Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - October 31, 2018

Benton, Michael. Recommended Films of 2017 Letterboxd (Ongoing Archive)

Broockman, David, et al. "Definitely, Maybe." Nancy #54 (October 29, 2018) ["To win in Massachusetts, trans activists have adopted a counterintuitive strategy: leaning into the worst things their opponents say about them."]

Hill, Sean Patrick. "The Good River: What Lurks Below the Ohio." LEO Weekly (October 17, 2018)

Koski, Genevieve, et al. "Phantom Thread/Rebecca (1940) - Part 1." The Next Picture Show #112 (January 23, 2018) ["Paul Thomas Anderson has made it clear that his new PHANTOM THREAD is a purposeful riff on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 Best Picture winner REBECCA, inspiring us to return to Manderley for a reflection on the film that brought Hitchcock to Hollywood (and to producer David O. Selznick, whom he famously clashed with). We talk over what REBECCA gained and lost from being produced under the Hays Code, what it signaled for Hitchcock’s career going forward, and what to make of the two big relationships (or would-be love triangle) at its center."]

---. "Phantom Thread/Rebecca (1940) - Part 2." The Next Picture Show #113 (January 25, 2018) ["With PHANTOM THREAD, Paul Thomas Anderson has repurposed REBECCA to his own ends, telling a personal story that’s unique from the original yet still resonates with echoes of Hitchcock’s gothic romance. We tug at the many threads Anderson has woven throughout his film, before diving into what unites it with REBECCA, from the two films’ character analogs to their complementary relationships with food. "]

Lehmann, Chris. "Firing Lines." The Baffler (October 29, 2018) ["How a morally inert media complex supplies alibis for right-wing terror."]

Scheer, Bob and Mark Steiner. "Is Orwell’s Big Brother Here? Bezos & Amazon Team up With Defense, CIA & ICE." Naked Capitalism (October 27, 2018)

Sultan, Niv M. "The Horror of Mandy's Many Orgasms." BLARB (October 30, 2018)

Monday, October 29, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - October 29, 2018

Bosque, Melissa del. "Checkpoint Nation." Harper's (October 2018) ["Border agents are expanding their reach into the country's interior."]

Bradley, S.A. "My Horror Manifesto." Hellbent for Horror #66 (February 9, 2018)

Diebel, Ann and Tyler Maroney. "Paper Terrorism." Harper's (October 2018)  ["Anti-government vigilantes wield a subtle weapon."]

Hu, Jane and Philip Maciak. "The Shirley Jackson 5: The Haunting of Hill House (Eps. 1-5)." Los Angeles Review of Books (October 25, 2018)

Morris, Errol, interviewed by Tom Lutz. "Errol Morris Explores the Death of Truth in America, Past and Present." LARB Radio Hour (December 15, 2017) ["It’s the question on everyone’s mind: How the hell did we get here, Donald Trump’s America? How did our belief in democratic ideals get warped into what Errol Morris terms the “bat shit craziness” of the Trump era? LARB’s Tom Lutz talks with Morris about his brilliant new film Wormword, which debuts this week on Netflix, and how it’s tale of an army scientist’s suspicious death in 1953 relates to the current crisis of a government we feel we fundamentally can’t trust. As Morris explains, a society that builds powerful, secretive, violent institutions cannot also be an honest democracy with citizens who demand to know the truth — and what better way to deliver this message than an uncanny, six-part, binge-worthy, murder mystery. Also, John Freeman returns to recommend Solmaz Sharif’s sublime book of verse, Look."]

Schuyler, Samantha. "Beyond People’s History: On Paul Ortiz’s African American and Latinx History of the United States." Los Angeles Review of Books (September 29, 2018)

Hittman follows up her acclaimed debut, It Felt Like Love, with this sensitive chronicle of sexual becoming. Frankie (a breakout Harris Dickinson), a bored teenager living in South Brooklyn, regularly haunts the Coney Island boardwalk with his boys— trying to score weed, flirting with girls, killing time. But he spends his late nights dipping his toes into the world of online cruising, connecting with older men and exploring the desires he harbors but doesn’t yet fully understand. Sensuously lensed on 16mm by Louvart, Beach Rats presents a colorful and textured world roiling with secret appetites and youthful self-discovery. -- The Female Gaze (2018)

Geo-Sift: The Refined Derive by Michael Dean Benton

Debord’s spectacle is no longer a fantasy
but a reality that surrounds the confines
of our fake plastic world.
We are all just fish swimming mindlessly
through the cultural aquariums
of our mediatized landscapes.
Are you unhappy with your appearance?
Do you have a desire to confess on national TV?
What scandals shall occupy our minds,
diverting us from the truth and leading us astray?

We are dominated by a priesthood
of instrumental reasoning and sanctioned experts.
The omniscient media uses sex and death
to decorate their myths of material satisfaction.
The cultural regulators in their ivory towers
despise the masses from the safety of their fortresses.
Feeling safe in their illusions
they continue to lose touch with reality.
Our political leaders are Waiting for Godot
They are as lost as we are, but unwilling to admit it.

We are no longer a product of nature.
Our technological wonders fuse with our psyches.
Flesh to machine, this is the age of the post-human.
Fused to the non-living, this is the new religion.
Urban megacities dominate our global reality
Centers of power---they control information and finances.
Earlier theorists realized the importance
of mapping out these concrete jungles.
To map the psyche
of our communal constructions.

This is the new pataphysics.
Jarry’s Ubu married to geology.
Collective memories mined
like the substrata of the earth.
Sifting the fallowed voices of our cities,
perceiving the core truths that are the foundations,
and disregarding the detrital productions
artfully designed to distract us.
Who will step forward to seek a new way?
When will we learn to see and listen?

Charles Griffin: Training to Come Home

Charles Griffin
ENG 102
Professor Michael Benton
Training to Come Home
War is something the military is very good at because we as human beings have been in different variations of war since the beginning of time. Since then we have gone from using stones and sinew from animals to developing, creating and innovating the most sophisticated weapon systems imaginable and to enable soldiers to use them. We are good at making war and we are good at making soldiers fight these wars, yet when we consider the experience of the modern day combat veteran we start to see that we have not been as good at preparing them to come home. Why is that? Well, the generations before ours lived immersed in conflict and they fought right where they lived. So, until only recently during America’s revolutionary history, there was hardly a need to learn how to come home from war because we had never needed to before. That’s not really the case anymore. Since the revolutionary war from 1861-1865 we haven’t fought on American soil unless you consider the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 a war or conflict fought on U.S. soil. America’s unpreparedness to return soldiers home from conflict without proper reintegration and training is resulting in many soldiers with PTSD suffering from the effects of untreated mental illness. It is imperative that the American government provide soldiers with proper reintegration tools after they return home from war, because the government has a responsibility to give soldiers the best chance of a normal life after conflict. 

