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My Favorite Episode of Breaking Bad

15 Oct
Peekaboo

Peekaboo

I have finally watched the entire series of Breaking Bad, a feat I accomplished in two and a half weeks. Do I have a favorite episode? Well, “Peekaboo”, Season 2, Episode 6, is one episode that I think really encompasses what the show is all about.

Like the episode “Fly”, this one has a claustrophobic feel, all taking place inside the filthy home of two methheads. Throughout the episode, Jesse tries to get money back from an addict who goes by the name Spooge. Yet he alternately waits patiently for the methheads, a married couple, to come to their senses, while looking after their son, giving the episode its title (Jesse plays peekaboo with the unresponsive boy). The episode drags a bit, and yet it ends with a surprising act of violence. Spooge gets his head crushed by an ATM he is trying to bust open. His drug-addled wife does the honors.This episode is significant because we see the soft spot that Jesse has for children, which will be a key motif moving forward. But many people talk about the violence wrought by Walter White, and as evidence they list the crash of Wayfarer flight 51, Walt watching Jane die as the life sputtered out of her, the flashy deaths of Tuco Salamanca and Gus Fring.

But from the moment he decided to cook meth, a decision made rather impulsively, Walt contributed to the destruction of lives through drug addiction. We get a glimpse of addiction in Hank’s visit to the Crystal Palace, but it is only in Peekaboo that we see up close the effects of Walt’s choice to make himself a vital link in the meth food chain. A neglected, dirty little boy. A mother and father who can do nothing but get high. The casual violence with which Spooge dies. This is what Walt got into. Many debate when Walt went over to the dark side and became evil. I am not the Breaking Bad fan who watches and “roots” for Walt. I watch and am fascinated by the destruction, both large scale and small, that Walt unleashes. Large scale, like killing Gus Fring and being indirectly responsible for Hank’s murder. Small scale, like the millions of lives ruined by meth addiction.

11 Preguntas de CristinaFra

16 Sep

Por fin he leído el blog de CristinaFra, que se llama simplemente Espacio de Cristina. He encontrado esta lista, y pensé que sería divertido contestarlas:

1. ¿Que es lo que te inspiro a hacer un blog? Siempre leo la escritura de los demás, y pensé que por fin yo añadiría algo a la conversación. Además, fue un requisitio de un curso de marketing.

2. ¿Qué es lo que te inspira? El intercambio de indeas, y las conexiones entre personas en lugares diversos del mundo facilitadas por el internet.

3. ¿Mar o montaña? Mar pacífico.

4. ¿Vida de ciudad o espacios abiertos? Ciudad

5. ¿Eres de día o de noche? Antes era de noche, ahora soy muy de día

6. ¿Comida preferida? Carbohídratos- pasta, pan, arroz, pasteles.

7. ¿De dulce o salado? Los dos, depende de mi humor. Pero a menudo es dulce.

8. ¿Sensible a….? La falta de respeto de desconocidos en el bus.

9. ¿Una película que te impacto? Imitation of Life. Trailer aquí. Imposible verla y no dejar caer una lágrima (o muchas).

10. ¿Un libro que destacarías? Últimamente ha sido Wild de Cheryl Strayed.

11. ¿Vaso lleno o vacío? Lleno

What if Walter White were Black?

21 Aug
Walter White

Walter White

To the horror and astonishment of people I know who have followed the show since it began, I have just now begun to watch Breaking Bad. Everyone says to watch the prior 5 seasons before jumping right in- one friend pleaded, “You wouldn’t start a novel towards the end, would you?”. Well, I figured I have a life to live and didn’t have hours and hours to devote to the series before watching, so I have started. I now think there is some value in beginning a series towards the end. I’m following the show, and enjoying it.

But what I am intrigued by is the thought I keep having, would this show- about a humble man who turns to drug dealing to support his family- be such a success if the protagonist, Walter White, were African-American? I have posed this question in a slightly different form, as in my previous post, Deconstructing Adele. Voices as powerful and moving as Adele’s sing in black churches every Sunday, and yet Adele skyrockets to fame. And in the case of Breaking Bad, we empathize with a man who turns to making and selling drugs to support his family, ruining lives in the process as well as his soul. Would this story have found the audience it did if it were about a black man who had made the same choice? Or would the New Yorker/Slate-reading crowd have turned the other way, loathe to follow the exploits of an African-American druglord?

