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ESPN for the Hat-trick

And by hat-trick I mean the Rachel Nichols sh*t show at ESPN that features a disappointing trifecta of racism, sexism, and privacy rights issues.

Here’s a quote at the center of the controversy that comes from a phone conversation of Nichols that was inadvertently recorded to ESPN servers and then discovered and (illegally?) dispersed by a former/fired ESPN employee:

“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball,” Nichols said in July 2020. “If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”

A Disparaging Video Prompts Explosive Fallout Within ESPN, New York Times, July 4, 2021

Generally speaking, I’m not surprised that a white person (Rachel Nichols) would feel this way towards a Black person (Maria Taylor) regarding positioning and advancement in the workplace. However, I am surprised that a white person would openly (openly can certainly be debated here, hence the concerns about privacy rights) express such sentiments whose occupation (NBA courtside reporter) involves developing close relationships with the employees (NBA athletes) of an an industry (professional basketball) where Blacks make up nearly 75% of the workforce.

On second thought, I’m not actually surprised by that either.

No matter how much we, and by we I mostly mean progressive whites but just about anyone can be included I suppose, profess to be color blind and sex blind and gender blind and sexuality blind and on and on, it doesn’t take much to trigger us back to type, and by type I mean the socialization/indoctrination process that takes place during our formative years and instills deeply, indelibly some would say, within us our beliefs and values and prejudices and fears.

And the fear of losing one’s livelihood is a heck of a trigger.

Not saying it’s right, just saying that’s the way our world works as I see it.

Which is why there has been and there always will be, at least for the foreseeable future, a critical need for special interest groups, identity politics, and the understanding by all of the concept of intersectionality, a concept more and more of us are becoming familiar with as the ugly and misguided debate about Critical Race Theory drags on.

For an example of how intersectionality works, consider how racism, sexism, and homophobia affects the Black female lesbian, perhaps the most marginalized group in the country:

The most general statement of [the Combahee River Collective] politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression, and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking. The synthesis of these oppressions creates the conditions of our lives. As Black women we see Black feminism as the logical political movement to combat the manifold and simultaneous oppressions that all women of color face.

THE COMBAHEE RIVER COLLECTIVE STATEMENT (1977), Blackpast.org

Look, I’ve only scratched the surface here so you really need to read the whole story to get a feel for all the unfortunate issues going on right now at ESPN. It really is quite tragic…

And, unfortunately, quite unsurprising.

If you condemn and attack Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project* without any understanding of either…

Sorry to say but chances are you’re a racist…

One more than likely slave to a supremist ego and motivated by fear and seduced by a willful (and more than likely generational) ignorance.

However, if you condemn and attack Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project without any understanding of either and truly believe you’re not a racist, then please at least make an effort to explain to us (in your own words, not Fox News’) how that is possible.

Good luck with that.


In exploring the reasons why there is so much pushback and misinformation being disseminated regarding critical race theory (CRT) … let’s examine the psychology of humans. There is a theory called “psychological reactance,” which was first proposed by Jack W. Brehm in 1966. Brehm theorized that people are inherently resistant to certain persuasion, specifically when they feel that the persuasion is somehow posing a threat to their freedoms or their existence. People who are threatened usually feel uncomfortable, hostile, aggressive and angry.

Psychological reactance makes people disregard even the most glaring reality in order to protect their perception of themselves — their ego. They view an acceptance of this reality as a threat to their entire existence and do everything in their power to stifle that “perceived threat.”

Justin J. Grooms, The San Diego Union-Tribune, June 15, 2021

*and #BLM and the Take a Knee Movement and on and on and on…

The Graduate by Charles Webb – A Review

BOOK | FICTION | LITERARY
THE GRADUATE by Charles Webb
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

When The Graduate, a book published in 1963 by recently deceased author Charles Webb, popped up as a Kindle Unlimited recommendation the other day, I thought to myself, why not? I mean, shouldn’t every fan of the movie version, a film which “is often ranked among the greatest, most quoted and talked about of all time,” feel obligated to read the source from which the film’s greatness was spawned?

The answer, of course, is yes.

