Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Orleans: The Natural History

Source: Google Video

“After Katrina, people ask why would anyone establish a city in a place that is below sea level, floods nearly every year, is as hot and humid as any tropical jungle, subject to outbreaks of deadly disease and faces annihilation as the result of a direct hit from a hurricane? More to the point, why would anyone try to save it? When you mention New Orleans to most people, the images evoked are of a lively port city populated by a sultry mix of people from many different cultures and, of course, jazz, Mardi Gras and world class cuisine. What few people realize is that the very forces that created New Orleans now threaten its very existence. The eco-system is incredibly fragile and volatile, and if no action is taken, the city could be wiped out in the next hurricane or gradually swept into the sea from the current course of things. With the critical issues of global warming and our ongoing struggle to strike a healthy balance between a healty environment and a growing economy, New Orleans serves as a microcosm in which we can examine the critical issues facing our planet.”

New Orleans: The Natural History was produced by Walter Williams, creator of Mr. Bill and a New Orleans native.


In the Library:
  • Bates, Kristin Ann, and Richelle S. Swan. 2007. Through the eye of Katrina: social justice in the United States. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Bergal, Jenni. 2007. City adrift: New Orleans before and after Katrina. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Brinkley, Douglas. 2006. The great deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. New York: Morrow. [link: WorldCat]
  • Chase, Leah, Errol Domingue, Preston Doré, Marlon Horton, Ted Falgout, Kerry St. Pé, Christina Hendrick Melton, et al. 2006. Washing away losing Louisiana. [DVD] Baton Rouge, La: Louisiana Educational Television Authority. [link: WorldCat]
  • National Research Council (U.S.). Ocean Studies Board (2006). Drawing Louisiana's new map : addressing land loss in coastal Louisiana. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Tidwell, Mike. 2003. Bayou farewell: the rich life and tragic death of Louisiana's Cajun coast. New York: Pantheon Books. [link: WorldCat]
  • Tidwell, Mike. 2006. The ravaging tide: strange weather, future Katrinas, and the coming death of America's coastal cities. New York: Free Press. [link: WorldCat]

On the Web:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Isabel Allende: Tales of Passion

Source TED Talks

Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, the definition of feminism -- and, of course, passion -- in this talk.

From TED:

As a novelist and memoirist, Isabel Allende writes of passionate lives, including her own. Born into a Chilean family with political ties, she went into exile in the United States in the 1970s -- an event that, she believes, created her as a writer. Her voice blends sweeping narrative with touches of magical realism; her stories are romantic, in the very best sense of the word. Her novels include The House of the Spirits, Eva Luna and The Stories of Eva Luna, and her latest, Ines of My Soul and La Suma de los Dias (The Sum of Our Days). And don't forget her adventure trilogy for young readers -- City of the Beasts, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon and Forest of the Pygmies.

As a memoirist, she has written about her vision of her lost Chile, in My Invented Country, and movingly tells the story of her life to her own daughter, in Paula. Her book Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses memorably linked two sections of the bookstore that don't see much crossover: Erotica and Cookbooks. Just as vital is her community work: The Isabel Allende Foundation works with nonprofits in the SF Bay Area and Chile to empower and protect women and girls -- understanding that empowering women is the only true route to social and economic justice.

In the Library:
  • Allende, Isabel. Cuentos de Eva Luna. New York: HarperLibros [WorldCat]
  • Allende, Isabel. The Stories of Eva Luna. New York: Atheneum [WorldCat]
  • Allende, Isabel. The Infinite Plan: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins [WorldCat]
  • Allende, Isabel. Paula. New York: HarperCollins [WorldCat]
  • Allende, Isabel. Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses. New York: HarperFamingo [WorldCat]
  • Allende, Isabel. Conversations with Isabel Allende. Austin: University of Texas Press [WorldCat]
  • Allende, Isabel. Daughter of Fortune: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins [WorldCat]
  • Allende, Isabel. Portrait in Sepia: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins [WorldCat]
  • Allende, Isabel. Mi País Inventado : Un Paseo Nostálgico Por Chile . New York: Rayo [WorldCat]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

Source: Internet Archives

This 12-minute newsreel produced by the United States War Department provides an account of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Narration accompanies raw footage of the damage and destruction caused by the atomic blasts, detailing some of the strategic decisions behind the decision to bomb the two cities.


