Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album has been on Billboard's Classical Traditional Albums chart for 11 weeks, most recently in the top slot. But the album has been bumped this week by The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles — a group of singing nuns from Missouri. The Benedictines' album is called, Advent at Ephesus. Melissa Block and Robert Siegel have more.
House Speaker John Boehner said it himself: "Obamacare is the law of the land." But what does that mean for patients—and their doctors and nurses? Ira Flatow and guests map out the road ahead for the Affordable Care Act, and when insurance exchanges, employer rewards for exercise and other and other features of the law take effect.
Hecho en México (Made in Mexico) isn't the first time a foreigner has paid film tribute to the titular country. In the early 20th century, many avant-garde European intellectuals were enamored with Latin America, and Mexico and the Soviet Union had a cozy cultural relationship. In 1930, while socializing with artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein began filming his love poem to Mexico and its people.
But for all of Eisenstein's passionate intentions, the film failed to attract the interest of major American movie companies: It was suffocated by censorship on behalf of the post-revolutionary Mexican government and riddled with production inefficiency on Eisenstein's end. Several short versions containing the footage were released in the mid- and late '30s, and in 1979 director Grigori Alexandrov released the film with the title ¡Que Viva México!
While visiting Alt.Latino this week, British director Duncan Bridgeman joked that his film,Hecho en Mexico, has fared much better than Eisenstein's. Perhaps it's because of the freedom Bridgeman says he was granted by the film's producer — the controversial Emilio Azcarraga, owner of the widely reviled Mexican media giant Televisa — and, of course, it helps that Bridgeman doesn't have Joseph Stalin breathing down his neck. But as Lynn Fainchtein, the film's music producer, tells us, Hecho en Mexico comes at a time when Mexicans are in a particularly introspective, even bleak mood. The nation continues to grapple with waves of unspeakable violence, media manipulation, obsolete yet oppressive power hierarchies and socioeconomic upheaval.
Yet at the core of the movie — and the director's stated intent — is the desire to go beyond the well-publicized problems that afflict Mexico, and to align the concerns of Mexicans with more universal issues of death, spirituality, modernity and gender relations. The film has been criticized in the Mexican media for taking few stances during an extremely political time in that country, yet as we spoke to them on the issue, both Fainchtein and Bridgeman made their philosophies clear.
With Bridgeman, Fainchtein — who has worked in political films and is an outspoken critic of the Televisa media monopoly — says we're bombarded daily by news of drug-related horror stories in Mexico, as well as immigration controversies accompanied by daunting images of walls and those who seek to scale them. While these are important issues, the lack of a more comprehensive view of Mexico strips everyday Mexicans of their basic humanity. It reduces them to anecdotes and statistics rather than allowing for realistic portraits of Mexicans as human beings: worried about issues like getting older, having children, falling in love.
The trailer for Hecho En Mexico, which opens in Los Angeles Nov. 30
The film gets to the heart of those matters, and does so in a visually arresting way. It's also practically a musical; Bridgeman used to be a musician himself. The core of the narrative is song — one stunning piece interwoven into the next, almost like melodic page-turning. Fainchtein, who has worked as music producer for films such as Amores Perros, Babel, Maria Full of Grace and Precious, has pooled all her resources and compiled a stellar soundtrack. Its unlikely collaborations between artists who represent most aspects of Mexican culture include controversial pop icon Gloria Trevi collaborating with indigenous folk musicians. I never would have expected to see that in my life, and the result is excellent.
Hecho en Mexico premieres in Los Angeles on Nov. 30, and it still awaits nationwide distribution in the U.S. Hopefully, a gem like this won't go the way of its Soviet predecessor. Even if it doesn't manage a deal, both the film and its soundtrack (out Dec. 23) feel like future classics.
La película Hecho En México noes la primera instancia en que un extranjero compone una oda cinematográfica al gigante latinoamericano. A principios del siglo veinte, los intelectuales de la vanguardia europea se enamoraron de América Latina; en particular, México y la Unión Soviética tuvieron una relación íntima. En 1930, mientras socializaba con los artistas Frida Kahlo y Diego Rivera, el cineasta soviético Sergei Eisenstein comenzó a filmar su poema de amor al pueblo mexicano. Pero a pesar de sus apasionadas intenciones, la película fue un fracaso total: sofocada por la censura del gobierno mexicano pos-revolucionario, acribillada por la ineficiencia de Eisenstein, y por la indiferencia de las compañías de cine estadounidenses. Sin embargo, se lograron varias versiones cortas con el material que grabó Eisenstein, y en 1979 el director Grigori Alexandrov publicó la película con el título ¡Qué viva México!, el nombre que había propuesto Eisenstein desde un principio.
