I’m a bit late in blogging this news and now there’s only 10 hours left to back the project. Do it! Your money supports the printing of a full-color booklet documenting the destruction of America’s public schools currently taking place under the guise of “reform.” Copies will be given to unions & community groups to use for fundraising and organizing, but won’t be for sale online. But a $10 Kickstarter pledge gets you a physical copy. (My video will be available for free.)
The propaganda machine of the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) is sophisticated and insanely well-funded, and has nearly succeeded in masquerading the gutting of our public school system as a “progressive” movement. The actual fruits of GERM include undermining teachers unions and democratic school boards through privately run charter schools; a counterproductive obsession with standardized testing and unidimensional “accountability”; and the shuttering of dozens of schools in cities across the country. The research supporting GERM ranges from non-existent to fraudulent. Rarely do these reforms benefit students, quite often the reverse, though the billionaires who fund the movement do stand to profit both directly and indirectly.
My video will be an attempt at a counter-narrative exposing the pernicious role that billionaire philanthropists and their foundations play in the “education reform” debate. The video will be based on an essay in the booklet by Joanne Barkan, who has done excellent reporting on the subject, and will feature images from Katrina Ohstrom of abandoned Chicago schools. This project is my first foray into the film essay, a form I’ve long admired. I hope I can do the material justice. Stay tuned!
In particular, I recommend Pavlina Tcherneva’s lecture. She discusses her research on the Jefes program in Argentina, which provided government jobs to impoverished “Heads of Households” and is about as close as you can get to a real-life full employment program. The program was very successful on a number of levels. Contrary to the intentions of the program’s administrators, nearly 75% of the workers employed were women. They ended up socializing childcare, among other community services. The government preferred for women to stay at home and receive a basic income, but they could only get women to switch to a welfare system by shutting down the Jefes program.
Her talk (~20min) starts at 3:19 & I [awkwardly violate my omniscient videographer duties to] ask some follow up questions about the Jefes program at 1:49:17.
Further reading can be found here & anyone interested in the subject should check out this semester’s schedule of Modern Money Network events. I’m the house videographer again this year, so if you can’t make it live, do check for the edited videos on youtube — hopefully I’ll be a bit more prompt getting them posted this time around!
Just noticed that the video I shot of the Modern Money Network’s MMT v. Austrian School debate was linked to in the New York Times. Unfortunately, the article it accompanies, a profile of Warren Mosler, is a bit of a hatchetpiece, though no worse than you’d expect from such an outlet. And they published it on July 4, not exactly a day folks are eager to watch a two hour debate on macroeconomics.
MASSIVE ATTACK V ADAM CURTIS
STARTING IN TWO WEEKS TIME IN MANCHESTER, THEN GERMANY, NEW YORK
The show is a collaboration between myself and Robert del Naja of Massive Attack.
What links us is not just cutting stuff up – but an interest in trying to change the way people see power and politics in the modern world. To say to them – have you thought of looking at it like this?
We’ve used film, music, stories and ideas to try and do this – to build a new kind of experience. The best way we can describe it is “a Gilm” – a new way of integrating a gig with a film that has a powerful overall narrative and emotional individual stories.
The show will be a bit of a total experience. You will be surrounded by all kinds of images and sounds. But it is also about ideas. It tells a story about how a new system of power has risen up in the modern world to manage and control us. A rigid and static system that has found in those images and sounds a way of enveloping us in a thin two-dimensional version of the past.
A fake, but enchanting world which we all live in today – but which has also become a new kind of prison that prevents us moving forward into the future.
Along with Massive Attack the show will star two great singers.
The amazing Liz Fraser
And the wonderful Horace Andy
And some of the music will be surprising – from early Barbra Streisand to Siberian punk from the 1980s.
Here’s a two-dimensional trailer that will give you an idea of what the show is about – and the stories it tells.
Video I shot in 2011 of a lecture by Chris Seefer, an attorney at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP — the law firm responsible for collecting the “mountain of evidence” of a massive ratings agencies scandal, as documented in Matt Taibbi’s brutal article The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis.
For the uninitiated, a Steenbeck is flatbed film editor, a massive, glorious mechanical/optical machine used to edit physical film. I used one to cut Ashley/Amber and it was an experience I hope to never repeat but also am bizarrely nostalgic for. Keeping track of 20+ rolls of film and corresponding mag (sound) was a hellish task, but the analog dial for playback/rewind is delightful. Perhaps not a delight I’m ready to pay nearly $3k to replicate, but still very exciting to learn that this exists. Also looks like there are some serious editors who use Lightworks, including Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese’s long-time editor.
Lovely interview with Schoonmaker, with a good discussion of film v. digital editing at 22min in.