In the Library:
  • Ferrell, Robert H. 1996. Harry S. Truman and the bomb: a documentary history. Worland, Wyo: High Plains Pub. Co. [Link: WorldCat]
  • Hersey, John, Warren Chappell, and Edith Goodkind Rosenwald. 1946. Hiroshima. New York: A.A. Knopf. [link:WorldCat]
  • Jungk, Robert. 1958. Brighter than a thousand suns; a personal history of the atomic scientists. New York: Harcourt Brace. [link: WorldCat]
  • Minear, Richard H., Tamiki Hara, Yōko Ōta, and Sankichi Tōge. 1990. Hiroshima: three witnesses. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • United States. 1990s. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Champaign, Ill: Project Gutenberg. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Wyden, Peter. 1984. Day one: before Hiroshima and after. New York: Simon and Schuster. [link: WorldCat]

On the Web:

Tuesday in November

Source: Internet Archive

Idealized portrayal of 1944 U.S. presidential election, made to show the world that the United States was sufficiently secure to hold a free and fair election during wartime. Shows campaign activities, efforts to ensure the secrecy of the ballot and fairness of the election, and media coverage of the electoral process, all culminating in a giant nighttime gathering in Times Square where a huge crowd awaits the result.


In the Library:
  • Archer, J. Clark. 2006. Historical atlas of U.S. presidential elections 1788-2004. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Gersbach, Hans. 2005. Designing democracy: ideas for better rules. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Gumbel, Andrew. 2005. Steal this vote: dirty elections and the rotten history of democracy in America. New York: Nation Books. [link: WorldCat]
  • Warren, Kenneth F. 2008. Encyclopedia of U.S. campaigns, elections, and electoral behavior. Los Angeles: Sage. [link: WorldCat]
  • Watson, Robert P. 2004. Counting votes: lessons from the 2000 presidential election in Florida. Gainesville, Fla: University Press of Florida. [link: WorldCat]

On the Web:

  • Prevention of deceptive practices and voter intimidation in federal elections : S. 453 : hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Tenth Congress, first session, June 7, 2007 [PDF]
  • The importance of poll workers : best practices and recommendations : hearing before the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration, House of Representatives, One Hundred Tenth Congress, first session, hearing held in Washington, DC, October 3, 2007 [PDF]

Monday, November 17, 2008

The River

Source: Internet Archive (pt. 2)

Classic documentary history of the exploitation of the resources of the Mississippi River Valley and the work being done to rehabilitate and reclaim the area.

Views are shown of the Rockies in the West and the Alleghenies in the East, and of typical scenes of the Mississippi watershed from Minnesota to the sea. A map shows the vast network of rivers that flow into the Mississippi. The commentator says that the water from nearly two-thirds of the continent flows down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the banks of the lower Mississippi levees are being built to hold the river off the valley. These dikes, says the commentator, were begun by the French and Spanish before the Louisiana Purchase and were extended by us until they reached a thousand miles to the mouth of the Ohio.

The history of the Mississippi River, beginning with pre-Civil War days, is traced. Before the war, commerce of the inland states was sent in steamboats to the sea. There are scenes of cotton being picked, bound into bales, and rolled on board river boats. The Civil War interrupted that trade. Ruined southern homes symbolize the economic collapse of the South following the war. While the war was immediately responsible for that collapse, the soil which had been impoverished by a quarter of a century of frenzied cotton growing was a large contributing factor. Planters from the Old South moved westward. At the same time new industries arose -- lumbering in the North, coal and iron mining in the North and East. There is a series of views of lumbering and mining activities as the commentator tells of the rapid exploitation of these resources. Towns and cities sprang up in the Mississippi Valley and with them mills and factories and railroads.

The results of planless exploitation began to appear. The grasslands were plowed and the forests were cut over. There was no covering to hold the moisture, and more and more of the topsoil was washed away. In 1937 the river could no longer hold the excess water, and the worst flood in United States history was the result. The Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Civilian Conservation Corps, Works Progress Administration, and Red Cross were all called out to reinforce the levees and rescue the sick and drowning. The sharecroppers of the South suffer from the waste of the valley. They live in the richest river valley in the world but are ill-clad, ill-housed, and ill-fed. There are views of miserable living conditions among the sharecroppers.

The final sequence suggests the program which the government has undertaken to rehabilitate the river valley. The Tennessee Valley Authority is presented as a part of a program to reconstruct and conserve the resources of the valley. Civilian Conservation Corps boys are shown planting trees on cutover land. A model agricultural community is built and farmers are instructed in scientific tilling of the soil. The Tennessee Valley Authority provides electricity at a low cost to the people of the valley.