I’m sure HBO subscribers would point to the critical success of The Wire as a show with complicated African-American protagonists (full disclosure: haven’t seen this one). But whereas The Wire gives us the portrait of what plagues the American inner city- an environment the average HBO subscriber can watch from a safe remove- Breaking Bad shows the story of a meek, suburban, middle-class, white family man driven to incredible lengths to do what every family man claims to do, namely, put his family above all else. There, but for the grace of God, goes I. The horror of Walter White’s transformation is that it shows how easily the average man could become a monster for the sake of his family. Being identifiable as the average American guy is key to this.

And yet I return to my original question- would viewers tune in if Walter White were a chemistry teacher on the South Side of Chicago- or East Los Angeles- instead of Albuquerque, New Mexico? I will leave it up to you, devoted viewer of Breaking Bad, The Wire, or any other show I am missing here in the conversation, to educate this new follower of the show. Is it unusual to be weirded out by the whiteness of a show about a drug kingpin in the American Southwest?

P.S. Reddit seems to get it. Thanks Giancarlo Esposito.

Top 5 Movies 0f 2012

16 Dec
Blancanieves

Blancanieves

I have enjoyed writing about my favorite films of the year in 2010 and 2011. In 2012 there were fewer movies that made the top of my list, but those that did were truly original. I begin with a movie I saw on an airplane.

Magic Mike, directed by Steven Soderbergh, was a bit of light summer entertainment. Or was it? Even though the subject matter was far from previous subjects of Soderbergh’s movies, like drug trafficking in “Traffic” and environmental pollution in “Erin Brockovich”, Magic Mike deals with the seedy side of the American dream. Namely, everyone wants to be famous, but at what price? Is it your soul? Channing Tatum’s Mike takes the young Adam under his wing but watches as the young man loses his soul as he gets rich not only stripping, but dealing drugs. We see the familiar Soderbergh color palette- bright sunshine during the day and cold darks in nightclubs and darkly lit strip clubs. This is the best I’ve ever seen Matthe McConaughey act- the role seems tailor made for him- and the cast is stunning to look at, notably True Blood hunk Joe Manganiello.

I was in Spain for a week this fall, where I had the good fortune to see the new release Blancanieves, by Director Pablo Berger. When I first heard that it was a black and white silent film, I expected it to be a derivative of “The Artist”. Despite my reservations, the movie turned out to be thrillingly original, and thoroughly Spanish. This retelling of the Snow White tale makes the young Snow White the daughter of a champion bullfighter and a flamenco singer, and the seven dwarves are seven miniature bullfighters (see the image above). The movie’s pace is slow as the relationship between the young Snow White and her father and stepmother develops (played with wicked relish by veteran Spanish actress Maribel Verdú), and it builds to a thrilling climax. It is Spain’s entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. I hope it has a chance.

I am a big fan of thrillers- be they spy, political, psychological, you name it. Argo is the former, a spy thriller that tells the amazing true story of the rescue of 6 employees of the American Embassy in Tehran during the Iranian hostage crisis of late 70’s. Ben Affleck has turned into a master director of taut action films- Gone Baby Gone and The Town were all well-paced and well-acted, and Argo is no exception. Argo is an ensemble film, and so this movie is not a showcase for any one actor to show their chops. It is a remarkable story that is expertly told- and the airport sequence had me slinking lower and lower in my seat until I was nearly on the floor. If I have one criticism of the movie, I would have liked to have seen the real-life character of Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck as Tony Everyman from Anytown U.S.A., portrayed as a Hispanic man, which is who he was. I’ll let Moctezuma Esparza take it from here.

I was ready to like Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln when I heard it was in pre-production. So I was geared to like it. But the movie went above and beyond my expectations. I have compared it to a good college lecture as a way of letting some moviegoers know that it is not for everyone- there’s no explosions, and the action is mostly driven by dialogue. But what dialogue it is. While Spielberg justly gets credit for his expert direction and Daniel Day-Lewis for once again inhabiting the flesh and bone of his character, Tony Kushner deserves praise for adapting Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals” into a riveting political thriller, while breathing life into key figures from American history such as Mary Todd Lincoln, William Seward and Robert Todd Lincoln. The acting is superb, and the story- well, it shows that sometimes politicians have to get a little dirty to achieve great things.

