Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

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Granddaughter of Oceanus, daughter of Titan Helios and sea nymph Perseid, Circe was different from the start. While her siblings discovered their unique gifts very early on and gained their independence—either by claiming their inheritance, like Perses and Aëstes, or by marriage to a wealthy demigod, like Pasiphäe—, Circe remained among her family in the halls of the gods. Her love for young fisherman Glaucus changed everything. Circe used a potion to transform Glaucus into a worthy suitor. Glaucus, seeing his station changed, fell in love with one Circe’s cousins, a sea nymph named Scylla. Out of jealousy, Circe put a potion on Scylla’s bath and, unintendedly, transformed her into a monster. Circe’s confession forced Helios to go to see Zeus, for witchcraft is something that gods fear can tip the balance of power. Zeus declared an eternal banishment for Circe from the halls of the gods to the island of Aiaia.

Exile was not easy but, as Circe learned, it had its advantages; being away f…

Straight Outta Compton (♦♦♦)

In the mid 1980s, five black men out of Compton, California, pioneered the gangsta rap movement that became an instant sensation nationwide. Rappers like Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy-E emerged from the group. But not everything was a bed of roses for them; as years passed, egos collided and money and creative differences pulled them apart.

I wanted to watch Straight Outta Compton due to the controversy that has been generated as result of it not being nominated to this year's Oscars. While I don't think it is Oscar material, I do think it stands out from most of this year's productions in several important ways.

I don't like gangsta music; its call to violence is not the type of music I enjoy, but there is a wide sector of the U.S., even the world population, who feel they live at the edge of society and this music appeals to them. I don't like this music but I enjoyed it in the context of the film--I even swayed to the rhythm--, played out against unauthorized police raids, illegal police detentions based on race, and intimidation tactics to quash, or at least censor, the gangsta movement.

I may not agree with its gritty, violent message, but Straight Outta Compton puts racial relations in the spotlight for better or for worse, and it shines a light on what means to grow up black in ghettos all over the country.

Comments

  1. There has certainly been a lot written and a lot of conversation - sometimes heated - about this film. I have no plans to see it, but the controversy surrounding it has been entertaining and, in some cases, illuminating.

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    1. Well, the film certainly put things in perspectives from their point of view, and it's eye-opening.

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  2. In the 1980s, one of my sons was really into hip hop. He started out with KRS-One and went on from there. I tried to keep up but it was one of those things where your teenager goes way beyond. So I want to see this movie.

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    1. Then you'll be able to appreciate the musical aspects of the movie. Just keep in mind that more than music is a social commentary on what it means to grow up black.

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  3. I want to see it. I dont know much about this genre of music but I'm interested in hearing the story.

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    1. It's definitely worth watching as much for the music as for its social commentary.

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