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99%11 — Demonstrative Attacks on Wall Street

I’ve always found it interesting that the 11SEP2001 attack on Manhattan wasn’t aimed at Liberty.

It targeted Wall Street, like a wake-up call for 99% of Americans who came to lust for revenge against the alarm clock,

while the captains of our financial institutions effected our economic collapse.

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/13nuc)

Who Are the ’99 Percent’?

Anti-Wall Street protesters have differing motivations

By on                 September 29, 2011 – 6:42 p.m. PDT
Hundreds of people descended on downtown San Francisco Thursday to support the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations that are going on in New York. The tagline for the protest is “We Are the 99 Percent,” and here’s how they describe themselves:

We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

We wondered who were the “99 percent” protesting on the streets on Thursday and why they were demonstrating. Here’s a random sampling.

Charlene Woodcock

Charlene Woodcock, 71, retired book editor

QK: Why are you out here?

CW: I’ve seen the wealth of this country – and especially California – go from the middle class to the very rich. It’s destroying California, it’s destroying our schools. The Republicans are doing their best to privatize everything they can and it’s destroying the country.

QK: What do you want these protests to accomplish?

CW: A state bank. North Dakota has a state bank that isn’t doing it for profit.

QK: What do you have against Wall Street?

CW: They broke laws, they made a mockery of process of granting loans to enrich themselves in the short term and they didn’t give a damn about the long term.

Mary Ann Meany

Mary Ann Meany, 60, lawyer

QK: Why are you out here?

MAM: I’m out here because the program I work for has been cut, my court has been cut, every social service in California is being cut and I think it’s time that we all recognize that there’s a social contract that we have to support. I work in juevenile court – employees, commissioners, court reporters have been cut.

QK: Do you blame Wall Street for those cuts?

MAM: We use Wall Street as a symbol and a signal of whether the economy is good or not. I don’t think it’s the right indicator. We think the economy is doing well because Wall Street is doing well but we still have high unemployment and people aren’t willing to pay taxes and things seem to be breaking down.

Larry Yee

Larry Yee, over 50, service technician

QK: Why are you out here?

LY: I’m a member of CWA 9410. I’m here in support of our brothers and sisters asking for fair jobs and making sure the banks don’t just walk away after the disaster they caused in the financial market. We all need to speak up and make sure our voices are heard.

Evelyn Sanchez

Evelyn Sanchez, 35, community organizer

QK: Why are you marching out here?

ES: I’m very much in touch with families that have been affected by this crises. Both immigrants who have been cut off from services as well as families who are facing budget cuts in their school system.

QK: What does Wall Steet have to do with those cuts?

ES: A lot of our laws and policies are designed to favor them – their health and their well-being and not enough is being done for us, the people, who are on the street. I’m happy to see there are so many people here who are sick and tired of the agenda of our politicians and that’s doing what’s best for corporations and the financial sector. It’s about time they pay attention to the needs of the people.

Karen Henry

Karen Henry, 50, runs clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies

QK: Why are you out demonstrating?

KH: I came out here because I am fed up with supporting corporate America. There’s a much bigger gap between the rich and the poor. And we gave all our money to the banks and we don’t have anything left. This morning I was going to work and I heard Bank of America is going to charge $5 for debit transactions – that’s friggin’ ridiculous! It goes into some stockholders pocket while it gets eaten out of ours. I heard about the demonstration today and decided to come. I left work early and decided to come.

Chris Tully

Chris Tully, 36, unemployed

QK: Why are you out here?

CT: To support the 99%. To support Occupy Wall Street. They’re out there for us. I’m against corprorate greed and I want to see a higher employment rate and banks should pay.

QK: Why should the banks pay?

CT: They’re the ones that benefited the most from all of us in the bailouts and their still making massive profits. They continue to do so.

QK: What do you hope will come out of these protests?

CT: I’m hoping to see a stronger sense of community and be more organized. Everyone tends to walk around thinking they can’t make a difference and we’re out here to show them we can.

Ulises Olvera

Ulises Olvera, 19, student at San Francisco State University

QK: Why are you out here?

UO: To stand in solidarity with all the workers and see if we can make some change.

QK: What kind of change do you want these protests to make?

UO: Drastic change

QK: Like what?

UO: Like the way the tax dollars are collected. Who gets taxed and the amount of taxes we impose on people who have money and people who don’t have money. I come from a working class family and in the last five years, they have been struggling just to make rent and it’s been really tough. I’m from San Deigo and a lot of my friends, their parents are agricultural workers, and it’s been hard on them too. They’ve lost jobs in the last couple of years.

QK: How is Wall Street responsible for that?

UO: They hold all the wealth and they get preference on how money is dispursed and they’re pretty much in control of everybody else. So whoever has the money has the power and that’s how they control.

Darnell Boyd

Darnell Boyd, 50, tenant organizer for SRO Hotels
Boyd lives at the Mission Hotel and he helps organize tenants.

QK: Why are you out here?

DO: We need the rich to pay more taxes. And we need them to not cut aid and medicare.

QK: What does Wall Street have to do with that?

DO: I think they’re [rich] Wall Street. They need to pay their fair share.

