Two Takes on "To Dust"

Two Tikkun summer interns see Shawn Snyder’s To Dust at the SF Jewish Film Festival and give us their spin on this dark comedy.

By Our Dreams Will You Know Us: Impeachment Edition

“In dreams begin responsibilities,” wrote the poet Delmore Schwartz. What do our dreams reveal about our responsibilities to the body politic? Everyone I know is ecstatic that two individuals have been definitively revealed as guilty of serious criminal action in direct service to the Present Occupant of the White House. As Michael Cohen’s attorney said, “If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?” The New York Times editorial sums it up nicely and links to the relevant details.

The Power of Privacy: A Review of The Oslo Diaries

After seeing The Oslo Diaries at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, I felt inspired to start keeping a diary of my own. The Sundance-selected documentary, directed by Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan, tells the tense and moving story of the secret 1992 peace talks and their tragic failure, using interviews, reenactments, and primary sources to give us a holistic perspective on the historical moment. I recommend you see it too.  
The film is named quite literally, as much of the film’s dialogue is taken directly from the diaries of the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators of the Oslo Accords. And while their journal entries aren’t in literal conversation, they do provide the inner dialogue of some of the story’s most important characters — and frequently overlap in their subject matter, like two sides of the same coin.

Feared Than Loved

I’ve been thinking about love and fear. Love is a strong force in my life, the thing that heals, the thing that opens my heart to give, the thing that greets me each morning as I open my eyes, grateful for another day. As the Song of Songs – the epic liturgical poem of awe and desire – puts it, “love is as strong as death.” But love’s opposite – fear, the weapon of the unloved – is swirling all around me. There’s the ambient fear of racism, violence, poverty, and exploitation, so deeply woven into the fabric of most U.S. cities that it becomes normalized.

The Uses of Appropriation

Audre Lorde famously said it, “[T]he master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” She went on: “They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” The essay was based on a 1979 panel presentation responding to a feminist movement dominated by those who opposed sexism but benefited in other ways from the existing social order. She warns a liberationist movement against reproducing the racial, economic, and other privilege-based operating assumptions of the dominant society, lest it fall far short of its potential to catalyze a more loving, just, equitable, and vibrant society. Sometimes I like to adopt an alien view, to pretend I’m watching from outer space as we humans scurry across the face of the earth, billions of intelligent two-legged ants.

A Review of Tommy Orange's "There There"

In his review of Tommy Orange’s There There, Frank Rubenfeld writes that readers in the U.S., complicit in the oppression of the American Indian, “are given the opportunity see more clearly and comprehensively the costs the Indian community has paid for our deeds.”

Baseball Infamy

In his review of Gary Morgenstein’s A Mound Over Hell, Victor Acquista contends that Morgenstein’s dystopian version of the American future––and, more specifically, baseball––helps shed light on current social ills.