Sunday, January 3, 2010

This & that

A bit of this and a touch of that as the back-to-work horror looms ...

Yesterday Teresa and I watched a good movie, Sleep Dealer. It's sci-fi social commentary, very well done in my opinion. It envisions a near-future scenario in which U.S. megamonopolies have realized their fondest dream: wringing profit from workers without having the workers physically present. They've solved the problem of immigrant labor by doing away with the immigrants while retaining the labor. The means is a nightmarish high-tech hook-up. The plot also involves imperialist theft of water, which is more and more a top issue facing the nations of the South. Best of all, it ends on a note of hope and struggle. Very satisfying, and with fine writing and acting to boot.

I'm intrigued and want to read the new historical novel Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco. I did take in quite a nice haul of bookstore gift certificates last month, and either I'll use some of that to buy this book or take it out of the library. I'm a little wary given the praise from sources like the New York Times, which is no friend to Palestine. Also, unhip and behind the times though it makes me, I have to say that I'm not a fan of graphic books. I keep trying them and feeling let down, feeling at the end that, well, no, a picture is not worth a thousand words, a thousand words would have had so much more depth, this stayed so unsatisfyingly on the surface. Keep trying I will, though, and who knows, maybe this'll be the one that changes my view.

The Dec. 26 death of Dennis Brutus, the great South African poet and activist, must be noted albeit a week late. In a statement his family commented: "Dennis lived his life as so many would wish to, in service to the causes of justice, peace, freedom and the protection of the planet. He remained positive about the future, believing that popular movements will achieve their aims." Brutus, like most other South African leaders including Nelson Mandela, was always steadfast in his support of the Palestinian people, likening their struggle to the anti-apartheid battle to which he had devoted so many years. Just a year ago he led a protest in Durban against the Israeli ambassador to decry the criminal war against Gaza.

Earlier in December the novelist Carlene Hatcher Polite died. I'm sorry to say that stumbling upon this obituary was the first time I'd ever heard of her but it certainly makes me want to read her work.