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Display Name: MikeG

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Music (7 titles)

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Cover ArtA clockwork orange [sound recording]
by Burgess, Anthony, 1917-1993.
Anthony Burgess wants to investigate an interesting question about crime, free will and the power of the state. The main character, however, fights the author’s good intention. Alex rapes and murders because he likes it, so just leave him alone. The effect is to arouse a desire for vigilante justice, which doesn’t need any encouragement. The author’s semantic device--making Alex speak in Russian slang--might have worked in 1962 when the English audience was rabid with Cold War fear. Today, it is easier to separate the Russian people and their language from Vladimir Putin’s regime. Did the US rhetoric during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan lead or follow the change in our powers of discernment?   posted Apr 18, 2014 at 5:08PM

Cover ArtCountry, God or the girl [sound recording]
Forgive me, K'Naan, for liking your music. One boring, old guy in the audience could ruin your reputation as an angry young man carelessly tossing around the "N" word. I just have to listen to a kid who can survive the war zone and write a song like "The Wall."   posted Apr 18, 2014 at 5:01PM

Cover ArtTassili 10:1 [sound recording]
Volkswagen would like to think that the $45,000 Touareg can transform your urban commute into an exotic safari. The rest of us can listen to Tinariwen in our Ford Escorts. In fact, you could learn their language, live with the people for a month and still have enough money to buy a Toyota Highlander, which is a better vehicle anyway. I took option #2. Having misplaced my Tamashek phrase book, I relied on the liner notes to translate the lyrics and discovered that the singers have concerns similar to yours and mine--the concerns that we would have if our Ford Escorts were commandeered for an ethnic war in the Sahara Desert. If you opt for the real safari, you might want to order your VW with armor plating.   posted Apr 18, 2014 at 4:52PM

Cover ArtThe shawl [sound recording]
by Ozick, Cynthia
Elie Wiesel’s “Night” is a perennial leader in Holocaust literature. I recommend “The Shawl” as an adjunct, for it takes the reader into the minds of the survivors long after the war and tells the story from a woman’s point of view. In contrast to Wiesel, who exposes the horrible acts of the Nazi Germans and the feelings of the victims, Ozick’s symbolism requires more time to decipher, but the book is short like “Night” and within reach.   posted Apr 18, 2014 at 4:45PM

Cover ArtRosetta [videorecording]
One way to show love for children is to make them laugh with entertaining, uplifting stories. Another way is to express an understanding of their difficulties and to show them a way out. The Dardenne brothers take the latter approach, depicting young people in desperate circumstances and providing them with a mentor or an inner determination that saves them from perdition. Of the six titles readily available, "Rosetta" is my favorite because the rough visual quality reflects the emotional turbulence of the protagonist and her gender demonstrates the brothers’ versatility. (Most of the stories feature males in the leading roles.) The interviews following the movies do become more insightful as the directors grow comfortable discussing their work. If you can watch “L’Enfant” without reaching into the screen and strangling Bruno, you might appreciate the interview in this package for the contribution of the normally taciturn brother, Jean-Pierre Dardenne.   posted Apr 18, 2014 at 4:39PM

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