L’homme qui voulait vivre sa vie has been translated into English as The Big Picture, but the right translation of the French title would be The Man who wanted to live his life. A much better title. I just saw this film a week ago, and have been unable to get it out of my head. It stars Romain Duris as a bourgeois professional living in an unhappy marriage. The chance to escape his humdrum life presents itself, and he takes it. I will admit that part of the pleasure of this movie was not knowing a thing about it before I saw it- I just felt like seeing a French movie. But I was spellbound by the thriller- how one accident leads a man to completely change his life, which at first leads to him realizing his dreams as a photographer but then leads him to live a life of constant fear of being found out. The man wanted to live his life- but what kind of a life is he destined to live?

And sadly I have to leave a dishonorable mention for “The Dark Knight Rises”. You can file it under, “Movies that millions of fans of The Dark Knight looked forward to and then were crushed by awful characters, improbably plot lines, and a perplexing ending”. At least the folks at Honest Trailers did it justice.

Writing a fourth of a novel in one month!

3 Dec
Nanowrimo!

Nanowrimo!

It is December 3rd, so it has been 3 days since I wrote the 46th page of my novel. I have since added one paragraph. I wrote a little bit every day, except for maybe two or three days, although often this only amounted to one page per day. To what am I referring? National Novel Writing Month, of course.

I had always wanted to try it, and actually did try two years ago. I had the brilliant idea to write a semi-autobiographical story retelling the story of my recent breakup. Yikes. I made it 13 pages. Finally, this year, the project gestated over several months. I had an idea, and it would bear enough fruit to become not just a short story, or a novella, but a real novel.

Well, like Kristin Claes Matthews, I got embarrassed to tell strangers what the story is about (some friends knew). I will be as cryptic now as I was with them: it’s based on the true life story of a real woman who is really alive and who has an unusual life story that always fascinated me. It infuriated me, so I thought I would explore that. When I saw a special about her legal troubles on 60 Minutes ages ago, it stuck with me. How could someone do such a thing? The arrogance! And she probably had no idea she was being so arrogant! I figured I would use a flashback structure to go back and forth between her present day in a foreign prison, and to her past to explore the path her life took to get her to that foreign prison. But enough about my plot.

So in order to successfully complete NanoWrimo (and that is pronounced Nano-reemo, cause originally I had no idea), you have to write 50,000 words, which should come out to approximately 175 pages. So yes, I only wrote a little more than 14,000 words- not even halfway there- and this came to 46 pages. As I mentioned, I wrote every day, but just a little bit. Not enough. I couldn’t help thinking, damnit, is this ANOTHER thing I couldn’t see through to completion? And then I thought, you know what? This is the most I’ve ever written in my life. I like that the purpose of NanoWrimo is to get would-be writers past the roadblock of ‘never good enough’. It is about quantity, not quality. So I got used to the idea of producing a bunch of text that wasn’t necessarily accurate, or good, but it would give me a pulpy mass that I could later go back and revise. Plus, there were a few sentences here and there that are actually kind of good. And who knew there were so many synonyms for “said”?

It was fun, and I hope to continue it. Maybe I’ll finish this thing by my birthday in March. And thank you, folks behind NanoWrimo, for this idea to turn would-be writers into actual writers with no excuses.

 

Reviewing the new Ad Campaign for MIIS

2 Dec
MIIS Be the Solution

MIIS Be the Solution

I am a proud graduate of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Class of 2007. I have been pleased to see the growing partnership with Middlebury College take root, and I am glad to see a widespread marketing campaign for the first time that I recall (or at least one that is reaching my eyeballs). Now I work in digital marketing, so I know that a lot of thought has gone into the digital ad campaign seen at left. Surely this image has been tested and analyzed and proven to be the most effective. I have, however, had some reservations about the photo that has been central to this campaign.

I don’t know if this photo is only being used in the San Francisco Bay Area or if it’s national. I am sure that the Bay Area is full of educated, well-travelled, idealistic young people who would be ideal candidates for the largest school within the Institute, the Graduate School of International Policy Studies. Nevertheless, you may never know by looking at this picture that 40% of MIIS students are international. They study at the Institute for two years and then return to their home countries to apply the skills they’ve acquired during their Master’s. I know it’s unrealistic to expect a locally targeted ad campaign to highlight this kind of student, but the ad featuring IPS Class of 97’s Richard Crothers is rich in symbols. These symbols, I suppose, are meant to appeal to a certain prospective student.

But peruse the excellent blog Gurl Goes to Africa for a primer on the history of people from the Global North (U.S.+Europe) seeking redemption on the African continent. You don’t need to be Colonel Kurtz to know that. Examine the pictures on the Gurl Goes to Africa blog for a moment- the picture of privileged white people showing their friends back home how remarkably human the Africans are, the images of condescending Western attitudes (look, they’ve never seen a camera before!), and ask yourself if the photo of Crothers with the young African children isn’t meant to appeal to this same desire. If you want to help the little African kids, then perhaps a MIIS education is for you.

