Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Few Thoughtz: X-23: Innocence Lost

"Please forgive me. Even as I write the words, they ring so hollow. My mistakes...No, my choices...they cannot be undone, much less forgiven. All I can do now is tell you what happened. How all this came to pass...and the truth about Weapon X. Had it ended there, would I be less of a monster? Or More? Would I even know the difference? Of course I don't have to tell you about monsters. Your life is defined by monsters."

"It seems so incredible to me now, that in all that time, given everything I knew...what I was doing and what the end result would bear...I didn't give it a second thought. I told myself that you weren't real. I told myself this was science...not life. I was creating a weapon...not a child. I was wrong."

-Dr. Kinney

Peace and blessings,

The opening quote comes from the Marvel comic
  • X-23: Innocence Lost,
  • which is about a girl named Laura, who like Wolverine, was created to be a weapon. The story is narrated by Laura's mother, Dr. Kinney, and is told from the perspective of a mother deeply regrets the choices she made as a parent regarding her daughter's welfare.

    The story begins with Wolverine's escape from the Weapon X facility, and killing Dr. Dale Rice, the man responsible for turning him into a weapon with no sense of humanity. Years later, Dale's son, Zander Rice, under the guidance and leadership of Dr. Martin, a friend of Dale's, continued his father's research. Dr. Martin decides to bring in Dr. Kinney, the leading expert on mutant genetics. Ambitious and scientifically inclined, she set out to do what up until now has been nearly impossible: to recreate the "Weapon X formula" and create another weapon. Right when she's on the verge of accomplishing her goal, she encounters an "issue." Their goal was to "birth" another male weapon (i.e., using the X and Y chromosomes). However, the Y chromosome got damaged (or was defective) during the process, so the doctors had a choice to make: Cut their losses and start over trying to create a male weapon, or get rid of the Y chromosome and replace it with another X chromosome, thus creating a female weapon.

    Martin and Dr. Kinney chose the latter, but Dr. Rice thought that making the weapon female would be a bad idea ("you're supposed to be creating a weapon, not a...barbie doll!"). Upset about the gender-shift and jealous of Dr. Kinney coming in and stealing his mojo, Zander gives Dr. Kinney a proposition: either she carry the specimen to term (i.e., be the girl's mother), or he'll see to it that the project is destroyed. As the ambition permeates her thought process, she chooses to impregnate herself and carry the child to term.

    The goal of the Weapon X program is to create a machine who's only objective is to kill when told, and to never question those who give the orders. To achieve this, the weapon has to be treated like one: used only to kill and never treated like a human with individual thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Despite the constant missions she was sent on to kill people (most of the targets she did not know, some of them she did), there were a few times within the story that it was clear that Laura was not fully a weapon, that deep down there is a little girl crying out to be recognized and treated as a human.

    Now that I've explained the gist of the story (discussing the story in any more detail would take a long time, and plus I don't want to reveal too much in case someone decides to read it), I'll take this last paragraph to share a few thoughts on why I liked the story. What i like the most about the story is how vividly it depicted the experiences of childhood abuse and neglect (by the way, Laura's mother, Dr. Kinney was abused by her father as a child), and the amount of resiliency many children demonstrate in the face of such harsh circumstances. Although in the story Laura was abused and neglected in the name of science (and eventually profit), the take home message is the same: Sometimes, children begin their lives by being treated in ways that should shame us as adults, whether we have children or not. Moreover, I would argue that for a variety of reasons, children are growing up in a world where they are experiencing more "adult-type" problems and issues (some of which are the result of their own choices, temperament, and/or disposition; others are not).

    What I think Laura's experiences in the Weapon X program represent (albeit loosely) is the idea that no matter what has happened to you in the past, it can never fully determine your future. There's always a part of us that reminds us that we are and have always been more than what our past struggles and setbacks tried to "tell us" we were. Although the environment is a significant factor in our lives, it can never fully define us. We weren't built like that.

    What do you think? Sound like something worth reading? What role do you think our childhood experiences play in how we view ourselves? Others? The world? Until next time, stay blessed and speekonit...

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    Just a Thought...

    "Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

    - Martin Luther King Jr.

    Peace and blessings,

    One of the things that convinced me that Obama was hands-down the best candidate, was his response to the following question asked to himself, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards during a debate:

    "If Dr. Martin Luther King were alive today...why should he endorse you?"

    Unlike the answers of Clinton and Edwards (although I found nothing wrong with their responses), Obama responded with the following:

    "I don't think Dr. King would endorse any of us. I think what he would call upon the American people to do is to hold us accountable..."

    As I have had time to reflect on Obama's election and the meaning it has for a country that has its roots in fear, greed, and division, I couldn't help thinking about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In particular, I have been thinking about the
  • last speech
  • he gave on April 3rd, 1968, the day before he was assassinated. One of the reasons why this speech is my favorite of all of his speeches (although the one on Vietnam and economics is a close second) is because of its prophetic element. He's speaking as if he knew that his days on this earth were coming to an end. However, in light of the election, and the fact that Obama's inauguration is on MLK's birthday (Jan. 20th), I'm beginning to think that his speech may have been prophetic in another sense. What if his assertion that God brought him the mountain top and that although he may not be around to see it, that we as a people would get to the "promised land," was foreshadowing the day when America would elect the first Black president? What if in the vision that God showed him, he "saw" that in the future there would be a black president? What if he saw this specific time period during his vision? Just the possibility alone is crazy...

    What do you think? Do you think MLK knew there would one day be a black president? Did you think there would be a black president in your lifetime? Take care, God bless, and speekonit...

    Wednesday, November 05, 2008

    A New Day

    Peace and blessings,

    As someone who tends to be very cynical when it comes to political process on a national level, I have to say that yesterday was a breath of fresh air. My friends and I were talking about how we did not think that an African American would be elected president in our lifetime, let alone this soon in our lives. For those who yesterday was the first time they were legally able to vote (and actually voted), they are beginning their life as voters with a different framework than my peers and those who came before us. My first real exposure to the national political process was in 2000, and my first time being able to legally vote was in 2004. So up until last night, my framework was pretty cynical. Not to say that "everything's cool now" because Barack Obama is the president, because he, like any human being in such a difficult position, is going to struggle and make mistakes. It's a part of life. However, it seemed like last night, the majority of Americans voted on the basis of principles as opposed to preferences; for the ideal of unity and personal accountability as opposed to maintaining division and playing the blame game.

    Now that Americans have made a statement with their ballots, I've been constantly asking myself the question, "What next? Where do we go from here? After the fact that history has been made (by the way, never in my life did I wish for MLK to still be alive than last night) has sunk into our thoughts and we fully acknowledge it's significance, what are we going to do next? What personal commitments are we going to make to ensure that we respect, love, and are accountable to one another? Are we going to continually work to inspire others to be the best of themselves, while striving to do so within ourselves? I'm not saying that Barack Obama's election represents all of these things, because he's only one man. With that said, his election does show that moral direction, principles, and character do indeed carry much weight when it comes to changing the status quo. We were able to set aside certain differences and feelings in the interest of choosing a common direction. The real test has to do with the extent to which we can do so in our everyday interactions with one another. Barack's overwhelming belief in the "core decency of the American people" suggests that we can. Not only do I agree, but I also believe that our fate as a people depends on it.

    What do you think? What do you think this election means/symbolizes for: 1) the country? 2) The world? 3) The everyday person? 4) You personally?

    Take care, stay blessed, and speekonit...