The military is great at training soldiers to harness rage. A rage that most people don’t realize they have, in combat that rage kept me alive as a soldier in the military, at home that rage almost killed me. Before 2009, I had never been west of Kentucky but often wondered about life outside a small town. I really wanted to be a part of something I wanted to show my worth. January 2009, I enlisted into the army with hopes of going to war and fulfilling my childhood fantasies of participating in combat and having that bond of brotherhood. From day one in basic training, we were broken down mentally through “smoke sessions”: multiple exercises lasting past muscle fatigue of one soldier or group of soldiers, and reminded at all times we knew nothing, we were nothing, and all life experience up to the point of joining the military was irrelevant. This was the process of building soldiers, by hardening both the mind and body until feelings was something unnoticed, we continued this process until we became desensitized. The military fosters a sense of brotherhood, but also benefits from enforcing the idea that killing the enemy is of upmost importance. We were taught many call and responses that were directly linked with violence, where most people would answer a question with yes or no, we used phrases like “kill” which means yes with a high level of enthusiasm. When the drill sergeants ask if we were motivated the direct answer given back with no hesitation was always “Motivated. Motivated. Hell yeah, motivated! Ooh, ahh, I want to kill somebody! Ooh, ahh I want to kill somebody! Ahhhhh!” If the drill sergeant didn’t  like it we yelled it again. Another one belted out daily on multiple occasions was: “What makes the grass grow green? Blood blood bright red blood ahhhhhh!” As we made our way through the chow line we were asked: “What are the two types of people in this world?” We replied with, “the quick and the dead!” Which one are you? “The quick!” Who are they? “The dead!” The military uses hundreds of these call and response chants, with the purpose of creating and channeling hype and aggression. Enemy personnel are targets or silhouettes, these are also terms we become very familiar with, soldiers never use terms like “person,” “man,” “woman,” or “child” because those terms have emotion attached to them, which could cause hesitation or confusion with a decision to take a life. Any training covering the concepts of coming home and dealing with direct death would have been valuable and useful because we were heading to war.

It wasn’t until I was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom that I came to realize that war, true war is not at all a childhood fantasy or anything close to it. One of the most traumatic things a soldier can experience is Harm to others, even the enemy. In a survey taken after the first Gulf War by David Marlowe, an anthropologist, combat veterans reported that killing an enemy soldier, or being a witness to one being killed, was worse than being wounded themselves, but the worst thing of all was losing a buddy (Junger 82). It only took one day to transform me from a normal functioning young man into a mere shadow of the boy who left home seeking out an adventure and some form of belonging, after my best friend died as a result from an IED (improvised explosive device). After returning home from Afghanistan in 2013, I self-medicated with alcohol, went through a divorce, and literally lost everything I owned besides my military clothes/gear and a military duffle bag of civilian clothing, along with a few personal belongings. Nightmares and flashbacks of the firefights, explosions and cries of my friends consumed me and I sank into severe depression, feeling like I was the only one going through this. It wasn’t until reaching the point of attempting suicide and luckily failing that I decided to approach my chain of command and ask for help. One of my closest friends only a week later hanged himself. He didn’t get the help he needed in time. This was a real wakeup call to me that I wasn’t alone.

One issue that the VA and military has with helping veterans and soldiers is that there isn’t enough doctors for the amount of veterans and soldiers seeking help (Oppel Jr. and Goodnough). “Suicide is often seen as an extreme expression of PTSD, but researchers have not yet found any relationship between suicide and combat.” (Junger 83). With that being said for an average of twenty veterans a day committing suicide, waiting is not an option (Shane III and Kime). Veterans seeking treatment will more than likely receive two forms of therapy. The first is cognitive behavioral therapy and the second is prolonged exposure therapy. After doing both of these I must admit that the difference these treatments made was significant. Little did I know in January 2017, I would be medically retired/discharged from the army for multiple injuries to my back, shoulder, severe anxiety and depression, and PTSD.
PTSD is extremely common among service members who have seen combat. The VA defines PTSD as ‘the development of characteristic and persistent symptoms along with difficulty functioning after exposure to a life-threatening experience or to an event that either involves a threat to life or serious injury.’ In addition to military combat, PTSD can result from the experience or witnessing of a terrorist attack, violent crime and abuse, natural disasters, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults. (Reisman).
According to Matthew J. Friedman, MD, PhD, Senior Advisor and former Executive Director, National Center for PTSD, Links between the trauma of war and post-military civilian life were established around 1980. Until recent years, the science of PTSD just wasn’t there. Friedman goes on to say that in the fiscal year of 2013 more than 500,000 soldiers were treated for PTSD and were receiving treatment at VA facilities across America. Prior to this society didn’t know what to do for veterans suffering from PTSD. Some would be heavily medicated and some just told to go home and forget about their experiences. More recently methods like therapy dogs, and wilderness retreats have been used to treat PTSD. I have participated in many of these treatment facilities and activities including white water rafting, rock climbing with Wounded Warrior, sky diving, and deep sea fishing to name a few. The problem with these sorts of treatments are that they may temporarily relive stress, but don’t target the actual PTSD along with its symptoms. Things have changed though and through new scientific studies it is shown that soldiers with PTSD can manage those symptoms through repetitive training. It is shown that the best treatments for PTSD actually use the same training principals that the military uses to train its soldiers for war (Garcia et al.).  

When the United States decides to go to war with another country we now have the technology to tailor the training that soldiers undergo according to the enemy and terrain that they will be fighting in, and then drop them in to fight anywhere on the globe. When they’re done we simply jet them back to normal every day civilian life. Just imagine for a moment what this must feel like. One day I’m in a five hour firefight in Afghanistan and only seven days later I’m in a hospital meeting my son for the first time carrying diapers, baby wipes, and formula instead of a rifle, C4, and an MRE (meal ready to eat). There’s a term veterans use for things that cannot be explained with words but only the experience itself can explain, and that’s “mindfuck.” While we spend countless hours training for war we have only recently come to understand that soldiers also require training on how to return to civilian life.

In the army, we don’t simply hand a soldier a Browning .50 cal, show them the trigger, hand them some ammo, and expect that all will turn out well. No. The military meticulously trains soldiers until proficiency is achieved. This training occurs over and over and over again until lifting a weapon and engaging a target is so ingrained into muscle memory that it is performed without even thinking, even under stressful scenarios and conditions. This same concept of training is also true with PTSD according to Hector Garcia a clinical psychologist specializing in PTSD. The first of these treatments is cognitive behavioral therapy Which is kind of a mental recalibration. Garcia explains, “When veterans come home from war their way of mentally framing the world is calibrated to an immensely more dangerous environment. So when you try to overlay that mind frame onto a peacetime environment, you get problems,” (Garcia). Soldiers returning home with PTSD seem to go through a very common trend, drowning in worries and dangers that don’t actually exist, loosing trust in those closest to them including family members. This is not to say there aren’t dangers in the land of the free and home of the brave, because there most certainly are, but the chances of encountering them compared to that of, let’s say, Afghanistan are astronomically lower.

