In an ideal working world, an employee is solely judged by his or her work history. Their personal identities, physical appearance and beliefs play no part in their working life. But we don’t live in an ideal working world.
In recent television news, actress Gabrielle Union was unceremoniously fired from NBC’s America’s Got Talent. The reason for her firing was the objection of certain language from guest judge Jay Leno and the treatment she received because she is an African-American woman. There are also rumors that Union and fellow judge Julianne Hough were subject to additional scrutiny because they are female.
In regards to Cowell’s alleged indoor smoking, I personally believe that it is a disgusting habit that destroys your lungs and your wallet. But that is my opinion on the subject. If someone wants to smoke, that is their prerogative. I can’t tell them not to smoke. However, when it comes to respecting others, if you do smoke, go outside and do it. I don’t want or need the stench of your cigarette on me.
When it comes to the other accusations, its the same old same old. Women are judged by their looks and not by their ability and their intellect. They are also labeled as “hard to work with” (or other non-PC names) if they stand up what they feel is wrong. In the clip above, a comment was made that struck me. I’ve been a fan of AGT for a few years. While the male judges remain, the female judges are rotated out every few years.
The more I read about this news story, the more I realize that Gabrielle Union is all of us. Though the details of her experience differ, the story is the same. A female employee speaks up against something that she believes is wrong. Instead of at the very least investigating her claims, management demotes and/or fires her and goes on as if nothing happened.
My hope is that this story spurs more women to speak up. I also hope that it lights the fire under a company’s ownership or management team to ensure that the negative publicity that NBC has received does not happen to them.
Rape culture is an ugly, pervasive part of the human culture.
The new book, Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay, is an anthology of stories about rape and sexual assault. While there is a diversity of contributors (including actress Gabrielle Union and writer Amy Jo Burns), the message is clear. Instead of being heard and those accused of sexual assault given their days in court, the contributors were shamed, discredited and bullied in response of being raped and sexually assaulted.
This book is nothing short of amazing and a must read for every adult. It brings the truth about rape and sexual assault into the light in a way that is unflinching, hard-hitting and in your face. It forces all of us to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we will continue to allow such horrific acts to happen or if we will finally, as a culture, do something about it.
Bring It On is one of those movies. On the surface the plot is trite and predictable. The screenplay contains lines that are outright dumb. But somehow, it was successful and led to a series of sequels that went from bad to worse.
Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst) is newly crowned captain of the Rancho Carne High School cheer leading them. Their team is poised to take an easy victory at the national cheer leading championship for the sixth year in a row. She discovers that their routines are stolen from The Clovers, a cheer leading team from the inner city. Isis (Gabrielle Union), the team captain wants to see her team take their rightful place as winners in the cheer leading championship.
While Torrance and her team prepare original routines, Isis and her team need a way to get to the championship.
This is the type of movie that re-runs on cable when the station does not know what to put into an empty time slot. Shakespeare and Oscar worthy, this movie is not. But it does make a very interesting point about race relations in America, even if it is couched in the story of two rival cheer leading teams.
The best teen movies are the ones that transcend their genre and generations. Regardless of our age and how old we were when these movies were released, we can still relate to them.
Two of my favorites are based in classic literature, Taming Of The Shrew by William Shakespeare and Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. They were also rebooted into Broadway musicals, Taming Of The Shrew remade into Kiss Me, Kate and Pygmalion remade into My Fair Lady.
10 Things I Hate About You is the story of the Stratford Sisters. Biana (Larissa Oleynik) is extremely eager to be popular and date Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan). But her hilarious and cringe inducing overprotective father (Larry Miller) will not allow Bianca to date until her older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) is dating. Kat has no interest in dating anyone. Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is new to the school and falls in love with Bianca instantly. He uses Joey, who pays Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), to date Kat, so he can go on a date with Bianca. The end result is very interesting and very entertaining.
I love this movie. The screenwriters kept the Beatrice and Benedict relationship between Kat and Patrick (as well as some of the Shakespearean language from the play) while dulling the sexist and misogynistic language of the original text. The late Health Ledger (pre Batman and pre Oscar for Brokeback Mountain) has a massive potential as an actor, that potential shines through in his later roles. Julia Stiles is another up and comer who proves that she has the talent to go very far.
She’s All That starts at the tail of senior year. Popular Zach (Freddie Prinze Jr) has just been dumped by his girlfriend (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe). Zach’s friend Dean (the late Paul Walker), makes a bet that Zach can turn any of his female classmates into prom queen. Zach’s choice is Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook), the artsy outsider.
I love this movie. It’s one of those movies that I can find on cable and brought back to that time in my life. The coup that makes this movie stand out from other teen movies of this era is that Zach and Laney are each dealing with their own internal pressures. As their relationship grows, they find a way to deal with those pressures. This is another movie full of then up and coming performers (Usher, Gabrielle Union (who also had a part in 10 Things I Hate About You), Anna Paquin, Dule Hill) who have had steady careers since then.
Both of these movies have quotable lines and soundtracks that fit in so perfectly with era that they premiered.