You Decide.

It is the thinking that gives you pause. Absolutely. it is the same for everybody, everything begins in the brain; the mind. Without getting too spiritual, it is absolutely true that you are what you think. Perception of life, how things impact you, your reaction to them and thoughts about them all shape the direction and quality of your life.

We are all well read or moderately well read people, media savvy, watching things that are more engaging than people falling over and animals doing strange thing on YouTube. We watch TedTalks, all the how to vids, garner different points of view.

A popular video/film that has gained a following and much interest has been The Secret. If you have not seen Rhona Byrne’s documentary film from her book of the same title, it is the secret to fulfilling one’s life. Hmm. Now, I am as sceptical as the next person, after all the world is full of people trying to sell…crap. Whether it is a crappy product or a crappy idea, there are those who will happily exercise nefarious practices to make a buck, even at the expense of others.

Okay, you say, what has any of this got to do with The Secret? The Secret puts forward the notion that you can achieve or accomplish whatever you want if you think about it. What?! Sounds like utter nonsense. It says that you attract what you think about on a consistent basis. But I think about winning the lottery! Not happened. So far from a lottery win. That is a common thought; the stuff that you believe you think about, that never happen. So what is going wrong?

Thinking and dreaming are not the same. Dreams are a necessity, creating a reason, purpose, to do jobs or things that are not what you wanted to do, in the hope that you create or obtain your dream. Thinking is different, cognitive. It is the decision making process. What have you decided to do? Which path did you decide to take? It is what you do to achieve your dream. Or it should be. Most spend their time pursuing stuff, finance, covering the bills, paying a mortgage, building a nest egg, saving for the rainy day. All very laudable things. Are they the stuff of dreams? Did you dream of these things as a child, growing up to pay a mortgage or saving up for retirement?

What if…just listen a minute, what if you decided, really decided, to think about your life differently. Whoa! Think differently? Like how? Who do I listen to? How about yourself. Of course information is good for critical thinking, decision making. But it still needs to be filtered; absorb the useful and disregard the pointless.

With so much information and the human ability to be lazy and take the easiest route, it is expedient to accept the first thing you are told. After all, it is human nature to believe first and question second. We hope that our fellow man is not trying to mislead us, wanting to believe that whatever they might tell us is because they want to help. As much as life tells us otherwise, we intrinsically want to believe that others are generally good.

People are good, or at least they believe they are. In their own mind, it is rare the person who thinks they are evil, a bad person. This is not a consistent thought for anybody of a healthy mind, regardless of the proof of their actions. If they have friends, people they care about, they must believe themselves to be acceptable human beings. It is the information they gain, the reaction to incidents, events or happenings in their lives that impact their thinking. This creates the person, the information and how their interpret it.

We are not what we think. We are what we decide to think.

Draconian Measures – How To Improve Reality Television

Back in 1992, MTV launched a programme that would influence and change the landscape of television. That programme was The Real World. The original reality show, The Real World featured a cross section of young adults, cohabiting in an apartment as the cameras watched on.
  Original,  fresh and engaging, it was at once social documentary and soapish entertainment. A genre was born.
  Some two decades plus later, reality television programmes not only are plentiful, they are ever present. Almost without exception, they follow the same format; a gathering of young adults, sometimes of differing backgrounds, sometimes not, thrust into the limelight of big brother-esque observation.
  As these programmes became more popular, the people who populated them, responding to programme producer needs and craving fame, became more and more extrovert. Where as before there were perhaps two extrovert characters, in a programme with six people, there would instead be four. Maybe five. 
  The number of fame hungry, narcissistic, wannabes populating television needs addressing. Going on most reality shows takes no more skill than enjoying being the centre of attention and being happy to be that, in front of a camera. Though programme makers have tried to address the monotony of the shows, the wannabes still seem comfortable in displaying various levels of tomfoolery in an effort to be famous. Would they still be that way if the stakes were, shall we say, higher?

