When, what and where was your coming-of-age episode, the epiphany that heralded your entrance into adulthood? You better know, just in case someone decides to film a biographical sketch detailing how you came to be you. I venture to guess that for many folks, at least in the Western World, it had to do with learning, y'know, the truth about Santa. Shh! I won't say what, just in case some readers haven't gotten the memo. And for many others, the game-changer was perhaps the controversy regarding Santa's boss.
Thusly, I was prompted to scour my beleaguered memory bank for my particular turning point as I watched director Gurinder Chadha's "Blinded by the Light," wherein Viveik Kalra's Javed, a young man of Pakistani origin in Luton, England, firmly under his family's cultural grip, tries to figure his raison d'etre. For better or worse, my watershed wasn't terribly dramatic. But yet I remember it with a sentimental reverence. We had driven from Newark, New Jersey, to Jack and Laura Bochenek's apartment in Washington Heights, N.Y., at least a million times since I was little. Except this time I was driving.
Point of disclosure: Jack was my father's best friend. And I was being entrusted to get the family there safely. Dad handed me the keys to the dark green, '59, fully powered Dodge Coronet with little fanfare. But he might as well have been saying "Welcome to the Big Leagues." The ride, which included going through the Lincoln Tunnel and ferrying the large-finned machine through all manner of Manhattan infrastructure, went without incident, and Dad issued nary a criticism. He wasn't big on compliments; part of that school of thought that believed flattery would spoil a kid and prompt him to live on his laurels. All the same, I think he was proud of me.
Dads and sons. It's not easy considering our gender's inherent reluctance to be warm, fuzzy or anything that might be construed as sappy. And so it is with Javed and his dad, Malik, played by Kulvinder Ghir, a factory worker who emigrated from Pakistan with the express hope of forging a better life for himself and his family. But for every 100 émigré offspring who observe the family dictum to become a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief, as was dramatically exampled in Al Jolson's "The Jazz Singer" (1927), there's a Jakie Rabinowitz who doesn't want to follow the company line and become a cantor. After all, he's the title character.
While Javed, having just entered into community college, doesn't want to be a singer, his true passion, writing, is just as economically imprudent to a pragmatic father whose heart has been further hardened by a layoff at the Vauxhall Motor Co. "Money, money, money," to coin the mantra emanating from the life experience that shaped Bernie Sanders' sociopolitical views. Mom has been taking in wash and tailoring, and eldest daughter Yasmeen's impending wedding is going to cost a few Euros. And here this "ingrate" of a kid wants to be a writer, an idealist.
But wait. Sonny boy's recent, 360 degree change of direction is even more inconceivably foreign and irrelevant to dad's way of thinking than first thought. Javed has found a lifestyle guru in the personage, poetry and music of Bruce Springsteen, and regularly quotes from The Boss, chapter and verse, with near religious fervor.
Best I can research, neither Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart nor any of those other music greats has received a feature-length tribute as thoroughly extolling as is here rendered Bruce. It is the ultimate cinema homage, and probably even a little embarrassing to the blue collar troubadour, albeit in good purpose. You see, interwoven within the coming-of-age theme is a heartfelt human rights missive. Call me naïve, especially in this time when a crazy electoral blunder has virtually invited the globe's racist forces to slither out from under their rocks. But the film substantially and effectively reminds via Javed's family's travail in Luton, England, that we Americans don't have a monopoly on racial prejudice.
If the prophetic Orwell had written an addendum to his "Animal Farm," further instructing how authoritarians conspire to divide and conquer humanity, he might have opined that the ever-vigilant border collies think every other canine form is just plain stupid. But he'd speculate that most worrisome to the pooch powers that be are those boutique pups resulting from a melting pot mixture of the breeds. Surely these mutts will propagate and eventually displace the pedigreed nobility. And then what will you have, democracy, heaven forbid?
Yep, it's all packed in there: a feel-good saga of a likable young man fashioning his own great expectations, a swell score populated with The Boss' hits, and a humanistic message there for your illumination, provided you don't allow yourself to be "Blinded by the Light."
"Blinded by the Light," rated PG-13, is a Warner Bros. release directed by Gurinder Chadha and stars Viveik Kalra, Kulvinder Ghir and Meera Ganatra. Running time: 118 minutes
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to email@example.com.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Those who have lived a long time have done a lot, seen a lot – and can teach us a lot. And that’s certainly true when it comes to investing.
Consider some of the lessons you might learn from experienced investors:
• Regulate your emotions. In the investment world, there’s always something coming at us that could sound scary: political flashpoints, economic news, and even those once-in-a-generation occurrences, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. But older people may take these events in stride; in fact, baby boomers and members of the Silent Generation (born between 1925 and 1945) are coping better emotionally with the impacts of COVID-19 than younger age cohorts, according to the 2020 Edward Jones/Age Wave Four Pillars of the New Retirement study. And by keeping control of your emotions, you may be less likely to make moves such as selling quality investments with good fundamentals just because their prices have fallen in the midst of an overall market decline.
• Learn from experience. By definition, the older we get, the more experiences we will have. And most people do indeed learn from experience. Investors, too, benefit from having seen and done things before. Did you chase a “hot” stock only to have found it cooled off before you bought it? Did you buy too many of the same type of investments, only to see your portfolio take a bigger hit during a downturn than it would have if you had diversified? In the investment arena, as in most walks of life, patterns emerge, and once you learn to recognize them, you can learn from past mistakes.
The Community Development Office has been developing a strategic plan for disposing of "functionless" properties — those that are not in service or generating revenue. The city can dispose of properties through auction, sale to abutters and requests for proposals.
click for more
The Department of Public Services released a statement at 2:30 pm on Friday urging residents and businesses whose water was affected by the water main break on River Street to boil water before consumption. click for more
The investigation launched in April, which included Medicaid fraud team investigators, spoke with more than 90 family members of veterans and others who called into the attorney general's office.
click for more
The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition will commence its annual event, Voices for Recovery, beginning this Friday, Sept. 25. This year's theme is "Days of Hope," and the weeklong event coincides with the conclusion of Recovery Month.
click for more
The 24-inch main sprung a leak sometime on Tuesday that was reported about 7 p.m. that night. Crews began working the problem on Wednesday morning. River Street between Marshall and Holden was closed to traffic.
click for more
The total amount to be raised is $40,939,756, up $134,218, or 0.33 percent, from last year. Some $11,369.776 has already been spent over the past three months through continuing appropriations caused by delays in the state budget because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
click for more