In the Library:
  • Buchanan, Thomas C. 2004. Black life on the Mississippi: slaves, free Blacks, and the western steamboat world. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Colten, Craig E. 2000. Transforming New Orleans and its environs: centuries of change. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Gould, E. W. 1889. Fifty years on the Mississippi; or, Gould's history of river navigation. Saint Louis: Nixon-Jones printing co. [link: WorldCat]
  • Jackson, Joy J. 1993. Where the river runs deep: the story of a Mississippi River pilot. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Kemper, James Parkerson. 1949. Rebellious river. Boston: Humphries. [link: WorldCat]
  • Pabis, George S. 2007. Daily life along the Mississippi. Greenwood Press "Daily life through history" series. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. [link: WorldCat]

On the Web:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Life's Greatest Miracle

Part 1:
Time: 09:53

Part 2:
Time: 06:00

Part 3:
Time: 05:41

Part 4:
Time: 04:58

Part 5:
Time: 07:47

Part 6:
Time: 04:35

Part 7:
Time: 06:39

Part 8:
Time: 07:07

Source: PBS.Org
Originally broadcast on November 20, 2001. A sequel to the most popular NOVA of all time, "Miracle of Life," the program once again uses the extraordinary microimagery of Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson to track human development from embryo to newborn.
Additional Resources:

In the library:
  • Hollen, Kathryn. The Reproductive System. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press. [WorldCat]
  • Ellison, Peter Thorpe. On Fertile Ground. Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press. [WorldCat]
  • Vaughan, Christopher. How Life Begins : The Science of Life In The Womb. New York : Times Books. [WorldCat]
  • Piñón, Ramón. Biology of Human Reproduction. Sausalito, Calif. : University Science Books. [WorldCat]
  • Schettler, Ted. Generations At Risk : Reproductive Health And The Environment. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press. [WorldCat]
  • -. Reproduction, The Cycle of Life. New York : Torstar Books. [WorldCat]

Friday, November 14, 2008

Martin Luther King: I Have A Dream

Source: YouTube

From Wikipedia:
"I Have A Dream" is the popular name given to the historic public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., when he spoke of his desire for a future where blacks and whites among others would coexist harmoniously as equals. King's delivery of the speech on August 28, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters, the speech is often considered to be one of the greatest and most notable speeches in history and was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address.

In the Library:
  • Baldwin, Lewis V. 2002. The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.: the boundaries of law, politics, and religion. Notre Dame, Ind: University of Notre Dame Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Bass, S. Jonathan, and Martin Luther King. 2001. Blessed are the peacemakers: Martin Luther King, Jr., eight white religious leaders, and the "Letter from Birmingham Jail". Baton Rouge, La: Louisiana State University Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Boyd, Herb. 2004. We shall overcome [book & CDs]. Naperville, Ill: Sourcebooks. [link: WorldCat]
  • Carson, Clayborne. 2008. The Martin Luther King, Jr., encyclopedia. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Ellis, Kate, and Stephen Smith. 2005. Say it plain: a century of great African American speeches [book & CDs]. New York: New Press.[link: WorldCat]
  • Hansen, Drew D. 2003. The dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the speech that inspired a nation. New York: Ecco. [link: WorldCat]
  • King, Martin Luther, and Clayborne Carson. 1998. The autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Intellectual Properties Management in association with Warner Books. [link: WorldCat]
  • King, Martin Luther, Clayborne Carson, Peter Holloran, Ralph Luker, and Penny A. Russell. 1992. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Berkeley: University of California Press. [E185.97.K5 A2 1992, v.1-4]
  • Sunnemark, Fredrik. 2004. Ring out freedom!: the voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the making of the civil rights movement. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. [link: NetLibrary]
On the Web:

Thomas Friedman: Why We Need a Green Revolution

Source: Fora.tv



In the Library:
  • ABC News, and Films for the Humanities & Sciences (Firm). 2007. Going green real-world solutions for the environment [DVD]. Princeton, N.J.: Films for the Humanities & Sciences. [link: WorldCat]
  • Conkin, Paul Keith. 2007. The state of the Earth: environmental challenges on the road to 2100. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky. [link: WorldCat, NetLibrary]
  • Friedman, Thomas L. 1999. The Lexus and the olive tree. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux. [link: WorldCat]
  • Friedman, Thomas L. 2005. The world is flat: a brief history of the twenty-first century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. [link: WorldCat]
  • Hawken, Paul. 2007. Blessed unrest: how the largest movement in the world came into being, and why no one saw it coming. New York: Viking. [link: WorldCat]

On the Web:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Secret History of Hacking

Source: Google Video

Documentary tracing the history hacking, focusing on the changing meaning “hacker.” It covers groundbreaking personalites and events, such as John Draper (a.k.a. Captain Crunch) who hacking telephone systems with a toy whistle found inside a box of Captain Cruch cereal; Steve Wozniak and the founding of the Altair 8800 enthusist group known as the Homebrew Computer Club; and the arrest, evasion, and eventual capture by the FBI of Internet hacker Kevin Mitnick.


