Frann Michel's blog

obamarama

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Many progressive commentators have observed that Barak Obama’s rhetoric and supporters seem quite progressive, but his policies and record are much less so.

Do Muslim Women Need Saving?

When the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan, one of the prominent justifications was liberating the people George W Bush called “women of cover” from the Taliban.  Laura Bush told us in 2002  that “the fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women."  Similarly, in March 2003, shortly after the United States and its allies invaded Iraq, women's rights and gender equity  were mentioned as symbolic issues for Iraq's new national agenda.

Girls Rock!

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 Girls Rock!  the movie about Portland’s Rock and Roll Camp for Girls  which has inspired other girls rock camps opens March 7 at Cinema 21.

Be there!

 

Reviewed on the Old Mole Variety Hour 3-3-08.

CLR James

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Born in Trinidad in 1901, CLR James was a leftist writer and social theorist until his death in 1989. In the 1930s, he worked for West Indian Independence, and moved to Britain, where he wrote a number of novels, and was the cricket reporter for the Manchester Guardian. In the 1940s and early 1950s, he lived in the United States, and wrote about politics, film, literature, and literary criticism.

Deported in 1953, he was much influenced by the 1957 revolution in which the former British colony of the Gold Coast became Ghana, and by the ensuing anticolonial and Black Power struggles of the 1950s and 60s.

Persepolis reviewed


Denise Morris and Frann Michel review Persepolis on the Old Mole Variety Hour 1-25-08.

Thirst: a documentary on water privatization battles

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The documentary Thirst, directed by Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman, is available though the Multnomah County Library.

It’s a fitting topic for a day devoted to remembering Martin Luther King, Jr, since King’s work recognized the power of grassroots political action and, in his later years, also acknowledged the need for economic restructuring.

po lice

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The Prologue to Dario Fo’s 1970 play Accidental Death of an Anarchist explains that in late 1969 there were a number of bomb incidents in Italian cities.
Milan police arrested an anarchist and accused him of the crime. At a certain point in his interrogation, the anarchist flew out the window of the police station. Something similar occurred in New York in 1921, when the anarchist Salsedo flew out the window of a police station, around the same time that Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested for a crime never proven against them. From these stories we can conclude that many anarchists are obsessed by the urge to jump out of the window, because they believe they are able to fly.

The Iron Heel

Last year, Penguin Books issued a new edition of Jack London’s 1908 novel The Iron Heel. Probably London’s fullest fictional presentation of his socialist views, it’s a book that Leon Trotsky, some thirty years later, called a “prophetic vision” of “fascism, of its economy, of its governmental technique, its political psychology. . . . Jack London foresaw and described the fascist regime as the inevitable result of the defeat of the proletarian revolution.” The book has its flaws, as Trotsky acknowledged, though I would include that sense of inevitability as one of them.

on zombies

I’ve been thinking about zombie movies, of which the twenty-first century has seen a resurgence. The zombie movie database lists nearly 1600 films since the year 2000, though that includes shorts, tv shows, and direct to video releases. Still, many of those have been quite successful theatrical features. In 2002, we got 28 Days Later, and this year its sequel, 28 Weeks Later. In 2004, we saw a remake of George Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead, as well as the British horror comedy Shaun of the Dead.

knocked up

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Reviewed on the Old Mole Variety Hour 6/11/07, Knocked Up was written and directed by Judd Apatow, best known for The 40 Year Old Virgin, and the director of photography was Portland native Eric Edwards. It’s a beautifully shot film, and it’s been getting enthusiastically positive reviews (especially at sites like Reviews for Guys and Movies for Guys).

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