Fight the Power with Spanish Punk

downtown boys

A wall is just a wall

A wall is a wall

And nothing more at all

This is the chorus to the opening track off of the Downtown Boys’ third LP, Cost of Living. The guitars rage behind lead singer Victoria Ruiz’s bellicose presence. The fury in Ruiz’s voice is matched only by the political aggressiveness of the lyrics. Released only weeks ahead of what are, perhaps Trump’s most controversial (READ: awful), moments yet Cost of Living offers the release of tension we all deserve.

Punk started as a voice for the disgruntled, the discord of youth who rebelled against culture, raising questions about what it meant to exist in the world. They used simple chords, coupled by a furious fashion meant to stave off and offend all figures of authority. But punk’s rebellion was never all that inclusive, the bands that rose to fame and the voices most widely expressed were almost unilaterally white and male. So much so that Nazi punks became commonplace within the scene, invading shows and the so-called counter-culture at-large (speaking of which, who would have thought that Green Room would become the most relevant movie of this year? Watch here as the band in the film plays “Nazi Punks F*ck Off” to a bunch of Nazi punks. This all before the film turns into a tense and violent battle between the two, calling to mind current events.) This is why diversity is necessary in all areas, it will hold us to a true accountability.

Downtown Boys offer a antidote to the almost inherent awfulness that can arise when privileged white men gather together, offering a different perspective, one that truly undermines current American systems of power. The band’s bio says they’re “here to topple the white-cis-het hegemony and draft a new history” and they do so from a staunchly feminist and Hispanic voice. Ruiz, a tough and talented Latina woman, represents the Trump administration and alt-right’s nightmare, she screams truth to power in a euphoric listening experience. The album offers several songs purely in Spanish, showcasing an unapologetic vision of a bilingual America; if the systems don’t included you, sometimes you must speak loud enough to be heard. When your President has just pardoned someone that amounts to a convicted racist, you need an album you can blare in the faces of racists everywhere, Cost of Living is exactly that.

Also check out Rata Negra, another female fronted Spanish-language punk group and Priests, a female fronted post-punk group, both of which offer the diverse anti- sounds you need to fuel your fire as white supremacist groups try to gain ground in this country.

Advertisements
Posted in Weekly Picks | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Broadway Songs of 2016-17

The Tony Awards are this weekend, wrapping up Broadway’s season of shows, in an all night dedication to the year’s best theater. While the awards are the most conducive awards show to its form (live performances), I’ve always felt they need to add a best original song award. The Oscars manage to find three new original songs to award every year, why not add something to award the best song, which is ostensibly the highlight of most musicals anyway.

In the name of all things ranked, I decided I would come up with a list of the best songs, both for personal pleasure and to introduce what was out there this year. I experienced almost all of these from their soundtrack release, which is admittedly not fair to a lot of these shows which are enhanced when placed live on a stage and in the midst of a story, but this isn’t always possible (obviously).

This list was eligible to any new shows that were also Tony-eligible (no revivals), as well as any off-Broadway shows that were released in this time period. As it goes, not every Tony eligible show had a soundtrack released and thus could not be considered. That being the case, there are only four shows on this list and one that is featured very heavily, that’s just how this art form works.

I’ll link an Apple Music playlist at the end for you to enjoy.

 

10. “Halfway” from Amelie 

This is the only show I’ve actually seen in person, so I am probably biased to enjoy it more than the others, but unlike critics and audiences, I found it an immense delight. “Halfway” is a duet between young and adult Amelie, reflecting on the lessons her mother taught her, lessons that were highly affecting, yet completely debilitating.

9. “Day One” from Groundhog’s Day

The opener to Groundhog’s Day introduces us to the ornery Phil Conners, the news reporter who continuously relives the same day as originally made famous by Bill Murray. Here, Conners contemplates his career as he suffers through what he sees as an absurd celebration in Punxsutawney–the epitome of small town America. It’s a ten-minute track that overviews the town, the main characters, and gives us the heart of Conners, a bitter man looking for something grander than what he’s got.

8. TIE “Words Fail” & “So Big/So Small” from Dear Evan Hansen 

I couldn’t pick between the two emotional closers to Dear Evan Hansen, the former sees the protagonist coming to terms with the mistakes he’s made throughout the show, finally expressing his innermost thoughts about not having a father; the latter flips the script, examining these damages from the perspective of his mother. This is the best of Broadway, emotions expressed through heart wrenching song, what else can you ask for?