So I read the book obligingly – it’s a fast read as the book weighs in at a slim 224 pages – and upon reflection, I didn’t realize it from the movie version, but The Graduate is essentially a continuation of The Catcher in the Rye. In other words, we essentially witness Holden Caulfield’s post-collegiate angst as channeled through Benjamin Braddock.

In the movie version Dustin Hoffman’s Braddock, as excellent and memorable as it is, comes across to me as more neurotic and whiney than angry and angsty as the character is portrayed in the novel. As I’m not a practicing psychologist, please don’t ask me to differentiate between the two as per the DSM-5 or whatever version the shrinks are now working off of.

However, as examples, when I, the layman psychologist that I am, think of neurotic-y (whiney) type actors in the vein of Hoffman’s Braddock, I easily think of Woody Allen (obviously), Owen Wilson, and Jesse Eisenberg.

However (once again), coming up with angsty type actors in the vein of Webb’s Braddock, that’s a little harder for me to pull off – Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison both come to mind (probably can blame it on Twilight), and perhaps Zack Braff. Of course on the extreme end of the angsty scale we have Christian Bale, whose several angsty roles often seem to teeter on the precipice of sanity.

Anyway, that’s my impression of the novel. So I give it a four-star, not so much for its literary achievements (because, honestly, it’s not that well-written (Just about everything is described as perfectly this or that; and for some reason, just about every character seems to have a hearing problem as they keep having to ask What? after something is said to them. Quite annoying; however, we see a similar case of the What’s in The Catcher in the Rye as well, so… take that for what it’s worth.)). But for a book written by a twenty-four-year old that becomes the foundation for such an important movie, hey, I can afford to grade on a curve and give it an extra star.

Incidentally, it’s interesting to me that both J.D. Salinger and Charles Webb were so disillusioned with society that one became a famous grouchy recluse and the other donated his book proceeds to charity and lived a chosen life of poverty.

How ’bout that?

A Pebble is a Rock is a Mountain is Me

I look at the little pebble at my feet and can’t help but think

But for the grace of god go I

And then laugh

Not out of humor

But of fear

Because he’s nowhere

But within the magic of my mind

The madness

For, but for the grace of chance goes that pebble at my feet

No more purposefully than the patient rock at the corner of my lot

Having had waited a million years for me to move it there

Or the mountain I’ll never climb

Or the moon, or the sun

Or the boundless galaxies in the sky

That are as real to me as the oxygen molecules I breathe

I just have to take your word for it

And yet you admonish me over and over

Essence before Existence!

An a priori on high

And I want to take your word for it

Like I do for the oxygen molecules I breathe

And many times I almost convinced myself I had

But then comes the horrible news

Relentlessly so

To remind me that

Nope

You got the order all wrong

That the only a priori meaning there is

First and foremost and forever more

Is only that of my mind’s making

Of its madness

Leave has Left the Building

And by building I mean Amazon Prime.

Sadly, for reasons yet unknown to me, Amazon has decided to eliminate its entire catalog of short films, films which includes Leave and which happens to be an awesome film with an awesome director and an awesome cast and crew and which yours truly wrote and executive produced and which premiered at the awesome LA Femme International Film Festival in 2018.

Yeah, exactly…

Dubya. Tee. Eff., Bezos?

Anyway…

So, now I need to find a new home for Leave. A home which is hopefully a little more respectful of the value short films bring to the world.

Any ideas?

Tell you what, while we ponder over where best to host the flick, how ’bout for the next couple days, let’s say until 2359 Sunday, March 14, 2021, to be exact, I will unlock it at Vimeo for all to see and enjoy?

Sounds like a solid plan, eh.

Also, if you’re interested in watching the short documentary I produced about the making of Leave, you can check that out at leavethemovie.wordpress.com. While there, you can also learn more about the cast and crew.

Of course, you can watch the doc at Vimeo as well.

All righty then…

Enjoy!

Watch Leave at Vimeo

Watch The Making of Leave at Vimeo

Watch The Making of Leave at LEAVETHEMOVIE.WORDPRESS.COM

RAINY SEASON – A Review by Whispering Stories

Review excerpt:

A jazz club in Tokyo, mysterious men in black suits, money owed, and bones are broken. Yes, just the perfect storyline for a noir title. Brindley writes settings and atmosphere so well. You are taken there and planted as you read. Whether it’s a crowded street corner, hospital waiting room, or local ramen diner, you will feel your surroundings.

