November 21st, 2005

Roman

Wal-Mart: the movie

I saw Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price on Saturday. I bought the DVD and the book. The book is the tale of how the film was made, and reads rather like a journal by an observer. It strikes me that the making of the film would have been worthy of its own documentary. Now that I am well into the book I am seeing that the editing of the hours and hours of film, the structuring - the "scripting", they call it - of the parts, can be changing up until the last minute, and can change radically. The film I saw is very different from what it might have been and I find myself wondering if it is the best it could have been.

Not to say it's a bad film, because it isn't. There are striking elements in this film. Most particularly, interviews with three former Wal-Mart managers who essentially confess their sins and confirm that their practices were part of the culture. And a China segment, well into the film, about the factories that make products for Wal-Mart, an up-close-and-personal story of two young people who are forced to stay in the factories dormitories (if they move out they still have to pay the rent) and work seven days a week, long hours, for very little. I know other films have explored the exploitation of factory workers overseas but this is the first I have seen that really brings it home, that I believe many Americans can relate to. The young people are articulate and attractive. You can imagine their being your next-door neighbors. I think this is an important, very important, part of the film.

I think the best part is that this one film pulls together all of the criticisms against Wal-Mart and makes them concrete. Images stay with us longer than words, I believe, and I will keep seeing the "riverkeeper" in her boat, talking about the pollution the company allowed to go on, and I will keep seeing that one manager, incredibly real and choking on his words, and I will see the young Chinese woman who wanted more for her family - and is getting less.

Now is the time for the film to make its way from the diehard believers to those who are more skeptical. That's why I bought it, so I could share it with friends who may not think about Wal-Mart much at all yet shop there. One or two might stop to think the next time.
Roman

(no subject)

from the November 17, 2005 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1117/p14s01-sten.html

After the disaster
Hurricanes in the US, an earthquake in Pakistan, and last year's tsunami have focused interest on a field now in high demand: disaster research.
By Stacy A. Teicher | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

After the rumbles of an earthquake, the winds of a hurricane, or the waves of a flood, first responders lay claim to the most dramatic jobs. But quick on the heels of relief workers come the disaster researchers - people who leave the ivory tower of academia and head to the scene, hoping their analyses can improve people's lives the next time calamity strikes. Collapse )
Roman

(no subject)

Arrgh! Barely over 1,000 words in today, out of my goal of 4,000. Arrggh! For me, it is so much better to do a small number every day rather than try to catch up like this! Arrrgh!!

Rehearsal tonight, so I don't have all day. I got in my swim and a little bike time. At least that.

I've got to come up with a conversation somewhere in this novel, another conversation. I can lose a lot of words that way. Where to put it...
Roman

(no subject)

When I was 20, I moved across the country to Los Angeles. I had never been in such a large city before and had strange ideas about how everything was bigger. When we drove into the city, I realized that no, for the most part things are not bigger. There are just more of them.

And so it is with my novel. There should be something different, monumental about it. But there isn't. It's just words, just more of them.