Durante su reciente visita a Alt.Latino esta semana, el director británico Duncan Bridgeman bromeó que por suerte Hecho En México ha tenido más suerte que el projecto de Eisenstein. Tal vez eso es a causa de la libertad de expresión que, según Bridgeman, le fue otorgado por el productor Emilio Azcárraga, dueño de la cadena mexicana de medios Televisa. Ciertamente ayuda que Bridgeman, a diferencia de Eisenstein, no tiene que lidiar con los arranque de furia de un tal José Stalin .
Pero tal vez tiene más que ver con lo que nos contó Lynn Fainchtein, la productora musical de la película: según ella, hoy por hoy el humor de los mexicanos es particularmente introspectivo y gris. Se trata de una nación que esta luchando por comprender una ola de violencia indescriptible, manipulación mediática, jerarquías de poder obsoletas pero a la vez oprimentes, y serios problemas socio-económicos. A pesar de todo eso, Hecho En México busca ir más allá de estos problemas que todos sabemos afectan a la nación, y de reflexionar sobre los problemas más universales con los que todos convivimos a diario: la mortalidad, la espiritualidad, la modernidad, las relaciones entre sexos.
El filme ha sido criticado por los medios mexicanos por ser apolítico en uno de los peores momentos del país. Cuando hablamos con Fainchtein (quien ha trabajado en películas sumamente políticas y ha sido severa en sus críticas al monopolio mediático de Televisa) y Bridgeman señalaron que a diario se nos bombardea con noticias horribles acerca de la violencia en México. Y en Estados Unidos, las pocas veces que recibimos noticias que no se tratan de esto, suelen ser notas acerca de la inmigración, acompañadas por imágenes dantescas de los muros y alambrados de la frontera y las personas que los atraviesan desesperadamente. Es innegable que estos son temas de suma importancia pero reduce a todos los mexicanos a víctimas o victimarios de una violencia monstruosa, en vez de ser como cualquier otro ser humano en este mundo: con preocupaciones como el envejecer, tener hijos, o enamorarse. Hecho En México trata esos temas con elementos visuales despampanantes. Hace mucho que no veo una película con una fotografía tan alucinante que hace justicia a la impactante visualidad México.
Bridgeman comenzó su carrera como músico y luego se dedicó a la dirección de videos musicales. Es evidente: la película es narrada por la misma música. Feinchtein, que ha trabajado como productora para algunas de las películas más importantes de nuestra generación, como Amores Perros, Babel, María Eres Llena De Gracia y Precious, ha logrado una banda sonora espectacular, con colaboraciones improbables entre artistas que representan polos opuestos en el esquema social mexicano, incluyendo una colaboración entre la controversial estrella de pop Gloria Trevi y un grupo de folklore indígena. Es algo que yo jamás hubiese esperado y el resultado es excelente.
Hecho En México se estrena en Los Ángeles el 30 de noviembre, y esta en negociaciones para ser distribuida a lo largo de los Estados Unidos. Esperemos que una joya cinematográfica como esta no tenga un destino parecido a su predecesor soviético. Aún si no logran distribución en EE.UU., está destinada convertirse en un clásico del cine. Cuando la banda sonora salga a la venta el 23 de diciembre, es posible que se convertirá en una de la más importantes de esta generación.
I do not understand
Laura's fixation with patriarchy.
I cannot conceive a patriarch who would approve a woman's dedication to the
consuming work of a blog.
Even more perplexing is Laura's insistence on the need for "rational
analysis" and "objective principles."
Rationally, it is
evident that the world's remaining patriarchies (acrossGreater Arabeeand within orthodox Jewry) are neither
"healthy cultures" nor "great cultures."
links patriarchy with "greatness" whereas my own studied view links
patriarchy with an abiding urge to "kill for honor" and the kind of
testy absolutism that constantly "spoils for a fight" - crusade and
jihad being mirror images of each other. (And how's that Palestinian thing
It is not accidental
that the Abrahamic religions -- all three of them -- have engendered chaos in
the Middle East, chaos that threatens global conflagration.
At the back of Laura's thought lie age-old pieties, noble in themselves
perhaps, but which also disguise the ruthless politics of dominance-submission
based on unredeemed zoological impulse.
American Christians have never seen a war they didn't like.
devotees revere wehrmacht because they've prostated themselves
before the pieties of Authority.
Eisenhower, who described himself as "the most religious man I ever
met," issued dire warning over The Military-Industrial Complex,
but "not a Christian in a cartload" heeds the wisest words ever to
emerge fromThe White
The "religious right" -- Pharisaic from Yeshua onward -- is certain
of its own righteousness, relegating "the unrighteous" to subservient
status where every attempt is made to further their disenfranchisement.
