Gone BANANAS!* over free speech? Support an independent filmmaker who took on a giant and won.

While I was at Sundance Film Festival in January, I had the pleasure of watching the U.S. premier of BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!*, which I then blogged about.

The crew is now raising money via the crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter in order to fund their U.S. release of the film. Check out their official site and their trailer and if you’re inspired, make a pledge on their Kickstarter page.

This is an important (and fun!) film that needs to be seen, especially by U.S. audiences. Dole’s attempted censorship of the film BANANAS!* took place here in the U.S. with the full participation of the mainstream media. In director Gerten’s home country of Sweden, in contrast, Dole’s outrageous behavior attracted major press attention.

We’ve got serious problems in this country when giant corporations decide what we can watch and read about. Here’s an easy way to support feisty independent filmmakers doing something to expose it.

The internet will be my “Downfall”

First I got a Facebook page, then a blog, then a Twitter account. Then I started setting up blogs for organizations I’m part of. Then I started another blog of my own and two more Twitter accounts and a Google+ page and a Yelp profile and an online dating profile. I’ve got some other profiles on sites where I can’t remember the username or password. But, doesn’t everyone have all that and more these days?

But you’re just not a real person online until you’re named in an internet meme.

Apparently, I’ve arrived.
Click here to see what I mean by that

Regarding the question of violence or nonviolence in Occupy. A short statement.

I haven’t had time in the last week to read any of the screeds and counter-screeds revolving around the question of violence or nonviolence with regard to the Occupy movement. Being involved in Occupy Oakland, where this has been a front-and-center issue since at least late October, it is something I’ve spent a lot to time on. There is only so much you can say on Twitter, but I simply haven’t had the time to devote to catching up this week and writing a detailed response. Even if I do, it will not be so much about debunking most of the “violentist” claims and hollow arguments, but more on looking at the big picture, which I sum up something like this:

Society evolves and has been evolving, however fitfully, toward equality and democracy and liberty. This is because people who want equality, democracy and liberty have worked really, really hard for hundreds of years and have been more successful at organizing and changing people’s attitudes than those who want to maintain prejudice, inequality and control. It didn’t magically “happen” that, for example, women got the vote and segregation ended.

Those who want a more egalitarian society don’t spend their time and energy pointing to hundreds of years of patriarchy, quoting dead guys and saying that gender equality is impossible. They don’t point to hundreds—or thousands—of years of racism, quote dead people whose work they’ve never really studied and then claim that racism is necessary, inevitable and that an egalitarian society could never work.

What would it say about someone if they talked like that? Who would want to be around someone with such a cold, hard heart and constrained imagination who claims to want a better world but says it cannot work?

In the same vein, what should we now think about the people who spend their time and energy pointing to history and quoting dead people and making justifications for the need for social change through violence?

People who want a more free, nonviolent society put their energy and imagination into working toward that in new and effective ways. They don’t put it into explaining all the reasons it can’t work.

A better world is possible, but not if you have your feet and mind so deeply stuck in the mire of the old empire that you can’t imagine anything better.

Dull minds, dark attitudes—study links prejudice to intelligence (again).

Interesting study: “Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact.”

The study’s title is misleading. It should read “Dull Minds And Dark Attitudes,” since that is the correlation that they found. If you like this kind of thing, it’s worth a thorough reading.
Read The Rest

“Twitter Jail”—Oregon style

In order to defeat spammers and to save their servers from being overloaded, Twitter sometimes temporarily suspends an account from further posting for a short period of time—usually under a couple hours. To get thrown in this “Twitter Jail,” as it’s known, you have to send over 100 tweets/hour or 1,000/day.

Recently the Oregon State legislature introduced—and, for now, killed—Senate Bill 1534, a bill that would have put most of us in actual jail for sending ONE tweet if the content involved soliciting “two or more persons to commit a specific crime at a specific time and location.” The crime you would be charged with under this law is “aggravated solicitation.”
Read More…and weep

The Golden Rule

Driving into Leroy Zerlang’s boatyard in Fairhaven, CA on the spit that encloses Humboldt Bay, you could easily ignore the unremarkable, plywood-clad, open-ended building off on the south side of the yard. In fact, when I drove in yesterday, I did ignore it, proceeding toward the small, more inviting office where Justin, one of the yard hands, was working. When I inquired about the subject of my visit, he pointed me to the plywood shed and invited me to go take a look.

I went out there on that hazy winter day partly to put to rest a silly notion about starting another documentary film. I don’t have time or money or, more importantly, the energy or focus to embark on another multi-year project while several other projects—two films and my house top the list—already put more demands on my time than I can fulfill. I was going to see if maybe I could do some shooting for fun, something to put on my own website or on the Vets For Peace site as promotional footage for them. Besides, this was coming to seem more like a PBS historical doc than the edgy, cinema-verite style subjects that I’m more drawn to and comfortable with.

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