davidfcooper: (headshot 01/18/07)



"At first glance Israeli novelist David Grossman’s new novel, A Horse Walks into a Bar, which as the title suggests recounts a stand-up comedian’s performance one evening at a night club in the coastal city Netanya, appears to be a complete change in tone and direction from his previous two fiction books To the End of the Land and Falling Out of Time (the latter reviewed on NYJB), emotionally heavy works that either indirectly or directly deal with parental grief.

"But initial appearances can be deceiving, and though the new novel is seasoned with jokes it is a serious work that addresses emotional pain as a source of all art, even a genre as coarse and vulgar as stand-up comedy." -- from my review in New York Journal of Books

"Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s (One Night, Markovitch) second novel Waking Lions starts as a moral drama in its first 14 chapters and becomes a suspenseful crime thriller in its final 11. Its strength lies in its third person narration’s shifting perspectives that develop its characters’ backstories and dramatic situations in the first part and its page turning pacing in the second part, in which the novel’s unanswered questions are resolved." -- from my review in New York Journal of Books
davidfcooper: (headshot 01/18/07)

My review first appeared on the now defunct examiner.com In the years following World War II academic psychologists grappled with the phenomenon of apparently normal people following orders to act inhumanely to other people and indeed to participate in mass-murder. In 1947 California Psychologist Theodore W. Orno devised a personality test to measure what he termed the authoritarian personality. His work has since been refined to what is known as Right-wing authoritarianism and the number of criteria reduced to three traits:

Dreama Walker as an accused restaurant employee in Compliance
Indiewire

1. Authoritarian submission — a high degree of submissiveness to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives. 2. Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities. 3. Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities, and a belief that others in one's society should also be required to adhere to these norms.

In 2004, a man named David Stewart was arrested in Panama City, FL, in connection with a series of prank calls to fast food restaurants around the country, in which he had allegedly impersonated a police officer and convinced managers to detain and strip search female employees that he accused of theft. Yesterday at The Broadway Screening Room I attended an advance screening of the movie Compliance which is based on one of those prank calls. The movie will open in theaters on August 17, 2012.

Had I not already been familiar with the psychological research on authoritarian behavior I would have found it hard to believe that the manager of the Ohio ChickWich restaurant (ably portrayed by Ann Dowd) and some of her employees could be so gullible, so utterly lacking in critical thinking skills. Why did they believe the caller was who he claimed to be? It seems that anyone who has watched television police dramas could find holes in his story. And yet in 70 cases across the country fast food restaurant managers followed the prank caller's instructions to the letter.

I found the film disturbing and thought provoking, but at 90 minutes (even though it condensed a three and a half hour conversation) I thought it was too long. If it were re-edited Compliance would make a fine one hour TV drama; I'm not convinced it needed to be a feature length film. The cinematography captures what running a fast food restaurant is like.

There is a perhaps unavoidably creepy aspect not only to what the prank caller (played byPat Healy), who identifies himself as "Officer Daniels," is doing but in the way the viewer is turned into his voyeuristic accomplice. This is exacerbated by the fact that Dreama Walker, whose acting performance as the accused employee is very good, has breasts that are so identical in shape and size as to appear unnatural and indeed look surgically enhanced. If viewers are expected to empathize with this character rather than ogle her why did directorCraig Zobel chose an actress for the role whose breasts resemble those of a porn star?

I'm glad I saw Compliance, but I'm also glad I didn't pay to see it. I'm sure the film will work as well on a smaller screen (and many of today's flat-screen TVs are not that small) and advise readers to wait for it to appear on IFC, the Sundance Channel, or on premium cable.

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HIPS recognizes International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, December 17

15.12.2010

News

This Friday is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Conceived of by Annie Sprinkle and the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA, in response to the Green River Killer, who killed at least 48 sex workers in Washington state. He said “I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught”. The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is both a memorial vigil recognizing victims of violence and a protest to fight human rights offenses against sex workers.

For many engaged in sex work, violence is considered an occupational hazard. Each night in our city, hundreds of women, men and transgender individuals trade sex to pay bills, support a partner or children, for drugs, or survival. Regardless of the reason they do sex work, one thing is clear: sex workers experience astounding rates of violence.

Every year HIPS receives nearly 100 reports of abuse or assault from the sex workers we work with and answers over 75 hotline calls from sex workers seeking assistance after being the victim of a violent crime. Many of these crimes are not reported due to fear of law enforcement. In 2003, our community was devastated when Bella Evangelista was shot to death by a man who had paid her for a sex act and later found out she was transgender. Two separate women reported this year they had been kidnapped by a man and held in a basement overnight. One caller to the HIPS hotline said “Because of what I do, no one would believe that I have been raped.”

In preparation for the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, HIPS hosted the Red Umbrella Project’s Audacia Ray, who led a workshop on storytelling. HIPS will recognize December 17 by creating an art piece with the names of sex workers who were victims of violence. Anyone who would like to contribute a name or a story can email HIPS@HIPS.org, call our hotline 800-676-4477, or post a remembrance the HIPS Facebook page. That night, HIPS volunteers will offer red candy canes to sex workers we meet during our evening outreach activities as a reminder of those friends and loved ones we’ve lost, and asked to share their stories, and will be distributing copies of our “Bad Date Sheet” which provides a way for sex workers to share information about violence against them.

For all sex workers, especially those who are victims of violence, HIPS offers a 24-hour-hotline, access to resources, counseling, support groups, and friendly faces. At HIPS, we believe that what you do for a living should not mean you deserve violence. No one deserves violence.

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Hipster grifter. It's amazing she's used her real name and stayed at large so long.
davidfcooper: (Default)
Hipster grifter. It's amazing she's used her real name and stayed at large so long.
davidfcooper: (Default)
Rider Fatally Stabs City Bus Driver and Flees

As the economy unravels so too the social fabric tipping the emotionally damaged to lose their tenuous grip on reality. I fear we can expect to see more acts of random violence.
davidfcooper: (Default)
Rider Fatally Stabs City Bus Driver and Flees

As the economy unravels so too the social fabric tipping the emotionally damaged to lose their tenuous grip on reality. I fear we can expect to see more acts of random violence.

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