To quote Laura: "If the Constitution had permanently restricted the
franchise to white, male, married property holders, the flaws of the people
would be less decisive. But even then, those who could vote could change the
limited franchise through amendments. And there is always an incentive for
politicians to expand the franchise... Yes, it is obscene that those who
are employed by the government and those who live on government entitlements,
including Social Security, can vote. If that isn’t a conflict of interest, I
don’t know what is..."
When one lives "in theory" rather than the nitty-gritty of political
practice and salvific compromise, it is easy to categorize others as
One day, on the way home from Mass, my Mom – the most traditionally devout
Catholic I have ever known – commented: “I do not believe God would tell
Abraham - or anyone - to kill his child.”
Today, Abraham would be forcibly detained were he to reveal God's command that
he kill his son.
Detention is an appropriate outcome for lunatic raving.
Abraham -- imbued with Molochian willingness to kill his son -- subsequently
set the cornerstone of all three Abrahamic religions, thus introducing durable
justification for self-righteous bloodletting.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam have yet to acknowledge the damage done - and
the damage they still do. (I do not dispute the many virtues of these three
True, Christians have (arguably) outpaced their co-religionists in
"shop-cleaning," but Yeshua paved the way by breaking radically with
orthodox Judaism - notwithstanding the frequent allegation that he upheld
every "jot and tittle of the Law."
He did not.
TheSon of Man'sconstant refrain was this: "You
have heard it said... But I say to you..."
Does Laura not
marvel that so many of Yeshua's followers were women - women from a patriarchal
world where "knowing one's place" -- and "keeping it" --
"Every" man in any ancient Jewish community would have stoned these
women and delighted in the slaughter.
Of course everything is a mixed bag.
Aquinas noted that virtue requires perspective-and-proportion, qualities that
Christian conservatives "sense" as existential threats to their
I find that Laura is increasingly prone to propagate imprudent allegations
concerning the collapse of civilization. Unwilling to study "the
larger frame," she focuses disproportionately on prejudice and bafflegab,
asserting, for example, that nearly all Norwegian rapists are Islamic.
The fact that New Zealand - without a "single" Islamic resident -
occupies the ignominious forefront of rape statistics, does
not reveal a sex-crazed nation but rather the admirable fact that Kiwis have
less tolerance for rape and so define it more broadly.
Similarly, lily-white Iceland has 40% more rape (per capita) than Norway
and again for reasons that are noble rather than ignoble.
Laura now parrots the bilge repeated in the first bizillion Google hits when
searching "Norway, Islam, Rape."
What we are witnessing - and what Laura fervently propagates - is 21st
century Inquisition against "infidels."
On the other hand,
the patriarchal Amish are notably good people but do not comprise -- in any
traditional sense of the word -- a "great" culture.
In addition to
patriarchy, the Amish embrace radical pacifism, a comprehensive
pscyho-spiritual disposition as removed from conservative Christian bellicosity
as "Heaven" is removed from "Hell."
pacifism - and knee-jerk "Christian" belligerence - cannot both be
If, by some miracle,
both are "true," then latitudinarianism is latitudinous indeed!
Since receipt of
"Bonaldo's" post-election lament, I have been composing an
intra-linear commentary to his text.
That work is nearly
done and I will send it soon.
PS As for Laura's
allegation that "The Greatest Generation" lacked "objective
principles," I see our parents' generation as profoundly devoted to
objective principles, albeit not the "absolutist" principles
that Bible Belters have normalized across wide swathes of
Christian "orthodoxy." You, I -- and almost everyone we grew up with
-- was educated in Catholic schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. Many
of us attended Catholic universities. We were weekly communicants (at least)
and routinely participated in the liturgical celebration of Lent, Advent and
other high holy days. We were altar boys and choir boys. Many of us
"considered the seminary" while an even greater percentage of our
female fellows joined the convent. The allegation that the "Greatest
Generation" lacked "objective principles" is beyond bizarre. It
is much too easy -- and far too glib -- to isolate oneself from The
World and then judge the past through conjured
patinas. I will also note that our parents -- mostly "New Deal"
Catholics -- assumed that labor and capital were working together to
build The Common Good. When finally built, it was understood that
labor and capital would share equally in the benefits of leisure and
prosperity. Enter Laura Wood believing that equality IS The Problem and
that The Ungodly Rich deserve every penny they
sequester. At bottom, the conflict between liberals and
conservatives is over the role of "the individual" and the role of
"community." The liberal view is complex, dynamic and bi-polar whereas
the conservative view is dogmatic, simple and mono-polar. Liberals understand
individual shortcoming but also focus collective, systemic shortcoming.
Conservatives understand the former but are "unmoved" by the latter.
