kissinger on trial

eugene jarecki has done us all a service with the trials of henry kissinger. beyond looking at kissinger’s record in cambodia, east timor and chile, this film asks the big questions about how we should perceive war crimes and diplomats. the film follows in the steps of christopher hitchens’ condemnations of kissinger in his articles and book, and features plenty of footage of hitchens railing against kissinger. hitchens is a compelling character, and makes a strong argument throughout. you don’t get the sense that hitchens is being petty, either. he is a man possessed with demonstrating the hypocrisy behind the history of american foreign policy and the ego of kissinger.

jarecki makes us reassess the concept that statesmen must choose between evils – that they are somehow above the law when they directly affect the lives of thousands (or millions) of people. as well, the film forces us to question why american politicians can be held to a different standard than those elsewhere in the world (the case recent cases against milosevic and pinochet are good examples).

because kissinger operated at a different time in history, when his breed of realpolitik allowed for more flexible morals and ethics, should he be allowed to escape the ramifications of his actions? should we continue to condemn the past, rather than setting guidelines for the future? the film does not broach this point, but insists that politicians should be held to the same laws as the rest of us.

another interesting concept is that since the late 60s the media eye has penetrated deeper into the daily machinations of political decision making. i think this film is a lesson to all of those operating in washington right now. they are not beyond the law or the careful gaze of your people – and can no longer operate in a moral vacuum, under the invisible guise of backroom deals and personally motivated power plays.

cell rings

hockey night of canada theme. scooby-doo song. another unidentifiable, but equally annoying, ring-tone.

listening to people’s cell rings drives me mad. it is like being aware of the muzak around you while you walk through the mall. like hearing a really awful version of a beloved song.

i think what is most irritating is how other people’s phones demand your attention and break your concentration. a fridge, for instance, produces a subtle and predictable form of noise that you can get used to. a sudden burst of classical music from a phone destroys your thought process and becomes an annoyance.

even more annoying are the smug owners who let their phones ring several times because they like the sound of their cool new ring tones, and think we should all be impressed.

study proven

after i laughed uncontrollably at her admission to having just been to the tanning salon she informed me that it was ok to use tanning beds because there’s a new study that proves they’re safe. they might even be good for you.

studies make the wheels of progress grind along smoothly. if you need to prove a point, convince the populous that a product is safe (or draw people to your cause to prove it isn’t), studies are perfect. there’s one out there for everyone’s liking. there’s nothing a study can’t prove.

the glass of wine a day debate is a good one: what? liquor is bad for me? i read a glass a day is good. what? liquor is good for me? excellent, i’ll take two!

suspension of disbelief

passed by a film set today on the walk to work. some new flick with david duchovny. they turned the incendio pizza joint on the corner of columbia/alexander into something else, and erected a strange looking wall to hide the train tracks. there are tropical trees so i’m assuming its in california or florida. passed by a set car with illinois plates and a bunch of well-placed crap on the dashboard.

mock locations, props galore, and heavy makeup. i can completely understand why the dogme 95 thing started (the irony of course being that the anti-movement always becomes an establishment itself).

i love movies, but walking by them all the time around my workplace makes me queasy. such excess – the astounding effort expended to suspend our disbelief for a few moments entertainment escape.

research

researching. it’s something i love and hate. i love having an excuse to read heaps of books on arcane subjects. i hate trying to do this while holding down a day job.

i’m currently reading about new religious movements of the 60s and 70s. could there be anything more fun?

plowing through ed sanders’ the family. a thick book written in a strange personal style. pretending objectivity? not ed. his highly subjective writing style constantly reminds you that you are reading the history of the manson clan through a filter. still, a fascinating study.