As Garcia mentions prolonged exposure therapy is the fastest of the evidence based, effective treatments for reintegrating. Prolonged exposure treatment was the treatment that I chose. The treatment began with exercises which were more like challenges. To many, these challenges would be simple everyday common errands but for me I found them to almost unbearable. For example, going to a grocery store, shopping mall, or going to a restaurant and setting with my back to the door. Staying in these environments not allowing myself to leave when the overwhelming feeling of anxiety and not having full control was extremely difficult. At first I was very anxious, I wanted to sit where I could scan the entire room and have more than one exit readily available. I wanted to leave but I didn’t. I remembered my training and I kept moving through my discomfort and every time I did the anxiety and panic came down a little and then a little more and a little more until eventually I had effectively relearned how to sit in a public space and just enjoy myself. I also watched videos from my deployment experiences over and over and over again I listened and watched until those memories no longer generated panic, anxiety, and discomfort. As awkward as it is to say, part of the trauma of war seems to be giving war up itself. Watching these videos and training my mind repeatedly was very similar to the training I received in basic training to enable me to kill without a second thought. I processed my memories so much that thinking of those experiences became a deep breath of air and reassuring myself that everything was fine. This is very different than erasing a memory, I will always remember the traumatic experiences that I have been subjected to, but with enough practice those memories are no longer as raw or painful as they once were.

One of the problems is that soldiers are taught that everything can kill them, then deploy and find that to be true. This creates a mindset that isn’t easily changed once returning back to the United States and civilian life. The way I have heard many veterans describe this, is like a switch that the military expects us to be able to turn on when deployed and turn off when returning home. The heightened sense of awareness and caution which lead soldiers to question every person, vehicle, piece of trash on the side of the road and so on doesn’t turn off when coming home leading many soldiers into a difficult daily life where normal functionality and interactions with every day citizens doesn’t take place because of fear. Sebastian Junger, war journalist and author of War and co-director of the film Restrepo talks about the struggles of soldiers returning home. Junger says that even as complicated as life may seem and look from the outside looking in, life is simple in war; there’s the enemy and then there’s your friends. Junger goes on to say that at OP (out post) Restrepo from the documentary Restrepo in Afghanistan where he was embedded with a group of soldiers, they knew who was on their side and they knew who the enemy was, and knew who loved them and they knew who didn’t (Restrepo). I found this to be spot on from my experience in Afghanistan as well. Often soldiers don’t trust civilians for help, but what we must recognize is that we aren’t looking for training to close within and destroy the enemy any longer. What veterans who suffer from PTSD need to seek out now is training on how to come home. The military should take the time when soldiers return home from overseas to place them in treatment that is mandatory. Expecting soldiers with mental or behavioral health issues to step forward on their own is unrealistic. Especially when there are often consequences for their career progression in the military. There needs to be better policy in the military and more actual acceptance for its existence. The training and therapy of returning home should be just as much involved and planned if not more than that of the training in preparation to deploy. Coming home is often more difficult than going to war. If we as a country want to set soldiers up for success, we need to not only train them to fight but also train them to come home.

Works Cited

Garcia, A Hector., McGeary, A Cindy., Finley, P Erin., Ketchum, S Norma., McGeary, D Donald., Petterson, L Alan. “Evidence-Based Treatments for PTSD and VHA Provider Burnout: The Impact of Cognitive Processing and Prolonged Exposure Therapies.” November 3, 2014. Web.

Garcia, A Hector. “We Train Soldiers for War. Let’s Train Them to Come Home, Too” Ted Talks. (December 6, 2016).

Junger, Sabastian. Tribe, Twelve, May 2016.

Oppel Jr. A Richard and Goodnough, Abby. “Doctor Shortage Is Cited in Delays at V.A. Hospitals.” NY Times. May 29, 2014. Web.

Reisman, Miriam. “PTSD Treatment for Veterans: What’s Working, What’s New, and What’s Next.” Pharmacy and Therapeutics. October 2016. Web.

Restrepo (USA: Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, 2010)

Shane III, Leo and Kime, Patricia. “New VA Study Finds 20 Veterans Commit Suicide Each Day.” Military Times. July 7, 2016. Web.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - October 27, 2018

I have been doing everything I can to work to develop a better life in which to cultivate self-love through healthy physical and spiritual practices and with the hope of integrating it into my work as a teacher/community-member and to cultivate a greater creativity/spirituality in my life (inward and outward). It has made remarkable changes in the way I perceive, think-about and act in the world. Still, I suffer a dis-ease from the chaos and hatred circulating in our social/political realms. It literally acts as a sickness at times, it can be debilitating. I'm trying to immerse myself in works/practices of mindful awareness , cultivating spirituality, peaceful relations, and healthy living - then I look around at our society/world and I am quite literally horrified at the hate, disinterest, and dischord permeating our reality.

What is to be done? How can we work individually and collectively to create a better world?

I'm thinking about this as my focus and want to open up discussions on this subject. We have to do something about the poison infecting our culture/society. This is beyond Trump, he is but a symptom of the greater affliction (although I am committed to treating that symptom, we should not ignore the root causes).

I'm a humanities professor/professional. I'm going to re-commit to focus on the arts and culture, but my work in that field is never divorced from the other perspectives/disciplines/knowledge of our world. In fact, one of the problems I sense is the separation/specialization that isolates different ways of thinking/being from other ways of thinking/being. We need to make those broader connections and collaborate as much as possible.

Peace and love - Michael Benton


Bradley, S.A. "Fighting Phobias with Phantasms." Hellbent for Horror #68 (March 19, 2018)

---. "A Good Year for Fear." Hellbent for Horror #64 (January 10, 2018)

Greenberg, Jamie. "Future '38." Following Films (June 3, 2017) ["FUTURE '38 was an Audience Award winner at Slamdance this year and will be having its New York premiere on June 8th at the Art of Brooklyn Film Fest. It's a hilarious, screwball comedy and sci-fi throwback to the golden era of cinema about a time-travel adventure which presents the exotic future-world of 2018 A.D., as imagined by the film-makers of 1938. The film stars Betty Gilpin, Nick Westrate, Robert John Burke, Ethan Phillips and Sean Young with a special appearance by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Today my guest on the show is the director/writer of FUTURE '38 Jaime Greenberg. We discuss how the Technicolor "bag of gumballs" that was the color pallet for THE WIZARD OF OZ influenced the look of FUTURE '38, the importance of blurred scratches, our mutual love for HIS GIRL FRIDAY, JOHN WATERS, and the immortal Howard Hawks classic BRINGING UP BABY."]

Greenwald, Glenn. "Roger Waters, Marielle Franco, and the Power of Inspiration in the Face of Darkness and Danger." The Intercept (October 25, 2018)

"Native Americans Left a Code of 20 Rules for [Humans] to Live By..." The Meaning of Life (ND)

Self, Will. "The Printed Word in Peril." Harper's (October 2018)  ["The age of Homo virtualis is upon us."]

