12 Years a Slave Trailer Drops As We Contemplate How Far We Haven't Come
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12 Years a Slave Trailer Drops As We Contemplate How Far We Haven't Come

By Cindy Davis | Trailers | July 15, 2013 | Comments ()


Director Steve McQueen isn’t one to shy away from life’s dark places; he’s made it his work with films like Hunger and Shame, and he served as a war artist in Iraq. His next feature is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who in 1841 was tricked, kidnapped, and sold into slavery. Based on Northup’s autobiography, the film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Garret Dillahunt, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Adepero Oduye, Scoot McNairy, Ruth Negga and Quvenzhané Wallis, and looks to be the anti-Django Unchained. I find Fassbender positively terrifying here, but the story is so compelling, 12 Years a Slave will be impossible not to watch.

I don’t have any brilliant words about the Zimmerman verdict—like many of you, I’m struggling to understand who we as a nation of people believe ourselves to be vs. who we really are. Regardless of legalities, another young, black man has senselessly lost his life and I wonder how far we really have come.


12 Years a Slave will be in (limited) theaters starting October 18th.

Cindy Davis, (Twitter)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • stella

    Well now l'm crying

  • TheOriginalMRod

    You had me at "the anti-Django Unchained" .

    I will be taking a large beach towel when I go see this. Maybe a sham-wow... much more absorbent than Kleenex.

  • Scott Banks

    It used to be that James Horner's "Bishop's Countdown" was THE choice bit of soundtrack used to beef up a trailer. Then Clint Mansell's "Lux Aeterna" from Requiem for A Dream came along (his theme from "Moon" has become a bit of a favorite too.) Interesting to see Hans Zimmer's "Time" get re-purposed.... Inception had a helluva soundtrack that missed out on Oscar recognition because critics grew quickly tired of the big tuba-driven "BWAAAAAAAH!" and decided it was gimmicky. Never mind that it was a clever, plot-intrinsic element and that it has found it's way into numerous scores and trailers since, which speaks to its effectiveness.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Does anyone remember John White? Few years back, John White's son, Aaron was at his home, in bed, when he was confronted by a group of white teenagers who threatened his life and threw around some racial epithets. As the threats grew, Aaron went to his father's room and said that they said they were going to kill him and they were in the front yard, refusing to leave. John went to the front yard to figure out what in the world these kids threatening his son's life and calling him every name under the sun planned on doing. He told them that they were on his property and that he had a gun and showed it to them, hoping that would end the conversation--there was his warning to them. But the taunts still grew, threats came louder and as John waved the gun around to prove that he was serious, the crowd neared the boy and his father, undaunted. John got jumped and in the ensuing struggle one of the teenagers who had lunged himself at John was shot dead. Do you think that the cops waited around for two months before arresting him?

    John White got 5 to 15 years in prison, arguably for defending his property, his life and the life of his son.

    Oh, I get how it works: In Florida, you can kill your baby lie and hide it for weeks and there's no problem, but getting murdered, why, that's a downright capital offense.

    Not that I'm supportive of dog fights, but I find it interesting that if you kill some dogs you will go to jail because 'ohanimalsaresoinnocenttheyremuchbetterthanpeopleicanwatchahumangetkilledonscreenbutneerananimalbecausetheyresomuchbetterandnonjudgemental
    as opposed to say, killing a black kid because that's the kind of quiet and stalwart dignity that makes a frigging national treasure and your supporters will all but bend space and time to make some stupid-ass 'reverse racism' argument and go on to some stupid fucking persecution rant while paying your legal fees.

    I've heard people say that he was killed like a dog in the street. Well, no--because a dog's life is worth far more than the life of a black kid, obviously. If you're interested in learning why black people are far less sentimental about animals than others, you just got your damn answer.

    There's already a slab of mollification pressing on behalf of the 76-year-old shit merchant who shot dead his 13-year-old neighbour in front of his mother as he was taking out the trash at ten in the morning because OF COURSE he was the one who stole a bunch of the old clod's (illegal) firearms. Spinning silk into shit with justifications. Good work.

    I don't know how far we've come but I'm certain of where we're going, so let's just say that this my stop.

  • e jerry powell

    Between this and Fruitvale...

  • Ruthie O

    Could this mean...? Is it possible...? Could there be not one but two black men up for best actor Oscars next year? Has that ever happened before?

  • e jerry powell

    I wouldn't rule it out, but I wouldn't hold my breath, either.

    I meant more that it's a year of films that will be very difficult for me, as a black man, to watch. Fruitvale in particular, even given that the end result in that case was different from the outcome of the Zimmerman trial.

