(From Part 1)

Anxiety, Stress, Nervousness, Insecurity, Internet inactivity…Perhaps this is why we hide behind avatars and professional profile photos. Are our “Friends” really inside that gadget? If so, what happens to them when we turn it off? Are we really linked? Don’t look now, the App beacons. 3G, 4G, Android,3D, Windows, GUI, Laser Etched, 4K, App, Opened Sourced, Cellphones that double as tasers, omnitouch… consume or perish. Who doesn’t have a touch screen television with dashboard widgets, but we were promised the eradication of diseases, the finding of cures and the solving of age-old problems. Strangely, there are more diseases, no cures and more problems than ever before. There are those that say “Technology is not dangerous the way in which we use it is dangerous”, and as always the debate ends when something tragic happens. We were promised security, but there are even more security measures, concerns, threats and prisons. We were all promised more knowledge, but we seem a bit dumber. These machines were said to help us make decisions, but unwanted pregnancies and divorce rates are higher. 50 Billion searhces on Google each month and we still haven’t found the truth… the search continues.

Overlays, screens, processing power, virtual children, pets, exabytes, tickers, more distractions. You get a ticket for talking on your cell phone, but somehow the law doesn’t apply to police officers… it never does. And soon as we find a discrepancy, a fault, a sub routine error, we get sold on using technology to fight technology. We are, for better or worse, married to technology. It seemed reasonable to create thousands of  nuclear weapons, but now it seems unreasonable for anyone else to have one. Skype. What did you call me? Technological advancement was supposed to free us, but are we not invisibly chained to our desks, LCD, Do-dads, interfaces, whatchamacallits and doohickies? A hacker can take down Sony’s Playstation Network for a month and compromise 20 million credit cards in the process and the news doesn’t make a peep because this it the new digital way of life, where these threats are common place. Twitter beefs have real life and death consequences. Entertainers tell their followers that “Google is God”.  Nintendo’s new console wants players to “feel” shapes and objects in the game all the while we are trying to mentally project our digital self as a form of control, the illusion on control that is. Is there a such thing as technological oppression? How ironic it would be if your entire life were photo shopped…. Maybe you should post that.

Internet dependence. Labor-saving, hands free, fail, manage the inbox of the mind. We claim to treasure our individualism, but we own the same devices, made by the same companies… go figure. And now the gadets are more important than your safety, or the safety of others. Print is Dead and were it not for two wars, newspapers would have went the way of the Dodo. The web took the Music out of Music Television, which has now resorted to exploiting children for ratings, while marketing and early adopters have convinced us that with these devices is a better way to exist, than without. Revolutions in technology have innovated new ways to make a living. Yes, the world has changed, a job in the factory and mill is now one in the office and idea centers. It seems as though Tech pioneers have sparked and stunted creativity all at once. How did we get to the point when someone with a cell phone can shut down corporations, crippled the stock market and hamper our government? The technology can connect us and disconnect us, as a tool it can bring the world closer (see Egypt). The truth is that Revolution comes through the people not from the  technology. It will all begin to dawn on you when you discover that you cellphone is actually spying on you.

(Cont)…

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‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’, is the sequel to Tyler Perry’s 2007 movie “Why Did I Get Married”. As many of my readers my know I try not to review Tyler Perry’s films because I have previously been compared to him, in some regard, and most of my reviews, while honest  have not been flattering.  The formula here is the same, couples bickering, exploiting emotions, and all of the marriage challenged have moral, ethical and relationship issues that usually get resolved by the time the movie is over and always with one character who is so horribly flawed that they are beyond redemption.

Honestly, Why Did I Get Married (2007) is when I thought that Tyler Perry had finally shown growth as a director, so I wanted to see this movie. The sequel’s story, though predictable, moves better than most of his films and the subject matter is still shallow. His films have marginally gotten better, but here we are almost 10 movies in and still Tyler Perry refuses to enlist real help with his film making.

This film picks up three years after the first movie, the four couples have moved on with their lives and are now taking their annual vacation. The location this time? The beautiful Bahamas. The couples all seen to be doing fine. Therapist Patricia (Janet Jackson) and her husband Gavin (Malik Yoba) have the perfect marriage and are moving on after the tragic death of their baby boy Noah. The workaholic Dianne (Sharon Leal) and her husband Terry (Tyler Perry) now have a little boy after Dianne had surgery to reverse the tubal ligation. Troy (Lamman Rucker) and Sheila (Jill Scott) are newlyweds and have moved from Colorado to Atlanta and have a little boy. Troy’s inability to land a job has put stress on the couple a matter which is complicated when Sheila’s ex-husband Mike (Richard T Jones) crashes their vacation. The ever mouthy Angela (Tasha Smith) and Marcus (Michael Jai White) are dealing with infidelity issues.

‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ shows each of these couples attempting to portray that they have happy marriages, but before the vacation is over as we find out that real trouble is brewing. When the couples return home is where the couples face their problems head on.  Janet Jackson gives a nod to Tiger Woods in some very dramatic scenes. This film is where Janet turns in what I think is her best performance as an actress, sadly their isn’t much to see here. Now before you start thinking “he’s hating”, let me finish.

