November 26, 2004 § Leave a Comment
Sometimes rape is not an act committed on a person but on a people and, as we sit down this Thanksgiving to pay tribute to the maker for providing us with a fruitful country built on the slaughter of Native Amer-icans, it might be also fitting to take a look at Stephanie Black’s “Life And Death” and see a modern manifestation of American progress.
If building a Southern economy on the backs of African slaves was part one of an epic, then “Life and Debt” constitutes merely an excerpt of part two as it details a globalization horror story featuring the people of Jamaica as the victim to an ax wielding maniac, personified by the World Bank. If you ever wonder why “They” hate “Us,” Black’s film gives a good explanation and also manages to document the inherent American disconnect on the subject.
As puffy Americans de-plane in Montego Bay, greeted by smiling black faces serenading them with a “We Love Jamaica” ditty, it is plainly obvious that tourists don’t visit Jamaica — they visit Jamaicaland. In Jamaicaland, Americans are bound to a “Matrix” like reality where all interactions with Jamaicans are prefabricated and made cute in an effort to separate it from the ugly reality outside of the tourist confines that are not as sellable as the image. The tourists sit and eat their authentic Jamaican cuisine — all imported from Miami — oblivious to how their consumption affects the natives.
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November 18, 2004 § Leave a Comment
Filmmaker Steve Alves has spent a lifetime trying to escape sprawl. His film, “Talking to the Wall: The Story of an American Bargain,” documents his arrival in our eastern neighbor, Greenfield, and his role in the community’s battle against an impending Wal-Mart.
The reasons for fighting a Wal-Mart are well-documented in the film and pretty obvious to anyone who has been paying attention — the most notable problem being the subsequent death of downtowns, with businesses closing and Main Street becoming a skeletal boulevard through a ghost town. Add to that the lowering of wages and benefits for the typical worker and the destruction of natural land, as well as some possibly shoddy goods, and you pretty much have the reasons that Alves and others in Greenfield sought to stop the retail monolith. « Read the rest of this entry »