    For as fortunate as I have been in this life, I can certainly see where people might be thinking now that it's open season on young black men, which, unfortunately, would also suggest that even though the performances will be stellar, that an Oscar would be more a sign of liberal Hollywood guilt than measuring the merits of those performances.

    Weinstein is (slow-)rolling out Fruitvale now, mid-summer, but Fox Searchlight isn't rolling out Twelve Years until the tail end of Oscar-bait season. That much suggests to me that Harvey has other product that he's going to be pushing harder come October/November, and that Harvey possibly isn't thinking as big as he could be. That said, Harvey Weinstein is a studio head, and I'm not.

  • Ruthie O

    Sigh. I see what you mean, now. I can only imagine how hard it is to see story after story of institutionalized violence against black men in the news and in film. We have so much work to do...

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Yes, yes, yes--Oscar bait season, I was thinking about that, as well. It will be an atypically interesting (to me, I can't abide the campaign season and check the internet for the gowns the next day) awards season as I don't expect that Steve McQueen will offer up a big bowl of the middlebrow pap so frequently found in these prestige films. Ferocity of a different Django is a foregone conclusion, right?

  • googergieger

    "12 Years a Slave will be impossible not to watch."

    Well, eff you, firstly.

    "I don’t have any brilliant words about the Zimmerman verdict—like many
    of you, I’m struggling to understand who we as a nation of people
    believe ourselves to be vs. who we really are. Regardless of legalities,
    another young, black man has senselessly lost his life and I wonder how
    far we really have come."

    My Mexican cousin was stabbed to death five or so months ago. I consider myself a good person. I try to surround myself with good people. And I try my hardest to focus on the good in life, while not focusing on the bad simply because it's there. You aren't a bad person simply because you think you should have an opinion on this and it should be one of indignation, which you use to tie into a movie that isn't for everyone(and really the fuck do they have to do with each other?). Not because or race or subject matter, but because some people like myself simply don't like dramas and/or autobiographies. Only effin reason I went to see Milk was because my date wanted to go. In any case, quit being such a tool.

  • vic

    First quote: Hyperbole. They use it all the fucking time on this site. Are you one of those people who thinks every time a person says "literally" they actually mean "literally"?

    Second quote: Cindy is not feigning outrage, she *is* outraged. She actually isn't strapped for something to say, she just said it at the end there. You, meanwhile, could just admit that you don't like what she's saying.

    Your cousin: My condolences. I'm serious. It would be hypocritical of me not to be and be outraged over Trayvon's death. I hope they catch or caught the perpetrator and justice was done. But. Your invoking of it is suspect. If they did catch his/her killer, were they brought to justice, in your mind? Did your cousin's being Mexican play a role in the fatal incident? If not, was it relevant for you to say it? I hate to be insensitive, but you simply cannot say that just because something bad happened to you gives you some added weight in criticizing people for being angry about the result of this trial.

    Your underlying unwillingness or inability to understand the anger over the Zimmerman trial: I'll spell it out for you, and more than likely I will get pretty het up about it. Black kid who's not doing anything wrong is menaced by some raving headcase with a gun and understandably defends himself. If he's not frightened, he's almost certainly angry as hell for being harassed out of nowhere. If he fights with a lot of force, it should be understandable in a court of law. Zimmerman, who a) should not have been doing this bullshit neighborhood watch because of his idiocy, b) should not have tried to confront anybody while doing this for no reason and c) should not have had a fucking gun in the first place BECAUSE HE'S MENTAL, shot his way out of a bad situation in what is, undeniably, self-defense. BUT. There is no effective punishment or redress for his racial profiling, his impetuousness that got a kid killed when the entire stupid confrontation should never have taken place, in 20th century America, let alone 21st century. Instead, he walks away, and we all fear that the people who should have learned that racial profiling is bullshit have instead not learned anything at all. Now, it is possible, because of the Stand Your Ground bullshit law, for some to, for whatever reason, provoke someone and then kill them with your gun when on the losing side of a fight. Talk of bringing back dueling aside, can you seriously not see why this terrifies a lot of people, not just people of color in the wake of this?!

  • googergieger

    I'm in a bid of a bad mood today, so I'm going to try to keep this short. Otherwise, probably end up taking out the day on you.

    In regards to your first bit, if the other hyperbolic posts were sandwiched in the middle of white guilt covered with a sauce of Martin/Zimmerman=slavery, I'd probably reply to those as well.

