Editor’s Review: The Director: A Memoir by J.K. Stein

Length: 162 pages

Content: Mature

Genre: Memoir

Quality Rating: 5/5 stars

 

The Director by J.K. Stein is a memoir that will hit you so hard you will almost wish it doesn’t exist. In less than two hundred pages, Stein captivates the reader with a story that will mesmerize, disturb, and, ultimately, leave them with the feelings of hope and a willingness to help.

My experience with this memoir was incredibly special; I received a petite package in the mail, addressed in a bold black sharpie, I opened it to find a thin white book with four words and a name on the cover, along with Stein’s signature which I have fallen in love with. My first thought was how much this book looks like a screenplay, I was already intrigued.

Dedicating this memoir “To those who broke their silence and to those still searching for their voice,” Stein invites the reader to glimpse…no, not glimpse…walk alongside her in her unforgettable past; her unforgettable journey with a man known only as The Director.

The title, The Director, is incredibly intimidating. A director is one who is in charge of directing those working under them; Stein’s story is one of the many we have been hearing a lot of lately: a man with too much power always gets what he craves no matter what the cost is.

Within the opening two chapters we are introduced to J, a bright young college graduate beginning her New York adventure. She met The Director for the first time at a Starbucks where he was hypnotized by her overwhelming beauty. From then on, their relationship becomes a repetitive and uncomfortable wreck that no one, not even J, can turn their heads away from.

Throughout the novel we see J battling the desire for her future while suffering through the manipulations of The Director. The accounts are rivetingly graphic, often making me want to burst into the room and pull J out of these situations. There are plenty of times you will be asking why she doesn’t just opt out of working with this revolting human being, because, surely, there were plenty of chances to get out of this situation. But, like many times, it is not that simple.

At its base, The Director is a therapy piece; by utilizing her journal entries from her disrupted past, Stein pieces together a method that allowed her to reflect and see her own situation from a different point of view. This memoir is a journey of self-discovery and bravery, by the end any reader is able to see that you do not need to be afraid to tell your story.

There are 399 people that understand Stein’s story exactly and there are so many more that can relate to her story one way or another. It does not need to be a secret, you do not need to hide away in shame, you are understood and loved and your voice deserves to be heard and you deserve justice.

And to those of you, any of you, who choose to go against consent…your story will be told too; people like J.K. Stein are coming forward with a strength that will astound you in a way that will make you wish you never even looked at them.

 

For more information on The Director, or if you would like to order a copy, please visit www.thedirector.info/.

To have a book reviewed, please email editorinchief.ubpost@gmail.com for shipping information.

…That it hurts to lose your name

Welcome to “UB Should Know…”. Here, you will find a variety of different debates, discussions, and interests that you and your fellow peers are passionate about. Topics from art museums closing down to scientific breakthroughs to conspiracy theories can be discussed here between up to four people, not including your moderator. If you wish to be a part of the next edition of UB Should Know… please feel free to contact the UB Post at editorinchief.ubpost@gmail.edu

By Olivia Dudley
Managing Editor

You may or may not know where this is going, but it really sucks to lose your name. Sometimes I will forget and someone will turn up and remind me and I will be like, “Oh, that’s right…I’m Sugar! How could I forget? Thank goodness that kind man reminded me at eight o’clock at night on the way home.” I hope to myself that I don’t forget it again and I won’t need to be reminded. But darn it, by the time I am walking to class the next morning, I have already forgotten it! Thankfully, and I am oh so lucky, a kind man reminded me that my name is “Baby” as I cross the street. Did I mention that I am thankful? Where would I have been without the help of this man? Probably walking to the café as usual, ordering a green tea lemonade and a bagel without his kind words echoing in my head.

I feel as though I have a new name every day of the week. Many other women feel this way too; because we are forgetful, men feel the need to swoop in and remind us. But these are no friendly reminders, these are reminders that are gifted with in the hopes of a thank you and that is far from okay. I’m just trying to get to class on time. I do not need to know who or what I am right now. All of these names get swept up in the heads of girls and women and we grow up with them. We grow up with the names, the staring, and the uncomfortable sensation of being followed; it is not a nice feeling. Sometimes we don’t know what to do. Occasionally we do know but are too scared to do anything because we don’t know what a stranger is capable of. All Tiarah Poyau, 22, said was “Get off me.” To a man at a J’ouvert festival in New York on September 5, 2016 and he shot her in the face. Killing Tiarah instantly, in front of her friends. If that happened to such a strong and beautiful woman in the presence of other people, what is one girl alone supposed to think?