Big Brother.
Still hanging around like an archaic Miss World contest, Big Brother continues to be both offensive and embarrassing in equal measure. Even as the audiences dwindle, producers continue to squeeze advertising revenue out of this ailing show. I think I could pep the show up.
  What this show needs is a moat, remote acreage and wild dogs.
  Generally, the contestants are varying degree of obnoxious, acting out and being outrageous in the hope that they can ride the wave of notoriety once they are kicked out of the house. If they had to swim a moat and traverse several kilometres of forest, whilst pursued by wild dogs, they might display better, more palatable, attitudes in the house. We, the viewers, would see real emotion and true, unvarnished, reactions to stressful situations.

Made In Chelsea
The show that shows already fabulously wealthy young people, galavanting around London and the home counties, partying, interchanging partners and having mind numbingly, banal, interchanges.
What this show needs: rohypnol. Every character needs to be drugged and transported, less their comfortable trappings, to some barren wasteland, where they would be forced to hunt for food and forage for water. Now that would be fun to watch.

Rant, Bond Rant.

I do not watch Doctor Who. There are two reasons: 1.) As a child it scared the bejesus out of me and 2.) Idris Elba.
With the recent Sony hacks that have hit the news,  the leaked emails and what not, one story that piqued my interest – the whole North Korean insult debacle is so boring and not at all surprising.  Did they really believe a dictator,  known for his whims and prepared to go to war with his neighbour, would let this slide? That is another blog. – back to my interest peaked.

After Angelina’s death glare,  and various supposedly ‘racist’ missives,  an ‘interesting’ – according to the UK press anyway –  leak has surfaced concerning Idris Elba. Apparently, there are plans afoot to put the sometime Norse world guardian, Luther lead and part-time deejay, in line to be the next and, first black, James Bond.  Hmm.
Here in Blighty,  the more right of centre twitter feeds have gone crazy. A black Bond? Black?! Bond is white! That is one of the more pleasant responses. The others hark back to the sixties and seventies and remind one of the bigotry that still bubbles under the surface of polite,  liberal, British, society.
The character of James Bond was created by Ian Fleming. A British super spy,  beloved by generation after generation,  it has spawned twenty-three films and,  after Fleming’s initial twelve novels,  there have been twenty-five further novels by various authors,  all following the template of the original works. So the character is firmly established. Some might even say a British institution. A white one.
So as a black man,  what is my stance on Idris Elba being a potential Bond? Not that it matters, but I think that he should be white. 100%, Caucasian, British white.  Why?     Because he is.

Unlike the other characters in the agent’s world; M, Moneypenny, Q, that are interchangeable,  as they all have obvious code names, unchanging jobs. James Bond is the character.  There are other agents; other double ohs, but there is only one James Bond.
A tangent: Doctor Who. The BBC program about an intergalactic alien, has, even with the advent of time, always inhabited the form of a middle class, a British white man, since its inception in the early sixties, it has never been challenged over its rigorous adherence to this particular trait.
The reason for this, I believe, is one of the enduring differences between the black experience in the UK and that of those born in the US. It is also the reason why an enduring white character can be spoken of as potentially – on celluloid – becoming black.
Every screen incarnation of James Bond has been created stateside. The films, though they have a considerable amount of UK input, are steeped in American production values.

Slick, bold, showy. These are not typical British flourishes. Doctor Who is British, BBC, through and through. Stagy and received pronunciation. As it ever was.  The US like and ‘do’ change. Mix things up, shake stuff around, it is a strength and a weakness. British do not do change.

When they do it tends to be at a glacial pace. A Doctor Who that is not a man or white, probably will not manifest in my lifetime. Want another example? Modern twist on Sherlock Holmes have been hits both here and in the US. The US version, Elementary, has retained the Sherlock character as a mildly autistic, white male. The Watson character, however, has been updated. Watson is now a Chinese/American, woman.

In the UK the characters have remained resolutely male. Not that this is a problem. The British version is utterly brilliant. It just illustrates the difference between the UK and the US.
Until the UK adopts the same approach to programming, black faces adopting major roles will always be tokenism, creating their own work or relying on the whims of the powers that be.