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Showing posts from January, 2014

Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker

I would not call Kathryn Bigelow a maverick; I would, however, tag her as a genius. The opening scene of the movie, The Hurt Locker, ends with Staff Sergeant Thompson being killed in a bomb explosion, which is a combination of suspense and danger. The ending shot is that of Sergeant First Class William James looking towards the horizon and marching into premises unknown—a case of suspense, as the viewer is left to wonder what might be James’ luck in the next 365 days. In short, the movie starts and ends with elements of suspense, danger and a little bit of thrill, all signatures of an action movie. Bigelow does not do away with the conventions of action film making; she merely modifies them. Although she delves into the mind of her protagonist, shows the emotions and feelings of the veterans, and cuts back on the gore of war, she does not deviate from the train of thought that action-movie makers are supposed to ensure both the fixation of the audience to the screen, and the juxtapos…

Why I Speak

"Not My Business" by Niyi Osundare                             "And they came for me" by Pastor Martin Niemoller
They picked Akanni up one morning                              When the Nazis came for the communists,
Beat him soft like clay                                                   I remained silent;
And stuffed him down the belly                                      I was not a communist.
Of a waiting jeep.

What business of mine is it                                            When they locked up the social democrats,
So long they don’t take the yam                                      I remained silent;
From my savouring mouth?                                            I was not a social democrat.

They came one night                                                     When they locked up the trade unionists,
Booted the whole house awake                                       I did not speak out;
And dragged Danladi out,                                               …

A collection of my Facebook Posts on the Anti-Gay Law

This post is for my mother. It's a collation of all my Facebook posts on the anti-gay law. I couldn't muster enough courage to write a different article that sums up all my thoughts on the matter. Took me a week to get it all out. It will be difficult summarizing my feelings in a few hours. Also, so many people have written on the issue already. 

January 12
It's official, if you're suspected or seen engaging in a homosexual practice, you will spend 14 years in jail. Jonathan signed the law. Of all the fucked problems we have to deal with, na to jail innocent people remain. Good roads, for where? Electricity, na for Yaba left. Quality education and healthcare, you must be joking. Religion and government no dey make sense, let's talk true. Government should get out of a person's body or what they do with it. We're a blind people.

Who is a gay person in Nigeria? A poor Nigerian without connections. S/he's the person the new law will affect.

The one thing I do…

Orlando versus The Passion, Use of Fantasy Elements

Both novels use fantastical elements in order to manipulate history, thereby giving the authors a freer rein in narrating the stories. Orlando is the story about a man who turns into woman, and experiences changes in eras and the social expectation that comes with them. The Passion, on the other hand, is a story about Henri, “a simple French soldier” and Villanelle, “a red haired, web-footed woman whose husband gambles away her heart” (back cover). Both novels are able to investigate the idea of identity by drawing a thin line between mind and reality and in the process, questioning one’s idea of reality in general.

Orlando spans over three hundred years with Orlando being thirty-six years old and a woman at the end of the narration. Virginia Woolf is able to examine gender differences and the idea of identity by having the protagonist experience both sexes in one life. Orlando becomes a woman at the age of 30 and is confronted with feminine issues only when she puts on female appa…

Pride and Prejudice versus Unaccustomed Earth

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth both depict women negotiating social convention and cultural expectation in terms of love and marriage; the only difference in both women’s approaches is that Austen tells her story from the perspective of an English woman in the 19th century, while Lahiri takes her stand from the Bengali culture in the 21st century. Although one would expect that there would be some difference between two novels, Lahiri shows that certain social expectations are still placed on the women of today, even with all the enlightenment and revolutions that have taken place.

Weeky Spot in the Wall

It hit her. She laid curled up in a fetal position, on her side staring at the screen which was open besides her, wishing she could talk about it, imagining lying on a therapist’s couch and talking, wishing she could shave off her burden. Depression made sense. The topic was no longer something someone else’s felt. Her tears, her heart weighed down on her pounding chest. She wiped the eye water and curled up more. She was restless, irritable and bored. She opened up Laura Prepon’s Huffpost Live interview. Perhaps, Alex Vause, nee Donna Pinciotti would cheer her up. She smiled at Laura’s gesticulation but she wasn't free. Her eyes kept connecting with Kris Jenner’s live broadcast, which didn't help matters much. She uncoils.

The voice came, without a physical body this time, into the bedroom, climbed into her queen size bed and sat next to her, mimicking her but laying its head on the head board. The voice wasn't a therapist but it could be. The voice made her forget her h…

Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka

The price seemed reasonable, location
Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived
Off premises. Nothing remained
But self-confession. “Madam,” I warned,
“I hate a wasted journey—I am African.”
Silence. Silenced transmission of
Pressurized good-breeding. Voice, when it came,
Lipstick coated, long gold rolled
Cigarette-holder pipped. Caught I was foully.

“HOW DARK?” . . . I had not misheard . . . “ARE YOU LIGHT
OR VERY DARK?” Button B, Button A. Stench
Of rancid breath of public hide-and-speak.
Red booth. Red pillar box. Red double-tiered
Omnibus squelching tar. It was real! Shamed
By ill-mannered silence, surrender
Pushed dumbfounded to beg simplification.
Considerate she was, varying the emphasis–

The relationship between poetry and fiction

the language of love. An ode,
feelings magnified into paper. Neatly tied
with a velvet bow, a love letter to one's
intended or beloved. 

Poetry, the easy stream of words that pull, hearts
open. I loved. I felt. So, I wrote.

Love, the antithesis of prose, 
fiction. The feelings hinder and throw
you into a mass of cliches. I understand cliches 
now or why anyone would use them. I am full,
a walking cliche. 

Love, the reason for pools of crumbled papers which missed 
the waste basket, polling around. Assaulting my eyes. I loved. I felt. So, I couldn't write.

Rape Culture (Was it Them or Just Me?)

Saw this poem on aseriesofnouns' Tumblr and had to share. Nigerian rape culture continually amazes me. Our collective default position is either to slut-shame or to victim-shame, i.e., blame the victim. Even worse is knowing most Nigerians still have no idea why rape is wrong or ill-made rape jokes are just tasteless. 

"Rape Culture" By Stefanie Kaufman

Rape culture is when I was six, and
my brother punched my two front teeth out.
Instead of reprimanding him, my mother
said “Stefanie, what did you do to provoke him?”
When my only defense was my
mother whispering in my ear, “Honey, ignore him.
Don’t rile him up. He just wants a reaction.”
As if it was my sole purpose, the reason
six-year-old me existed,
was to not rile up my brother.
It’s starts when we’re six, and ends
when we grow up assuming the natural state of a man
is a predator, and I must walk on eggshells, as to
not “rile him up.” Right, mom?

Open Letter To Nigeria’s New Generation – @Funmilola

Transcript of the keynote speech @Funmi Iyanda delivered at ThinkOyo's 30 Under 30 Awards on 21/12/13.
The thing about age is, it is catching. It’s like a hysterical jester lying in wait for the fool.

I want to tell you about Mrs Okoro. Before l turned nine, school was a vaguely irritating distraction from the pursuit of happiness in play and adventure. Every school day, I’d wear my red checked dress and burgundy beret uniform and passively submit to school. l was not a rebellious child. I was a bored child who daydreamed through classes until lunch when the school served asaro and chicken with bananas and ground nuts as snacks. That was until l got to Mrs Okoro’s class.

Mrs Okoro made letters become words, words which became stories, stories which became my life. I loved her dearly, perhaps it was transference as l’d recently lost my mother but at nine, l started going to school because she was there. One day walking out the gates after school, l saw Mrs Okoro getting into a bus…