Texas got it Wrong

I’m writing this as I’m lying here getting ready for bed. I’m reading news articles on a number of topics. I just read one on the terrible job the Colts’ GM has done during his time at the helm, and that one was followed up by an article on books recently banned by Texas prisons.

Langston Hughes. Bob Dole. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Sojourner Truth. What do they all have in common? They’re all banned authors in Texas prisons. What does one even say to that?

There’s more. David Duke and Adolf Hitler are NOT banned. I’m not sure I’ve really put too much thought into this particular topic, but I have to say this is why books shouldn’t be banned at all. We have this big thing in September every year celebrating banned books, but when books are banned from state prisons they are actually banned. Not challenged. Not complained about by parents. BANNED. And then we’re faced with books we think should be banned that somehow get skipped over.

After giving the idea of banning particular books from prisons some thought, I can’t say I’m in favor of banning any. I know some would argue against books that could incite violence or some that deal with topics in a manner that is no longer accepted by society, but TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) should be more concerned about getting the prison population down to a reasonable level so that prisons aren’t operating well over capacity instead of banning 15,000 books from the system. The system needs more from its leadership.

What do you think of Langston Hughes, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth, and Bob Dole being banned from state prisons? Does that sound like a good use of time? Does it sound reasonable?

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American Crime

I’m a big TV guy. But I’m not a fan of comedies. I watch dramas. And only two crime shows because they’re all so fake and illogical. I feel the need tonight to talk to you about American Crime. I can’t remember if I’ve written about it on here before or not, but it is extraordinary. The season 2 finale aired tonight. I won’t get into specific details about the story or the cases involved. But I do want to tell you the kinds of things the show makes a point to address.

American criminal justice system.

Homophobia.

Racism.

Rape.

Gun violence.

Victim shaming.

Right to privacy.

Class system.

Drug use.

Bullying & cyberbullying.

Suicide.

High school.

Entitlement.

Public and private education.

I’m sure there are themes that are directly addressed I’m just not thinking of at the moment. But this show is so much more than just about crime. I tweeted immediately after I finished watching the finale.

There was no exaggeration when I wrote that. This is the kind of show that gives you an idea as to how someone like Donald Trump could become a front runner to be President of the United States. It’s because of the ideas and ideologies not much different from the show’s characters. But what the show really does well is it (in my opinion) gives great insight into different perspectives from different groups of people. People in power. Minorities. Victims of crimes. Teens. There are so many different perspectives on things that most people only pretend to understand. And there are so many perspectives that are completely ignored. To me, THAT’S what the show is all about. Perspectives.

Look. There are plenty out there who refuse to believe in reality. There are plenty of people who blatantly deny reality. But American Crime is as real as any thing you can see or feel for yourself. There are A LOT of bad shows on TV right now. There are A LOT of mediocre shows on TV right now. There are some good ones. But there are very few truly remarkable shows on the air right now. American Crime is one of those shows that is simply more than a TV show. It’s a message to every viewer in every episode. It’s a portrayal of American life. It’s real.

I only see the two seasons available for purchase from Amazon. They may be available from other retailers like Google or Apple, but Amazon has both seasons available to be purchased for $19.99. But most of the second season can be streamed through ABC.com, the Watch ABC app, or ABC on Demand. I’m not going to sit here and tell you how you should spend your money. The first season was nominated for awards every which way. And I imagine season 2 will be no different.

Have you watched American Crime?