Blog Entries tagged 'peace'
MAKE IT COUNT.
Rebecca Walker for The Root
Believe me, I do not want to cast aspersions on the famous Danish toy company that goes by the name "Lego Group." My 6-year-old is in love with the little plastic blocks and plays with them for hours at a time, leaving me to tap away blissfully on this keyboard that magically connects me to the Internet. Last week I even made my own first Lego creation and posted it on my Facebook page. It's called the Taj Mommal.
Imagine my surprise, then, when, while looking for holiday presents and blithely scrolling through the Lego offerings on the site, I came across a set for the 5- to 12-year-old Lego aficionado called -- are you ready? -- a Prisoner Transport vehicle. It has high user ratings and comes with a prisoner, a policeman and, well, a prisoner-transport vehicle with gated windows. I almost had a coronary. Is Lego normalizing the prison industrial complex to 5-year-olds?
I kept scrolling. Surely there was a tribunal set in which the guards who have been caught raping and abusing juvenile prisoners are held accountable for their actions. And what about a prisoner-DNA set, where our 6-year-old scientist pretends to discover that the prisoner doing the time didn't actually do the crime? How about the set designed after the peaceful prison strike in December in Georgia, where thousands of inmates -- black, white, Mexican and other -- put aside their gangbanging to make a statement about the human potential for greater good?
Rebecca Walker shares five ways out of the muck for all those not immediately feeling the happy new year vibe.
By Rebecca Walker
The dawn of 2011 has been mixed. Healthy family, busy writing life, and beautiful Hawaiian rain. Watched Inception and I Am Love, two brilliant films that inspired me no end. Patti Smith’s Just Kids is bringing me back to the magical vortex of New York--the mecca where somany of us began on this perilous road of love, life and art. I’m having one hell of a literary visit.
But honestly, I’ve also been feeling melancholy. I’m working on a book in its one-millionth draft, missing friends six thousand miles away, and shielding my eyes and soul from the news on more iGadgets than I can shake a stick at, Twitter and FB on iPhone, The New Yorker and The Guardian on iPad, cnn.com on my iMac. The world is looking bleak, people. Folks losing homes and jobs. America not living up to its ideals. Legos selling Prisoner Transport Vehicles as toys. Our lovely President looking exhausted and defeated. Sometimes it’s easy to be mesmerized by all that’s wrong. My husband says negativity is like a bullyon the playground, and he’s right. The bully is the same size as all the other kids, but seems so much bigger. Just thinking about that mean kid makes the heart pound with fear. Everything else falls away--your best friendand good grades, the leftover pizza from Chez Panisse your mom tucked into your lunchbox...
So how to keep our eyeson the prize? How to acknowledge the truly awful, but rob it of oxygen? How to banish that bully and magnetize the coolest bunch of friends a girl could ever want?Here are my tools to fan the hot flames of everything enlightening and regenerative. These are the ideas that bring me back from the ledge:
Rebecca Walker for The Root.
I'm all i-Ed out. At the moment I'm packing an iMac, iPad, iPod and iPhone, and David Pogue's review convinced me that I must have the new MacAir because, well, my iPad plus external keyboard just isn't cutting it for real work and real deadlines, no matter how many cool apps I've dutifully downloaded. I woke up this morning thinking that either I need each and every one of these devices to survive life on earth, or Steve Jobs is one of the biggest, baddest drug dealers of all time, and I'm addicted to hisproduct.
I've been using Macs since high school, when my father bought me a512K Enhanced Macintosh to bang out my college applications and I fell in love with the plug-and-play functionality designed for technologically challenged and manual-reading averse humans like myself. I use Macs today for those reasons and more. They're capable of amazing feats of digital wonder, and they drip with heart-stopping beauty.
But Apple really got me at "Think Different."The legendary campaign associated Apple users with Gandhi, John Lennon, Picasso, Einstein and Dr. King; who wouldn't want to be in that company? The bold, minimalist campaign suggested a seamless practice of company wide integrity that trumped all comers.
But things appear to be changing at Apple. At times, profit seems to be steering the ship. Some also say that Jobs has a scary God complex. And as a producer friend texted me the other day while we were waxing rhapsodic about the new MacAir, the company has consumers strung out, drinking Kool-Aid that may have been delish, organic and bursting with integrity 20 years ago, but today may be anything but.
The Root: How did your collaboration with Jay-Z begin?
Dream Hampton: Jay and I met over the phone. I'd reviewed his debut album, Reasonable Doubt,for the Village Voice and situated the record in what I considered ourgenerational zeitgeist: the billion-dollar crack industry. It was mycontention that back then in the '90s in New York, when everyone wasself-defining around hip-hop, selling crack had been as, or more,definitive: It included intergenerational schism, hyper-capitalism andcartoonish misogyny.
Boys were able to act out a fantasy of being a provider -- first byhelping their single moms with utility bills, later by takinggirlfriends on trips to the mall. I was interested in patriarchalpower, and the setback in intergender dynamics this crack-cash created.
I'd invoked all of that in a Voice review, and Jay, who thought I was a dude, asked to speak to me. He thanked me for the review and toldme he felt understood. I said, "Yeah, I'm from the east side of Detroitin the '80s; if there's one thing I understand, it's drug dealers."
Just taught in Holland at the University of Utrecht. Scheduled to speak in Sweden next week.
So happy to see Yoko's Peace Tower in Iceland. Can't wait for Summer 2011 workshop there! Watch the unveiling and send a wish.
IMAGINE PEACE TOWER is an outdoor work of art conceived by Yoko Ono in
memory of John Lennon. It is situated on Viðey Island in Reykjavík, Iceland, and is dedicated to John by Yoko at its unveiling on October 9th 2007, John Lennon’s 67th birthday.
And here is a fascinating article about Yoko's life before John.