Book Review: Everything Belongs to the Future, Laurie Penny (2016)

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Entertaining and thought-provoking, this novella left me wanting more. (Sooooo much more!)

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free ebook for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for rape.)

“All I wanted was to make something small and bright and good, something that lasted a little while, a little while longer than I did. All I wanted was to push back against the darkness just a little bit. To live in the cracks in capitalism with the people I care about, just for a little while. But it turns out I can’t even have that. And now I just want to burn shit down.”

It’s the turn of the century – the 21st, to be exact – and humanity has finally discovered the fountain of youth. It comes in the form of a little blue pill that will cost you $200 a pop on the black market; a little less, if you’re one of the lucky few who has insurance. Most don’t, as this “weaponization of time” has only exacerbated class inequality.

Only the wealthiest citizens can afford life-extension drugs; regular folks deemed “important to society” – scientists, artists, musicians, the occasional writer – may receive a sponsorship to continue their work, but ultimately they live and age and die at the whim of those more powerful than they. Show a modicum of concern for the working class, and you just might find your sponsorship revoked.

Alex, Nina, Margo, Fidget, and Jasper are a group of artist/activists living in a dilapidated, mouse- and mold-infested flat in the underside of Oxford city. They work day jobs where they can find them, but their real passion is playing at Robin Hood. A few times a week, they load up their food truck with cheese sammies or mystery stews made of reclaimed food, and distribute free meals to Oxford’s neediest citizens. At the bottom of each foodstuff is a happy meal surprise: a little blue pill, most likely stolen. One per person, no second helpings.

(More below the fold…)

#ForTheGhosts

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

null

The much-anticipated animal rights documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine is coming out in just a few weeks, and the folks involved need our help to get the word out! The film follows renown photographer Jo-Anne McArthur over the course of the year as she bears witness to the suffering of the billions of animals exploited in the food, fashion, entertainment, and research industries. The film is part of a larger, ongoing photo project, We the Animals, now in its 15th year. Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, no doubt you’ve seen some of Jo-Anne’s photos.

(This picture of Sonny the calf – shown on his rescue day in the banner above – is among my favorites!)

null

You can find (some really amazing) banners, graphics, Facebook cover photos, press kits, and more on the film’s website at www.theghostsinourmachine.com. Private Vimeo screenings are available to those bloggers who would like to review the film and/or interview the filmmakers.

To see a list of upcoming screenings – or request one in your community – click here.

###

New Documentary ‘The Ghosts in Our Machine’ Begins U.S. Theatrical Release in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco

TORONTO, ON – The Ghosts in Our Machine, the acclaimed documentary film about the dramatic reality largely hidden from our view – the lives of individual animals living within and rescued from the machine of our modern world – will begin an awards-season run in four major U.S. markets this fall.

Award-winning filmmaker Liz Marshall’s progressive, consciousness-raising documentary will be released in New York on Nov. 8 at Village East Cinema, in Los Angeles on Nov. 15 at Laemmle Music Hall, and will later expand to San Francisco and Boston with dates and theaters to be announced soon. The film enjoyed a successful world premiere earlier this year at Canada’s Hot Docs film festival, where it was voted a Top 10 Audience Favorite, and has since been booked in 11 cities across Canada.

Marshall directs The Ghosts in Our Machine through the heart and lens of award-winning animal photographer Jo-Anne McArthur. Over the course of a year, Marshall shadows McArthur throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe as she documents animal stories, with each photograph and story serving as a window into global industries using animals for food, clothing, entertainment and biomedical research. McArthur’s epic photo project We Animals is comprised of thousands of photographs taken around the world, documenting animals with heart-breaking empathic vividness.

This visually arresting one-of-a-kind documentary shines a cinematic light on the animals we don’t easily acknowledge – the “ghosts” – who are trapped within the cogs of our voracious consumer world. Haunting and heart-warming, audiences encounter a diverse cast of animal subjects who invite us to consider whether non-human animals are property to be owned and used, or sentient beings deserving of rights. The Ghosts in Our Machine also charts McArthur’s efforts to bring wider attention to a topic most of humankind strives hard to avoid.

“With the exception of our companion animals and a few wild and stray species within our urban environments, we experience animals daily as the food, clothing, animal tested goods and entertainment we make of them,” said Marshall. “This moral dilemma is often hidden from our view.”

“I feel like I’m a war photographer,” McArthur says in the film. “I am photographing history, and photographing changes in history right now, in terms of animal rights and where it’s going.”

