The Rachel Divide

The Rachel Divide debuted on Netflix in late April, and as of this writing, has a 76% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The documentary follows the ex-NAACP president Rachel Dolezal, who in 2015 was revealed to be born caucasian, but had been living and identifying as an African American woman. Director Laura Brownson has been following Dolezal since 2015, and admitted to Buzzfeed that Dolezal proved to be a frustrating topic and pushed her subject to change herself; “the harder (Brownson) sort of pushed Rachel, the harder she pushed back. She does not change.”

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Chirp Off the Old Block

My neighbor’s bushes are tied together with a white ribbon, and a bird got tangled by the foot in it today.

It was hanging upside down, staying still and quiet until I approached, which prompted it to flap around and screech. I covered it with an old shirt as I worked on carefully cutting away the ribbon on it foot, until it was able to fly away. It left behind bright red blood on the white ribbon and the white shirt.

The bird was an American Robin. In the summer of 2012, I hand raised three hatchling robins when their nest was destroyed after a bad storm. Two out of three made it back to the wild, the third lost his leg and could not survive out there. I like to think that the birds I see around today are descended from the ones I rescued.

I’m not up to date.

Why don’t I keep my blog updated?

I’m currently unemployed and spend spend a minimum of 120 hours of the week in my house. My sleep schedule is a mess, ranging between 12 a.m. to 11 a.m. on a good day, but usually looks more like 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. with sporadic depression naps.

When I am awake, I’m applying to jobs, engaging in my hobby of the week, watching Netflix, or spending time with the people who bring me the most joy in life. Some joy is always welcome.

Do I have one constant in my life?

Well, other than my continual unemployment, I regularly update my food blogging Instagram, @breadisgoodllc. You should follow me.

I also press flowers and make art out of them. I’m working on a Youtube video regarding that, and maybe I’ll actually finish that.

I was starting a new script, but realized that my Final Draft no longer runs, and that an update will cost me $80, which I can’t really afford right now. I have a lot of time to outline the script, which is a positive result from that (if I can find the motivation).

Clearly though, I don’t sound like I’m too, too busy to not be updating my website. Maybe it is because I feel like there is no tangible end result to it. Instagram, I get followers. Pressing flowers, I get a piece I can hold. I get joy from seeing results, and maybe my WordPress results are just not enough.

Well… Thanks for sticking around until the end.

 

It’s Monday

I know I’m not the only person in the world that isn’t getting paid to work in their field of study. And I know that this is especially true of other people who pursued the arts in college.

I knew that my major was “unconventional” or “risky” from the start, and while I expected to struggle professionally, it has been more frustrating than I imagined it would be. It bothers me to not be employed doing something creative more than I expected it would. Other majors I would have chosen to pursue would not have been much different though, so I can’t be mad at myself about it. It wouldn’t help to be mad about it.

Still, I’ve been feeling useless and aimless. The only thing I can do is apply to job after job, and have my applications be ignored or rejected. Is there a way to assure a hiring manager that I would be the best for a position, that I deserve a chance because I won’t disappoint them?

I’ve just been too emotionally drained and beaten to really commit to any extra activities that are creative. 2017 was a tough year. I won’t dare say that 2018 will be better. I might just by jinxing myself. Maybe, if I just assume it’ll be a bad year, then it’ll end up being better than expected.

Of Violence and Television

MR ROBOT VIOLENCE

With disasters both natural and manmade happening in the last few weeks, writing about a television show felt unessential.

If you’re interested in a quick recap of the last two episodes of AHS: Cult, I can tell you all you need to know.

  • Ivy is in the cult to get back at Ally for voting Stein. She’s been making Ally’s life difficult on purpose.
  • Ally knows the truth, thanks to a probably now dead Meadow.
  • Dr. Vincent, Ally’s doctor, is Kai and Winter’s older brother. After the murder suicide of their parents, he arranged for their bodies to be locked away in their bedroom to rot while the children collect money.

That’s really it.

Onto this week; An opening scene of a mass shooting at a rally has been cut from tonight’s episode following the massacre in Las Vegas. Arguably important to the narrative, it would have been a pivotal moment in Ally’s character development, as she is the one that opens fire during a speech held by Kai.

FX said in a statement, “This opening, which was filmed two months ago and which portrays an occurrence of gun violence that has sadly become all too common in our country, contains a sequence that some viewers might find traumatic.”

In 2015, USA released a similar statement regarding the “Mr. Robot” first season finale that featured an on air suicide, which was supposed to air shortly after a news reporter and camera man, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, were shot and killed on air in real life.

Also in 2015, a “Supergirl” episode about bombings in a city was postponed after terrorist attacks in Paris. TNT pulled an episode of “Legends” featuring a shooting in a Paris crowd for the same reason.

A 2013 episode of “Hannibal” that depicted children brainwashed to kill other kids was pulled after the Sandy Hook shootings. Even an episode of sitcom “Friends” in 2001 had to have a joke about bombs in an airport edited out following 9/11.

We’ve all heard arguments and theories and complaints that media inspires audiences to become violent. Apparently, these days, violence in art is an imitation of growing violence in life.

Tonight’s AHS situation obviously isn’t the first of its kind. Will future programs censor themselves to avoid depicting acts of violence that have become every day occurrences in American society? I don’t think that would make a difference at this point. If inspiration for violence can’t be found in fiction, we can just turn on the news at any given time.

AHS: Cult – A theory and a recap

Before I talk about episode three, “Neighbors From Hell”, I wanted to get this idea out of the way… What do Winter, Ivy, and Meadow (Ally and Ivy’s neighbor) all have in common?

