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Climate Change Changes Purpose?

OK, I’m going to do my part to heat the planet by flying to London tomorrow, and continue to use profligate transit for the following six weeks. So sue me!… Don’t worry, I’ll be meeting people, exchanging paper, sharing important conversations and contacts, and doing all the things you’d expect any self-respecting revolutionary traveller to do… but mostly I’ll be having a grand time with my parents and daughter, and a half dozen friends scattered from the UK to Turkey via Germany… reports and photos to follow regularly over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, I had a lovely get-away with Adri to Orr Hot Springs this past weekend. One of the highlights was a visit to the remarkable Montgomery Woods, a fantastic stand of old growth redwoods. Here I am on a trunk of one of ‘em…

Recent readings inspired me to post the following three excerpts. Climate change is on everyone’s lips these days, and from liberal Harper’s to radical Mute, the shifting terrain of discussion is hard to miss. Quickly it’s becoming the all-purpose reason why specific social arrangements are not the problem, but all of humanity faces a crisis that we can only solve together… conveniently overlooking the specific capitalist organization of life that is not just heating the planet and changing the climate but destroying the basis for life far more systemically than that… so here’s three bits, first from Garret Keizer in the June 07 Harper’s… he’s a wonderfully cantankerous writer, blistering prose and many more outstanding turns of phrase than I can quote here.

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SF Int’l Film Festival! pt 5

The marathon is over! 37 movies in 13 days!… Last night was the Edith Piaf biopic “La Vie en Rose”… quite a spectacular effort. The lead actress does an incredible job, and the casting was fantastic for the various kids who play Piaf at earlier ages… very sad story, but quite entertaining, well shot and edited (I could have cut out some of the numerous endings that litter the end of the film, but so it goes)…

Here’s the last few capsule reactions/reviews of films I saw:

The Yacoubian Building
Very entertaining, nearly three hours long, a dense movie with at least four or five plot lines all weaving in and out of the Beaux Artes building of the title in Cairo, as well as weaving in and out of class and occupations. Bleak portrayal of the fate of women, which was only the most obvious aspect of the European gaze that framed this story. Based on the all-time best-selling Egyptian novel (written by a dentist!) it blatantly harkens back to an era before the 1956 revolution, when people knew their place and life for the wealthy was very good. One of the main characters is a slowly sinking sonof a pasha, 65 years old, who gets thrown out of his family’s lush apartment by his bitter, heartless sister. His efforts to preserve some kind of civilized kindness is the core of the film, while around that story, several other sagas of political corruption, gangsterism, Islamic terrorism and manipulation, and a whole gay story too, all unfold. The gay angle is super cliche and silly, and the dire portray of women sexually harassed, bought and sold, and kept, all belies the horrified western eye. Of course it’s easy to sympathize since I too am horrified by the treatment of women shown here; few characters are ultimately admirable except the fallen pasha who marries the chaste pretty poor girl for a happy ending. Still, the romanticized Cairo was interesting to compare to the gritty corners occupied by “These Girls” the night before.

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SF Int’l Film Festival! pt 5

The marathon is over! 37 movies in 13 days!… Last night was the Edith Piaf biopic “La Vie en Rose”… quite a spectacular effort. The lead actress does an incredible job, and the casting was fantastic for the various kids who play Piaf at earlier ages… very sad story, but quite entertaining, well shot and edited (I could have cut out some of the numerous endings that litter the end of the film, but so it goes)…

Here’s the last few capsule reactions/reviews of films I saw:

The Yacoubian Building
Very entertaining, nearly three hours long, a dense movie with at least four or five plot lines all weaving in and out of the Beaux Artes building of the title in Cairo, as well as weaving in and out of class and occupations. Bleak portrayal of the fate of women, which was only the most obvious aspect of the European gaze that framed this story. Based on the all-time best-selling Egyptian novel (written by a dentist!) it blatantly harkens back to an era before the 1956 revolution, when people knew their place and life for the wealthy was very good. One of the main characters is a slowly sinking sonof a pasha, 65 years old, who gets thrown out of his family’s lush apartment by his bitter, heartless sister. His efforts to preserve some kind of civilized kindness is the core of the film, while around that story, several other sagas of political corruption, gangsterism, Islamic terrorism and manipulation, and a whole gay story too, all unfold. The gay angle is super cliche and silly, and the dire portray of women sexually harassed, bought and sold, and kept, all belies the horrified western eye. Of course it’s easy to sympathize since I too am horrified by the treatment of women shown here; few characters are ultimately admirable except the fallen pasha who marries the chaste pretty poor girl for a happy ending. Still, the romanticized Cairo was interesting to compare to the gritty corners occupied by “These Girls” the night before.

More »

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