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February 24, 1997 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-24

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I ~

The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 24, 1997 - 9A

:Rosewood' full of emotion

By Prashant Tamaskar
Daily Arts Writer
In the early 1920s, Rosewood, Fla.
-wsnot an average small Southern
:t.r. ;Black people owned nearly all of
PtheZMltd and the businesses in the pros-
s area. To most of its residents,
?wood was as
c as they would
e:er:.come to a
;titpian society.
That was until a
'rcial incident
;sparked a white
riab from the
lighboring city of Sumner to burn
down the community. This horrifying
a bidden chapter of American history,
,ich was finally acknowledged by the
3Qf Florida in 1994, is the basis for
olin 'Singleton's powerful, but slightly
'flawed new film, "Rosewood."
The movie begins on New Year's Eve
,with the arrival of
Mann (Ving
Rhames), a drifter
,who wanders into
Rosewood at about
the same time that
onvict escapes
em a nearby
prison. Mann is x
warmly received
by the community,
and he decides to
purchase land next
to the only white-
operated business Ving Rhames mean

E

in town, much to the chagrin of the
owner, John Wright (Jon Voight), who
wants the plot for himself.
But as the land is about to be auc-
tioned off, an announcement is made
that a young, married white woman in
Sumner has been beaten by an unidenti-
fied black assailant.
V I E W The accusation is
false, as the
Rosewood woman's lover is
the guilty party.
However, fearing
At Showcase that her husband
will learn of her
infidelity, she invents this fabrication..
An angry mob of men in Sumner
immediately concludes that Mann is the
escaped felon and the probable culprit.
They march into Rosewood looking for
him. Quickly, the scene turns ugly, as
the group, unable to locate their target,
begins destroying Rosewood and mur-
dering all black
people they
encounter. Those
not killed (mostly
women and chil-
dren) are forced
into the woods,
where they rely on
Mann and the
reluctant Wright
" for their survival.
As is one of his
specialties, director
Singleton creates
business. wonderful lead

characters, particularly Mann and
Wright, over whom he has great con-
trol. Both men, who do not see eye-to-
eye, grapple with complex dilemmas.
They are flawed and completely believ-
able, because they do not have all the
answers, and they do not always make
the right choices.
In the main roles, Rhames and Voight
are adequate and solid, respectively.
Rhames, playing a part for which
Denzel Washington was considered,
offers an uneven performance. When he
isn't reverting to his "Pulp Fiction" and
"Mission: Impossible" tough-guy per-
sona, he manages to be pretty convinc-
ing. His partner, the veteran Voight, is
consistent and unspectacular in a rather
challenging portrayal.
The focus of Singleton's "Rosewood"
is not the characters, but the events. The
presentation of the material is extreme-
ly powerful with scenes full of raw,
unbridled emotion. It is obvious that the
director cares deeply about his work,
and it appears as if he has put his heart
and soul into the film.
Ironically, this may be what prevents
the movie from being truly remarkable.
Singleton is so concerned with emo-
tionally charging the film that he seems
to sacrifice a bit of the story's integrity.
This becomes evident in the characteri-
zation of the white antagonists, whose
racism appears to stem more from jeal-
ousy of their more prosperous neigh-
bors than from anything else. Their mob
mentality comes off as artificial and

Ving Rhames and Elise Neal star in John Singleton's "Rosewood."

contrived.
In creating dichotomy between the
protagonists and the villains, Singleton
is able to achieve the desired sentimen-
tal effect. However, this technique
slightly backfires in that it makes the
tale a bit less credible (regardless of the
actual truth). To the survivors who view
the film, Singleton's account may be
reputable, but to a white audience, he
seems to embellish just enough to allow
a feeling of empathetic detachment as
opposed to guilt.

