Sunday, August 21, 2011

TV Recommendations From the Studio

Busy, busy in the studio. I'll have some images of new work to post early next week. In the meantime, I thought I would recommend a couple of things I've seen on TV recently.

The first is a new HBO documentary, Gloria Steinem, in her own words.  This is an hour-long program that sums up Gloria's life and career with lots of clips, interviews, images and commentary. She has had a full life and been a leader in the so-called second wave of feminism. (I don't really get why feminism has to be divided into waves, but from today's perspective, waves differentiate various efforts and timelines in the movement.)

It's surprising how much I had forgotten about what Gloria had done to work for women's political progress and about the women's liberation movement itself. The gains that women have made have been of very recent history and I guess we all tend to forget unless we are looking back. I guess I focus more on the lack of progress, rather than the gains. For example, one interview showed Gloria with Bella Abzug where they were both saying that they fully expected women candidates for president and vice president to be totally the norm in thirty years. What a disappointment that has been, as has the minimal number of women in Congress, in high-level jobs in business and achieving parity of pay - to name just a few areas where quantifiable inequality still persists.

Seeing women of many ages marching to achieve abortion rights really brought home to me how important that achievement was because previously abortion was dangerously illegal. Gloria herself had an abortion and publicly admitted that as part of the abortion rights movement. That fact was thought to be a shameful admission for a young, unmarried woman at the time.

The current war on women by the Republican Party is trying to put us back to that era where unmarried girls don't have (or don't admit to having) sex, where birth control is denied or unavailable, where abortion is murder and therefore illegal, where women are subordinate to men, where only hetero sex is acceptable, where the bible is literal truth and science is just another wrinkle in the political game.

Gloria, we need legions of you to fight the same fights over and over again! Can't we ever just move beyond patriarchy and get real for once?

Fair Game: 2010 movie about Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts

Next is Fair Game, a movie we saw on demand about the outing of Valerie Plame's identity as an undercover CIA agent by the Bush administration. This was a fast-paced story with good acting and a plot that rang true, although movies always take some liberties for dramatic effect. In actuality, Cheney's righthand guy, Scooter Libby, took the fall for his disclosure of Plame's name and its subsequent publication in the Washington Post. (Of course his pardon was nearly instantaneous.)

As much as I hate recalling anything about the Bush administration, I do remember this happening. It was part of the inexorable march to war on Iraq that Bush-Cheney undertook. Now the odd thing is that if you Google this movie, up will pop a number of websites that debunk this movie and claim that it's all a load of crap, that the movie exaggerates Plame's and Wilson's stories and that even deny that Bush-Cheney lied about the reasons for going to war. But wait a minute, I was there. I know they lied about the invisible Weapons of Mass Destruction, they invented suspicious actions and imports of supposed tubes and uranium and scientists and whatever else it took to make it seem plausible that Saddam (the Madman) was about to bomb us off the face of the earth (or if not us, at least Israel).

So I say that those websites that debunk this movie are still spinning the lies on behalf of Bush-Cheney. I believe the movie (with allowances for glamour, simplicity and dramatic impact) and I enjoyed the hell out of seeing Cheney depicted as a devious Dr. Strangelove-type and Bush (in actual clips) as the dumbass that he was. Besides, you usually cannot go wrong with a Sean Penn movie and Naomi Watts is both beautiful and a good actor. Here's a review by Roger Ebert that has a realistic take on it.


Martha Marshall said...

Where to begin? The simultaneous dumbing down of the population and the concentrated disinformation campaign everywhere on the web, talk radio, and faux news is transforming America into something I don't recognize any more. I want my country back! And I want to see both of these movies. Thanks for the reviews.

Judy Wise said...

Yes, I second Martha's comment and thank you for this post. I was there too, through all of those eras and deplore the spinners of history and the people who would take us back to the dark ages of the 50's and beyond. I wonder if women will ever have to stop fighting for equal status with men.

Nancy Natale said...

Thanks for your comments, Martha and Judy. I hope you enjoy both of these because I think they're worth watching.