At once a dreamlike portrait of teen alienation and a boldly experimental work of film narrative, Paranoid Park finds Gus Van Sant at the height of his powers. A withdrawn high-school skateboarder (Gabe Nevins) struggles to make sense of his involvement in an accidental death. He recalls past events across tides of memory, and expresses his feelings in a diary—which is, in effect, the movie we are watching. The extraordinary skating scenes, filmed by Rain Li and Christopher Doyle in a lyrical mixture of Super 8 and 35mm, depict their subjects soaring in space, momentarily free of the earthly troubles of adolescence -- The Female Gaze (2018)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - October 25, 2018

Antončič, Emica, Metka Mencin Čeplak and Mirjana Ule. "Struggles for Equality: Feminism in Slovenia." Eurozine (October 9, 2018) ["Liberal feminism has completely overlooked class and other axes of inequality and subjugation, says Metka Mencin Čeplak, as the economically and politically imposed commodification of women comes to the fore, warns Mirjana Ule. What is to be done? In interview, two leading Slovenian feminists consider the options in light of a century of feminist thought."]

"Colum McCann with Gabriel Byrne." Lannan Podcasts (January 31, 2018)
["Colum McCann is the author of six novels and three collections of stories, including Let the Great World Spin, TransAtlantic, and Thirteen Ways of Looking. In a 2013 interview the author said, “I believe in the democracy of storytelling. That stories can cross all sorts of borders and boundaries. I don’t know of a greater privilege than being allowed to tell a story or to listen to a story.” McCann’s books cover a wide range of topics, including The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the life of Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, the first attempted nonstop flight across the Atlantic in 1919, New York of the 1970s, and the tightrope walker who crossed the gap between the Twin Towers. Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1965, McCann crossed the United States on a bicycle in the 1980s, describing the trip as being “simply to expand my lungs emotionally.” He is the recipient of several honors, among them the National Book Award, the International DUBLIN Literary Award, and designation as a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. In 2012 McCann cofounded the nonprofit global story-exchange organization Narrative 4, whose mission is to use storytelling to inspire “fearless hope through radical empathy.” McCann lives in New York with his family and teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Hunter College."]

Dion, Dennis. "Priming the Pump of War: Toward a Post-Ethnic, Post-Racial Fascism." C-Theory (November 6, 2002)

Doidge, Kristin Marguerite. "A Star's Voice is Born: A Path Forward." Los Angeles Review of Books (October 24, 2018) ["What could happen if we were surrounded by men and women who actually do have integrity, who might give us — and the next generation — an opportunity to be vulnerable and safe at the same time? Most importantly, how much magic are we missing out on when we don’t create that kind of atmosphere every day for our children, artists, athletes, students, colleagues, friends, family, and lovers?"]

El-Ad, Hagai. "'Reminiscent of South Africa's Grand Apartheid': Israeli Human Rights Group Slams Israel at U.N." Democracy Now (October 22, 2018) ["Shortly after Israel announced a new “zero tolerance” policy toward demonstrations in Gaza, some 130 Palestinians were injured Friday while protesting ongoing Israeli occupation and demanding the right of return. Four paramedics and 25 children were among the injured. Ten thousand protesters gathered along Israel’s heavily militarized separation barrier with Gaza as part of the weekly Great March of Return protests that began March 30. Since then, Israeli forces have killed at least 170 Palestinians, including more than 30 children, and injured thousands more. We speak with Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. He was in New York last week testifying before the U.N. Security Council officially for the first time."]

Mishan, Ligaya. "Frogs are Disappearing. What Does That Mean?"The New York Times (October 18, 2018) ["For ages, they have been symbols in human culture — of fertility, gastronomy and now the alt-right movement. But these noble amphibians are declining in numbers."]

Napper, Lawrence. "They Shall Not Grow Old (Peter Jackson, 2018) and the Elephant in the Room." The International Association for Media and History (October 23, 2018)

Rigeur, Leah Wright. "Stacey Abrams Slams Brian Kemp on Suppressing Vote as He Worries Too Many Georgians Will Vote." Democracy Now (October 24, 2018) ["With the midterm elections less than two weeks away, we look at the governor’s race in Georgia, where Democrat Stacey Abrams is attempting to become the first black woman governor in the country. Polls show Abrams and her opponent, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, are in a dead heat, but the race has been roiled with accusations that Kemp has used his power as secretary of state to suppress the vote. Earlier this month, Abrams called on Kemp to step down as secretary of state for placing 53,000 voter applications on hold. Seven out of 10 of the stalled applications are for African-American voters, in a state where less than one-third of the population is black. Voting rights activists have also sued Kemp for purging voters from the rolls. On Tuesday, Rolling Stone published an audio recording of Kemp privately telling Republican donors that he was concerned about too many Georgians exercising their right to vote. Hours later, Abrams and Kemp sparred in their first debate. We speak to Leah Wright Rigueur, professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is the author of “The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power.”" Part 2: "Greg Palast Sues Georgia’s Brian Kemp for Purging 340,000 from Voter Rolls Ahead of Election." and Part 3: "Stacey Abrams Stands By Burning the Racist, Segregationist Georgia State Flag in 1992"]

Lapoirie’s surveillance-style camerawork masterfully follows the men who loiter around the Gare du Nord train station in Paris as they scrape by, forming gangs for support and protection, fearful of being caught and deported. When middle-aged, bourgeois Daniel (Olivier Rabourdin) approaches boyishly handsome Ukrainian “Marek,” he learns the young man is willing to do anything for some cash. What Daniel intends only as sex-for-hire begets a home invasion and then an unexpectedly profound relationship. The drastically different circumstances of the two men’s lives reveal hidden facets of the city they share. This absorbing, continually surprising film by Robin Campillo (BPM: Beats Per Minute) is centered around relationships that defy easy categorization, in which motivations and desires are poorly understood even by those to whom they belong. - The Female Gaze (2018)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Some Questions on the Possibility of Changing Minds

I have been thinking about this a lot in interacting with people in my life lately (as well as in our larger society - irl and online). A lot of pontificating and dictating, little listening to others' perspectives or self-questioning of one's own position. Communication skills are seriously lacking - you reply by directly responding to what a person actually said/wrote and if you want to convince someone you build common ground. I made it my New Year's resolution last year to consciously further develop my listening skills and empathy for others. I was a shy, bookish kid, so I have always watched and listened, but I also forced myself to become more extroverted and lost some of that (especially as our society moved to online communities). I've always questioned my own perspective (when you lose a world-building faith at an earlier age, it leaves you with that) - funny how the blindly-certain view that as a weakness.
-What prevents us from changing our opinions?
-Does debate truly encourage people to change their minds, or does it actually prevent the formation of new opinions?
-Can one look at the opinions of others accurately without looking closely at their own assumptions?
-What is the role of corporate media in the formation of public opinion?
-Does it allow for people to change opinions or work against it?
-Is action necessary to prove an opinion has truly changed; is saying one has changed enough?
-Is violence an option in changing opinions?
-What effect does an absence of belief in the possibility of change have on the will to work for change?
-Does academia serve to foster or prevent the changing of minds?
-Does experience override education (or vice versa, or both working together) in the formation of beliefs, values, and opinions?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - October 22, 2018

Gender Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Kimball, Daryl. "'Counterproductive and Dangerous': : Nuclear Arms Race Feared as U.S. Quits Key Treaty with Russia." Democracy Now (October 22, 2018) ["President Trump has announced plans to pull the United States out of a landmark nuclear arms pact with Russia, in a move that could spark a new arms race. President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 1987. The INF banned all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges. The treaty helped to eliminate thousands of land-based missiles. On Saturday, Trump vowed to build new nuclear weapons. We speak with Daryl Kimball, director of the Arms Control Association. He previously led the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers. He has been advocating for the U.S. and Russia to preserve the INF Treaty."]

