One world, one war
Is there a more powerful recruiting poster for the political left than the image of police confronting unarmed protesters? There is--but only if you count a collage of such images from around the world, with the cumulative effect of making all these battles look like one and the same war. That's the shocking achievement of this new film from Big Noise, the Manhattan-based media collective that brought you 2000's similarly slick This Is What Democracy Looks Like (about the 1999 WTO protest in Seattle). Narrated by Michael Franti and Suheir Hammad, the new "documentary" is really a rock-video update of old antiwar wall hangings, Clash album covers, and antiapartheid graphics, this time drawing on recent video footage from protests against economic neoliberalism around the world. (As I write, hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans are filling the streets to oppose privatization.) It would take a major news network to deny the political (and emotional) connections between the incidents we're shown--most memorable being the sight of unarmed Zapatistas kicking down a fence to take over a Mexican military base, and that of black South Africans singing against the IMF-compromised government. But where the filmmakers falter is in connecting these conflicts with kids throwing stones in occupied Palestine, and connecting either with 9/11. That kind of colossal error of judgment suggests the only real link between rioters and Al Qaeda: the equanimity toward violence of those who would make political posters of themselves.
The Fourth World War screens in Minneapolis on Sunday, Oct. 24, at Macalester College, 7:30 p.m. at John B. Davis Lecture Hall; and at the Soap Factory at 10:00 p.m. at 2nd S. SE and 5th Ave. The filmmaker will be present at both screenings.
City Pages Readers Corner
I don't usually respond to letters in City Pages. But I wanted to belatedly correct a couple errors that appeared in the section over the past few months.
However lazy Escondida is with hooks, however appalling the song "Old Fashioned Morphine," and however nondescript her ensemble chemistry (standout instrument: a singing saw), no comparisons quite do justice to the nearly-solo piano number "Damn Shame." Here, Holland is easily comprehensible. "Tell me one more time why you went away," she quavers. "It makes a little sense in the light of day." This is the kind of album that makes sense in the black of night.
City Pages ran the following letter in response:
Whatever you do, assign someone else to review Jolie Holland's performance on Friday--this guy is gunning for her (CD Reviews, 7/28). Sometime in the past he must have fired his weapon too near his ear, because apparently he can't hear lyrics or good music. The lines he argues with, in the big finish of his snide and snippy review, aren't correct. They're, "It makes so little sense in the light of day." Unlike his assessment of Holland's Escondida, which makes so little sense any time of day.
Julie Jackson Lusby
But Lusby misquotes the lyrics of the song. They are as I had them in my review (check the lyric sheet yourself, or read this quotation in another publication).
As it happens, Jolie mentioned the review at her 400 Bar show here in Minneapolis, joking after she performed "Old Fashioned Morphine" that she was worried about playing it because "that guy really hated it--did you read that review?" Turns out, the song was pretty great live...
Second, there was a letter in response to a City Pages cover story I helped write, I Hate 1984 (7/28/04). As I said in the intro, most of what I wrote, as well as all but two of the other essays, originally appeared in the "I Hate 1984" series here at Complicatedfun.com. Personally, I wasn't sure this belonged on the cover (not accompanied by those old photos, anyway--hey, mine was from '85!), but what do I know?
City Pages ran this letter in response:
How cool were you in 1984? Cool enough to warrant a cover story apparently. So cool that no regional current event could trump the fact that you were hanging out at Oarfolkjokeopus when you were 12. Next time spare a tree and remind Scholtes he's got some vacation time to use up.
But Scott has me confused with John Evans, who wrote the essay on Oar Folkjokeopus. When I was 12, I was living in Madison, Wisconsin, and couldn't have pointed out Minneapolis on a map. I was also 14 for most of 1984.