Since early development and during filming, the project has attracted the attention of progressives and celebrities alike, with kudos from Woody Harrelson, Bill Maher, James Cromwell, Bob Barker, and other international animal and environmental advocates. Radiohead agreed to have their iconic song, “Give Up The Ghost,” in the film.

The film’s website (www.theghostsinourmachine.com) offers a number of interactive educational tools including a guided five-day “Ghost-Free Journey” to lead participants on adopting a vegan lifestyle, and a stunning and innovative flash story by award-winning interactive artists The Goggles (Welcome to Pine Point; Adbusters).

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: Strategic Action for Animals by Melanie Joy (2008)

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Here, finally!, is my review of Strategic Action for Animals: A Handbook on Strategic Movement Building, Organizing, and Activism for Animal Liberation (Melanie Joy, 2008). At 2,000+ words, it’s perhaps my longest book review yet. Towards the middle, I kind of wander off the book review path, discussing issues of “mainstreaming”, violent vs. non-violent tactics and intersecting oppressions. Some of these are central to Strategic Action for Animals, while others are just touched upon. They all struck a chord with me, though, maybe because they’ve been floating around the internets lately. But bear with me, it’s all related.

By the by, I posted a condensed review on Amazon, so if you’d like the short of it, go here (or here, if you prefer LT).

Otherwise, onward.

Strategic Action for Animals by Melanie Joy (2008)

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: Striking at the Roots by Mark Hawthorne (2008)

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

As promised earlier in the week, here’s my review of Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism, by Mark Hawthorne. I actually devoured the first ten chapters in like two days, starting on Super Bowl Sunday…and then it took me way too long to get back to it. Go figure.

If you’re interested in buying a copy – which, hello, I totally recommend! – please consider paying a wee bit extra and purchase it from a veg*n vendor. As Mark points out, “One easy way to help animals is to support vegan stores and animal-rights organizations” – so here’s his list of animal-friendly outlets that are stocking his book. Even if you can only afford to forgo the big box stores every once in awhile, your buying habits definitely make a huge impact – so vote with your wallet, people!

That said, so consider dropping by Amazon to give my review a thumbs-up. LibraryThing too!

kthnxbai.

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: Aftershock by pattrice jones (2007)

Monday, June 4th, 2007

W00t, here it is! Finally finished my review of pattrice jones’s Aftershock, which I totally loved. I also loved that I was able to squeeze all of my thoughts – or at least a summary thereof – into the Amazon review. (Probably due in no small part to the prelim/mini-review of Thursday last, in which I excised the copious quoting right outta my system.) Amazon, for those not in the know, caps reviews at a crazy 1000 word limit. I clocked in at 980, hence the w00t! I thought I was going to have to chop it up, like with my Bird Flu review. So w00t, w00t.

I’m still mulling over some of jones’s finer points, such as her building bridges / being bridges conclusion, mentioned briefly at the end of my Amazon review. Time permitting, I’d like to elaborate on that.

But for now, let me just add the following thoughts, which ended up on Amazon’s chopping block:

I love, love, love that jones used gender-neutral and alternating masculine/feminine pronouns and terms. And I super-love that she made a point out of explaining as much in the User’s Guide.

I love, love, love that she avoided citing and otherwise drawing upon animal-based research, sticking instead to psychological studies that utilized willing human volunteers. She has my undying admiration for that, since I’m sure it made writing Aftershock infinitely more difficult.

I love, love, super-duper-love that the issue of trauma and activism was approached from a eco-feminist, anarchist, humanist-without-the-speciesism, animal liberationist, socially progressive perspective. And the discussion remained rooted in sound social and biological science all the while! Totally awesome. Methinks we need more therapists – and activists – like jones in the world.

Amazon review after the jump. If you likey, please hop on over to Amazon and give my review(s) a helpful vote(s). Remember, the more votes I get, the further on up in the page my reviews will appear – thus exposing more and more Amazonians to a pro-animal view. So a vote for me is a vote for the fuzzy wuzzies, is what I’m sayin’.

/ groveling /

(More below the fold…)

Book Review: The Lifelong Activist by Hillary Rettig (2006)

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Wow, has it been a month already?

Awhile back, you may remember, Lantern Books sent me my very first package of swag, which consisted of Dr. Michael Greger’s newest book, Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching, as well as Hillary Rettig’s recent release, The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way.

After a long delay, here’s my Amazon review of The Lifelong Activist.

And then ‘scuse me while I go get moving on Bird Flu – which, I might add, is available in full online (!). How cool is that?

The Lifelong Activist by Hillary Rettig

(More below the fold…)