Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rewind #14

Immortal Technique: The Third World (2008)

Welcome to the underground. Welcome to the third world. Immortal Technique invites you into a realm that exposes the American Hierarchy and its true purpose; EMPIRE! He quickly disseminates the nefarious activities propagated in the name of freedom and reveals the roots of anti-amerikanism from the oppressed around the world. I often hear many voices around my community; at work, on the radio or blogosphere, even in my own family; espousing the great virtues of this country and though I truly believe in the ideals of our forefathers (flawed though they may be), I know that we still have a lot of work to do. The one refrain that I often get regarding America's fabulousness is that it's the best country in the world or the best system of governance our world has ever known. First of all, probably most of the people shouting out this thought, have never known another system and ignorance rears its ugly head when we speak of that which we don't understand. How can you possibly resolutely claim to know something is the best without experiencing something else? But the true fault with these kind of statements lives in the idea that we need look no further beyond what is already great. It discourages self-reflection. Even if America were the greatest country ever (but how would I really know that), that doesn't mean that we can't be greater, right? The one thing I do understand is that there is a lot of suffering in this country and in the world. For my entire life I have met very few people who truly understand happiness. Isn't that the entire purpose for living? To become happy? How can we appreciate the world that we live in when so much of humanity suffers on a daily basis. It's our responsibility as human citizens of the world to create an environment where everyone may find a path of discovery that leads them to find a wonderful existence full of physical and spiritual blessings. Right now that world doesn't exist and has never existed. America is a powerful presence in the world today and it has become very apparent that our influence isn't leading down a path of enlightenment. Immortal Technique uses his voice to shout out that very truth and even though it may be a message that is hard to listen to, it is vital that we hear it because the only way that we can change the future is if we change ourselves for the better. It's what we must do.

P.S. On that note, there is something I would like to say to Immortal Technique. You have power in your voice and in your lyrics but you diminish that power when you don't recognize the oppression of women in your message. Your mission loses strength when you fall back on hip-hop cliches with regards to women. They've lived in the third world for generations upon generations and they understand what it means to be dispossessed. There's great power in the struggle when we unite together as human beings first and foremost, and we treat everyone with respect.

Encounters At The End Of The World: Werner Herzog (2008)

Werner Herzog makes films that don't fit into any known category and live on the fringes of the film community. So it isn't surprising to find him making a movie about the most remote community on this planet. Encounters is a documentary film about McMurdo Station, the largest human enclave in Antartica, which is based on an island in the middle of the Ross Sea, a frozen body of water the size of Texas. As the camera descends, we discover a world of immense beauty underneath a "frozen sky". The images from beneath ice are worth every second, incredibly evocative and magical. But it takes those with a strong constitution and a strange soul to inhabit a place at the end of the world. Many of the people that Herzog interviews are the types of people who don't fit into the everyday societies of our cities around the planet. These human pariahs seem to need a place where they can perceive the universe through a unique lens. Herzog knows exactly where they're coming from and where they want to go. From scientists studying single-cell lifeforms that show evidence of intelligence, to volcanologists studying one of the most remote and most active volcanoes on the planet, to a man who communicates with penguins better than he does with humans, to a scientist studying the spiritual aspects of the beginnings of life by perceiving neutrinos, to many others who simply need to exist somewhere off the map, all of these people are extraordinary individuals and Herzog brings them and their environment to us with great clarity.

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