Total Pageviews

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Human Rights Video Wickedly Clever

I stumbled on a video yesterday that is worth discussion on so many levels. Click it and you'll come away smiling. Research it and you'll be concerned.

1)  At first blush it's a fresh, inspiring reminder that we are all so much more than the labels others assign us. The message is positive, life-affirming, one that lifts the spirits - a powerful attention grabber for a keynote or conversation starter for a workshop.

2)  It's also anti-psychiatry which I have problems with. We all know people who both need and have been helped by mental health professionals. This to me is a dangerous extrapolation from the "you are much bigger than a label" message.

3)  If you think about it, it's also an indirect shot at Big Pharma which has a drug for most of the psychiatric conditions showcased in the video. Bashing Big Pharma is beyond my ability because I simply don't know enough other than the fact there are gigantic amounts of cash involved in treating psychiatric conditions with chemicals.

4)  But here's the rub. As brilliant as the video is, it was produced by the Citizens' Council for Human Rights, an organization entirely controlled and funded by the Church of Scientology which takes a rabid anti-medication position on psychiatric illness.

So while the video may remind us to see the people we teach, love, play and work with as much bigger than any label which may have been given them, its ultimate goal is to serve as a public relations campaign for an organization that itself has issues with control and manipulation.

Clever when you think about it. But wickedly so.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BYU Professor Defends Gaming, Flips Cyber-Safety Interview

I love this interview with BYU professor Charles Knutson because it could have gone the direction of so many other alarmist cyber-safety interviews that only concentrate on the perils of kids going online. Knutson gives a genuine upfront nod to the dangers, but doesn't believe "technology is the problem" and flips the entire premise of the interview for the rest of the segment.

Scrub past the opening banter to the 7:05 mark to watch the good professor affably lay out his argument for why video-games - especially MMORPGs like World of Warcraft - have value and why online games meet the same fundamental needs real world games have always met.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hemingway Was 'Completely Ashamed' When He Read Her Book

Owen Wilson's character meets Hemingway in Woody Allen's new flick.

Recently, while watching Midnight in Paris - Woody Allan's new smart and satisfying rom-com - I was reminded of Hemingway's spare and forceful style of prose.

Every evening, Owen Wilson's character is transported from modern day wanderings with his fiance in Paris, to the 1920's nightlife of the city, meeting a succession of artists and writers from that era.

Thinking about the scene where Owen Wilson meets Hemingway, I was reminded that as great as Papa was, there was a book he read by female pilot Beryl Markham that made him feel "completely inadequate."

Those words are never uttered in the movie, but he did admit as much in a letter to Maxwell Perkins - and the words speak for themselves.

"Did you read Beryl Markham's book, West with the Night? I knew her fairly well in Africa and never would have suspected that she could and would have put pen to paper except to write in her flyer's log book. As it is, she has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen. But [she] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers. The only parts of it that I know about personally, on account of having been there at the time and heard the other people's stories, are absolutely true....I wish you would get it and read it because it is really a bloody wonderful book."

I had the good fortune to read West with the Night years ago. If you're looking for a good summer read, download it from Amazon or find it at your local bookstore. And if you're looking for a clever romantic comedy that pleases the eyes and intellect, check out Midnight in Paris.

As you know, the smart movies often don't last long.

Friday, July 1, 2011

5 Moments of Gratitude for Canada

1) I remember wiping tears away when I played Dan Hill's Canada in the house of a Chilean friend.

2) I remember being surprised to see a Canadian flag outside a museum in the Southern U.S. and instantly choking up with love and pride looking up at that Maple Leaf. It had been a half year since I left home. I wouldn't be back for another year. I was a mess for about five minutes.

3) I remember being in Texas and proudly keeping my arms at my side one hot July 4, while a community club full of Americans recited the Pledge of Allegiance. We were all grateful for who we were. None more than I.

4) I remember talking with a friend's wife from Detroit, who said her sense of personal safety increases the minute she crosses into Canadian airspace.

5) I remember being embarrassed taking two Cuban refugees to a hockey game in the Winnipeg Arena. They courageously hopped the plane at Gander, Newfoundland, weeks earlier and asked for political asylum. That night, half the crowd didn't know the new words to O Canada and the other half were too Canadian to sing it with any passion. They look puzzled at the half-hearted delivery and I apologized for us.

So, I feel a deep love for this breathtaking, largely empty country of only 34.5 million. It's a love not borne out of adversity or testing - or even anything as dramatic as military service in some far-away land.

Rather, it's a deep recognition that I have been truly blessed to live in a tolerant, caring, safe, democratic country. One that cares enough for its citizens to provide them a safety net when they're down and opportunities to get ahead with hard work.

I'm fortunate to have every nationality and ethnicity under the sun standing beside me. To be born in a place with natural resources other countries would give their eye teeth for. To share my life with family and friends who enjoy the same blessings as I do because of our geography.

We're living the world's dream up here - but I'm not sure enough of us know it.

So, happy birthday Canada. Enjoy your 144th.

We all owe you big time.