Thank You Manohla (and The New York Times)

Ms. Dargis has been doing an excellent job covering -- and contextualizing -- Indie Film's move towards an artist-centric collaboration with the audience (and away from an exclusive control by the corporations in terms of what is made and exhibited).

And she just gave TrulyFreeFilm some serious props today. Perhaps that is why you are reading this now (that is if they fixed their online link). Anyways, this is that big shout out of thanks.
In regards, to art films current inability to attract young audiences, Manhola quoted me:
it “is really surprising how few true indie films speak to a youth audience.” He continued, “In this country we’ve had Kevin Smith and ‘Napoleon Dynamite,’ but nothing that was youth and also truly on the art spectrum like ‘Run Lola Run’ or the French New Wave (‘Paranormal Activity’ not withstanding...),” adding: “Are we incapable of making the spirited yet formal work that defines a lot of alternative rock and roll? And if so, why is that?”
If you want to read the whole post that came from: this is it.
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We can keep a diverse and vital culture alive and flourishing but only with your participation.

Books Not Bombs


Nicholas Kristof had another great piece in the NY Times yesterday, this one on Greg Mortenson's efforts to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Kristof writes regarding Mortenson:

Still, he notes that the Taliban recruits the poor and illiterate, and he also argues that when women are educated they are more likely to restrain their sons. Five of his teachers are former Taliban, and he says it was their mothers who persuaded them to leave the Taliban; that is one reason he is passionate about educating girls.

So I have this fantasy: Suppose that the United States focused less on blowing things up in Pakistan’s tribal areas and more on working through local aid groups to build schools, simultaneously cutting tariffs on Pakistani and Afghan manufactured exports. There would be no immediate payback, but a better-educated and more economically vibrant Pakistan would probably be more resistant to extremism.

“Schools are a much more effective bang for the buck than missiles or chasing some Taliban around the country,” says Mr. Mortenson, who is an Army veteran.

Each Tomahawk missile that the United States fires in Afghanistan costs at least $500,000. That’s enough for local aid groups to build more than 20 schools, and in the long run those schools probably do more to destroy the Taliban.

Mortenson has written a book "Three Cups Of Tea", which I haven't read, but is a best seller.  If only we had an administration that understood what a good idea education is, both home and abroad.

Change the Urban Landscape

Being a city-dweller, I was a fan of congestion pricing to reduce traffic, but I understand why it could not pass for NYC in the state capitol.  Nonetheless I like the stick-to-it-ness of the mayor to find ways to make the city greener.  

I am not sure if I would have started with Broadway between 42nd - 34th Street as my next urban park, but I dig the idea.
Read about it here in the NY Times.

Supreme Court Judges Should Divest

It never occurred to me that the judges that set our laws are so riddled with conflicts. Many of the Supreme Court judges continue to hold stock in companies that they either directly or indirectly must decide on. The Supreme Court is the most important job in the land, and I thought the judges took their jobs seriously. The New York Times had an editorial this Saturday that not only pointed the fallacy of this out, but also mentioned that most blatant abuser is Judge Steven Breyer who holds stock in more than three dozen companies. The editorial points out the many conflicts that have come for the judges who continue to hold stock, and how our nation's legal system is stalled because of it. It definitely seems to me to be a good idea that if you want to be a Supreme Court judge you must agree to divest in your holdings, after all the country is a little bit more important than a little bit more profit. It also was a good idea two years ago when Congress changed the rules for the judges so they had no capital gains tax when they divested in order to avoid conflict. You can read the editorial here.