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September 13, 2005


Kevin Sinclair

It might be outdated in style and fashion but still vdery relevent but "Do the Right Thing" directed by Spike Lee. But certainly "Brenda's got a baby" by Tupac Shakur. This song thrusted Tupac onto the voice of Social Justice in Hip Hop back in the 90s.


I saw "Crash" this weekend and thought it captured the current attitudes of racism and inter-cultural relations as well as anything I've seen.

Dr. Mike Kear

The Laramie Project is a good social commentary which shows the divisions between both religious and political thinking in USAmerica.

Jesus Walks by Kanye West is outstanding.




Don't know if this is too obvious or not but Green Day's American Idiot album is outstanding. Call it punk opera, call it Bush bashing, whatever it is, it's definitely telling an interesting story.

kristen c

I think 'Garden State' really captured the way many of us fresh-out-of-college-but-not-sure-
what-to-do-with-our-lives feel about the world and our place in it.


Film -- Batman Begins (competing views of justice, how to confront fear, etc.), dated but Natural Born Killers (elevation of entertainment over right and wrong,

Song -- Would have agreed with reen Day, but they were careless about using the music in movies, promos, NFL kickoff, etc. Oddly enough, "Hey Ya" by Outkast is a good picture, akin to All She Wants to Do Is Dance by Don Henley.

Trav the Okie Vegan

film? - a classic biopic for any generation on the closest thing to real Christianity that the 20th century ever saw and how to affect radically social and political change: "Gandhi" - although none of the film versions are as good as the text itself, "Hamlet" is the truly epic artistic exploration of the questions that lovers of religion/philosophy in every generation seek to answer for themselves

song? - hmmm, maybe the Smashing Pumpkins' "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" or Joan Osborne's "One of Us" or U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)"


I agree with Garden State for the film. The Sopranos aren't a film, but that series is hard to beat for a spot-on reflection of our culture. That's what makes the series so amazing.

Music: I'm going to go with the Garden State soundtrack--a compilation of artist all expressing the same mellow, slightly-depressed-yet-not-angry vibe.


I like Hemisphere from the RahXephon soundtrack, for the music just as much as the lyrics (I'm probably biased because I'm a huge fan of both Youko Kanno and Maaya Sakamoto).

This song illustrates (in a very vague way) the troubles that people my age, give or take about four years, and roughly the same socioeconomic status have in becoming progressively more and more familiar with other cultures, while at the same time having either no or very few examples of older people who have dug deeply into other ways of looking at the world and integrated their examinations into their own expressions of culture and community. Everything we see and feel and breathe is wonderfully, breathtakingly and horrifyingly new, and to cope with it we're largely left to our own devices and creativity. At the same time, we're also trying to cope with our (admittedly very short) pasts with the realization that even with people only ten years older, our experience is so different that they can offer only the most general kind of guidance.

I also like Inner Universe from Ghost in the Shell Standalone Complex as an illustration of the crises of meaning and belonging in an increasingly disconnected society.


Man, there's a lot of places I could go, but this one's been kicking my ass lately: "Subdivision" by Ani DiFranco

The lyrics pretty much speak for themselves.


The last comment "by me" was not by me but my roommate... just so you know...


Hirokazu Koreeda's After life (Wonderful life) beautifully captures a wide range of society's archtypes while sifting cultural phenomena on an esoteric backdrop that makes it peculiarly incisive and thought provoking.

The film is set at a japanese college, where a steady influx of newly dead characters (of all ages) enter the afterlife's waiting room to spend a week with counsellors who help them choose just one pertinent memory from their life on earth to take into the afterlife proper with them.

It captures wider social themes of advertising, consumerism, the nature of memory while still toying with micro human notions of love, kindness, bitterness ad forgiveness. It's bleak and colourful, empty and overflowing, avant-guarde and mainstream all at once and closest fits what you're looking for in films I've seen over the last decade.


I'll have a think about the music one.


I'll have to think a little on the movie, but two songs I can think of are 'What It's Like' by Everlast and 'The Garden of Allah' by Don Henley.


I was going with Green Day too, but think there might be some better examples of protest music that speaks to our current anxiety. Perhaps Neil Young's "Rocking in the Free world," or Steve Earle's "Amerika 6.0."

For a film, I am going to suggest The Man who Shot Liberty Valance. This classic western also questions the typical redemptive violence and machismo of most westerns. The film also suggests that things are not exactly what they seem--especially with regards to the media and our political institutions. And the film also speaks to our issues with race and culture and historical memory.


I think Saved! gave a pretty decent account of what people see as the two religious options around these days: religious fundamentalism and "all you need is love." Also just a fun watch until it spiralled uncontrollably at the end.

Anything by Radiohead. "We Suck Young Blood" on Hail To The Thief is a nice picture of driftlessnes and unbelonging, and why people get sucked up into various idealogies. Or you can hear it that way anyway. It might be about vampires.


I can't think of a movie, which is odd, but for a song the very first thing that came to my mind is John Walker Lindh Blues by Steve Earle. I mean, those of you that work with kids in you churches and youth groups, don't you see this same sort of reaction to consumer culure? For a lot of young people, it either it eats them up, or they flee from it to some hermetically sealed life.

I'm just an American boy--raised on MTV
And I've seen all those kids in the soda pop ads
But none of 'em looked like me
So I started lookin' around for a light out of the dim
And the first thing I heard that made sense was the word
Of Mohammed, peace be upon him

"Prof" Marty

WHOSE social/cultural climate???

"Prof" Marty

I note, I saw that your questions includes geographic/demographic . . . but is it supposed to be "American"?