In the Library:
  • Himanen, Pekka. 2001. The hacker ethic, and the spirit of the information age. New York: Random House. [link: WorldCat]
  • Raymond, Eric S. 1999. The cathedral & the bazaar musings on Linux and open source by an accidental revolutionary. Beijing: O'Reilly. [link: WorldCat]
  • Schell, Bernadette H., John L. Dodge, and Steve S. Moutsatsos. 2002. The hacking of America: who's doing it, why, and how. Westport, CT: Quorum Books. [link: WorldCat]
  • Wark, McKenzie. 2004. A hacker manifesto. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. [link: WorldCat]

On the Web:

Oliver Cromwell: God's General

Source: Brightcove

Profile of the controversial and contradictory character of Oliver Cromwell, a crucial figure in overthrowing the tyrannical Stuart monarchy and, for a short time, turning England into a 'Republican Commonwealth' before becoming a tyrant himself!


In the Library:
  • Bennett, Martyn. 2006. Oliver Cromwell. Routledge historical biographies. London: Routledge. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Cromwell, Oliver, and Thomas Carlyle. 1871. Oliver Cromwell's letters and speeches; with elucidations. London: Chapman and Hall. [link: WorldCat]
  • Hill, Christopher. 1970. God's Englishman; Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution. New York: Dial Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • McMains, H. F. 2000. The death of Oliver Cromwell. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky. [link: WorldCat]

On the Web:

Together We Win: The Fight to Organize Starbucks

Source: Archive.org (alternative: Quicktime mov)

Diane Krauthamer's short film on how Starbucks employees in the US have organized themselves, in conjunction with the IWW, to secure better conditions in the workplace.


In the Library:
  • Clawson, Dan and Mary Ann Clawson. 1999. "What Has Happened to the US Labor Movement? Union Decline and Renewal." Annual Review of Sociology, 25: 95-119. [link: JSTOR]
  • Davis, Rowenna. 2008. "The barnstorming barista." New Internationalist , no. 1: 24. MAS Ultra - School Edition, EBSCOhost [link: EbscoHost]
  • Herbst, Moira. 2007. "Starbucks: More Charges of Union-Busting." Business Week Online : 1-1. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost [link: EbscoHost]
  • Lynd, Staughton, and Daniel Gross. 2007. "Solidarity Unionism at Starbucks: The IWW Uses Section 7: Commentary." WorkingUSA 10, no. 3: 347-356. EconLit, EBSCOhost [link: EbscoHost]

On the Web:

Can Dialectics Break Bricks?

Source: Brightcove (pt2, pt3, pt4; alternative: UbuWeb)

Can Dialectics Break Bricks? (1973) is a situationist-inspired film by French director René Viénet. It utilizes the concept of “détournement” -- the appropriation of an existing work of art which is “turned around” by introducing elements which run counter to the intentions of the original artist, which then becomes subversive. By combining the theories of surrealism with Marxism, the French social theorist Guy Debord envisioned this method of film-making which would serve to undermine the “commodity fetishism” inherent in modern life. While Debord experimented with video collage in his The Society of the Spectacle (1973), Viénet took an existing film (kung-fu movie The Crush, by Doo Kwang Gee) and redubbed the entire sequence, with characters mostly spouting Marxist doctrine. Like the surrealism before, the techniques of détournement proved better suited for generating comedy than transforming society (the classic representitive being Woody Allen's What's Up Tiger Lily? (1966)).


In the Library:
  • Lang, Berel, and Forrest Williams. 1972. Marxism and art; writings in aesthetics and criticism. New York: McKay. [link: WorldCat]
  • Macdonald, Bradley J. 2006. Performing Marx: contemporary negotiations of a living tradition. SUNY series in political theory. Albany: State University of New York Press. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Plant, Sadie. 2002. The most radical gesture the Situationist International in a postmodern age. London: Routledge. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Sadler, Simon. 1998. The situationist city. Cambridge Mass: MIT Press. [link: NetLibrary]

On the Web:

Birth of A Nation

Source Google Video

From Dr. Catherine Lavender, director of American Studies Program at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York:
In D.W. Griffith's masterpiece, two families -- the Stonemans from the North and the Camerons from the South -- experience the Civil War and Reconstruction. Through these families' stories, Griffith addresses the devastation wrought by the Civil War (especially in the South) and the social disruptions caused by Reconstruction. Griffith adapted the film from a propaganda piece about the Ku Klux Klan, The Clansman, written by Thomas Dixon. D.W. Griffith, a Southerner and the son of a Confederate War cavalry officer who returned from the war a broken man only to "suffer the disgrace of Reconstruction," blamed Reconstructionists and Southern blacks for his own misfortunes. This film reflects that resentment by depicting radical Republicans and "uppity" African-Americans as the cause of all social, political, and economic problems since the Civil War.