JennaScribbles of Whispering Stories


Read the complete four-star review at Whispering Stories:

WHISPERINGSTORIES.COM

RAINY SEASON – A Review by Rose Auburn

Review excerpt:

I read Rainy Season in one day. Not because it’s a fairly short novel (175 pages) but because I simply could not put it down. It is not a poorly-written imitation of a Noir Romance, it is a Noir Romance. The opening was absolutely spot-on for the genre; sublime, stylised, descriptive and cynical. All the scenes played through your mind in shades of grey and black with the permanent tattoo of the rain which, in so many ways, is another character.

Rose Auburn, Writing & Reviews

Read the complete five-star review at Rose’s website:

ROSEAUBURN.COM

WE ALL DIE IN THE END by Elizabeth Merry – A Review

BOOK | FICTION | SHORT STORIES
WE ALL DIE IN THE END by Elizabeth Merry
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

Shop

If Joyce, Faulkner, and Kafka were to collaborate…

The result would be Elizabeth Merry’s We All Die in the End.

Merry’s is some of the best writing I’ve read in a while. Like Faulkner, she creates a fictional world unto its own, Faulkner’s set as a struggling Mississippi town, Merry’s as a struggling seaside town in Ireland, both populated with struggling characters with thick dialects common to their region.

However, regarding dialect, where Faulkner reveals his characters’ through heavy (and at times disruptive) word alteration and accent marks, Merry reveals her characters’ distinctive brogue (seemingly) effortlessly and without hardly a notice through beautiful setting descriptions and strategic use of words uncommon to those not of her world.

The effect of her writing to me is powerful…

And surreal…

Kafkaesque.

Merry’s nineteen interwoven stories, or scenes as identified in the book, often misled me into letting my guard down – getting me lost in the cold ocean spray or in the delectable odors stewing from the stove or in the broguish din of the local pub – lulling me into thinking all’s well (how could it not be in such a quaint little town with waves pounding the shore like a mesmerizing lullaby) until it slowly dawns upon me that all is not well in Merry’s little corner of the world. In fact, not until it’s too late do I realize that just about everything beneath the quaint veneer she has laid for us is in fact quite dark and bleak, and at times… quite deadly.

We All Die in the End has left me with a haunting literary hangover.

And for that, I am grateful…

For, as rare as it is, it is that exact aftereffect I yearn for in every book I read.


EMBOOKSTUFF.WORDPRESS.COM

RAINY SEASON – A Review by Gina Rae Mitchell

Review excerpt:

Kurt Brindley has written an excellent book in the noir romance genre. This author continues to astound me with his grasp of descriptive words. In Rainy Season, he portrays his scenes so well you will swear you can hear the rain, smell the smoke drifting from the Tokyo jazz club, and breathe in the melancholy saturating the air…

– Gina Rae Mitchell, Book Reviewer Extraordinaire*

Read the complete five-star review at Gina’s website:

GINARAEMITCHELL.COM

RAINY SEASON – A Review by Elizabeth Merry

Review excerpt:

This book is called “Rainy Season” and rain permeates the whole novel, as if the whole story was contained inside the rain – and I loved this. Here’s a picture of Rich, leaning over his balcony as usual:

“He leaned against the rail and smoked and watched the shadowed, glistening city as it slept within the downpour.”

I found the writing lyrical and rhythmic; words repeated making the prose like music. Indeed, I thought at one time, if I had a tune I could sing this book:

“Candlelight shimmered off her black sequin dress like the promise of a million stars.”

Elizabeth Merry, Author of WE ALL DIE IN THE END

Check out the full five-star review at Elizabeth’s website:

embookstuff.wordpress.com

In Celebration of Juneteenth

I present to you a little insight to the historical hometown hood of my youth…

The Hubbard House was an Underground Railroad terminus station which sets on a hill overlooking Lake Erie. It was instrumental in helping countless fellow humans find escape from the incomprehensible wretchedness of slavery.

It also sets right across the street from where my old high school used to be.

Unfortunately, during my time growing up in my hometown hood of Ashtabula, Ohio, I didn’t know much about the house, only that it had some vague association with slavery.