Since we have (at least) Americans, Canadians, Australians, and a couple Brits on here, I'd say that I'm asking the question to all of them. Postmodernity and emergent Xianity aren't limited to America--thank God.


It's old: but I still think of Grand Canyon as a great description that "things aren't the way they're supposed to be." I love the sense of all of these diverse characters with various levels of narcissism mixed with care for others - all trapped in this uneasy and indescribable sense that there is something bigger than they are that they are trying to fit into - but they're not sure how to fit into it.

I think the music industry generally ignores "average" culture and has decidely become (with a few notable exceptions) exaggerations of the fringe aspects of the culture.

Whisky Prajer

Lessee - I'm a Canuck, so why don't I recommend a British film that covers the music angle as well: The Filth & The Fury: A Sex Pistols Film. Gives the viewer an excellent picture of why punk still has its appeal. Also raises some good questions re: why punk's idea of anarchy can't get its legs.

Speaking of anarchy, have you (or anyone else here) read Christi-Anarchy, by Dave Andrews?



song- "Diamonds are Forever"-Kanye (Remix featuring Jay-Z). In this song Kanye talks about our complicity with the vices of global capitalism in our daily lives.

movie- that's tough. Let me sleep on that.




correction: Diamonds From Sierre Leone


Kyle P.

Movie: Dang it, Rodgers best me to _Saved_, with its dichotomized religious choices of people who take all the wrong aspects of religion way too seriously and aren't even embarrassed about it and those following a facile, vaguely-undefined, love-is-all-you-need ethic (I wish it was intentional that the overly-preachy end is a parody of this choice the way the rest of the movie parodies fundagelicals, but I highly doubt it). While I don't seem to fit in with either side, I know who I'd rather be surrounded with, but I still feel like I'm "being caught in between" (a line from Joseph's Arthur's "In the Sun," which is on the soundtrack). If television counts, a few years ago (when it was still good and relevant) I would have chosen The Simpsons as the most cannily accurate portrayal of American society, family life, general attitudes about religion, other countries, suburban life, etc.

Song: How about "The Star-Spangled Banner"? Praising the forward march of "freedom" through the means of military might...

But seriously, though probably few of you have heard it, I might choose Will Kimbrough's "Piece of Work," which, with it's acoustic country-folk guitar background, jangly and heavily processed electric guitars, an almost militaristic snare drumming, and a little harmonica thrown in for good measure, echoes through it's music the themes voiced throughout the song of how we are all assemblages of contradictory elements and personalities (e.g., "I'm a sweetheart genius reckless jerk; Lord have mercy, I'm a piece of work"), trying to figure out how all these parts fit together into a larger whole, which seems to be exactly what we (well, at least some of us) are trying to do as a nation as well.


This may sound strange but Tears of the Sun starring Bruce Willis. It deals with racism, prejudice, the political struggle within Africa.

Neil Young's When God Made Me.


Josie and the Pussycats - deals exclusively with out of control consumerism

Fight Club - consumerism leaves people numb, pain becomes the only outlet for feeling, ala tattoos, body piercing, etc..

Check out this book. I just started a course with Taylor, and he had some great insights.


Pedro the Lion's Control is an excellent, and bleak as hell, concept album about consumerism, spiritual hypocrisy, and broken marriages.

For film, I'd go with Donnie Darko, which comments on the public school system, overmedicated kids, out of touch adults, alienation, and the search for God.


My film suggestion is Magnolia. I love the almost painful way it depicts the lonely searching of several characters for some kind of meaning and/or meaningful relationship, as well as the fracturing of meaning and purpose that some of the characters think they have.


I'd second the Fight Club nomination. Successful or unsuccessful, the characters are lost or stalled in life; they feel hopeless and detached, to the extent of dissociating, and go to great lengths to stimulate some kind of feeling. Still, it's mostly from the rich person's POV.

I've also enjoyed "Go" with Sarah Polley as a youth angst movie.


Wow...I agree with Kevin (Donnie Darko) and Kristen (Magnolia). I'm not sure we got the full doseage of what we needed from Donnie Darko as it merely scratched the surface of the shit that people buy into in this day of individualism and feel-goodism. As for Magnolia, it's dealings with redemption (or lack thereof) in relationship are, hands-down, the most true-to-life and honest that I've ever seen in art.

Trainspotting was pretty damn good. Aside from it's framing of the heroin scene in the 90s, it captured what the humans (in industrialised countries, at least) ultimately yearn for--normalcy via career, mortgage, a sit at the pub, etc. I may be way off on this one. I probably don't aptly describe it.

MUSIC - I'm not sure what all the songs mean but The Arcade Fire's Funeral album is pretty cool... Specifically, the song "Rebellion (Lies)."

Here's a sampling-->

Sleeping is giving in,
no matter what the time is.
Sleeping is giving in,
so lift those heavy eyelids.

People say that you’ll die
faster than without water,
but we know it’s just a lie,
scare your son, scare your daughter,

Scare your son, scare your daughter.

Now here’s the sun, it’s alright! (Lies!)
Now here’s the moon, it’s alright! (Lies!)
Now here’s the sun, it’s alright! (Lies!)
Now here’s the moon it’s alright (Lies!)

But every time you close your eyes. (Lies!)


Rent is another. It deals with poverty and aids. Possible race issues as well. The flick comes out this Nov. but I heard it is a very converstial musical.


Alright, I know we have moved on from this but last night I was watching Sahara and this quote stuck out, "It's Africa. No one cares about Africa."

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