CRT was the subject of last Sunday’s episode of CNN’s United Shades of America. Host W. Kamau Bell interviewed experts and ordinary citizens to get a grasp on what is actually known about the subject and what has been twisted to fit one’s political perspective.
The last group of interviewees was a handful of high school kids. The message I got is that CRT (especially if you are on the right) is not about the students. It is about political gain and maintaining the chokehold that white supremacy has on this country. If anything, it hurts our children. If we do not teach them the completehistory of the United States (warts and all), we are willfully condemning them to repeat the mistakes our forebears made. It is also used as a tactic to denigrate and marginalize young people who are different from their peers due to factors such as race, religion, gender, etc.
The only way to face our past is to look it in the eye and understand what amends must be made. But this cannot be done until every one of us is ready, willing, and able to do so.
United Shades of America airs on CNN on Sunday night at 10PM.
May is Jewish American Heritage Month. With antisemitism on the rise in frightening numbers, the easier thing would be to hide who we are. Instead, we should be loud and proud of who we are. In honor of this month, I would like to offer a small list of American Jews who have made an impact on this nation.
It’s easy to look back on the past with rose-colored glasses. It’s harder to look at it it was in reality, not what we want it to be.
The Nineties was a CNN miniseries that aired in 2017. It explored everything about the decade from politics to entertainment to technology to major news stories, etc. While going into the different aspects of the era, it also discussed how we are still living with the after-effects today, whether they be good or bad.
I really liked the program. It was a nice dive into the 1990s without being melodramatic, academic, or dreamy.
Change starts with a conversation. But first, we must be able to have that conversation, which is sometimes easier said than done.
The new CNN movie, The Price of Freedom, is about the battle for gun control and the measures both sides have taken to win the hearts and minds of both the public and those in the halls of power. It examines the power that the NRA holds over certain sectors in this country and its unchanging belief in the 2nd amendment. On the other side, family members of victims, survivors, and pro-gun control politicians plead for being reasonable and coming to the table to compromise.
I enjoyed this film. The filmmakers did a good job of letting both sides make their case and let the viewer decide where they land. They also provided a historical background to this topic, giving a greater grasp of the topic beyond the last few decades. Though it did not change my mind, it is a good start in bringing both sides and their beliefs to the table. Hopefully, it opens the door to a dialogue and perhaps understanding one another.
In the Jewish faith, Psalm 137 has the following lines:
“If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget [her cunning]/ If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.”
The new six part CNN miniseries, Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury premiered last night. Over the course of the six episodes Sundays, the program tells the story of the city of Jerusalem via six key battles that changed the fate of the city and the region. Combining re-enactments with interviews with historians and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars, the viewer is given a 360 degree picture of it’s past, it’s present, and perhaps, a glimpse of its future.
The first episode focused on the glory days of King Saul, King David, and the downfall of ancient Israel after the death of King Solomon. I enjoyed the first episode. If nothing else, it proved that humanity has not changed one bit. Externally, the world may look different, but inside, it is the same as it ever was. It is also, I think a pathway to understanding what has come before us so we can create a better world for future generations.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury airs on CNN on Sunday night at 10PM.
The beautiful thing about art is that it is never static. It adapts to both time and culture, giving creators the ability to match what is going on in the wider world.
The new eight part mini-series CNN miniseries, History of the Sitcom, premiered on Sunday night. Each episode focuses on how the sitcom evolved over time and reflects on how it explores the different aspects of our lives from family to work to school, etc. Interviewing actors, writers, and producers, it delves into how this genre has shaped American culture.
I really enjoyed the first two episodes. The first one focused on the evolution of the family sitcom and how it has evolved from the white, suburban Father Knows Best and The Donna Reed Show programs that populated the television schedule of the 1950’s. The second one talked about how sex, sexuality, the LGBTQ community, and the different variations of gender have been seen by audiences.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
History of the Sitcom airs on Sunday night at 9PM on CNN.
Hate is powerful. It turns us away from the humanity of our fellow mortals and only shows us the negative stereotypes we want to see.
This past weekend was the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. It is one of the worst episodes of racial violence in American history. The Greenwood District of Tulsa, in Oklahoma was known locally as Black Wall Street. Outside of the Greenwood District, the residents knew that they would be treated as second class citizens. But inside of the district was another story. It was a vibrant and thriving community that disproved the racist ideas about African-Americans. Unfortunately, some Caucasian members of the community had their minds blown by this success and used the accusation (which has not been verified) that a black man attacked a white teenage girl.
By the time the dust settled, hundreds were dead and the neighborhood looked like a war zone. To make matters worse, it was not spoken of until recently. In light of the fact that this disgusting event has been buried, both WNYC and CNN told the story of the destruction. The new six part podcast, Blindspot: Tulsa Burning, and TV movie, Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street, told the compelling and heartbreaking story of those horrific days. I highly recommend both.
This was a pogrom. The actors and the location have changed, but the reason (if you want to call it that) and the results were the same. I wish that it had not taken a century for this country to remember and honor the memories of those who were killed. But it has. The only thing we can do is talk about it and educate our children so this never happens again.
For many of us, our day ends with a late night talk show.
The new six part CNN series, The Story of Late Night, takes viewers through the history of late night television. It started as a way to fill the air time after the primetime shows and turned into a completely new genre. Initially headlined by television legends Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson, these programs have kept the country laughing for 70+ years. While being introduced (or re-introduced, depending on your age) to these television personalities, the audience is given back stage tour to the places and people that were not in front of the camera.
I enjoyed the first episode. It was educational, but not in a stuffy or academic way. It was both a learning experience and a good laugh. One of the hosts I was surprised to learn about is Faye Emerson. My impression of the era was that men were the face of the genre, women worked behind the scenes or were part of the act. Knowing that she led her own show was a lovely surprise.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The Story of Late Night airs on CNN on Sunday nights at 9PM.
We can learn a lot about a specific group of people and their culture by their food. Without stepping into a lecture hall, we receive a history lesson, learn about their traditions, and hopefully begin to see them beyond the stereotypes.
So far, I enjoyed both programs. Tucci approach to his family’s native land is that of love, respect, and curiosity. Like many Americans whose family came from elsewhere, he uses food to introduce viewers to an Italy that only the locals know. Instead of lionizing Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln: Divided We Stand introduces the viewer to the man behind the myths.
There comes a time when we can look back on the past with a clarity that does not appear until after the fact.
The CNN miniseries, The Eighties, premiered in 2016. Breaking down the political, cultural, and technological changes of the era, interviews and media clips illustrate how transformational the decade was.
I loved this series. It was illuminating, educational, and entertaining.