Diverge

What I want to talk about this Motivational Monday is something that has been on my mind for a while now, rooted in the behavior of a friend of mine who is unfortunately loaded with preconceptions about a lot of the modern media. A few months ago, another friend (for privacy’s sake, let’s call her Daisy) and I struck a deal: She would go and see “Godzilla” with me, a movie I really, really badly wanted to see in 3D, under the condition that I go and see “Divergent” with her. I had read and heard reviews about “Divergent” from news outlets that I completely trusted in their opinions on movies because they had never called a movie good that I detested, and those reviews were unfortunately mostly negative, so I did not particularly feel like watching “Divergent”. But like I said, I really wanted to see “Godzilla” and since this was Daisy’s one condition, I said, “Okay then, let’s do it”.
I had low expectations, and a lot of them were fulfilled. This is not a movie review of “Divergent”, but in a nutshell, it was a mix of recycled ideas from “The Hunger Games” and a dash of “Twilight”, with a few minor plot holes. But you know what? I let myself enjoy it. I know this is not the best movie I’ll ever see, and emotionally it did not quite reach me, but I was entertained. I had fun. The actors were good, the story had a few original ideas that were really good, the images were beautiful and the heroine’s love interest was a seriously hot guy. What can you want more in a movie from which you expected nothing?


Now, here’s what I am trying to say. If I had said no to Daisy’s condition, I would have missed this movie. I would have lost not only two really fun movie nights with a dear old friend of mine, but also the opportunity to be well entertained by something I did not expect to entertain me. I would be missing this experience now, and in retrospect I can say with certainty it’s an experience I would not want to miss, under no circumstances. And that is why I decided to forget preconceptions when it comes to media now. I decided that I would not let myself be led by preconceptions in deciding what movie I would watch next, or what TV show, or what book I was going to read next, because I could be missing out. I watched “Escape Plan” with Stallone and Schwarzenegger, another movie towards which I had next to no expectations, and I had a lot of fun watching it. I watched one of the “Universal Soldier” flicks with Van Damme, and well, it was as bad as I thought, but at least now I know with certainty. What this gave to me was the realization that whatever you think a story might be, it might be the complete opposite, and you’ll never know if you don’t try it yourself. So what if I detest Mel Gibson? I’m still going to watch “The Expendables 3”. So what if Uwe Boll’s movies were 90 percent garbage? His next one might be better. So what if Charlie Sheen is unappealing and a bad actor? “Anger Management” might still be funny, and I sure as hell will give it a try.


The point I am trying to make to you is this: you can not know whether you like something if you have not tried it yourself. This friend of mine who is loaded with preconceptions is missing out on a world of fun because she thinks she knows what’s good based on… well, I really don’t know what she thinks her opinion is based on. As far as I can tell, it’s based on nothing. Don’t do that. Don’t be this person who thinks they know it all when it’s clear they don’t. You will be making a huge mistake. That’s why, for this Motivational Monday, I am daring you to watch a movie that you never wanted to watch, for whatever reason, and go through with it until the bitter end. Diverge from your usual patterns. You might be surprised. In any case, then you’ll know for sure. Because in my book, there are few things more unappealing than not being open to change.

Go follow Miri on Twitter: OriginalSGreenD

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.” ~ Robert Frost

Motivational Monday – Blue Eyed

Hey my loves,
it is time for another Motivational Monday from my dear friend Miri. I hope you enjoy her entry as much as I did and maybe think about it what she wrote. I wish you all an amazing week and stay tuned for more to come!
Xoxo, Jasmin.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

I want to use this Motivational Monday to make you aware of the works of a great woman that has done many things to help erase racism and prejudice. This woman goes by the name of Jane Elliott. A former school teacher, you might have heard of her through her blue-eyed/brown-eyed experiment, which was documented in the feature film “The Eye of the Storm” from 1970, and its follow-up “A Class Divided” from 1985. What Jane Elliott did was, the day Martin Luther King was murdered, she wondered how she was going to explain this murder to her third-graders in primary school, and she decided to do an experiment with them. The next day, she divided the class into blue-eyed kids and brown-eyed kids, and on the first day she explained to the kids that the blue-eyed people were the better persons, that the brown-eyed people are dumber, dirtier, more unpleasant to be around. The brown-eyed children had to wear collars, and they were not allowed to use the water fountain and could not have seconds at lunch time. The second day, roles were reversed, and the brown-eyed kids were the “superior” group.

Jane Elliott did this experiment because she did not know how to explain the death of King to her students except for allowing them to walk in the shoes of a child of color for a day. Soon after, she was invited to the Johnny Carson show, where she talked about what she did; that was when the community of Riceville, Iowa, she lived in found out, and that was when the terror began. “I received vicious calls in the night,” she reports, and obscene letters, and 20 % of the parents in the community explicitly asked for their children to not be put in Elliott’s class. Once in a while, someone would call the principle to tell him: “I don’t want my kid in that nigger lover’s class.” Her children were beaten, spit on, abused by their peers, their teachers, their peers’ parents. Elliott’s parents lost their business. “I learned a whole lot about racism,” Jane Elliott drily states. “Good deeds won’t go long unpunished.”

