Pam's Points: On movie relevance, Bryan devolving and juvenile drug court

Pam's Points: On movie relevance, Bryan devolving and juvenile drug court

March 4th, 2014 in Opinion Times

Lupita Nyong'o, left, and director Steve McQueen celebrate on stage as they accept the award for Best Picture of the year for "12 Years a Slave" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

"12 Years" is history and today

The lead on The Associated Press story read: "Perhaps atoning for past sins, Hollywood named the brutal, unshrinking historical drama "12 Years a Slave" Best Picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards."

It's a good start, Hollywood, but don't throw away your prayer beads just yet. Slavery ended in the United States 150 years ago, but in more than eight decades of Oscar awards blacks have won for acting or writing or music or film editing or directing fewer than three dozen times - including this year. The first black to ever be nominated, and to win, was Hattie McDaniel, for her 1939 Best Supporting Actress portrayal of Mammy in "Gone with the Wind." It was another 24 years before Sidney Poitier won Best Actor for his 1963 role in "Lilies of the Field."

The AP wrote: "Steve McQueen's slavery odyssey, based on Solomon Northup's 1853 memoir, has been hailed as a landmark corrective to the movie industry's virtual blindness to slavery, instead creating whiter tales like 1940 best-picture winner "Gone With the Wind."

McQueen said it best as he took the award: "Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery. And the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today."

Did I mention this is a wonderful story and must-see movie? Just don't plan to feel good as you leave the theater.

Bryan College digs itself a hole

It seems Bryan College President Stephen Livesay is looking to reignite the debate over creation and evolution at the Dayton school of higher learning formed after the Scopes monkey trial.

Livesay has pushed a "clarification," and the college board of trustees is requiring professors and staff to sign a statement saying they believe Adam and Eve were created in an instant and not from other life forms.

Even William Jennings Bryan, for whom the college is named, understood that the Bible is not always to be taken literally - though he made clear that everything in the Bible "should be accepted as it is given there. Some of the Bible is given illustratively."

During the Scopes trial nearly 88 years ago, Clarence Darrow questioned Bryan on the witness stand and the two lawyers had exchanges about several Bible passages. In one, for instance, God is said to have caused the sun to stand still in order to lengthen the day. Darrow asked Bryan if he believed the men who wrote the passage thought the day could be lengthened or the sun could be stopped?

Bryan replied that the Bible is "inspired by the Almighty, and he may have used language that could be understood at that time," according to a trial transcript.

In another exchange, they debated the Earth's creation:

DARROW: Do you think the Earth was made in six days?

BRYAN: Not six days of 24 hours.

DARROW: Doesn't it [the Bible] say so?

BRYAN: No, sir.

Precisely. So, Dr. Livesay, where in the Bible does it say exactly how Adam was created in God's image. And where in the Bible does it say exactly how Eve was made using Adam's rib?

Why in the world would you be trying to make your college less inclusive, less inviting and less an option for seeker students to find a greater good?

Drug court for kids is good move

A good idea long overdue is Hamilton County's planned juvenile drug court, similar to the county's successful adult drug court. The new court will be the sixth juvenile drug court in the state.

We all know early intervention is a life-saver and a money-saver - one study estimates as much as a $5,000 per participant in cost savings compared to housing juvenile offenders in state custody. We also know teen years are when many begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol and become addicted. In fact, in Hamilton County, the average age of beginning drug use among addicts is 12.

This new drug court is needed. Good job, juvenile court officials!