Thursday, August 6, 2020

Dialogic Cinephilia - August 6, 2020

Breznican, Anthony. "Black Storytellers Are Using Horror to Battle Hate." Vanity Fair (August 3, 2020) ["After Get Out, movies such as Antebellum, the upcoming Candyman retelling, and other tales of terror and the macabre are part of a cultural exorcism centuries in the making."]

Devine, Tom. "Frank Serpico Has Seen This All Before." On the Media (July 31, 2020) ["In recent months, we've been able to witness police misconduct from anywhere in the nation, via smartphone video captured by civilians and activists on the ground. More often than not, though, the only witnesses to police misconduct are the victims of it, as well as any other cops on the scene. But history shows that overwhelmingly cops seldom inform on one another — partly because of an omertà-like honor code, the so-called "blue wall of silence," and partly due to fear of retaliation from their colleagues. Which is why, according to Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), police reforms are all but useless without protection for those courageous and honorable enough to blow the whistle. Bob spoke with Tom about GAP's efforts to embed protections for police whistleblowers into law enforcement reform legislation. The most famous American cop-whistleblower is Frank Serpico, who in the late 1960s reported widespread corruption and brutality in New York City’s police department. His complaints led to a New York Times expose, an official commission exploring police corruption and, in 1973, the movie Serpico, which dramatized his struggle and the price he paid for his honesty. When he was shot in the face during a 1971 drug enforcement operation, his fellow officers refused to summon help and left him for dead. He lives, and so does his half-century-long struggle for accountability. He told Bob that change in police departments is possible, but that it would require overhauling the cultural traditions many police officers cherish."]

Ford, Phil and J.F. Martel. "David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch." Weird Studies #25 (September 12, 2018) ["JF and Phil head for Interzone in an attempt to solve the enigma of Naked Lunch, David Cronenberg's 1991 screen adaptation of William S. Burroughs' infamous 1959 novel. A treatise on addiction, a diagnosis of modern ills, a lucid portrait of the artist as cosmic transgressor, and like the book, "a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork," Naked Lunch is here framed in the light Cronenberg's recent speech making the case for the crime of art."]

---. "Does Consciousness Exist, Part One." and "Does Consciousness Exist, Part Two." Weird Studies #17 & #18 (June 6 & June 13, 2018) ["In this first part of their discussion of William James' classic essay in radical empiricism, "Does 'Consciousness' Exist?", Phil and JF talk about the various ways we use the slippery C-word in contemporary culture. The episode touches on the political charge of the concept of consciousness, the unholy marriage of materialism and idealism ("Kant is the ultimate hipster"), the role of consciousness in the workings of the weird -- basically, anything but the essay in question. That will come in part two." & "JF and Phil finally get down to brass tacks with William James's essay 'Does Consciousness Exist?' At the heart of this essay is the concept of what James calls 'pure experience,' the basic stuff of everything, only it isn't a stuff, but an irreducible multiplicity of everything that exists -- thoughts as well as things. We're used to thinking that thoughts and things belong to fundamentally different orders of being, but what if thoughts are things, too? For one thing, psychical phenomena (a great interest of James's) suddenly become a good deal more plausible. And the imaginal realm, where art and magic make their home, becomes a sovereign domain."]

Robin, Corey. "The Supreme Court Justice with the Most to Say." On the Media (July 31, 2020) ["Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is hardly the quietest member of the bench. In hundreds of opinions authored during his tenure — longer than any of his present colleagues' — Thomas has elaborated upon a vision first instilled in him by a stern, business-minded grandfather and later cemented during a turbulent undergraduate education, spent protesting racial injustice, debating Black nationalist principles, and memorizing passages of Malcolm X. And despite a deliberate post-college turn toward capitalism and political futilitarianism, his original comprehensive view of America persists: our national government is incapable of bettering the lives of Black Americans, just as white Americans are forever incapable of dismantling their own racism. Still, Thomas remains baffling to some — an enigma, as some senators put it during his confirmation hearings more than twenty years ago. An analysis of Thomas's biography and jurisprudence by author and political scientist Corey Robin, The Enigma of Clarence Thomas, leaves no room for confusion. In this segment, originally aired last November, Brooke speaks with Robin about Thomas's views on criminal justice, affirmative action, capitalism, racial equality, and ultimately the fate of the nation."]

Umansky, Eric. "A Fight Over Cop Misconduct Records Continues." On the Media (July 31, 2020) ["Among the concrete victories for the Black Lives Matter movement this year was the repeal of the decades-old New York State statute 50-a, opening to public scrutiny thousands of records of citizen complaints against the police. Earlier this month, New York City’s police unions joined a suit to block the wholesale release of such data — in particular, a trove of 81,000 records that had been quickly obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union. On the theory that a data dump would ring a bell that could never be un-rung, a federal judge overseeing the matter ordered NYCLU to keep the data secret for the time being. But several days later, the digital news outlet ProPublica began ringing that un-un-ringable bell. This past Sunday they released a database which describes, in limited detail, thousands of allegations made against thousands of New York Police Department officers. ProPublica described the database as “an unprecedented picture of civilians complaints of abuse by NYPD officers as well as the limits of the current system that is supposed to hold officers accountable.” Bob and ProPublica deputy managing editor Eric Umansky discuss the database, the police union lawsuit, and where we are in the struggle for police accountability. "]

Wilkerson, Isabel. "It's More Than Racism: Isabel Wilkerson Explains America's 'Caste' System." Fresh Air (August 4, 2020)

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