Stupid Christmas Traditions

I don’t completely hate Christmas. After all, I’m not the grinch. But here’s a list of everything about Christmas that irritates me to the core.

1) Santa Claus 

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Where all the hos at?!

Honestly, I have never understood the whole premise behind Santa Claus. Maybe because, unlike most households, leaving cookies and milk for Santa wasn’t a Christmas tradition in my home while I was growing up.

We tell children that if they’re “good” all year, they are entitled to toys manufactured in the North Pole(of which they’ll probably get bored and promptly discard within the following two months)

I’m sorry, but that’s not how the real world works.

A person’s moral compass should not be influenced by the possibility of an external reward. Expecting goodies for “being good” is no different than sucking up!

Children should be taught the value of inner principles. They should view themselves as morally accountable to other people in addition to themselves.

Children should also realize that life, unfortunately, isn’t always fair. In other words, even if they’re as compassionate, kind-hearted and thoughtful as Mr.Rogers, life could still fuck them in the ass! It’s better for them to acknowledge that inescapable fact at an early age. Otherwise, we’re just hindering their potential at personal growth.

2) Christmas Songs

I know most people love the Holiday classics, however, when they’re endlessly played at restaurants, department stores, elevators, waiting rooms, the supermarket, office parties  etc., I start to consider seasoning my meals with a vial of cyanide!

3) The “War on Christmas”

Every holiday season, there’s always some right-wing abrasive blowhard on the radio (most likely, Rush Limbaugh) or some pompous blowhard on television (most likely, Bill O’Reilly) lamenting over a traumatic incident in which their local cashier had the audacity to wish them “Happy Holidays” rather than a “Merry Christmas”!

Oh, and on the flipside, you also have liberal atheists, with too much time on their hands, decrying over a bloody nativity display in the town square.

download-17I thought the holidays (yea I said “Holidays”..so sue me) were supposed to be the one time of year where we could avoid politicized bullshit. In fact, during this Christmas, I don’t want to hear anything about the recent election, Black Lives Matter, the Alt-Right, Political Correctness, ISIS or Castro’s supposed legacy. I really don’t care at this point. All I want to do is gluttonously stuff my mouth with pumpkin pie, decorated gingerbread cookies and eggnog.

People Complaining about Commercialization

Let’s be real. Consumerism is the real reason for the season. I mean Baby Jesus is cute and everything, but seasonal economic stimulation is the real miracle!

And by the way, no one is forcing you to shop! Get off your high horse!! 

Christmas Movies

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World’s worst parent

Holiday-themed films aren’t entirely terrible. However, they’re extremely overhyped, especially when they’re constantly being screened on every fucking channel during the entire month of December! Most of those movies are dated and only serve to indulge our nostalgic inclinations. For example, Home Alone was an unremarkably-scripted movie starring a very annoying child artist (although its sequel has a very notable cameo by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named). However, as children, we all watched Home Alone and now, the movie triggers fond memories of a simpler time. This illustrates how memberberries can have an outstandingly potent effect on us

New Years Resolutions 

Oh, you say you going to start eating healthier and exercise more? So….What are you doing  with that glass of eggnog and that piece of pie? january-gymers


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Advice to My Future Daughter  

I don’t have any plans on having children anytime soon.  To be honest, I’m not even ready for a romantic relationship, nor do I envision myself ever being in such an arrangement ! But I often wonder about the future, contemplating on how things will turn out in 2035. Since childhood, I’ve dreamt about achieving super-saiyan mode by that year. Although, realistically speaking, I’d probably have to settle for a stable 9-5 office job.

There’s a higher chance I’ll remain a confirmed bachelor, as I enjoy my freedom and individuality with no incentive to relinquish either. The chances that I’ll invite someone to live with me in my fortress of solitude.

But who knows, maybe I’ll be enticed by a beautiful girl and have a couple of children.  If I do procreate like other members of my species, I imagine having one of each gender, a son and a daughter, similarly to my own parents.

