Sunday, January 31, 2016

Is A Show About The Fallen Angel Lucifer Symbolic Of Our Fallen Moral and Ethical Values?

"The series focuses on Lucifer Morningstar, "who is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell and resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the beauty of Los Angeles." (FOX)
"12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit." (Isaiah 14:12-15 KJV).
 Let me begin by being clear on what this post is not. As a radio talk show host and one who is in the media, this is not about censorship or censoring; however, it is about questioning why a show would be created about the epitome and purveyor of evil. It is about questioning what the creation and viewing of such a show says about us as human beings. I keep hearing how America is in decline and how our morals and ethical values are being destroyed and it does cause me to wonder if this is not true with shows such as Lucifer premiering on FOX.

Think about the degradation we have seen over the last fifty plus years. There was a time when full body nudity, sexual acts and profanity on television and radio was only hinted or subliminally suggested. I've seen in my lifetime us move from suggestion to blatant. Lyrics in songs, particularly hip-hop/rap are barely listened to if most of the words are not F.... this or F...that or nigga' this or nigga' that. In many instances the entire song is nothing more than a string of profane words to a beat. I can remember when I was a kid, my mother disgustedly turning off the radio when Donna Summer's Love To Love You Baby would come on the car radio if me and my sister were in the car. She would turn that knob with a vengeance in utter disdain that such a song would be on the public airways. Now our lyrics make Love To Love You Baby look like Mary Had A Little Lamb. I use this example to illustrate that just as Lucifer is considered the "fallen" angel, that like him our moral and ethical values could also be considered "fallen."  I am no prude or perfect, but I am not blind either. I have witnessed and continue to see the decline in the quality of all of our lives as we slide further and further into the moral and ethical abyss. We are to the point where anything goes.

In my view the creation of a show titled Lucifer is yet another example of the same progression that we have made from not being able to show or say certain things on television and radio to being able to blatantly show what used to be considered "private parts" and saying the vulgarest of words. There was a time when there was always the hint of an evil being but with this glorification of the fallen one, it is flagrant and in our face. The title of the show is Lucifer, a one word title. Does it get any more unabashed than that? Lucifer has made the big time! An entire series about him. He must really be happy now. I'm being facetious and sarcastic, but is this not ridiculous?

Do we not have enough evil in the world that we need a show about the one who seeks to kill and to destroy? Could this show be a part of the deception to perpetuate all of the evil and heinous acts occurring in the U.S. and abroad? Do we have to wonder why we keep getting what we are getting? Now I know there will be some out there telling me that this is art imitating life and my response will be that this is art perpetuating a bad and wrong way of life.

After viewing the advertisement for the show, I wondered what would be the response from the Christian community, if any?, and as I was conducting my research for this post I did learn that there are groups who have already begun to take action such as signing petitions to let FOX know of their displeasure. The next step I would think would be to stop purchasing anything from any of the advertisers and sponsors of the show. When all is said and done, the economics will speak louder than words. If the companies who sponsor the show are not patronized or receive enough negative publicity for being a part of such a travesty, Lucifer will once again be banished, this time not from heaven, but from FOX.

While I am not for censoring FOX, I am for extremely low viewing and ratings of this show based on the subject matter. I thought we had sunk to a new low with all of the "Real" this and "Real" that (housewives, husbands, preachers, etc. etc.) and the Kardashians this and the Kardashians that (which I still have yet to figure out why everything is defined by the Kardashian girls, but that's another topic for another day) but Lucifer takes us to a new low.  You can rest assured I will not be watching one episode of Lucifer as I am not that curious and secondly we see more than enough Lucifer in our daily lives. Don't believe me?, just listen to first thirty seconds of any news broadcast.

I'm sure I have made Lucifer angry now, so I guess I better watch out. As always, something to critically think about. You can hear me live each Saturday at 6:00 a.m. ET as a book talk radio host on The Reading Circle with Marc Medley. I broadcast around the world on and locally in the northern NJ area on FM radio WP88.7 FM. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Boycotting Should Have Begun Long Before The Oscars: We Are Focusing On The Wrong End

For the last week or so, I have monitored the debate on whether to boycott the Oscars or not and found it interesting to read and hear the various viewpoints. From where I sit, we as African Americans are focusing on the wrong end. The boycotting needs to begin long before the Oscar/Academy Awards.  The type of boycotting that I am writing/talking about is not of the type that one might think given the current debate. The type of boycotting I am referring to is the lessening of our (African Americans) focus on so much entertainment.

