Los Angeles' Skid Row from Pras Perspective and the Society that Buries Useful Information
by B.J. Delas Armas
on 1/25/2008 05:19:00 AM
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Pras from the Fugees finished a documentary last summer that highlights a very important issue. The documentary featured him living first-hand as an actual, walking, breathing homeless person in some of the roughest streets of LA (some say its as bad as Calcutta, whatever that looks like). He filmed with hidden cameras and crew for 9 days, sleeping on the sidewalk, panhandling, and assorted other homeless people stuff.
This is the sort of thing that piques my interest.
When I went to go watch it within 6 days of its stated limited release, it was fucking gone, probably due to lack of interest and uh...lack of marketing.
It really irks me that for issues like this aren't being heard at all. Instead, it's pretty sick that we pay lots of attention to utter bullshit. I don't give a shit if American Idol were canceled tomorrow. I wouldn't die crying knowing that I haven't seen anyone Dancing with the Stars. I shouldn't
give a shit about NBA basketball, but I guess that's my form of alcohol.
Part of its on us, but then part of it is that marketers do quite the job...
The know how to saturate and engage, which is why most of them would probably be effective teachers. Teachers are basically just entertainment (least that's what my co-worker told me, and I think that's true too). Wish that talent would devote its time towards more worthy causes than choices of cereals, choices of cars, iPhones, credit cards.
Its sad that the information that would probably be more useful to know is buried underneath the tons of crap thrown at us. I'm glad that we have the internet (unless some corporation goes out and buy this too) to try and change that.
In this age of hyper-globalism and consumerism, with super-marketing (that is the taking over of television, radio, billboards, buildings, the built environment) with all our basic needs (relatively) fulfilled from water, food, shelter, heat, clean air, clean environment, electricity, its as if our only ultimate objective is...to find entertainment for ourselves.
Can't we do something more? If we can learn to saturate ourselves with "useless" stuff, can't we learn to saturate ourselves with better, more useful information?
Can't we find a way to market information such as the number of people who die from water-related illnesses or information about the number of people living with electricity or the number of things we consume?
Can't we find a way to market this type of humanistic media, these movies about the human condition so it becomes THE thing to see?
Watch Pras' Interview with Tavis
Interesting tidbits from Pras.
"I experienced everything - panhandling, sleeping on the sidewalk, the rats trying to get into my tent, defecating, urinating on the sidewalk. Because you know when you're homeless, you can't go into restaurants and use the facilities.
So it was just actually seeing the reality. We have this misconception that oh yeah, people who are homeless are usually lazy or they're on drugs, and that's not actually the case at all. People who are chronically homeless - that means where they need assistance to get out of their situation - only make up about 20 percent of the homeless people (unintelligible). The rest are just regular people (unintelligible) just misfortunes."
Commenting on a scary experience he had during his "stay" at Skid Row
"One was when I think I was sleeping in the tent, it was raining real hard and the rats was coming in. I was, like, man, I need to get out of here. But see, what happened is - see, it's like we as human beings, we adapt, and I started to adapt to my environment. So then, like, on the fourth or fifth day I got comfortable and now I'm trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to maneuver.
So I forgot about going back to my other world. Because see, when you get trapped in that world, you've got to find the best way to make it fit for you, you know what I mean?"
Transcript of Tavis Smiley Interview
Skid Row the Movie Website
Last but not least...
Bring the documentary to Los Angeles
So I can watch the damn movie.
Labels: Consumerism, Downtown Los Angeles, Lecture Notes, Privatization, Space Usage