After seeing a few tweets hyping up James Wan’s Malignant, I gave it a try. While it starts off with poor dialogue and Wan-esque dim lighting, the storyline picks up in time to invest you in the story, which is unique enough and will satisfy most casual moviegoers’ needs for spooks and gore. Two things stick out to me still- there is the poorly developed freak-o, Gabriel, and the music. Neither is particularly scary, but both are fun. I say give this film a chance. 🙂
As part of the research for my senior thesis, I have begun listening to “Ear Hustle,” a podcast created and produced in San Quentin State Prison. It tells stories of prison from inside and outside (post-incarceration) with firsthand narratives from people at San Quentin. I am still working through the earlier recordings of the show, but in 2020, it was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in audio reporting! As someone interested in the carceral system, I am glad to have an opportunity to approach it from a different angle and learn more about people’s firsthand experiences being entangled with prisons.
The radical Sojourner Truth Organization in the 1970s and 80s created an intensive cadre training course for new members to learn how to navigate political lines, with a title which perhaps only Lenin could have fully appreciated: “How to Think: A Guide to the Study of Dialectical Materialism” which includes many great works of the Marxist tradition, but most notably for this post: W.E.B. Dubois’ Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880.
Telling the long history of abolitionism, the civil war, the agrarian question in the South, and the radical reconstruction period in the US up to its ultimate betrayal – in short, I have been relearning a crucial period of US history in light of the past two years of mass political struggle across the country. Latent within this work is an important analysis of the roots of white supremacy, anticommunist tendencies shared by the planter-slaveowning class, and so much more related to the creation of slave patrols and their successors in modern policing – and, for us today, why the project of reconstruction was ultimately betrayed as abolition did not go far enough and why that legacy now falls on our shoulders as the cries for police abolition grow louder. I am reminded that we must follow in the footsteps of John Brown, Harriet Tubman and so many others from that period who understood what had to be done in order to correct and reimagine the world we live in.
This time around I want to give recommendations on four different categories of things to watch/listen to: cinema, literature, music, and podcasts. For cinema, I recommend watching Squid Game on Netflix. Although the ending has some liberal undertones that I won’t get into depth here, the show is beautifully shot and the engagement of the effects of capitalism/imperialism has had on the people in occupied Korea is refreshing to see. For literature, I’ve been rereading Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa which is an essential piece of text everyone should read multiple times over.
Going through it again has me feeling like I never even read the book in the first place. The amount of connections I missed and the applications of his writings to our current situation I never made were unparalleled to when I first read the work. Moreover, I also recommend picking up Extraordinary Threat: The U.S. Empire, the Media, and Twenty Years of Coup Attempts in Venezuela by Justin Podur and Peter Emersberger. This leads into my podcasts recommendations since Justin conducts a great podcast series called The Anti-Empire Project which is excellent. If you want a preview of the book, I specifically recommend his episode on the book. For music, I’ve been running though Liquid Swords a lot and experiencing the record from start to finish with all of the snippets of dialogue from Shogun Assassin weaved in.