It is astounding as to the lengths we will go in order to be entertained, yet will not place this same energy or focus on something that really matters such as economics and education. As I ride down the streets of my city, I see dish upon dish affixed on the same roof, (that's right, multiple dishes on the same house) in a city full of children who cannot read. The same holds true for cable boxes. Seriously, how much television is there? Having grown up in the era of analog television broadcasts, it is still ludicrous to me that we actually have to pay to watch television channels. The price of a movie ticket or sporting event is no better. At what point do we say enough of the madness? If you really want to impact the Academy, stop watching so much television and going to so many movies. Stop putting your money in these things. That's where the boycotting begins; not at the awards show.

I've always had an issue with the Oscars/Academy because it is indeed what it is called, an "Academy," aka "Establishment."  The "Establishment" does what the "Establishment" wants to do, hence the current debacle. Think back a few years when Halle Berry and Denzel Washington were awarded the coveted "Oscar." Think back to the roles they won the award for....... Halle Berry for her role in Monster's Ball and Denzel Washington for his role in Training Day.  If you recall an African American had not won the award for decades and in this particular year, we had not only one African American win the award, but two and not only two, but a male and a female. That was done by "Establishment" design. The "Establishment" decided to award two African Americans for roles that it saw then and still views African Americans as now.........loose, promiscuous, lascivious, whores and wild untrustworthy thugs. Both Mr. Washington and Ms. Berry had played much more powerful roles that were worthy of an Oscar, yet they received the award for the stereotypical roles of being a slut and thief. In my opinion, Training Day was one of Mr. Washington's less than stellar performances and I refused to waste my time watching Monster's Ball.  The Academy made it very clear that yes we will award you [African Americans] an Oscar, but it will be for what we [Academy/Establishment] want it to be awarded for. Truth be told, Mr. Washington and Ms. Berry ought to have not accepted the award (boycotted) on the realization of what roles they were being awarded for, but as usual we go with the flow. Even the selection of Chris Rock to host the ceremony is an "Establishment" decision.  "What do you mean we don't recognize African Americans?, we have one hosting the show." Give me a break!!

What perplexes me is that not enough of us really see the game that is going on. For those of us who do, we are told that we "think too deep," or "see things that are not there." African Americans spend far too much money on entertainment that could be better invested in much more meaningful activities and ventures. Who cares who is nominated for an Oscar or not? Would not we be better served to pool our [African American] money and start our own production companies?  Would we not be better off to define our roles in television and movies rather than have the "Establishment" define our roles for us? Why do we need to watch so much television, go to so many movies, buy so many sneakers, go to so many sporting events to begin with?

We keep supporting the very things that are keeping us [African Americans] in poverty and then want to waste even more time boycotting something such as the Oscar Awards that make absolutely no difference in our lives. Seriously, will it make a difference in the life of the average African American if an African American wins an Oscar or not? Is winning an Oscar helping our economic situation? Is winning an Oscar building African American businesses? Is it helping us own more corporations? What is winning or being nominated for an Oscar doing for us?

The following was posted in Black Enterprise in November of 2013

African-American’s Buying Power Projected to be $1.1 Trillion By 2015
Group is the second largest racial minority in the country

There are 43 million African Americans in the United States, 13.7 percent of the total population, the second largest racial minority in the country. The median age is 32 and 47 percent are under 35 years of age. 
Even with these impressive numbers and buying power most mainstream advertisers are not inclusive, do not include African Americans in media and marketing plans and have underestimated the market size.
The Nielsen Company study entitled “African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing,” which was commissioned by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, shows the underrepresented potential and spending power of the African American community. 
The report’s findings, which will be presented at the June conference of the National Association of Black Accountants Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, found that the African American population is an economic force to be reckoned with, with a projected buying power of $1.1 trillion by 2015.
Also worth noting, the population of African-American consumers growth outpaces the rest of the population by 30 percent. Additionally, the demographic is younger, more educated and has higher incomes than commonly believed.
According to the study: between 2000 and 2009, the number of African Americans attending some college or earning degrees has grown: 45 percent of men; 54 percent of women. Households earning $75,000 or more grew by more than 60 percent, faster than the rest of the population. African American’s average income nationwide is $47,290.
So what does this all mean in business terms? It means African Americans wield tremendous buying power. The Nielsen study showed numerous shopping trends, mostly for household, health and beauty, travel, smart phones and child related items.
“The Nielsen report is very encouraging because it shows the African American population is a tremendous financial asset to this country’s economic recovery,” says Calvin Harris, Jr. , President & CEO of the National Association of Black Accountants.
As African Americans, we do wield tremendous buying power, but in my opinion, we don't use this power wisely. Yes indeed, we are a force to be reckoned with, but again in my opinion, we don't use our force wisely. All of this quibbling over whether to boycott or not boycott the Academy Awards is a waste of time in my view because the boycotting needed to have started towards the economics of the Academy and that is by our not subscribing to so much satellite or cable television; by our not using our buying power on so many movies or so many pairs of sneakers.  By focusing our purchasing power and force to buy and invest in things that really matter for not only the race, but for the world.

