Scott Frank audio lecture at BAFTA (1 hr. 14 min.).
Scott Frank audio lecture at BAFTA (1 hr. 14 min.).
This is an interesting guerrilla journalism video, finding people who easily believe the sins of Romney, but are astounded to learn that these are Barack Obama’s actual policies. The level of ignorance out there is frightening, and the responses to learning about the reality equally as frightening. People blindly support the Democrat as the lesser of two evils without a second thought. They are ignorant of third parties, and they are ignorant of ongoing criminal behavior by the US government. This is what the wholesale collapse of democracy looks like.
Due to the hurricane, the Jill Stein vs. Gary Johnson debate will be on the eve of the election. More here.
Also — perhaps more alarmingly — Romney casually denounces the separation of Church and State: Jump to 3:30…
Jay Harman’s advances in engineering can reduce energy demand by 50%, and in some applications as much as 90%. He’s gone back to nature for the formula for minimizing energy use.
TEDxMarin – Jay Harman – An Alternative Cure for Global Warming
GMO Foods: Science, PR, and Public Backlash
by James Corbett & Anthony Gucciardi
Brilliant 14 min. news investigation of the genetic engineering industry. This is the kind of reporting that should be on every TV channel, but isn’t.
GMWATCH – “Keep up to date with the latest news on the issue of genetically modified (GM) food and crops and find out about the deceptive PR campaigns being used to promote GM worldwide.”
Californians remember: YES on Prop 37.
Pulp Fiction is the 1994 breakout hit by director Quentin Tarantino that won the Academy Award for best screenplay, and was nominated in several other categories, including best director. The film is segmented into various vignettes and follows an ensemble of criminal characters through the Los Angeles underworld. The film’s unique chronology is what sets it apart from most crime dramas. Scenes are edited completely out of chronological order, jumping forward and backward in time in a manner that is mysterious. The reason for examining the script for this movie is to discover why Tarantino and Avary chose to chop up the sequence of events in this manner and to present them to the audience in such a confusing manner. This paper will lay out the scenes and sort out the viewing order versus the chronological order in which these scenes would have occurred. Hopefully this will give some clues as to how the film is so powerfully engaging and carries a sense of mystery and magic throughout.
Pulp Fiction includes numerous characters, and each is developed with strong dramatic scenes, which play rather quickly in order to squeeze all the vignettes into a feature length. Pulp Fiction opens with the definition of “PULP” on the screen, establishing some kind of formalism to the presentation. The people pulling the strings are acknowledged with this choice. Next PUMPKIN and HONEY BUNNY ( Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) are a young couple who discuss robbing banks, armed robbery, strategies and targets while eating at a Denny’s. At the end of the meal, they both jump up with guns to rob the restaurant, which leads immediately into a disjointed credit sequence and a jump away from this scene to another time and another place.
JULES and VINCENT (Samuel Jackson and John Travolta) are two hit men driving on their way to a job. Later we learn that this scene is prior to the restaurant scene. Their conversation details Vincent’s trip to Amsterdam and offers a clue to his reason for going there: drug tourism. They also reveal that their crime boss, MARSELLUS and his wife MIA (Ving Rhames & Uma Thurman) are going to be relevant. Marsellus is violently jealous of men making approaches to Mia and had someone thrown out of a window. The overreaction of Marsellus affects the two hit men differently. Jules (Jackson) is horrified that a simple foot massage brought such a harsh penalty, but Vincent (Travolta) agrees with Marsellus, in principle, that the offense was serious enough to warrant a harsh response. Vincent is strong on principle and inflexible, while Jules is in transition with his thinking throughout the film. The kicker is that Vincent has been tasked with “looking after” Mia while Marsellus goes out of town tonight. Jules suggests this could be perceived as a “date.”
Inside the apartment, MARVIN (black), ROGER and BRETT are caught off-guard by the two hit men. The three in the apartment have a briefcase belonging to their boss Marsellus for some reason. Inside the case is a bright golden light, which adds a sense of magical realism to the film. Jules and Vincent are there to execute the wayward young thieves. Jules attempts to justify his acts by quoting a bible passage full of fire and fury. The hit men then execute the two white boys in the room for the offense of trying to steal Marsellus’ briefcase.
by Joe Giambrone
The Greens are the best hope today in the US for advancing a progressive, sane, legal and ethical agenda. Voting for the Green Party has a tangible goal and benefit, a benchmark to strive for: 5% of the vote.