Nevertheless, contemporary moral corruption is disproportionately engendered by
Capitalism's promotion of The Seven Deadly Sins. TheMilitary-Industrial Complexis existentially reliant on the
propagation of Wrath and "The Power of Pride," while Capitalism's
other tentacles depend -- also existentially -- on Envy, Avarice,
Gluttony and Lust. The inability of conservative Christians to comprehend this
matrix of inter-related socio-economic truths derives from their refusal to
grapple with systemic immorality, insisting instead that all morality is personal
and, by extension, that salvation plays out only within an individual's soul.
See "Algorithms and The Anti-Christ" - http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2012/08/ted-talk-algorithms-and-anti-christ.html I
also recommend Vatican Raps “Idolatry of the Market” - http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2011/10/24/vatican-calls-for-global-authority-on-economy-raps-idolatry-of-the-market/
PPS Perhaps it
is my limited sample, but it seems to me that Laura does not publish reasonable
views that deeply challenge her own. Alternatively, you and I are eager to
"test everything" - as St. Paul recommended.
Channels like this one can feed water down through hundreds of metres of ice
Melting of polar ice sheets has added 11mm to global sea levels over the past two decades, according to the most definitive assessment so far.
More than 20 polar research teams have combined forces to produce estimates of the state of the ice in Greenland and Antarctica in a paper in Science.
Until now different measurement means have produced a wide range of estimates with large uncertainties.
But sea-level rise is now among the most pressing questions of our time.
Polar ice has a tremendous capacity to cause massive rises - with huge potential impacts on coastal cities and communities around the world.
But the remoteness and sheer size of the ice sheets mean accurate measurements are a serious challenge even for satellites which have to distinguish snow from ice, and the rise of the land from the shrinking of the ice.
The new estimate shows that polar melting contributed about one-fifth of the overall global sea level rise since 1992; other factors include warming that causes the seawater to expand.
The study does not seek to forecast future change.
Supported by US and European space agencies Nasa and Esa, the research brought together data from satellites measuring the surface altitude, the flow of the glaciers and the gravitational effect of the ice mass to produce the first joint assessment of how the ice sheets are changing.
Prof Andrew Shepherd explains the findings to David Shukman
The results show that the largest ice sheet - that of East Antarctica - has gained mass over the study period of 1992-2011 as increased snowfall added to its volume.
However, Greenland, West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula were all found to be losing mass - and on a scale that more than compensates for East Antarctica's gain.
The study's headline conclusion is that the polar ice sheets have overall contributed 11.1mm to sea level rise but with a "give or take" uncertainty of 3.8mm - meaning the contribution could be as little as 7.3mm or as much as 14.9mm.
The next big challenge... is to predict what will happen over the next century”
Hamish PritchardBritish Antarctic Survey
The combined rate of melting from all the ice sheets has increased over the past 20 years with Greenland losing five times as much now as in 1992.
The lead author of the research, Prof Andrew Shepherd of Leeds University, said the study brought to an end 20 years of disagreement between different teams.
"We can now say for sure that Antarctica is losing ice and we can see how the rate of loss from Greenland is going up over the same period as well," he added.
"Prior to now there'd been 30 to 40 different estimates of how the ice sheets are changing, and what we realised was that most people just wanted one number to tell them what the real change was.
"So we've brought everybody together to produce a single estimate and it turns out that estimate is two to three times more reliable than the last one."
Prof Shepherd said the measurements were in line with climate change predictions.
"We would expect Greenland to melt more rapidly because the temperatures have risen," he said."We would expect West Antarctica to flow more quickly because the ocean is warmer. And we would also expect East Antarctica to grow because there's more snowfall as a consequence of climate warming."
Dr Erik Ivins, a co-author from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said one issue that had "plagued" ice-sheet studies was land springing up in a process called "post-glacial rebound" - with effects as high as 1cm per year.
But the use of GPS to measure vertical motion and estimates of the ice sheets' movements over the past 21,000 years had allowed the rebound effect to be properly understood.
"The new estimates from space gravity for Antarctica's ice sheet loss rates are lowered by using these improved post-glacial rebound models," Dr Ivins said.
"The results, then, are more consistent with other space observations that were taken over the past decade. This is one of the major findings in the inter-comparison effort by this international team of scientists."
The findings are in line with the broad range of forecasts in the 2007 assessment by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
And they were completed in time to be considered for the next report, due in September next year.
Another author, Dr Hamish Pritchard of the British Antarctic Survey, said: "The next big challenge - now that we've got quite a good understanding of what's happened over the last 20 years - is to predict what will happen over the next century.
"And that is going to be a tough challenge with difficult processes going on in inside the glaciers and ice sheets."