The safest tactic is to say nothing and hasten your pace. But what happens when they yell or pursue? A crowd will protect you. But what if the crowd doesn’t care? These are the thoughts many women and girls have when that kind man tells them their name and reminds them of their place in society as the object. Those thoughts usually come after a “Please don’t follow me.” In most cases the plea is answered, but in the cases where it’s not. I cannot begin to explain how many girls I know that feel the need to carry mace or pepper spray on them while having the hope that they never have to use it.

Words are powerful; they can boost your confidence or make you feel like an insignificant pebble. But there is nothing worse than being afraid and threatened by the words of another, no matter how kindly they are spoken to you, because you do not know how far they will go to gain your attention. In truth, street harassment is not going to stop anytime soon, and it is difficult to avoid because of the unpredictability of human beings. The only thing we can hope for people to develop some respect for those around them by thinking before speaking and that we all get to our destination safely.

Photo Credit.

…About Diversity and Theatre

Welcome to the first edition of the UB Post: “UB Should Know…”
Here, you will find a variety of different debates, discussions, and interests that you and your fellow peers are passionate about. Topics from art museums closing down to scientific breakthroughs to conspiracy theories can be discussed here between up to four people, not including your moderator. If you wish to be a part of the next edition of UB Should Know… please feel free to contact the UB Post at editorinchief.ubpost@gmail.edu

“Theatre is for old white ladies.” An acquaintance of mine told me after I expressed my love of musicals and plays. I thought this statement was ridiculous; as I have been fascinated by the theatrical arts for many years, I have grown up and seen it change. By change I mostly mean diversify.

Every few years a Broadway gem appears and everyone loves it for its storyline or songs. The show is usually incredibly different from the average Broadway show, often consisting of a subject matter that isn’t easy to discuss, a celebrity, a surprising music style, or a cast of very few white actors and actresses. These shows gain popularity and, in many cases, spark the attention of younger theatre goers; unfortunately, theatre is an expensive spectacle that not many can afford to experience.

I have been incredibly fortunate to experience many theatre productions all over; after having sat in a Broadway audience, I can confirm that the audiences are mostly older white people, presumably because they are able to afford $100 and up tickets with ease. Because of this, many large-scale Broadway productions will cater to their audiences by providing them with familiar and relatable white
lead faces.

Everyone wants to watch characters that they can relate to in one way or another, the easiest and most obvious way consists of skin color. Specific people can relate to the cast of Phantom of the Opera and Dear Evan Hanson but so many more can relate to the likes of Hamilton and Aladdin. A mostly white cast versus a group of racially diverse ensemble and lead roles is now a topic that is often argued, sometimes to the point of entire shows closing down due to casting struggles.

After being nominated for twelve Tonys and only winning two, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, is to close on September 3. Not specifically due to the Tonys, as the production is greatly adored by many who are sad to see it go, but because of the incompetence of producers. The lead role of Pierre had always been played by a white male, the originator and writer of the show, Dave Malloy, Scott Stangland as the understudy, and Josh Groban. After Groban’s departure, former Hamilton star Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan took over, ticket sales began to drop. Because of depleting funds, Homeland star Mandy Patinkin was set to take
over with the full support of the show’s producers.

I do not believe that Patinkin, a white actor, was made to replace Onaodowan, a black actor, based on race. The show had been running for so long with celebrity Josh Groban that ticket sales dropped due to his departure only. Unfortunately, Broadway Black, a community that highlights the success of black actors and actresses on Broadway, focused on racism in the upper Broadway community, the story was maimed until Patinkin himself dropped out of the show. With all of this controversy, The Great Comet has been
left without a celebrity Pierre, decreasing ticket sales, and a ‘For Sale’ sign ready to be placed on the Imperial Theatre doors.