David Cobb, a Green Party leader, laid out the Party’s 2012 election strategy:
“a) Receive 5% of the popular vote to qualify for 2016 FEC matching funds
b) Qualify (or maintain) state ballot lines wherever possible
c) Assist local candidates earn media, attract volunteers and GET ELECTED
d) Convince voters to join the Green Party (register Green where possible, and to actively participate in local GP efforts)”
This is a strategy to build over the long term. That is the best that conscientious Americans can hope for today. Build over the long term by simply registering Green Party and encouraging your circles to do the same. It doesn’t cost you a dime, and it doesn’t affect any election at all, but it is a strong symbolic act that builds the party one citizen at a time. It also sends an unequivocal message that delegitimizes the mainstream corporate parties. Without legitimacy, they are far easier targets.
We all know America has a completely fucked up electoral system. Voting Green Party is one sane, rational response to this abominable situation, which makes logical sense and remains one of the few legal remedies to a government out of control and acting beyond the Constitution and rule of law generally.
The plutocrats and their lackeys in office will not restrain themselves. They don’t have to. The only real solution is to replace their functionaries in a populist, democratic upsurge.
The Occupy Movement can send a clear message, in the language politicians understand, by registering Green Party and showing up on Election Day to disturb the entrenched powers. They may not win, but they will move the ball just a little bit farther down the field. If one is willing to risk arrest, hypothermia, beatings and tear gas – why not risk a tick on a ballot line? Or a registration form to add your voice to the Green Party’s rolls?
Occupiers should know that Jill Stein and her vice-presidential nominee Cheri Honkala were arrested outside the second Obama/Romney debate and treated like common criminals. Greens have been placed on “no-fly lists” and harassed for opposing the sham democracy entrenched in Washington DC. They are probably under FBI surveillance as well.
The goal of achieving 5% of the popular vote for the Green Party and Jill Stein is tangible and achievable. Most people in the United States live in uncontested states. As the corporate/fascist news harps on about “swing states,” most Americans do not live in these states. What about them? What about their votes?
If you live in a state such as California, which is not a “swing state” but firmly in Obama’s column, then casting a vote for Romney or Obama is the definition of a “wasted vote.” Your vote will not and cannot affect anything. Contrarily, a vote for the Green Party may push that party over the 5% threshold allowing it to qualify for millions of dollars in Federal Election Commission matching funds in the next election cycle. These millions can be used to wake up a much more significant portion of the populace. This scenario is what Democrats fear the most, and they resort to absurd anti-democratic arguments to try and coerce voters into voting for their war criminal in chief.
Earl Ofari Hutchison has warned of the “Naderizing” of Obama and called out “Nader apologists” to atone for their alleged sins and to vote his way. Discarding the actual theft of Florida in 2000 by Jeb Bush and company, which Greg Palast covered for BBC, but the US news pointedly ignored, Hutchinson lies about how and why the 2000 election went to Bush. Hutchinson blatantly attempts to delegitimize the existence of third parties in a recent undemocratic and blinded piece of propaganda that should disgust most every American.
Further disgust should register as a man of integrity, Ralph Nader, who fought for consumer safety and accountability in government for decades is scapegoated while the documented disenfranchisement of up to “91,000” voters from the Florida voting rolls in 2000 is ignored as if it never happened. Further, the counting of the 2000 ballots was illegally stopped in a kangaroo court ruling that effectively ended American democracy. The problems of the US voting system are now so flagrant that Palast counted up “5,220,576 legitimate votes and voters tossed out of the count” in the last presidential election, 2008.
Independent third party candidates were censored out of the duopoly debates, of course, as is the norm in the “land of the free.” However, an independent debate did occur over at FreeAndEqual.org, where you can catch the replay online. A second debate between Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian frontman Gary Johnson will occur on (EDITED: PUSHED BACK DUE TO HURRICANE) Monday November 5th at 9pm EST/6pm PST. It will be broadcast on various independent outlets such as RT America (Russia Today), RT.com and on Youtube via the Free and Equal website.
