“Welcome to Gibtown, The Last ‘Freakshow’ Town in America”: The Guardian

on the social construction and theology of disability, sort of: For those who didn’t quite fit elsewhere, Gibtown was a utopia. Its first settlers, the Giant, and his wife, the Half-Woman, ran a campsite, a bakeshop and the fire department. The post office catered to little people with extra-low counters, and the beer hall had custom-built chairs for the Fat Ladies and the Tallest Man. Special zoning regulations allowed residents to keep and train exotic animals in their gardens. Siamese-twin s … [Read more...]

“Opening the Time Capsule: The Forgotten Era of Black Indie Film”

...forgotten indie films from '68 through '89?! WHERE DO I SEE THESE: Last week, the Film Society of Lincoln Center concluded its beautiful ode to an era, “Tell it like it is: Black Independents in New York, 1968-1986.” The survey of more than a dozen titles produced during the period, some never-before seen, offered a peak into an unheralded, often forgotten moment of visual storytelling which is responsible for some of the most impressive and richly nuanced portraits of black life in fil … [Read more...]

Success Perm: “Fresh Off the Boat”

This is just a quick Saturdayish post to say that ABC's new sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat" is surprisingly enjoyable. It's based on a memoir, which probably explains the specificity of the setting: The central character is Eddie Huang, a rap-loving plump kid whose parents move from DC's Chinatown to suburban Florida in 1995 in order to open their own restaurant, the perpetually-struggling Cattleman's Ranch. The humor mixes culture-clash jokes and nice specific details (one episode gets a lot of … [Read more...]

Kickstarter to Restore Pioneering African-American Cinema

Looks stellar. From Kino Lorber: Among the most fascinating chapters of film history is that of the so-called “race films” that flourished in the 1920s - ‘40s. Unlike the “black cast” films produced within the Hollywood studio (such as Stormy Weather or Green Pastures), these films not only starred African Americans but were funded, written, produced, directed, distributed, and often exhibited by people of color. Entrepreneurial filmmakers such as Oscar Micheaux,  Spencer Williams, and Richard D … [Read more...]

“America’s Imperial Mental Illness”: I’m in AmCon

reading Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche. I finally got around to Ethan Watters’s 2010 Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, an exposé of the exporting of American concepts of mental illness.Watters writes with justified outrage about the corporations, humanitarian organizations, and mass media which have acted as pushers of both drugs and therapies. He depicts charities descending on post-tsunami Sri Lanka, ignoring local cultural practices and ba … [Read more...]

“To Overcome Distrust, Renew Friendship”: Amber and David Lapp

have basically the same conversation I just had with a woman at the pregnancy center: ...While Robert Putnam and others have documented the increasing isolation of all Americans, the alienation and distrust that we witnessed in this working-class town seemed like an advanced form of isolation. Things that we took for granted in relationships with new acquaintances—asking questions and listening to the responses, returning phone calls and text messages, extending invitations to dinner—soon ear … [Read more...]

“Obama’s College Plan Bows to Elites”: Megan McArdle

I have no actual opinion on the community-college plan but there are some good points here: ...Why aren't we at least asking ourselves if there's something we can do to create more opportunity for people without diplomas, instead of asking how many more years we can keep everyone in school? Why do all of our proposed solutions essentially ratify the structure that excludes so many people, instead of questioning it?I have some ideas about what those policies might look like: broad … [Read more...]


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