Saturday, June 18, 2011

Review: Class Matters, by Correspondents of The New York Times

I stumbled across Class Matters several months ago and immediately picked it up, having read The New York Times' correspondents' collection How Race is Lived in America in college and remembering having loved it.  While it is one thing to talk about "race" and "class inequality" in broad, general terms, it is quite another to show stories of how these issues affect real peoples' lives every day.

Class Matters takes a look at the lines between social classes in America--while we like to think of ourselves as egalitarian and unaffected by the class issues that burden countries like India (where a strict caste system reigns supreme), we often overlook the distinct differences between the haves and have-nots.  Following in the footsteps of Jacob Riis and James Agee, Class Matters points out the differences between the medical care that the rich get vs the general lack of medical care that the poor get; it looks at how the middle class raise their children vs how the working class raise their children; and most importantly, it looks at how the division between these classes is far more firm than Americans are generally comfortable thinking about.

We love stories of rags-to-riches, of local boys and girls making good, but we should also remember that those stories are noteworthy because they are far less common than rags-to-rags, of people remaining in the class in which they were raised. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Not-So-Gentle (Re)Viewer: The Neverending Story (1984)

Oh, Bastian.

You're so much whinier than six-year-old Lindsay-with-an-A thought you were, but for some reason you've been on my mind a lot this week, to the point that I found The Neverending Story on youtube last night and snuggled down to internally ridicule Eighties fantasy film-making at its best.

Interestingly enough, I managed to enjoy the movie much more than I thought I would, although I also realized that I never actually understood the storyline when I watched it as a child.  The entire concept of a nothing in the form of the world's dying imagination was lost on me, as was the breaking of multiple 4th walls as we watch Bastian watch Atreyu watch his horse die.

Anyway, if you haven't seen this movie recently, check it out, and if you haven't watched the music video recently you should definitely do so immediately.  It's almost as funny as Bastian's acting.
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