Saturday, December 24, 2011

She Could Have Said "Kiss My Big Posterior." But She Didn't; And That's The Difference.

For those of you who have been reading The Critical Thinker for any length of time you just had to know that I was not going to let this opportunity pass to write about the comments made about our first lady Michelle Obama by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner. Once again Abraham Lincoln’s Quote of “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt” comes into play. Representative Sensenbrenner is lucky Mrs. Obama did not speak what was probably on her mind (and justifiably so) when she heard about the comments which was probably to kiss her big behind; but unlike him, she had more class than that or at least sense enough to keep her thoughts to herself.

I don't know what it is about these folks who truly think they can say anything and it not go unaddressed. A little over two years ago in 2009 South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson (R) yelled out "You lie!" during President Obama's major health care speech when he said the legislation would not mandate coverage for undocumented immigrants. Even the Associated Press picked up on the fact that it wasn't the only interruption during President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress in the House of Representatives. Earlier, Republicans laughed when Obama acknowledged that there were still significant details to be worked out before a health overhaul could be passed. Wilson's outburst caused the president to pause briefly before he went on with his speech. In attendance at the speech, First Lady Michelle Obama shook her head from side to side. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner's latest remarks caused me to shake my head as well; as the kids can text and tweet “SMH.” In both instances representatives Wilson and Sensenbrenner sent letters and words of apology, but similar to a judge asking a jury to strike the last comment in a court room, the damage was done as it had been heard. Try as we might to forget what we’ve heard, the bottom line is we don't. While both Representatives Wilson and Sensenbrenner feign that their commentary was a mistake or an emotional outburst, the truth of the matter is their subconscious or their inner thoughts were just making their way outward. Their brains for some reason stop suppressing what they were thinking. You cannot make this critical thinker believe that what was said was not already deep within. Interestingly enough, when these types of comments are made either alcohol or an open microphone is involved, however, in these two instances both men were fully sober and aware of what they were saying.
One could argue that derogatory things are said about every president and first lady and that may be the case, however, it still does not excuse the behavior. When you think about it, it really is a matter of respect or lack thereof. Even if Rep. Wilson thought President Obama was a liar it would have behooved him to keep his thoughts to himself and the same holds true for Rep. Sensenbrenner concerning the size of Mrs. Obama’s posterior. In both of these cases it would have been better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to have opened their mouths and removed all doubt. In this critical thinker’s eyes both Representatives Wilson and Rep. Sensenbrenner have removed ALL doubt and are thought by me to be FOOLS. As the old adage goes, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I welcome your commentary in the comment section of the blog.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This May Be The Last Time

As we come to the close of 2011 is a great time to reflect, particularly about those who were with us and have passed away during the year. Upon this reflection I think back to the beginning of 2011 of the family and friends who were here and are now gone. I can do the roll call. I can remember the faces I saw last Christmas and last New Year's who somewhere along the way in 2011 passed away. I can see them in my mind as clearly as if they were sitting here in front of me right now. Some would say why address such a sad topic during the holiday season and as we are approaching a new year?  To them I say it is a perfect time to address this topic because the truth of the matter is none of us know when it will be our last time. The traditional song of This May Be The Last Time (one of my favorites) was performed by The Staple Singers and it simply says this may be the last time I don't know. The great Pops Staples sings it best on his album Peace To The Neighborhood.

Time is out for family members and friends to be treating each other with hatred and strife. Time is out for family members and friends not to be talking to and with each other. Time is out for being spiteful. Time is out for being bitter rather than becoming better in terms of family and friend relationships. Because as Pops Staples says this may be the last time. Folks who are with you this Christmas may not be with you next Christmas. Folks who sit with you and bring in the New Year with you in 2012 may not be here next year this time. So truly while you still have time, while you are still here, take every opportunity you have to make amends with family and friends. It does not make sense to live less than a mile away from each other and not speak. It does not matter what the situation may have been that caused the rift. Whether it is some silly argument, a divorce or other broken relationship, an addiction, a loan gone bad, a disagreement or whatever it may have been, the time is out for holding grudges. As we go into 2012 seek to mend as many torn relationships as possible. Parents speak to your children. Children speak to your parents. Brothers and sisters talk to your brothers and sisters. Uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, in-laws, etc. etc.; speak to one another.

Once a person is laid out in the coffin it is too late. All of the crying and wishing what could have been said or could have been done will not matter. I don't know about you but I'm learning of more and more people that I know who have died every day. It does not matter the age group, young people are dying just as much as the older people. It would behoove us to show as much love and kindness to everyone as humanly possible, because as Pops Staples says in his song this may be the last time I don't know or this may be the last time we don't know. Have a blessed Christmas and a prosperous new year. Show some love because this may indeed be the last time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dear Daddy Please Stop Being A Crappy Dad; You Are Hindering Me

This is doggoned shame that an entire website has been created called Crappy Dads   In this particular video The Lee County (Ala.) Sheriff’s Department came up with an elaborate way to catch more than a dozen deadbeat parents: tell them to show up at a location in Opelika and claim tickets to this year’s Auburn-Alabama game. Operation “Iron Snare” didn’t round up all the suspects deputies were looking for, but it got quite a few. They mailed out over 140 letters for people with at least $10,000 of unpaid child support. All of this to get parents to do what they ought to be doing for children they created. Absolutely ridiculous.

The shame of it is that this problem of deadbeat parents is so prevalent that someone felt the need to dedicate a website or blog page to it.  Biblically, in Mark 10:13-15  we had this scenario "But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." I am sure that God MUST be displeased with parents who will not support their children emotionally or financially. In other words, Jesus was saying do not hinder the children. When emotional and financial support are not given, the children are hindered. I will say that again, the children are hindered. A child with no money is hindered. A child with no love is hindered. For all of the deadbeat dads (and moms for that matter) it's about the children stupid; the children. I have no respect for any man (or woman for that matter) who will not emotionally or financially support their children.

This Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m., my guest on The Reading Circle with Marc Medley will be Janks Morton, a groundbreaking international and award winning Documentarian. As founder of iYAGO ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, LLC, he states the company came into existence to reflect both the conscious and unconscious soul of Black America. JANKS MORTON has been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years and is a much sought-after teacher, lecturer, commentator and motivational speaker. He has convened workshops, seminars and served as panelist and keynote speaker at colleges, universities, prisons, conferences, churches and community centers around the world.

His latest project highlighted in INDIEGOGO is DEAR DADDY, a feature length documentary about the life long effects of fatherlessness on women. The film follows the dramatic journeys of eight young women from the tough city streets of Washington,DC as they struggle to overcome poverty, poor educational systems, no healthcare, and the most difficult life circumstance they have been dealt... the absence of their fathers.Dear Daddy is not only about the struggles to survive and navigate as a young woman of color, but at its core, its about the importance of a father's role in the lives of their daughters.

Janks and I will certainly be talking about this issue of deadbeat parents, particularly deadbeat dads as Janks focuses heavily on African American men. I encourage you tune in this Saturday morning December 17, 2011 and hear Mr. Morten address these issues. The show begins at 6:00 a.m eastern time on children must stop being hindered!!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Brilliance of TV Sitcom "All in the Family"

I am probably one of the few people in America who do not have cable television by choice. With that being said every now and again I tune into old television shows online. Lately I have been tuning into episodes of the show All in the Family and I've recognized as an adult how brilliant that show really was and is. I watched it as a child with my family when it came onto the scene in 1971 and being only a nine year old child did not realize the brilliance of the show at that time. Since I have begun watching the episodes online it occurred to me just how cutting edge the show was and still is having been introduced in 1971. So I started doing a little research. I went to Google and typed in “All in the Family” and began to learn more about the genius of All in the Family and of its producer Norman Lear.

According to Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, the show broke ground in its depiction of issues previously considered unsuitable for U.S. network television comedy, such as racism, homosexuality, women's liberation, rape, miscarriage, abortion, breast cancer, the Vietnam War, menopause, and impotence. The show ranked #1 in the yearly Nielsen ratings from 1971 to 1976. It became the first television series to reach the milestone of having topped the Nielsen ratings for five consecutive years, a mark later matched by The Cosby Show and surpassed by American Idol. The episode "Sammy's Visit" was ranked #13 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time ranked All in the Family as #4. Bravo also named the show's protagonist, Archie Bunker, TV's greatest character of all time, said, “There are classic shows, and there are groundbreaking shows. All in the Family enjoys the distinction of being both. Debuting as a mid-season replacement on Jan. 12, 1971, it became one of the most influential comedies in TV history and made an immediate impact on the entire television industry. All in the Family pioneered a whole new brand of realistic and hard-hitting satire based on the real world, rather than the naive escapism of most entertainment programs. The sitcom revolves around blue-collar worker Archie Bunker and his family. Opinionated and uneducated, Archie makes no bones about his racial and political views, which are borne out of every negative stereotype imaginable.”

Lastly, says All in the Family was first seen in January of 1971 and immediately changed the face of television. Not only was this the number one television series from 1971 through 1976, but it also signified an avalanche of other situation comedies that dealt with controversial subjects in realistic ways. Including, Chico & the Man, The Jeffersons, Maude, Good Times and Sanford & Son. The stories revolved around many controversial topics including, rape, sex, homosexuality, death, and other topics that were relevant to the 1970's, especially political strife and inflation. Archie Bunker was probably the first character in a situation comedy to use racist remarks referring to blacks and other minorities, yet another first for television.

Interestingly enough the same issues that existed then at the creation of All in the Family still exist now and is why I am writing this blog post. Archie Bunker represented all of the “isms” that existed then and still exist today. Producer Norman Lear was courageous enough to bring these issues to the forefront and did it in such a way that allowed us to see just how silly the perspective of many were then and sadly still are now. For if you truly analyze the behavior and thought process of Archie Bunker you cannot help but see that Archie's views were nothing short of ridiculous and yet these views still exist as we come to the close of 2011.

I watch All in the Family online (because I don’t have cable by choice and that’s another blog post) and I laugh until tears come into my eyes at how stupid Archie Bunker truly is. He really has no idea of how stupid he really is and truly believes that he is not only smart but superior. The sad reality is he is representative of far too many people even in 2011 that hold those same types of views who really believe that they are smart and superior when indeed they are really dumb. Now that I am older and can really see the beauty in a show such as All in the Family, I take my hat off to Norman Lear. Something to critically think about, particularly in this political season of debates and the upcoming 2012 presidential election. I welcome your thoughts in the comment section of the blog.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Can We Take Hell For Granted?

Last night I attended movie night at my wife's church and the feature movie of the evening was Escape From Hell. describes the film as follows:

Do you believe in life after death? Dr. Eric Robinson wants to believe and experience that infinite love and warmth that near death testimonies claim is on the other side of life. His colleague, Dr. Marissa Holloway, is on a crusade to alleviate the fear of death and suffering by proving to the world that heaven awaits everyone. In a moment of desperation, Dr. Robinson faces death and discovers the reality of hell – a place the Bible portrays – a hell from which we must all escape.This new evangelistic movie challenges viewers to confront the inevitable…death and judgment. In action-packed drama we get a glimpse of what heaven and hell may be like. It is a wonderful tool to share Christ with unsaved family and friends.
This movie ought to cause all of us to critically think. Can we take Hell for granted?