Jamie York is a producer for On the Media.
OTM Staff Picks, December 20th, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 04:05 PM
Your weekly dose of recommendations from the staff of OTM. Give us some of your own down in the comments section and enjoy!
Sarah Abdurrahman: After hearing about the news of Kim Jong Il’s death, I started watching some documentaries about North Korea over the weekend, including one from National Geographic called “Inside North Korea”. Lisa Ling travels with a medical team that goes into the isolated country for ten days to perform 1000 eye surgeries meant to reverse blindness caused by cataracts. This is interesting to watch in itself, but Ling also uses the opportunity to try and discover other information about the closed-off country and its people. As would be expected, Ling and her crew are very limited, with their government minders watching every step of the way, but the documentary offers some fascinating insight into how much North Korean’s (appear) to love their leader and the weird tension between the north and the south, as evidenced in this clip below, which shows the awkward way soldiers on both sides of the 38th Parallel stare each other down all day, every day at the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The part about the Demilitarized Zone starts at 4:20:
The whole documentary is available for streaming on Netflix.
Bob Garfield: Norm MacDonald's stand-up act from San Francisco on Comedy Central. I laughed so, so, so hard. And I wasn't even a big fan.
Brooke Gladstone: For the best Hitchens' obit, the one that considers the full measure of the man: his astonishing politics and self-indulgence along with his stunning presence and prolixity - read Katha Pollit’s “Regarding Hitchens” in The Nation. It’s not ungenerous – but it is reality-based and eloquent.
Chris Neary: My staff pick is the awesome (apparently) non-digitally enhanced cloud formations in Alabama. The clouds literally look like giant waves moving across the sky. And they sort of are. From the ABC 33/40 Weather Blog:
A particular type of turbulence can develop in a layer of cirrus cloud, which happens to form below an inversion between air currents of differing speeds and/or directions. Sea waves break as their bases are slowed down upon reaching shallow water and their crests surge ahead. Cloud waves break in the same way: when their crests are pushed ahead of their troughs by the difference in air currents.
Katya Rogers: Last week as I mixed David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” at the end of the show, I was messing around with placement and with which bit of the song I wanted to come up after the end of the interview and I found myself getting totally immersed in the song. I got home and went straight to Spotify, cued up Changesonebowie and I was right back in the 80’s; at school, talking about boys and using too much hairspray. Next visit home I’m planning on packing up all my David Bowie records and lugging them back here with me. Time for a Bowie renaissance.
PJ Vogt: Short and sweet (and a little sad). My staff pick this week is this poem, "Man Carrying Sofa," that a friend sent me. It includes this stanza:
And this particular complex pain inside your chest;
this damaged longing
like a heavy piece of furniture inside you;
you carry it, it burdens you, it drags you down --
then you stop, and rest on top of it.
It's by Tony Hoagland, his book is called What Narcissism Means to Me. I haven't read it yet but I just ordered it, I bet it's good.
Jamie York: The Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth died in October. He was 34 and a Baptist pastor in Birmingham, Alabama when the Klan detonated 16 sticks of dynamite outside his house on Christmas Day in 1956. Shuttlesworth, miraculously, was unhurt but the incident galvanized him, renewing his belief in the necessity of the movement and putting him on a collision course with Birmingham’s 'Bull' Connor. Shuttlesworth was a lion of the civil rights movement and in Andrew M. Manis’ A Fire You Can’t Put Out he’s portrayed as a wildly charismatic and integral figure. His story’s pure drama would make a great movie and I’d humbly suggest that Willem Defoe, Gene Hackman, Alec Baldwin and anyone else associated with a string of awful civil rights movies from the 80's and 90’s pool their resources and give Shuttlesworth the reintroduction he so richly deserves.