The Dark Knight: It's All True



Crossposted fromMY LEFT WING

Make no mistake: Heath Ledger is the star of The Dark Knight.

Everything you've heard about his performance is true, and then some; no amount of hype could possibly prepare an audience for the singular genius and perfection that is Ledger's swan song -- rightly characterised by many as on a par with James Dean's and, I would argue, far more deserving of its elevation to one of the finest performances in film history.

And forget about adding any caveats about his death upping the Ledger-Love Quotient; if he'd lived, the man would be receiving just as much attention and just as much adulation for this Herculean acting accomplishment. The tragedy of his untimely death adds only melancholic pain to the experience. That someone with such a gift, presaged by his performance in Brokeback Mountain and reaching a premature apotheosis in The Dark Knight, so obviously capable of so much, should have been wrenched away at such a moment is almost too much to bear.

News of Ledger's death upset me when it came; on seeing his name in the final credits (which elicited a deserved standing ovation from the Sunday afternoon crowd), I burst into sobs. As is so often the case, I wept not for him, but for myself -- what a desolation, what a horrifying loss. For anyone who treasures and reveres the art of acting, the closing credits of The Dark Knight will inevitably provide the background to at least a few minutes of sincere sadness.

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gansta rap billboard part 2

Anti Gangster Rap Music Billboards Planned Nationally. Had enough of the Negative Rap Music! There is more. Check out how true leadership happens locally. Newspaper and community stakeholders in Rochester, NY leading by example. Hat tip: Democrat and Chronicle.com Leaders in Rochester, N.Y are taking action against negative rap music. They have been waging a campaign against the violence and misogyny in gangsta rap for more than two years now.For the third straight year, the Democrat and Chronicle Editorial Board is continuing its campaign to rescue hip-hop from its gangsta rap hijackers. James F. Lawrence Editor, Editorial Page, at the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper in Rochester, N.Y. says; "Let's be clear: We're not against hip hop, the uniquely urban America musical genre that has gained worldwide popularity. We deplore the way that entertainment executives have thrust gangsta rap and its vileness on pop culture and impressionable young. More at: http://www.africanamericanopinion.com/20 07/06/25/gangsta-rap-and-anti-gangsta-ra p-organizing/

Anti Gangster Rap Music Billboards Planned

Had enough of the Negative Rap Music!

The publisher of African American Opinion has decided to take a stand against demeaning and violent music. He says he is taking a stand against gangster and other forms of negative rap music.

Inspired by a recent post by fellow AfroSphere Blogger, Gem at What About Our Daughters and her report on the efforts of faith based leader, Rev. Micheal Pfleger in Chicago, he has decided to reach out to the larger community to say enough is enough.

He plans to place 5 strategic billboards like the ones in Chicago into 5 urban areas of America, including Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Detroit, Baltimore , and Los Angeles.

He plans to place billboards in other cities, including Boston, New York, Miami, Atlanta and New Orleans.

His blog has now partnered with ChipIn.com to raise funds to place the billboards in those cities. All funds raised will go directly to the advertising effort. He is urging other bloggers to place one of his widgets on there website or blog to assist in the effort.

The African American Opinion blog publisher says, "If all goes as expected we plan to make it a national effort, to have billboards in every urban area throughout America urging our youth to boycott rappers who degrade our young girls and women, excite violence and disgrace our communities."It's time to "Do the WRITE thing." Rev. Micheal Pfleger a respected Chicago faith leader has stepped to the plate, African American bloggers need to follow his lead.

To obtain a widget to place on your blog or website, just go to the ChipIn.com widget on African American Opinion blog at: http://www.AfricanAmericanOpinion.com and click copy. Then copy and paste the information onto your sidebar.

You can contact African American Opinion publisher via email at: AAPublisher@gmail.com for more information or visit our ChipIn website at: http://africanamericanopinion.chipin.com

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Makutano Junction Soap Opera

Cross posted from Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

The last place most of us look to for useful information is television soap operas. But Makutano Junction, a Kenyan-produced soap opera set in the fictional town of the same name is not your average TV drama. Broadcast in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and throughout English-speaking Africa on Digital Satellite Television (DSTV), Makutano Junction doesn't deal with the evil twins, amnesia, and dark family secrets typical of U.S. daytime dramas. Instead, the show's plot lines revolve around more grounded (although not necessarily less dramatic) subjects like access to health care and education, sustainable income-generation, and citizens' rights.

Funded by the U.K. Department for International Development, produced by the Mediae Trust, and broadcast by the Kenya Broadcast Corporation, the show was originally designed as a 13-part drama in 2004. But Makutano Junction was since developed into a six-season TV phenomenon, with over 7 million viewers in Kenya alone. Its website provides all the information one might expect from a television show site, including episode summaries and character profiles. It also features "extras" on themes from specific episodes and encourages viewers to text the producers for more information.

In Episode 8 of Season 6, which aired in 2008, the character Maspeedy gets into trouble for soaking seeds. Seed soaking works by essentially tricking the seed into thinking it has been planted, allowing it to soak up in one day as much water as it would in a week in the soil. This speeds up germination and significantly shortens the time between planting and growth, leading to a vegetable harvest in a quick amount of time.

But the other characters in the show are unfamiliar with this practice and, when they discover Maspeedy's project, have him thrown in jail because they are convinced that he is brewing alcohol illegally. After some plot twists and a little slapstick humor involving two trouble-making characters who attempt to drink the water in order to get drunk, the truth comes to light and Maspeedy is released from jail. He then teaches the rest of the town the simple technique of soaking seeds to speed plant-growth time.

After the episode aired in May 2008, thousands of viewers sent texts to Mediae  requesting more information about seed-soaking techniques. These viewers were sent a pamphlet with detailed instructions on how to soak their own seeds. Follow-up calls- which were part of a study to test the effectiveness of the show's messaging- revealed that 95 percent of those who had texted for more information had found the pamphlets helpful. And 57 percent had tried out seed soaking even before the pamphlet arrived, just based on the information provided on the show. Ninety-four percent said that they had shared the information with up to five other people.

By peppering the drama-infused lives of its characters with demonstrations of agricultural practices, trips to the doctor for tuberculosis tests, and Kenyan history, Makutano Junction serves to both entertain and provide reliable information for families throughout sub-Saharan Africa. This is soap opera drama that people can actually relate to-and learn from.

To read more about innovations that use entertainment and media to alleviate poverty and hunger see: Using Digital Technology to Empower and Connect Young Farmers, Acting it out for Advocacy and Messages from One Rice Farmer to Another.

Thank you for reading! As you may already know, Danielle Nierenberg begin_of_the_skype_highlighti   end_of_the_skype_highlightin is traveling across sub-Saharan Africa visiting organizations and projects that provide environmentally sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty.  She has already traveled to over 19 countries and visited 130 projects highlighting stories of hope and success in the region. She will be in Benin next, so stay tuned for more writing, photos and video from her travels.  

If you enjoy reading this diary, we blog daily on  Nourishing the Planet, where you can also sign up for our newsletter to receive weekly blog and travel updates.  Please don't hesitate to comment on our posts, we check them daily and look forward to an ongoing discussion with you. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

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