This week’s selected media: November 19, 2023: Poverty, By America, by Matthew Desmond; My Octopus Teacher; First Reform

November 19, 2023 by Joshua
in Tips

I finished this week:

Poverty, By America, by Matthew Desmond: I’d been recommended to read this book. It’s recent and the library had a long waiting list so I ended up reading his earlier book Evicted. His view of poverty overlaps a lot with my views of the environment. If you want to help the Amazon, don’t fly there. People there aren’t causing the problem. The problem is in boardrooms in rich countries, where decisions are made to plunder and allow polluting. Still, people keep flying to the Amazon to protect it.

My Octopus Teacher, starring Craig Foster: The reviews missed what I considered the most important part of this movie. They talked about the beautiful cinematography and his relationship with the octopus. They were beautiful, but I considered the most important part that he started the process as a sidcha. He swam in the same cold water every day. He was bound to discover something incredible, if only about himself. Sidchas improve life. You can find as much beauty of nature and feel as much awe if you explore nature daily near you. Then you won’t think you have to fly around the world to find it.

Craig and his brother had made The Great Dance before this movie, which covered San Bushmen hunting in the Kalahari. I consider both movies great, but learned more from The Great Dance. I’m partial to learning about humans. Still, a wonderful movie.

First Reform, written and directed by Paul Shrader, starring Ethan Hawke: An intense movie. It looks too well-made to be a thriller or horror movie, but it could qualify. I forgive the movie for portraying environmentalism as prone to people losing perspective. I’m not sure if it was trying to say something about our environmental problems or just using them as a foil to develop the characters. Either way, very evocative and tense. It’s not fun, but if you like creative works that evoke emotions for a journey, you’ll like this movie. A couple cool scenes.

Eric Foner Talks, by Eric Foner: Following up on Sinha, Oakes, Blight, Wilentz, and other historians of abolitionism and anti-slavery politics, I watched a lot of videos on Eric Foner. I’m about halfway through his book on Lincoln and slavery, The Fiery Trial.

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