Although I am currently childless., I am well aware that raising a daughter is different, and perhaps more challenging, than raising a son.  A girl’s world is drastically different from her male counterpart.  The pressure pushed on girls is something boys would never been able to relate to (myself included).

Fast forward to the year 2035.  The concept of the nation-state has been eradicated in favor of the New World Order, a dystopian society dictated by super-intelligent robots and antropomorphized Apple products…..
OK Fine!  Maybe that scenario is less likely to happen. Most likely, I’ll be living a quiet, yet content life with my own family.  I’ll be in my early 40’s.  Graying but hopefully not balding! My children will be approaching their teenage years and like all teenagers, they will be searching for their own identities.   The teenage years are a difficult time for everyone, and definitely more challenging for girls.  Here are some bits of advice I would give to my daughter in no particular order of importance.

The Mind
1) Our ability to reason separates us from the animals.  Always utilize your critical thinking skills in every situation
2) There is no such thing as useless knowledge.  The more you know, the further you will go.
3) Always find ways to enhance your reasoning skills.    Do Sudoku or play Chess regularly.  Believe me, it will pay off in the end.
4) Jog everyday and eat a healthy diet.  Your brain will thank you

Family Life
5) Loyality to family is important.
6) That being said, if a family member is doing something wrong or harmful, it is your responsibility to call them on it
7) If either your mother or I tell you to do something you don’t want, don’t just disobey us.  Formulate a rational argument against our request and we’ll consider it.
8) Both your mother and I are open-minded people.  You can come to us for anything, even if you are in trouble or are about to do something we may disapprove of.

Formulating Your Own Identity
9) We traditionally identify ourselves with either our ethnicity/nationality or our careers.  However, such methods of identification are completely arbitrary.  In reality, identity is fluid.  We are not the same people we are ten years ago…nor will we be the same in another 10 years.
10) Maintain your individuality.  You solely define who you are.  Never give in to peer pressure.
11) Some people think one’s purpose in life is pre-programmed within us by a deity.  However, I personally believe its up to the individual to determine his or her purpose.  If you want to give your own life meaning, experience the world.  Travel.  Read.  Network with people.  Volunteer and give back to society.  Be as productive as possible.

The Birds and the Bees
Your mother is going to handle the bulk of this topic for obvious reasons.  However, here are a few bits of advice I have for you
12) If there is such a thing as sacred, human sexuality falls under that category.  I can’t think of anything more beautiful than the physical oneness experienced by two people.  Its intoxicating and invigorating.  However, Sexuality is not something to be taken lightly.
13) I personally think notions of “sex after marriage” is outdated and unrealistic.  However, I strongly advice you on waiting until your early twenties before engaging in sex.  As a teenager, you wouldn’t be able to handle the emotional baggage associated with sexual intercourse.
14) Maintain standards for yourself. Something so intrinsically beautiful should be done with someone whom you have a strong passionate love for.
15) Its not common for a parent to advice safe sex, however, this is the real world.  Young people should have access to information in order to protect themselves.  You are young and you don’t want to do anything that could negatively affect the rest of your life.  So be safe.
16) Disregards words like “slut” and “prud”.  A person’s sexuality is his/her own business and is nothing to be ashamed of.

Surviving in a Boys World 
Even in the 21st century, there are girls are held to a different standard than boys. But you don’t have to be a second-class citizen in a semi-patriarchal world.
16) Don’t be afraid of words like “bossy”. In fact, take pride in them!
17) The world needs more girls in STEM fields.  The number of female computer programmers has decreased!  My advice is, if you’re good at mathematics and you love technology, nothing should prevent you from pursuing engineering.

Surviving in a Girls World
18) When drama happens within your circle of female friends, dissociate from it completely.  Do not get involved
19) Avoid gossip at all times.  People’s personal lives are none of your business!
20) If you feel that one of your own friends is talking behind your back, distance yourself from her.           Who needs friends like that?

Conquering Anxiety
If you’re my child, you have a 50% of having high levels of anxiety.  Here are some ways to avoid panic attacks.

21) Meditate.  Clear your mind every day.22) Don’t worry about things which you have no control over. Whatever happens, happens.  Just keep moving forward.

