Half of a Yellow Sun: The story of a war Americans hardly remember–Biafra

“Half of a Yellow Sun” is a difficult novel to read, but well worth the effort. It’s not difficult in the sense that you’ll have trouble following the sentences, understanding the words, or tracking the plot. It’s difficult mostly because of the subject matter: the three-year civil war between Nigeria and the breakaway country called…

Bob Roberts: A 1992 movie that predicted Donald Trump

The 1992 movie “Bob Roberts” offers an uncannily prescient, satirical look at a candidacy much like Donald Trump’s. Written, directed by and starring Tim Robbins, “Bob Roberts” is a mock-umentary about an ultra-conservative millionaire businessman—who’s also a folksinger—who  runs for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. He is supported by fanatic followers. He spouts a xenophobic,…

London Has Fallen: An abhorrent movie, fueled by American exceptionalism, testosterone, and xenophobia

I’ll admit, most terrorism/spy/war/national defense movies of the past decade anger me for a dozen or so different reasons, not the least of which is because they frequently draw on Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, fear-mongering, misogyny, etc. to advance their messages (that sounds rather like a certain political candidate we know, doesn’t it?). But London Has…

Michael Moore

“Where to Invade Next:” Notes and thoughts on Michael Moore’s movie

Should I recommend Michael Moore’s 2016 movie,” Where to Invade Next”? On the plus side, there are some really good jokes.  The biggest laugh came when Moore asked someone whose alphabet does not include the letter “W” if they dropped the letter during the last Bush administration. No doubt Moore is really good at a…

Weiner: Pictures from an exhibition[ist]

  The political documentary, “Weiner,” will probably make you cringe, but not necessarily for the most obvious reasons. Many people who buy tickets may be motivated by the salacious prospect of reliving New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s 2011 sexting scandal. And, indeed, they will get their money’s worth—including the infamous underwear-bulge shot and a pixellated…

An Israeli soap opera draws me in, despite its religious setting

I’ve been binge-watching a 2008 Israeli soap opera called “Srugim,” and it’s sparking some thoughts about religion.The title, “Srugim” [“suh-roo-geem”] is a Hebrew word that refers to a segment of strict-Orthodox Israeli Jews who are identifiable by the knitted kipa [yarmulke] worn by its male adherents. The series follows a group of 30-ish unmarried men…