While new releases do have a freshness to them, films which weathered the tooth of time continue to bring me immense satisfaction when it comes to how their storytelling foreshadows current events. The world, as it is in its nature to do so,  appears to be undergoing a critical stage in its environmental and technological story.  Many mainstream films of this era, however, don’t seem to necessarily reflect this ailment but continue to distract the moviegoer from the troubles outside.  While this is fun (and it is by the evidence of my pocketbook), the joy can often be like a cyanide kiss that comforts us as it kills us. I am much more appreciative of the many films that invert distraction with a truthful slap right in the face.

A film which reminded me that the world could be in a worse state of affairs was the 1973 film Soylent Green. Set in a dystopic, and what seems to be a very hazy looking New York City 2022, civilized life has undergone an incredible biological crisis.  All vegetation has seemed to vanish due to some sort of catastrophe or casual mismanagment, while living conditions are incredibly poor as a dense and virtually starving populace struggles to survive on rations produced by the Soylent company. The abundance of humans along with a depletion of resources makes certain individuals ripe for exploitation. A life of despair awaits those who are not wealthy or possessed by the wealthy. What puzzles me most is that this crisis is only New York City’s. What happened to the world! I guess maybe the world is actually okay and it is just New York that has to suffer. What catastrophe happened as well to make a jar of Strawberry Jam $150! Where do these jars even come from. Am I to beleive that the Soylent company also has an investment in the growth of maybe a subsidiary Smuckers company? If Soylent Green is people then maybe the Jam is made of bugs or something. All joking aside, breifly of course, actual food scarcity has not (to my knowledge, anyway) resulted in food necessity which would warrant and harvesting human beings. Was that piece of meat in the fridge beef? Because why wouldn’t Soylent just harvest cows and have them eat the humans first? Maybe another step in the processing department would have removed us a step from being cannibals without consent. Plankton…Come on. Maybe if you all got your lazy asses off of all the stairwells you were sleeping in this mess could be fixed.

Soylent Green echo’s incredible hardships beginning to appear in current times. Ecological disaster from an onslaught of global warming may be a far off threat, but severe weather is already upon us and we cannot know for sure as of yet how the price of food will increase to reflect these changes as well as the increasing signification of transport costs. If I have to pay 30 dollars to go and buy a limp piece of celery on a tuesday because that is the only day that celery is available and I am happy at that limp looking piece of vegetation I would work on a new plan for growing food. I cannot beleive the apathy of the characters in this film. Nobody is angry, just sleepy and malnourished and waiting for their Soylent fix. Maybe you should..I dunno…LEAVE NEW YORK!

It has become apparent that the films I enjoy and my level of enjoyment reflect the feeling I am left with after I have watched them. Soylent Green left me with an incredible feeling of unease, and it is one that I believe is under the surface of many individuals who fear that what may be oncoming in the not-too-distant future is more of science and less of fiction. This being said, Soylent has an excellent message while also having a totally unbeleivable storyline, but dammit is that Charleton Heston a dapper fellow.

Published in: on June 27, 2008 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mortgage Crisis ain’t got nothin on us!

So I just call you after the deposit?


Published in: on June 8, 2008 at 1:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Demographic Ageism….

Like most days, I made my way to work with my backpack filled with my lunch, Heidegger’s “Being and Time”,  as well as some random workbooks. I climbed my way off of the nausea inducing bus and made my way towards the grocery store which is next to my workplace.  Before I start my shift  I think about heading to the grocery store to find a little pre-work snack.  On my way through the automatic doors I notice a small black sign which advises customers to leave their backpacks at the customer service desk. I’m surprised I even noticed it. Asking why backpacks should be left to the customer service desk seems a tad redundant, but today I became curious as to why I should follow this protocol of leaving my backpack with a total stranger while I shop?  This rule is obviously not for customer convenience, it is for loss prevention.

When I was younger I used to work at a major grocery store as a bagger as well as a cashier. it was a pretty mindless job, and I had more than my fair share of training videos and worker motivation. That being said, I am quite familiar with the loss prevention strategy in a grocery store.  Statistically speaking, we were told that the most often stolen products are razor blades and black tiger shrimp. Both of these items are reasonably small and tend to be the most valuable and easy to conceal items in your standard grocery store. Razor blades can be likewise resold or stored for future use as they are nonperishable. What does this have to do with backpacks? By keeping these theft statistics in mind a question arises as to whether the people who tend to wear backpacks are the people who would also still razor blades and jumbos shrimp?  What should also be considered is the actual feasibility of stealing items and putting them in a backpack by a single individual.  The only reason why I should have to remove my backpack is because someone thinks would steal something from the store and put it inside. This becomes a problem not necessarily with backpacks, but a problem with people. Obviously something as large as a backpack is not needed in order to steal jumbo shrimp and razor blades as a purse or handbag would easily suffice. Yet where is the sign saying please check your purse or handbag at your nearest customer service desk. If such a sign existed I am sure that store would lose quite amount of business. In order for a backpack to be a functional tool for stealing items there would need to be two people.  One person would be the wearer of the backpack, and the other person would be person putting things in the backpack.  Yet having two people stealing these items makes crime a little more noticeable.  Using a purse or a handbag on the other hand only requires one person, the thief. It is obvious that the more versatile bag for stealing the most commonly stolen items is not the backpack. If this is the practical case, then why is there a sign at the front of the door asking me to leave my backpack at the customer service desk?  The question turns away from loss prevention and towards the idea of mistrust.  The people who are most likely to wear backpacks are those under the age of 25, mainly high school and college kids, precisely those who would steal… right?  Except for, as we have just explained that the most commonly stolen items are razor blades and black tiger shrimp.  Hardly useful items for your average backpack wearer.   How many kids do you see on the street corner trying to sell you really cheap shrimp?

What seems to be occurring is the common discrimination of ageism. This is a category of discrimination that is often overlooked, mostly because the people who are doing the discrimination are those who tend to have the most power. For those who aren’t familiar with the term ageism,  it is a form of discrimination which commonly understood as “stereotyping and prejudice against individuals or groups because of their age.”   Normally I wouldn’t think of ageism as this big of a deal as even I myself am guilty of sometimes misjudging younger people. Also, discrimination happens all too often to groups which have a much stronger argument of oppression than whether or not they should have to leave their backpack at the customer courtesy desk.  This isn’t an argument about backpacks and shrimp, it is about control and forcibly removing ones rights. In this case, I refuse to submit my right to carry items to an asinine rule, which inappropriately attempts to remove this right.  By submitting my backpack to the customer courtesy desk I further the normative belief that criminality is mostly age-related.  While a certain demographic does produce a higher amount of criminals than others our grocery store example shows that this is not a demographic only of age.  So as I make my way to the snack isle I do so with my backpack on, and if any of you ridiculous cashiers attempt to tell me that I need to leave my backpack at the customer service desk you will receive a stern reply. The only way in which I will remove my backpack is if you remove every purse, handbag, and concealable compartments from every one of your customers.  I refuse to submit to your stupid rule…now give me my Twinkie.

Published in: on June 6, 2008 at 9:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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