Lawler, Ophelia Garcia. "Trump Considers Terrifying New Policy to Eliminate Transgender Rights." The Cut (October 21, 2018)

Lind, Dara. "The Trump administration’s separation of families at the border, explained." Vox (June 15, 2018)

Rivlin, Gary. "A Giant Pile of Money: How Wall Street Drove Public Pensions Into Crisis and Pocketed Billions in Fees." The Intercept (October 20, 2018) ["Public pensions squander tens of billions of dollars each year on risky, poor-performing alternative investments like hedge funds."]

---. "The Private Equity Governor: Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, Sworn Foe of Pensions, Made a Fortune Charging High Fees to Public Pensions." The Intercept (October 22, 2018) ["Gov. Bruce Rauner made a fortune charging high fees to public pensions. Once elected, he tried to slash pension benefits."]

---. "The Whistleblower: How a Gang of Hedge Funders Strip-Mined Kentucky’s Public Pensions." The Intercept (October 21, 2018) ["Kentucky’s willingness to gamble massively on high-risk alternative investments for its pensions has made the state an easy mark for Wall Street hucksters."]

Strangio, Chase. "Trump Admin Attempts to Erase Existence of Trans People After Years of GOP-Led Attacks on Freedoms." Democracy Now (October 22, 2018) ["The New York Times reports that the Trump administration is attempting to eliminate the rights of transgender people by creating a narrow legal definition of gender. Citing a government memo, the Times reveals that the Department of Health and Human Services has undertaken an effort across several government agencies to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex. That definition would be either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals a person is born with. The Times reports that the memo says, “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth. The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex.” If enacted, the proposal would reverse the expansion of transgender rights that took place under President Barack Obama. We speak with Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the ACLU."]

Friday, October 19, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - October 19, 2018

Ahmed, Riz. "On Politics, Identity and Being." Deconstructed (October 4, 2018) [MB: I always appreciate hearing cultural creatives that are intelligent and are willing to express authentic ideas "Riz Ahmed became the first actor of South Asian descent and the first Muslim to win an Emmy last year when he picked up the award for outstanding lead actor in a limited series for his starring role in the HBO drama, “The Night Of.” In the new Marvel movie “Venom,” he plays the villainous Carlton Drake opposite Tom Hardy’s titular anti-hero. Off the big screen, Ahmed uses his unique platform to bring attention to issues, from the lack of minority representation on TV to Islamophobia and racism."]

Carlin, Dan. "Supernova in the East (Part 1)." Hardcore History #62 (July 14, 2018) ["The Asia-Pacific War of 1937 - 1945 has deep roots. It also involves a Japanese society that has been called one of the most distinctive on earth."]

Farahani, Kasra. "Tilt." Following Films (April 28, 2017) ["All seems normal with Joseph and Joanne. Joanne is pregnant with their first child. Life in their little urban house is cozy and familiar. But something is off about Joseph. He doesn’t seem excited about the baby. Work on his documentary is becoming increasingly untethered. As Joseph struggles to maintain the routines of his domestic life, his mask begins to slip. Late at night, while Joanne thinks he is working, Joseph prowls the streets of Los Angeles, deliberately courting danger. Joanne is growing worried about Joseph’s odd behavior. But not as worried as she should be."]

Gray, Briahna, et al. "The Right Won the Battle Over Brett Kavanaugh. Can the Left Win the War? Deconstructed (October 6, 2018)

Hanh, Thich Nhat. The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Mindfulness. Trans. by Mobi Ho. Boston: Beacon Press, 1987.

Hasan, Mehdi, et al. "Are Democrats Ready to Get Radical?" Deconstructed (October 11, 2018)

Jinx and Chris Maynard. "The Endless." Following Films (April 24, 2017) ["The Endless is the latest film from directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. It's the story of two brothers who return to deal with the cult from which they fled a decade ago, only to find that there might be some truth to the group’s otherworldly beliefs."]

Propaganda/Censorship/Misinformation Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Ransby, Barbara. "27 Years After Attacks on Anita Hill, Patriarchy & Misogyny Are 'Alive and Well.'" Democracy Now (September 24, 2018) ["We continue our interview with historian, author and activist Barbara Ransby, who is professor of African American studies, gender and women’s studies and history at the University of Illinois, Chicago. News that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford will testify Thursday against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh has prompted many to warn senators not to repeat the mistakes of the Anita Hill hearings of 1991, when Hill was questioned by an all-male, all-white Senate Judiciary Committee over her allegations that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her in the workplace. Ransby describes how, in the weeks after Hill testified, she spearheaded a manifesto signed by nearly 1,600 black feminists organized as “African American Women in Defense of Ourselves,” and published it as an advertisement in The New York Times."]

Oliveira’s sly, metaphysical romance— made when the famously resilient director was a mere 102 years old—is a mesmerizing, beyond-the-grave rumination on love, mortality, and the power of images. On a rain-slicked night, village photographer Isaac (Ricardo Trêpa) is summoned by a wealthy family to take a picture of their beautiful, recently deceased daughter Angelica (Pilar López de Ayala). What ensues is a ghostly tale of romantic obsession as Isaac finds his dreams—and his photographs—haunted by the spirit of the bewitching young woman. Lancelin’s crisp chiaroscuro compositions enhance the film’s otherworldly, unstuck-in-time aura. - The Female Gaze (2018) 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - October 17, 2018

Benton, Michael. "My Reading Life: 10 Recommended Books (Part 1)." Dialogic Cinephilia (October 16, 2018)

Confessore, Nicholas, et al. "The Follower Factory." The New York Times (January 27, 2018) ["Everyone wants to be popular online.Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market."]

Eisenbrandt, Matt. "'Assassination of a Saint': Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero Is Canonized as Murder Remains Unsolved." Democracy Now (October 15, 2018) ["As Pope Francis names Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero a saint, we continue our interview with Matt Eisenbrandt, a human rights lawyer and the author of “Assassination of a Saint: The Plot to Murder Óscar Romero and the Quest to Bring His Killers to Justice.” Romero was a champion for the poor and oppressed who was murdered by a U.S.-backed right-wing death squad in 1980 at the beginning of the brutal U.S.-backed military campaign in El Salvador. Eisenbrandt served on the trial team that brought the only court verdict ever reached for Romero’s murder."]