Nature related names! Could this be some kind of plot point, a sign within the cult? Or were the show writer’s just having some fun?

Onto the episode – “Neighbors From Hell” opened with Ally’s psychiatrist Dr. Rudy Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) in a session with a young woman, who has over come her fear of coffins. Later that night, the gang of clowns break into her house, and bolt her and her husband into coffins, leaving them to die. This finally has the community and media on the same page as Ally – that there’s really some kind of serial killer nastiness going on. And clearly, Dr. Rudy is telling the cult information about his patients, and he’s later seen fiddling with clown pins on top of it which was probably a subtle hint at what he’s doing.

smiley

Ally’s fears are finally being justified. Too bad it’s in the wake of Pedro’s death, the Hispanic restaurant employee Ally accidentally gunned down last episode. The liberal community, including Meadow and Harrison across the street, is against her, dubbing her “a lesbian George Zimmerman”. The shenanigans against her range from protests at the restaurant, a Craigslist ad asking for nude men to come to their home, to Harrison and Meadow sending a guinea pig over to Oz (it gets ugly).

Kai is eager to back and protect Ally from any harassment, and is becoming her only ally in the town. It’s probably all a ploy to get her into his cult. We learned that Harrison and Meadow are also involved with Kai and have taken part in his very personal interview. Meadow reveals her fear of dying unloved and childless. Harrison reveals his regret marrying her and his wish for her to die. So it’s probably not a coincidence that their house is marked by the cult’s smiley face symbol, and that Meadow ends up dead.

sad

Ally, Ivy, and Oz’s home has also been marked with a smiley face, followed by their new (very doll like for the scene) pet guinea pig  being microwaved and exploding in front of all of them. Ally blames the neighbors for this and the Craigslist ads, but who can be sure since both households have been marked by the killers?

Ally’s home is also being terrorized by a mysterious chemical truck rolling down the street and spraying green gas in the middle of the night. Even Ivy sees this, so it’s undeniable. The next morning, dozens of birds end up dead on their lawn, and when Ally attempts to confront the chemical sprayers, she accidentally inhales the green gas. We’re waiting on a blood test to see how this can impact her. Frustratingly, the town isn’t very interested in the truck, but Ally and Ivy had at least three chances to take video or a picture of this truck spraying the stuff. They could’ve easily brought this to the attention of the media. The local media doesn’t seem to be influenced by anyone yet, but the preview for next week showed the reporter (Adina Porter) slashing some tires, so maybe the cult will influence her soon too.

Winter tried to seduce Ally in last weeks episode, and in a surprising twist, Oz finds video of it online, prompting Ivy to want to leave Ally right away. Cheating is bad and all, but their house has been bugged! That’s very concerning! But since Meadow’s murder followed the revelation shortly after, I doubt that Ivy is leaving Ally now.

 

 

 

 

AHS: Cult – Episode 2

This weeks episode of American Horror Story had a lot happening, but at the same time it felt like nothing. And while I wasn’t very excited by “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”, I can still appreciate what they tried to do in this episode.

Ally and Ivy have new neighbors in what was their friends’ house, until the were murdered by the clowns in the first episode. A married couple, played by Billy Eichner and Leslie Grossman, have moved into the house, while there are still blood stains on the floors and walls. These characters were written to be unconventional and abnormal to what we expect people to be like based on their identities.

ahs couple

They’re introduced as the married couple that filmed Kai’s “assault” last week. We learn that they are beekeepers, that the wife avoids the sun and intimacy after developing skin cancer multiple times and that the husband is actually gay. They’re only married for the sake of a pact that they would get married to each other if not to anyone else. This is surprising, after the wife’s tone deaf comment about how lesbians can raise property values. Further into the episode, we find out that the husband is an avid gun collector that is afraid of losing his second amendment rights, and that he is also a serious conspiracy/doomsday theorist. If this couple is to represent a theme, it would be not to judge a book by its cover, or even, that stereotypes don’t matter.  You don’t know the story behind that “lovely couple”, or you can’t assume that someone’s sexuality influences their interests personally or politically. By the way, I’m not a fan of Eichner but he is great on the show.

Ally volunteers to go to the restaurant in the middle of the night to shut the alarm off, only to find one of their white employees hanging on a meat hook, half dead. She tries to help him down, but it only kills him. Suspicion falls on Pedro, a line cook who is a born American, but assumed to be an immigrant because of his Hispanic decent. Meanwhile, Kai did end up leaking the video of his assault, and he’s using his victimhood to run for local government. Out campaigning, he has a confrontation with Ally, mocking her for hiding in her now refortified home.

Kai ahd

Chill out.

Finally, while Winter attempts to seduce Ally, all of the lights in the neighborhood (and supposedly over several states) go out. Eichner’s character runs over to warn them that it’s the Russians or another attacking nation, and that things are about to get violent. Winter leaves, and Ally grabs her newly acquired gun and plans to make a run for the neighbor’s with Oz. She is startled by the arrival of Pedro, who was sent to check on her, and she accidentally shoots him, and we are left to wonder if he survived.

It feels like Ally is being influenced from many different angles by everyone. Clearly, her new neighbors are part of Kai’s posse and might be deliberately giving her new reasons to be afraid (they also gave her the gun). Was part of the plan to murder the employee so that Ivy would be at the restaurant restocking food while the lights went out? Did Ivy pick Pedro to go to their house deliberately? Is Winter trying to strain their marriage? Maybe there’s a simple explanation to all these happenings, or maybe it’s part of some complex and unbelievable scheme.