When Griffith released the film in 1915, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (or NAACP) and other groups protested; the NAACP published a 47-page pamphlet titled "Fighting a Vicious Film: Protest Against The Birth of a Nation," in which they referred to the film as "three miles of filth." W. E. B. Du Bois published scathing reviews in The Crisis, spurring a heated debate among the National Board of Censorship of Motion Pictures as to whether the film should be shown in New York. However, President and former history professor Woodrow Wilson viewed the film at the White House and proclaimed it not only historically accurate, but like "history writ with lightning." Like Woodrow Wilson, many whites felt it a truthful and accurate portrayal of racial politics, so much so that they flocked to join the rejuvenated Ku Klux Klan. The years after Griffith released The Birth of a Nation saw massive race riots throughout the country, peaking especially in the North in 1919; many historians lay the blame for this racial conflict on Griffith's The Birth of a Nation.

The Birth of a Nation is a complex artifact of its times. Several noteworthy themes run through the film, and it especially sheds light on the construction of categories of identity -- race, class, gender, and region -- during the early twentieth century

In the Library:
  • Michele Faith Wallace. The Good Lynching and "The Birth of a Nation": Discourses and Aesthetics of Jim Crow. Cinema Journal, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Autumn, 2003), pp. 85-104 [JSTOR]
  • Stokes, Melvyn. D. W. Griffith's The birth of a nation: a history of "the most controversial motion picture of all time" New York: Oxford University Press. [NetLibrary]
  • Lang, Robert. The Birth of a nation : D.W. Griffith, director. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. [WorldCat]
  • Stone, David P. Film History. New Jersey: Jones International, Ltd. [WorldCat]
  • Pearson, Roberta E. Eloquent gestures: the transformation of performance style in the Griffith Biograph films. Berkeley: University of California Press [NetLibrary]
On the Web:
  • D.W. Griffith. PBS American Masters Series [Link]
  • Derek Malcolm's Century of Film. The Guardian U.K. [Link]

Five Steps to Tyranny

Source: Brightcove (alternative: YouTube: pt1, pt2, pt3, pt4, pt5)

Five Steps to Tyranny (2000) examines the psychological and social factors that lead to individual conformity. Using examples like the Milgram experiment, Albanian bigotry in Kosovo, Rwandan genocide, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this documentary details five factors that enable one group of people to dominate, oppress, and even kill another. The film features commentary by psychologist and architect of the Stanford Prison experiment, Philip G. Zimbardo.


In the Library:
  • Blass, Thomas. 2000. Obedience to authority: current perspectives on the Milgram paradigm. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. [link: WorldCat]
  • Kallen, Evelyn. 2004. Social inequality and social injustice: a human rights perspective. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. [link: WorldCat]
  • Newman, Leonard S., and Ralph Erber. 2002. Understanding genocide the social psychology of the Holocaust. New York: Oxford University Press. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Sunstein, Cass R. 2003. Why societies need dissent. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. [link: WorldCat]

On the Web:

Triumph of the Will

Source: Google Video

Few films have received as much praise and vilification as Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will (1935). The film covers the events of the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg. Riefenstahl was hand-picked by Adolf Hitler to shoot the rally, which was specifically orchestrated for the sake of filming. The use of telephoto lenses, aerial shots, and musical score were innovative cimematic techniques, and served to underscore the work of art as propaganda. Much like D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, Triumph of the Will is a classic example of art in the service of reprehensive political views.


In the Library:
  • Baird, Jay W. 1974. The mythical world of Nazi war propaganda, 1939-1945. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. [link:WorldCat]
  • Blakesley, David. 2003. The terministic screen rhetorical perspectives on film. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Riefenstahl, Leni. 1993. A memoir. New York: St. Martin's Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Smith, Matthew Wilson. 2007. The total work of art: from Bayreuth to cyberspace. New York: Routledge. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Zeman, Z. A. B. 1964. Nazi propaganda. London: Oxford University Press. [link: WorldCat]

On the Web:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Source Google Video

From Wikipedia.org

Sweeney Todd is a character who first appeared as one of the protagonists of penny dreaful serial entitled string of pearls (1846-1847). Claims that Sweeney Todd was a real person are strongly disputed by scholars, although there are possible legendary prototypes, arguably making the story of Sweeney Todd an example of an urban legend.