7. “Pierre” from Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812

The Great Comet is a little frustrating to listen to, there’s a lot going on (which is surely amplified by seeing it live), and the lyrics are almost entirely transcripts straight from Tolstoy’s “War & Peace”, which means there is little rhyming or pop conventions. The show is inventive with its meddled genres and high drama, but grows tiresome by the time the second act hits. “Pierre” follows the prologue, giving us a Josh Groan ballad complete with a Russian choir interjecting throughout, creating the standout track from the show (though “No One Else” is close).

6. “Times Are Hard For Dreamers” from Amelie

The single of sorts from Amelie is a fun, poppy introduction to Philippa Soo as adult Amelie. It’s catchy as can be, a piano driven track that actually has its own “pop version” on the soundtrack. It’s rare that Broadway songs break through into mainstream playlists, but one could easily sneak this into a driving playlist and no one would bat an eye.

5. “One Day” from Groundhog’s Day

While “Day One” gives us insight to Phil’s thoughts, “One Day” let’s us into coworker Rita’s  struggles as a woman in the news industry, the objectification there, and her difficulties with love. She’s written a little too one-note, focusing acutely on her desires to find a good man, but Barrett Doss makes up for it with a great performance. It ends with the entire town expressing their dreams for tomorrow, heightened by the fact that Phil is having to live this ‘one day’ repeatedly and there is no tomorrow for him.

4. “Requiem” from Dear Evan Hansen

“Requiem” offers the unique perspective of a family mourning the loss of a member who they were all at odds with. Lead by Zoe (Laura Dreyfuss) asking why she should “play the grieving girl” if their relationship was something she never enjoyed. It’s a heartbreaking, but realistic look at family, heightened by the mix of lies and false hopes the characters have throughout the show. “When the villains fall, the kingdom never weeps.”

3. “Anybody Have a Map?” from Dear Evan Hansen

The show’s opener is essentially a duet between two mothers struggling with their sons and their life’s direction. It’s a deceitfully upbeat track, setting the tone for the murky waters that are to come. You’re going to have fun with this show, but you’re never quite sure how much fun you should be having. I’m not sure whether the show’s writers intended this to be the case, regardless, they know how to write some great songs.

2. “Sister’s Pickle” from Amelie 

It picks up a motif we hear Amelie’s mother sing early on and introduces both the crush Amelie is developing on Nino, as well as the anxiety that will cripple her throughout the show. It’s a tiny track, but absolutely infectious, the height of what attracts you to Amelie, the altruistic ball of delight that she is.

  1. “Waving Through a Window” from Dear Evan Hansen

This was probably the big breakout track of the year, an acoustic driven bouncing and poppy track that introduces the world to Evan Hansen. The music and lyrics were written by Pasek & Paul, now famous for having written the lyrics to La La Land, “Window” is tonally opposite from the songs that made up that film. It’s the sort of song one can listen to endlessly, the single that makes this the show you should introduce your non-musical loving friends to and ultimately the best song to come out of musical theater in the last year.

Listen to the whole thing here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist/top-10-broadway-songs-16-17/idpl.ff5c6294d0654027bc9a153eed1def65

Other good songs: “No One Else” from The Great Comet of 1812, “Stuck” from Groundhog’s Day, “Playing Nancy” from Groundhog’s Day, “If I Had My Time Again” from Groundhog’s Day, “The Bottle Drops” from Amelie, “For Forever” from Dear Evan Hansen, “28 Hours/Wherever We Are” from Come From Away

 

 

Posted in Music, Top Ten List | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Fertie’s Rap

When we first discovered that Anna was pregnant I wrote this rap as a way of letting some of our family members know. This is from the perspective of our child, who we call Fertie (bonus points to you if you can guess why…). Thought I’d share it with you, here it is:

Allow me to introduce myself

I am the one, the only LIL FERTIE

 

Yo yo yo yo yo

Here we go

Who is the greatest lil embryo

As I begin to grow, you won’t stop my flow

I’m a proverbial bond bout to go into escrow

 

So watch out for me when I come around

I’ll make everything in your life turn upside down

One day I’ll see the world and take its crown

For now this womb is Lil Fertie’s hometown

 