I’m not sure how self-described “progressives” expect real change to occur when they vote for the same old imperial / Wall Street shills time and time again. Obama has proven himself – to Wall Street – and after raising more than $700,000,000.00 in 2008, Obama is set to top $1Bn this term, having already cashed checks for “$988 million” (Chicago Tribune, 10.25.12). That kind of money buys a lot of immunity from prosecution. It installs people like Geithner and Summers in the top financial spots of his administration. It buys a lot more war, too. Their money, your vote. Whom do you think is represented more in this equation?
I’ve suggested to Green Party members how to more quickly increase their numbers and build momentum. This strategy is in line with David Cobb’s priorities to make the party a legitimate alternative to corporate/elite sponsored fascism, over the long haul. Let’s hope America agrees and wipes the sleep out of their eyes, turns off their X-Boxes, looks up from tapping on their phones about nothing and smells the collapse all around them. Further, let’s hope they decide to do the right thing. Support the alternative you want to see, not the criminals who claim to have you by the balls. Grow a backbone, for God’s sake. It’s about more than Election Day; it’s about every other day in between. You’re going to have to work for it if you want to reverse a decline this severe, this dangerous, this overtly unlawful and steeped in fanciful myths about ourselves and our place in the world.
I’m voting Green and FOR Jill Stein, which is a bit of a luxury living in California where a vote for the others wouldn’t matter in the slightest. In a swing state, I would probably have to recalculate my tactics, knowing that these are simply tactics. I might even just consider expatriation more seriously (I love you, Iceland, and your brand new Constitution). I would, however, register in the party that represents me best and encourage others to do likewise. Anything else is betrayal, a betrayal of conscience, of values, of one’s own ethics. Make your presence matter and reject the elite’s call for obedient sheeple. That’s not you. You’re better than that. This nation is better than that.
by KIM NICOLINI
I have to admit that the numerous times I saw the trailer for Ben Affleck’s Argo (too many to count!), I wasn’t very enthusiastic about it. I wondered who the hell would want to watch this movie about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis as seen through a Hollywood-CIA covert operation. I tend to enjoy historical movies, but this one just looked so weird, scattered and unsure of its message. After seeing it the other night, I can say that while the movie is indeed a little weird, it is far from scattered. Its message is pretty clear and insidious. In fact, Argo is so un-scattered and linear that it is boring while also being politically dubious.
I checked out the reviews of the film before deciding to watch it. Metacritic turns up with an astonishing number of 100s from all the main press, and Rottentomatoes gives the film a 95% positive rating. I thought that maybe my initial impressions from the trailer were wrong. Given the overwhelming positive responses to the film, maybe Argo really is a good movie. So I went to see it. I should have trusted my initial instincts. As a movie, Argo is a total dud. Besides the fact that it is an exercise in problematic revisionist history, it’s just a crappy movie. I’m fine with using historical material to create a movie that is not wedded to being accurate, but at least the movie should be good, interesting or entertaining. Argo is none of these things. It is a crappy movie with an insidious political agenda. It turns a fascinating “real historical event” into a lousy and tedious screenplay. It is so wedded to its CIA-Hollywood patriotic narrative that the film completely lacks complexity and tension. Its tiresome linear progression mirrors the film’s “Middle of the Road” politics and ultimately left me both bored and bugged at the same time.
The movie is based loosely on real events: Tony Mendez’s account of the historical rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran. “Loosely” certainly is the operative word here. Argo is a piece of cinematic revisionist history if ever there was one. Not only did I find the movie incredibly dull in its exceptionally linear narrative perspective of these historical events, but I was also more than a little annoyed by its historical manipulation.
For me, the only “good” thing about the movie was how it used the cinematic medium to recreate a historical time – 1979. Certainly Affleck’s recreation of history is visually accurate. If you’re interested in indulging in Set Detail and Costume Fetishism, Affleck’s cinematic recreation of 1979 fashions, technology and cars delivers the goods while also delivering six white Americans to safety. The cinematography perfectly mimics the look of late 70s film, and the integration of archival news footage lends a sense of authenticity. But there is only so much entertainment value that can be gleaned from indulging in late 70s fetishism. Once I oohed and ahhed a few times at the haircuts and television sets, I found the movie’s seemingly interminable 120 minutes so boring that I actually fell asleep twice.
