pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

These are the things that got me thinking this week.

‘Things Will Never Be the Same’ The Oral History of a New Civil Rights Movement (The Guardian)

It’s been a year since Michael Brown was murdered in broad daylight by police officer Darren Wilson, and not a lot has changed.  People are still being murdered by police in America every day.  They are still walking away without criminal charges.  America is still a country in which white supremacy reigns.  This piece at The Guardian is excellent and should be required reading.  It runs down the events on that August day a year ago, and moves forward from there, all while providing the details in the voices who lived it:

The gassing was almost surreal, because it felt like we were at war but that doesn’t make any sense. It felt like I had just been attacked by a group of people that are supposed to serve and protect me in my community, which is where I was.

It’s a long piece, but it’s excellent and worth saving to read later.

Five Great Questions I Was Asked as a Reference Librarian (Book Riot)

Kelly Jenson’s list of questions she was asked when she worked as a reference librarian is pretty awesome, but my favorite part is when she talks about working with teens who are described by their parents as “not being readers”:

Like magic, they open up. They’re happy to explain that they don’t like “big books” or that they can’t stand books like The Hunger Games. They then begin to open up other things to me: they love video games. They love books where a boy has an adventure. They loved the time they watched that one movie because it was scary or really funny.

Here’s What’s Missing From Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up (Gawker)

Just last week I had a conversation with my mom about making a point to go see this movie, and then I stumbled across this article.  In it, Dee Barnes, who used to host a popular TV show called Pump it Up!, was beaten by Dre after he became angry about a segment on her show.  Gawker asked her to watch the movie, based on Dre’s life, and reflect on it.  And now, I’m not sure I’m going to go see this movie:

That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think it should have been, either. The truth is too ugly for a general audience. I didn’t want to see a depiction of me getting beat up, just like I didn’t want to see a depiction of Dre beating up Michel’le, his one-time girlfriend who recently summed up their relationship this way: “I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat on and told to sit down and shut up.”

But what should have been addressed is that it occurred. When I was sitting there in the theater, and the movie’s timeline skipped by my attack without a glance, I was like, “Uhhh, what happened?” Like many of the women that knew and worked with N.W.A., I found myself a casualty of Straight Outta Compton’s revisionist history.

This is definitely a piece that is worth reading, whether or not you have any interest in seeing the movie.  It speaks to larger issues within our culture, and the way we revise history (and treat women).  I still think a movie like this is important, but I also think a discussion about why the uglier aspects of life are removed from a biopic is one worth having.

What got you reading and thinking this week?

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2 thoughts on “What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

  1. America is a country run by White Supremacy – is something to think about. Growing up, I was blessed to have a wonderful teacher who deliberately taught us to see people not color. At the time, it seemed like she was cramming race/equality down our throats but as an adult I thank her ever day and I try to teach my kids the same ting.

    Dr. Dre = looser. I don’t know why this movie or these folks are even getting the time of day. Money doesn’t mean class by any stretch of the imagination. Blegh to them and the movie.

    1. I think the movie still has merit and a place in the culture, but I do think that it’s okay to criticize what a film leaves out. N.W.A. was a group that had an important part in shaping music we see even today, and their story is an interesting one. But the filmmakers chose to shy away from some of the harder stuff, like the group’s issues with women and homophobic song lyrics, and that seems like a shame.

      I think it’s a disservice to dismiss the film–and Dr. Dre, who has continued to have an impressive career in music/music production–completely.

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