Quite often, celebrities are brought in to plays and musicals in order to boost ticket sales. The Great Comet portrays one of those times. But when lead roles go from black to white, people become angered at the lack of representation and feel cheated. Good shows with amazing stories lose their spirits when potential audience members are against the casting calls; when shows are originally cast with white actors, there is less frustration when they are replaced by more and more white actors in a certain role. It seems easy enough to believe that the reason there fewer diverse casts on Broadway is because casting directors and producers cannot be bothered to deal with unhappy audience members who feel they aren’t being represented. There are so many stories that need to be told on a stage, and not all of those stories are all white. Someone just needs to start telling them properly.

Surviving Life: Chapter Eight

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It was a new day. Xavier and I ventured out to the front of the store. The world was a foggy green.

“Well…that doesn’t look good at all.” He commented with a huff.

“We can’t stay here.” I crossed my arms over my chest and shook my head “We’ll need more supplies soon. We should get out before the fog gets too bad.”

“Yeah, this is insane. Carter said there’s a supply truck out back.” he turned away from the window and began walking back to the store room. “Let’s mask up and go take a look. We can take some people and drive around.”

I caught up with him. “No.”

“What, why?” he looked confused.

“I’ll mask up and take our SUV and drive around.” I told him.

“No! You can’t go by yourself, it’s dangerous.” He pleaded.

I denied his help. “I promise, I’ll be fine. We need to conserve the gas in that thing until we know where we can go, anyway.”

Xavier let out an exasperated sigh “What if something happens here and we need you?”

“Well,” I chuckled “I guess you’ll just have to be in charge of our group while I’m gone.”

“I’m not a leader.” He rolled his eyes.

I nudged him “I’ll be gone for three hours, tops. Don’t worry.” I reached into the pocket of my coat and pulled out my face mask and goggles. “Maybe Carter has some walkie-talkies we can borrow.”

Carter did, in fact, have eight walkie-talkies to use between the group. “Stay on channel four while you’re out there, okay?” Xavier insisted.

I turned the dial on my walkie to four and nodded my head after putting a new mask and a pair of goggles on “I’ll be back in three hours. Do not come searching for me. If you guys have to up and leave for some reason, try leave me a note or a trail if you can’t get to the walkie in time.”

He nodded his head and held his hand out, wanting me to shake it. “In case something does happen, thank you.”

Taking his hand, I said “Don’t mention it, Xavier. We’ve got to try keeping one another alive.”

I ventured out into the still, dreary wasteland and got into the SUV. For the first time in so many years I realized I had no solution; I couldn’t think of a single method to solve this dilemma.

Driving out of the parking lot I felt a familiar sensation wash over me. My body thrummed and my vision deteriorated until I could no longer see my numb hands gripping the steering wheel.

“Failure,” I heard. “Yet again.”

Clear History:

Privacy and net neutrality in the U.S.

The United States Constitution gave us the right to privacy within the fourth amendment, stating, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” In other words, unless there is probable cause there is no need for American citizens to have their property searched. Throughout the past few months, our nation has been prompting questions as to what exactly constitutes as “property.”

When the internet is a global system it is difficult on where we would draw the line of personal ownership; we are responsible for our accounts and searches online, but they can be monitored and accessed at any time by companies in charge of the whole system, or even accessed by hackers. “Private” hardly means anything anymore. But we like the comfort of believing we have privacy, so we will continue fighting for a title of protection.

On the topic of something that needs to remain protected, we have net neutrality. Net neutrality is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of the internet and this 21st century culture we have grown so accustomed to; by allowing internet users throughout the free world to communicate, use free speech, and have safe spaces online, net neutrality is something that all internet using citizens hold sacred. Without net neutrality, we lose control of our normal web activities; internet service providers (ISPs), such as Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T, can charge extra for faster internet speeds, video calls, block websites, and generally make things work in their own favor rather than for consumers.

The situation is a win-lose situation. We as consumers require the internet to work and meet our everyday needs. The ISPs want our money which the upper middle class and the wealthy will certainly pay for in order to carry on about their normal lives, but this situation leaves the lower class struggling to afford internet, making the internet a luxury expense.

The net neutrality rules declared in 2015 clearly state that ISPs are not allowed to deliberately play favorites by slowing down or speeding up the response times of certain apps and websites used by their consumers. As long as a bill is being paid by a consumer to use the internet on their personal devices, they are allowed as much access as they want within the realm of the internet.  But the recent May 18 ruling, influenced by FCC chairman Ajit Pai, allows ISPs more freedom to do as they please to their users. In simpler terms: big businesses would be fully in charge of the internet, limiting the web freedom of Americans.