Bono in Africa

Bono in Africa

I encourage the Monterey Institute, my alma mater, to take a critical look at the use of the tired trope of the white savior in Africa not to denigrate the work of IPS graduates in the field, or of Mr. Crothers in particular. I applaud their work; what they do makes me proud to be a graduate of this fine institution. I merely criticize this image, of the many that could have been used. Again, I imagine that, as with any digital ad campaign, it has been fine-tuned, and this image has simply been found the most effective. Yet I would encourage the Monterey Institute of International Studies to test out a different photo. They could perhaps feature the story of Maame Afon, Class of ’05, featured on the MIIS website. She is pictured with young African girls like herself. Would such an image prove as successful for MIIS as the one currently being used? I would be curious to know.

The Maid, The Gardener, and The Prime Minister

7 Feb
Demian Bichir

Demian Bichir

I was tickled when I heard that Demian Bichir, the handsome Mexican actor, was nominated for Best Actor for his role in “A Better Life”. I had expected Ryan Gosling in “Drive”, or Michael Fassbender for “Shameless”, but not Bichir. I saw the movie last summer, and thought that he brought quiet dignity to the role of a father struggling to connect with his son and provide a better life for him in the U.S. I appreciate movies like “A Better Life” that show the lives of people who are normally invisible in society- “Under the Same Moon” with Kate del Castillo also falls in this category. So I was disappointed to see this headline on Guanabee a few days ago: “Mexican Actor Demian Bichir Receives Oscar Nomination- But for Playing a Gardener”. Why the “But”?

A similar debate has emerged regarding Viola Davis’ performance in “The Help”, which has also garnered her an Oscar nomination.  Some critics are mumbling that she only played a maid. I will not shield the movie “The Help” from criticism. I have difficulty watching a movie when I can’t accept the characters’ motivations, and I had trouble understanding why the maids would agree to tell their stories to young Skeeter Phelan. As a result of her chronicle of the lives of domestic maids in Jackson, Mississippi, Skeeter’s professional career skyrockets and Aibilene, played by Davis, is predictably fired. But Viola Davis imbues the character with patience, wariness and the disillusionment of a character living with daily oppression. Viola Davis has a wonderfully expressive face and could read the phone book (yes, that old thing) with aplomb, and it is good to see talented actors  using their gifts to give life to people whose inner lives are rarely glimpsed on the big screen.

Viola Davis

Viola Davis

“The Help”, while flawed, provided a showcase for a host of female actresses, and could launch the careers of Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis. But what roles will they continue to play as their careers skyrocket? Tyler Perry offers roles for African-American women actors. But will Viola Davis ever play a world leader on the scale of, say, Margaret Thatcher? An actress like Meryl Streep will never hurt for parts. Yet African-American actresses-especially those of a certain age- have fewer and fewer roles available to them. And what will Demain Bichir do to follow up his Oscar nomination? Again, while I applaud his portrayal of Javier in “A Better Life”, I hope that he finds roles in Hollywood that offer the same chance to give a nuanced performance. No gangsters or drug lords or cholos that hew to old stereotypes. Por favor.

 

A Literary Bucket List

22 Jan
Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary

I was a bit disappointed, while at a friend’s birthday party this afternoon, to admit to not having read anything good in a while when asked if I had any good book recommendations. I majored in literature in college, and people know that I like to read, but my internet addiction has lead me to read more things that end in .ly than “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize” lately. I also admit that I have little patience with books I don’t enjoy after the first 20 pages or so. My attitude in this regard is the same one I have for movies: life is too short for bad books AND bad movies. I don’t want to force myself to read something I am not absorbed by. And yes, this means that I have tried unsuccessfully to read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre twice, before abandoning the book with a yawn.