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/13nuc)

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30 Sep 11 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena

The second season of this series is a prequel for the first season.  It’s another masterpiece of complex character embroidery that serves to provide contextual backstory.  Every central character relates to every other along multistranded threads of interaction that are riddled with bizarre combinations of loyalty, devotion, conspiracy and betrayal.  I’d like very much to cruise this series again; marathoning the second season again before plunging directly into the first.  This show is brilliant!  but I have a couple of problems with it:

Just as the relationships between principle (and secondary and tertiary…) characters are multilayered and complex, so too the relationship between spoken language and visual information is fascinating:

  1. Every physical conflict is photographed from multiple-angles, and edited into a bewildering hodgepodge of milisecond glimpses that are (apparently) intended to goose-up the viewer’s excited appreciation of innovative, amplified and hyper-real ACTION, which, after all, is the primary draw/appeal of this show — just as Fred&Ginger dance routines were signature tentposts that masterfully integrated and magnetized audience attention to the narratives in their films.  I find the postproduction manipulation of action scenes in this Spartacus deal profoundly intrusive and a counterproductive, destructive distraction from the seamless integration of months of conditioning, hours of rehearsal, and admirable dedication of skilled performers to realize each choreographed illusion of hyper-violence.  From the beginning, Fred said, If the camera moves, I won’t!  I like his decision that effectively countered the then-revolutionary Busby Berkeley approach to camera operation by insisting on long takes shot from a stationary position, no dramatic/spectacular overheads, and realistic transitions in profoundly-integrated narrative context that drives theatrical audience attention purely in the service of story.  Leni, Busby, Dektor and MTV have kinda-sorta taken a crap on all that.
  2. The exception to Point 1 appears in the final episode of Season 2, when in Bitter Ends, the characteristic editing style leans toward significantly longer snippets of action that permit the viewer a much better idea of what the fuck’s going on, who’s doing what to whom for what foreshadowed reason, and reaction-shots from outside the ring of violence are regarded (at long last) as far less important to storytelling cohesion than the coherent images of photographed violence.  Why?
  3. Subtitles distract, but I find them a necessary evil.  Actors with a wide variety of British accents swiftly delivering elevated dialogue (that often lacks personal pronouns, drops objects and subjects from sentences and dwells in a realm of peculiar syntax) make the use of subtitles indispensibly mandatory, for me.  I think big American money must insists that aristocratic Nazis and Romans be played with classy British accents, social dregs are Cockney, heroes kinda Nebraska-ish…always.  Check it out.  Diona sounds like Oakland, Lecretia’s meso-sophisticated Sydney, Gaia’s upperclass Swinging London from the 60s — to my ear.  I think it’s a subtle Hollywood manipulation that’s been operating so effectively for decades that we barely notice it.
  4. The larger vision of the Roman Republic revealed in this series presents the viewer with an elaborated awareness of the lower strata of a vast social pyramid (slaves, gladiators, lanistas, minor officials, and gangsters) and glimpses of absolute assholes who dwell in slightly higher castes in the social order, without ever showing us the major assholes (for contrast) in the seats of power in the city of Rome, itself.  We constantly sense their pervasive influence, but are not permitted a bird’s-eye view of the structure of the Republic, except through the myopic, rhetorical fantasies, convoluted conspiracies, and vague aspirations of their (contemptible) tools, the very characters we come to know and/or hate as the episodes unfold.  And the percieved differences between heroic and villainous characters (and their actions) are so microscopically minute that they’re practically immeasurable.  Forget your moral compass?  No sweat, you probably won’t need it.
  5. Perhaps the most uncomplicated relationship in all of this wonderful mess is that between Lucretia and her husband; an almost-unflagging devotion that makes them totally cool with rape, murder, dismemberment and all manner of mayhem visited on anybody other than the two of them.  But how/why that singular bond became remarkably exceptional isn’t remotely clear.

In spite of these objections to presentation and big-picture context, I continue to find this show entertaining and instructive as all-get-out.

25 Sep 11 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

THOR

Well, that was just ENORMOUSLY enjoyable!

21 Sep 11 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

OneHour Photo

Mark Romanek holds Harry Truman accountable for photofinishing Japan, as though World War Two were a race/war.  It’s an uncommonly visual film that opens as disconcertingly as did All The President’s Men.

The heavenly order of SlaveMart is maintained by specialized angels in cerulean vests, whose mission is to serve our better natures, while being judgmentally-scrutinized from above by Bill, the multiple-monitored, big-pictured SlaveMart manager, whose inescapeable omniscience is almost entirely powerless before the unexpectable threat posed by Sigh Perish to Bill’s only begotten daughter, on whom Sigh zooms in.  Psych!  Feint!  Gambit!

By invoking Evangelion (the 60foot-tall, darkly-winged Angel/agent of Retribution against bad guys); and by transforming Robin Williams’ look to resemble Truman, at whiles; and by framing the Yorkin family as a pillar of apparent nuclear-familial piety riddled with broken promises on the eve of their semi-private, emotional implosion; and by depositing bad Will (Hunting) Yorkin in the hotel room of Maya Burson; and by carefully or serendipitously orchestrating dozens of similar, powerfully-disturbing snapshots, Romanek makes OneHour Photo a deeply compassionate exercise in modernAmerican (and global and universal) regret.  He even provides Truman, by means of Sigh’s expository allusion to a deeply-nightmarish backstory, an excuse for the unforgivable decision to execute an unthinkable plan to destroy the nuclear family as only he can (and Truman did).

Most of the action in this exceptionally-interesting film takes place after the final act, as people who’ve been exposed to it think and talk (some may even radiate) about it; Shanley-style Doubt.

17 Sep 11 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment