NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday January 18th 2022

Keep citizen journalism alive!

Donatebutton_narrow

Sections

Recent archives

‘Something I Said’ Archives

Something I Said: Mario and Melvin

Something I Said: Mario and Melvin

By DWIGHT HOBBES The original title of Mario Van Peebles’ Baadasssss! (Sony Pictures, 2003) was How To Get The Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass, entirely fitting for the social commentary his father Melvin Van Peebles’ film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (Yeah, Inc., 1971) put forth in a time when grassroot black America had grown sick and tired of this country kicking us around to keep us down. Indeed, Baadasssss! is a dramatized, making of historic document, looking at what went into Melvin returning the favor and putting his foot in American cinema’s behind, profoundly challenging its cherished tenet of supremacist propaganda. There is a reason, after all, The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense lauded it, in Huey Newton's words as "the first truly revolutionary…" that, in the opening credits, starred "The Black Community," It became required viewing for Party members. There is the same reason Bill Cosby, who’d narrated CBS’ Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed three years earlier, stepped in with a $50,000 loan to complete funding after Columbia Studios suits turned their backs and left production high and dry. Neither was going to see this landmark depiction of black reality go by the wayside. The days of demeaning portrayals of mammies and shiftless men were done. There was a downside. It pried the door loose for Spike Lee, which continued to revolutionize cinema, but also ushered in an era of the new, “blaxploitation” stereotype: studs and sexpots – even if scores of actors did get work. These days it no longer turns the world upside down when black filmmakers including, finally, female producers and directors have something serious to say. For which we can thank a scrappy brother - the late Melvin Van Peebles - who made history on a shoestring budget of $150,000 (unfortunately bouncing a check to then-fledgling Earth, Wind & Fire) in just under three weeks. We can also be grateful to Mario Van Peebles for honoring that [...]

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop

Something I Said By DWIGHT HOBBES Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop is, in very good terms as the euphemistic parlance goes, a beast: the South Minneapolis operation has made it through the corona contagion thus far, the catastrophic 2020 riot and the ongoing economic climate which, stimulus or no stimulus, is in lousy shape. That rioting, supposedly in the name of George Floyd, absolutely devastated the very community it's alleged to have been for the sake of. Overnight - actually the course of a few days - the business outlets along Lake Street that it didn't shut down were flatout destroyed, depriving whole neighborhoods of affordable goods and services in an area where affordable goods and services amount to a godsend. Not to mention store staff glad to have a job with all the contagion-related layoffs and firings suddenly were left wondering how to pay their bills. Fortunately, more than a year later, much, in fact most, of Lake Street's thriving commerce has returned. At 10th Ave., though, Family Dollar is a glaring exception. With this location of the chain still boarded up, households in the immediate vicinity sustain a serious hardship. Like the name says, families were able to stretch a dollar shopping for necessities. Parents, for instance, got a good price on things like Pampers. You could get a decent price on even name brand pet food. When you weren't able to make it to the supermarket for groceries, you could just fill in a few blanks, especially a day or two days before payday when you feel the pinch most.  Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop can't do anything about those concerns, but it remains a resource for useful items like clothes, electronic equipment (including desktop and laptop computers), dishes,  and more. It is a modest but nonetheless valuable asset to a community still coping with hard times. The Minneapolis St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop, 2939 12th Ave. South (612-722-7882), is within walking [...]