23) Be active in your community.  Believe me, engaging in community  activities will distract you from your own inner emotions.
24) Don’t be insecure around other people.  EVERY human being has his/ her own insecurities.  Don’t think of yourself as pathetic.
25) Everyone has flaws.  Don’t dwell on them.  Instead, focus on enhancing your positive attributes.
My biggest advice is know that I will always love you, unconditionally.  Do well in life, sweetheart 🙂

Movie Review: American Sniper

Before I dive into my critique of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, I want to elaborate on why I do film reviews. First, it goes without saying that I am an ardent cinephile. I’ve been in love with the art of filmmaking for as long as I can remember. If it wasn’t for my aversion towards the celebrity lifestyle, I definitely would have pursued a career in Hollywood (or Bollywood).

Second, I’m not the only one who loves movies. Everybody loves watching  movies. Everyone can quote random dialogues from films released twenty years ago. Some of our most cherished memories have been shaped around the movie-watching experience.

Therefore, films are one of the best mediums for social commentary. For decades, Filmmakers have utilized their craft to convey an important lesson to their audiences. Born on the Fourth of July poignantly captured the anguish and pain endured by numerous Vietnam veterans. Mummy Dearest (despite the unintentionally laughable acting) exposed the prevalence of child abuse. Inside Out persuaded us to get in touch with our inner emotions. Therefore, cinema has an incredibly tremendous impact on our culture.

This brings us to American Sniper. Clint Eastwood has continuously proved himself to be a sage in filmmaking. American Sniper is no exception. It was, no doubt, a brilliantly-produced masterpiece. In addition, Bradley Cooper was exceptional in the biographical role of Chris Kyle. In terms of film quality, I have nothing negative to say.

I watched this movie a year and a half ago in theaters with a couple of my friends. I remember the theatre room was packed, unsurprisingly. Upon the film’s conclusion, with the credits rolling through the depiction of Chris Kyle’s real life funeral, the theatre room fell into an eerie silence. As the screen went pitch-black, the silence continued. After a few moments, as my friends and I gathered our belongings, a spontaneous applause erupted. Some of the audience members had tears running down their cheeks.
The reason I’m telling this is to illustrate the depth of emotions this film evoked from the American public. In post-9/11 America, this movie had a cathartic impact on its viewers. Because of this film’s monumental significance, I’m even more disappointed by its distorted depictions of the events following 9/11.

The movie implies that 9/11 was the primary motive behind the US invasion of Iraq. That botched episode, which basically annihilated George W Bush’s credibility as president, was glorified in the film as a noble cause.

Ironically, Clint Eastwood is known for being firmly anti-war. He has vocally disapproved of American military engagements in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Furthermore, Eastwood insisted that American Sniper was written to be an anti-war film!

Although most have doubt his assertion, I actually believe him. Eastwood aspired to depict the disastrous effects war has on one’s mental health. He never intended to produce a historical documentary. Eastwood primarily wanted to illustrate how PTSD not only affects soldiers, but their families, especially their spouses who are pressured to pick up the pieces.

In order to accurately depict the impact of PTSD, Clint Eastwood did a character sketch of Chris Kyle and portray the battlefield through his eyes. Unfortunately, Chris Kyle’s subjective perspective completely obfuscated the historically-factual account of the Iraq War. Therefore, future generations watching this movie will have an inaccurate picture of the Iraq War.

American Sniper attempts to humanize a person famed for his 150 kills. Chris Kyle is depicted as being helplessly trapped in the shadows of moral ambiguity that envelopes over the reality of the battlefield. However, Chris Kyle’s autobiography confirms that he is a self -aggrandizing liar and a sadistic psychopath who takes pleasure in shooting defenseless Iraqi children! Kyle represents the worst of the US armed forces and does not deserve to be lionized in an cinematic production!

