Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Protocals of the Elders of Zion (2005)

Lose form documentary by Jewish filmmaker Marc Levin. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is of course a notorious piece of anti-Semitic literature, a forgery that casts its self as the minutes of a late 19th century meeting of a cabal of Jews bent on world domination. While the text first appeared in 1903 its still in wide circulation on the Internet and elsewhere, and despite being debunked numerous times is still held as true by certain white supremest groups, a distressingly large number of Muslims, conspiracy theorist and some people who just don't know any better.

In the film Levin travels around and talks to people about the pamphlet, having interviews with white supremacist, people on the street, and a surprisingly thoughtful group of prison inmates. An interesting film, I'm glad it wasn't just about the tract itself in a narrow sense, but rather a broader portrait of the psychological and cultural worlds in which it is taken as fact.

Grade: B
Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner does a heck of an audio commentary, its an art few creative people are good at (film scholars are better). Also Oliver Stone is good because he can just talk and talk and talk, no dead spaces.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The woman who cut my hair today really wasn't into it; only half hearted attempts at chatter, I expect more enthusism. I seldom have much to say to the women who cut my hair, but still I like to be asked.
"Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate. It is true that there is a state of hope which belongs to bright prospects and the morning; but that is not the virtue of hope. The virtue of hope exists only in earthquake and eclipse. It is true that there is a thing crudely called charity, which means charity to the deserving poor; but charity to the deserving is not charity at all, but justice. It is the undeserving who require it, and the ideal either does not exist at all, or exists wholly for them. For practical purposes it is at the hopeless moment that we require the hopeful man, and the virtue either does not exist at all, or begins to exist at that moment. Exactly at the instant when hope ceases to be reasonable it begins to be useful."- G. K. Chesterton
We really haven't been smart enough in regulating our water use, we assume that because there is plenty (there's really not) of fresh potable water now there will always be in the future, not so. See: The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century by Alex Prud'homme.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's a difficult thing, and I think rightly so in a pluralistic society like ours, to say one would never vote for a candidate do to some demographic characteristic. While this would not be the case for me 99% of the time, I'd have no trouble voting for a homosexual, Muslim or atheist, I don't know if I could ever vote for a Scientologist. Where prejudice meets discernment is difficult to say. I can't say that a persons mostly deeply held convictions about the nature of the universe don't matter when judging their fitness for office, though I think most people holding and seeking public office in this country are reasonably good at keeping there policy and religious spheres separate (not to say there's not room for improvement on this front). While 'anti-Mormon prejudice' is not a good thing and supposedly liberal people are often hypocritical on this issue, its still a question of exclusion by belief rather then exclusion by genetics (race, gender, and in most cases sexual preference) and is thusly a lesser prejudice then those that dominated American culture not so long ago.
Knowledge workers and manual works are really in the same boat, this bad economy is affecting everyone with the exceptions of big cooperate muckaty-mucks and some people in the skilled professions like medicine (though I know a lot of lawyers are having a hard time finding work). Underemployed college graduates seem to make up the majority of the Occupy Wall street protesters, I think the unions and blue collar folk are yet to make much of a mark on it. And I disagree with David, yes the corporations are playing by the rules the politicians implemented, but it was the corporations who bought the politicians and got them to implement those rules, the politicians are mostly just dopes.