Something I Said

By DWIGHT HOBBES This is but one reason I don”™t give a tinker”™s damn who wins what office in Minneapolis next month: if you can name single candidate for mayor, city council or dog catcher who”™s stumping as an agent for change in the prevalence of violence against women, I will eat his or her hat. Yet there isn”™t a single one who wasn”™t born to a woman. Safe Haven Shelter out of Duluth documents that in this so-called progressive state the stats of women being abused in the home is an unmitigated disgrace. Only a few notations made at http://safehavenshelter.org/: domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women ”“ more than injuries by muggings, stranger rape and car crashes put together; almost a third of homeless Minnesota women were abused; about 76% of women killed by their partners were stalked by their partners before their murder. There”™s more at the website, a lot more ”“ look it up. And, according to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, 22 women were killed in 2015, 18 in 2016 and 19 in 2017. How much would you like to bet that number has not gone down since. But, here, in 2021, in the aftermath of that damnable contagion having cornered women with their abusers during last year”™s lockdown, we can fully expect it to have considerably risen.     What are seated politicians as well the glad-handing would-be”™s who want you to vote them into a nice cushy job and a fat salary doing to address this ongoing civic catastrophe? That rhetorical question demands a straight answer, at least some indication they give a damn about so much as approaching a solution to this widespread problem. But it is a non-issue.     It”™s not like abused women don”™t vote. Which wouldn”™t be an excuse anyway, but, we know how so-called political movers and shakers think: show me the [...]

People and Pets Together

People and Pets Together

By DWIGHT HOBBES MPRnews.org Probably most people”™s well being is intrinsically, inextricably tied to caring for a pet. The furry, four-footed friend you take care of who actually takes care of you. And who you need to feed. Tougher and tougher as financial times have grown, more than a few folk struggle to put food on the table, let alone fill a feed bowl.     Enter, People and Pets Together (PPT) (www.peopleandpetstogether.org) to meet that vital need. As the corona crisis continues to rage, it”™s increasingly about more than having a cute critter on hand. That critter, for a lot of us, means company. For those who”™ve had Fido or Kitty awhile, it is the loving companionship of a family member. Ultimately, we”™re talking about the overall good. As Dr. Marie Louderback of the 3 Pound Cats clinic, fondly referred to at PPT as Dr. Marie, notes, “To be able to care for pet allows me to indirectly care for the family as well.” She adds, “The human-animal bond is...helpful with many human conditions.”     That particularly includes people who live alone, especially during a pandemic that the medical profession expects to last until December. Characteristic of isolation is succumbing to depression and just plain loneliness. “A pet can remind you that you're not alone,” says life coach Desiree Wiercyski at WebMD. "Pets offer unconditional love, which can be extraordinarily soothing when feeling isolated."     This past year PPT, one of the only two pet food shelves in all of Minnesota (the other being Pet Resource Center, 1401 N 44th Ave, Minneapolis) gave out 96,097 pounds of dog and cat food on-site. While the available stock shifts, you can generally find brand names like Loyal, Pro Plan and Nutro (dogs) and Friskies, 9-Lives and Purina (cats). A constant is that it will be quality food, enough to last a month. Upwards of 1,000 [...]

Can You Say “Tuskegee Experiment?

Can You Say “Tuskegee Experiment?

SOMETHING I SAID By DWIGHT HOBBES You couldn”™t throw the COVID-19 or any other number vaccine on me in a bucket of water. Can you say Tuskegee Experiment? The research for which African Americans were used by the United States Public Health Service as lab rats to explore the effects of syphilis. That was far back as 1932 but medical science hasn”™t progressed so far today that we don”™t have one Dr. Jean-Paul Mira, chief of intensive care at the Cochin Hospital in Paris, France. In April of last year, he asked the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research director Camille Locht on French television channel LCI, “Shouldn”™t we be doing this study in Africa where there are no masks, no treatment, no intensive care, a little bit like we did in certain AIDS studies or with prostitutes?” Locht responded, “You are right. We are thinking of a parallel study in Africa to use approach with the BCG placebos.” Placebos. The same ruse this government perpetrated, in a study that went on until 1972, years with not one infected patient being treated with penicillin despite that by 1947, the antibiotic was widely available and had become the standard treatment for the disease. The program killed 128 of its 600 participants letting them die from syphilis or related complications. Mira and Locht might well have got away with similarly disregarding black humanity but for the outrage on social media condemning their comments. There is no telling how many men, women and children would have died a miserable death as Mira and Locht blithely went on about their business. Admittedly, there”™s no evidence that US doctors will follow that lead. No smoking gun. On the other hand, there”™s also no reason to believe they won”™t, the medical profession conducting another Tuskegee-style experiment and simply being smarter about keeping it under their hats. Time [...]