Nativity Display Controversy

A Christmas-themed controversy is currently brewing in Menominee, an town located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In numerous small towns across America, it’s customary to set up a nativity scene in the town square or in city hall during the holiday season. However, for this humble yooper settlement of eight thousand residents, this year will be different.

download-16The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist organization “dedicated to persevering the separation of church and state”, filed a complaint, on behalf of an anonymous Menominee resident, urging the town to discontinue their annual Christmas tradition. According to the FFRF, a nativity display on public property is a constitutional violation, contradicting the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Since the launching of that complaint, residents of Menominee are now relying on a local parish to set up the nativity display.

Menominee is one of a myriad of towns and cities to be threatened by a lawsuit regarding the display of a nativity scene. For the last decade, organizations including the Freedom from Religion Foundation and American Atheists have become increasingly aggressive and emboldened in asserting the “separation of church and state”. Their public relations representatives have appeared on national television and defended their actions by claiming to fight for all religious minorities against what they perceive to be Christian domination of the holiday season. captu

Honestly, these types of news stories really distress me. They’re just examples of self-victimization and manufactured fake outrage in 21st century America.

I’m not religious. In fact, I’m actually critical of certain aspects of Christian theology. However,  I don’t feel threatened or marginalized by the slight of a nativity scene. In India, roadside shrines on public roads are ubiquitous and I’m not offended whenever I come across them while travelling from one village to another to visit relatives. I don’t feel compelled to convert to any religion. Religious displays simply have no impact on me, whatsoever.

Now, proponents for the removal of these nativity scenes point to the Constitution, specifically to the establishment clause which prohibits the establishment of a state-sponsored religion. To which I say “who cares?”. I’m not a legal scholar however, I don’t understand how a cheap, plastic exhibition of the nativity is an endorsement of any religion. No resident is being pressured to join a church or profess a belief in a deity. Nativity scenes are just nothing more than a fun annual tradition for numerous small towns and shouldn’t be discontinued over a complaint from one disgruntled resident.

It’s not often that I find myself siding with a religious cause. This is probably the only instance in which conservative Christians can rely on me as an ally. However, for me, this has very little to do with religious expression. My solidarity with the Religious Right (strictly on this matter) is a counterstrike against the hyper-legalistic culture overtaking America that promotes frivolous lawsuits and PC policing.

Creating a Holiday Safe Space 

The Christmas season (oh I’m sorry, I meant “The Holidays”) are upon us. So, in anticipation of the festivities, here’s a list of Christmas songs we should dutifully avoid to prevent microaggressions 

O Christmas Tree: Appropriation of German culture

Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer: Blatantly Ableist 

White Christmas: A aggressive assertion of White Privilege

Hark The Herald Angels: Male Privilege ( “glory to the newborn King”)

Away in a Manger: Classist

Feliz Navidad: Appropriating the Spanish language

Baby It’s Cold Outside: Promotion of Rape Culture

Twelve Days of Christmas: Too capitalistic

We wish you a merry Christmas: Male privilege ( for you and your king)

Deck the Halls: Too consumer-driven

Jingle Bells: Exploitation of horses (“in a one-horse open sleigh)

Little Donkey: Appropriation of Mexican culture

Silent Night: Slut-Shaming (“round yon virgin”)

Mary, Did You Know: Classist (“Did you know that your baby boy will one day rule all nations”)

Movie Review: Dazed and Confused

Most of the films I’ve reviewed for this blog were released within the past couple of years. So, I thought a change of pace was in order. And so, my devoted reader, I present to you my take on Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. 

Dazed and Confused images-7is a 1993 coming-of-age comedy set in the suburbs of Austin, Texas in 1976. The film is most notable for launching the careers of Mathew McConaughey and Ben Affleck into stardom. Dazed and Confused was one of many cinematic productions that capitalized off of the nostalgic idealization of the 1970’s that implanted itself in pop culture during the better part of the 1990’s. Sort of like how we, today, are infatuated with anything from the 1990’s.

I’m not going to debrief on the synopsis because…well…there really isn’t much of a story MCDDAAN EC010to tell. It’s just a bunch of stereotypically rebellious teenagers from the 1970’s idly dawdling from one scene to another. This movie reminded me of That 70’s Show (and I wouldn’t be surprised if That 70’s Show was inspired by Dazed and Confused). However, unlike The 70’s Show, the characters in Dazed and Confused weren’t likeable, nor very interesting.

