Grapes of Wrath: “All Aroun’ in the Dark”

grapes of wrath

Ed Rampell: Don’t miss this inspiring theatrical adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, the rabble-rousing, pro-union Depression-era classic that, alas, remains as timely now as the day John Steinbeck wrote it in 1939.

PBS, Oscars Slighting Latinos

lupe ontiveros

Rudy Acuña: I still remember going round and round with broadcasters over Ken Burns’ special on World War II. As in the case of his documentaries on jazz and baseball, Mexican Americans and Latinos do not exist for Burns.

Oscars Show Takes Prize for Sexism, Homophobia, Anti-Semitism, Racism

oscars macfarlane

Peter Dreier: There were no hooded sheets, burning crosses, N-words, or “fag” jokes. But bigotry comes in various shades. Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony was ugly and unfunny.

Channeling Poverty: Poor v. Broke on TV

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Matthew McDermott: If a young worker views a restaurant job as a disappointing setback on the way to an illustrious professional career, she may be more likely to buck management.

The NFL: Where Dr. King’s “Dream” Goes to Die

adrian peterson

Dave Zirin: It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the tributes to Dr. King by the NFL don’t include the time when he said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

Half a Coke and a Smile?

old coca cola ad

JP Sotille: The American diet is now a mine-field of sickness, empty calories and chemical additives. And the number-crunching folks at Coca-Cola think this mine-field may blow-up in their faces.

Confessions of a Juiced Journalist

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Walter Brasch: I must confess now. While Stephen King, Aaron Sorkin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, and thousands of other great writers used coke or pot to get high and produce great works, I used steroids.

Was There a Political Correct Way for Tarantino to Portray Black Slavery?

django kerry washington

Irene Monroe: While some will contest that Tarantino is being well…Tarantino, and he means no disrespect, others argue that his privilege as a well-respected moneymaking white heterosexual male filmmaker gives him carte blanche to recklessly express his creative juices even if it reinscribes stereotypes that many feel Django does.

Eleanor: The Radical Roosevelt Deserves Her Own Worthy Film

eleanor roosevelt

Peter Dreier: Eleanor Roosevelt, an important historical figure, has never been depicted in movies, including “Hyde Park on Hudson” accurately. It’s about time!

This New Year’s, Resolve to Give Yourself a Break

obesity

Michael Sigman: For post-postmodern nourishment, I’m keeping David Foster Wallace’s mighty novel Infinite Jest on my night table with the intention of reading at least 10 pages a week. It’s a long haul, but if I keep my resolve, I’ll be done by New Year’s 2015!

Ghost of Christmas Presents

xmas turkey

Steve Hochstadt: Our family likes to eat, make and give good food. Homemade jams, granola and pickles were exchanged; during frequent breaks in present-opening, we ate freshly baked coffee cakes, thanks to my nieces.

Lincoln, Spielberg, Sandburg, Kennedy, and Compromise

carl sandburg

Walter Moss: With House Speaker John Boehner unable to convince uncompromising Republicans to give just a little to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” the lessons that Lincoln, Spielberg, Sandburg, and Kennedy have to offer seem more important than ever.

How Can They Play? Murder, Suicide and the National Football League

kasandra perkins

Dave Zirin: On the highest possible cultural platform, the NFL told the world that the death of a 22-year-old woman, the suicide of a player and the mental state of his teammates is secondary to the schedule.

The Midnight Swimmer

midnight swimmer

Lawrence Wittner: In his latest novel, Edward Wilson — a U.S. Special Forces officer in the Vietnam War who subsequently became an expatriate, a British citizen, and a teacher in the UK — does help to illuminate the Cold War crisis of the early 1960s.

Morning of Lola Zola Fun in Santa Monica

john muir school

Marcy Winograd: Students cheered “LO-LA LO-LA LO-LA” during Lola Zola’s speech for sixth grade class president, showing full appreciation for Lola’s promise to extend recess for five minutes for rehydration.

From the Dust Bowl to Hurricane Sandy

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Wa;ter Moss: The destruction, personal suffering, and tragedies caused by our recent Hurricane Sandy were not a repeat of the 1930s’ Dust Bowl, but they were close enough to remind us that we have ignored at our peril a basic historical lesson: Screw up the environment badly enough and it’ll come back to blow you away with a vengeance.

Tradition and Change at Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

Steve Hochstadt: Maybe because it happens slowly, we don’t notice how often we must re-create our habits, our daily routines. Jobs change, neighbors move, and the great events of family life add and subtract loved ones from our lives.

Something in the Air: Talking ’bout My Generation

something in the air

Ed Rampell: We often label and lump the turmoil that swept America and the world with a series of assassinations, Civil Rights, the antiwar movement, Black Power, China’s Red Guard, the Prague Spring, feminism and so on under the broad rubric of “the ’60s.” Auteur Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air sets the record straight, showing that the era’s radical fervor continued well into the 1970s.

Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush

lola zola

Self-assured, goal oriented, eleven year-old Lola Zola tries to support her laid-off parents and her tuxedo cat Bowzer by going into business selling “magical” lemonade rumored to zap wrinkles and promote world peace.

Men Can’t Compete in Synchronized Swimming? Really?

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Rev. Irene Monroe: First known as “water ballet,” synchronized swimming was thought of as a delicate, feminine and frivolous sport seen primarily as part of Hollywood musicals and Las Vegas acts that no real strong men would deign to engage in.

Why Everyone Loves the Olympics

kerri walsh and misty may

Randy Shaw: After watching a documentary on Jim McKay and the success of Wide World of Sports, I think another reason predominates: the emphasis on the “human drama of athletic competition” distinguishes the Olympics from other entertainment events.

Dear Dr. Laura

Dr. Laura Schlessinger

This letter was written by an anonymous “fan” of  Dr. Laura Schlessinger. It’s been posted and published on countless blogs and newspapers. But its such a good read it’s worth reposting. Enjoy. Dear Dr. Laura: Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your [...]

March Madness Highlights Indentured Servitude

ncaa basketball

Kivi Niemi: The Olympics has moved past the idea that athletes can train and support themselves without compensation. It is time that the NCAA and universities share the pot of spoils they are making on the backs of primarily young underprivileged gifted athletes.

Horse Sense: Now in Kindle

horse sense

Horse Sense: “The authors really know their horses. This is a horse-lovers book, a real thriller that has opened my eyes to fraud in the high stakes world of championship horses.”

The Coup Against Sovereignty

Queen Liliuokalani

Ed Rampel: The history of the Hawaiian holocaust begins in 1778 with Cook’s voyages, his death at Kealakekua Bay, and the British reprisal. Protestant missionaries from New England arrived in 1820, filling a cultural vacuum created by the breaking of the pre-contact religion’s Kapu system in 1819.

The Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement

hawaii

Ed Rampell: A century after the deposing of Queen Liliuokalani, these Polynesians have become an oppressed, landless, and often homeless, minority in their own ancestral homeland. Yet, a revived Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement is fighting for native land and cultural rights.

The Children Who Feed Us

the harvest

Dick Price: The documentary “The Harvest/La Consecha” puts a human face on the 400,000 children who help harvest America’s crops as migrant farm workers season after season.

The Poor of New York: Old-Fashioned Melodrama New Again

Alex Parker and Kate O'Toole (Photo: Henry Holden)

Ed Rampell: Although, as this highly recommended play rightfully reminds us, poverty – then and now – is serious business. Greed was not good when perpetrated by Wall Street’s Gordon Gekkos of 1837, or today.

A Hotel, A Phone Number, and a Song

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Michael Sigman: But while New York — and the nation — are obsessed about whether a certain cultural center should go up in lower Manhattan, few noticed that the Penn Plaza plan will bring down the legendary Hotel Pennsylvania.

The Last Dance: Prom Night in America

prom night

Walter Brasch: Our children, who are still a part of the extended “Me First Generation,” are spending on a social event that, for some, may be a prelude to a $35,000 wedding in a year or two.

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