My rhymes terrify they make you psychotic

You can find me chilling out in the sac of amniotic

Don’t defy me, I’m your new neighbor

If I get too excited I may induce labor

 

Even though I barely exist

There’s no way you can’t resist

Cuz with a flick of the wrist, I’ll give ya the gist

I’m about to make my way to #1 on your top 5 list

 

All this being said, I know you’ll love me

I’m in utero now, I’ll come out eventually

I’ll walk around and you can meet me

But for now give a holla to Anna’s belly

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Letter to My Generation to Come

In this, a manifesto of my thoughts and goals for you and to you, will come a thesis of who I am and how I see things; this is scary for me, almost as difficult as the notion of bringing another being into the world, but there’s perhaps no better time to reflect–in the moment where I think I know, but really I’m just about to begin knowing.

To my generation to come, a letter written upon the reversal of what was the decision to try to not bring you into existence, a summation of thoughts that I have about the world which you are about to enter into and some notes about personal preparation for this event.

I’ve been reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ award winning book Between the World and Me, in which the author pens a letter to his teenage son about what it means to be black in the world—you’ll probably recognize his style and blatant copy of the book’s format in this writing. In it he talks a lot about bodies. The black body, he asserts, is under consistent and persistent threat of being taken away, the world has formed in a way to make it thus. And I think of your body being born into the world. It will be born into a mixture of struggles, but also an undeniable privilege. We all wrestle with identities: body shape, size, color, ability, etc… They’re all conflated into this weird way we experience the world, and I cannot deny that being an able-bodied straight white male in this broken world is the apex of privilege. You will benefit a lot from this.

Even so, your mother has struggled a bit with this sense of identity and you will inherit a portion of this. Being bicultural is a unique experience—the ways in which people caused her to de-belong as someone both Indian, Persian, and Swedish tied all sorts of knots in her perception of the world. In addition, while still being of the age where one is immensely shapeable, she left it all to come to the United States, a nation of supposed immigrants. This blood will run through your veins and will make you bicultural, which, depending on how dark your skin is and where we end up living will either be of much importance or of little. I have every intention of drowning you in the pluralism of that identity, but monoculture is aggressive and will preside over us if we’re not careful.

Your identity will nevertheless be shaped, by me, your mother, and the barrage of influences in the world. The world is a good place and you’ll be told of its greatness, with stories of you can do anything swirling throughout your little brain. You’ll also be told of the great evil lurking behind every corner—even within you. As your parents, we’ll guide you along, nudging you left and right, but knowing that you must wrestle with this never ending conflict of inherited good and bad.

If you’re a boy—and it feels important to speak this out before I’ve learned what they’ve discovered your chromosomes to be—you must learn to be good. They’ll mostly throw lessons of toughness at you, expectations to fight, to protect, to lead—and this is fine, there’s nothing wrong with being protective or tough. Just remember that neither your mother nor I care if those qualities are at your forefront, we see no need to conflate masculinity with brutality. We will teach you kindness and confidence and empathy and how to stand up for oneself and how to love others and to pursue justice. These aspects of your character are important to us, the rest is for you to figure out.

If you’re a girl the rest applies just the same, we will teach you all the aspects listed above and let you figure out who you are from there, whether it be tough (like your mother) or fragile (like me). Only I know you will have to work harder to accomplish the same things as a man, it’s the reality of the world you are entering into, one in which the nation of my citizenship has not chosen to elect a female as leader for the 240+ years of its existence. We plan to grant you every opportunity to do whatever you’d like, no matter what that may be, and I will stand there beside you, encouraging you to push through every barrier you ever come up against.

All this being said, I’m nervous for the day we meet. I’m great with long term commitments, that’s no problem, but the love and affection of the day to day grind of being a parent worries me. I’m not the best at being excited, those who’ve given me gifts may have seen the poor acting job I’ve put on. My grandest form of expressing affection is this way-too-long piece that you won’t have the ability or desire to read for like 20 years. Yet here I sit contemplating the decision to move forward with this, knowing that I can never give you everything you’re going to need. I am a mountain of flaws, with the inability to express—nay—feel the way that I’m supposed to, the way that makes one excited instead of bored when videos of babies pop up. They say these things change when you have one of your own, but I’m afraid I’ll be quite bored by you when you first appear (hopefully, if you ever do read this, I will have influenced a sense of humor in you so that you may laugh at this half-joke).

