November 20, 2009
The following are links to websites that are looking back at the decade as well as chronicling the events. They are subdivided by topic.
The ’00s: Goodbye (at Last) to the Decade From Hell: An article from Time, byAndy Serwer, that almost argues (if not, does) what I wrote previously (with more examples).
Screen Memories: A column from A.O. Scott describing his take of what the movies offered us this decade.
At the Movies’ Best of the Decade: A countdown revealing the selections from A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips as the decade draws to a close.
This post will be updated as the more sites articles like these are online.
November 18, 2009
It was a decade of chaos. When the world had entered the new millenium, optimism was in full stock. The last century was a wake up call to the world. After global wars and technological advances in the 20th century, the desire and tools were on hand for living a better twenty-first. But the first decade of this new century, had an array of things many thought happened only in movies. One of the most unforeseeable events ever took place. Four commercial airliners were hijacked and were sent crashing. The end result was around 3,000 lives lost, two landmarks were gone along with any sense of normalcy and hopes for peace.
What took place after the attacks of September 11th, or 9/11, seemed to be more events that contended to match the catastrophic nature of those on that Tuesday morning. Tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, wars, and a global economic meltdown. Some went as far to call the 1990s, the roaring 90s.
But humanity also displayed it’s very best during this decade. In those times of disaster, people rose up to meet the help of those most affected. Whether it was donating food, giving blood or volunteering their time, humanity never stopped moving forward.
Perhaps, this decade was a reminder. When the New Year celebrations took place, maybe we were looking to put the past behind us without watching our steps as marched forward. The new century did not clean the world’s slate. We still faced problems. And as we enter a new decade, we ourselves may be desiring to put this decade in the past and march as well. But we must learn the lessons of this decade before doing so and realize that a clean slate doesn’t just happen. The world is something to work on, prepare for and maintain. That is how peace is kept and made.
edit:For the next couple of weeks, I will be looking back at this decade and be posting links from those looking back as well.
October 16, 2009
Among the potential candidates to take on Chris Dodd for his senate seat in 2010 is Linda McMahon. She is the wife of Vince McMahon, but that title doesn’t hint to her abilities to lead. The WWE (formerly WWF) has been a family business since the early days. Linda McMahon was, until this recent bid, the CEO of the publicly traded company. She could almost certainly hold her own in capital hill with the day to day business.
Today, her Democratic opponents are actually bringing up the nature of her career against her. And considering the business she is in, there is more than enough to dig up. A spokeperson for the Connecticut Democrats said:
“As WWE Chief Operating Officer, Linda McMahon presided over programming that showed simulated rape, public sex and necrophilia, and now she wants to be our U.S. Senator? People across this state, not to mention the millions of women who are the victims of sexual violence every year, would be horrified and embarrassed to know that the person who seeks to represent them condones this kind of behavior. That kind of programming has no place in our society, and Linda McMahon has no place in the U.S. Senate.”
About a decade ago, the WWE was experiencing it’s biggest boom since the 1980s. The attitude era as it was called upped the ante with wrestling porn stars, sex appeal, raunchiness, and more violent than usual wrestling. I guess I had forgotten about that aspect of professional wrestling. I say this because upon McMahon announcing her senate run, I viewed wrestling as more of a circus than a zeitgeist of shallowness.
Back in the late 1990s, the new direction WWE was taking was exciting, risque and tasteless. That edginess at the time overshadowed what has pretty much become evident in wrestling, it’s circus like nature. Thats not to say what the WWE did then and does now was and is always first class. I think the WWE has objectified women in a lot of ways since the attitude era. Some might argue that it has empowered women to participate in something rough. But women in the WWE are labeled as divas instead of wrestlers and are portrayed a lot as sex objects.
