By Dr. Harold A. Black
When I wrote this piece, Hollywood actors and writers are on strike. The question is “Will anyone notice?” I certainly won’t since I don’t go to movies. The last movie I sat through in a theatre was “Saving Private Ryan” only because my other half’s father was a Bedford Boy in the first wave at Omaha Beach. My favorite movies are “The Godfather,” “Choose Me,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Casablanca.” Netflix and downloads have essentially killed the movie theatres much like music stores have dwindled because of Pandora, Spotify and downloads. I don’t even have a Netflix subscription because there is little being produced in Hollywood worth my watching. Movie trailers are so violent that I mute them or turn them off. Hollywood does not share my morals or values. They do precious little that interests me. It seems that Hollywood offers retreads and remakes – most of which are grossly inferior to the originals. They exhume faded stars hoping to rekindle interest in old themes played by old actors. Indiana Jones anyone? Then they remake old movies injecting wokeness. The little mermaid is now black. Snow White is now Hispanic. The seven dwarfs are now a group of full-sized, strangely dressed actors who look like they were plucked from the homeless ranks in San Francisco. Disney is well-documented in putting LBGTQ scenes in their movies including animations aimed at children. That they are losing money should come as no surprise given that the LBGTQ is so small and large only in their protestations.
I also don’t watch any television programming that needs actors and writers. I watch baseball, “Critter Fixers” (featuring two black veterinarians who are alums of my mother’s school, Fort Valley State University), “Port Protection” and “First Alaskans.” But mainly I read. Science fiction, mysteries, global politics and economies, historical fiction, history and science fact among others are on my shelves and in my iPad, iMac and iPhone. I am a curious person. The academic in me always asks for evidence both confirming and contrary. I have wide-ranging interests and was once asked by a student how did I know so much. I told him that he was asking the wrong question.
I grew up in an era of minimal dumbing down with no participation trophies. Competition was encouraged. I only had one true-false multiple test while in college. The tests were always essays and short answers. Virtually every class had reading lists in the library and required term papers. I kept injecting microeconomics into my sociology, political science, philosophy and history classes. All of my professors – except for one – encouraged the exchange given that most had no knowledge of the implications of economic theory.
I was in the era where black parents seldom praised their children. My folks thought that if they said “good job,” I wouldn’t work as hard. I never told them what I was going through during my freshman year at Georgia because I knew that I would get no sympathy from my father and would just worry my mother to death. When I graduated, she said that she could now get a good night’s sleep. They never found out until they read Calvin Trillin’s “An Education in Georgia” some years later. Mother said, “Is this true”? When I said yes, her reaction was that she should give me a spanking right now. When I got the grades from my first quarter – actually they were mailed to my father – Dad balled them up, threw them on the floor and pointed his finger at me saying, “Don’t you ever bring grades like that again into this house.” I made an A, B+ and a B. The quarter that I made all As, Dad said “Don’t they give A+’s at that place?” The only indication that they were proud of me was what I was told when I went to our home church and when I received a letter at the end of my freshman year inviting me into the honors program. Mom framed the letter and hung it in my bedroom.