    Well she is feigning outrage. I mean the case equals slavery? And again we have to watch this movie because it shows we haven't come a long way and blablabla white guilt?

    They didn't catch the guy that offed my cousin. Probably never will. Gang/drugs and the like. Him being Mexican played a bit of a role in that he was more likely to be poor and fall into that life than not fall into it. I know this isn't liken to the Martin case, but the reason I brought it up was because that issue didn't make me say the entire world/country is done for and racism/hatred/evil is all there is in the world. I focused on the good in life and such. And again this was of a more personal nature. I'm not using a public trial to push my fake agenda and opinion forward because the entirety of twitter will likely retweet me.

    Now I'm guessing you don't have a passing familiarity with the trial? You know of Martin's past, you know what happened between him and Zimmerman, you know Zimmerman's past, and you know the law in FLORIDA that allowed him to get off immediately and you know what he was charged for and you know he should have or shouldn't have been convicted of that? You have a deep knowledge of everything that went on in this case, right? Because I don't. Which is why I'm not really commenting or have an opinion on whether Zimmerman was an obviously guilty evil racist or Martin was a saint. To me the mere fact Zimmerman was told to stay back and didn't, meant he was looking for a confrontation, which to me meant guilty of something, but again, that is just a passing familiarity with the case. So again, not really going to act like I know everything that happened or who they both were. But again, apparently you do know about both of their pasts and know the case inside out?

    As far as your last bit, that is just beyond fucking stupid. I'm guessing like me, you are mostly liberal right? I'm guessing like me pro gay marriage and such right? You should never use the slippery slope argument in that case.

    Ran into people that made me question why I'm civil in my daily life today. The people that downvoted me and upvoted you? Think I'm going to have to go back to the shrink that helped me work on the superiority complex way back when and tell him to fuck off.

  • ZizoAH

    Everything looks perfect. I was hoping for a little Quavenzhané Wallis though, I'm really curious to see how is she going to be post-Beasts.

  • nachosanchez

    I'm starting to think I've seen too many movies. All I could focus on during the trailer was "Hey, that's the music from Inception....Hey, that's the music from the thin red line!" Oh, Hans Zimmer.

  • emmalita

    Also the music from the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy trailer, so I was looking for Gary Oldman.

  • cgthegeek

    I will see this movie. Because I have to. But I won't like it.

    If I never see another movie about slavery it will be too fucking soon. Hollywood seems to think we only have interesting "human" stories from two time periods: Slavery/Civil War and The Civil Rights Movement. It's becoming tedious and exhausting.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I'm not doing a count of movies based on historical era - but we are in anniversary periods for both of those time frames - 150 years for Civil War and 50 years for civil rights movement, so I'm not hugely surprised that they are receiving extra attention.

    But wouldn't it only be tedious and exhausting if you actually went to see them all? (and what are all the civil rights movement films you're talking about?)

  • cgthegeek

    Let's do some math: 2013 years of Post-Christ history minus your 200 year estimate (Slavery/Civil War + Civil Rights Movement) equals about 1800 years of history of Black/African folks... and Hollywood sees fit to give "extra attention" to just about 11% of it. Oh-kay.

    I really hope you aren't implying that my frustration is my fault because I am calling out a system that seems to largely ignore 1800 years of history and because I also desire to see the very few movies in which I am represented.

    I'm not asking for much. Just pick another time period. Pick the future. Anything but slavery or the 60s. Please.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Ah, I didn't realize that the "we" from your first comment was about African Americans - I thought you were referring to Americans in general.

  • Ruthie O

    Yes, and even movies those movies tend to offer tragically little insight. Most made in those time periods tend to feature more white actors than black, and focus more on how white people interact with black folks rather than the dialogues and relationships within the black community itself.

  • emmalita

    Which stories would you like to see told? I ask because I used to date a guy from India who was very tired of all Hollywood movies about India being about either Colonial India or intense poverty. So I can appreciate your frustration.

  • PDamian

    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, despite its flaws, did feature young Indian professionals working desk jobs, so that was nice. I do worry a bit, though, that Indians working in a call center is becoming the new trope. They made an appearance in Slumdog Millionaire and in a TV show (now cancelled, I think) called Outsourced. But the last time I looked, there were Indian doctors, Indian software developers, Indian skateboarders, Indian punks, Indian just-about-anything-you-can-think-of. Same goes for any other minority group in this country. Will someone please tell their stories? Because we have them, you know. Pariah was a fantastic movie about a young college-bound African-American woman coming to grips with her sexuality. OMG -- a movie about an African-American young woman, and she's not pregnant, strung out or wearing booty shorts! Mindy Kaling has her own show, The Mindy Project, in which she plays an OB/GYN -- and the humor is wide-ranging and NOT about her efforts to translate American culture for her desi parents, or their efforts to push her into an arranged marriage or some other stereotypical culture-clash setup.