Still, it is impossible not to feel dis-
turbed and angry while watching
"Rosewood." The movie is frighten-
ing, and it makes the viewer agoniz-
ingly uncomfortable. Yet, Singleton
also does a nice job of emphasizing
the community's resilience, providing
the film with a contrast to the menac-
ing naturalism. The theme of self-
empowerment serves as the silver lin-
ing in this otherwise apocalyptic
story.
Overall, "Rosewood" is a horrify-

ing, emotional account of a despica-
ble incident that was withheld from
the public for more than 60 years,
until an ambitious journalist uncov-
ered the events. Nevertheless, a dis-
crepancy still exists between the sur
vivors' version, as told by the movie,
and the "official" state of Florida
report. Unfortunately, this disparity is
the primary reason why Singleton's
film will likely lose the power of its
social commentary, despite being a
skillful cinematic adaptation.

s

I S

Book offers powerful outlook on ADD

Beyond ADD
Thon Hartmann
Underwood Books
These days, the number of people
*gnosed with psychological ailments
and learning disabilities has grown
tremendously.
Some experts attribute this phenome-
non to a person's desire to be detached
from responsibility, or to society's
encouragement to join the victim-of-
the-month club because it is the "in"
thing to do.
These experts theorize that, in this
frantic search for a scapegoat for peo-
's problems, Attention Deficit
sorder (ADD) emerges as a conve-
nlient choice for many.
But as this condition (which is
believed to be a nonexistent disorder
created by pop culture) comes under
heavy fire, Thom Hartmann argues in
"3eyond ADD" that not only does
)WD- exist, but that it may possibly
hgve-benefits.
-.'Jartmann is quick to point out that
,is not merely a myth, but some-
tgi:that affects millions of people
TIEdwide. He explains that, while
ZVpre ADD can lead to failure in
rly~aspects of life, even here it may
-3what causes people like Thomas

Edison or Evil Knievel to be as suc-
cessful as they are in particular and
limited areas of their lives."
This constant theme of the book -
that ADD sufferers can lead produc-
tive and rewarding lives - is a won-
derfully inspirational and uplifting
message.
Hartmann discusses at length
some extraordinarily
thought-provoking
theories about
how ADD
came into
existence,
such as the
hunter/farmer
theory - in
which ADD
would just be the
remainder of a survival
instinct once possessed by our ances-
tors.
Since primitive times, a hunter was
someone who needed to have the abil-
ity to scan his environment constant-
ly, because "if he were to focus too
heavily on the trail, for example, and
therefore miss the other details of his
environment, he would either starve
or be eaten."
On the other hand, when the agricul-
tural revolution began about 12,000
years ago, scanning became a liability
for people in a society that had gone

from hunting to farming.
Farmers needed to have the ability to
remain focused. Impatience and impul-
siveness would be disastrous traits for
them.
For example, "if he were to go out
into the field and dig up the seeds every
day to see if they were growing, the
crops would die."
Other theories about
the existence of
' ADD include
the concept of
shared mem-
ories or
knowledge;
that mild
ADD may just
be a normal vari-
ation of human
behavior; and that perhaps
ADD is a needed trait caused by evo-
lution, which will benefit us in the
future.
Throughout "Beyond ADD," a posi-
tive tone rings out to readers. Hartmann
is insistent in his belief that ADD is not
always a disorder, and that those with
ADD can find ways to overcome their
problems. He shows this in the
"Solutions" section at the end of each
chapter, stating possible solutions for
the problems the chapter posed.
"Beyond ADD" follows Hartmann's
string of other successful books on the

same topic.
With one of his own children diag-
nosed with ADD, Hartmann is espe-
cially knowledgeable and insightful
about this controversial subject.
"Beyond ADD" is well-written and
well-structured, offering interesting
information in a eloquent and person-
al manner.
From discussing how different peo-
ple with the same diagnosis can exhib-
it different behaviors, to debating the
pros and cons of Ritalin (a drug often
prescribed for those with ADD),
Hartmann is both intelligent and
engaging.
"Beyond ADD" attempts to sepa-
rate the truth from the myth in great
detail and rationality.
Powerful and poignant, "Beyond
ADD" provides much-needed infor-
mation about a condition that is sur-
rounded by myths, while giving those
with the ailment a great sense of hope
and inspiration.
This is a must-read for everyone,
for those with or without Attention
Deficit Disorder.
- Julia Shih

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APPLICATIONS ARE DUE FEB. 27!

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