Among the fifth-year students, mostly in their early 20's, I will be using American movies as part of the material for classes and other opportunities. What films would you recommend that would meet these criteria?
- accurately portray the sector and time period of American society depicted
- illuminate (whether through plot, dialogue, or background elements) how the characters' or their communities' values were brought to bear on important dilemmas or conflicts
- no gratuitous sex or violence
- superb English usage within the regional and social contexts portrayed
- examples of cinematic excellence
- (are there other criteria you'd recommend?)
Here are some of the movies I will be taking with me or have already placed in the Institute's library on previous visits:
- Good Night, and Good Luck
- Citizen Kane
- O Brother, Where Art Thou?
- Martin Luther King: "I Have a Dream"
- The Maltese Falcon
- Standing in the Shadows of Motown
- The Howling' Wolf Story
- To End All Wars
- The Fog of War
- The Caine Mutiny
- The Friendly Persuasion
- Thirteen Days
Television is also on the suggested list of topics. Some American TV shows make it onto Russian airwaves and cablewaves, but are there truly emblematic programs or series that I should attempt to purchase or download? I'm at a disadvantage here; I am a half year or more behind in the only programs I actually follow--The Wire and Battlestar Galactica.
Righteous links: The Rockridge Institute's Bruce Budner asks an excellent question: What do reactions to the revelations about Senator Larry Craig tell us about our values? ~~~ It's about time: one of the cheekiest periodicals in the world, The eXile, lowers a loud rhetorical boom on another periodical that wouldn't be caught in the same library: The Economist. Only, the rude, obscenity-ridden junior has it, I'm afraid, just about right. What set off eXile's shower of f-words this time? The senior magazine's consistent hatchet jobs on Putin and Russia. ~~ Speaking of hatchet jobs, today's rhetoric watch includes this winner, "The Politics of Global Warming," from the ecumenical journal First Things, a periodical that too often emits an odd tone of unctuous archness in place of the eXile's potty-talk. (And that's probably the only time you'll ever hear those two periodicals mentioned in the same sentence. But it's only fair to them both to acknowledge that each often has interesting commentaries that you aren't likely to find elsewhere.) Ostensibly a plea for a fair hearing for global-warming skeptics (for whom it's hard to feel too much pity, their demotion in the current U.S. administration having been so recent), the First Things article is a catalog of loopy logic. Just for the record, I would not be in favor of muzzling those skeptics for one minute, but as A Musing Environment's Karen Street points out, "When people are denied space in science magazines, some feel that prejudice rather than discernment is involved." In any case, does anyone believe that the pages of First Things are now the only platform available to global-warming skeptics? ~~~ The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has two interesting items (at least!) currently on its Web site. (1) A survey on "Religion in Campaign '08" (also see the earlier "Religion gap" article, and "Falwell's Son Urges Conservative Pastors To Get Out the Vote.") (2) An interview with Sari Nusseibeh, "Looking for a Way Out: Rethinking the Arab-Israeli Conflict."
Warning: This patchy video clip is rough as it can be, with no roadhouse blues cliché left untouched! (And it takes a half-minute or so for the cameras to decide where to look.) But those who love this energy will understand.... Lou Ann Barton is a "Natural Born Lover":