Letters from our readers
19 August 2010
It’s such a shame that the unions here in the United States are becoming no different than a major corporation, developing a distinct separation between brass and rank and file. It’s no wonder unions are declining and losing support.
17 August 2010
Good article that spells it out clearly. It doesn’t seem as if the union leadership is even pretending to be advocates for labor anymore. I think that until “socialism” ceases to be a dirty word in American parlance, we can expect a steady decline in living standards for most people.
17 August 2010
It’s a very old story I know well, but generation after generation, like Passover, it needs be remembered. Very few of my people, the Jews, escaped the Holocaust. The plight of Jews before the war was not much different from the plight of Tamils today. It would get lot worse. It will.
At that time at Evian in 1938, Hitler offered the world the possibility to help. Some went to Shanghai. The Dominican fascist dictator, Trujillo, wanting to turn his country white, accepted some few hundred males in order to turn his country more white. End of story. No country accepted them.
After that, our very anti-Semitic prime minister who communicated with his dead Mother through his dog and brought up all the land around his estate to keep Jews out, Mackenzie King, like Stephen Harper, put his foot down. “None is too many,” he said of my people. So when the SS St. Louis with Jewish refugees tried desperately to land, Frederick Blair, the immigration minister, suggested that Jews be told why we were being kept out. We are too pushy, don’t you know.
I teach Tamil students and feel their pain as only one born after the Holocaust (and remembers) can. I know where this is leading.
17 August 2010
The European press is no less inclined to ignore stories about hardship caused by imperialist adventures than the US press. Back in 2004, I managed to publish an article in the Dutch edition of Metro (a free newspaper owned by the Wallenberg family of Sweden), on the destruction of public health and the environment in Iraq through the use of DU munitions by the US. The next day, Metro’s angry editor in chief notified me he would never accept any further articles from me. As you can see, sometimes messages simply slip through due to negligence. Otherwise, controls are strict.
14 August 2010
This is an important article. It needs to be read by anyone who wonders why current Hollywood blockbusters are so carefully dissected on your web site. And we should be encouraged to delve into the great legacy of silent film that modern technology has made available to us.
British Columbia, Canada
14 August 2010
I recently saw Inception and read the review by Kevin Martinez. While I agree with the general direction of the piece, there are some comments that are not consistent with the film. Why, for example, does the reviewer switch between the terms “subconscious” and “unconscious”? In my readings of psychoanalysis, these are different things, and I only recall the first one being used in Inception.
The subconscious and unconscious are not places in the mind, but processes of unawareness. The former, which some psychoanalysts reject, functions like a storehouse of knowledge and memories with indirect influence on consciousness. The latter involves socially and individually repressed experience and desires that have a more direct effect on character and behavior, for example, self-censorship.
Inception, with its symbolism of basements, safes, and vaults, dealt, albeit crudely, with the problem of the subconscious and the role of dreams in connection with it. Dreams, however, are involuntary products of the unconscious, again, a process not a place. They are automatic and have a partial element of consciousness, but they are not really manipulable.
Besides conflating the “subconscious” and “unconscious,” the reviewer appears to have misstated himself in the following description:
“Mal and Cobb, we later learn, used to share dreams with one another before she became distraught and wanted to stop dreaming and living altogether. In order to remind himself that he is dreaming [or awake], Cobb uses a spinning top as a mnemonic device, a trick that Mal taught him. But if Mal were concerned that she was losing her grip on reality, why didn’t she use this aid herself, as it would have reminded her what was real and what was a dream?”
As I remember, Cobb and Mal shared dreams, and one learned about the spinning top from the other, yes. Mal, however, wanted to stay in the dream world. Cobb could not accept that and gave his wife an “idea” to kill herself so that she could wake up from their dream. After Mal awoke, the “idea” persisted, which is why she later leaped from a hotel building.
In any case, it is regrettable that Inception made no real use of psychoanalysis. (Jung’s ideas, which I differ with very strongly, would have made for intriguing fiction.) Instead, one got fabrications like “limbo dreams,” misused terms like “projections” and “totems,” and untenable notions like consciously created dreams and filling dreams with the subconscious.
Finally, besides the unresearched depth psychology in the film, not to mention poor character and plot development, what added to my disappointment is that Inception quickly turned into an action thriller with car and snowmobile chases, gun battles and explosions, one-man-army scenes, and lot of what seemed to be recycling from The Matrix (1999).
14 August 2010
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