The Corporation

the-corporation_0

We have viewed 2 chapters of this informative and sometimes chilling documentary, The Corporation.  Both chapters have centered on the corporation Monsanto.

The first chapter detailed their promotion and distribution of a hormone, BGH, intended to increase milk production in cows; however, with serious side effects, such as immobility and infection  BGH wasn’t only detrimental to the cows, but also to humans as the pus from the infected utters made its way into the milk.  Monsanto at first denied and tried to cover up the effects of the steroid, but were later outed by Canadian and English news agencies.

The second chapter details two investigative reporters, formerly of FOX news, who broke the story about the dirty dealings of Monsanto.   At first, they were forced to kill their story, but later they were told just to make changes–severed changes which compromised the integrity of the report.  Yet the reporters held their ground steadfastly, refusing to alter their original findings.  Consequently, they ended up being fired for not cooperating with the dictates of their bosses, showing that in some news rooms, pursuit and deliverance of the truth, to some degree, is still alive.

In summary, these two chapters highlight the manic nature of corporate entities who routinely, thoughtlessly and inhumanely put profit over people.

Advertisements

Robinson Crusoe

e-1719-0027

Robinson Crusoe is one of the oldest and most widely read and translated books ever published in the English language.  It was written by Daniel Dafoe and first published in 1719 with innumerable editions and publications since then.  It is the English equivalent of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. It’s influence is far reaching both in space and time.  It has been translated into more than 100 languages and has spawned many film and television imitations, the most recent being Robert Zemeckis’ Cast Away. Why is this book so revered?  It’s quite simple.  It touches on some of the most enduring and recognizeable themes, such as survival and cultural relativism.  A hell of a read.

Chapters 1 -4

Apocalypse Now!

mayan_calendar

A common question used in ESL grammar and conversation classes–to highlight the conditional tenses for grammar or to get to know someone in conversation–is the following:  If you had only 3 more years to live, what would you do?  Well, according to the Mayan calendar, the question may not be so hypothetical anymore.  Some Mesoamerican researchers believe the Mayan calendar points to the apocalypse on the day Dec. 21, 2012.  A history channel documentary entitled: Doomsday, Dec. 21, 2012 describes other historical peoples who share this idea, including the oracle of the IChing and the ancient European nomadic soothsayer: Merlin.  While many call it a hoax, others steadfastly believe in the prophecies, pointing to such things as a polar shift for scientific proof that a doomsday scenario is possible.  History is filled with people claiming the end is near, yet, of course, it hasn’t happened.  Do you think the arguments given by proponents should make you think this time could be any different?

Patriotic Songs

banner

The above photo is the original Star Spangled Banner about which the famous Francis Scott Key song was written.  As we moved from conspiracy to nationalism, the ideas expressed in the songs we heard yesterday stood in stark contrast to the ideas we discussed concerning JFK and 9/11.  Every country imbues its citizens from an early and easily influenced age with its ideology about how their country is superior and more blessed than all others.  Citizens continue receiving this propaganda as long as they live, and the more blindly they receive it, the more dangerous it becomes.

An effective way to extend propaganda is through song.   Many times a melody captures you before you even begin to think about the lyrics.  Think of how many times you have had a stupid song in your head that you just couldn’t stop thinking of.  Now imagine that that song’s aim was to convince you that your country could do no wrong.  Further imagine that your country throughout its history has committed a series of atrocities world-wide while proclaiming to their citizens that they are the most benevolent society ever formed.  Getting caught in this web of deception is easy when a beautiful melody leads the way.

Loose Change

9/11 Who Dunnit?

flag-upside-down-2

Loose Change is an intriguing, exploratory and thorough investigation into the possible role of the United States government in the execution of the events on 9/11.  This documentary was written and directed by Dylan Avery.  It has been subjected to much criticism; however, it remains popular among a select portion of the public due in part to its wide availability–offered for free on the web–and also because of its attempt to situate its hypothesis within a scientific framework, which at times seems quite convincing.  View for yourself and come to your own conclusions.

JFK

svjfk_wideweb__470x3320

As he rode along in this limousine, with his demure, radiant wife at his side, well in the scope of at least two assassins, and as the smile on his face suggests, John F. Kennedy was seemingly unaware he was experiencing the last moments of his life.

Kennedy was assassinated Nov. 11, 1963 in Texas.  Amazingly, you can see the whole thing in the Zapruder Film.  The aftermath is the stuff mythology is made of.  Who shot him?  The government says Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin; the implausibility of that theory was given serious treatment by the only man ever to bring someone to trial for the assassination of J.F.K. : Jim Garrison, portrayed skillfully by Kevin Costner in the Oliver Stone film J.F.K..

So, who killed him then?  Who knows.  But as the famous character of JFK Mr.X philosophizes: that question is only scenery for the public.  It’s effect?  To stop the public from asking the most serious question: why?  Why was Kennedy killed and who benefitted from it?  The answer to that question?  Well, that is the stuff  good historians are made of.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

kate_winslet_in_eternal_sunshine_of_the_spotless_mind_wallpaper_1_1024

Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders.

–Nietzsche

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;

–Alexander Pope “Eloisa to Abelard”

Hope everyone enjoyed viewing our first movie, the science fiction, thought-provoking, truly surreal and enjoyable film from Charlie Kaufmann and Michel Gondry, starring Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  This movie with its creative, sometimes exhausting and demanding narrative really deserves a second or third viewing to appreciate the richness and complexity of the characters and plot.  However, I’d still would like to see a contribution on this film.  What did you guys think of it?  What grabbed your attention the most?  What did you think of Jim Carrey,  usually an over-the-top comic actor, yet here very reserved, but still effective?  What do you think of the ethics involved in the plot of the story, that of allowing for the erasure of memories through surgical procedures?  Try to relate this movie to the article we read in class the previous day.  Do you see something like this inevitable in the future?