I should mention faith as it is my reflex to do so when one talks about flawed parents, even as I try to figure out faith separate from the cultural context that was presented to me, these reflexes still pop up. Your Heavenly Father is perfect and without flaws, this is the truth they will point you to as you try to understand my failures—and I will teach you this too, as bored as I am of this cliché. The Fatherly relationship of a higher being was never extremely profound to me, but the writers of the Scriptures use it often enough to teach it as a characteristic. Understanding God can be hard, but it will often shift back and forth between easy and tough throughout your life. The portrait of the perfect Father will give you an understanding of a God with intentions of an intimate relationship and Jesus and the Spirit echo this; we’ll pray that this enters into your life as your mother and I have found it to be of the utmost importance.

Never be afraid to ask questions, either to us or to God, as we will never try to trick you, and God has no ego to be bruised. Life is not a game in which we are meant to figure out all the answers, and even if it were, we are right there alongside you trying to discover what’s up and what’s down. We do believe truth exists and will teach you what we know, but never to the sole purpose of wanting you to be just like us.

I’ve found Jesus’ grand statement “love your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself” to be a useful sticking point to fall back on. If God is love, then all of this being and doubting and barely getting by is wrapped up in this notion of a force for goodness—this notion of love. With love there must be a sense of the other and this sense of other is elevated—no matter what—to the highest level possible. Within this all kinds of things can occur, but the principle overrides them; we choose that other person despite anything that could have ever occurred. This is how I see God’s interaction with humanity (basically) and our interaction with one another. It is love that is the driving force of daily life, it puts value in each person that exists, and pushes us beyond the ways in which we act in kindness.

I’ve thought of three different “Don’ts” that I believe I shallowly live by. This way of phrasing things goes against my education where I was taught to view the world through the appreciative rather than the negative, the asset-based view is said to be more inspiring and utilizes the human spirit, trusting that within each of us is something already of value. Yet, writing often comes down to what sounds best, so what you get here is more for your aesthetic pleasure, rather than what will actually help you to be a better human–sorry.

Don’t be boring – I’m oft frustrated at the ways we casually slip into monotany and monoculture. The world is a vibrant place, filled with exponentially exciting things and the ever present potential to expand beyond what exists (like why would you create a normal sentence when you can create one with two different uses of alliterations, e.g. this sentence). Every time I think I’ve begun to grasp what is possible, the universe shakes my understanding. Why then must we continue conforming to the world’s most simple patterns? Populism is an inevitable piece of culture, but it doesn’t have to be the path you follow. Be you, but check yourself, your motivations, and what you like. There’s a crowd for everyone, the possibility for personal thesis will always exist, find yours and do your thing.

Don’t be dumb – As stated above, the vastness of the universe is astounding. There are literally theories we rely on to explain how everything works that we know are not true, but we need to put something there, an algebraic X, to build our thought systems around, lest it all collapse. There is a lot to know and knowing it is such a pleasure. Dive deep, get your hands in the thick of it and don’t allow yourself to be swayed. Deciphering things for yourself is exhausting, but how else can we live?
Don’t be mean – A world devoid of empathy will be the death of us all. We’re always teetering on this edge, but despite our evolutionary instincts to survive at all costs, we’ve managed to integrate kindness into our world. It’s quite miraculous when you think about it. I’m not sure there’s any virtue more important than empathy. Love is the outpouring of empathy, the result of seeing the other, recognizing them, and acting in their favor. Love often gets relegated as a few feelings that one feels for those we are evolutionary inclined to enjoy–family, lovers, those similar to ourselves, but when we can experience the life of another in our own brain the potential of the world is grand. This is of course an optimistic outlook, but most world belief systems require the ability to interact with others; the greater the existence of empathy the more likely we are to thrive in this world. Empathy is both at the core of our being and an unnatural piece of who we are–the anti-getting ahead. Live your life like that one dinosaur from The Tree of Life, that’s all I can tell you.

We’ll probably put a lot of pressure on you to live up to some sort of ideals–morally, spiritually, academically, etc… These are to train you in ways that we feel will be beneficial for you. We’ll start off hard, it’ll be rough at times, but one day we’ll loosen the reins, letting you go out your way into this world I’ve described. Just remember there are ideals that are true and good, but when humans try to find ways to force those ideals into something practical and consistent they often get bent out of shape. Just look at the Pharisees in the Bible or any new and exciting movement that grows into something official; they get twisted into competitions of who can claim the moral high ground. Loving your neighbor as yourself is a great virtue, but a corrupt law. It’s the way it goes. But we’ll try to make it fair. We’ll try to lead out of love. Justice and grace can feel like opposites, but they are deeply intertwined. We’ll walk that line for you.