    My brothers and sisters are college graduates and professionals. So am I. None of us were ever in gangs. None of us are drunks or drug addicts. We've never worked as housemaids, janitors or dealers. I was a reference librarian, and now I'm a college professor. I'm not asking for a sitcom about a Latina PhD and her wacky departmental colleagues (although I'd probably love it), or a drama about a law firm in which all the lawyers are Latinos or Asians (although I do know a number of Latino lawyers). I'd just like us to show up in film and television as something other than domestics or criminals, or as background "color."

  • emmalita

    To put it in context, the gentleman from India and I broke up pre-Slumdog Millionaire. At the time, the most well-known Indian-ish character on tv was The Simpsons' Apu. And the movies about India that most Americans were familiar with were told from the perspective of British colonials and white westerners who went to Calcutta to solve poverty. He introduced me to Bollywood, but it wasn't that well known in the general culture yet.

    One of the things I took away from my relationship was a greater understanding of the difference between the way a culture is portrayed in popular culture and the reality of that culture. He thought the civil rights movement was led by MLK and a bunch of white men, because that's what he saw in the movies when he was growing up in Delhi.

    I'd watch a sit-com about a Latina, Ph.D. and her wacky departmental colleagues.

  • cgthegeek

    The Kingdom of the Kush. The Myth of Queen Calafia. The Moors of Spain. The Buffalo Soldiers. The REAL Lone Ranger (a Black Man). Stagecoach Mary. Bessie Coleman. The Tuskegee AirWOMEN. The Negro Leagues. Mufaros Beauitful Daughters. Anything written by Octavia Butler. Or L.A. Banks. Steamfunk. Afrofuturism. Icon & Rocket & Hardware & Static. Misty Knight. T'challa. Pre-Colonial Trade Between Africa/South America. Pre-Colonial Africa. Pre-Colonial anything.

    Just to name a few...

  • iamuhura

    I logged in solely to say two things:
    1. You are great and I want to be your friend.
    2. Everyone in this thread is fantastic and has brought warmth to my spirit today.

  • Maguita NYC

    Thank you for delurking. Looking forward for your partaking more often in our debates.

  • I'd go see a movie about the Moors of Spain. Or one about Roman-era African kingdoms, or the Buffalo Soldiers. I had to look up T'Challa because I wasn't sure if he was a Zulu king or a superhero and I didn't want to embarass myself, but I'd go see a movie about him too.

  • emmalita

    Thanks! I am unfamiliar with about 1/3 of that list. If I were going to look into Steamfunk and Afrofuturism where would I start? And I had no idea there were Tuskegee Airwomen. Pre-Colonial Africa is fascinating. I wonder how subjects are chosen for the Pajiba Storytellers. I want to know more about the real Lone Ranger. Actually, I want to know more about all of it.

  • cgthegeek
  • emmalita

    You're awesome. Thanks!

  • cgthegeek
  • emmalita

    I was just looking at that. I had a lit professor in college who introduced me to Queen Califia, but I hadn't thought about her in years.

  • PDamian

    So very, very true. And speaking of another Chiwetel Ejiofor movie, Kinky Boots, it was glorious to see a movie featuring a black man that wasn't about his blackness. I also appreciated the matter-of-fact manner in which he was featured in Love, Actually as part of an interracial couple. And while it wasn't the best of series, I liked the way race was treated in the HBO series Treme: as a factor, but not the factor, in the lives of its characters.

    As a Latina, I'm anxiously awaiting the day when we're not automatically cast as gang bangers, maids, gardeners, or drug lords. Hell, I miss ER just because it had so many persons of color playing professionals (granted, most of them were nurses; I would have killed to see a Latina doctor or administrator).

  • Frankc

    I'm still waiting for a Latina(o) chracter on Star Trek. Lol.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    British TV is filled with interracial couples - both in programming and commercials. It surprised me to see the uproar recently over that commercial for some form of cereal where it was a black and white mum and dad. As much as America wants to think it's not racist, it reminds of 'I'm not racist, but...'

  • TCH

    And Europe isn't? Just ask a European on their thoughts about Muslims or Gypsies and you will see just how progressive Europe really is.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    I'm sorry - what do muslims and gypsies have to do with the discussion?

