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  • Brigit Law 5:49 pm on July 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Change Management, film, , Julia Roberts, , Mona Lisa,   

    Change comes … naturally. 

    Just like the equestrian world is talking about natural horsemanship, the managerial world should start talking (more) about natural change management.

    I just watched the film Mona Lisa smile on TV, a film set in 1953 with Julia Roberts as the art teacher Ms Watson who tries to inspire conservative young women in the 1950s to reach beyond their role as housewife, go to university and become leaders in society. Ms Watson, who used art to help her students to think out of the box, was desperate to make a change, but almost failed because of driving it too hard.

    I did not know the film, nor that it would be on TV tonight. So, it felt a real treat that I bumped onto this great movie among the tons of stuff I don’t like on TV.

    The beauty of this film comes at the end. The film follows the great classic storytelling technique with a clear moral and message for society where people (women) can relate to for years to come. People’s ‘wanting’ was trying to overshadow people’s ‘being’ and the ‘conscious & controlled behavior’ tried to win from the ‘subconscious & natural behavior’.

    Fortunately, the latter won. As the film says at the end:

    Don’t try to hard too make a change. Just be true to yourself and change will come …, naturally.

  • Brigit Law 12:25 am on February 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , film, Herald Mail, , Shippensburg, Spike Lee, ,   

    An Evening With Spike Lee 

    I am marking another American experience tonight: my evening with Spike Lee!

    Spike Lee is an American film director, producer, writer and actor. With his production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, he has been producing films since 1983. Lee is famous for the way he evolutionized the role of Black talent in cinema. Lee also directed commercials for Nike, Converse, Jaguar, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry’s.

    Our meeting was not quite up close and personal, but with seat number J-109 in an almost sold out hall of the Luhrs Performing Arts Center in Schippensburg (PA) where he lectured about “The Cultural Diversity in America”, it was as good as it could get.

    As my friends know, everything that has to do with diversity has my attention. Since I left my home village in The Netherlands, I have been different myself. First and foremost as a country girl in a big city, but also as a Dutch girl living in other people’s countries and as a Dutch wife to a Scottish husband. Diversity is part of my daily life since I left home at 18 and it will be for children for whole their lives.

    Lee’s performance in Shippensburg tonight was great.  He is a wonderful and motivational speaker who tackles serious issues – the life of African-Americans – with a good sense of humor. He urged students to follow passion, not pay. To this end, Lee was happy to share his own personal experiences and challenges in life with his public, in particular his vision that you should choose a study and do a job you enjoy doing no matter what others (parents) say. “If you are driven in wanting to do something, do it!” was his advice to the public.

    However, his view on the stagnation of Afro-Americans can be disputed. Lee sees a stagnation in the life of African-Americans since the 40s when Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in her role as a maid in ‘Gone with the Wind’ and today, annu 2012, when African-Americans win again Academy Awards through actors Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer who played … maids again. To me this seems more a sign of stagnation in the life of women who are in a sleepy state of mind since the time of the suffragettes. At lease the African-Americans got their American President, the female society not (yet).

    I was also a bit disappointed about his answer to a young African-American guy in the public who explained his difficulties to make films due to lack of finance and closed doors in Hollywood. His answer was to persevere and to keep on believing in yourself and your drive (dream). My answer would be a question: where are the African-American businesses that should support African-American culture? It is not up to the ‘old’ Hollywood and its white face history to write and direct the screen plays that bring diversity in America to life. A drive is based on an emotional need, an urge and a passion. This can only be told through stories with with award winning roles of leaders in society played, written and produced by African-Americans themselves.

    In fact, it is all about empowering yourself to succeed with a group of people through ‘shared values’. A concept that focuses on the connections between societal and economic progress.

  • Brigit Law 11:05 pm on February 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , film, music, ,   

    American Culture? What, where … ? 

    Often,I hear that America has little to no culture compared to places like France, Italy or Greece. This is said by the media or my fellow Europeans who were on holiday here. I must say, I was slightly afraid that this might be the true after a visiting the only Amish museum in Lancaster and seeing it very strangely hidden behind the giant buildings of the commercial chains Walmart, Giant and Kohls.

    However, after living seven months in American, I am glad to say that I can agree with the opposite. America has a great culture! It is a culture that is embedded in their music, films and world famous brand slogans!

    I realized this when my sister in law said that I lived in a film after hearing one of my stories. Indeed, there have been numerous occasions now that I felt I was living a film or a song. The first time was when when the check out guy at the Walmart called ‘hey lady’ to me after I had forgotten my shopping bags at the counter, or when I feel the ‘Just Do It!’ slogan from Nike at work when I am volunteering in community and school projects here, or when I see my daughter sliding down the staircase in our house in America just like Annie Banks in the film The Father of the Bride. In the Netherlands where I come from, we just don’t have such big staircases and ‘sliding space’ in our houses and we rather talk and wait for who is going to do it than ‘just do it!’

    Culture in America may not to be found in books from great writers like in Russia or France, or in food from famous chefs like in Belgium, or ancient castles and ruins like in Germany and Greece, paintings in Italy or in a healthy living like in Scandinavia. If you want to experience American culture and history, listen to American music, see the films and live the slogans of their brands.

    So now, after a long week with work and kids, I am going to take a nice a warm bath. Because I am worth it!

    • 20poorandfabulous 12:00 am on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      of course america has a culture, every civilization on earth has a culture. how insulting you think american culture is encompassed by music, film and worst of all SLOGANS. yes, america is a very capitalist/consumerist-driven country, but you cannot blanket a country as large and culturally diverse as the united states as being solely music, film and slogans. not everyone spends their days at the local walmart or kohls, mind you. think about it this way: the south(mississippi, georgia) is an entirely different place than the northwest (seattle, portland), and the southwest (tucson, new mexico) is vastly different from the midwest (chicago, minneapolis) and the northeast (new york, boston). it’s like if someone were to tell you all european cultures (france, germany, the netherlands, etc) are simply composed of nice chocolates, wines and people who use euros. or that south american cultures (chile, brazil, colombia, etc) are simply spicy food, salsa music and hot weather. vast generalizations about any culture, people, country or continent are an insult to both the people and to your very own intelligence.

      • Brigit Law 11:02 pm on February 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your comments! You would have enjoyed the lecture “The Cultural Diversity in America” of Spike Lee (film director of a.o. ‘Do The Right Thing’ and ‘Malcolm X’) which I attended at Shippensburg University this evening. According to Lee, American culture dominates the world mainly through its films, music and famous brands. Unlike bombs and weapons, these expressions of emotions direct the way people think, both within and outside America.

    • Stephanie Wall 12:02 am on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply


      I’m so glad you are enjoying your time here in America. I remember sliding down the stairs as a child and teaching my children to do the same. What fun it is…you should try it as well with the girls and Otto. 🙂 We must have a good old fashion American BBQ this spring.

      • Brigit Law 10:43 pm on February 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you Steph! I have added the American BBQ to my ‘things to experience in America’ 🙂

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