The movie starts during the tumultuous riots in Iran when Iranians were demanding that Americans return their deposed Shah (Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavī) for prosecution in their own country. The movie is packed with rioting American-hating Iranians with guns, yet the film has no tension whatsoever. Other than a brief history lesson in the beginning of the film and one scene in a public market when an outraged Iranian insists that the diplomats give him a Polaroid photo they shot and mentions that the Shah killed his son, the movie completely neglects to provide the Iranian’s side of the story. The film is a sanitized version of the events. It minimally alludes to the back story of the Iranian revolution but then turns the Iranians into window dressing. They are simply a backdrop that allows the film to tell its patriotic story of the American Hollywood-CIA heroic and covert operation to rescue the diplomats.
Speaking of authenticity, there is nothing authentic about the film’s manipulation of historical events. Its authenticity stops with its haircuts and its use of archival news footage and photographs to give a sense of historical accuracy. Underneath the set details, the burning American flag, and the mirror images from photo archives, Argo really is pure political propaganda. I have some questions to ask here. Why didn’t the Americans just return the Shah to Iran? Why do Americans feel it’s their right to take care of other countries’ business? Why not let the Iranians prosecute their deposed corrupt leader? What’s that old saying about “cleaning up your own backyard before . . .” Also, excuse me in advance if this sounds harsh, but given the vast number of people who have died in the Middle East (Americans, Iranians, Iraqis, Afghanis, etc.), why should we give so much attention to 6 white American diplomats who were saved by Hollywood and the CIA? What about all the other people from so many cultural demographics who have and are continuing to be massacred, murdered and tortured daily?
Needless to say, since it is based on true events, we know the end of the story before going into the movie, and that can take the wind out of a movie’s sails if the film is not done well. But why is it that Hollywood Lefties (Ben Affleck has a clear track record for leaning staunchly to the Left) made a movie about Hollywood joining forces with the CIA to save some diplomats right before the 2012 Presidential election? Why is it that in this film the fact that the hostages were released after Ronald Reagan was elected President and during his inauguration is completely ignored? Why is it that the film ends with the stamp of Jimmy Carter (the Official Voice of American Centrist Democrats) in an actual voiceover narration? And why does it manipulate the delivery of historical information and disregard all the covert financial wheeling and dealing that led to the release of the hostages?
I’ll tell you why. Because Argo, above all else, is a piece of conservative liberal propaganda created by Hollywood to support the Obama administration’s conservative liberal politics as we move toward the Presidential election. In addition, it also primes the war wheels for an American-supported Israeli attack on Iran, so that Leftists can feel okay about the war when they cast their vote for Obama in November.
This leads me to why this movie is one big bore. It’s not a movie at all. It’s exceptionally underhanded political propaganda created by Hollywood to try to win over right leaning war supporters to Obama’s conservative liberal politics while appeasing centrist Leftists (which Hollywood embodies to the max) to feel good about voting for a President who supports war.
Propaganda, as a general rule, does not make good film. So why do so many movie critics love this movie? I seriously don’t know. If they were looking at the film critically, they would have to see it as boring and flawed.
Perhaps it is because movie critics are also part of the movie industry. The movie industry plays a considerable role in the patriotic heroics of this film. In Argo, Hollywood works with the CIA to save the day and the 6 American diplomats. Not surprisingly, Hollywood as an “institution” is the most entertaining part of the film. For the record, the movie industry is played by a tremendously amusing John Goodman and Alan Arkin. Their performances are enormously entertaining. They give us a chance to laugh, and they insert humor into this piece of propaganda as another level of making war comfortable by making it funny. Goodman and Arkin play the movie executives who work with Affleck’s Tony Mendez to create the fake film Argo as a ploy to get the diplomats out of Iran by “casting” them as members of a film team scouting for shooting locations for their science fiction film. The best part of the movie is Goodman and Arkin’s on-going joke “Argo Fuck Yourself.” After digesting the film’s conservative liberal patriotic agenda, I can pretty much say the same thing that Arkin and Goodman say about the movie they star in: “Argo fuck yourself.”
To wrap up the political agenda, the movie ends with Ben Affleck’s Tony Mendez returning home to reunite with his family as a hero, a father, and a husband. If you’re going to make a 2012 election year propaganda film, you’ve got to have your family values! Then finally, we get the reassuring “stamp of authenticity” as the film pairs photos of the real diplomats with the actors who played them while Jimmy Carter assures us that there can be peaceful resolutions to international crisis (even if a few thousand people die along the way, ahem). But the movie never talks about those people – all the ones (Iranian and American) who actually did die just because we felt like we needed to clean-up the world’s dirty laundry (so we could keep our American dirty hands in the oil supply).