In 1996, Elliott does another experiment, this time simply called “Blue-Eyed”, where she invites adults of all races to a workshop, and the white, blue-eyed people have collars put on them and then are sent to a room that is sweltering hot, in which there are three chairs for seventeen people. The tone she uses when speaking to the blue-eyeds is rude, clipped. “You either follow the rules or you’re out of here,” she snaps. “The purpose of this exercise,” she explains to the brown-eyeds, who comfortably sit in a conference room, “is to give these nice, blue-eyed white folks the opportunity to find out how it feels to be something other than white in the United States of America.”

“What I’m going to do is to assign to these people, on the basis of their eye color alone, all the negative traits that we have assigned to {…} those who are obviously physically different.”

Eye color, as Elliott proceeds to explain, is caused by the same chemical that skin color is caused by: Melanin. The more melanin one has in his or her skin and eyes, the darker the skin and eyes are; and it is obvious that judging someone by their eye color makes as much sense as judging them by their skin color does. To assign to the blue-eyeds the negative traits of being dumb and ignorant, she has them do a test they know virtually nothing about, to make them aware of how it is to take a test that you can’t pass, and how high your IQ can be if it is based on that test. This has been done to immigrants in the US on a regular basis. Elliott gives out the same test to the brown-eyeds, before the blue-eyeds are allowed to enter the room. “You brown-eyed people are going to know at least half of these answers because you are smart, you are caring {…}, and I’m going to give you the even-numbered responses. This is not cheating, people; this is called ‘reinforcing our position of power in this room’.”

Elliott explains the rules of this experiment: They will make the blue-eyeds look and feel inferior; they will treat them like children. What starts out as seemingly nothing but an elderly lady aimlessly bullying the blue-eyeds, soon morphs into a mirror of society, where all the contestants have valuable lessons to learn, like e.g. that submitting to tyranny is NOT a valuable lesson to learn. To go along to get along is not something people should think of as a valuable lesson, even though it is the easy way out.
“To sit back and do nothing is to cooperate with the oppressor.”

Jane Elliott reinforces this idea, in the hopes of making a change.

“At the end of the second World War, when they cleaned out the concentration camps in Germany,” she quotes, “a Lutheran minister said: ‘When they came for the Jews, I wasn’t Jewish, so I did nothing. When they came for the homo-sexuals, I wasn’t homo-sexual, so I did nothing. When they came for the gypsies, I wasn’t a gypsy, so I did nothing. When they came for me, there was no-one left to do anything.’”

This text really only scratches at the surface of Jane Elliott’s groundbreaking work. There are many videos on youtube that deal with her experiments. You can buy the written documentation of “A Class Divided” on Amazon.

For this Motivational Monday, you should give it a try. Explore Jane Elliott and the things she has done. It has the potential to shift your views forever.

Miri (Twitter: @OriginalGreenD)

Blue – Eyed:

A Class Divided:

The Eye of the Storm:

Motivational Monday – Run Fatboy Run

Run Fatboy Run

For all you movie nerds out there, and the rest of you, too, this Motivational Monday I’m presenting you one of the best films in history that will make you want to pick yourself up off the ground and do something. “Run Fatboy Run” is a comedy from the year 2007, directed by David Schwimmer, whom you probably all know from playing Ross on “Friends”, that stars Simon Pegg as Dennis Doyle, a Brit who has failed at pretty much everything he touched in his life. To prove to his ex-girlfriend (Thandie Newton) and the son he has with her that he is not the loser everybody thinks he is, Dennis decides to run a marathon in London, fueled to succeed by his best friend Gordon (Dylan Moran), who has placed bets on Dennis and is therefore quite invested in making Dennis fit for the challenge. Sure, the title “Run Fatboy Run” sounds fatuous when you first hear it, but once you get past the Forrest Gump-inspired silliness, you discover the beauty and life-affirming attitude of this movie. Dennis runs the marathon, he hurts himself right at the start, and he still pulls through. At one point, he hits The Wall. The Wall that makes him want to stop because he cannot go any further, because a) he is physically exhausted beyond anything he has experienced before, and b) Dennis is a quitter. He ran away from the wedding with his ex-girlfriend, as he ran away from everything else that proved to be of any challenge or responsibility. In the end, Dennis breaks through the wall and finishes the marathon. And I, myself a movie-nerd for life, have never seen a scene so inspiring as the scene where Dennis faces all his past failures and retreats and makes the conscious decision to not be that person anymore. We all know this Wall. We have all hit it at some point or another. Let Dennis Doyle be our role model for today: Think of something you haven’t had the guts to do, because you shied away from responsibility or effort or conflict (and I am sure, no, I KNOW we all have this thing), and do it. Break through the Wall. Don’t be a quitter.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison

Love, Miri
Follow Miri on her personal Twitter: OriginalSGreenD