Now I also don’t believe these attacks carry much weight to them. Specifically the necrophilia storyline. Necrophilia is bit exploitative to individuals, but I feel it’s rather more as repulsive activity and a joke to most. And the storyline from what I remember (yes, despite my objections, I watch wrestling) came off as a tasteless fiasco and I believe the majority of this nation sees it as such. The storyline involving public sex involved two heels (bad guys) and those involved in the sex were not meant to come of as looking completely good. The “simulated rape” video does come off as demeaning and somewhat exploitative, but, and this what will make this whole attack worthless, the current economy trumps anything involving “mora”l issues. And the social issue of disrespecting women is undercut by the economy and sadly, that a social issue like this is treated as a “moral” issue.
October 4, 2009
I only learned about Goodbye Solo after looking for a film to watch in theaters a month ago. Unlucky for me, the film was no longer playing. It may have been the best film that I have missed in theaters this year so far. The titular character, Solo, is friendly, likable and a reliable Senegalese immigrant cab driver. It’s easy to be taken with a charismatic personality like Solo’s. William is the opposite of Solo. At and old age. he is someone who lacks Solo’s friendly demeanor and it is a task in itself to get to know him. We right away are dropped into the film and it lays out the scenario of the plot. William pays Solo to drive him to Blowing Rock, a real life mountain where objects that are dropped fall upwards. William doesn’t specify what he will do there, but Solo’s outgoing inquisition reveals that William intends to jump to his death. Since the job is not till several days, Solo makes an effort to befriend William.
For one night, William is dropped into Solo’s life at home. Solo’s stepdaughter, Alex, is young, cute and sharp. Solo’s wife, frets over Solo’s career and activities. But Solo’s life is not one of debauchery or reckless behavior. It is one where he has a job, one where he provides for his family on all fronts and one where he aspires for more. It seems pretty clear that Solo’s life is on solid ground. Despite this, Solo leaves the family for a short bit after a fight. He spends the next couple of days with William. Just as both had contrasting personalities, the two have contrasting lives. William now lives in a motel where he is in transition for the future drive he has paid Solo for. What else we learn from William is in regards to his tastes, past and family.
Goodbye Solo is derected by Ramin Bahrani and written by Bahareh Azimi and Ramin Bahrani. Souleymane Sy Savane delivers a great performance as the likeable Solo and Red West nicely plays the suicidal William.
Often I found myself thinking of people I have encountered like Solo. I think such people are what most of us want to be like. A person like Solo at first meeting sounds like they have no problems or troubles in their lives. Goodbye Solo demonstrates how a person with such a life faces the problems we often face. Though, Solo faces his problems, he maintains an upbeat feeling through it all. The Solo who has faces life with such an attitude is really the Solo most people will interact with at the job or in the neighborhood Solo works and lives in.
William on the other hand has come to grips with his own problems and his solution to his problem comes to run a sort of diagnostics test on Solo’s friendly demeanor. At several points in the film, Solo has a quiet mile long stare with an unseen reality. Is he puzzled? Is he scared? Maybe it’s both. Solo is facing the start of his adult life. William is nearing his. Goodbye Solo is a slice of life that demonstrates two personalities and contrasts two different lives at two different stages.
September 29, 2008
Those who speak Spanish, no doubt, know what the phrase “Que ve” means. The literal translation is “what do you see”. It is a question that can be applied to many aspects of the world we live in. And that to me is the phrase that will probably best sum up what I want write about. What do I see in a given subject?
Those subjects will include my key interests such as politics (FYI, I’m a liberal) and movies, but they will also include other topics that are not on my mind at the moment. I once started a blog dedicated to just society and politics, but then my world view grew. Hopefully, everyone’s world view grows to include things they didn’t know about. Glimpses of the world help us shape it as well live in it.
So what makes my opinion worth hearing? Well, take what I said in the last paragraph. As my world view grows, maybe I can share some of that with you. Maybe I can say something that you take issue with. Maybe you will come to agree with a 22 year old guy from Texas or maybe your belief will be further reinforced. Opinions are the tools we use to manipulate our world. For the best and and for the worst.