Monthly archives of “October 2007


The War, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (2007)

I’ve been taking my time watching these Tivo’d episodes of this fifteen-hour documentary; it’s frankly too upsetting to watch more than an hour at a time. Burns is something of a sentimentalist, but those aspects are easy to ignore. The reason to watch this is for the raw footage, through which those people in those places in those times doing those things become these people in these places in these times doing these things. An astonishing document.

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Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Alex Gibney (2005)

This is an amazing film, which should be seen by anyone who doubts for a second that corporate America and the American government not only exist in a permanent state of co-dependency and blatant conflict of interest, but are essentially two manifestations of the exact same impulse: greed. I’m a 21st century kid, cynical to the core, and not easily shocked, but I gagged on this. If you’ve only got twenty minutes or so, watch the segment about 2/3 through about the California blackouts in 2000 and 2001, which cut off power to millions of citizens, ensured the recall of Governor Gray Davis and the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and which were completely and utterly artificially engineered by Enron traders in order to generate profits for the company and themselves. You hear tapes of the traders joking with each other about stealing from old people, and how good it is for business when wildfires get out of control. Then you hear the newly elected President H. W. Bush (good friends with Kenneth Lay, as his father was) saying that there is no need for the federal government to intervene in California. It’s nothing you haven’t suspected, but it still packs a wallop.



Autumn. Reading to write reviews, teach, research, keep my head above water, but no time to blog.

Adrienne Rich
Natasha Trethewey
Graham Swift
Michael Ondaatje
Sigrid Nunez
Hayden Carruth
Alice Notley
W. G. Sebald
Srikanth Reddy
Christian Wiman
Wendy Rawlings
D. M. Thomas
W. D. Snodgrass
Lots of books about torture

Haven’t been to the movies in more than a month.