The hill : In their heads

Their heads
Grow bigger
Until I implode
A story began like some of old
A city built on a hill watched as its settlements were torn
They had to dwell with underlings
That lived below the hills
They ate the bread they never had
The wine they considered stale became as important as water
The chief of the hill settlement quit living
He couldn’t bear the shame
That they who were high up had to dwell on ground the same
With uncultured creatures

So he fell forever from our Hill
He was curled up in pieces of himself
I had married a ground dweller so I was much calmer because I was with my family
Then in-laws came to hurl insults at my very self

Calling me a traitor for marrying an outsider
So I moved back up the hill
To find peace

To find rest

Looking down, I saw that
The problem with my people from the hill was in their heads

Hollywood Stereotypes

On a serious note today, the focus will be on stereotypes in movies and the insistence on fear mongering in the industry of film

It is clear to many by now that studios in Hollywood care little to nothing about authenticity and representing other races in a proper well rounded light. While my focus will be on African stereotypes, I will at this point make It clear that I am not saying that one race deserves to be treated differently from another. Rather I am trying to identify a bigger problem in terms of representation of “ethnic” characters in movies.

I will begin with TV shows and then work my way up to movies. What comes to mind when you think of Africa? Well, Africa is ……… *you search your mind for any other cues but there are none* (and you can’t do a Google search). Let me begin by referring to the events of the American Dad episode “camp refoogee” with the following synopsis on IMDb. “Stan and Steve try to turn an African refugee camp into a fun summer camp, but get attacked by a group of rebels. Back at home, Roger and Francine pose as a college professor and his wife”. I know I know, its all harmless you know, they went to Africa and saved people in a refugee camp and its all good. But no, it is not good, not at all. In the episode, Stan tries to bond with Steve after again messing up his plans to have a life. He does this by taking a CIA plane to the middle of a “deserty” place (referred to as Africa in the series) and lands in the midst of a civil war/refugee crisis. Stan sets up camp refoogee and creates a fun camp for the refugees and does stuff that Americans(at least in most movies I’ve seen) do when they go camping. You know, bonfire, s’mores, ghost stories, build tents and stuff like that. There is an awkward interaction between Stan and a warlord which results in a van wilder-esque challenge to decide which camp is better. Stan, seemingly oblivious to the actual humanitarian crisis he is in the middle of , loses the challenge and also the camp. There is also a side plot with Steve meeting an African girl who gives him a totem for protection and later leaves with the warlord. Hayley spends time in the UN aid centre where things look a bit more extravagant compared to the people that they were assigned to give aid to.They eventually leave on the CIA plane by which they came to Africa.

That summary made a lot of sense and its all good, right? It isn’t. The first thing that annoyed me about the depiction of Africa in this episode was the sheer non-sensibility regarding the terrain. There are airports in all of African countries as we also travel by air around our countries, continent and around the world. Why was there no airport in the whole episode? No indication of border control or any sort of security? The second thing that annoyed me was the whole sub plot with the totems, it was very disappointing really as any research would show that people who still do all the totems and magic stuff are as hard to find as people who believe in ghosts. Third thing was the accents, I have observed that the dialect coaches for regional accents in Africa must make a lot of money for doing absolute crap. I never heard such accents until I came to London. Even at that, I’ve only heard two people talk that way in my entire life. It is the same accent that I’ve heard on every TV show with an African. Just baritone nothingness with broken English and a general brutishness about them. Finally, I was also annoyed by seeing yet another warlord/rebel in fictional Africa. I am yet to see any such thing in my actual life and I am really disappointed by the lack of research or regard for authenticity when it comes to telling stories set in Africa.

This is just one example of the representation of Africa in Hollywood.

I hope to return to write an article about the situation in films.

Longer Nights

I wish we had more time together
Less days and more nights
I’d love to see you do what you will
Spend our nights together
No quarrel no fights
I see there’s time still
Follow me,  let’s walk
For A forever period we’ve not talked
Side by side
Hand in hand
Take it in my stride
I won’t take you for a ride
A long walk in the breezy evenings
Night endings
Morning beginnings
I see your face when I awake
It’s glowing
My feelings are growing
You slept in the other room
I wanted to be with you
Don’t let it be true
You don’t feel the way I do
Longer nights
Open eyes
I try to get some sleep
Would you believe
I thought we’d be forever friends
Nothing again
The third night
I’ve been awake
Your phone is switched off
So wide awake
Missing you

My pen mouth

So we broke barriers
Took the premise from premises
I soon got tired of using words
I bought more pens
I charged my phone
And as long as my phone was on
Or my ink full
I saw no  reason to speak with words
Had no need for a conversation
So I typed on my phone
Much longer
Weeks passed
Months
I tried to explain to humans
They failed to listen to me
Walked away and told me it was loneliness that caused it
I feel much better writing than actually talking
Talking is much harder
So I’ll speak with my pen and we’ll get a lot of silence

Till the ink doth finish.

Once

Like a tale told by a seer

They say love is blind, I guess that’s why I couldn’t see her

Life gets boring

When all you can know is in a module

And so time passes between the last line and the next

Walls were broken, I lost my defenses

The interesting things bore me

So I was surprised at how she impressed me

How just looking across the room into her eyes seemed to excite me

I told her my name and how this was no game

I told her of love and hoped she felt the same

It’s crazy like the summer days without rain

That’s how I felt when I didn’t know if I’d see her again

Beautiful blonde hair, she had

I guess she wasn’t really a good girl, nor was she bad

An evening in the winter, I heard my phone ring

My mittens could barely handle the telephone

She said to meet tomorrow in the park

I was happy, I must have sung like a lark

When we began to speak I knew where it was going

How could I have thought beauty would fall in love with a beast?

She spoke of Paris and her new job

I sighed oh my, I was too hopeful

And of how she had really wanted to go

She said but and then paused for awhile

And slowly her face lit up with a smile

She told me that she’d go anywhere with me

And from that day I knew another loved me

Later I asked her to marry me

She said yes

And quickly we began to prepare for the day

What more can I say?

She looked like a heavenly body as she walked down the aisle

Holding her dad but also telling him goodbye

I hoped I would be a good husband and a good father

And she would make a great mother

I lifted the veil and looked into her eyes

What else could I tell you of paradise?

I hoped and prayed as I signed

The certificate of marriage by my side

That I would be good to this woman

Her hair glistening and eyes sparkling

As I held her I realised that

By my side was beauty unmatched

Who’d brave with me an avalanche!

Oh how I’ve missed her with all these foreign trips

All the eating out and all of the giving of tips

Now all I ask is to hold my wife