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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Ghetto Physics

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Chick-O-Meter-yellow-smChick-O-Meter-yellow-smChick-O-Meter-yellow-smChick-O-Meter-yellow-smChick-O-Meter-grey-sm Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
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Ghetto Physics: Will the Real Pimps and Ho's Please Stand Up!

Dick Cheney is a pimp.  So is Her Royal Highness, the Queen of England. Gender doesn’t dictate the designation, power does.  So alleges E. Raymond Brown, whose book forms the thesis for this documentary, full of interviews, animation, and staged scenes which serve to illustrate that thesis.

According to Brown, big pimp daddies include Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and current President Barack Obama.

Whole industries can be pimps: credit card companies, entertainment, religion, news, government, and technology all get to wear the purple suit, fancy hat and bling rings.

Ho’s (whores) are comprised of the general working class population, soldiers, religious congregations, the unemployed and anyone else who might be considered a follower rather than a leader.  In other words, about 95% of the earth’s population slither into their short-shorts, halter tops and knee boots to hustle for a living under rules they did not create.

Brown maintains that what we see on the street corner is happening everywhere. He speaks of archetypes (an original model of a person, ideal example, or a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated) and paradigms (an example that serves as a pattern or model for something) as a way of identifying who plays which role.  The current world order is full of pimp/ho relationships, which “is the basis for business, economics, and civilization.”  

Brown seeks to “break the game down” so that everyone can acknowledge that “the pimp defines and the ho takes it on” in a yin/yang mind manipulation that makes the whole thing work.  Even Charles Manson knew that to effectively control someone, “just tell them to do something they want to do anyway.  Make them think that’s what they want.”  

But first you have to see the game and know you’re in it to attain self determination.  Brown suggests that the world needs a new collective consciousness to affect a paradigm shift or new pattern. Roles must change, but first those roles need to be recognized in the first place.  Many ho’s simply don’t know that they are until shown.

The feeling of being trapped in a created system, of blame, excuses, and complaints is strictly in the realm of the ho.  The pimp runs the game, created the system – and gets to live off of its profits.  Brown illustrates this with corporations, governments and especially the advertising agencies whose products land hapless ho’s into the clutches of the ultimate pimps – credit card companies.

Perhaps the most profound statement in the film comes from Etherean Mission Director/Minister Brother Ishmael Tetteh, who calmly asserts “Nothing in this world is yours but what you are.”

A subplot features a female student Shaneesh (Sabrina Revelle) who loses her law school scholarship and plays the victim blame game.  Brown shows her how this is typical ho behavior and Shaneesh resolves to become more of a pimp, for lack of a better way to say it, who is more in charge of her own destiny by setting the rules rather than blindly accepting and following them.

Talking heads include author John Perkins (Economic Hit Man), Princeton Professor Cornel West, former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, legendary producer Norman Lear, and rappers Ice T, Too Short, and KRS-One, and among others.  Each lends credence to Brown’s theory with examples of their own.

Classroom footage is staged with actors playing students in (Professor) Brown’s Ghetto Physics class.  Scenes alternate between classroom lectures (including student challenges to Brown’s theory), interviews (both real and scripted) and footage of ATM machines, laborers, streetwalkers, Reverend Billy Graham, the Pope, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, banks, and shopping centers.  

Brown co-directed with Will Arntz (What the Bleep Do we Know?!) and portrays Professor Brown in a performance full of an assertiveness bordering on aggression.  One scene presents him as a volatile interview subject when pressed by a skeptical host (Tomo Kawaguchi).  Brown is in complete control of all of his scenes, specializing in a crisp verbal ping-pong that usually scores by catching his opponent off guard.

Whether you agree with his thesis or not, Brown makes a compelling argument that eschews psychobabble in favor of plain street talk meant to empower instead of exploit.  Just don’t get him mad.

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