In the original version of the tale he is a barber who murders wealthy customers by slitting their throats with a straight razor and letting the dead bodies fall through a secret trap door beneath his barber's chair, and into the basement below the first floor pie shop. After Todd has robbed his dead victims of their goods, Mrs. Lovett, his partner in crime (in some later versions, his friend who wants to become his lover), assists him in disposing of the bodies by having their flesh baked into meat pies, and selling them to the unsuspecting customers of her pie shop, because "times is hard" and she cannot afford the meat.
This is the 1936 film version of the Victorian melodrama starring Tod Slaughter as Sweeney Todd and Stella Rho as Mrs. Lovett. The very first film version of this story was a shot in 1926, but has been lost. Two years later, the first surviving film adaptation was made as a silent film starring Moore Marriott as Sweeney Todd. Tim Burton’s 2007 film version is actually based on Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 stage musical of Sweeney Todd.


In the Library:

  • Kaye, Marvin. Sweet Revenge : 10 Plays of Bloody Murder New York: Fireside Theater [ WorldCat]
  • Bordman, Gerald Martin. American operetta : from H.M.S. Pinafore to Sweeney Todd New York: Oxford University Press [WorldCat]
  • Rosenman, Ellen Bayuk. 'Mimic Sorrows': Masochism and the Gendering of Pain in Victorian Melodrama. Studies in the Novel Spring 2003, Vol. 35 Issue 1. [EBSCO]


Source: Google Video

Although it was not his first movie, Rashomon (1950) was the movie which brought Akira Kurosawa critical acclaim. Based on an amalgam of two short stories by Ryûnosoke Akutagawa, Rashomon depicts the interpretations of various characters concerning the events surrounding the murder of a samurai. In each case, the account conflict with one another, raising questioning the possibility of ever knowing the truth. While filming, several of the cast members, perplexed by the explicit relativism of the script, ask Kurosawa, “What does it mean?” Kurosawa replied that the film reflects life, and life does not always have clear meaning. This expression of subjectivity in Rashomon has influenced scholars from Martin Heidegger to Karl Herder.


In the Library:
  • Akutagawa, Ryūnosuke. 1952. Rashomon, and other stories. New York: Liveright Pub. Corp.[link: WorldCat]
  • Kurosawa, Hisao, Mike Y. Inoue, Akira Kurosawa, Akira Terao, Mitsuko Baishō, Toshie Negishi, Mieko Harada, et al. 2003. Akira Kurosawa's dreams. [DVD] Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video. [link: WorldCat]
  • Kurosawa, Akira, Serge Silberman, Masato Hara, Tatsuya Nakadai, and William Shakespeare. 1997. Ran. [VHS] World class cinema collection. New York: Fox Lorber Home Video.[link: WorldCat]
  • Kurosawa, Akira. 1985. Ikiru (To live). [VHS] Los Angeles, Calif: Media Home Entertainment. [link: WorldCat]
  • Prince, Stephen. 1991. The warrior's camera: the cinema of Akira Kurosawa. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Richie, Donald. 1965. The films of Akira Kurosawa. Berkeley: University of California Press. [link:WorldCat]

  • Boyd, David. 1987. "RASHOMON FROM AKUTAGAWA TO KUROSAWA." Literature Film Quarterly 15, no. 3: 155. Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost. [link: EbscoHost]
  • Karl G. Heider. 1988. “The Rashomon Effect: When Ethnographers Disagree,” American Anthropologist 90, no. 1, New Series (March 1988): 73-81. http://www.jstor.org/stable/678455. [link: JSTOR]
  • Medine, David. 1992. "Law and Kurosawa's Rashomon." Literature Film Quarterly 20, no. 1: 55. Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost. [link: EbscoHost]

On the Web:
  • Ebert, Roger. “Rashomon.” Chicago Sun-Times (May 26 2002). (review)

The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Hitman

Source Google Video

Source Google Video

Richard Kuklinski, the Ice Man, is a self-professed Mafia contract killer. He claims to have killed approximately 100 people. He has gained enormous notoriety through two documentaries, including the one linked above. The two-part HBO documentary led to a lucrative book deal. However, the majority of his claims are unverifiable, including his links to organized crime.

Kuklinski was convicted of two murders in court; and sentenced to two life sentences. In court, he confessed to two other murders. Apart from these four murders, all of whom were close criminal associates of Kuklinski, there is only circumstantial evidence of his guilt. In some of the mob-related murders he claims as his own, evidence strongly implicates other men. The two documentaries and his biography are very fuzzy on details pertaining to murders other than the four mentioned earlier. He made his initial interview in 1991-1992. He returned to fame ca. 2002 when he intimated that ke killed Jimmy Hoffa, a rumor he dispelled later. Incidentially, the Hoffa reference came out around the same time as his biography was supposed to be published.