Sure, there were a handful of quotable lines including the semi-pedophilic “That’s what I like about high school girls. I keep on getting older, they stay the same age” along with the contrarian yet all too real “Okay guys, one more thing, this summer when you’re being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth Of July brouhaha, don’t forget what you’re celebrating, and that’s the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn’t want to pay their taxes.”. But that’s about it.

The only reason you should watch this movie is for the sake of cultural literacy. This movie has been referenced countless times on TV shows, comedy specials and even movies. I suppose Dazed and Confused is akin to films like Forrest Gump, The Breakfast Club or Home Alone. While you, personally, may not appreciated them, if you haven’t seen any of those aforementioned movies, you can’t call yourself a true, red-blooded American.

 

Oh Look, Another Rampage on Campus

Yesterday, in Ohio State University, it was reported that a third-year student named Abdul Razak Ali Artan carried out a knife attack on campus, injuring 11 people. The assailant has been killed by police and the 11 who are injured are now hospitalized under intensive care.

The motives of Artan’s attacks aren’t 100% clear. However, in a Facebook post before the rampage, Artan urged America to “to stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah”. He continued “By Allah, we will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims. You will not celebrate or enjoy any holiday”.

In addition, Artan was profiled by the campus newspaper where he expressed his fears of being a Muslim in America, claiming that he was “struggling to find a place to pray in peace in large campus but scared of everything going on in the media”.

Although a myriad of self-described liberals may disagree, Artan’s rampage was clearly motivated by his Islamic beliefs. At the moment, we don’t have a list of all the imams and sheikhs he subscribed to. However, he was blatantly influenced by a radicalized ideology which ignited a fire of rage urging him to stab those eleven innocent people.

However, contrary to the views of many, Islam is not the sole culprit. And although Abdul Razak Ali Artan is a refugee originally from Somalia, his refugee status has nothing to do with his actions. However, rather than digging through the layers of motives behind the rampage, most people would rather spout anti-Muslim/anti-refugee rhetoric to score political points. This is unproductive.

Mass attacks are becoming more commonplace in America. From the Columbine shooting to Eliot Rodger’s rampage in Santa Monica, California, the majority of these attacks have been perpetrated by young men between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five. Every time we hear of an attack, we instinctually blame video games, or violent TV shows, or music, or drugs.

However, in the majority of those attacks, social isolation and self-victimization are often the most significant factors. They often ferment an identity crisis, causing one to perceive the world in terms of us vs them.

 Artan was feeling isolated as a Muslim in America. He clearly stated that he was “struggling…and scared of everything”. Eliot Rodger was also undergoing a similar internal struggle, as he was constantly being rejected by co-eds and ostracized from social life. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were similarly deemed as outcasts during their senior year at Columbine High School.

By the viewing the world in terms of us vs them, a person would perceive his peers as his enemies. Enemies he needed to destroy. This mode of thinking becomes even more apparent when one embraces a radicalized ideology, which is often the case for socially-isolated young men who, being young, are easily impressionable. Eliot Rodger frequented PUA and MRA forums. The Orlando shooter was influenced by the activities of ISIS. Even Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were inspired by the Oklahoma City bombings carried out by Timothy McVeigh. Similarly, Abdul Razak Ali Artan may have been impassioned by a series of sermons given by some Salafi imam.

I’m not excusing the perpetrators of their horrific actions. However, if we really want to curb the instances of mass shooting and rampages, we have to seek out the multi-layered motives behind such actions.

My Disorganized Thoughts about Fidel Castro’s Death

  • Whether you love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit that Fidel Castro was a fucking badass! The CIA has been attempting to assassinate him for sixty years and that cigar-smoking bastard managed to outlive all his Cold-War era enemies!