I only made a valiant effort to read Jane Eyre because several friends whose opinion I value had recommended it. When it comes to choosing books to read, there are book reviews/media buzz, like the kind that greets literary blockbusters like Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom; there’s the old first page test in the bookstore (that is, read the first page of a book found in a library or bookstore, and if you have an urge to continue, you’ve found yourself a good book). For those of us who studied literature in college and love the written word, there are books that we intend to read, authors we mean to read more of, but whom we’ve never gotten around to reading. In no particular order are the books and writers who I would like to read before I kick the proverbial bucket:

  • anything by William Faulkner. I vaguely remember reading a passage from As I Lay Dying in high school and loving the language and the simple premise: a woman’s last, fevered thoughts on her deathbed. I know the Biblical weight of a title like Absalom, Absalom, though I don’t know what the novel is about; the same is true for The Sound and the Fury and A Light in August. I love the story of the college librarian who wrote masterpieces in secret. The fact that I haven’t read any of Faulkner’s novels needs to be remedied.
  • Russian literature. This one is simple, or should be anyway. I don’t think anyone can claim to know about great literature without having read any of the great Russian writers, like Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, or Pushkin. Unfortunately, I don’t have more than a Cliffs Notes understanding of any of these men, or other Russian authors for that matter. I won’t set so high a bar as War and Peace– I’ll settle for reading Ivan the Fool.
  • the Romantic poets. In college I took a course called Reading the Traditional British Canon Part I. It was one of my favorite classes, taught by a brilliant young professor which lead students through an intense 10 weeks of some of the giants of British literature. Unfortunately, I didn’t take the second course in the series, naturally called Reading the Traditional British Canon Part II. And that course introduces students to the Romantic poets. I know what the adjective byronic means, but I have never read Lord Byron. I know that there is a famous poem called “Tiger tiger burning bright”, but I have never read William Blake. This situation is also easily remedied, though I refuse to buy another edition of the Norton Anthology.
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. If I were being really ambitious, I would read it in the original French, but I choose this novel because it is the original feminist tale about a desperate housewife, right? Close runner up: Anna Karenina.
  • Philip Roth. What was Portnoy complaining about? What was in The Human Stain? I know that Roth is one of the most prolific contemporary American writers, and I have a friend who wrote his dissertation about Philip Roth’s work. That’s enough for me.

What do you think? What would you suggest? Is my list too centered on dead white men, and if so, which female authors and writers of color do you recommend? Keep in mind I majored in Spanish Literature- Spanish-language writers are also appreciated. As a matter of fact, a Spanish-language version of this list may be forthcoming.

Top 7 Movies of 2011

19 Dec
Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling

As always, the holiday season offers movie lovers an extra gift at this time of year: serious films aiming for Oscar gold. But there are good movies released throughout the year, and while I like reading the critic’s year-end top ten lists, I like coming up with my own. Based on nothing more than the movies that I enjoyed the most, here is my list of the best 7 movies of 2011 (and yes, I made a similar list last year):

One Day. I was lucky enough to start reading this book just a few eeks before it opened, so timing was perfect: I finished it just before the movie trailers really began to give things away. The movie was directed by Lone Sherfig, the Danish director of An Education, and she brings the same breezy, sure pace to this movie. Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway are great in their roles, and the plot of One Day, which may at first seem gimmicky, reveals itself to be a beautiful way to show the passage of time and the persistence of love across the years.

Crazy Stupid Love. There was one big hole in this movie, and it was the character of the babysitter, who is the object of affection of  Cal Weaver’s (Steve Carell) son, and who herself is in love with Mr. Weaver. The whole subplot with her infatuation with her much older employer was a little creepy. But the rest of the movie makes up for this, with a great story of an unlikely friendship  between the nerdy Cal and the smooth, suave Jacob (Ryan Gosling, deliciously pictured above). The love story that develops between Jacob and Emma Stone’s Hannah is unexpected and delightful, and I loved the supporting turns by Kevin Bacon and Josh Groban. Crazy, Stupid, Love was a winning, original romantic comedy.

Source Code. This one I watched on cable, but I still thought it was mesmerizing. I am a sucker for action thrillers that delve into the philosophy of consciousness, but it is still so rare to find this most niche of movies (though The Matrix and Memento come to mind). Source Code revolves around a secret military operation to continuously rewind time and figure out who planted a bomb on a Chicago commuter train. This is done by Jake Gyllenhaal’s character as his consciousness inhabits the body of a man riding the train that fateful morning. The action is exciting and fast-paced, but as the plot thickens and we learn how Gyllenhaal is able to re-enter the past, the movie becomes more and more fascinating. You’ll be talking about this one for days. A good movie for philosophy majors.

Bridesmaids. I will keep this one short, since I have previously written about Bridesmaids not once but twice, during my month of daily blogging. What else to say besides, it’s funny, it introduced America to Melissa McCarthy, it explored the thorny terrain of female friendship (frenemies) and featured a guest appearance by Wilson Philips. Hell yes.