Although he is popularized as a serial killer, the prosecutor who convicted him made it clear that Kuklinski was not a serial killer because the four confirmed murders to his credit were all clearly business-related. Aside from his own biography, there are few, if any, books on organized crime that even mention him. However, Kuklinski was a criminal, and a murderer. His story, if not entirely accurate, does reveal the personality of a murderer.


In the Library:
  • Demaris, Ovid. The last Mafioso : the treacherous world of Jimmy Fratianno. New York: Times Books [WorldCat]
  • Brandt, Charles. "I Heard You Paint Houses" : Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the inside story of the Mafia, the Teamsters,and the Last Ride of Jimmy Hoffa. Hanover, N.H. : Steerforth Press. [WorldCat]
On the Web:

  • Nathanson Center (York University) [Link]
  • Gang Rule [Link]

On Piracy

Source: Google Video

On Piracy: On Piracy & The Future of Media (2007) is an independently-produced documentary by Julien McArdle on copyright, intellectual property, and illegal file sharing. From the Website:
Each day, millions of youths from Canada and around the world download music and movies off of the Internet. This epidemic of "unauthorized" downloading has been cited by the record and film industries as being the prime cause for billions in losses. Politicians have come under tremendous pressure to pass legislation on the issue.

But despite all the media frenzy on the piracy crackdowns, there's been very little attention to the topic itself. At the very best, news reporters regurgitated the contents of an industry press release. There was nothing of substance, which is where this documentary fits in: we wanted to cover the issue in-depth. We interviewed industry execs, copyright lawyers, pirates, consumers, artists, and everyone we could think of - and made you this film.
This film was originally released via BitTorrent on The Pirate Bay (where an ISO of the full DVD can still be found), and the subsequent DVD was released under the Creative Commons license.


In the Library:
  • Kahin, Brian, and Charles R. Nesson. 1997. Borders in cyberspace information policy and the global information infrastructure. Publication of the Harvard Information Infrastructure Project. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Kusek, David, Gerd Leonhard, and Susan Gedutis Lindsay. 2005. The future of music: manifesto for the digital music revolution. Boston: Berklee Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Vaidhyanathan, Siva. 2004. The anarchist in the library: how the clash between freedom and control is hacking the real world and crashing the system. New York: Basic Books. [link: WorldCat]

  • Bednarski, P. J. "NBC's Wright: Piracy Is Killing Us." Broadcasting & Cable 136, no. 39 (October 02, 2006): 3-3. Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 13, 2008). [link: EbscoHost]
  • Seltzer, Trent. 2005. "RIAA, MPAA, and the Digital Piracy Issue: Comparing Public Relations Strategies and Effectiveness." Conference Papers -- International Communication Association : 1-24. Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 13, 2008). [link: EbscoHost]
  • Sinha, Rajiv K, and Naomi Mandel. 2008. "Preventing Digital Music Piracy: The Carrot or the Stick?." Journal of Marketing 72, no. 1: 1-15. Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 13, 2008). [link: EbscoHost]
  • Yar, Majid. 2008. "The rhetorics and myths of anti-piracy campaigns: criminalization, moral pedagogy and capitalist property relations in the classroom." New Media & Society 10, no. 4: 605-623. Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 13, 2008). [link: EbscoHost]

On the Web:

Good Copy, Bad Copy

Source: Blip.tv

From Wikipedia.org:

Good Copy Bad Copy, A documentary about the current state of copyright and culture, is a documentary about copyright and culture in the context of Internet, peer-to-peer file sharing and other technological advances. Directed by Andreas Johnsen, Ralf Christensen, and Henrik Moltke.

It features interviews with many people with various perspectives on copyright, including copyright lawyers, producers and artists.

A central point of the documentary is the thesis that "creativity itself is on the line" and that a balance needs to be struck, or that there is a conflict, between protecting the right of those who own intellectual property and the rights of future generations to create.

Originally made for the Danish National Broadcasting Network, the producers made the controversial decision to release the film for free as a BitTorrent download on The Pirate Bay. The documentary has subsequently been released under the Creative Commons (attribution, non-commercial) License and is hosted on Blip.tv.