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  • I don’t think anyone has had a more glorious, majestic beard than he

 

  • Liberdownload-14als and Leftists who insist on overlooking Castro’s human rights violations by repetitively chanting about “Free Healthcare and Education in Cuba” are just futilely defending an broken ideology. Just quit it before you embarrass yourselves any further!

 

  • What kind of eulogy would Justin Trudeau give for Bill Cosby? “He was a gracious host who had the courtesy to wine and dine his victims”#Trudeaueulogies
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Nevertheless, even as a heterosexual guy, I still think he’s yummy!

  •  Not to minimize the atrocities committed by Castro’s regime, but I don’t think he’s any  worse than Augusto Pinochet, Manuel Noriega, Anastanio Somoza, Carlos Castillo Armas or even Castro’s predecessor, Fulgencio Batista.

 

  • In case you’re wondering,  the guys mentioned above are Latin American dictators and autocrats who were backed by the United States government. Remember that the next time you come across some hyper-patriotic blowhard pontificating on America’s virtuous endorsement of democracy and freedom.

 

  • I’m glad I don’t leave in Miami. Florida Cubans have every right to celebrate (and no, I don’t think it’s wrong to celebrate a person’s death) but I cannot stand noise pollution!
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Fiesta!!!

The Folly of the Pro-Life Movement

So in light of a recent publicity stunt pulled by Frank Pavone, I want to discuss the so-called ‘Pro-Life Movement’.

On November 7th, Frank Pavone, a Roman Catholic priest and pro-life activist, posted a video of himself on Facebook placing an aborted fetus on an altar as an appeal to Catholics to vote for Donald Trump. When questioned why he undertook such a disgusting stunt, he claimed that “the only way America will ban abortion is if they see it with their own eyes”.

Pavone’s stunt is the apex of everything that is wrong with the Pro-Life Movement. It seems that this movement, once devoted to protecting the sanctity of unborn life, is now more interested in scoring political points and garnering attention for themselves.

Before I proceed to break down the Pro-Life Movement, I must emphasize that I have nothing against anyone who espouse anti-abortion views, nor do I hold resentment towards religious people in general. Everyone has their own reasons for their beliefs, opinions, and values, and I can accept that. This post is merely an indictment of the cringeworthy tactics employed by Pro-Lifers.

‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’

Crisis Pregnancy Centers are disgustingly deceptive in their strategy of luring unassuming, yet frightened young women. Vice News did a brilliant undercover expose of these centers. Basically, these Crisis Pregnancy Centers advertise themselves as a typical women’s health clinic on their website. If a woman calls them, seeking information on abortion procedures, rather than being straightforward about the services they actually provide, these crisis pregnancy centers invite these women to their clinic, giving them the impression that they provide abortions. 

However, upon arriving at the crisis pregnancy centers, these female patients are subjected to emotional manipulation by the employees in order to dissuade them from going through with the abortion.

I have no problem with a clinic willing to offer alternative services to abortion. After all, there are pregnant girls who, while reluctant to terminate the pregnancy, are worried about the prospects of their unborn child. 

I think it’s laudable for centers to provide counseling and financial support to reassure a pregnant girl with limited resources. However, deceit only hurts the Pro-Life cause. You can’t stop everyone from going through with an abortion.

“Doesn’t this picture touch your heart”

It’s typical to see pictures of aborted fetuses hoisted up in one of many pro-life rally. Apparently, the disturbingly gruesome image of a bloody dead fetus is meant to reach the hearts of bystanders. As Frank Pavone stated, “America won’t reject abortion until it sees it”. 

Don’t these pro-lifers realize that holding up those gory, cringeworthy pictures makes them look psychotic and deranged? No one wants to see that shit! And attempting to garner attention through those pictures is crude and emotionally manipulative 

“Condoms will make your penis fall off”

I will never understand why the staunchest opponents of abortion also happen to be the most vocal critics of contraception and comprehensive sex education in high schools. Abortions are normally the results of unplanned pregnancy. Contraceptives are designed to prevent pregnancies during sexual intercourse. I think you get the picture. 

