Frann Michel's blog

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.

big babies


For the Old Mole Variety Hour 23 May 2011: (audio here): A recent episode of National Geographic's TV series Taboo featured a profile of Stanley Thornton, a 30-year-old "adult baby" in California, who wears diapers and onesies, drinks from a bottle, and sleeps in a giant crib.

Islamophobia and Islamic feminism


For the Old Mole Variety Hour May 2, 2011.  Despite women's active participation in the popular revolutions of this "Arab spring," US media often continue to present women in the middle east as uniquely and homogenously oppressed by patriarchal culture. But these alignments of Islam with sexism and of western cultures with secular feminist egalitarianism are misleading, at best.

the american dream

Audio here

Under the banner "Save the American Dream," Jobs with Justice has called for a rally at 5pm, Tuesday, March 15 at Terry Shrunk Plaza in downtown Portland at southwest 3rd and Madison. The rally is in solidarity with Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio, and the Jobs with Justice website explains, "Though millions of Americans are out of jobs, corporate-funded politicians are attacking worker rights and slashing public services, instead of addressing the jobs deficit."

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