In the Library:
  • Landes, William M., and Richard A. Posner. 2003. The economic structure of intellectual property law. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Lessig, Lawrence. 2004. Free culture: how big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity. New York: Penguin Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • McLeod, Kembrew. 2005. Freedom of expression®: overzealous copyright bozos and other enemies of creativity. New York: Doubleday.[link: WorldCat]
  • National Research Council (U.S.). 2000. The digital dilemma: intellectual property in the information age. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. [link: WorldCat]
  • Scafidi, Susan. 2005. Who owns culture?: appropriation and authenticity in American law. Rutgers series on the public life of the arts. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. [link: WorldCat]

On the Web:

The Last Man On Earth

Source: Archive.org

Before Will Smith's I Am Legend (2007) and Charlton Heston's The Omega Man (1971), there was Vincent Price's The Last Man On Earth (1964). While latter screen adaptations of Richard Matheson's novel featured bigger budgets, this Sidney Salkow/Ubaldo Ragona film stays closer to the source. Although its limited budget, its dated horror conventions, and the rewriting of Matheson's original script prevented it from attaining “classic” status, the film is still quite watchable, mainly on the strength of Price's acting. In retaining the existential features of I Am Legend (the lone survivor narrative, disease-induced zombie apocolypse, etc.) The Last Man On Earth sets the blueprint for future horror and sci-fi films (the opening scene, where the vampire/zombies attempt to break into Morgan's home is cinematically copied in Night of the Living Dead).


In the Library:
  • Matheson, Richard. 1954. I am legend. Cutchogue, N.Y.: Buccaneer Books. [link: WorldCat]
  • Morgan, Jack. 2002. The biology of horror: Gothic literature and film. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Price, Vincent. 1959. I like what I know; a visual autobiography. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.[link: WorldCat]

On the Web:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Slacker Uprising

From slackeruprising.org:
Moore’s goal four years ago was to convince millions of non-voting "slackers” -- mostly between the ages of 18-29 -- to give voting a try. Starting out in Elk Rapids, Michigan, in front of an audience of 400, the tour caught on like wildfire with up to 16,000 slackers each night coming to see Moore and his traveling band of speakers, comedians, and musicians.

To encourage the slackers to show up, they were offered a clean change of underwear, Ramen noodles, and a promise that no event would start before noon and no politician would be allowed to speak. These enticements filled basketball arenas and football stadiums every night on the "Slacker Uprising Tour."

Part concert tour, part stand-up comedy performance and part rock concert, Slacker Uprising is one man's look at the birth of a new political generation in America -- a generation of young people who would signal the era of “Obamania” that would take place just four years later.

In the Library:
  • Benoit, William. Bush Versus Kerry : A Functional Analysis of Campaign 2004. New York: Lang Books [WorldCat]
  • Magleby, David B. Financing the 2004 Election. Washington D.C. : Brookings Institution Press [NetLibrary]
  • Shaprio, Walter. One-Car Caravan : On The Road With The 2004 Democrats before America Tunes In. New York : Public Affairs [WorldCat]
On the Web:
  • Slacker Uprising Official Website [Link]
  • Internet Archive: Election 2004 [Link]
  • University of Michigan Government Documents Collection on the 2004 Election [Link]

The English Civil Wars

Source: Brightcove.tv

A lengthy documentary detailing the events of the English Civil War (1642-1651). Touching upon the religious and political differences between Royalist and Parliamentarians, military engagements, shifting allegiances, and missed opportunities are brought to life with dramatic reenactments by members of the English Civil War Society.

This documentary has been released by Christie Books and is hosted on Brightcove.


In the Library:
  • Taylor, Philip A. M. 1960. The origins of the English Civil War: conspiracy, crusade, or class conflict? Problems in European civilization. Boston: Heath.[link: WorldCat]
  • Tierney, Brian. The English civil war: a fight for lawful government. 1967. New York: Random House.[link: WorldCat]

On the Web:
  • Ashton, Robert, and Raymond Howard Parry. 1970. The English Civil War and after, 1642-1658. Berkeley: University of California Press. [link: NetLibrary]
  • Purkiss, Diane. 2005. Literature, gender and politics during the English Civil War. Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge Univ. Press. [link: NetLibrary]

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Little Shop of Horrors

Source Google Video

Released in 1960 and directed by Roger Corman the original title of the film was The Passionate People Eater. The 1960 version inspired an off-broadway musical, which in turn inspired a 1986 remake starring Rick Moranis as Seymour, which inspired a revival of the play on Broadway in 2003. A young Jack Nicholson appears in the 1960 version, a decade before his break-out role in Five Easy Pieces. Today Little Shop of Horrors continues to be a popular musical, performed most recently at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey on June 8, 2008.


In the Library:

• Cochran, David. America Noir : Underground Writers and Filmmakers of the Postwar Era. Washington [D.C.] : Smithsonian Institution Press. [WorldCat]

• Menken, Alan. Little Shop of Horrors : A New Musical. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. [WorldCat]

On the Web:

• Internet Broadway Database [link]