I think I’m most excited to find out who you are. I mean, I know the great sociological debate is how much we will make you who you are, versus how you will naturally end up, but no matter which it is you will end up as your own individual mix of influences. You’re really a great experiment that I can’t wait to observe. As someone who gets really into particular interests, I can’t wait to see what you’re obsessed with. Can I get you to reject Minions, or are they so culturally prevalent that you’ll still love them no matter how many Miyazaki films I force you to watch? But honestly, I cannot think of a thing you could be into that I would not support–of a thing you could do that would tear my love away, I’m excited to see how you play out.

Daughter or son to be, welcome to existence. The future is yours.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

120 Days: Iraq and Underexposure

I’ve decided in response to the current administration’s decision to ban refugees from Libya, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, I am going to watch (and maybe write about) a movie by or about one of those seven places. Movies are among the easiest and most popular form of escape in our world, giving us the ability to transport ourselves to all sorts of places and, perhaps most importantly, into the perspective of another. While they only paint small visions of the world we live in, they expand what we think is possible and what we know of people.

underexposure

My second viewing in this series is Underexposure, a 2005 Iraqi film. I am discovering that the film culture in a lot of these places is not as prevalent as I might have hoped for an exercise such as this, but in a way this makes it almost better. The story of this movie coming to be is almost as exciting as the movie itself. The filmmakers got the film used to shoot the movie from looters in the wake of America’s occupation in Iraq. It’s expired, something they note in the movie’s title, and it gives the whole thing a yellowish tint throughout. They had to sell their possessions to raise enough money to complete the movie, which would end up being the first film to be made after the fall of Sadam Hussein.

Works of art can serve as a purging of oneself. The film features a group of guys trying to make a documentary about their town in the midst of occupation. Its main character, Hassan, speaks in long voiceovers, using poetic language to express the pain that appears with every bomb or from every person he learns has passed. For him the film serves as a way to free himself from it all, to reckon with his surroundings–to purge this great sorrow. The great lengths the actual filmmakers went to in order to get this movie made cannot be separated from the visions Hassan has, it’s all too meta not to be. This is how everyone involved in this production chose to find meaning in their lives.

Hassan grapples with the suffering and death that surrounds him, small people in his life pass on and you cannot help but note that this could be anyone, your neighbor, those acquaintances you once had. This is truly the empathetic power of movies, they drop you into an experience, giving a perspective of someone you’ll never know. You escape your worldview, if for but a moment, relating to and even siding with those opposite of ourselves.

As noted above, most of the characters in the film are commoners, they’re apolitical, trying to make a living in their town which has been destroyed by an irredeemable government and a group of outsiders who don’t like or trust them. There is no common sentiment displayed by the film, other than sorrow, yet resentment rides high, the logical reaction to those who have wrecked all you know. This is both us and them, though. Humanity is wont to act in self-preservation, grabbing onto to the narratives we are given and using them as motivation to get through our lives. And in this is the deepest of commonalities. We live in a world of imagined divides, with walls that we have been told exist, but exist solely in our collective social constructions as those above us gain off our broken backs.

Posted in 120 Days, Cinephilia | Leave a comment

January 2017

Some people wonder how I’m able to keep track of everything I’ve consumed throughout the year, it’s by doing nerdy things like this. Inspired by Steven Soderbergh’s own lists, I’m keeping track day by day of the films, television episodes, sports games, live performances, books I’ve completed, and anything else that’s easy to keep track of.

TV Shows are indicated by season and episode, books have the author listed, live performances have the venue indicated, films are left plain.