  • TCH

    You mentioned how the UK generally doesn't have issues with race and last time I checked it and the rest of Europe is no bastion of racial or religious tolerance.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    Muslims aren't black. There are plenty of mixed race couples on TV - I'm not making a religious point at all. I really don't get how you're comparing apples with oranges?

  • TCH

    Are you seriously try to change goal posts here? Many of the Muslim immigrants in the UK and Europe are not white and they do face discrimination that is often religious or racial and you were trying to make a point.

  • TCH

    It is fine if you believe that the US has race issues but, don't claim that Europe or the UK are any better.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    To be fair, I believe most of those comments were in the YouTube comment section of the video. YouTube comment sections are such cesspools, you could have the comments for a cat video devolve into ignorant hate speech. Still, we do have a long way to go.

  • rio

    I read the script last year and it was absolutely incredible and a punch in the stomach, I cant want to see it. I had to read tons of script and none them destroyed me like this one.

  • BiblioGlow

    What is your job, because I want it.

  • Jim Slemaker

    Jesus, CD, we elected a black president (twice) and your ready to chuck all that and call America a racist nation? Are there racists? Absolutely. But you need to get a life. Okay, so an all-female jury looked at the facts and found a hispanic man not-guilty of murdering a 17 year-old black teenager who the defendant said attacked him. So that means 150 years of race progress is all for naught? I'm still waiting on Obama and AG Holder to call out the gangs in Chicago for the ridiculous murdering of young blacks that has made that great city the murder capital of America.

  • Red Green

    Wrong website for this. Pajiba is hardcore liberal. Youre speaking truth to people with zero interest in hear anything but what they were told on CNN or the Daily Show.

  • Maguita NYC

    When a white woman states the following publicly (July 14, 2013):

    "He has a perpetual magic wand and nobody’s given him a spanking yet and taken it out of his hand...That’s what Congress needs to do, give the president a major wake-up call.”

    When was it again that white folks treated the black man as an unruly irresponsible child, under his white master's responsibility, and should be "spanked" to correct his behavior?

    "150 years of race progress" has brought you this exact moment. Things are getting worse unfortunately; Freedom of Speech had afforded many lately to move us backwards.

    That was Michele Bachmann btw today, addressing WorldNetDaily regarding Obama and Immigration Reform.

  • Dennis Albert Ramirez

    that said, as far as Michele Bachmann and WorldNetDaily are concerned, i agree their are incredibly ignorant people.

    (and sorry for all the posts and half posts on this thread, Disquq is not my friend today, apparently)

  • e jerry powell

    "... i agree their are incredibly ignorant people."

    And persistently so.

  • Dennis Albert Ramirez

    haha yes yes, my bad

  • e jerry powell

    That wasn't a slam, no; I didn't actually notice it. I was thinking more about Michele Bachmann and WorldNetDaily.

  • Dennis Albert Ramirez

    sorry i hit enter before i meant to, re-writing

    i think in fairness, "150 years of race progress" has also brought us a civil rights act, a black (technically half, i guess, but still) and ever increasingly tolerant generations of people who want to minimize the influence of institutionalized racism, like i imagine includes alot of those on this site.

    that said, i also think it's a pipe dream to think that the end result of progressiveness in racial attitudes is going to result in the end of racism. there will always be resistance, there will always be those who quietly hold on to outdated notions as there are those who will act on them. but, i think the trend leans more towards tolerance than towards events like the Trayvon Martin case.

    i just don't think the moment one thing doesn't go the way you would want it to, doesn't mean the sturggle before has all been for naught. for a parallel, it was a great victory that Wendy Davis and her suppoerters were able to successfully filibuster the Texas abortion bill.

    at the same token, Rick Perry just brought it back up again anyway, because he is an asshole, not because the fight for women's rights has failed, but because there is still a fight to be had.

    what happened in the Trayvon Martin case is not a barometer now for all the other non-media frenzy cases where justice DOES or HAS prevail(ed) in similar situations, anymore than a black President being successfully elected doesn't mean now that non-white people aren't under-represented in the halls of power.

    i guess i don't like the idea of throwing out the baby with the bathwater is all. you have to take the good AND the bad, as well as context (there are a lot more variables than just race in the Trayvon Martin case, the whole idea of a stand your ground law, for one)

  • emmalita

    Very eloquent. And a good point.

  • iamuhura

    Where you land solely depends on the ratio of good to bad from your perspective. For you, maybe things are 80% good, 20% bad. But for someone whom those numbers might be reversed, it gets more difficult to believe that the small amount of good means anything at all.