The trade group, The Internet Association, representing Facebook, Amazon, and Google, made a comforting statement during a meeting with Pai: “the internet industry is uniform in its belief that net neutrality preserves the consumer experience, competition and innovation online. Existing net neutrality rules should be enforced and kept in-tact.” Affirming that they all support net neutrality due to the sense of , “happy customers; happy business.”

If the FCC manages to succeed in demolishing net neutrality, and the ISPs choose to change their methods and place harsher restrictions upon their customers, the internet as we know it will begin to change; perhaps slowly over time or perhaps drastically within a few months or less. It has been up to American citizens to fight back with their voices, protesting, writing letters, petitioning for the internet to remain a place for the free exchange of ideas.

As of August 11, the FCC has begrudgingly extended its comment period, allowing citizens and politicians alike a chance to support or oppose the decision to end net neutrality. Whether or not the FCC with honestly take these oppositions into true consideration will remain unknown until sometime after August 30; until then, it is up to American citizens to fight against this ruling and protect the internet as we know it.

To live the way we do

Maryland’s big decision for clean energy

Just last February, Maryland lawmakers enacted the Clean Energy Jobs Act; this particular legislation will increase our state’s renewable energy goals by charging Maryland taxpayers just under an extra 60 cents a month for clean, renewable energy. This bill will ensure that Maryland will get 25% of its electricity from wind turbines, solar panels, and hydroelectric dams. Maryland lawmakers have been heavily divided on this bill; should they be charging extra for energy or not?

While it is safe to say that we want our planet to remain healthy enough for us to live on, many politicians struggle to place the price of planet Earth and what it takes to maintain it. 62nd Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, initially vetoed the legislation in the weeks prior to being overturned, stating “I vetoed legislation that would place yet another burden on ratepayers and taxpayers; it will be an additional charge on your energy bill each month to pay for overly expensive solar and wind energy credits, the majority of which are created by companies outside of Maryland” on his Facebook page last month.

Almost immediately after the veto, the Maryland Climate Coalition rallied against it, listing off reasons why Maryland needed to be more supportive of combatting climate change, citing better health, higher productivity, more jobs, and improving reliability. Many Marylanders believed in this cause, so it was only inevitable that Hogan’s veto would be overturned. CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Tom Kiernan, has since applauded the final decision of Maryland lawmakers, stating “making the Clean Energy Jobs Act law is the right decision for Maryland. Renewable energy legislation is pro-growth, pro-business, and means access to more jobs in Maryland…From the Free State’s population-hubs to its majestic shores, this ensures more low-cost, homegrown American wind power reaches homeowners and businesses.”

It was difficult for lawmakers supporting the veto to come up with any true downsides other than the fact that Maryland citizens will be paying a little more on their energy bills and the fact that these renewable energy installations look aesthetically unappealing and take up space on farm lands and potential construction areas for shopping centers or office buildings. Statements in support of more infrastructure only brought about statements insisting that Maryland and the planet are more important than any new government building.

According to the AWEA, there are currently more than 50,000 utility-scale wind turbines in the United States, and there are over 100,000 people employed to perform wind related jobs. The state of Maryland is currently producing about 200 megawatts of wind energy, the country total being 82,183 MW. By increasing our state’s renewable portfolio standard to 25% by 2020 these numbers are predicted to increase, not only when it comes to wind energy, but in all other forms of energy as well.

It is a commonly known fact that natural resources created by the earth are easily attainable; the planet will always be producing water, wind, and receiving light from the sun, these sources are not going anywhere as long as we take care of our planet. Though Maryland is a small state it will be contributing to the vital cause of repairing the planet; so many people gathered to support the Clean Energy Jobs Act, inspiring to promote change in their own neighborhoods by cleaning up their streets and being more conservative with their energy.

People will do many things as long as they know it will benefit themselves. While that natural human instinct isn’t always the most favorable one, when we acknowledge that the planet’s health affects our own lives, people have a tendency to help it more. Tell a person to recycle their water bottle in a cafeteria and they will do it; tell someone to turn the lights out when they leave a room, they’ll do it. They will do it because there is truly no valid reason why they should not.