I could care less as to who wins an Oscar or not because at the end of the day, the awarding of that trophy is not doing a thing to change the plight of African Americans or any other Americans for that matter. I challenge us to let's put our energy on something that really matters. Something to critically think about.

You are invited to join me live each Saturday at 6:00 a.m. EST as I web stream around the world on and FM radio WP88.7 FM in northern NJ as the host of The Reading Circle. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and/or @readingcircle01.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Flint, Michigan's Water Problem is Another Example of Placing Money (Profit) Over People

"Nearly two years ago, the state decided to save money by switching Flint's water supply from Lake Huron (which they were paying the city of Detroit for), to the Flint River, a notorious tributary that runs through town known to locals for its filth." (CNN)

 Once again industries and agencies that are supposed to support and sustain life have shown what really matters and it is not human life. Recently the story broke about the residents of Flint, Michigan who have been subjected to having to drink and use water that is filled with lead, a poison. Water, like food, medicine, medical care, insurance, education, college tuition, rent/mortgage, etc. etc. are all human life sustaining industries that are all vital to one's quality of life. Yet, ironically enough, all place profit over life. All literally extort and hold lives hostage with their focus on profit over humanity. Before we go on, I am not suggesting that these companies/industry do everything that they do for altruistic reasons as that is not what capitalistic societies do; however, when stories such as the Flint, Michigan water scandal emerges, it becomes clearly evident that human lives are not valued much compared with profits. The Flint water debacle cannot even be defended when known corrosives and poisons are in the Flint River. So I guess the authorities and experts thought it just fine that the people in the impacted communities would just ingest this polluted water in order for the state to "save money." Surely these people would be too stupid to figure it all out.

According to a CNN report, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician, began seeing a trend when she began seeing more and more concerned parents reporting rashes and hair loss in their children. After conducting some research, data showed the likely cause to be lead from the water. Her research showed that the lead levels in her patients doubled and even tripled in some cases. Lead poisoning is irreversible.

"If you were to put something in a population to keep them down for generation and generations to come, it would be lead," Hanna-Attisha said. "It's a well-known, potent neurotoxin. There's tons of evidence on what lead does to a child, and it is one of the most damning things that you can do to a population. It drops your IQ, it affects your behavior, it's been linked to criminality, it has multigenerational impacts. There is no safe level of lead in a child."
Can you imagine?  These folks have now been sacrificed for money (savings, profit). As stated earlier, this is just one example of how humans are sacrificed for profit. Within several of The Critical Thinker posts, I've referenced two books in particular that expose the pharmaceutical and food industries (Our Daily Meds and Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us) and how they exploit the general population's naivete and extort based on the needs of this same body. There are other industries with similar practices as well.

Reflectively, Dayne Walling, former mayor of Flint admitted in his own words, "You can't put a dollar amount of the devastation to our community, our kids, and it was completely avoidable." Yes, Mr. Walling, it was completely avoidable. There are so many other things that are completely avoidable as well, such as, consumers paying hundreds of dollars for one pill;completely avoidable. Thousands of dollars for one night in a hospital; completely avoidable. Cancer and other health related causing chemicals in foods and beverages; completely avoidable. The continued making and selling of toy guns; completely avoidable. The selling and buying of so-called magic bullet educational programs/curriculum; completely avoidable. Students coming out of college with more debt from their student loans than they will make in their careers during their first years out of college; completely avoidable. Frivolous and absurd government "pork barrel" projects and studies; completely avoidable. The list of "completely avoidable" activities could go on and on and it does.

So as we celebrate the eighty-seventh birthday of one who would have been appalled by and most likely still fighting the many atrocities against humanity that fit into the "completely avoidable" category (even at eighty seven), it is incumbent upon us to shake the consciousness by any means necessary of those who are making the decisions to place profits over human life. Let us not be silent. Let us write about it, speak about it, act on it, withdraw our dollars because of it and anything else that we need to do to stop the overall injustice to human life when profits are placed over life.  In the words of the one whose birthday we commemorate on this Day On of Service, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The Flint, Michigan water scandal is an injustice. Placing profits over people is an injustice.  As always, this issue is something to critically think about...........

I invite you to listen to me live each Saturday at 6:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) around the world via webcast on and locally in the NJ/NY area on FM radio WP88.7 FM as I host The Reading Circle book talk radio show. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.