There is so much good TV and outstanding movies right now that it’s easy for great work to get lost.
Hell, most of America still isn’t watching “The Americans” which only has three episodes left and has been freaking amazing the last few weeks. (Watch it, people!)
But I wanted to make you aware of a pretty powerful and sensational and frustrating documentary I saw on HBO last week, called “I Am Evidence.”
It follows the city of Detroit and it’s fearless prosecutor, Kym Worthy, as she fights to have the thousands of untested rape kits discovered sitting in a warehouse outside of town tested to find who committed these brutal assaults against women.
This mission to test rape kits has been going on for years, as finally after so many police departments across the country simply took evidence from women who were assaulted, then either due to negligence or lack of funds, never got the kits tested.
This was happening in big cities like Detroit and Cleveland, and small burgs, too. Thousands of women went through the horrible trauma of being raped, and then nothing was ever done to even possibly see if there was a DNA match in the federal criminal database with their attacker.
We see Worthy and other prosecutors interview survivors like Helena and Amberly, who had nothing in common and lived far from each other but were both raped by the same man. We meet law enforcement officials who make excuses for why the kits weren’t tested (mostly complaining about lack of funds), see the city of Los Angeles police department come off very badly (shocker, I know), and get to hear the stories of victims who’ve had their lives ruined, yet find a way to go on.
There is so much infuriating detail in “I Am Evidence,” such as an examination of police reports constantly focusing on what the victim was wearing, how she was acting, etc. There is (and again, no surprise here) admitted statements from law enforcement that if the woman raped was a person of color, their cases were taken less seriously.
But what emerges out of the anger is hope, and admiring strength. Worthy and other prosecutors around the country are having success catching rapists thanks to the kits finally getting tested. And we see, led by celebrities like Mariska Hargitay who is very involved (and is shown throughout the documentary) that this issue is getting more and more attention.
But there’s still a long way to go. And for every uplifting story like Helena’s, there are so many more victims out there, being ignored.
“I Am Evidence” is a hugely important piece of work. It’s on HBO on Demand, the HBO Now app, and airing throughout the month. I definitely recommend seeing it.
**Next up, the Stanley Cup playoffs continue to be sensational, with the Washington Capitals holding a 2-1 lead over Tampa in the East and a great series out West between Winnipeg and Las Vegas (those traditional, longtime rivals!) tied at 1.
I’m a hockey zealot, of course, and I always declare that hockey players are the toughest athletes of them all, and that their desire to win the Stanley Cup is beyond words.
So every year during the playoffs I find myself watching the above clip, of the Dallas Stars’ Darryl Sydor suffering an awful injury in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and still trying to help his team, because winning would mean that much.
Watch until the end, for the sensational Gary Thorne quote:
“Until hell freezes over and as long as the Stanley Cup is awarded, you will see that shot of Darryl Sydor, crawling to the front of the net, whenever anyone asks what the Stanley Cup is all about.”
So, so great.
**And finally today, always fun to get an entry in the “really? That seemed like a good idea at the time?” Hall of Fame.
Meet a school bus driver in Minnesota named Brenda Carsten. She’s facing 15 separate charges of reckless driving and child endangerment after some seriously scary driving of the bus (while not wearing a seatbelt).
And Carsten also was using her phone to look up “Yo Mama” jokes that students had requested, then passing the phone back to them to read the jokes aloud.
Are you freaking kidding me? This woman should be sent to jail for a long time. What a ridiculous thing to do while driving a school bus.
And now, because you’ve read this far, my three favorite “Yo Mama” jokes off the top of my head:
1. “Yo Mama so fat she’s on BOTH sides of the family.”
2. “Yo Mama so dumb she went to the movies and saw it said “Under 17 Not admitted” and she went and got 16 of her friends.”
3. “Yo mama’s so old her Social Security number is one.”
Juvenile, but funny. Thank you, I’ll see myself out.