---. "Vatican Canonizes Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero, Who Was Killed by a U.S.-Backed Death Squad." Democracy Now (October 15, 2018) ["Pope Francis has named Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero a saint. Romero was a champion for the poor and oppressed who was murdered by a U.S.-backed right-wing death squad in 1980 at the beginning of the brutal U.S.-backed military campaign in El Salvador. Wearing the blood-stained rope belt that Romero wore when he was assassinated, Pope Francis praised Romero for disregarding his own life “to be close to the poor and to his people.” We speak with Matt Eisenbrandt, a human rights lawyer and the author of “Assassination of a Saint: The Plot to Murder Óscar Romero and the Quest to Bring His Killers to Justice.” Eisenbrandt served on the trial team that brought the only court verdict ever reached for Romero’s murder."]

Environment/Ecology/Place/Space/Geography/Architecture Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Gerlent, Lee. "Trump Admin Hints It May Resume Family Separation at Border; ACLU Says 'Public Outcry Is Critical.'" Democracy Now (October 15, 2018) ["The Trump administration is reportedly considering plans to resume its policy of forcibly separating migrant children from their families along the U.S.-Mexico border, even as the full number of people torn apart the last time it carried out the widely condemned practice remains unclear. A new report by Amnesty International suggests immigration officials separated some 6,000 families between April and August, a far higher number of children and parents torn apart than previously thought. Trump administration officials are now considering plans to detain asylum-seeking families together for up to 20 days and then force parents to choose either to stay detained together for months or years while their immigration case proceeds or to allow their children to be taken to a government shelter where their relatives or others can seek custody. We speak with Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. He is the lead lawyer on the ACLU’s national challenge to the Trump administration’s family separation practice."]

Akerman’s hypnotic exploration of erotic obsession plays like Vertigo filtered through the director’s visionary feminist formalism. Loosely inspired by the fifth volume of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, it circles around the very-strange-indeed relationship between the seemingly pliant Ariane (Sylvie Testud) and the disturbingly jealous Simon (Stanislas Merhar), whose need to possess her completely in turn renders him hostage to his own destructive desires. Lancelin’s coolly contemplative camera style imparts an unbroken, trance-like tension, which finds release only in the thunderous roil of the operatic score. -- The Female Gaze (2018)

La Captive (2000) - Trailer from CINEMAtech Film Series on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Slurring Bee 16

Also need 15 absurd/quirky warm up questions

1st Round: warm-up question followed by a word
2nd Round: 3 words in succession for each contestant
3rd Round: Round-robin until we have a winner (keep track of last three - the order they come in)
3 mispelled words and a contestant is out

Pronouncer Information 1. Read carefully the Judges, Recorders, Spellers and Audiences information that is included in the Scripps pronouncers’ guide. 2. Familiarize yourself with all words on the confidential word list. Pronunciation is important. A meeting with the judges to insure pronunciation of words and procedures will be scheduled prior to the Bee beginning. 3. Speak clearly for contestants, judges and audience alike. Grant all requests to repeat a word until the judges agree that the word has been made reasonably clear to the speller. You may request the speller to speak more clearly or louder. 4. “Pace” yourself. You need time to focus attention on the pronunciation of the new word and the judges need a few moments between each contestant to do their tasks.

Speller’s Information 1. Each speller needs to focus on the Pronouncer, to aid his or her hearing and understanding of the context of the word. A speller may ask for the word to be repeated, for its use in a sentence, for a definition, for the part of speech, and for the language of origin. 2. Each speller should pronounce the word before and after spelling it. If the speller fails to pronounce the word after spelling it, the judge may ask if they are finished. If they say yes, the judge will remind the speller to remember to repeat the word the next time. (No speller will be eliminated for failing to pronounce a word.) 3. When a speller is at the podium spelling, the next speller should be standing at a marked location ready to proceed to the podium.

426) subcutaneous

427) conundrum

428) crapulous

429) cloister

430) itinerary

extra words: Spelling Bee 11 #357

Dialogic Cinephilia - October 14, 2018

Barlett, Donald and James Steele. "On Media, Govt. Failure to Hold Wall St. Accountable for Financial Crimes." Democracy Now (August 1, 2012)

Cassidy, Brendan and Ryan McQuade. "A Simple Favor / Damsel." In Session Film (September 2018)

Cassidy, Brendan, et al. "Mandy / Top 3 Nicolas Cage Performances / Joe Lipsett Interview." In Session Film #292 (September 2018)

The feverish imaginations of DIY surrealist Gondry and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman kick into overdrive for the great gonzo sci-fi romance of the early 2000s. When nice guy dweeb Joel (Jim Carrey) encounters blue-haired spitfire Clementine (Kate Winslet) on the LIRR, there’s a spark of attraction, but also something familiar— almost as if they’ve met before… Cue a ping-ponging, time- and space-collapsing journey through memory and a star-crossed love gone sour. Kuras’s high-contrast handheld camerawork enhances the whiplash sense of disorientation in what is, ultimately, a heart-wounding parable about the ways in which we inevitably hurt those we love most. -- The Female Gaze (2018)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (USA: Michel Gondry, 2004) Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Goldman, Lawrence, et al. "The American Populists." In Our Time (June 15, 2017) ["Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the C19th MidWest and Southern farmers' struggle for a better deal, claiming they suffered while industry and railroads thrived at their expense."]

Kempenaar, Adam and Josh Larsen. "The Predator / Burt Reynolds Tribute (Deliverance)." Filmspotting #697 (September 13, 2018) ["As long as there are people to remember Burt Reynolds, they’re most likely to recall the goofy, charismatic, hard-driving star of movies like "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Cannonball Run" and as the benevolent despot of the late-70s porn scene in his Oscar-nominated role in PTA's "Boogie Nights." But it's possible that none of those Reynolds performances would have existed without his star-making turn in 1972's DELIVERANCE. Reynolds's death gives Adam and Josh a chance to catch up with John Boorman's Best Picture-nominated film and give it a 'Blindspotting' review. "]

Popova, Maria. "Adrienne Rich on Lying, What “Truth” Really Means, and the Alchemy of Human Possibility." Brain Picking (November 13, 2014)

---. "How Relationships Refine Our Truths: Adrienne Rich on the Dignity of Love." Brain Pickings (July 2, 2013)

Schneider, Nathan."Ten Years Since Economic Collapse Sparked Occupy Wall Street, the Cooperative Movement Is Surging." Democracy Now (September 18, 2018) ["This week marks the seventh anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement and 10 years since the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers, which triggered the onset of the global financial crisis. The crisis also sparked massive global anti-capitalist movements, including Occupy Wall Street, the M-15 movement in Spain and the anti-austerity movements in Greece. “It’s striking how little we are marking these anniversaries,” says author and activist Nathan Schneider. “I think … we recognize we really haven’t done anything serious to deal with the causes of this crash.” Schneider’s new book outlines an alternative economic model based on cooperative ownership that saw a resurgence since the 2008 financial crisis. It’s titled “Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition That Is Shaping the Next Economy.”"]

