July 4, 2014 Documentary Marathon

For years now, my Fourth of July (Independence Day) tradition has been to watch intellectual and political documentaries (none of that sappy human interest stuff for this occasion!). Films I’ve re-watched in past years include Fahrenheit 9/11, Outfoxed, Bill Maher’s Religulous, and others. I started more serious and then ventured into more bizarre…

This year I’m keeping some brief notes as I watch the documentaries. Here we go!

Page One: Inside the New York Times

  • love the WikiLeaks stuff. one of the best documentaries I watched within the past year was all about this: We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
  • haha Andrew Ross Sorkin didn’t meet his deadline!
  • I feel a sort of knee-jerk love for The Times, but the discussion about how they botched the pre-Iraq War (under George W Bush) coverage was a disaster. I forgot about the whole Judith Miller mess…
  • David Carr worked in Minneapolis! (and hit rock bottom there..)
  • I love how much this documentary is making me think about media and journalism. I love Katrina vanden Heuvel (edior of The Nation, but I also love Gawker, which she hates. I can see both sides!
  • I love ProPublica
  • I love the dark humor and cynicism of journalists. some of my favorite parts of this documentary are the casual conversations happening in the news room.
  • the whole thing about Zell taking over the creating a frat culture within the leadership of the Tribune is very scary.

Overall I loved this documentary! Makes me nostalgic for when I worked on my college newspaper. And made me realize how my current job is less and less about journalism.

The Central Park Five

  • My coworker Emeri recommended this one to me! We have extremely similar tastes in documentaries
  • I think this is my first Ken Burns experience
  • The 80s version of New York introduced in the beginning of the film feels so different from the New York I’ve visited. It’s easy for me to forget it hasn’t always been this way.
  • Too many times do I see this story of police intimidating and interrogating people in order to put together the story they want.
  • I can’t help but wonder if the police are aware of these kids’ innocence… I’m pretty sure they are completely convinced they are guilty, which makes me even more depressed.
  • Grrrrr Donald Trump!! What an asshole!
  • Grrrrr Pat Buchanan!!
  • Whoo Al Sharpton!
  • The troubles the guys have after getting out of prison make me so frustrated. I can’t say I blame the guy who goes into the drug dealing business. it’s the only job that won’t discriminate against him.
  • I love the scathing reflection by the historian toward the end.
  • Though at the end of the film the civil case by the innocent men against the city, i’m glad to say that City Controller Scott Stringer approved a $41 million settlement.

Michel Foucault: Beyond Good and Evil

  • I’m going into this without any idea of what it is. I was thinking I wanted some sort of academic documentary so I just searched for Foucault on YouTube…
  • Btw: Although I’m pretty familiar with his philosophies, the only books I’ve read by Foucault are from the History of Sexuality series (The Will to Knowledge, The Use of Pleasure, The Care of the Self)
  • I would say that after Zizek, I consider Foucault to be the most influential philosopher on me.
  • Foucault’s fiend who wrote the short story “The Secrets of a Man” possibly about Foucault: Hervé Guibert
  • Looks like there is an article on JSTOR about this Guibert story and Foucault
  • I’ve always loved the Ship of Fools imagery as well.
  • Hahahaha Camile Paglia is not a fan!!! I’m not sure what it says about me, but I love both her and Foucault and somehow see a way to synthesize their ideas
  • I’ve also heard theories/rumors that Foucault intentionally caught HIV/AIDS in order to experience/study what it was like to have it.

American Experience: Silicon Valley

  • Curious to watch something about the tech field…
  • It’s cool to think of business driving such innovation in science. It doesn’t feel that way as much now. More about profits…
  • Whoa I did not expect a connection to the space race. I love it!
  • Wow! Because women had better dexterity (they thought because of needlework), most of the chip-assemblers were women!
  • Ahhh I forgot how it started: the military market…
  • Really cool to see how the whole start-up culture was created. These early silicon valley companies really shaped the industry. They remind me of Microsoft today in many ways.

20 Years Of Kompakt – The Pop Documentary

  • I love the Kompakt record label (based in Cologne, Germany). I download pretty much every single the label releases.
  • Yes, this is basically a promo for the label!
  • I wish for the music video part they matched the video with the song rather than just showing the visuals
  • Happy 20th Birthday Kompakt!

My favorite Kompakt release is Total 6. I love the songs “The Difference it Makes” by The MFA, “Tell Me About It” by Superpitcher, and “Action” by The Field. My favorite Kompakt artist is The Field.

Project Nim

  • I always wish we could communicate with animals and have them tell us what they are thinking!!
  • “It was the seventies…” !! yes!
  • … wow. they are pretty weird…
  • Oh my this is less about a scientific experiement and more about human drama!
  • The chimp takes puffs off a joint?!
  • If Nim is as human as these scientists think, the poor guy must have major parental issues.
  • You probably shouldn’t watch this if seeing animals in pain disturbs you. I can barely make it…
  • Like for example, the chimps who knew how to sign… once they were locked in cages for medical experiments, they signed “out” 🙁
  • Very much reminds me of Black Fish — we drive these poor animals insane.

And that concludes my 2014 documentary marathon!

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