Archive for March 18th, 2012

March 18, 2012

Critical Race Theory

derrick bell

Critical race theory (CRT) is an academic discipline focused upon the application of critical theory (a neo-Marxist examination and critique of society and culture) to the intersection of race, law, and power. ‘CRT recognizes that racism is ingrained in the fabric and system of the American society.

The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color.’

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March 18, 2012

The Space Traders

The space traders

The Space Traders is a science fiction short story by Derrick Bell (1930 – 2011), the first tenured African-American Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and one of the originators of critical race theory (which argues that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society). Published in 1992, its subject is the arrival of apparently benevolent and powerful extraterrestrials that offer the United States a wide range of benefits such as gold, clean nuclear power and other technological advances, in exchange for one thing: handing over all black people in the U.S. to the aliens. The story posits that the people and political establishment of the U.S. are willing to make this deal, passing a constitutional amendment to enable it.

‘The Space Traders’ was adapted for television in 1994 by director Reginald Hudlin and writer Trey Ellis. It aired on HBO as the leading segment of a three-part television anthology entitled ‘Cosmic Slop,’ which focused on minority-centric science fiction. In the run-up to the 2012 U.S. presidential election, the story became the subject of political controversy. A review of the TV adaptation on the conservative news site argued that it ‘captures the stupidity, paranoia, and shameless race-hustling of the people that Obama embraces.’ In ‘The Atlantic,’ Conor Friedersdorf replied by arguing that the story’s critics ‘would do well to acknowledge that for many decades of American history, including years during Professor Bell’s life, a majority of Americans would have voted in favor of trading blacks for fantastic wealth, unlimited energy, and an end to pollutants.’

March 18, 2012

A Princess of Mars

Dejah Thoris

A Princess of Mars (1917) is a science fantasy novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction. It is also a seminal instance of the planetary romance, a sub-genre of science fantasy that became highly popular in the decades following its publication. Its early chapters also contain elements of the Western. The story is set on Mars, imagined as a dying planet with a harsh desert environment. This vision of Mars was based on the work of the astronomer Percival Lowell, whose ideas were widely popularized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Barsoom series inspired a number of well-known 20th century science fiction writers, including Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, and John Norman, and was also inspirational for many scientists in the fields of space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life, including Carl Sagan, who read ‘A Princess of Mars’ when he was a child.

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March 18, 2012

Sergio Leone

Sergio Leone [lee-oh-nee] (1929 – 1989) was an Italian film director, producer and screenwriter most associated with the ‘Spaghetti Western’ genre. Leone’s film-making style includes juxtaposing extreme close-up shots with lengthy long shots. His movies include ‘The Last Days of Pompeii,’ ‘The Colossus of Rhodes,’ the Dollars Trilogy (‘A Fistful of Dollars,’ ‘For a Few Dollars More,’ and ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’), Once ‘Upon a Time in the West,’ ‘Duck, You Sucker!’, and ‘Once Upon a Time in America.’

Born in Rome, Leone was the son of the cinema pioneer Vincenzo Leone (known as director Roberto Roberti) and the silent film actress Edvige Valcarenghi (Bice Waleran). During his schooldays, Leone was a classmate of his later musical collaborator Ennio Morricone for a time. After watching his father work on film sets, Leone began his own career in the film industry at the age of 18 after dropping out of law studies at the university.

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