Prolifers unrealistically expect any teenager to remain abstinent until marriage. However, since the dawn of man, teenagers have been recklessly hooking up, unmindful of the potential consequences. A one night stand could not only result in an unplanned pregnancies but also the potential contraction of an STD. This is why it’s so crucial for people, especially teenagers, to have access to information on contraceptives. 

“If you’re pre-born, you’re fine. If you’re preschool, you’re fucked!”

The Democratic Party has continuously been denounced and demonized by Pro-Life organizations for their unwavering support for abortion rights. Therefore, in our two-party system, Pro-lifers usually endorse or advocate for Republican politicians, who have been pandering to the conservative Christian voting bloc since the early 1980s.

However, Republican politicians are aggressively hawkish in foreign policy. Some are even connected to private military contractors. In addition, Republicans are typical supportive of the capital punishment and they advocate for  public spending cuts, which involve depriving funds from government programs which the poor rely on. 

Pro-lifers have a very narrow perspective on being “Pro-Life”. They would rather vote for a man who stated he would “carpet bomb the Mid-East”, rather than a politician who merely seeks to uphold a 40-year old Supreme Court ruling. 

The Pro-Life Movement needs to approach this delicate situation in a compassionate and practical manner. Instead of attempting to score political points through hyperemotional rhetoric and blatent misinformation, Prolifers should seek to educate and inform the public. And they should understand that ultimately, the decision concerning abortion is up to the woman, herself b 
 

 

 

 

Movie Review: Vettah

Vettah was Rajesh Pillai’s final cinematic work before his untimely death in February of this year. Like many of his films, including the widely-acclaimed Traffic, Vettah utilizes hyperlink narrative techniques in conveying a riveting tale about two dedicated police officers attempting to tear through web of lies, conjured by the mysterious, yet crafty Melvin Phillip, in order to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of a beloved actress.  

Commissioner Sribala IPS, portrayed by Manju Warrier, is what every schoolgirl in the 21st century aspires to be. She is a high-ranking law enforcement professional working in a male-dominated field. She is collected and quick-witted in the face of danger. Unfortunately, her personal life is troubled. Because of a dire accident, Sribala’s father, a once respected police officer, has been left in a paralyzed mental state. 

Sreebala’s partner is Assistant Commissioner Xylex Abraham (okay, I know Malayali Christians are notorious for bizarre given names, but no one would go that far!). Despite their working relationship, Sreebala has a nagging suspicion that Xylex, played by Indrajith Sukumaran, was involved in her father’s accident, causing her trust in him to erode. 

Enter Melvin Philip, portrayed by Kunchacko Boban. He is arrested by the police for allegedly being connected to the news-worthy disappearance of Uma Sathyamoorthy, a fictionalized Malayali Hindi film actress. When brought to Sreebala and Xylex for questioning, Melvin Philip confesses to murdering his wife for cheating on him with a man who happens to be the husband of Uma. Phillips further reveals that he killed the husband and Uma happened to be “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Sreebala and Xylex learn that Melvin, who continuously wears a sinister smile, has left out several details from his story. As the film progresses, the two police officers realize that they’re being manipulated by Melvin, entangled in a convoluted web concealing a heartbreaking, personal tragedy. 

This current wave of experimentation in Malayalam cinema is both refreshing and exciting. From the nonlinear storyline, to the creative cinematography and visually-stimulating shots, Vettah definitely keeps you at the edge of your seat. The unexpected plot twists is guaranteed to magnetize your attention. 

Unfortunately, the film’s novel techniques cannot compensate for its disappointing drawbacks. The action scenes were poorly executed, which one would want to avoid for this type of film. In addition, the acting wasn’t on par. I don’t think Manju Warrier, Indrajith Sukumaran and Kunchacko Boban are terrible actors. In fact, they’ve proven themselves to be exceptional in a number of movies. However, in this film, they didn’t bring their A game. 

So, in conclusion, Vettah could be described as watchable. It’s undoubtedly not a best Malayalam movie of 2016, nor does it qualify for the top five. However, it’s a film you could watch if you want to kill a Sunday afternoon.