Thursday, September 21, 2006

An American in Paris.....Tennessee or thereabouts

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and would probably be best described as a former mall rat so I can't say that I grew up in the hood; pretty far from it. When I first moved to Tennessee, I lived in Jackson. There was a lot of culture shock for me. Everyone seemed nicer, but really they were less likely to tell you what they thought of you and tell everyone else instead. I also have learned what the phrase "the other side of the tracks" means. In Jackson, it literally seemed like on some invisible line the town is divided between whites and blacks and the only place one would meet someone of the other race was at Walmart.

In Chicago, I remember neighborhoods that had lots people from Poland here and Italians there and Hispanics there, but I don't not remember such clear dividing lines between who lived where. I guess I really wasn't that aware of differences because everyone was different, but a former white southerner living in Chicago told me "in the south whites don't get along with blacks and blacks don't get along with whites; in Chicago everybody hates everybody." I often get frustrated by southern racism, but growing up though I learned every derogatory phrase for everybody and used most of them. I can hold a contest with George Carlin for knowledge of the most ethnic insults. The difference though I think is that I don't know of anyone where I grew up who actually meant the insults as racial insults just as insults. Here people seem to mean them.

It seems to me that whites and blacks in south have developed two independent cultures side by side due to segregation. If someone meets someone from another country, we expect that there are differences and forgive each other's faux pas. I don't necessary think that the two cultures recognize that the two cultures exist and think "well they're Americans, they should act like me." I am also amazed that we are afraid to ask simple questions about each others cultures for fear of embarrassment. Instead of "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask," someone needs to write "Everything You Wanted to Know About (African Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics, Northerners, Southerners, or You Name It), but Were Afraid to Ask."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Movie Ratings

I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR today and Terry Gross interviewed Kirby Dick, the director of This Film Is Not Yet Rated. I had previously seen clips of the film on IFC. It was pretty interesting. While I do not necessary agree with Mr. Dick's conclusions, it is interesting how arbitrarily it seems how films are rated. I do agree with him that perhaps it would be more valuable to have rating that actually describe the content rather than whether some unknown people think that a kids should be able to see.

One movie that really intrigues me is Big Fish directed by Tim Burton. The film is great and I would put it as one of the cleanest films I have seen in a while and I have no idea why it got an R rating. There is a mermaidish woman and at one ocasion I think you can see crack. The film is not exactly a children's movie I guess the topics it covers include death, father-son relationships, marital relationships, etc. To me it is a classic PG film in the line of Terms of Endearment except less of a tear jerker.

I also have noticed that older movies with content appealing to adult audiences had received G ratings. Today the only movies that get G ratings are cartoons and movies that probably should not have been made because they are so bad. Also some of those cartoons have content so that if the film was live action film, it would probably earn a PG-13.

I have tried to come with my own personal rating system for about 30 minutes and I haven't come up with anything.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Kenny Loggins-The movie song god

My wife and I went to Sonic tonight and I'm Alright was playing over the loudspeaker. Then naturally I started thinking about Kenny Loggins and his other movie songs Footloose from Footloose (duh) and Danger Zone from Top Gun. I thought that it was interesting that one man wrote big songs for 3 of the biggest movies of the eighties. I guess that it shouldn't be surprising considering Henry Mancini, Dave Grusin, or the like, but I don't know many people who go out and but their records. I take that back, anyway I don't hear their music played on the radio. Also I don't know of popular musician who has been around for so long and yet is mainly known for 3 super famous songs. I know that I have probably offended the individual that knows every Kenny Loggins tune ever written, but hey I've heard other Kenny Loggins songs, but I don't know other Kenny Loggins songs. Survivor has 2 big movie songs that I know of from Rocky (numeral unknown) and the Karate Kid, but I know more their music. I guess there is no point to this, but I think that it is a musicological oddity.