1/1 – A Bigger Splash, Divines

1/2 – Swiss Army Man, Our Little Sister

1/4 – American Honey

1/7 – Hidden Figures

1/8 – The Good Place (S1, E10)

1/9 – Mad Men (S4, E3), NCAA Football National Championship

1/10 – Mad Men (S4, E4,5,6), Presidential Farewell Address

1/11 – Crazy Ex Girlfriend (S2, E6)

1/12 – Hacksaw Ridge

1/13 – Amelie at the Ahmanson

1/15 – Southside With You, NFL Playoffs (x2)

1/16 – Selma

1/17 – Crazy Ex Girlfriend (S2, E7), The Good Place (S1, E11)

1/19 – Mad Men (S4, E7), Crazy Ex Girlfriend (S2, E8)

1/20 – Bad Moms, The UCB Show (S2, E1)

1/21 – The Good Place (S1, E12), Asssscat at UCB Franklin

1/22 – NFL Conference Championship Games (X2), The Good Place (S1, E13), Hunted (S1, E1)

1/24 – Fresh Off the Boat (S3, E6,7,8)

1/26 – Fresh Off the Boat (S3, E9); Crazy Ex Girlfriend (S2, E9)

1/27 – Mad Men (S4, E8)

1/28 – 20th Century Women

1/29 – The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Silicon Valley (S2, E2), Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

1/30 – The White Helmets

1/31 – Mad Men (S4, E9), Crazy Ex Girlfriend (S2, E10)

Posted in Monthly | Leave a comment

120 Days: Syria and The White Helmets

I’ve decided in response to the current administration’s decision to ban refugees from Libya, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, I am going to watch (and maybe write about) a movie by or about one of those seven places. Movies are among the easiest and most popular form of escape in our world, giving us the ability to transport ourselves to all sorts of places and, perhaps most importantly, into the perspective of another. While they only paint small visions of the world we live in, they expand what we think is possible and what we know of people.

whitehelmetedit

The first film in this series is The White Helmets, a 2016 documentary short about a group of people in Syria who run into bombings to save anyone possibly injured in the wreckage. The film has made news in recent days, because the heroes it features are no longer eligible to enter the country, not even to potentially receive the Oscar for which the film that features them has been nominated. I should also note that there are some who argue against the featured group, laying out all sorts of reasons why they are illegitimate, it doesn’t seem to be from any serious sources, but has certainly lowered the IMDB score of the film. It serves as a good reminder that all documentaries should be taken with a grain of salt though.

The film reminds me of the saying attributed to Mr. Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” It’s a modern rendition of Hacksaw Ridge, with only their helmets and short training the heroes run into the danger zone, saving life after life.

The filmmakers, for their part, dive straight into the action, with more than one cameraperson knocked aside in the midst of chaos due to an explosion of some sort. They follow each of their subjects as they enter into war zones, responding on a moment’s notice—at the first sound of explosions. Each White Helmet shows extreme dedication to their cause, filled with part adrenaline, part duty. They frantically try to make sense of what has happened, running about trying to figure out what their response should be, yet there’s a normalcy to it all—this is what they do.

There’s no sense of triage here, they’re there to rescue anyone with any chance, moving forward with fiery, throwing all naysayers aside. This lack of fear and unbridled bravery has lead to them saving thousands of people—when it comes to saving human lives, sometimes all logic should be thrown aside.

There’s a moment where one of the people in the film states ”All lives are precious and valuable”, bringing to mind a saying that’s often uttered in strange defiance by that collection of trolls; if they had any integrity then perhaps their lives would look more similar to the quoted man whose life embodies everything spoken.

But our lives are so easily shaped by where we’re born, the circumstances in which we’re raised, and the opportunities we’re given. In the movie there’s a moment where they literally snatch life from death’s grip, miraculously pulling an infant out of the rubble. It’s in that moment that I could not help but think of what would become of that child’s life or any child living in those times. This child serves as a beacon of hope for those brave men risking their lives, and because of this, likely would be given everything he needs to make it in this world.

But what for the child whose parents are killed in the wreckage by bombs from the west? What of the children of the White Helmets whose parents are constantly at risk? What if they make that impossible choice to leave Syria, joining alongside the millions of others who have chosen to flee the danger that is insurmountably presented to them on the daily, and what if they find themselves rejected at the border as our policy has forced us to do?

The absolute obliteration of war and a world without hope causes people to make choices, to blame outside forces that were seemingly playing war games at their expense. Would it be any surprise to see these individuals choose religious extremism? It’s the only choice they have. This is where the executive order goes wrong, creating largely unwarranted fear in Americans, and letting broken individuals stew in their suffering with no path to redemption.

Posted in 120 Days, Film Review | Tagged , , | Leave a comment