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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Comments from the Front Row - June 2012

A strong opinion on 'TUPAC SHAKUR's Lasting Legacy

ANONYMOUS: ""Was he a bad guy? Probably" It was a certainty!! Tupac was a criminal and a mediocre artist - in my opinion. I knew Tupac Shakur and I'm sure he would agree with me at least on how shitty of a person he was and he certainly couldn't argue the criminal aspects of his life. Still, having had known him doesn't change what he was for me. Tupac was a troubled young man with a forum to impress his views upon others and talk about the world as he saw it. He was not a forgiving person, nor did he ask for any forgiveness. A young man that knew enough about himself that he was able to see how he would die.

The problem is that no one ever comes to see the "beauty" or find the love they have for an artist till the artist is gone - as in the case of Houston, Jackson and Tupac. Before he died, I maintained this opinion about Pac and after he died, I saw no reason to change it.

The other issue I have is that people do not separate the artist from the person. Roman Polanski, brilliant filmmaker, shitty person. In Tupac's case, so-so artist, shitty person and criminal. In my opinion, Tupac failed to excel both as a person or an artist. Trust me, many artist quietly agree with me, but feel that saying so would besmirch his memory. I don't know why more people do not stand behind their opinions. It is what it is, so why not acknowledge it.

These are my opinions, and I do respect the opinions of others, so hopefully I won't get any ignorant hate responses.

By the way, I'm publishing as "anonymous" because I have only two options and the other didn't apply."

On Kristen Stewart being in my top 10 actresses list.

DAVE: " 
Man, I love this list. Kristen Stewart may be more your most daring inclusion, but I couldn't agree more."

I must say that I am a bit fed up with Stewart. Some of it has to do of course with the Pattinson-vampyre furore as well. I watched Twilight out of curiosity and against my best judgement by illegal means the week it came out. I found Pattinson's acting a disgrace and Stewart's job, mediocre at best (something like an overacted underacting) whereas the supporting cast was pretty good. However, I am ready to believe that she may be competent in other stuff. After all even misguided overacted underacting requires some skills. In addition, if Pattinson has succeeded to achieve something with Cronenberg (I am told. Not been able to check. I live in the coutryside.) I am ready to believe in Stewart's potential."

Wow, very unconventional list. I'm glad you went with your gut rather than going with the obvious critical consensus favorites."

 I enjoy all the actresses on your list, including Stewart. I don't understand the hate for her, but I am curious about the actresses who hate her, especially as many of the older actresses she's worked with, like Jodie Foster, Mellisa Leo, Catherine Keener, etc. seem to have championed her. "

Responses to my post on the BBC documentary 'Hitler's Children'.

I recently read about these descendants and it was a truly touching story. It does make you wonder about all these horrific things that have been perpetrated by humans. We like to think of them as monsters but at the end of the day we have to realise and acknowledge that they were people just like us, and that's where the true lessons lie – how is it that ordinary people could support and even participate in such horrors? And how do people like Hitler come about? How much hate needs to be built up within one person to turn him/her into such a monster?

My family was touched by WW2 as well, but since we're from Southeast Asia it wasn't about the Germans and more about the Japanese. 

When they came to Singapore there was an effort to exterminate as many Chinese as they could. They told the Chinese to report to Changi Beach. Many of my grandfather's uncles, cousins, friends and neighbours went and never came back – it was later discovered that they had been lined up on the beach and shot. My grandfather's family escaped because they were warned by their Malay friends not to go, and because they spoke Malay they were able to disguise themselves and live among the Malays.

I always loved listening to my grandfather's experiences, and the way he has processed them. Sometimes he would speak of the cruelty and you can see the anger – at those times he would always refer to the Japanese occupiers as "those bastards". 

But other times he would talk about the officers who taught him Maths, marveling at their skill and the way they held their classes. He would tell me about how he used to play the violin at the soldier's camps in exchange for food for his village. He would play their old Japanese folk songs and they would cry because at the end of the day they were just men who wanted to go home. Although he was angry at them for the horrible things that they did, he was also able to recognise that not all of the Japanese were bad people, they were just people caught up in a horrible time. And I think that has helped him to move on in a way, instead of being caught up in resentment and hate.

I remember once he told me, "I will never forget, but I can forgive.""

BUFFALO CHUCK: "It's interesting to see Japan has taken a polar-opposite approach. Cover-up, deny, lie, avoid, don't teach, don't admit and don't allow anyone with expert knowledge do it either. 

Two choices made by two protagonists. I'd always tell the Germans to consider the Japanese option, and hold your heads high because the Germans made the better choice."

HELENA HALME: "I'm fascinated by this subject too, especially as we Finns first sidled with Germans in WW 2 because we were attacked by the Russians who were on the other side. Even so, Germans did some terrible things to Finns, and many older people won't still have any German tourists in their shops etc. in the countryside. When I was younger I had a German boyfriend who talked to me about his guilt - his grandfather had been in the war but not a Nazi. Still, he felt a real responsibility for what his country had done. 

Excellent post as always."

JASON EVERSON: "I just got back home. 20+ years I've been waiting to see Tom Petty. He was part of my reckless youth and, I'm happy to say, part of my reckless no longer youth. But, his songs, they were there - good times, break-up, cock ups. A lot of them are deeply entwined in my psyche. A lot of feelings came back in that gig tonight. Things I thought I'd forgotten leapt out like it was yesterday. Yeah. I even had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, I admit it. Songs pin us to time. Tom Petty's songs enmesh us in it even deeper. I still feel overwhelmed. That was one of THE best performances of any artist and group that I've been to. Why it took 20+ years, I will never know. 

Aside from all that, the guy taught me to play guitar, and he doesn't even know it."

HAPPY FROG & I:  "First off I'm so glad you managed to get a ticket. When I read your previous post about Tom Petty I felt gutted for you. Your review is so full of the passion you feel for Tom's music and why you wanted to be at the gig that I read it twice. Thanks for brightening up my Thursday evening in rainy Reading."

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