  • Dennis Albert Ramirez

    and fair enough, i can agree. i am a Hispanic male, 1st generation in the U.S. (can't speak Spanish!) raised in the military in Europe before settling in the States when i was 10. i have been lucky to have never encountered any serious problems due to my race in 31 years of life (so far!), so I can accept my perspective comes from a more positive experience.

    i'd like to think I am still aware of what happens to others who aren't as fortunate though, especially when it comes to the racial politics of Chicago where I live, where I would definitely lean towards the other side of the spectrum (80% hopelessly bad, 20% good) despite my luck here, but maybe that's just more immediate to me than the problems in the country at large.

    but yeah, i don't mean to be dismissive to others who have not been as lucky as I have been, i totally understand, but i can't help wanting to look at things more optimistically in the larger picture, despite looking cynically on a smaller one, if that makes any sense

  • iamuhura

    I go back and forth. For much of my life I was very positive and optimistic, but in the last few years it seems a deluge of horribleness has crept up, slowly stripping it away.

  • Maguita NYC

    ..."in the last few years it seems a deluge of horribleness has crept up..."

    It is not simply the Treyvon case that has the nation rage in pessimism, it is rather a compilation of excessive phobias in the media, exacerbated by outspoken bigots who embarrassingly happen to be politicians, that has us finally antagonized.

    Ever since that horrendous tw*t Sarah Palin got shoved in our faces, and never an adjective has been more appropriate, the nation's resolve has been on the decline. While during the Clinton years (yes, the same one who instilled DOMA) we had been breathing easy going about our business, comforted by a positive outlook on our future with a steady economy, busy with being successful, with having jobs, access to education, health, food, etc. All those ugly isms and phobias seemed not only to take a backseat, but it was as if they were definitely on their way out.

    Or as @Dennis Albert Ramirez puts it, there were those "who quietly held on to outdated notions", but they were very much aware that their bigoted notions were not only outdated, but had to be kept QUIET. Because they knew they were shameful and no more acceptable in America.

    Then the Bush Jr. years happened. And those years happened somehow without our knowledge: Insidiously American Democracy trickled out of Congress in the name of a Freedom we were so desperately trying to protect after 9/11 (I so hate typing those numbers), due diligence went out the window, de-regulations were voted-in the sound drowned by easy mortgage access, Republicans changed what was in our Constitution (filibustering, TORT REFORM) so private equity could officially be adopted as new currency. Our fundamental Constitutional rights were being obliterated without our knowledge, from corporate accountability to alternative system for financing electoral candidates. And let us not forget the war. Or rather wars that were left out of the books...

    Then came election time during war time right at September 2008's door, where we suddenly realized with absolute horror what was our reality: That we were a poor country, a hopeless country, driven to bankruptcy by those same people we have personally voted for (yes, I voted Republican). Made penniless by those same people, made homeless by those same people, made jobless by those same people, made right-less by those same people, just so they could get richer.

    And like with any nation's history on the decline, on the brink of desperation, the ones in power preyed on the helpless and sold them god.

    Offer sacrifice and there shall be rain. Offer sacrifice and there shall be wealth. Offer blindly and god shall be merciful.

    And in the past 18 months or so, this god that was sold to us gullible ignants, this magic trick that takes our attention away from wrongdoings and real happenings, those shining bright lights that keep us busy with cheap tricks, had encouraged those who used to hide their bigotry in shame to come out into the light and profligate.

    Rights that we took for granted for years, no decades, were suddenly pushed again to the forefront. Just so you don't realize the real cause of your reality. Your very poor and desperate reality.

    Things that we took for granted such as abortion, civil rights, equality, health, safety, all those basic HUMAN RIGHTS that we as Americans took for granted were pushed in our faces, so we were kept busy from rightfully demanding ACCOUNTABILITY.

    And they succeeded. And because they succeeded, a kid named Treyvon got casually assassinated in cold blood, with the legal system's blessing.

    So forgive me for this long post, but no. Things are not getting better. We are simply being sold cheaper medicine that conceals symptoms while contributing more to our blindness.

  • iamuhura

    I'm sorry this reply is so late. Your words really struck me, particularly since for me, the downward spiral really began just after 9/11. I witnessed so much propaganda flung about in order to manipulate that it stunned me; as a college student I just couldn't figure how what would happen next, but I knew things would get far worse before they got better.

    Thank you so much.

  • SottoVoce

    This comment deserves its own edits of eloquent eloquence. Brava, Maguita!

