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The new film Precious, in a cultural debate

The new film Precious, in a cultural debate

By Brittany Falkers


            The film "Precious" open nationwide this weekend, intensifying the cultural debate of which black stories are told, The New York Times said.

            "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," is about an obese, poor, illiterate, young black woman who is sexually and emotionally abused, according to the New York Times.

            The film 'prevailed' at box offices this weekend with a record $1.8 million in limited release.  Although "most critics gave the "resounding hopeful" release two large thumbs up, dissenters say it just perpetuates negative stereotypes." The Week said.

            The Week also raised the question, "Is "Precious" exploitative?"

            Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry are two of the movie's executive producers giveing the film added cultural influence, adding fire to the flames of the movies debate, according to the New York Times.

            A New York Times article compared "Precious" to the 1985 film, "The Color Purple."

            "A father repeatedly rapes and impregnates his daughter, [in both films] enraging some critics (mostly men) who asserted that the book and the film treated black men harshly." the New York Times said.

            Dozens of black people interviewed about their perspectives on "Precious" included Armond White, the chief film critic of The New York Press and the chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle, who gave "perhaps the most provocative salvo against the movie," the New York Times said.

            "Not since 'The Birth of a Nations' has a mainstream movie demeaned the idea of black American life as much as 'Precious,'" White wrote in his review.  "Full of brazenly racist clich├ęs (Precious steals and eats an entire bucked of fried chicken), it is a sociological horror show."

            Mainstream news media and serious critics ignored recent black-theme films like "Cadillac Records" and "Akeelah and the Bee" because they were not negative enough, said White in an interview with the New York Times.

            Others, such as editor, Latoya Peterson, say White is off base.

            "His review buys into the narrative that there can only be one acceptable presentation of black life," Peterson told the New York Times. "He's flattening the black experience, and in that way, he denies our humanity."

Water on the Moon

Water on the Moon

By Brittany Falkers


            NASA announced that it found a "significant amount" of water on the moon as a result of the LCROSS, NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, impact last month, according to CBC News. 

            Anthony Colaprete, the principle investigator for LCROSS told the New York Times in a news conference, "Indeed yes, we found water."

            It is estimated there were about 24 gallons of water in the crater where the LCROSS spacecraft hit the moon, on Oct. 9, according the CBC News.

            The impact of the LCROSS spacecraft didn't have an immediately visible result, however, NASA told CBC News that it received a great deal of information from the experiment.

            "The confirmation of scientists' suspicions is welcome news both to future explores who might set up home on the lunar surface and to scientists who hope that the water, in the form of ice accumulated over billions of years, could hold a record of the solar system's history," the New York Times said.


St. Paul soldier among the 13 killed in Fort Hood

St. Paul soldier among the 13 killed in Fort Hood

By Brittany Falkers


            St. Paul resident was on of the 13 people killed in the massacre at Fort Hood, according to the Star Tribune.

            Pfc. Kham Xiong, 23, of St. Paul, Minn., was a father of three whose family had a history of military service, WSJ staff said.

            "I could understand if he died in Afghanistan of Iraq, where they are under attack and going head-to-head with the enemy," Chor Xiong, Pfc. Xiong's father, said in Hmong to a Star Tribune reporter.

            Kham Xiong was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, Mee Xiong, PFC. Xiong's sister told WSJ staff. 

            Pfc. Xiong was one of 11 siblings and came to the U.S. when he was just atoddler.  Her grew up in California, then moved to Minnesota with the family about 10 years ago, Chor Xiong told WSJ staff reporters. 

            He was married and had three children ages 4, 2 and 10 months.  He and his wife had moved to Texas in July, Xiong's father told WSJ staff. 



M.I.T. unedited bloggers

M.I.T. unedited bloggers

            The New York Times reported on several colleges uses of university blogs, reporting Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the interactivity and creativity that surpasses that of most colleges.

            M.I.T.'s student blogs are posted on the admissions homepage, along with hundreds of responses from prospective students, and it's all unedited. 

            The M.I.T. bloggers are paid $10 an hour for up to four hours a week, reported the New York Times.

            The bloggers at M.I.T. offer thoughts on anything that might interest a prospective student. Some even offer advice on the application process, said The New York Times.

            Art Rodriquez, senior associate dean of admissions at M.I.T. told The New York Times, "Blogs can certainly help humanize the process.  The flip side is that a few anxious high school students may think and worry too much about what someone wrote on their blog, and present themselves in a slightly different way than who they really are.  And there's always the concern about the political ramifications, that bloggers cay open up and issue or topic that starts something negative."


M.I.T. Taking Student Blogs to Nth Degree

By Tamar Lewin

Student Bloggers Find an Unlikely Home, on Their College Web Sites

By Jacques Steinberg

Minnesota, a Coen brother's identity

Minnesota, a Coen brother's identity

By Brittany Falkers

            The Coen brothers have been in the movie making business for 25 years and yet are still warded back to, what Joel Coen refers to as "Siberia with family restaurants," Minnesota.

            The two writer/directors rely heavily in their youth for their new film "A Serious Man".  This film will be the Coen's 14th feature film, reported the Minnesota Post.

            The Coen brothers, who are St. Louis Park natives, put a lot of themselves as well has dipping into their past.  Ethan told the Star Tribune, "Minnesota is totally part of our identity," adding, "The combination of being Jeswish, specifically Minnesotan, is big and important.

            Friday night, the brothers met with more than 300 fans at the Walker Art Center.  On Saturday night, they returned to the museum, joining 600 local players, tradesmen and well-wishers for two preview screenings of the film, reported the Star Tribune.

To Coens, Minnesota roots are big deal, you betcha

The Coen brothers talk-reluctantly- about talking

By Rob Nelson

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