One of the most daring works to emerge from the New Queer Cinema movement of the early 1990s, Swoon offers a radical, revisionist perspective on the infamous Leopold and Loeb murder case. Channeling the spirits of Dreyer, Bresson, and Jean Genet, director Tom Kalin challenges viewers to identify with two of the most notorious killers of the 20th century, their crime—the Nietzsche-influenced thrill killing of a schoolboy in 1920s Chicago— and punishment recounted in ghostly black and white by Kuras. Throughout, Kalin cannily deconstructs the ways in which Leopold and Loeb’s homosexuality has been historically sensationalized and demonized—a provocative analogy for queer persecution in the AIDS era. - The Female Gaze (2018)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - October 13, 2018

Please Call Me By My True Names by Thich Nhat Hanh (from Peace is Every Step, Rider, 1995) 
Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow— even today I am still arriving. 
Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch, to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone. 
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope. The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive. 
I am a mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river. And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly. 
I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond. And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog. 
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks. And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda. 
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate. 
And I am also the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving. 
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands. 
And I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people dying slowly in a forced-labor camp. 
My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans. 
Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one. 
Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open, the door of compassion.

Asher-Perrin, Emily, et al. "Dr. Who?" Imaginary Worlds (January 24, 2018) ["We don’t know his real name. We don’t know who he was before he stole the TARDIS — a spaceship/time machine that looks like a police box on the outside, but is really a cavernous ship on the inside. He’s thousands of years old, but wears a different face every few years. He calls himself The Doctor, but Doctor who? In the first of my three-part series, I look at how a restless intergalactic time traveller became a global pop culture icon, and why The Doctor’s knack for physical regeneration resonates with fans on a more personal level."]

Barry, Sarah, et al. "Enzymes." In Our Time (June 1, 2017)  ["Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss enzymes, the proteins that control the speed of chemical reactions in living organisms. Without enzymes, these reactions would take place too slowly to keep organisms alive: with their actions as catalysts, changes which might otherwise take millions of years can happen hundreds of times a second. Some enzymes break down large molecules into smaller ones, like the ones in human intestines, while others use small molecules to build up larger, complex ones, such as those that make DNA. Enzymes also help keep cell growth under control, by regulating the time for cells to live and their time to die, and provide a way for cells to communicate with each other."]

"Cultivation Theory." Communication Theory (ND)

Meek's Cutoff (USA: Kelly Reichardt, 2010) Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Newman, Ben. "The Canon Revisited." Imaginary Worlds (December 27, 2017) ["The Last Jedi may be the most controversial film in the Star Wars series. While the movie has been critically acclaimed, many Star Wars fans have argued that the film violated canon in a number of ways, especially how it depicted Luke Skywalker. This week, I revisit my 2014 episode “The Canon,” and I have a follow-up conversation with Rabbi Ben Newman about the state of the Star Wars canon. Until now, Ben and I had been on the same page about the new films, but like many fans, we found ourselves at odds when evaluating The Last Jedi."]

Popova, Maria. "Adrienne Rich on Why an Education Is Something You Claim, Not Something You Get." Brain Pickings (May 21, 2014)

Religion/Faith/Spirituality Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Singer, Leigh. "Meek's Cutoff: Journeys into the New Canon." Fandor (August 29, 2018) ["Many of the characters in Kelly Reichardt’s compact and intimate body of work are lost in America. Maybe they’ve lost their emotional moorings, or perhaps they constitute the more marginalized members of society, people who, for one reason or another, have slipped through our societal security net. Reichardt’s 2010 film, Meek’s Cutoff, embodies these ideas in their most literal sense, focusing on the true story of a group of nineteenth century pioneers who set out on the Oregon Trail only to find themselves in danger of being stranded. Many of Reichardt’s films have been critically acclaimed, but Meek’s Cutoff was met with more confusion and indifference than the director’s more navigable works. The narrative is more elusive, its characters more opaque. Like the very characters Reichardt portrays, Meek’s Cutoff could have slipped through the cracks. In our latest installment of The New Canon, we discuss why that should never happen and how, in hindsight, the film very well may be Reichardt’s most daring endeavor yet."]

White, Judith B., et al. "Frequent Social Comparisons and Destructive Emotions and Behaviors: The Dark Side of Social Comparisons." Journal of Adult Development 13.1 (March 2006)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Meek's Cutoff (USA: Kelly Reichardt, 2010)

Meek's Cutoff (USA: Kelly Reichardt, 2010: 104 mins)

Ebert, Roger. "Wagon Trains to the West Were Not Jolly: Meek's Cutoff." Chicago Sun-Times (May 11, 2011)

Kreider, Timothy. "The End of Everything: Apocalyptic Films." Jump Cuts #55 (Fall 2013)

Littman, Sam. "Great Directors: Kelly Reichardt." Senses of Cinema (June 2014)

Gilbey, Ryan. "Kelly Reichardt: how I trekked across Oregon for Meek's Cutoff then returned to teaching." The Guardian (April 9, 2011)

Holloway, Lisa. "Meeks Cutoff (2010): The unheightened moment; taking aim at the male gaze." Auteuse Theory (June 28, 2016)

Pejkovic, Matthew. "Interview with Meek’s Cutoff writer Jon Raymond." Trespass (June 11, 2011)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - October 10, 2018

How much of one’s self can be captured in the images shot of and for others? Johnson’s work as a director of photography and camera operator has helped earn her documentary collaborators (Laura Poitras, Michael Moore, Kirby Dick, Barbara Kopple) nearly every accolade and award possible. Recontextualizing the stunning images inside, around, and beyond the works she has shot, Johnson constructs a visceral and vibrant self-portrait of an artist who has traveled the globe, venturing into landscapes and lives that bear the scars of trauma both active and historic. Rigorous yet nimble in its ability to move from heartache to humor, Cameraperson trains an essential lens on the things that make us human. A 2016 New Directors/New Films selection. -- The Female Gaze (2018)

Cameraperson - trailer from CAT&Docs on Vimeo.

The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we've created are destroying how society works. ... No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it's not an American problem - this is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem. ... I feel tremendous guilt. I think we all knew in the back of our minds - even though we feigned this whole line of, like, there probably aren't any bad unintended consequences. I think in the back, deep, deep recesses of, we kind of knew something bad could happen. ... So, we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion. It is eroding the core foundation of how people behave by and between each other. And I don't have a good solution. My solution is I just don't use these tools anymore. I haven't for years. -- Chamath Palihapitiya, former vice-president of user growth at Facebook (December 11, 2017)

Benjamin, Medea and Soraya Chemaly. "Where Does #MeToo Go from Here? Women Are 'On Fire' with Rage as Kavanaugh Joins Supreme Court." Democracy Now (October 8, 2018) ["Thousands of women protested outside the U.S. Capitol and across the country on Saturday as Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, just hours after the Senate voted to confirm him. “I hope that it is deep enough that it is forming a strong, cohesive movement among people that will resonate through this country and change the culture,” says Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, who joined the protests. We also speak with longtime feminist activist and writer Soraya Chemaly, author of the new book, “Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger.” She says conservatives’ biggest fear since the “Me Too” movement is that women are telling the truth. “And if women are telling the truth,” Chemaly notes, “then it’s not just an indictment of a few bad apples, but an indictment of the entire system.”"]

