[The Last Picture Show was a 1971 film depicting the decay of small town America. It took place in the fictitious town of Anarene, Texas.]
We hear a distant tune reminiscent of America’s high and lonely places and the sound of a dry wind blowing. It’s March 2010 in the tiny West Texas town of Anarene. Nothing much happens here any more. The last business shut down a couple of years ago. It was a cement plant that went broke after the housing bubble burst and the banks stopped lending. The kids out of high school drive their jalopies from one end of Main Street to the other past boarded-up storefronts.
Mar 03 2009
Feb 21 2009
Science fiction has been frequently utilized in embellishing the capitalist system. Suffice it to mention movies like Superman and Exterminator, which, under a seemingly innocent story, cover a barely hidden apology of its dominant values. In the history of the seventh art there exist, however, opposing examples where the symbolism of the imaginary is used for aims of social criticism. One of the most outstanding is undoubtedly offered by John’s Carpenter’s They Live. Although it appeared about 20 years ago, in 1988, the movie remains timely and relevant as one of the most devastating and sharp criticisms of American imperialism ever made. And it also reads as prophesy of what later crystallized to be the embodiment of its most brutal features, the corrupt and cynical Bush administration, now leaving the scene.
Nov 16 2008
Like many of my contemporaries, I grew up on comic books. From the mainstream graphic fiction starring Billy Batson and Archie to the alternative realities of the Zap Comix universe and the Freak Brothers, those stories with pictures entertained me and enhanced my world. Nowadays, comic-styled tales and interpretations of classic novels claim a popular space in libraries and bookstores across much of the world. Many of the graphic novels are geared towards a youthful audience and deal with teen angst, vampires and such. Others are designed to convince the reader of a certain point of view and are often published by an organization or group with a particular point of view. Then there are those that stand alone.
Oct 22 2008
With less than a month to go before the election and Obama’s inauguration a mere three months away, Lance Selfa’s The Democrats: A Critical History is critical reading for anyone interested in real change we can believe in i.e. not the kind Obama will bring.
Sep 21 2008
The powerful culture wide taboo against discussing or analyzing the dynamics of our market economy will lead to the fall of our democratic civilization. UCLA Professor Jared Diamond studied four civilizations that perished and three that survived. The civilizations of Greenland Norsemen, Mesa Verde Native Americans, Central American Mayans and Easter Island perished. The Norse settlement in Greenland perished after 400 years partly because Norsemen could not overcome their taboo against eating seal meat and fish.1 Diamond listed two choices that those societies which adjusted and survived made while those that failed did not:
Willingness to reconsider and change core values
Long term planning
Note: The original article has hyperlinked end notes.
Sep 02 2008
Anyone reading these words already knows our political systems are broken beyond repair. They already know that trying to patch them up by changing one political party for another every few years merely conforms to Einstein’s definition of insanity: ‘Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ The great man also said something else worth reapeating: ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them … We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.’
Jul 05 2008
Mar 27 2008