Consumerism 101

A friend needed to give a lecture on consumerism and asked for some assistance. Following is a list of films, quickly composed off the top of my head. I thought I’d share it (listed in chronological order):

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_jpG6kv6Pw

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ8mIVz_qW4

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fm21JY7WhyY

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa3wyaEe9vE

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGi21YQFjMM

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GorqroigqM

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eKYyD14d_0

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9Ctt7FGFBo

 

Extra credit:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jplVjVz4GRo

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UErPxYZb0M

My Top 10 List of Films About Food*

No Impact Man (USA, 2009) – Directors: Laura Gabbert, Justin Schein – documentary
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9Ctt7FGFBo

Food, Inc. (USA, 2008) – Director: Robert Kenner – documentary
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4jQq2rGV8k

Fast Food Nation (USA, 2006) – Director: Richard Linklater
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc_z623Wsro

Our Daily Bread (Germany, 2005) – Director: Nikolaus Geyrhalter – documentary
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHVGYnryYtw

Super Size Me (USA, 2004) – Director: Morgan Spurlock – documentary
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Lkyb6SU5U

* Well, not really about food in general, but about the global and local impact of corporate production of our food.
** As with any of my ‘Top 10′ lists, upon publishing they usually don’t have 10 items in them as I like to leave room for future additions.

Mom, I Didn’t Kill Your Daughter

Jonathan Danilowitz, Adir Steiner, Uzi Even, Tal and Avital Yaros-Hakak – each of these individuals have helped Israel shape its laws and grant equal rights for queer people, that much cannot be disputed – but I contend that all these people have helped very little in softening the collective Israeli heart towards gay people, compared to one transsexual singer who granted Israel its first Eurovision Song Contest victory in nineteen years. As simplistic (dare I say, moronic) as that may sound, I believe that when Dana International performed on stage in Birmingham, England in 1998, she granted mothers and fathers from the generation right above mine a night of many firsts, as for most of them it was the first time they ever rooted for a queer person and the first time a queer individual had flooded them with feelings of pride and patriotism.

Just like straight men have an easier time accepting the idea of lesbians over gay men, as it is not perceived as a threat to their own masculinity, I believe that many straight men and women have an easier time accepting the idea of transgendered people over other queer individuals, as it is not perceived as a threat to the boy-meets-girl dogma.

Being a minority, any minority, is probably not much fun wherever you may live, but the fact that this country is so tiny must make it that much harder for individuals to surround themselves with enough people that love them, so that they would not be forced to constantly see the masses that hate them. This coming Thursday, Israeli Channel 10 will feature a documentary named ‘Mom, I Didn’t Kill Your Daughter‘ about two F2M transsexuals living in Israel who are also a couple. The film, directed by Orna Ben-Dor, received rave reviews in festivals around the world.

Here’s a snippet:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4RmwE4NCGU

‘Mom, I Didn’t Kill Your Daughter’ will air this coming Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 9pm on Israeli Channel 10. You can also watch it online here. Happy Passover, the Jewish festival of freedom from slavery!

John’s Not Mad – Alin and Shani Aren’t Either

I have always been fascinated by Tourette’s syndrome, which naturally manifested in my seeing virtually every documentary ever made on the subject, including:

That is why I was very happy to find out that Israel’s Channel 10 will broadcast an Israeli documentary about the subject titled ‘Involuntary‘ (2007), directed by Boaz Rosenberg. The film follows Alin Tubul (30) and Shani Nulman (18), two young Israeli women very different from one another, as they struggle with severe Tourette over the course of three years. The US National Institutes of Health estimates 200,000 Americans have severe Tourette’s, which might infer there are 4,700 Israelis in predicaments similar to Alin’s and Shani’s. If there is, in fact, strength in numbers, I cannot imagine how lonely it must feel to have Tourette’s in such a small country as Israel.

After watching that many documentaries, I categorize Tourette’s portrayal in popular media into three depth levels:

  • Hollywood’s Tourette, as depicted in TV and movies, emphasizing the quote-unquote funny side.
  • Tourette 101, as depicted in every documentary made so far, emphasizing the day-to-day struggle with social stigmas.
  • Full-blown Tourette’s, which I have yet to have seen in popular media, revealing the typical comorbid conditions of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), intrusive thoughts and suicidal tendencies.

I can only hope future documentaries will deal with this third category.

Here is a fascinating news story about Alin and the documentary, by Channel 10’s Nesli Barda (Hebrew):
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT9VqLrh0Gk
(Please note that for some reason Alin Tubul is referred to as Alin Biton in the story)

‘Involuntary’ will be broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10 this coming Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 11pm.

Aside:
Been thinking about Digital Footprints lately and the need to write an eloquent post about it. During the writing of this post I easily found a photo of the film director sitting naked on the toilet, as well as phone numbers (home and cell) of Alin, the film’s protagonist, along with her mental health history. What do your Digital Footprints reveal about you?

Watch This Film and Become a Better Citizen of the World in 90 Minutes

I have recently watched ‘No End in Sight’, a jaw-dropping documentary that chronicle the reasons behind Iraq’s descent into guerilla war, warlord rule, criminality and anarchy. While essentially a talking heads film, it is the ultimate insider’s tale of wholesale incompetence, recklessness and venality. Watching the film guarantees you would have a better understanding of our world and the political forces that drove it to its current state. The film provides a candid retelling of the events following the fall of Baghdad in 2003 by high ranking officials such as former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Ambassador Barbara Bodine (in charge of Baghdad during the Spring of 2003), Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, and General Jay Garner (in charge of the occupation of Iraq through May 2003) as well as Iraqi civilians, American soldiers, and prominent analysts. The movie shows how the use of insufficient troop levels, allowing the looting of Baghdad, the purging of professionals from the Iraqi government, and the disbanding of the Iraqi military – largely created the insurgency and chaos that engulf Iraq today.

No End in Sight

How did a group of men with little or no military experience, knowledge of the Arab world or personal experience in Iraq come to make such flagrantly debilitating decisions? ‘No End in Sight’ dissects the people, issues and facts behind the Bush Administration’s decisions and their consequences on the ground to provide a powerful look into how arrogance and ignorance turned a military victory into a seemingly endless and deepening nightmare of a war.

You can watch the movie trailer here and purchase the DVD here.

First Animated Documentary – ‘Ryan’ by Chris Landreth

Ryan Larkin, 1943-2007Some claim that Winsor McCay’s Sinking of the Lusitania (1918) is the first animated documentary just because it is an animation about something that really happened. I disagree with that notion as in my opinion it is merely a reenactment of true events done by animation. Chris Landreth’s short animated film Ryan (2004), on the other hand, is in my opinion, the very first animated documentary – or docu-mation as coined by THIN AIR. It is a recorded conversation turned into animation, between the director and the subject of the film, Ryan Larkin, an animation pioneer who passed away this year.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrsVa3CzQj0

You can read Larkin’s obituary here and a tribute here.