  • Maguita NYC

    Thank you. Got carried away yesterday. Way carried away.

    Oh look! Cute Kittens... AND 5$!

  • Guest

    sorry i hit enter before i meant to, re-writing

  • Guest

    i think to be fair though, "150 years of race progress" has also given us a civil rights act and ever increasingly tolerant generations of young people, as i imagine a lot of people on this site are, and more than that

  • Al Borland's Beard

    She's just practicing for her eventual transition into a Fox News talking head. God knows she hasn't done anything useful as a member of Congress. It still stings that she represents my state with her rampant bullshittery.

  • emmalita

    I so feel your pain. No matter where I live Texas remains my home and I have been deeply embarrassed by Texas politics for years.

  • Maguita NYC

    Fox "News" "talking head". Oh the antitheses in one short sentence.

  • BlackRabbit

    If you're really surprised or outraged by that, I envy you. Certain politicians are damn happy because we have a black president-it's just one more lever to pull to get and keep power, as sad as that is to say. Can't say he's "controlled by Rome" anymore, but that kind of thing is fine.

    It's not this trial that did it, per se, but I decided a while back that I just largely don't trust the legal system re: juries. People (and I include myself) are incapable of being infallible. Why assume justice can be done that way correctly on a regular basis?

    Hopefully this case will at least get people to reconsider the "Stand Your Ground" idea.

  • emmalita

    It amazes me when I come across Americans who don't recognize that that kind of language is racially charged. One of the justifications for Jim Crow laws was that African Americans were unintelligent and should be treated like children, for their own good of course. This included adults being called "boy" and "girl" and generally talked to like they are small children. Maybe Michelle Bachman thinks this stuff doesn't apply to her because she's from Minnesota, but she's wrong. Generally I find Michelle Bachman to be a mean and purposefully Ill informed person.

  • Maguita NYC

    She is of the most dangerous kind of ignorance, because hers is the convincing kind. Americans used to look for brighter people to lead them, and the election of a black president had many adopting pretty much an antithetical approach: Instead of looking for the brightest to follow, they have adopted the most bigoted prejudiced and intolerant, so their own hatred could not only be exonerated under the guise of free speech, but also given free reign.

    And I very much agree with you; I may not be an expert on slavery, but the very first thing I learned in regards to slavery, was forced intentional infantilism on the black man. How possessions should not think, be allowed responsibility, and most of all, how a firm punishing hand should always be at the ready to remind such possessions of their standing in society.

    Buchmann always held racially charged dialogues under the guise of religious fervor. But what is scaring me the most lately, are those who are encouraged by passive reaction to publicly bring back expressions that were fading into shameful history, just so they could drive home that our elected president is a fraud who has forgotten his rightful place.

    Makes me sick.

  • Cree83

    Yeah, it's not like unarmed black men get killed all the time by authority figures who then get off with a slap on the wrist or less, while black men are disproportionately charged with crimes, imprisoned, and executed, highlighting the ingrained biases of our justice system. Oh wait....

  • googergieger

    More to do with circumstances than race. Namely, poor versus rich.

  • foolsage

    Yes and no. Yes, poverty absolutely contributes to crime; there's no question of that. However, there's also undeniably a racial element to how crimes are prosecuted. A poor black man who commits a crime is more likely to serve time than a poor white man who commits the same crime.

  • googergieger

    And how may poor black people are there in this country compared to poor white people? And where is one being prosecuted and where is the other being prosecuted?

  • Cree83

    Well then it sucks that people of color are disproportionately poor too.

  • $32857398

    ...was that irony? I'm not American, so I really don't what your last sentence is referring to. But that's like saying Brazil isn't a sexist country anymore because we elected a female president. Today was "Men's Day" here, so trust me, that's far from over.

  • TCH

    The Travyon Martin ruling doesn't invalidate the progress the United States has made.It was tragic but it not like a scoring system employed in an Olympic contest.

  • TCH

    The Martin shooting shouldn't have happened but that does not roll back the gains that have taken place within the United States.

  • TCH

    I shouldn't have phrased it like that.

  • IngridToday

    I'm a little tired of the constant Americans are racist, homophobic, and terrified of sex. We're a big country with lots and lots of people. While some people discriminatory assholes terrified/angry at minorities or sex. Most of us are not. If we were, things like HBO and Showtime wouldn't exist.

    It reminds me of "Behind the Candelabra", studios didn't want to release it in theaters because it was 'too gay'. Despite "Brokeback Mountain" being financially successfully and being nominated/winning a bunch of awards.

    Most Ameicans are upset about Trayvon Martin. Everyone loved Paula Deen, but, immediately after making racist comments her career ended.

  • TCH

    It is getting a little odd. I think the US gets a bad rap due to its past. But also due to the fact that other western countries use the US as a distraction form their own issues of racism and sexism.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    Can I ask - I heard it was a 6 person jury, and all female? Both these fact seem unbalanced to me - I thought juries were 12?

  • emmalita

    In Florida, only capital cases (death penalty eligible) require 12 people. All other criminal cases require 6.

  • TCH

    Thank you.

  • TCH

    That is a good question. I think there are different setups to different juries in different states.

  • PDamian

    I will definitely see this, but I have a terrible feeling that it'll rip my heart out.

    Today was a rough day at work. The university at which I teach has many non-traditional students: parents, full-time workers looking to move up the corporate ladder, combat veterans, and older persons returning to college study after years away. While it's not entirely germane to my course -- I'm teaching "Writing for the Professions" this summer -- we've had some lively in-class discussions on Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman verdict. The parents speak eloquently about their fears for their children when they're out late, and the combat vets speak from experience about making split-second decisions with insufficient info and the need to keep a clear head in such situations. Quite a few of my students are persons of color, with about a fifth of the class being African-American or Somali (the rest of the POCs are Latino, with a couple of Hmong), which I believe has gone a long way toward keeping everyone polite and civil, although the "Minnesota nice" might be a part of it. These discussions are cathartic and -- I fervently believe -- necessary, so I don't always rein the students in when they wander far from my lesson plan. Nevertheless, I'm not sure I can take much more of this sort of thing. Between the Zimmerman verdict, the US Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act, and my students voicing their own fear and anxiety in class, I feel utterly despondent, and in terrible anguish for my country.

  • Ruthie O

    I feel your pain and am sending you Internet hugs. I teach writing at a California community college, and I showed my students the documentary The Interrupters today. About thirty minutes in, one of my students left the class choked up.

    I gave him a few minutes, then went to check him outside. He was crying, overwhelmed by the footage of gun violence because his own friend had been shot and killed over the weekend. He lives in Salinas, an agricultural town that is plagued with gang violence. My students face gun violence, racial profiling, and the threat of either their or their loved ones' deportations, and I am teaching them about introduction paragraphs. Sometimes, it's hard to see the light. I know it's there; I've seen it before as my students graduate and go off to amazing things, empowered by their higher education. But weeks like these, the light seems harrowingly dim.

  • TCH

    While the Travyon Martin case is an all around tragedy. I was under the impression that the Supreme Court's ruling on the Voting Rights Act was actually correct that said Act had already served its purpose.

  • Andrea Tabor

    as a Texan, we need the voting rights act. As blue as our cities are we're a huge rural state with a lot of internet dead space. People get corrupted data, add in gerrymandering and oversight is absolutely needed.

  • SottoVoce

    As your fellow Texan, I completely agree.

  • Tinkerville

    Nope. It was effective and we absolutely still need it to prevent discriminatory state voting laws from being put in place. As Stephen Colbert said, it would be like getting rid of labor laws because we haven't had any small children working in factories since they were written.

  • TCH

    I am sure there is another method of redress for this.

  • TCH

    E.g. in the various legislatures that able.

  • emmalita

    The problem is the various state legislatures. Some of those state legislatures would like to more easily disenfranchise certain voting groups. The Voting Rights Act reined in those shenanigans. Now the Voting Rights Act has been de-fanged and more restrictive voter ID bills are in the works in a few states.

  • TCH

    Hopefully things work out for the better.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Hope is not a strategy.

  • TCH

    I am not a strategist. Also the Voting Rights Act was never needed in my state. So what should I do?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Well, here's the good news. Even if the Voting Rights Act wasn't necessary in your state/district, to get it revised into usable form, it will have to go through both the Senate and the House. So if you're worried, you can reach out to your elected officials and say - hey, I'm glad to live in a place where we respect the voting enough to make it accessible to all who have a legal right to it - but I know other parts of the country don't, and as a citizen of a great democracy, that concerns me. I'm encouraging you to amend the Voting Rights Act so that it is viable for today's nation - since the Supreme Court recently ruled that it does need to be updated.

  • TCH

    Edit what should be do?

  • emmalita

    We can always hope.

  • TCH

    We can.

  • $1754390

    I can already tell that Fassbender is going to be f*cking terrifying and that there will probably be lots of cast members nominated for awards. The trailer needed more Cumberbatch. That's all I really know what to say at this point.

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