Personally, I found the movie hard to stomach, not just because it is boring but because it is so ideologically problematic. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no enthusiast for Obama’s centrist Democratic politics, and never have been. However, I do understand how the politics of this country work, so I will be voting for Obama in November. I understand that as much as my ideals would like to believe otherwise, there are only two choices in this America – More and Less Bad. Voting for the Less Bad Democrats is the only way to beat the More Bad Republicans, and I do not want my daughter living in a world where Mitt Romney is President. She has already inherited the nightmare legacy of two Bush administrations. Despite my antipathy toward Obama and his policies, I sure in the fuck hope he does win the election because the alternative makes me puke. But Democrats are not saints by a long shot, despite what movies like Argo make them out to be. Argo is just another piece of Democratic Party Packaging made to win votes by walking a conservative line that somehow attempts to be liberal while also supporting the problematic politics of the conservative liberal agenda. (e.g. It’s okay for Israel to bomb Gaza on a daily basis.)
Am I sorry that I wasted my time and money watching Argo? No, I’m not. Watching a movie like this and thinking about why people like it so much when it’s so wrong is worthwhile. I put my money on this film to win the Best Picture Oscar (even though there is nothing remotely “best” about it) especially if Obama can pull off winning the Presidential election. Since Ben Affleck has made Argo, if Obama does win, Hollywood will be so happy with itself. It can give itself a big pat on the back for helping save the American diplomats back in 1979, for supporting the conservative Democratic agenda, and for helping the Democrats win the 2012 election. Argo may be the most self-congratulatory film Hollywood has ever made, but that does not make it a good film, not by a long shot.
Kim Nicolini is an artist, poet and cultural critic living in Tucson, Arizona. Her writing has appeared in Bad Subjects, Punk Planet, Souciant, La Furia Umana, and The Berkeley Poetry Review. She recently published her first book, Mapping the Inside Out, in conjunction with a solo gallery show by the same name. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Lifting the Veil: Obama and the Failure of Capitalist Democracy (2011)
Feature length film documents the extensive list of Obama’s crimes. He has, you may remember, presided over the greatest theft in human history (as much as $26 Trillion documented so far).
Anyone in a non-swing state should vote their conscience. Support the Green Party, vote Jill Stein.
John Pilger: Obama Is A Corporate Marketing Creation
Sometimes I think Hollywood should only be making kids’ movies. They usually show more moral compass and creativity than what passes for their adult fare. While grown-up Hollywood studio films are often insulting to the intelligence, one’s sense of right and wrong, as well as predictable, some of the kids’ movies can be quite refreshing, especially when viewed with a kid, or even a teenager.
ParaNorman is a great kids’ film, and it plays with some well-worn tropes. These horror movie cliches are rubbed thin in other contexts but here are reinvented and given enough of a twist to thrill children of all ages. We have zombies, witches, and yes, the very real historical record concerning mass hysteria, religious intolerance and persecution of scapegoats. In this case, the scapegoat is a young girl, who over the centuries has become a powerful witch from beyond the grave.
Enter Norman, who is a slight, frail boy bullied at school, hated on at home, and considered a freak by just about everyone. This loner has a unique “gift,” as in the Sixth Sense, he sees dead people. Norman not only sees dead people, but he’s the only human alive who can talk with them, communicate their concerns.
Everything goes to hell on the night the witch’s spell comes around, and something must be done. And guess who gets the honor of being the only person who can do anything about it? All pretty much an expected setup, but then the twists come. ParaNorman is funny and worth the experience. It has a strong central theme concerning reconciliation, peace and understanding. This is where kids’ movies shine, while Hollywood’s less mature “adult” aimed “entertainment product” devolves to torture-porn and superiority. Their “entertainment” ends with the biggest explosion, killing the irredeemable villain, by a “hero” who is not significantly any more moral than said villain.
I’ll take PARANORMAN, WALL-E, BATTLE FOR TERRA, IRON GIANT or A BUG’S LIFE any day over 95% of the live-action violence they’re peddling. Rent it for your kids, or see if it’s still playing at the second run theaters.