What I Liked This Week: 3/9/13

Kids. I’m so tired. Sophia is already tapping us out. I’m pretty late with this post, and I neglected to slap you with a post earlier this week, but there was quite a bit that I liked this week (or didn’t like, as usual) so I still wanted to make sure not to leave all ten of you in the lurch. With no further doo-doo:

  • Filed under “Things I Liked That I Actually Loathed,” is this video, (which has gone viral) and which succinctly outlines, in easy-to-digest graphical forms, just how out-of-control wealth inequality is in America. Look upon it, and get angry.
  • For different reasons, I liked this video, wherein President Obama answers a biased non-question from a “reporter,” by asking his own question about what she thinks he should do, in the face of yet another example of Republican obstructionism. HINT: She doesn’t have a reply. Because you can’t negotiate with a wall. And the current Republican majority in the House is just that, a wall of opposition. To progress, to change, to fairness. To anything that does anything to combat or ameliorate the inequality illustrated in the previous video. Because they are not on your side. Because you’re not an old rich white dude. Are you?
  • Primer, by Shane Carruth. Many people have already seen this brilliant low-budget sci-fi film (from 2004). I had been meaning to watch it for years, and finally did after a friend (and trusted connoisseur of fine films) spoke about it recently. Also, Carruth reappeared this year at Sundance (after “disappearing” for ten years) with Upstream Color, his latest. Upstream looks very interesting, and some smart interesting people who have seen it seem to have enjoyed it. The short of it: Primer, for me, was everything it was cracked up to be and more. I loved it. Smart, clever, thoughtful, and brilliantly crafted in defiance of its budget. Watching the film made me feel like I have to work harder (and I work pretty hard). Free to watch on Netflix instant.
  • This video, in which Sam Seder reports on how a conversation about income inequality became “taboo” at this year’s TED conference. The point (as far as I see it): the unwillingness of certain (too many) “liberals” or “intellectuals” to confront this issue squarely and honestly, and/or to take their share of responsibility for admitting and confronting the problem, is almost as ultimately damning as efforts on the far right of the political spectrum to subvert and/or manipulate the truth in the interest of maintaining rampant inequality as “the norm.” You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Sometimes you have to spit out the cake. And then spank the baker. Spank the banker. Glad you’re all with me.
  • This article about a surprise strike by Guest Workers at a Pennsylvania McDonald’s. This is not the first time I’ve read about employers abusing this “cultural exchange program,” and it probably won’t be the last. The short of it: this program — and the lack of an effective way to police it — “allows” employers to treat foreign exchange workers quite literally like indentured servants, under the auspices of providing them with relevant work experience and cultural exposure. And, in a way, unfortunately, ironically, that’s almost what’s going here. Maybe this sort of abuse doesn’t happen all the time, maybe there are examples of employers using the program correctly — but this shouldn’t happen. We were supposed to have learned this lesson before. When we treat our own citizens this way (which we practically often do, if/when you break things down in terms of how employment works for most people today), it’s shameful and wrong. When we treat visitors from other countries this way, pretending all the while that such an experience is “good for them,” we send them home with valid reasons to resent or hate us. That’s not an anti-American statement. It’s the truth about one particular way in which we, in terms of how our companies treat workers, just may be responsible for creating anti-Americans.

On that note, I need to get some rest, so I can start fresh with tomorrow’s battle. Let’s all try to do a better job at trying to make things better this week.

Till we meet again, fellow furious ones.

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