To say that this movie is cliché  and over the top are understatements, but what did you expect?  Sometimes the dialogue falls flat and the characters feel like they are on a stage instead of a beautiful island. There are several moments in this movie that will tug at your heart strings and tickle your funny bone. This is a film about relationships, love lost and found. Mr. Perry has continually assaulted my film experience since his arrival, and this movie is not totally good news for those waiting for the recently announced film “For Colored Girls”.  I said all of that to say that there is something about seeing the screen full of black actors and actresses that is refreshing… liberating even. There is something special about black people not being afraid of being black. This fact is something my fellow film critics will never get. Yes the Tyler Perry brand is formulaic and there are many things that can be said about his directing, writing  and acting. However, there is one word I have never heard someone say in regard to Tyler Perry, and that word is “Fearless”. And fearless is exactly what Tyler Perry is.  That is what ‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ fully shows.  Fearless is what Mo’Nique showed by acting in Precious. Fearless is what Lee Daniels showed for directing that movie. They are all unafraid. So in that regard Tyler Perry thank you.

This movie gets a 7 out of 10 and that’s my Film Word.

This film is in theaters.

The original Clash of the Titans (1981) was as cheesy as cheesy gets, but it was still somehow endearing. I still recall the specific charm of the movie, which enchanted my imagination as a youth.

Directed by Louis Leterrier, Clash of the Titans (2010)… wait. Before I start I have to say that the mobs of people who mindlessly saw Avatar and bolstered the 3-D market, which will no doubt adversely affect ticket prices, have causes at least two movies this year to get the 3-D treatment post production and frankly it is Not Good. I know that I may get take a lot of flak for saying this but it is the ‘early-adopters’ that drive the prices up for everyone else. 3-D technology has been around for 20-years and even now it is imperfect, distracting and clumsy so much so the public has really got to be brain dead to fork over $4 or more extra to see any movie this way. 3-D is as unnecessary as Lady Gaga’s outfits. (subliminal message to Ipad buyers).  The extra cost alone should be enough to make anyone balk at these types of movies, on top of that “Clash” is not a good movie, sorry. I left disappointed and wondering why didn’t they just leave it alone?

The movie is set in ancient Greece this adventure follows the tale of the half-god, half mortal Perseus (Sam Worthington). Apparently humans are tired of being the chess pieces of the gods and Perseus must lead the humans in the battle versus the gods Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. The clock is ticking as  tries to save the princess from being sacrificed to the Kraken a gigantic sea monster. Zeus played by (Liam Neeson) is the only part of this movie that isn’t dull. (Note to self remember to change the movie term “special effects” to just “effects”, they haven’t been special in quite awhile a fact that this movie really hits home)  You know how your mind wanders when you see a bad movie, well I sat watching this movie wondering if demigods are still gods and I also wondered why Hollywood continues to stick political commentaries in movies like this… explosion, fight, look at that, he’s hot, politics, did you see that, she hot, fire, death, fight… we’ll only get the politics on DVD. Boring and tired this is one movie that should have stayed on Mount Olympus, another classic thoroughly butchered.

This film gets a 4.5 out of 10 and that’s my Film Word.

This movie is in theaters now

I have always been a big fan of Erykah Badu. She has in many ways shown the triumph of the uncompromising black female artist. At times she, through her music, has gotten personal, emotional, philosophical, and I love the way she is not afraid to show that she is political. Often, through her level consciousness, she has had the ability to bridge the gender and age gap and have everyone singing her catchy songs. She is unique from her organic sound to her style of dress both of which show her constant groove. Badu’s latest album ‘New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) has recently come out. I am sure that this album will be more of what we have come to expect from Erykah Badu, not over processed, personal, ambient even soulful, but the album is not what this article is about.

This article is about the video “Window Seat” Badu’s new video for her first single. If you haven’t seen it, basically Erykah Badu walks down a Texas street and strips buck naked in front of everybody and lies down near where JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

This is a powerful video that does with actions that her previous videos did with words and color and it stands in stark contrast to them and most videos out there. Now there will be many who won’t see the point of the video. And I won’t give you the point either, because it obviously wasn’t for you. And I appreciate the point and thusly salute Erykah for making it and I must say that Erykah has an amazing backside, but I digress.

Books that are changing everything

Is this really what entertainment has come to? Taking off all of your clothes just to make a point?

Dressing like a cartoon character to be heard?

Making yourself a pop-culture gender bender to become popular?

The answer sadly is yes. With the death of MTV entertainers have been getting more and more outrageous in this say or do anything business and all of it is about as real as a three dollar bill.

Did Erykah have a valid point to make? Could that point have been made without bearing it all in public? Is this really artist integrity? or a calculated risk over reward scenario?

Those are the same questions I asked when I saw a naked Serena Williams on the cover of last year’s ESPN Magazine, especially when I looked through the magazine and found no naked men, not that I was looking for naked men mind you.

