Regan (Kelly Williams) proclaim their love for their father. His youngest daughter, Cordelia (Mimi Ndiweni) is not as vocal about her love for her father as her sisters are. As a result, she is banished from her father’s kingdom.

The story then snowballs into treachery, madness and war.

While the play is a bit slow, it’s very well done. Shakespeare was making a point not just about family, but about politics, which can both be incredibly messy sometimes. Anthony Sher, in the title role, plays Lear with a mixture of conceit, insanity, foolishness and ultimately regret. It is a powerful play that for obvious reasons, is still as relevant in 2018 as it was in 1606.

I recommend it.

King Lear is playing at the BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn NY 11217) until April 29th. Check the website for showtimes and tickets. 

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Filed under Broadway Play Review, New York City, William Shakespeare

Depression and The Rock

Like any disease, depression knows no boundaries. Not even those whose have successful careers in Hollywood are immune.

Wrestler and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has recently has recently come out as living with depression.

Like many that live with mental illness, The Rock is genetically disposed toward living with depression. His mother suffered from the disease and nearly killed herself in front of her son when The Rock was a teenager.

I find comfort, as weird as it sounds, that The Rock has made a public announcement. Mental illness, even after all of these years, still carries a stigma. In coming out of the closet, so to speak, he has put another public face on the disease. If someone like The Rock can live with depression and still live a full and happy life, then perhaps the rest of us can.

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Filed under Mental Health, Movies

It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America Book Review

Traditionally, a President is supposed to be responsible, mature, speak with intelligence and integrity, and represent everything that America stands for.

In his short time as President, Donald Trump has done exactly the opposite.

In David Cay Johnston’s new book, It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America, the author breaks down how Trump and his administration are ruining the lives of Americans, instead of fulfilling the promises made on the campaign trail.

He writes about wide-ranging issue such as climate change, the supposed wall that Mexico is supposed to pay for to keep out illegal immigrants, and removing the self-serving lobbyists that Trump promised to get rid of on his way to the Presidency.

After following Trump as a businessman for three decades, the author speaks with gravitas and a level of authority that frankly should scare the sh*t out of every American.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Politics