Midnight in Paris. Who knew Owen Wilson was a good Woody Allen stand-in? Or that a filmmaker synonymous with New York could so lovingly capture the essence of Paris? This movie had me at the very first scenes, which were long shots of Paris. I’ve spent a lot of time in the city, and there is a sense walking through it that you are breathing history, taking in the same views as the great artists of the past (this is doubly true for any stroll through Montmartre). Midnight in Paris captures this brilliantly. For anyone who knows their history of early 20th century art and literature, it is a joy to see the giants of the time portrayed convincingly, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and a spot-on Ernest Hemingway. Bonus points for Rachel McAdams playing a thoroughly bitchy character.

Super 8. This one is an action movie, a sci-fi movie, a nostalgic homage to 70’s era summer blockbusters (not for nothing is Steven Spielberg a Producer of the film), as well as a buddy movie and a story of first love. The action is thrilling and the characters, all pre-pubescent boys and aspiring filmmakers, are endearing. Super 8 is proof that there is more to a good action movie than big explosions. This one has heart.

The Descendants. The scene of Shailene Woodley sobbing silently in the deep end of the swimming pool after she is told that her mother will never wake from her coma and will soon die is still with me, and I saw The Descendants a month ago. George Clooney stars as Matt King, the scion of a wealthy old Hawaiian family who faces the prospect of saying goodbye to his dying wife and selling his ancestral land in a matter of days. The film provides a good showcase for Clooney to excel at what he does best- not flashy, in your face, give me my Oscar kind of acting, but rather showing how an ordinary man faces a crisis (see also: Michael Clayton). The movie is a serious drama with plenty of laughs sprinkled in for good measure, and the landscapes- Hawai’i, Oahu and Kaui- are breathtaking. Director Alexander Payne shows us the real Hawaii, far from the tourist resorts. For its stellar acting and expert direction, The Descendants is a great movie.

Truth in Stereotypes

6 Nov
Latino Stereotypes

Latino Stereotypes

A friend who enjoys Project Runway as much as I do, with whom I enjoy discussing the show, recently posted on Facebook about the dearth of gays in the media who don’t conform to the stereotype of being effeminate and delicate and work in fields like hairdressing and fashion design. Though perhaps I should have stayed away from the fray, I, along with other friends, offered up the best examples we could think of to illustrate that not all famous gays conform to the stereotype. As my friend informed us all that the examples we were giving were not good enough- Mitchell from ‘Modern Family’ and all past Project Runway contestants were too gay, apparently- I thought to myself, maybe this effort is futile. Maybe most gay men ARE effeminate, and there is nothing wrong with that. Maybe that’s the reason most portrayals of gay men on television- including reality TV- depict the same kind of gay man, because he is out there. Is this the case with all minorities, ethnic as well as sexual? Are we yearning for the depiction of some minority within a minority?

I’ve previously written (and tweeted) about the preponderance of Latino boxers on TV and film (think “Price of Glory”, “Mi Familia”, and Showtime’s Resurrection Boulevard). While there’s no way to know the prevalence of boxers in each Latino family, it is true that the sport is widely followed and watched, although it seems that many young Latinos are abandoning the sport for MMA fighting. There is a stereotype that Latino families are large, and statistics bear this out. The U.S. Census shows that:  In 2000, 30.6 percent of family households in which a Hispanic person was the householder consisted of five or more people. In contrast, only 11.8 percent of non-Hispanic White family households were this large. So if you are Hispanic and grew up in a small family, yes, you are a minority within a minority.

Why do members of minority groups want to see the rarities- the manly gay men, the Latino cranberry farmers, the Jewish NBA players– represented? It is okay to admit that there is some truth in stereotypes. I also think that what matters is not the representation itself, but who is creating these representations. As long as minorities have a voice at the table, then I think stereotypical images will fade. I don’t care if a Latino boxer is shown on TV or in film, just as long as he (or she- don’t forget “Girlfight”) is drawn as a three-dimensional character. And if our hypothetical Latino cranberry farmer should come to life, I hope that he is also treated as a real person and not some novelty item. Look at the way gays have been portrayed on TV recently. There is Mitchell on “Modern Family”, a tightly -wound lawyer who is married to a former college football linebacker from rural Missouri. And as for Jewish NBA players? Amare Stoudamire claims to be of Jewish descent, and has even traveled to Israel and adopted a Kosher diet. Now THAT’s breaking a stereotype.