Did either of these ladies have to go that far, probably not, but if they hadn’t we wouldn’t be talking about them right now. Let’s be real here, the “mainstream” is not checking for Badu. They are only interested in women of color when there is some kind of controversy. It does speaks volumes that a woman has to take off her clothes to be a viable artist these days and a man has to put on his to be successful. Personally I like Erykah’s counter culture attitude, but it isn’t cutting edge for her to go on television shows with her hair half-done.

How do a real artists compete with these manufactured pop-culture products? How do real musicians stand out in a time-period where the mediocre can go quadruple platinum? The answer isn’t an easy one, but it does depend on where we get our music from and whether the masses really wants to hear real music from real people, or packaged music from created products.  Two weeks ago I recently attended a small event in Long Beach of less than 50 people and the music I was given the privileged to hear there was better than all of the concerts I have been to. It was free, but I would have paid for the experience, you see where I am going with this.

Shocking videos, outrageous dress, and nakedness are not new to the industry, whether it was Elton John with his flamboyance, Prince and his innuendo, D’Angelo and Madonna with their boldness and others who were considered cutting edge with these types of statements. Not only were they out there, most of the time they were out there alone. Those artist never felt that they had to do something that wasn’t them to compete, or more shocking than what someone else did, they weren’t in the same market, but today’s markets are blended. Today we have a country star who isn’t from the country, Rappers rapping country, pop kids rapping, rappers on pop songs, R & B songs that are pop, and the blends go on and on. It is both a testament to the national oblivion and sort of  funny when you hear someone say that they don’t like rap, but the songs they listen to are actually rap.

These industries will feed us this type of empty fair until, or if we get fed up and complain loud enough and just like the media is moving the public from Health Care to Jobs, and Immigration the music industry will create something else for The Mob to follow. Did Erykah Badu have to go to such length to be heard, well we are talking about her now aren’t we? One thing is certain, it is no longer about the music and as long as the public continues to celebrate idiocy, promiscuity, those who will say whatever, do whatever, or those take off their clothes and pass it off as a form of expression I dare say that we should expect no less than the same kind of behavior from our citizenry, so Pack Light.

Don’t you find it strange that over the last ten months Rush Limbaugh has attacked mostly people of color. He talks about Hispanics and has openly muses that when he met Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa he thought he was a shoe shine guy. Yes, he has said negative things about Arlen Specter switching parties, but that is just anger from someone how just got jilted. I have listened to his show and sometimes he is entertaining and most of the time he appears to be at his racist best. You can catch him on the AM dial spewing his hate and discontent. He has attack Colin Powell saying that Powell only supports Barack Obama because he was black. I was wondering when Colin told him that, especially since Colin explained to the world why he chose to support Barack Obama. If that is Rush’s criteria for supporting individuals then it would be fair to assume that Rush only supports people who are white. Limbaugh has trashed Michael Steele another black person for calling him and “entertainer”, when Rush has called himself an entertainer, curious.

Rush is the Emininen of talk radio because he sparks controversy for attention, or ratings and he is a white male that usually picks on people who he knows are weaker then him. I mean really making fun of Michael J Fox and his Parkinson’s Disease, and that’s a show. Rush says whatever he wants then hides behind his party, mic, or the freedom of speech. This is a person who admittedly was hooked on Oxycontin (a street drug by the way) and was charged with doctor shopping, which means you have a serious problem. Apparently he is tired of using the accepted racial code word/phrases like “Socialist” (ooohhh), “Spade”, “Affirmative Action”. I don’t see how hoping, wishing, and praying that this administration fails helps anybody that is tantamount to being in a boat going towards the waterfall and refusing to pick up an oar to help row. But then again this is the same fellow who said “We’re discovering WMD’s all over Iraq!”

At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Wanda Sykes‘ routine was funny and she is a comedian so why are people upset? Do they believe the propaganda that comes from the Limbaugh Show? Is Rush just saying the things that some would like to but are afraid to say? Rush can dish it out, the party can dish it out, but they can’t take it. It is about time people started to stand up and and think for themselves. I know it is a novel concept but talking advice and political positions from people who are obviously disturbed can’t be normal? If it is normal then it is only indicative of all the things wrong with the US. Now Rush is unleashing his newest racial code phrase “Forced Reparations”. Limbaugh you should just say what you really want to say. Why spend all of that mental energy coming up with ways to cover up how you really feel. Rush is clearly someone who hasn’t read my book or any book of substance because his ideas are antiquated. We don’t need censorship and it is everyone’s duty to combat ignorance. We don’t need a laundry list of facts and figures. We don’t need long drawn out articles from a media which has failed us pointing out who is right and who is wrong. And we definitely don’t need more hate. We need to hold people accountable.

Limbaugh is but one of many court jesters, who will probably call out Wanda but that would merely be one act calling out another. The ultimate test of whether or not your position is right is to see how it stand up in the face of the opposing view. I don’t mean the usual taking things out of context, or picking on sick people, or laughing at the misfortunes of others. Rush it is your show and you can have whoever you want on it. So why not invite Wanda. Invite Randi Rhodes. Hell, invite me ….we will all listen. Sometime you have to question your leaders even if they are de facto ones. Apparently Rush Limbaugh is not only out of ideas, he is out of Hope perhaps it isn’t strange at all.