Media and Society

Utopian, Practical: What DREAM is our one demand?

Is the flower of revolution budding on our lawn? Paris '68 has journeyed by way of Seattle '99 and made it to New York 2011 as the #occupation of Wall Street appears to have legs. Kalle Lasn, who wrote the book on culture jamming, was already one of my heroes for giving us Adbusters magazine and Buy Nothing Day.

Eat the Fire: Paul Goodman is 100

One hundred years ago Friday—September 9, 1911—a boy was born in upper Manhattan, the “Sugar Hill” area between Washington Heights and Harlem, into a family freshly torn apart.

The Society I Live In Is Mine

Paul Goodman was a public figure who did not shrink from taking action in support of his beliefs. In the biopic PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE you'll see him alongside draft resisters; speaking out at peace rallies; going before the Board of Ed with radical reform proposals for New York City schools; advocating the banning of cars from Manhattan; and telling elite defense contractors they're the world's most dangerous men. Goodman's formal career in politics advanced no further than a school board position on Manhattan's west side.

Format

When you see the documentary biopic PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE, you can expect to learn a good amount about Paul Goodman and absorb a variety of impressions of his life. That's what you'd expect from any documentary biopic. The format of the genre imposes certain norms: an ample selection of snippets of vintage film footage and interviews, edited with adherence to standard narrative and cinema conventions, designed to hold your attention for a reasonable running time, entertain you, and provoke at least a little thought and/or feeling.

They’re Unteachable, Thank God

One of the virtues of the documentary PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE is that it offers an answer to the question, how do you make a movie about an intellectual that isn't boring? Or even better, one that's neither boring nor shallow?

Go Google Yourself

I just spent a few minutes surfing the World Wide Web, exploiting and learning about the pulses and rhythms of this communication nexus we and God hath wrought. I Googled my last blog post, the one about poverty and misery, and I did a little exploration of finding myself through my name. A solipsistic enterprise, I admit, but it seemed to have an intellectual justification.

Decent Poverty Report: Necessities

Today was a momentous day for our family, and not just because we celebrated the solstice. We got a home phone, a landline, after going cellphone-only for nearly three years. We did it mostly for our daughter, largely because of concerns about radiation but also because we want her to know the experience of having a "real" phone that's as much hers as ours, dialing one, answering one, using the answering machine, knowing people's numbers.

the city and the social network

Well, I admit, I'm not on Facebook, so what do I know about anything anyway? Nor have I even seen The Social Network yet, I feel compelled to disclose (but I will, since I loved Jesse Eisenberg in The Squid and the Whale). But just the plot summary—about all the backstabbing, jealousy, and antisocial vindictiveness that surrounded the creation of Facebook—confirms my intuitive sense that this is an interface with which I prefer not to interface. I know it has many adherents who swear by it but to me there's just something kinda creepy about it.