The Dark Knight (USA: Christoper Nolan, 2008) Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Ensler, Eve. "Nobel Peace Prize for Mukwege & Murad Is an Award for Every Rape Survivor in the World." Democracy Now (October 5, 2018) ["After a landmark year for the “Me Too” movement, which ignited an international conversation on sexual assault, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday morning to two champions of women’s rights who have built their careers fighting sexual violence: physician Denis Mukwege and human rights activist Nadia Murad. Dr. Denis Mukwege founded the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1999. The clinic receives thousands of women each year, many of them requiring surgery as a result of sexual violence. Nadia Murad is a 25-year-old Yazidi Kurdish human rights activist from Iraq. She was kidnapped and held by the Islamic State for almost three years. During her captivity she was repeatedly raped. We speak with Eve Ensler, award-winning playwright and author of “The Vagina Monologues” and the founder of V-Day, a movement to end violence against women and girls. She is a good friend of Dr. Mukwege and has also worked with Nadia Murad."]

Greenwald, Glenn. "Could Brazil Return to a Dictatorship? Glenn Greenwald on Possible Election of Far-Right Demagogue." Democracy Now (October 5, 2018) ["Voters in Brazil head to the polls on Sunday in an election that could reshape the political landscape of South America. Polls show the current front-runner is the far-right Jair Bolsonaro, a former Army officer who has openly praised Brazil’s military dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 to 1985. Bolsonaro has a long history of making racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments, and has risen in the polls since September 8, when he was stabbed while campaigning. His campaign directly benefited from the jailing of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in April, who had been leading in all presidential polls before being forced to drop out of the race. Lula’s handpicked successor, Fernando Haddad, is currently placing second in most polls. We speak with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept. He has been covering the election from Rio de Janeiro."]

---. "On U.S. Hacking, Edward Snowden, the Dangers of Obsessing over Russia & More." Democracy Now (October 5, 2018) ["Extended conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept on the U.S. indictment of Russian hackers, U.S.-China relations, Noam Chomsky’s visit to Brazil, Edward Snowden and more."]

Glenn Greenwald: Former Civil Rights and Constitutional Lawyer/Journalist Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Grim, Ryan. "Real Resistance." The Intercept (September 15, 2018) ["A Grassroots Uprising in Amish Country Begins to Find Meaning in Politics"]

Jacobsen, Jodi. "'They Did Not Care': How the GOP Dismissed Assault Accusations & Confirmed Kavanaugh." Democracy Now (October 8, 2018) ["Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in Saturday as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, just hours after the Senate voted to confirm him amid massive protests outside the Capitol. He will begin hearing cases Tuesday and could vote as early as Tuesday or Wednesday on a case that tests how much power courts would wield over the executive branch. His nomination came under intense public scrutiny after accusations of attempted rape and sexual assault surfaced. We begin our coverage with Jodi Jacobson, president and editor-in-chief of Rewire, who wrote a piece this weekend headlined “A 'Titanic Fraud': Susan Collins, the 'Moderate' Who Never Was.” Senator Collins “went on the floor of the Senate to literally gaslight the entire nation about both the process and the nominee himself,” Jacobson says, responding to Collins’s vote to confirm Kavanaugh."]

Kempenaar, Adam and Josh Larsen. "The Dark Knight 10th Anniv. / HBO's Sharp Objects." Filmspotting #692 (August 9, 2018)

The Dark Knight (USA: Christoper Nolan, 2008)

The Dark Knight (USA: Christoper Nolan, 2008: 152 mins)

"An Agency of Chaos: Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight." Cinephilia and Beyond (ND)

Beyl, Cameron. "Christopher Nolan [5.1] – The Non-Linear Neo-Noirs." The Director Series (February 13, 2017)

Buckler, Dana. "The Dark Knight Trilogy." H.I.T.M. (March 28, 2017)

Goh, Robbie B.H. Christopher Nolan: Filmmaker and Philosopher. Bloomsbury Academic, 2021. ["Christopher Nolan is the writer and director of Hollywood blockbusters like The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, and also of arthouse films like Memento and Inception. Underlying his staggering commercial success however, is a darker sensibility that questions the veracity of human knowledge, the allure of appearance over reality and the latent disorder in contemporary society. This appreciation of the sinister owes a huge debt to philosophy and especially modern thinkers like Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud and Jacques Derrida. Taking a thematic approach to Nolan's oeuvre, Robbie Goh examines how the director's postmodern inclinations manifest themselves in non-linearity, causal agnosticism, the threat of social anarchy and the frequent use of the mise en abyme, while running counter to these are narratives of heroism, moral responsibility and the dignity of human choice. For Goh, Nolan is a 'reluctant postmodernist'. His films reflect the cynicism of the modern world, but with their representation of heroic moral triumphs, they also resist it."]

Hancock, James and Chuck R. Mystery. "I'm Batman." Wrong Reel #280 (June 8, 2017)

Kempenaar, Adam and Josh Larsen. "The Dark Knight 10th Anniv. / HBO's Sharp Objects." Filmspotting #692 (August 9, 2018) 

Koski, Genevieve, et al. "The Man Who Laughs, Pt. 1 - The Dark Knight." The Next Picture Show #196 (October 15, 2019) ["The narrative and tone of Todd Phillips’ latest is heavily inspired by TAXI DRIVER and KING OF COMEDY, but given the attention paid to the work of Martin Scorsese on this podcast of late, we decided to look at Phillips’ new JOKER in tandem with a more literal cinematic predecessor: Christopher Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT, featuring Heath Ledger’s posthumous Oscar-winning performance as the Clown Prince of Crime himself. In this half we consider Ledger’s Joker in the context of a film that took a radically different approach to the comic-book movie and its villains, debate some confounding plot specifics—and whether they ultimately matter that much to one’s enjoyment of the film—and try to remember what it was like experiencing DARK KNIGHT independent of the subsequnt superhero movie deluge it helped spawn."]

---. "The Man Who Laughs, Pt. 2 - The Joker." The Next Picture #197 (October 22, 2021) ["Todd Phillips’ new JOKER gives a concrete origin story to a character who, in Christoper Nolan’s 2008 film THE DARK KNIGHT, willfully obfuscates what turned him into Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime. In this second half of our look at two grim-and-gritty takes on the character, we examine JOKER, and some of the discourse around it, in an attempt to pinpoint meaning within an audacious and violent film, and consider how it fits into Phillips’ filmography of put-upon males processing rejection; then we dive into how it connects to DARK KNIGHT, not just in its treatment of the Joker, but also its depiction of Gotham, and its considerations of class and morality."]

Kuersten, Erich. "Quilty Makes This World: 12 Tricksters (CinemArchetype #1)." Acidemic (January 23, 2012)

McGowan, Todd. "The exceptional darkness of The Dark Knight." Jump Cut #51 (2009)

Zizek, Slavoj. "Good Manners in the Age of Wikileaks." The London Review of Books 33.2 (January 20, 2011)