Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category

Mitt Romney

January 5, 2012

“Go ahead, suckers, laugh all you want about ‘magic underwear’, but when my friends on Wall Street are through, you’ll be lucky if you can afford underwear. Heh, heh”.

Mitt Romney has narrowly defeated right-wing-nutcase-of-the-week, Rick Santorum, in the ultra-right-wing Iowa Caucus. It is clear that Romney will be the Republican Party’s nominee in the 2012 election. He has always been that party’s only serious candidate, yet the media have always refused to acknowledge this. Instead, they have subjected us to the spectacle of incessant rounds of completely unnecessary debates. One by one, they have tried to produce a far right David to take down the Mormon commie Goliath. First, there was Rick Perry, then there was Herman Cain, then there was Newt Gingrich, and now Santorum. All have failed.

This shouldn’t have been surprising. It’s worth remembering that in 2008, it was the most moderate candidate, McCain, who won the primaries. A few months before, the media had dismissed his campaign as dead in the water. Likewise, only a few weeks ago the media seemed ready to write off Romney. Most Republicans are not as far to the right as the media believe or would have us believe. When I say “Republicans”, I should perhaps say, “Republican voters”. A distinction should be made between the people who vote in the primaries and the Pod People who show up at the debates and cheer wildly whenever someone discusses the possibility of killing innocent people.

So the election will be Obama versus Romney: Wall Street’s Plan A and Plan B. Real change can only come from outside the electoral system.

We are the 99%. We will prevail.

Louder Than A Bomb

September 25, 2011

Every year over six hundred teenagers from schools in Chicago and its suburbs take part in a poetry competition. I find this amazing. At the rich, white high school I attended, if you had suggested having a poetry competition, you would have been laughed at. It was the considered opinion of my classmates – some of whom went on to Ivy League schools – that only “faggots” read poetry. These students from Chicago clearly don’t have such preconceptions.

The students are formed into teams representing their individual schools. The teams have coaches. At the competition, which is called “Louder Than A Bomb”, audience members clap and cheer almost as if they are at a sporting event.

This documentary by Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel follows several students during the six month period when they are preparing for the competition. Perhaps the most affecting of them is Nova, who was physically abused by her alcoholic father, and who is intensely devoted to her developmentally disabled younger brother. Her poems have an honesty about them that is deeply moving. Much of the film is devoted to the team from Charles Steinmetz High School, who call themselves the “Steinmenauts”. Their mentor, Coach Sloan, is a stern disciplinarian who nonetheless genuinely cares about his students. At one point, the team undergoes a crisis when three members act up at a meeting, resulting in their being kicked off the team. They are readmitted after they deliver an emotional apology. The high point of the film comes when some members of this team perform a group poem about gang violence. Overall, I was deeply impressed by how talented the students in this film are. Their poems are much better than anything I could have written when I was their age.

Louder Than A Bomb is not for everyone. It will be deeply offensive to people like Barack Obama and Michelle Rhee, as well as the producers of Waiting for “Superman”. No doubt they will angrily demand that these students should be studying for standardized tests instead of writing poetry.

I highly recommend seeing this film.