Jackson, Laura. Paul Simon: the Definitive Biography. London: Judy Piatkus Limited, 2002. 103-119.
Call#: ML420.S563 J33 2002
In this wonderful biography of American musician Paul Simon, author Laura Jackson analyzes the artist's entire life and its influence on the music that he made. In the chapter entitled "Flying High", Jackson discusses The Graduate Soundtrack and its impact on the music scene of that time. The soundtrack was unbelievably successful for both the movie and the duo Simon and Garfunkel. As an album it was #1 in the U.S. and #3 in Great Britain. Also, Mrs. Robinson was the #1 single in the states. For four months the #1 album in the U.S. was either the soundtrack or Bookends, the group's following album. She notes that The Graduate was one of the first major movies to have a totally Rock and Roll soundtrack. The album Bookends was innovative in that it was one of the first to use multi-tracking vocals. Jackson notes that critics had always noticed Simon's affinity for writing introspectively about alienation. Professor Iwan Morgan states that "Many of Paul Simon's 1960s' songs have a sense of alienation and loss of identity with the values that American kids had been taught to respect...For the college-educated segment of the 1960s generation this was a result of their alienation from their parents' values of material gain, personal advancement in the workplace and a hierarchically structured society."
With Paul Simon's peculiar personality and his ability to transfer that to his music, he was a perfect choice to score The Graduate. Benjamin Braddock's character is exactly like Simon in that he feels a loss of identity with his parent's generation. While they expect him to find a job immediately after college he prefers to relax and drink beer next to the pool. He also rejects their common institutions and values of marriage by sleeping with Mrs. Robinson, who is both a married woman and a friend of his parents. Paul Simon's unique view on life and alienation from society is exactly what Benjamin Braddock is trying to show the viewer.
“Race and the Death Penalty.” American Civil Liberties Union. 26 Feb. 2003. 31 Mar. 2006. <http://www.aclu.org/capital/unequal/10389pub20030226.html>
This article reviews information regarding racial prejudice in today’s court system. Racism is not a thing of the past and of small towns in the South; in fact, Pennsylvania and Colorado are the states with the highest proportion of minorities on death row. The article indicates that the color of the defendant directly relates to the likelihood that the prosecution will seek capital punishment. Also, the race of the victim is quite important. If the victim is white, then the death penalty has a much greater chance of being used, while if the victim is black, the chances are far lower. Again, the race of the defendant is also important, with white defendants receiving generally easier punishments than black defendants.
Statistics are provided on various specific states, including Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. All these states exemplify the statistics indicating that blacks are at a disadvantage compared to whites.
The article also discusses the role of the lawyers in the discrimination process. In the case of a black defendant, the prosecution will always strike as many black jurors as possible in order to make the jury more likely to vote on behalf of the victim.
Attorney General John Ashcroft has overturned numerous cases in order to seek the death penalty, and under an overwhelming majority of these cases, the suspect was black. He has ordered studies to be conducted, and has not found any racial prejudice to exist in the current system. The statistics appear to indicate otherwise; racial prejudice was not only a problem in Macomb, Alabama, but certainly still exists to the disadvantage of African-Americans across the nation today.