Every Friday we will feature the inspiring books, movies, TV shows, and other works of art you have to check out. Please share your suggestions below!
This week’s media prep is all about the beauty and power of the human spirit. Whether it be saving your soccer team, making music meant to encourage social change, or merely wrestling with concepts through art, we are a sight to behold. Let’s jump right in with this week’s good stuff!
Mavis Staples. If you need more than that, you’re on your own. Google her!
The World Cup Finals
In all honesty, I don’t even really like soccer. My husband used to play, so my propensity for making fun of all the flopping was an early point of contention in our relationship. Sure, I played for a few years as well, but every single person who has ever sported was thrown onto a soccer field by their parents as a five-year-old to learn how to follow a ball around. However, it is my rule that if there are black folks doing something, I’m going to cheer. Whether it be tennis or a spelling bee, I’m here for the melanin. Now that France (a team that’s black as hell) is heading to the final against Croatia (a team that is the complete opposite of black as hell) you might as well just call me a fan until Monday. Don’t hate. You can catch the battle for the gold? Gilded boot? Trophy! on Sunday. Belgium and England will be playing for 3rd place on Saturday.
My stance on cheering for black people regardless of the event is the exact same for The Rock. Along with my brother and father, I used to watch with the elation of someone who just discovered processed sugar as Dwayne Johnson tore up the wrestling ring. I’ve seen all of his movies (even Baywatch), because he represents such a carefree time in my life, when pain would stop and I could laugh with my family like a normal kid. What I love about his movies – that seem to come out every 3 months – is how lighthearted I leave feeling. It might be a guilty pleasure to some, but not for this girl. In his newest film he plays the a guy saving the day like always, so why not?
“What Marilynne Robinson’s and Margaret Atwood’s Gileads Can Teach Us” by Alissa Wilkinson
I borrowed my mother’s copy of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson a few years ago, when I was looking for a change of pace from mystery novels, comics and Marvel movies. I picked up the book expecting to a gentle mental push, but got more than I bargained for in this exploration of humanity, love, loyalty, and religion in the Iowa town that bears the book’s name. After reading Robinson’s take on the concept of Gilead, I picked up The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for a book club. Only two of us could finish it, and I’m so glad I did. Sometimes being shaken to the core is what the doctor ordered.
I love how Alissa Wilkinson explores the nature of paradise through these two works. Our “promised land” , whatever you choose it to be, is more than a place. A promise and a curse, an end to pain or the discovery of frightful new depths; perspective is everything in this world, no less so than in the arts we love.
You can Read Alissa’s piece for Vox here
“Thai cave soccer team: how Buddhist meditation kept them calm ” by Eliza Barclay
Self-care is very often a means of survival, as we have seen in the harrowing story of the young Thai boys trapped in a cave with their soccer coach for two weeks. Their coach , Ekapol Chanthawong, lived and trained in a monastery for ten years, beginning at the age of 12, when he was left orphaned. He learned to meditate as part of that training, and taught the young boys to as well, to keep them calm during the ordeal.
There are so many messages to take away from this moment in history, from altruism to the wonder of modern technology, however what will stay with me is the knowledge that the human spirit is durable beyond measure. I highly recommend this article by Eliza Barclay if you want to feel better about the world, learn more about the remarkable young man who kept his team alive, or need a reminder of your own potential for survival.
Read it here
That’s all for this week! Enjoy your weekend (and life) the best way you can!