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10.29.2014

Wordy Wednesday

I watched Cold Mountain (2003) this week.  This movie has tons of A-list actors (Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Natalie Portman) and they seemed too big for their characters.  It felt more like browsing through an issue of People Magazine than watching a movie about the Civil War.  (Do you really see that southern-hick woman and the southern belle or do you see Renee Zellweger and Nicole Kidman?)



It has some very predictable-outcome scenes; one where Jude Law saves the day by rescuing a widow and her baby from the treacherous Yankee's.  And the entire premise of the movie is a love-relationship between two people who hardly know each other.  Err........yet another movie with several Oscars under its belt that's dreck.

It's hard to watch something banal and with somewhat boring characters and having to compare it to Gone With the Wind.  The Nicole Kidman character is somewhat similar to Scarlet in that they're both the inept, bred southern belle having to learn to fend for herself.  Except Scarlett has so much more vitality.

The musicians in this movie were cool, however.

And one good thing about Cold Mountain is that it has Renee Zellweger with her OLD face.  I'm really sad to see what she's done.  She's one of my favorite actors and for her to change so dramatically feels like a loss to me.  

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Also watched Malcolm X this week.   I lOVE listening to what he has to say.  Maybe even moreso than MLK.  How he does not mince words.

"We don't see no American Dream.....we have experienced the American nightmare."
"To own the businessness in our own community; this isn't black supremacy, this is black intelligence."  "Black people were here before Christianity; we will be here after America has long passed away."
"The beginning of a nation begins with the mother, she's the first to care for the child, the message she gives that child he takes to the whole world."
He even says that JFK's assasination is "chicken's coming home to roost".

I just like someone who'll say things that are hugely politically unpopular.  (Not that I agree with that statement about JFK--actually I don't.)

It's interesting to see how Malcolm died for much the same reasons that his father did.  Even though his father died when he was only four years old, he still had a huge influence on Malcolm's life.

I like how Spike Lee starts this movie with the Rodney King beatings.  It reminded me a little of how Oliver Stone started JFK with the Zapruder Film.  Although it sends kind of a hopless message; that 30 years after Malcolm X's death, we have the exact same issues.  This article has a great photo-history of the L.A. Riots.

Um, to tie Malcolm X in with something that happened more recently; his grandson Malcolm Shabazz was killed in Mexico in 2012.  This account of M. Shabazz's death is pretty disconcerting--it looks like he was killed by the CIA.  Sean Stone's interpretation in the interview is that the CIA wants to kill all leaders and all would-be leaders.

* * *

The NYT just published an article about how the CIA employed as many as 1K Nazi's at its inception, to assist in training and in fighting the Cold War.  This is not a new discovery.  Consider this documentary, made in the 80s by Bill Moyers in response to the Iran Contra, in which he states the same thing.  And so the question that this article really raises, to me, is why is the NYT airing this, now?  They strike me as the type of publication to dismiss a CIA-Nazi connection as conspiracy-theory-horse-shit.  I think that the NYT is only willing to air an article like this after the subject has lost its political relevance and volaltility, and has become more of a historical subject.  That is to say, for example, that the NYT will never publish a controversial article about the collapse of Tower 7 until probably 40+ years after the 9-11 attacks.

On a somewhat related topic, I also saw "Kill the Messenger" this week.  Now this is a good movie.  Steel Saunders reviewed it on Comedy Film Nerds, and made the point that it's a must-see.  KtM is a movie about the publication of Gary Webb's Dark Alliance report in the San Jose Mercury News.  The reports stated that the CIA was complicit in the selling of cocaine within the US in order to help pay for the contras (after Congress had opposed their support).

The CIA-cocaine connection, also, is not new news, and it wasn't news in '96.  Consider the "Iran Contra Cover Up" created in '88, that explores the exact same issues.  Some of the lines in the movie, for example where Webb, while visiting Nicaragua, is astounded to discover that "Olly" was party to the selling of cocaine, make Webb come across as a little naive.  I mean, at what point is all of this stuff going to fall into the 'well, duh' category?  We've been hit over the head with evidence for decades now.  And, as with the Nazi-CIA connection article, every time we react in wide-eyed naivete and say 'wow, can you believe it?" and then to forget about it entirely and get on with our activities!    

Um, yeah, so I guess at the same time that Kill the Messenger is a good movie, and until now I knew nothing of Gary Webb, the underlying message--that the CIA is more corrupt than the mafia, and that the media has the power to destroy whomsoever they take issue with--is a little redundant.  I'm looking forward to the day when these realities are implicit in the consciousness of the average American, and we're interested in reforming the system.

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