I didn’t know because back in my time the history of slavery was barely taught in school. And that which was taught about it, was glossed conveniently over… like the whitewashing of rotted wood.

My real education of slavery didn’t begin until 1977 when the landmark television miniseries ROOTS aired, a story which of course is based on Alex Haley’s hugely important book about his family’s history.

No, during my time the house was abandoned and run down and assumed haunted.

While my old high school has since been torn down, fortunately the community of Ashtabula came together to save the Hubbard House from a similar fate and worked to restore it so that it is now a beautiful and important national landmark of which I’m very proud.

#HAPPYJUNETEENTH
#BLACKLIVESMATTER

#ICANTBREATHE – Dido’s Lament

“Not again. I couldn’t believe it. I felt helpless and I had to do something,” Yves Dharamraj has said. “We’ve all seen the scenes from Minneapolis, from New York, from everywhere.  Normally, I would’ve gloved and masked up, and marched down Broadway with my fellow protesters crying out against police brutality and racism. 

“But, instead, I took up Anthony McGill’s #TakeTwoKnees call-to-action for musicians to record themselves and post it online.”

Cellist performs heartrending version of Dido’s Lament in memory of George Floyd, Classic FM, June 15, 2020

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

In a Field Left Fallow

In a field depleted and left a fallow

Where only single crops have e’er grown

‘Twill sundry bloom soon rich, tho’ callow

When by Nature’s hand the seeds are sown

 

My Novel Approach to Novel Writing

At least it’s novel to me…

Anyway, these kinds of posts are always a bit self indulgent, but if you’re like me (and god help you if you are), you too like to know how the sausage is made when it comes to an author’s creative process.

I’m both old and old school when it comes to writing. First drafts are were always done with pen and paper.

Mostly because I love the physical act of writing, the feel of pen in hand, the feel of ink flowing on the paper.

But also because if I try to write the first draft on the computer I never make it out of the first chapter seeing that I’m one of those edit-as-you-go guys. I have too many folders with forgotten novels with unfinished first drafts that I attempted to write on the computer.

Writing the first draft by hand allows for limited editing — a line through here, a line through there maybe — and because of this, I enjoy a more immersive, free flowing writing experience…

One that actually results in finished novels.

How ’bout that?

But there is a catch.

My handwriting is garbage.

Which means draft two is pure and absolute torture when it comes to typing it up into the computer. Oftentimes it takes longer to type up the second draft than it did writing out the first.

Which brings me to my novel approach to first drafts, an approach that saves me months in novel development…

The iPad.

And the Nebo app.

Using this new technology (new to me; never been an Apple guy) I can still write out my first drafts longhand, but with the Nebo app, it automatically converts it to digital text.

It’s amazing.


The notebook contains a print copy of the screenplay (which I use as an outline for my novel). The cool sculpture/now paper weight is courtesy of my highly creative daughter. The iPad Pro 12 with Apple Pen attached shows the chapters of my latest WIP in the Nebo app.
A screenshot of the chapters in Nebo. One slight downside is that you can’t arrange the files (at least I haven’t been able to figure it out if you can) so they’re stored as they are created.
If you look at the top of the first paragraph (click on the image to enlarge), you’ll kind of see how it shows a highlight of my writing as converted text. It’s unbelievable in how well the app understanding my crappy handwriting, but if it doesn’t convert a word correctly, you can catch it in the highlight and go back and write it more clearly.

Of course you don’t get the same feel writing on the iPad as you do with pen and paper. The iPad screen is a bit slick so it takes some getting used to. I initially put a screen protector on it but that made it even slicker and it also screwed up the functions in Nebo to add and delete stuff.

The Apple Pen feels good in hand and works like a charm with zero lag between it and the tablet.

There’s another tablet I’m interested in checking out that is designed specifically for writing. It’s called reMarkable and the developers claim it will give you the feel of writing on paper. Sounds awesome. The best selling point to me for it is that it is a heck of a lot cheaper than the iPad Pro 12.

So, yeah… when it comes to drafting novels, that’s how I now roll.

Oh, and if you haven’t guessed by now, I’ll be announcing my latest novel soon…

Like tomorrow. :)

#writeon