Frann Michel's blog



For the Old Mole Variety Hour, July 2, 2012

The term "healthism" is used in two different ways. In the more neutral or positive sense, it just refers to self-care, and if you do a web search for "healthism," some of the sites you'll find simply offer information about nutrition, exercise, home remedies, things like that. But the term also has a more negative sense, that arises from reflection on the very pervasiveness, but also narrowness and coerciveness, of that information about personal health.

Overaccumulation: Capital and Fat


[audio here] The economic crisis that we face today, and that we are battling in Wisconsin, in Portland, and in occupations and activism around the world, is just an acute phase of one of the regular crises that capitalism faces.

Capitalism always needs to grow, to find new sources of profit, and regularly faces crises of "overaccumulation" when there are too few opportunities for generating profit. That leads to stagnation, and since the 1970s, capital has been battling stagnation and scrambling for new places to make money.


[For the 21 May 12 Old Mole] We all know money in politics is a problem.  As Marx noted, "The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie." One of the strongest links between capital and the state came to greater public visibility last year when a trove of documents was leaked from the archive of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC; the Center for Media and Democracy has made those documents and a great deal of related information available on the website alec exposed dot org.

Battle Royale with Cheese

For the Old Mole 16 April 2012  Jan Haaken and I review The Hunger Games, the first movie based on the first book in the popular Young-Adult trilogy by Susanne Collins, and still number one at the US box office.

the spook who sat by the door


[for the Old Mole 3/26]  The Spook Who Sat by the Door is a film released in 1973 about the first Black CIA agent, who, like so many of those trained by the Agency,  turns his skills against the US government. Directed by Ivan Dixon, it was based on the 1969 novel of the same title by Sam Greenlee, and is the subject of a recent documentary, Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of the Spook Who Sat by the Door, scheduled to be aired on the Documentary Channel next month.

The title is a triple pun: the term "spook" is an epithet for black people, a term for an espionage agent, and an evocation of the haunting of white America's imagination by the specter of black rebellion and revolution.

stealing an education


[for the 3/12/12 Mole] What does it mean to steal an education? According to several school districts, it means providing questionable address information, at least if you're Black.

let's race for the revolution, instead


[audio here] The Komen Foundation's recent decision to pull its funding from Planned Parenthood was not an aberration, and not unrelated to the recent conflict over the need for health insurance plans to cover contraception. Both, of course, constitute attacks on women's reproductive rights. But we can also understand those attacks, and the other problems with the Komen Foundation's approach to breast cancer, as part of a larger wave of neoliberalism.

They Live


For the Nov 7 Mole, Joe Clement and I will be discussing They Live, the 1988 cult classic directed by John Carpenter. The movie has been the subject of a full monograph by Jonathan Lethem, commentary by Slavoj Zizek, and a source of inspiration for Shepherd Fairey and other artists. 

animal resistance


For the Old Mole Variety Hour , June 6, 2011.     Last week, a 200-pound black bear showed up outside Tualatin Elementary school, and another black bear was found up a tree near Clark College and a high school. This is probably not a sign of the bear market in education. "Wildlife officials say bears may be showing up in inhabited areas because the cold, wet weather has made food scarce in higher elevations.

structural adjustment comes to the usa


For the Old Mole August 1 2011. Last week, well-read red Tom Becker read from Paul Craig Roberts' essay on the so-called debt crisis in the US, "An Economy Destroyed: The Enemy Is Washington." At the risk of repeating some of his key points, I'm going to repeat some of his key points.

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