Directed and written by: Richard Linklater
Kevin Smith says that Slacker was the inspiration for his film Clerks. It shows. And more than that, it shows what happens time and time again in art and media: first, political radicals and engaged philosophers create new styles and genres; then, derivative work picks up the aesthetics and surface-level ephemera and leaves the core behind.
Continue reading Slacker (1991)
The Anarchist’s Wife
Directed by: Peter Sehr, Marie Noëlle
Screenplay by: Marie Noëlle, Ray Loriga
Spanish title: La mujer del anarquista
“Sing softly for love, sing loudly for freedom.”
Some of the best films use war and politics as backdrop to tell a story that isn’t about war. The Anarchist’s Wife is one such film.
I heard about this movie when it came out, but with a title like The Anarchist’s Wife, I wasn’t hopping up and down to go see it. Why is the film about the wife but she’s only known in relation to her husband? Why is he the anarchist and her just a wife?
Continue reading The Anarchist’s Wife (2008)
Niantic Labs, 2013
Recommended? Yes, and it’s complicated.
Observation and Analysis of Revolutionary Tactics Being Unintentionally Transmitted via Video Games: Ingress as a Tool
While I have observed many useful skills and tactics being transmitted through games, particularly tabletop RPGs, I’m focusing in Ingress in this piece.
Ingress is an alternate reality game based on Google Maps. If you are interested in a more detailed description of the game itself that includes some of the lore I recommend checking out the wikipedia page. The game mechanics depend on visiting real-world locations, called “portals” in game, and interacting with them within the app on your phone. There are two teams competing for control of the portals physical turf along with magical in-game “mind units,” or how many human minds you are controlling within the territory you have claimed. Ingress is a massively multiplayer game with a lot of social and technological aspects I will get into in a bit here. The two teams are cleverly labeled, with the Resistance being the over-populated team with conservative leanings and the pretentiously-named Enlightened being the smaller, more agile, forward thinking early-adopter-of-alien-technology team (that is also possibly serving as alien overlord snack foods / tools / skinsuits). I’m going to split this piece into two sections; the first on the useful skills unintentionally taught and how they relate to revolution and horizontal organization, the second on the dangers and wider consequences of the game itself.
Continue reading Ingress
Surviving San Diego’s Comic-Con is kind of like whitewater rafting. To navigate the tumult of over a hundred thousand nerds being desperately marketed to you half steer, half go with the flow.The cool thing is that the rapids sometimes carry you to some little island of pop culture you weren’t planning on seeing but turns out to be pretty awesome. That’s how I ended up at the panel for “The Man in The High Castle.” Continue reading The Man in The High Castle: A First Look at Comic-Con International 2015
by Stacy Wakefield
2014, Akashic Books
In The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory, author Stacy Wakefield sets out to capture the spirit and energy of the squatters community in New York City in the mid-1990s by way of a novel. Over the course of the novel, readers get a good snapshot of what squatting was like, with tales of punk shows, squats, battles with the cops, evictions, and the joy of living rent free. It does an excellent job of portraying the experience of squatting and the surrounding scene.
Continue reading The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory
Director: Robert Guédiguian
Writers: Serge Le Péron, Robert Guédiguian, Gilles Taurand
French Title: “L’armée du crime”
In Paris 1943, the Nazi occupation tried its hardest to maintain a veil of social peace. No, fuck that, let me be more specific: they tried to maintain actual social peace. And the French cops, being cops, tried their hardest alongside the occupiers.
Army of Crime is a film about criminals — heroic criminals fighting against a Nazi occupation, but criminals nonetheless. Army of Crime follows the Manouchian Group, a network of about fifty armed anti-fascist, communist, and/or Jewish immigrants who committed sabotage, murder, and bombings by the score. In real life, their round-up, trial, and execution — along with the Nazi propaganda efforts to label them as foreign devils — is referred to as the Affiche Rouge (red poster) affair. The propaganda efforts largely backfired: the 23 dead communists became martyrs. And the Allies liberated France soon after their deaths regardless.
Continue reading Army of Crime (2009)
1984 – 1986
Program creator and writer: Richard Carpenter
Bechdel Test? Probably not.
England is a paradox. It’s repressive, class bound, notoriously racist, and practically synonymous with colonialism. It’s also a hot bed of left wing intellectualism, the adopted home of Kropotkin, and the country that made punk global. Its not surprising then, that at the height of Thatcherism, with The National Front killing South Asians on the street, one of the hottest shows of television was about an unrelenting anarchist militia fighting colonial power in the name of an indigenous nature spirit.
Continue reading Robin of Sherwood
Look, I know this isn’t a surprise to anyone by this point, but MRAs really are the whiniest little pissbabies this side of a playpen full of over-tired toddlers.
I’ll keep my review of Mad Max: Fury Road short: the screenplay of Mad Max: Fury Road was clearly created by someone eating Slayer liner notes and then drinking tequila until they threw up, while drag racing, and I mean that in the best possible way. It had maybe a cumulative 10 minutes worth of spoken dialogue, not counting wordless yelling, and at least 45 minutes of cumulative explosions, and one dude whose whole job was to dangle from bungee cords on the front of a tricked out post-apoc truck playing an electric guitar that shot fire and it was SO FUCKING RAD I SWEAR.
Continue reading U Mad (Max) Bro?
Directed and Written by: Vijay Krishna Acharya
Yash Raj Films, 2013
I clearly need to be watching more Bollywood films.
A friend of mine sat us all down to watch a three-hour action movie. “You’ll love it,” she said. “It’s about a circus performer who is on a mission of revenge to destroy a bank in Chicago. You don’t have to watch the first two in the series.”
That was enough for me to want to watch it, and I wasn’t disappointed. I thought, for awhile, that the cops were the protagonists — they’re the two characters returning from the last movie. But that was just my western bias — I’m so enculturated into Hollywood storytelling that I just assumed there were clear-cut protagonists and antagonists in this movie.
Continue reading Dhoom 3 (2013)
Creator: Jason Rothenberg
Based on books by: Kass Morgan
2014-2015, The CW
You don’t come home from war.
You don’t get to kill people and stay the same person.
There’s this idea about war and brutality and struggle as a kind of thing the bourgeoisie can keep their hands clean of — or at least just dip into for short moments, like tourists on a war safari.
Maybe the clearest articulation of this problem I’ve ever seen is in “The Epic Pooh,” Michael Moorcock’s ruthless dismantling of The Lord of the Rings. In that essay, presents us the idea that the hobbits represent the middle- and upper-class of England, off to go have an adventure — in which they largely don’t have to do anything unpleasant like kill people since there are other people who can do that — and then return home safe and sound to the Shire. Despite being rather a fan of Middle Earth, I think this is pretty defensible as an interpretation of the text.
Continue reading The 100 (seasons 1 – 2)